• Apr 17, 2006
Autoblog reader Josh Wardell, who loves his MINI Cooper very much thank you, has posted an interesting comparison test between the well known windshield treatment called Rain-X and a lesser known competitor named PPG Aquapel that's usually used by service professionals rather than vehicle owners. We hadn't heard much about PPG Aquapel so we were interested to learn which product Wardell found to more effectively whisked away rainwater over a period of time.

The results from Wardell's unofficial comparison test were surprising. After having applied both products to separate sides of his MINI's windshield, Wardell waited for rain and then taped the results at various stages, all the way from day one to day 72. What we learn from Wardell's accompanying video is that both windshield treatements need speeds above 40 mph to whisk rain away effectively, but that the windshield wipers dramatically reduce the effectiveness of Rain-X over time, whereas the PPG Aquapel side was still effective after 60 days.

How many of you out there have had the chance to try Aquapel and were your results similar? Any Rain-X defenders out there who'd like to speak up?


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  • 60 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Having been a Rain-X user for years, I was quite anxious to give the Aquapel a try. I must say I'm very disappointed with its performance. It doesn't appear to bead water at all. In fact, I found myself still having to use the wipers even at highway speeds. After several auditions in the rain, I re-applied Rain-X and the water was beading again. You may have to apply Rain-X more often, but at least it works.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I have used Rain X for years, however it seems they changed there formula. It more of a milky white, I don't care for the performance and its hard to get off. I had Aquapel put on yesterday at a LubeStop, they applied it and immediately wiped it off, I think this is important to stress ON & Off ...Time will tell, but it does a great job so far.
      • 8 Years Ago
      2. Golly. I wonder why Rain-X rubs off. I mean, it's almost like they want you to keep buying the stuff over and over again!

      I second that (with the sarcasm).
      • 8 Years Ago
      I have been using Aquapel for five years and have had great results. I even apply for visiting friends. It also helps with the Florida bugs.
      Gene
      • 8 Years Ago
      I've used Aquapell for three or four years now. I first got it when I was driving a 97 Subaru Legacy GT; the folks at Jiffy Lube talked me in to it for $10. I'd used Rain-X a few times before as it was highly regarded by soobie drivers. I absolutely loved Aquapell. That said, I've had hit and miss results with it since my initial time. I have never applied it myself, only through service stations. I suspect that it's effectiveness has much to do with application. I've never looked for it in stores, but I'd like to try applying myself to see if I can get consistant results.

      As for my usage experience. I find Aquapell to be most effective over 40mph, probably even 50mph...OR, slower if it's raining hard. I DO find it to be effective at ANY speed in that the water beads up (just doesn't fly up). Seeing through beaded rain is much easier than streaking rain. I have issue with my GTI's whiper timing, so having Aquapell allows me to, at any speed, keep my whipers on incremental (slow) and be fine.

      Also, my current Aquapell application is five months old and holding fairly strong though I do feel like it's depreciated...also probably due to application (I feel like my current application has been the worst).
      • 6 Years Ago
      I lived in Michigan, and I had Aquapel applied to my windshield at a Victory Lane Quick Oil Change store probably 8 years ago. It was incredible. I drove from Chicago back to Michigan in a torrential storm where 2PM looked like 10PM but with a green sky. The storm was so bad it resulted in tornadoes and a major power outage. I never even had to turn on my wipers the whole time.

      I looked for Aquapel in retail stores and never found it. So, I decided to give Rain-X a try, since it had to be better than nothing. It was, but it did not perform anywhere near as well as the Aquapel. The Aquapel was effective for at least 6 months for me, and Rain-X is pitiful in comparison.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Rain-X sucks! Put it on my sports car and now I am sorry that I ever tried it. When I wash the windshield using Windex or a fancy (expensive) window cleaner fluid from Griots Garage the end result is a cloudy film on the glass. What's with the film?

      Any thoughts about how to get rid of the film or better yet get rid of the Rain-X?
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Any thoughts about how to get rid of the film or better yet get rid of the Rain-X?"

        Yes - two methods I know of.

        1) Use a bath and tile cleaner called Soft Scrub. Apply with a generic sponge. Rinse window and dry.

        2) Use stainless steel cleaner called Barkeep Friend. Apply with a generic sponge. CAUTION: you must keep a flow of fresh water going at the bottom of the window to constantly wash away the Barkeep Friend as it is a mild acid and not really friendly on some metals or paint.

        I have used the Soft Scrub and it worked well. Also use it on the headlight covers.

      • 8 Years Ago
      Haven't tried PPG's product (I tried Rain-X -- not impressed), but every car I own (5 of them) wears PIAA silicone blades. They constantly lay down a microscopic film of silicone which causes rain to bead and stream off the windshield like crazy. I highly recommend them.
      • 7 Years Ago
      YEESH!! Lotta good comments above about rain repelants. Chiefly 'Rain-X' against 'Aquapel'. I wasn't even aware that you could GET 'a-pell' on the civie side. You see, it was created to be used WITHOUT wipers.....on jets....at speeds that have very little to do with a 40MPH minimum. More like TO FAST for wipers to even work properly. OH, and it works GREAT on motorcycle shields since it was origionaly desighned for 'plex' anyhow. ( at bullistic speeds, even the smallest screw flying off of a tagged bandit would explode a glass canopy, fighters have used a sort of "glass-plastic" mix since the sabre drivers found that out the hard way in Korea. And many and varied unmentionable improvements since) But we still use A-Pell!!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I was told by Cindy Rowe Auto Glass who repaired some chips in my windshield that Rain-X actually plays a role in degrading the surface of the glass over time .... i wish i could remember in more detail why and how .... the guy i was talking to was recommending i look for Aquapel, although he wasn't sure where to find it around where i live. I'm going for it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I knew if I read enough of these "articles" I'd find something REALLY worth reading. I've considered buying/using Rain-X several times over the years (especially for use on a motorcycle helmet) but I was never sure it really worked. I think I'll try the Aquapel and I want to thank J. Cole for the advice on where to find/buy it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Been using Rain-X since my uncles recommended it after the wipers died upon leaving Chicago. Indiana gas station attendant told them about Rain-X. Treated windshield and they made it back home to Tuscaloosa, safely.
      Rain-X does need 35mph wind to move water. If this does it a slower speeds will try. ALL my vehicles use Rain-X. Siblings as well. Rain-X plus Meguiars Soft Wash Gel Car (hotpink) best combo I've found. More T-Storms headed for Gulf Coast, will try!
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