HomeCar TipsBranded vs Generic Wipers: Are Expensive Wipers Worth the Price?

Branded vs Generic Wipers: Are Expensive Wipers Worth the Price?

The windshield wiper blades on your car play a vital role in keeping your windshield clear in the rain, ensuring good road visibility when you drive. Despite that, many car owners neglect their windshield wipers and continue using them even after they have deteriorated. This can be dangerous as wipers that don’t function poorly can reduce your road visibility, resulting in accidents.

Besides changing your windshield wipers on time, it’s also essential to choose the right wipers for your car. So if you’ve been wondering if you should stick with cheap wipers or splurge a bit more for quality, we’ve got all you need to know.

Types of Windshield Wiper Blades

There are three main types of windshield wiper blades on the market; conventional, beam, and hybrid. Each type has a different frame or support mechanism for the rubber blade which affects the performance of the wiper. 

1. Conventional Metal Frame Wiper Blades

Conventional car wiper blade

Conventional wiper blades are the most common type as they are also the most affordable. A conventional blade has a metal frame that runs along the length of the blade. This frame applies pressure on the rubber blade to contour it to the curve of the windshield ensuring proper contact between the blade and the glass, so the blade can properly wipe off the water and dirt on your windshield. The metal frame also gives this type of wiper durability for excellent performance in heavy rain.

Although conventional wiper blades are affordable and do a good job most of the time, they’re not as flexible as other types and may not wipe as well after extended use, due to the lack of flexibility. The metal frame can also rust, though it’s pretty uncommon. Some popular conventional wiper blades include the Bosch Advantage and Denso DCP Series wipers.

2. Beam Wiper Blades

Beam wiper blade

Beam wiper blades have no external frame to keep the rubber rigid. Instead, they have spring steel integrated into the rubber blade. Spring steel is a type of elastic steel that when used in a wiper blade, allows the blade to be flexible and contour to the curve of your windshield more. That’s why beam wiper blades have a cleaner wiping action than conventional ones.

Being a one-piece design, it also looks sleeker on your windshield. Beam wiper blades were initially used on luxury vehicles but are now commonly used on modern cars from almost all automakers. Popular beam wiper blades include the Bosch Aerotwin plus and Hella Cleantech wipers.

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3. Hybrid Wiper Blades

Hybrid car wiper blade

Like its name suggests, a hybrid wiper blade combines the form of conventional and beam-style blades. It’s basically a beam wiper with the blade concealed in a rugged plastic frame. The plastic frame provides additional rigidity, protection, and more balanced pressure on the wiper blade for consistent windshield contact. The frame is also designed to be aerodynamic to reduce the wind and water resistance on the blade when driving at high speeds or in heavy rain. 

Hybrid wiper blades tend to be the priciest type out of all blades, though the price ranges widely depending on the brand and size of the blade. Popular hybrid wiper blades you can get include the Michelin Hydroedge and Hella Razor wipers.

How to Choose the Right Windshield Wiper Blades for Your Car?

Buying a set of car windshield wipers might seem like an easy task, but you should take it seriously considering their importance to your driving safety. Furthermore, most car models can only take wiper blades of certain types and sizes. If your car comes with beam or hybrid wiper blades from the factory, you should not change to conventional wipers, though you can upgrade to beam or hybrid wipers if your car comes with conventional wipers as stock.

Choose the Right-Sized Wipers for Your Car

You can usually determine the size of the wiper blades you need to buy by referring to your car owner’s manual, though if it’s unavailable, you can just measure your current wiper blades before buying.  Front windshield wiper blades range in size from 10 to over 30 inches long, though rear windshield wiper blades are usually eight inches long. 

So why is it important to buy the right-sized wiper blades? Well, if the blades are too long, they’ll bump into each other with the risk of getting damaged. If they’re too short, they won’t provide enough coverage and can’t clean your windshield effectively. 

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Replacing car wiper blade

Are Cheaper Generic Wiper Blades Worth It?

Another thing to consider is whether to get branded or generic wiper blades. Though original, branded blades provide better long-term performance and generally last longer before deteriorating, cheaper, generic blades should perform just as well when new. 

In fact, keeping your blades clean is more important than the price and material of the blades when it comes to performance. Most wiper blades, regardless of brand or price generally last between six months to a year before deteriorating, and if you frequently park under the sun, maybe even less than that. 

Avoid going for RM10 wiper blades unless you plan to replace them every few months, but even then, the chances of the rubber on these blades splitting are generally higher than branded wipers.

Silicone vs Rubber Wiper Blades

When shopping for windshield wiper blades, you’ll no doubt come across rubber and silicone options. Silicone blades are significantly more expensive than rubber ones, ranging from RM50 to over RM100 per piece, but are they worth the investment? Here’s a comparison between silicone and rubber wiper blades.

Features Silicone Car Wiper Blade Rubber Car Wiper Blade
Material Softness Softer and more flexible providing a smoother and quieter wiping action. Harder, so can be noisier and skip during wiping.
Contouring Ability Contours better to the curve of the windshield, making it great at wiping away water. Beam and hybrid rubber wipers contour just as well to the windshield, though older, harder wipers will have reduced performance.
Hydrophobic Coating Leaves a thin silicone coating on the windshield when used. As the coating is hydrophobic, water glides off the windshield easily when the wiper is used. Only some rubber wipers are designed to transfer a hydrophobic coating onto the windshield. 
Heat Resistance More resistant to hot weather, allowing it to last longer than rubber blades. Hardens and cracks easier when the car is parked under the sun.
Heavy Rain Performance Performs better under heavy rain. Not as effective under heavy rain.
Cost Expensive – price ranges from RM50 to over RM100 per piece. Price ranges from RM10 to over RM50 depending on the length and brand.

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Man washing car windshield

Simple Tips to Take Care of Your Windshield Wipers

Your windshield wipers can perform effectively and last longer with some simple care. Here are some quick tips you can use at home to help your wipers last as long as possible.

  • Raise the wiper blades off the windshield when you park your car under the hot sun. This slows down the warping and hardening process.
  • Regularly clean your windshield wipers with a cloth dipped in diluted soapy water. Just wipe the wiper blades until you don’t pick up any more dirt on the cloth.
  • Regularly wash your car, including the windshield, and use a windshield water-repellant coating to reduce the need of using the wipers. The coating also reduces friction on the windshield, reducing the wear and tear on the wipers.
  • Fill your windshield cleaner fluid tank with the right cleaner fluid or just fill it up with some soap water.
  • Don’t use the wipers when there’s heavy dirt residue or bird droppings on the windshield as the wipers will just spread the dirt around. Instead, wipe off the debris with some soft towel and water, or better yet, wash the windshield.

Using the right wipers on your car will ensure that you have good visibility of the road even in heavy downpours. While branded wipers will give you better performance and last longer, cheaper ones should still do as fine a job of cleaning your windshield as long as you take care of them. By paying attention to the condition of your wipers and changing them on time, you’ll have a clean windshield to look out of and a safer drive.

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