The Best Cutting Compounds 2023

If you want to truly perfect your car’s paintwork by removing as many defects as you can, a cutting compound is the perfect solution. Within this article, we list some of the best formulas that remove swirl marks, light scratches, oxidation and other paint defects.


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Best Cutting Compound
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If you require a quick answer, the best cutting compound is the Farecla G360, which is the brand’s new and improved formula that provides effortless permanent results far more quickly. However, if you are looking for a more affordable alternative that comes as a kit for performing a 3-stage polish, the Menzerna alternative is the perfect solution.

To rate the cutting compounds within our roundup, we based our recommendations on testing, our experience using multiple polishing compounds, the latest research and several factors. Some of the factors that we considered included the compound’s effectiveness at removing defects, finish, ease of application and removal, compatibility and value.

Best Cutting Compound Overview

Below is a list of the best cutting compounds that effortlessly remove swirl marks, light scratches, oxidation and other paint defects.

The Best Cutting Compounds


1. Best Overall: Farecla G360 Super Fast Compound


Farecla is a brand that specialises in polishing compounds with a host of specialist formulas available. However, the brand’s latest G360 Super Fast formula is one of their best cutting compounds yet because it’s designed to provide quicker and more effective results whilst using less of the product.

Pros
  • Designed to remove 1500 sanding marks, holograms and swirl marks with ease
  • Transparent in use so that you can see the results in action
  • Provides a permanent finish
  • Formula includes no silicone or fillers
  • Fast and effective results
  • Professional-grade formulation that's produced by a brand that specialises in cutting compounds
  • Requires little product to get results, which means the 500g bottles goes a long way
Cons
  • Relatively expensive when compared to the alternative compounds

During testing, we really appreciated the fact that the formula was transparent in use because between each pass with our DA polisher, we could see the formula getting to work on the paint defect.

To conclude, the Farecla G360 is a professional-grade cutting compound that delivers each and every time. Although expensive, a little goes a long way and the brand state that you should be able to polish three cars with a single bottle.

2. Best Complete Kit: Menzerna 3-Stage Compound


If you want to perform a 3-stage paint correction on your car, Menzerna offers a complete set of polishing compounds to do exactly that at a relatively affordable price. Included within the bundle is a Heavy Cut, Medium Cut and Super Finish Plus compound and when used together, you’ll be able to achieve paintwork perfection.

In terms of the cutting compound, the brand states that it doesn’t contain any silicone fillers and it has been optimised for a heavy cut to swiftly remove scratches, swirl marks and other defects in the paint.

Pros
  • Complete kit that removes defects and finishes the paintwork with a showroom shine
  • Developed by a brand that's been creating polishing compounds for over a century
  • Formula doesn't contain any silicone filler materials
  • During our testing, we were able to remove deep scratches and swirl marks (as shown in the "How We Rated" section)
  • Offers great value for the money
  • No dust formation during the removal
Cons
  • Only comes in small 250ml bottles

The popularity of the Menzerna polishing compounds is a clear indication of their quality and we were very impressed with the results we achieved whilst using them. Considering that this bundle is cheaper than many of the single bottles of cutting compounds on the market, it also offers great value for the money too.

3. Most Abrasive: 3M Perfect-It Fast Cut


3M is another brand that has been producing cutting compounds for several years and the Perfect-It Fast Cut is their new and improved formula. According to the brand, it’s their most coarse and aggressive compound yet and it’s designed to quickly remove sanding scratches from grit 3000 to 1500 with ease.

Pros
  • New and improved formulation
  • Removes deep defects in the paint as well as the dreaded "orange peel"
  • Leaves behind a high gloss finish
  • Achieves results much faster than other compounds
Cons
  • Most expensive cutting compound within our roundup
  • Not suitable for beginners as it can lead to marring marks from incorrect use

If you need to tackle severe paint defects and had no luck with other cutting compounds, 3M’s Perfect-It will have no trouble achieving results. However, it’s worth pointing out that we would only use this particular compound for tough defects and not light scratches and swirl marks. This is because sometimes you can remove too much of your paintwork’s clear coat than needed when a less abrasive formula would’ve been able to do the job.

4. Best All-Rounder: Meguiar's Ultimate Compound


By far one of the most popular cutting compounds within our roundup is Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound. When compared to the brand’s highly-rated car polish, this formula is a micro-abrasive compound that easily removes swirls, light scratches, oxidation and many other defects. It also benefits from being able to be applied by hand, which is great news for those that don’t own a polishing machine or aren’t confident enough to use one.

Pros
  • Safe and effective on all types of clear coat and single stage paint
  • Easy to apply by hand or machine
  • Designed and developed by the reputable Meguiar's brand
  • Able to remove most minor to medium defects
Cons
  • Struggles to remove more severe defects and deep scratches

To conclude, Meguiar’s Ultimate Compound is an excellent all-round option that’s ideal for light to medium defects. It’s also a great beginner-friendly formula that can be used with or without a polishing machine.

5. Best Value: T-Cut Perfect Compound


T-Cut is a brand that has a great reputation for its effective scratch removers but the brand has also started introducing other products such as this Perfect Compound. Whether you apply the formula by hand or machine, its micro-abrasive formulation removes a range of defects and adds gloss to the paint in a single step.

Pros
  • Effective at removing light to medium defects such as oxidation, scratches, water spots and other defects
  • Restores clarity to the paint without introducing new scratches or swirls
  • Can be applied by hand or machine
  • Silicone-free formulation
  • Made in the UK by a reputable detailing brand
  • Can be used on boats and other applications
  • Offers great value for money
Cons
  • During testing, we found it more difficult to buff off than other formulas

Considering that T-Cut’s Perfect Compound is a fraction of the price when compared to many of the alternatives, you really can’t go wrong and it’s worth trying before taking it to a professional body shop or detailer. Whether you apply it by hand or machine, the formula is very effective and it’ll reveal a showroom finish once buffed off.

6. Best Budget: Turtle Wax T-230A Rubbing Compound


Another budget-friendly compound that we recommend is Turtle Wax’s T-230A formula, which unlike the alternatives comes as a paste formulation. As well as its formulation, it’s also unique in the way you apply it to your paintwork. This is because it can’t be applied by a polishing machine but instead, it’s applied by hand using a damp applicator pad.

Pros
  • One of the cheapest compounds on the market
  • Doesn't require a polishing machine to apply it
  • Easily removes stubborn stains, oxidation and surface scratches
  • Perfect solution for spot application
Cons
  • Can be time consuming to apply to your entire car

To conclude, the Turtle Wax compound is a great option to consider if you only want to tackle small areas that have defects (i.e. a small scratch). It also benefits from being one of the cheapest, which is always a great added bonus. The only main drawback is that due to its paste formula and hand application, if you intend to use it on all the paintwork on your car, you may find that it takes a long time.

How We Rated

Whenever we purchase a new but used car, our normal protocol is to carry out a 3-stage paint correction to get the paintwork to our high standards. Therefore, this gives us the opportunity to test a selection of cutting compounds to base our recommendations on. We also regularly use cutting compounds whenever we notice new swirl marks or scratches because it’s one of the best ways to remove them completely.

During our ongoing testing of cutting compounds, we analyse their effectiveness at removing various paintwork defects (swirl marks, scruffs and scratches), ease of application (hand and machine), ease of removal and the finish it leaves.

We recently put the Menzerna polishing compounds to the test on a black bonnet that had severe scratches and as you can see by the 50/50 result, it certainly made a huge difference. To achieve these results, we first used a car polishing machine and an abrasive cutting compound and then followed up with second and third-stage finishing polishes.

best compound polish
best car cutting compound

To keep up our commitment to reviewing and testing the latest cutting compounds (for this article), we are continually testing out the latest offerings from top brands. This means that when we notice a brand has released a new and improved formula, we will attempt to buy it and put it to the test where applicable.

best polishing compound for cars
best polish compound

As well as our testing and experience using multiple compounds, we also based our recommendations on the latest research and several factors. Some of the factors that we took into consideration included the compound’s effectiveness at removing defects, finish, ease of application and removal, compatibility and value for money.

Conclusion

From removing light scratches and swirl marks to rectifying damage caused by a minor accident, cutting compound is the perfect solution to restoring your car’s paintwork.

All of our recommendations cover a wide range of compounds that vary in terms of their abrasive levels. However, if it’s your first time using a cutting compound, we would recommend using a light to medium abrasive formula to begin with.

If you require further information regarding our cutting compound recommendations, feel free to get in touch and we will try to provide our assistance where possible.

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