There are some places around the world that instantly evoke images of year-round cloudless azure skies, golden sunsets, and resplendent rays of sunshine. Unfortunately, the United Kingdom isn’t one of these places. More often associated with grey skies and constant drizzle, the weather here is so changeable and unpredictable that it makes a reliable set of windscreen wipers a must for driving in the UK.
You don’t often realize just how much your vision can be impaired until the adverse conditions arrive and the rain is bucketing down, but having effective windscreen wipers with high-quality blades can be vital for safe driving. There are a wide range of wiper blades to choose from, but with our guide to the best wiper blades 2020, you’ll be able to pick out a pair to help you see clearly this autumn and winter.
Wiper blades aren’t all the same. A well designed and engineered set of blades will get rid of grime, water, and even light frost from your windscreen very effectively whereas cheaper ones, although looking identical, will just leave smudges and smears that stop you from seeing the road in front of you.
What makes a good blade?
All of the high-quality wiper blades on our list have been designed to effectively combat some of the most common windscreen wiper blade problems. These issues may also be a good indicator that it is time to change your wiper blades.
Stripes and streaks appear on the windscreen when pollution, dirt, and insects tear the wiper rubber and mean that it leaves certain sections unwiped. Bent tension strips or deformed wiper blades due to long term exposure to high temperatures can also lead to greater unwiped sections of windscreen. If the windscreen wiper blade is exposed to extreme environmental influences it can become worn down, distorted, and move freely as the material corrodes. This, along with cracks and tears in the rubber from exposure to sunlight, can all lead to rattling noises as you drive or as the wipers are working. When choosing new wipers, there are a few things to consider to make sure you don’t get these problems again.
Material and shape
Wiper blades can be made from several different combinations of material. The frame should be made of a good, solid steel to make it firm and resistant to weather conditions. The casing will often be rubber or silicone. Both of these are designed to allow the blades to work smoothly and stick to the windshield well. They are also resistant to environmental factors. Cheaper wipers might just be plastic and this is better off avoided as it can be flimsy and break easily, as well as not sliding well on the windscreen. In terms of their shape and construction, a lot of modern blades are one-piece blades, but there is also the more old-fashioned bridged wiper which can help the blade get grip on a curved windshield. If this is the case, check to see if your blade has a cover on the connector between the pieces. Beam blades are also popular – these replace the traditional metal frame with a hingeless rubber strip and this helps to apply pressure more evenly.
Durability and strength
As they will be exposed to all kinds of weather throughout the year and when they’re working they will have to deal with anything that comes into contact with the windshield, these blades need to be strong and withstand a lot. They can usually last 6 to 12 months depending on how often your vehicle is used in adverse conditions. To get the best performance from your wipers, we recommend changing them as soon as you notice a difference in the clarity of your windscreen under any weather condition.
All windscreen wipers should at the very minimum do their job and be able to clear any small objects or rain from the windshield. The best wipers, however, will leave no smears or traces of water on the windscreen and stop water from pooling. They also won’t make any squeaking noises when moving, as some cheaper blades can make a very audible and distracting clack when changing direction. To ensure that they are as efficient as possible, some of the best quality blades will have a water repellant coating.
Finally, the blades always must stay firmly in place, even when travelling at high speeds. We have judged the blades on this list by how easily and firmly they attach to the wiper arms, whether or not there is a casing or cover over the connector, if there is a double lock on the fitment to secure the blades to the arm, and if there is a locking tab over the arm to keep it in place. These recommended blades shouldn’t be going anywhere.
According to Bosch, its Icon wiper blade holds up against cracking up to 40% longer than competitors, which makes it both effective and great value. Their blades often have a double-lock connecter, making them super easy to install, although an adapter will be required to fit the blade onto hook system wipers found on most older vehicles.
Valeo stock a wide variety of blades and have recently released their new Silencio blades. These live up to the name and mean there is very little noise. They lack, however, some of the wiping power of more sturdy blades and can be a bit tricky to fit.
Hella offer a wide range of different blades including conventional, integrated spray nozzle, and rear blades, all with graphite-coated rubber for quiet operation and a solid steel frame for even contact pressure for great cleaning results.
Blue Print offer blades from 300mm up to 700mm with Graphite Coated Superior Natural Rubber to increase wiping performance and durability and provide a long life-span. Their blades are designed to minimize friction between parts to improve wiping performance and reduce noise, streaks, and smears.
The combined advantages of advanced engineering, superior materials, and futuristic design make DENSO’s Hybrid Wiper Blades some of the most desirable in the world. As well as a high-quality silicone coating and heavy-duty steel, which both make for a great performance, these blades look great while they wipe.
Champion offer three ranges of blades: Aerovantage, Easyvision, and Rainy day. Each of these has a specific purpose in mind, but all of them employ a similar single flexor design for greater strength, which guarantees less twisting and greater resistance to deformation during winter or in the car wash.
Ridex offer a whole range of blades, from beam blades to hook-on bracket blades, meaning that they will definitely have something to fit your car. Their wiper blades are reliable and durable and can deal with all temperatures and conditions.