Nov 01, 2023

The Best Car Covers to Protect Your Vehicle

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Shield your car from outdoor elements with these heavy duty and durable covers.

It can be a rude awakening when you get up in the morning to drive to work or run an errand, only to see your car covered in debris that the wind has blown around or, worse, wintertime snow that you'll need to scrape off. To avoid all that, you can use a car cover. An outdoor car cover is intended to help keep your car in pristine condition, no matter the weather. There are also car covers for indoor locations, such as garages, that are meant to protect your car from anything that could touch it, from other people to insects. If you decide to protect your vehicle with a car cover, your car will look better and last longer than without one, as it will preserve both the exterior and the interior from the surrounding environment. However, the type of material and the actual coverage of the car cover can affect how well it works, and that's where we come in.

At the Good Housekeeping Institute's Auto Lab, we test myriad car products — and the cars themselves. Our experts have spent hundreds of hours test-driving cars to determine our picks in categories like the best new family cars, reviewing car accessories, such as the best car vacuums, and finding the best winter tires. For this list, our experienced engineers and car enthusiasts vetted car covers in real-life conditions, testing them by using them on our actual vehicles and our test vehicles to see how well they fit and how well they were able to protect our cars. We also collaborated with our Textiles Lab to determine which materials are the most durable for dealing with external influences, such as weather and debris.

Our top picks:

Below, check out our favorite car covers meant to protect vehicles in almost any environment. Then, keep reading to learn more about the most important features to look for when purchasing a car cover for your vehicle.

This car cover by Kayme has six layers to provide as much protection as possible. The company claims that this cover is capable of protecting vehicles from both rain and snow, and because it's so highly reflective, it's great against the sun as well. While you might not think protecting against the sun is a big deal, over time the sun can deteriorate paint and affect the interior of the car too. Our pros love that the car cover also has bright reflective stripes, so at nighttime other cars don't accidentally hit it. We also appreciate that there is a door zipper, so if you need to access your car and don't want the hassle of removing the cover, this is a great choice. Unlike other car covers, this cover has a mirror pocket — built-in pockets for the side mirrors — to make it fit your car just a little better. Plus, it comes in multiple sizes: There are covers for SUVs, hatchbacks, sedans and even station wagons. Some Amazon reviews state that sizing is an issue with this product, and some customers may have to purchase a size up to properly cover their car.

This MORNYRAY car cover comes in four color options, each with reflective stripes so other drivers can see it at night. To battle the wind, it comes with straps to keep the cover tight against your car. The fabric is considered highly water-resistant, according to our pros, and it's also said to be able to handle all weather well. Plus, our pros love that the elasticized hem allows the cover to provide a tighter fit against the car. And for times when you don't need the cover, it comes with a convenient storage bag. You can purchase several different sizes, from Wrangler four-door to sedans to SUVs, all the way to hatchback. Amazon reviewers did mention that it worked well but isn't super durable, as it tends to fade and/or begin to rip around a year in.

This OxGord car cover is meant to be great in all types of weather. According to the brand, there are seven different layers of fabric that help provide a higher level of water-resistant material and are able to withstand storm conditions. We found that it's easy to store when you're not using it, as it comes with a bag that fits the entire cover. Our pros appreciate that on extra-stormy or windy days, this cover has tie-down straps that keep it nice and snug against the car. We found that the internal side of the cover is meant to be extremely soft to prevent scratching against the paint of the car. To purchase this car cover for your car, you need to measure your car properly end to end. Although there aren't as many car type options for this cover, as long as you measure properly, you'll be able to purchase one that fits on your car.

Covercraft is a company that makes covers for specific makes and models of cars, not for the size of cars. We love that not only can you shop by year, but also make and model, providing the most accurate size for your car. Covercraft has several types of car covers, but the one the company recommends as the best it makes is the Custom 5-Layer cover, which is said to have the best rain and dust protection, as well as the softest underside material of the covers. Covercraft also says it has excellent UV protection, which helps prevent sun-related damage to the vehicle.

We think that the Budge Lite Car Cover is a good basic car cover. It isn't too expensive, but it's capable of getting the job done. Our product experts noted that the elastic hem is well done, which helps keep the car cover secure. Grommets are sewn into the fabric of the car cover, allowing you to tighten the hem even more by tying a cable through them. The brand says tying these cables through the grommets also provides an extra level of security, but while the cables would tighten the seal over the car, our team did not see how it would provide proper theft support. That claim aside, because it's a single layer of protection, it's extremely lightweight, so it's easy to transport. It comes with a storage bag and an antenna patch, which allows your car's antenna to poke through the car cover without creating a hole that could possibly tear and let dust or moisture in.

This car cover is one of the more unique covers on the market: Most covers wrap around the car to prevent anything external from damaging it, but this one actually inflates around the car and provides its own filtered air pump that allows for continuous airflow, like a mini garage. The cover is built for indoor usage, but CarCapsule makes outdoor inflatable covers too. Our pros appreciate that the cover is completely clear, so you always have a view of your car, and the constant airflow helps to prevent bugs, dirt and other dust particles from dirtying your car. To use it, you just drive onto the provided track, zip it up over your car and inflate it with the fan. Since the fan provides continuous airflow, the air helps prevent particles from entering the inflatable cover.

Budge claims that its Rain Barrier car cover is capable of providing complete protection against water, whether inside or outside. It's a three-layer car cover that's meant to be extremely breathable, due to minuscule pores within the fabric that allow water to properly evaporate and escape the seal. We like that it comes with bag to help store the cover, an antenna patch and a five-year warranty. You can purchase multiple sizes; you just need to know the size of your car. While you can probably look it up using a vehicle identification number decoder, you can also just measure it.

This cover from Leader Accessories works with the majority of cars. You can purchase multiple sizes of this cover, from four-door sedans with a length of 157 inches to trucks with a length of 249 inches. We appreciate that it comes with buckles that allow you to lock in your car cover, helping to prevent heavy winds from pulling it off the car. Although leaving certain materials in the sun can cause them to wear down over time, Leader Accessories says this cover is UV-resistant, meaning it can withstand being in the sun without causing degradation to the actual cover. Our lead tester liked the clear markings that tell you which side of the car cover is the front and which is the back.

Our GH Auto Lab pros used covers on personal vehicles and vehicles test-driven for review. For each car cover, we reviewed how easy they were to put on and take off of at least three vehicles each, how well they sat against the car and how well they'd likely hold up in various environmental conditions. We tested during several days of rain, so we could evaluate water-resistance firsthand. We also worked with our Textiles Lab experts to discuss which fabrics would work best against car exteriors and for weatherproofing. We decided on these picks based on popular reviews and our knowledge of each of the brands, as well as our engineers' technical research.

When buying a car cover, it's important to look at multiple factors to make sure you don't purchase something unusable. We worked with our Textiles Lab to determine which material would be best for protecting your car:

✔️ What type of car do you have? Car covers are not universal. Make sure you purchase the proper size for your car, or it won't protect it properly. No one wants a car cover to be blown away in the wind.

✔️ What type of weather are you in? Car covers can protect your vehicle from a multitude of elements. Whether it's snow, rain or the sun, or dirt that's been blown around, you'll want to make sure that your car cover is capable of handling the environment you live in. Many car covers' labels note they're mainly meant for inside use, so it's important to review exactly what a cover is designed for.

✔️ How many layers is the car cover made of? Depending on your environment, generally the more layers a car cover has, the more protection the cover will provide. Additional layers provide increasing levels of defense against both dirt and moisture, but the more layers it has, the more expensive a cover tends to be, as it does do more. Our team puts emphasis on how important it is for the last layer (the layer that touches the car directly) to be soft. If it isn't, it can easily scratch your car during turbulent weather.

✔️ Is the car cover breathable? Our textiles team mentioned how important it is for the fabric to be breathable in order to prevent damage to the car. A breathable car cover is one that allows trapped moisture or condensation to evaporate. This prevents moisture from building up and ruining the paint.✔️ Does the car cover have an antenna patch? Most car covers come with an antenna patch for people who have antennas that stick up high off their car. Essentially, this feature allows you to cut a hole the size of your antenna and then reinforce it with a patch. That way, the hole doesn't tear any bigger than the size of the antenna, and a proper seal is still kept.

Not every car cover is customizable. Some you buy by size. To get the proper size, you'll need to measure the longest points on your car. Make sure when you measure that it's a straight line and you aren't contouring around the car, as it won't give you as accurate of a measurement.

Alec Scherma is a test engineer with a mechanical engineering background. He’s tested cars, car accessories and a multitude of other products since he started at Good Housekeeping.

Rachel Rothman is the chief technologist and executive technical director at the Good Housekeeping Institute and led testing for car covers. She has more than 15 years of experience testing products ranging from toys to cars. Her experience in the industry helps provide the expertise to properly test all the products that come through the GH Institute Labs.

Alec Scherma (he/him) is the Good Housekeeping Institute’s test engineer, where he helps to create and implement new product testing methodology across home, cooking and cleaning appliances, wellness, tech products and more. He graduated from Drexel University’s College of Engineering with a B.A. in mechanical engineering.

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testing them by using them on our actual vehicles and our test vehicles to see how well they fit and how well they were able to protect our carsOur top picks:capable of protecting vehicles from both rain and snow, and because it's so highly reflective, it's great against the sunfabric is considered highly water-resistanthigher level of water-resistant material and are able to withstand storm conditionsshop by year, but also make and model, providing the most accurate size for your cara single layer of protection, it's extremely lightweight, so it's easy to transportinflates around the car and provides its own filtered air pump that allows for continuous airflowextremely breathable, due to minuscule pores within the fabric that allow water to properly evaporatecomes with buckles that allow you to lock in your car cover✔️ What type of car do you have?✔️✔️ What type of weather are you in?✔️✔️ How many layers is the car cover made of?✔️✔️ Is the car cover breathable?✔️✔️Does the car cover have an antenna patch?measure the longest points on your carFor lengthFor height,For width,