Ridetheducksofseattle is reader-supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

The Best Rubbing Compounds for Boats

Written by Anthony Roberts / Fact checked by Jonathan Larson

The gelcoat is not immune to damages brought by the passage of time and environmental contaminants. It will eventually take on a chalky and dull appearance. If neglected, severe oxidation and weathering may wreck the once high-gloss surface.

best rubbing compound for boats

Fortunately, the best rubbing compound for boats restores severely stained and oxidized surfaces. Its secret? The powerful abrasives sweep through the defects and eventually reveal the boat’s shine and luster. On top of this, you won’t need to take on additional maintenance, as it effectively sets up your boat for polishing.

Although there are a wide variety of products, making a smart investment may seem like a tough challenge.

To save you from this burden, our product reviews shall arm you with the essential knowledge to make the best choice. Moreover, the additional information is equipped to assist you in compounding your boats and upkeeping its prime appearance.

<strong>Top 1</strong>

3M Marine Rubbing Compound

+ Ideal for heavily oxidized gel coat
+ Free from silicone and wax
+ Reveals a brand-new shine

Jump to Review

<strong>Top 2</strong>

STAR BRITE Rubbing Compound

+ Made for medium oxidized watercraft
+ Ideal for follow-up compounding
+ Gets rid of fine scratches

Jump to Review

<strong>Top 3</strong>

Meguiar’s M6732 Compound

+ Gets rid of moderate
+ Restores sheen and luster
+ Practical choice for boaters

Jump to Review

Top 10 Rubbing Compound for Boat Reviews

1. 3M Marine Rubbing Compound

If your boat has been sitting for several years, oxidation stains, blemishes, scratches, fading, and scum may have taken over its once shiny surface. To settle this problem, you need this 3M marine rubbing compound. It is specifically formulated to get rid of heavy stains and deliver a brand-new sheen for your beloved watercraft.

The formula quickly cuts through old stains and weathering that ordinary compounds fail to do. Although it is made from aggressive ingredients, it remains safe on the surfaces as it is free from wax and silicone.

Apart from that, its easy-to-use ability makes it ideal for amateur boaters. Since it stays wet for longer, application and cleanup become a breeze. Plus, you can apply it by hand or let the machine do its job.

I like that after buffing, the once faded, and extremely stained surfaces are transformed into a smooth mirror-like finish. The best part is that it works after just one application. You won’t only be saving your hard-earned money, but you’ll get to spend less time and effort in bringing back your boat’s life.

Regarding its versatility, this investment may be your smartest one yet. It doesn’t only work on resurrecting watercraft, but it is also ideal for household maintenance. Many users claim its superior powers in correcting showers, and bathtubs.

Regardless, it sometimes does not successfully get rid of deep tiny scratches.
  • Ideal for heavily oxidized gel coat
  • Aggressive formula cuts through stains quickly
  • Free from silicone and wax
  • Reveals a brand-new shine after one application
  • A versatile compound for household maintenance
  • Sometimes fails to eliminate deep tiny scratches
All in all, if you are hunting for the top-tier boat compound, this is the real deal. It delivers maximum performance and speed in treating extremely oxidized watercraft.

2. STAR BRITE Liquid Rubbing Compound

Dull and faded gel coats do not necessarily require heavy-duty products. Eliminating them needs the supreme power of STAR BRITE Liquid Rubbing Compound, made just right for medium oxidation.

With this boat buffing compound, pesky stains and chalking are altogether eliminated. By the end of your buffing process, the once luster and sheen of your watercraft comes to life. Moreover, it prepares your boat for polishing and sealing.

Although this choice is the perfect solution for surfaces with medium oxidation, professional boaters highly recommend it for follow-up compounding. If you are using aggressive compounds to clear off severe oxidation, they leave fine scratches behind. Luckily, this product addresses that problem.

I like its versatility that works on different types of surfaces. It doesn’t only work wonders on fiberglass, but on painted and metal surfaces as well. Apart from that, it effectively delivers exceptional results, whether you are applying it by hand or machine. Take note that when using a buffer, put in less force to avoid burning treated surfaces.

Additionally, applying it is simple and straightforward. Thanks to its liquid formula that prevents it from setting up early. In such a manner, removal is easier compared to other alternatives. Plus, a little goes a long way with this product. So, you can be confident that you’ll get both potent and economic quality in one bottle.

For all that, do not expect magic to happen after just one application. Take note that several coats are needed before you can achieve desirable results.
  • Made for medium oxidized watercraft
  • Prepares boat for polishing and sealing
  • Ideal for follow up compounding
  • Gets rid of fine scratches that heavy-duty compounds leave behind
  • Works on different surfaces
  • Promotes easy application and removal
  • Several applications are necessary to achieve desired results
Ultimately, boaters consider this as an effective alternative to fight off medium oxidation. It is user-friendly and efficiently prepares your beloved watercraft for further polishing and waxing.

3. Meguiar’s M6732 Compound

Compounding and polishing your boat is a taxing job to do, but with the Meguiar’s M6732 Marine/RV One Step Compound, you’ll get the benefits of two in one application. Its advanced formula is engineered to eliminate moderate and severe oxidation stains, all the while leaving surfaces polished.

On top of that, it also gets rid of pesky scratches and water spots. Many boating professionals who prefer to work smartly, choose this boat polishing compound. With this, they can ensure maximum shine and luster on their watercraft without compromising time and effort.

Additionally, this alternative offers a cheaper price compared to its competitors. Not only will you be lessening time in upkeeping your boat’s prime appearance, but you will also be saving your budget with this choice.

Although it is tough on stains, it remains gentle on the surfaces. Furthermore, the versatility of this product makes it highly recommended for new boat owners. It works excellently on RV, painted, and fiberglass surfaces. In like manner, anyone can attain outstanding results either by machine or hand.

Even so, the shine that it delivers may not meet your expectations. You can opt to use your own choice of a boat polish after using this product to make sure your boat glistens under the sun.
  • Earn the benefits of a compound and polish in one bottle
  • Gets rid of moderate to heavy oxidation
  • Restores sheen and luster in one application
  • Practical choice for boaters as it works on different surfaces
  • Can be applied by hand or by a buffer
  • Requires polishing before you can attain deep shine and luster
To wrap it up, this is the absolute choice for boaters hunting for an economical choice. It compounds and polishes watercraft at the same time. Above all, the optimum results it offers makes it an excellent investment.

4. TotalBoat Marine Rubbing Compound

As time passes, oxidized boats that are left untreated become more vulnerable to stains and blemishes. To get rid of these, you need an aggressive fast-cutting formula. Thankfully, the TotalBoat TotalBuff Marine Rubbing Compound delivers this kind of capacity.

It comes in a heavy-duty formulation that easily scrapes off heavy oxidation and stains without harming the gelcoat. You can conveniently restore any dilapidated surface with this fiberglass rubbing compound. Even better, it is the number one solution for scratches left behind by wet sanding.

By far, it is one of the economic products today as it achieves the same outstanding results on different surfaces. I love that I can also use it in restoring my old and worn-out automobiles. This way, I can earn the best worth of my money.

Apart from eliminating nasty stains, it also realizes the watercraft’s brilliant shine and original color. Moreover, it doesn’t leave scratches behind unlike other compounds.

This is also highly recommended for new boaters since it is easy to apply by hand or machine. It doesn’t dry out quickly and stays wet longer. As it does that, it covers more area. Thanks to this quality, one bottle can last longer.

Regardless, the abrasives in this product may be less harsh compared to other heavy-duty compounds. You may need a follow-up compounding when choosing this alternative. Additionally, the formulation is watery. So, you may find it a bit tricky to work with.
  • Fast-cutting formula that remains gentle on the surfaces
  • Eliminates heavy oxidation stains and scratches
  • Restores original color and luster
  • Leaves behind no scratches
  • Easy-to-apply either by hand or machine
  • Contains less harsh abrasives
  • Formulation may be too watery
Unquestionably, this is the go-to choice for boaters looking for a safer solution that gets rid of oxidation effectively. It doesn’t leave behind scratches, so you can be confident that your watercraft is in safe hands.

5. Star Brite Paste Rubbing Compound

Conventional rubbing compounds are often more challenging to apply compared to this alternative. This offers a better choice as it is more user-friendly. Plus, its pre-softened paste formula allows it to work conveniently on your watercraft.

This product is specifically engineered for heavy oxidation and extreme dirt build-up. So, if you think your decade-old ruined boat stands no chance, think again. Its aggressive formula gets rid of chalking, scuff marks, scratches, and other stains most compounds fail to eliminate. In the end, it diligently prepares your boat for polishing.

Additionally, boaters can compound their boats under the sun and not have to worry about the formula set up. With this, application with a machine is more convenient. Plus, removal becomes a breeze. Hence, the next time you clean and upkeep your boat, you won’t have to spend significant effort on the compound removal.

More importantly, you can get many benefits in one purchase. It works marvelously on a wide array of surfaces, such as fiberglass, metal, and painted surfaces. With this buy, you can get the best out of your hard-earned money.

Further, you can choose the solution that your boat needs since it is available in a heavy-duty and medium formula. For severely faded, oxidized, and damaged boats, the heavy-duty formulation is the ideal solution. Meanwhile, for moderately oxidized surfaces, the medium formulation is your go-to compound.

For all that, do not expect magic when working with this product. It would be best if you put in effort and time before you can achieve clean and oxidized-free surfaces.
  • Pre-softened paste formula is easier to apply
  • Ideal for heavily oxidized and dilapidated surfaces
  • Prepares boat for polishing
  • Promotes easy removal
  • Works on fiberglass, metal, and painted surfaces
  • Available in a heavy-duty and medium formulation
  • Effort and time are required before you can achieve desirable results
To conclude, this choice stands better compared to other conventional marine rubbing compounds. It comes in a pre-softened paste formula for easy application and removal. Moreover, it works effectively on heavily oxidized and worn-out boats that are left neglected for years.

6. 3M 36106 Gelcoat Compound

When you are hunting for the boat polishing compound, you can never go wrong with 3M products. With this choice, you can ensure that it is professionally engineered to restore damaged watercraft. What is more, it achieves a clean and shiny surface after every compounding.

If you hate the taxing multi-process boat restoration, this is for you. It is a one-step formula that compounds, polishes, and waxes at the same time! With this, you can save time, money, and effort.

When your boat is specifically contaminated with moderate stains, oxidation, dulling, and weathering, this is your prime solution. Its medium cutting formula efficiently cuts through the damaged surfaces, leaving behind a clear coat. Not only that, but it also provides a magnificent shine. Hence, you may never need to do extra polishing work.

Moreover, it leaves a protective layer on the surfaces. After every application, your boat is safe from potential damages, making its glossy shine last for long.

Amateur boaters love this product as it is easier to work with. Its formula doesn’t dry up immediately, even in higher temperatures. So, a little goes a long way, and cleaning up becomes a breeze.

Besides, it offers functionality that works on different surfaces, such as RVs, boats, and automobiles. Although it can be applied by hand, I would recommend using a machine and a 3M wool polishing pad. Once you do, you can conveniently achieve favorable results.

Be that as may, this 3M marine compound comes at a hefty price tag. Rest assured, your money will get its best worth.
  • Compounds, polishes, and waxes at the same time
  • Lessens time and effort in upkeeping your watercraft
  • Medium cutting formula guarantees optimum results
  • Stays wet for a long time even in higher temperatures
  • Leaves behind a clear coat and a great shine
  • Breezy applying and cleaning up
  • Works for RVs, boats, and automobiles.
  • A higher-priced products compared to its competitors
In a nutshell, if you are in the hunt for a worthwhile investment, this is an excellent choice for you. It triples as a compound, polish, and wax in one application. Most essentially, it restores your damaged watercraft to its new-like appearance.

7. Malco Cut Compound

Treating heavy oxidation and seriously damaged boats is made affordable with the Malco Super Duty Heavy Cut Compound. It polishes as it quickly terminates unsightly surfaces. After every application, it leaves behind a clear and shiny gel coat.

Apart from eliminating heavy stains and oxidation, it also astonishingly revives your watercraft’s new-like color. If you plan on selling your worn and old boats, you may finally make that much-awaited buy with this choice.

I love that I get the best worth for money as it doesn’t contain any fillers and waxes, unlike other products. I am guaranteed that every ounce of this constitutes powerful ingredients geared to restore the gel coat and clear coat surfaces.

Moreover, this is not only trusted by boating professionals, but by car enthusiasts. Its versatile formulation surprisingly brings back cars, trucks, and motorcycles to its showroom appearance.

Interestingly, it doesn’t only cut through stains effectively, but it also delivers magnificent results quicker. This way, boaters can save time maintaining their boats, and spend more time cruising the waves. Since Malco Products manufactures it, you can be confident that this investment lives up to its promises.

If you are still using that costly compound that fails to meet your expectations, it is time to switch to this product. When you do, you shall achieve a better boating experience like no other.

All the same, take note that applying it by hand delivers less remarkable results. For a maximum gloss and vibrance, you must apply it with a reliable electric buffer.
  • Affordable price compared to other heavy-duty formulations
  • Cuts through damaged surfaces
  • Doesn’t contain any fillers and waxes
  • Revives color and shine
  • Works on cars, motorcycles, and trucks
  • Offers quicker results
  • You should use an electric buffer to achieve favorable results
In brief, this is an economical deal that guarantees superior quality and performance. It lives up to its promises and restores extremely oxidized and dull surfaces. Likewise, you can spend less time maintaining your boat and more time sailing through the waters.

8. 3M 05954 Rubbing Compound

You may not need to search elsewhere if you are looking for a solution to restore your badly damaged and aging watercraft. This 3M heavy duty rubbing compound shall assist you in realizing your boat’s once glory.

This aggressive compound is formulated to cut through heavily oxidized and stained surfaces quickly. Even fine sand scratches are no match with its potent ingredients. What’s better? It does all that even when you apply less pressure. With that, you’ll get to save time and effort without compromising your boat’s best appearance.

Interestingly, this alternative contains no silicones and waxes. So, boaters can assure the best quality for their beloved watercraft.

Amateur boating enthusiasts stick to this product as it is easy to apply. Plus, it gets rid of stubborn imperfections that most compounds fail to do.

Moreover, it equally achieves the same maximum gloss and shines if I apply it by hand or buffer. Apart from that, it equally delivers the same outstanding results on the gel coat and painted surfaces. You also won’t have to worry about leaving scratches behind as it ensures safe and gentle compounding.

Besides, this product is not only suitable for marine maintenance. It is also proven and tested to restore automobiles to their once prime appearance. With just one bottle, you can treat your boats and cars!

Just when you thought it won’t get any better, it does. This is available in 16 ounces, 1 quart, and 1 gallon. This way, every boater can find the perfect product that meets their needs.

Be that as it may, this formula is combustible. Proper handling and extreme caution must be kept in mind at all times when handling this.
  • Potent formula eliminates heavy-duty stains and fine scratches
  • Contains no silicones and waxes
  • Both hand and machine application can achieve maximum gloss and shine
  • Safe and gentle compounding leaving no scratches
  • Guaranteed to work on automobiles
  • Sold in three different sizes to cater to every boater’s needs
  • Requires proper handling and caution while applying
On the button, this investment is perfect when it comes to eliminating heavy stains and fine scratches. It is a foolproof compound that never fails to restore even the most dilapidated boats.

9. Meguiars Power Cut Compound

If you are tired of those potent compounds that work effectively but leave unsightly scratches behind, this product is for you. This high-grade professional gel coat rubbing compound is engineered to cut through damaged surfaces without harming them.

Heavy oxidation, etching, weathering, and defects become a thing of the past. With this, you can achieve a clean surface and a restored color. Even better, you can spend less time compounding, thanks to its fast cutting formula.

Despite its powerful ingredients, it remains gentle on the surfaces. Plus, it works effectively on painted, gel coat, and fiberglass surfaces. Astoundingly, it is also capable of restoring decade-old boats. So, my old vessel can hold a second chance for restoration.

Boating professionals love its fast cut that stands prominent among traditional compounds. Apart from preparing boats for polishing, it also leaves behind a mirror-like finish.

Keep in mind that although this formula can be applied by hand or a rotary buffer, using the latter achieves more brilliant results. Once you are done buffing, expect to attain near-perfect results.

For all that, you should not apply this compound on rubber, and vinyl surfaces. Doing so may cause more damage and defeat your purpose of restoring it.
  • Professional grade formula realizes vibrance and original color
  • Super-fast cut that eliminates extreme stains, oxidation, and other defects
  • Potent formula that remains gentle on the surfaces
  • Does not leave any scratches behind
  • Restores dilapidated decade-old boats
  • Leaves a mirror-like finish
  • Not safe on rubber and vinyl surfaces
In general, this is a prominent rubbing compound you don’t want to miss. It guarantees to restore even old, worn watercraft. Plus, it quickly removes massive defects on surfaces. Most essentially, it does all that without leaving scratches behind.

10. Ardex Marine 600 Rubbing Compound

Finding an affordable solution for an extremely damaged watercraft is a challenging task. Fortunately, with this product, you can achieve a clean and defect-free surface after one application. The best part? It won’t cut off your budget and shall last for long.

Compared to other heavy-duty compounds, this product from Ardex is made extra tough and powerful to eliminate any harsh imperfections on surfaces. Even hardened and dried molds stand no chance with its advanced cutting formula.

Boating professionals stand by the efficacy of this product as it restores even decade-old boats. I like that its diminishing abrasives work consistently on cutting through imperfections. Not only that, it leaves a bright finish and prepares your boat for the next polishing step.

If you are tired of the endless compounding, this alternative offers a better solution. For that matter, it cuts through surfaces faster than any other product. After you are done compounding, a smooth surface shall emerge from the once impaired watercraft.

Additionally, it corrects color on both RVs, boats, and automobiles. In fact, this is one of the most trusted brands by car enthusiasts. Besides that, this is sold in 16-ounce, 32-ounce, and one-gallon bottles to sustain different boater’s needs.

Even so, this is a flammable mixture. Therefore, careful handling must be properly imposed when using this product.
  • Affordable restoration for extremely damaged vessels
  • Extra tough and powerful formula to eliminate heavy defects
  • Works consistently and prepares boat for polishing
  • Leaves a smooth and brighter surface
  • Works on RVs, boat, and automobiles
  • Available in 16-ounce, 32-ounce, and one-gallon bottle
  • Caution is necessary when handling this product
On the whole, this is a guaranteed economical solution for harshly damaged vessels. Its faster-cutting action makes it one of the most trusted brands in the market today.

Buyer’s Guide


While there are tons of brands claiming to be the best buffing compound for boats, not all of them stay true to their words. That is why it is always smart to delve into necessary information before making that purchase. When you do, you’ll get to ensure a profitable investment and a brighter finish for your vessels.

To assist you in finding that perfect rubbing compound, here is a brief guideline you can follow through:

Check the severity of damage on your boat’s surface.

This is the first factor to keep in mind. If your boat is infested with light oxidation, you only need a less gritty abrasive to cut through the gel coat. Meanwhile, if your vessel is severely oxidized and stained, it requires a “sandier” compound.

It is not that hard to figure out this specification. The labels already indicate the level of abrasive they possess.

There are light rubbing compounds for light oxidation stains. On the other hand, there are medium rubbing compounds for medium oxidation. Lastly, there are heavy-duty rubbing compounds made to get rid of tough and age-old oxidation and other stains.

Choose a compound that is tough on stains but gentle on the surfaces.

You need to consider this component with its effectiveness equally. Choose the right compound that is gentle on the surfaces and doesn’t leave behind unwanted scratches.

Choose the one that is easy to apply.

Formulas that stay wet longer will allow you to compound for a long time. Apart from that, it also covers more areas. This allows you to use little of the product without compromising your vessel’s overall look.

If possible, go for the one that can be applied either by hand or machine.

Choose the right thickness of the formula.

Boat compounds that are too thick tend to congest on the buffing pad. Instead of restoring your watercraft, this will cause more damage. In turn, it defeats your purpose and wastes your money on nothing.

To avoid this mess, invest in a product that has the right thickness. It shouldn’t be too thick, nor too watery.

Check the ingredients.

Rubbing compounds that contain fillers like silicone must be avoided at all costs. These harmful components leave smears on your gelcoat, thus, defeating your purpose in restoring it. Also, these useless fillers aren’t worth the money.

Invest in a pure rubbing compound.

One-step products that promise to compound, polish, and wax at the same time are a tempting solution for your boat. Unfortunately, they do not guarantee a long-lasting brilliance, sheen, and color. If you are a conscientious boat owner, you would want the best for your watercraft no matter the effort and time.

Choose a product that compounds alone. For one, the 3M gel coat compound performs aggressive yet safe cutting performance. Its potent ingredients are engineered to compound alone, thus, leaving a damage-free surface.

Afterward, you can purchase a trusty marine polish and wax that shall promote shine and safeguard your boat.

Purchase the right amount for your boating needs.

Most compounds are sold in 16-ounce, 32-ounce, and one-gallon bottles. Depending on the size of your boat, purchase the right amount to complete the job.

Go for an affordable choice.

This is the last factor that you need to consider. There are tons of affordable brands that are trusted by boating professionals for years. Although it is worthwhile to spend money on upkeeping your watercraft, you don’t need to cut off your bank account. Be the smarter boater and purchase the one that fits your budget.

Can I Use Rubbing Compound on Gelcoat or a Boat


Yes, you definitely can. If your boat is extremely weathered and oxidized, this is the prime solution. Contrary to other beliefs that it may scrape off the gel coat, it doesn’t. It only slowly cuts through the defects and eventually reveals a clear and clean slate.

Also, your vessel’s gel coat is thicker than you think it is. Hence, compounding it will never harm the surface. To keep things safer, be careful when you buff the surface. Do not put pressure on too long to achieve better results.

How to Compound a Boat


You are probably wondering how to remove oxidation from fiberglass boat. All you have to do is to learn the basics of compounding a boat. This skill is not only applicable to restoring your most prized vessel, but you can also utilize it in upkeeping your automobiles.

To help you relive your boat’s former glory, here are a few steps to follow:

Apply the formula.

First, apply the compound on the surface. It would be best if you worked by section. Then, put a little amount unto the wool pad before rubbing it unto the fiberglass.

Slowly buff your boat.

You can either apply it by hand or through a rotary buffer, but I suggest you use the latter. This makes things faster and easier. Remember to start at a slower speed. This gets the oxidation, chalking, and stains off the boat slowly. Buffer consistently at this speed to avoid burning the gel coat. Do it until you get a clear surface.

Also, do not expect the surface to be gleaming as you are only preparing your vessel for polishing.

Clean it up.

After the compound has dried out, it is time for the cleanup. Wipe off the surface with a cloth.

Prepare to polish and wax your boat.

When you are done clearing off the stains, oxidation, and weathering off of your vessel, it is time to polish it. This maximizes the gloss and vibrance of the surface. Afterward, you need to safeguard this new shine with reliable wax. Doing so protects the surface and makes the gloss and color last longer.


Hopefully, the product reviews have enlightened you in choosing the best rubbing compound for boats. Rest assured, these products are trusted to provide you with the best performance. In the same way, we included additional information and tips in compounding your boat and preparing it for polishing.

All things considered, restoring your oxidized boats to its new-like shine is not as challenging as it may sound. As long as you make the right choice, you can achieve a gleaming shine that you can proudly showcase as you travel through the waters.

5/5 - (3 votes)