Windshield Wiper Blades
Windshield Wiper Blades
Not all windshield wipers are created equal. Much like your tires, the set of windshield wipers you pick should be a good match for the weather you’re likely to encounter. Although there isn’t one product built to excel in every situation, this quick guide can help you decide on the best windshield wiper blades for your needs.
Rubber Windshield Wiper Blades
Conventional wiper blades are the most basic style available, made up of a rubber blade mounted in a metal spring-tensioned frame, and are usually the cheapest style on the shelf. But just because they cost less doesn’t mean they are inferior. In side-by-side tests, some basic rubber wiper blades are capable of clearing water just as effectively as the more expensive options. If you opt for rubber windshield blades, use them only in the summer and mild winters.
Silicone Windshield Wiper Blades
Similar to conventional blades, these windshield wipers often feature a silicone blade housed in an exposed metal frame. Silicone wipers cost more than their rubber counterparts, but they also outperform them. In expert comparisons, some brands of silicone blades demonstrated an outstanding ability to keep the windshield clear. This advantage isn’t permanent, though, since silicone wiper blades wear out at the same rate as rubber wiper blades. After a few months of use, there is little difference in performance between the two.
Beam Windshield Wiper Blades
Beam blades are also called flat blades, six-beam blades or bracketless wipers. This style has a slimmer profile since the support no longer comes from a bulky metal frame. Instead, a spring-steel band inside the blade assembly gives it strength and flexibility, molding the blade to the shape of your windshield for even wiping.
As a premium-level wiper, expect the cost of beam blades to be significantly higher than rubber and silicone options. They will, however, usually last longer, and professional tests show that this is the only style capable of maintaining the same level of performance for more than six months.
Winter Windshield Wiper Blades
Winter wiper blades encase the metal framework in a thick boot, which prevents snow and ice from jamming the wiper assembly. A well-made winter wiper also features a heavy-duty frame and stiffer blades; together these are better suited for removing weighty snow and tenacious ice. Although these are the best windshield wiper blades for winter conditions, they’re a bit of overkill for year-round use.
For more information about windshield wipers, chat with an expert at your local Napa Auto Parts store.