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Different Types of Windscreen Wipers Explained

When it comes to windscreen wipers, there are a few different types. In this article, we take a look at each one so you can make the right choice when it comes to a replacement.

As far as windscreen wipers go, they are quite simple. A rubber strip is attached to a sturdy frame that fixes onto the wiper arm. They may all look similar, but did you know that there are different types of windscreen wiper blades?

By the end of this article, you’ll be able to distinguish your hybrids from your retrofit, and your spoilers from your standard blades.

Let’s get started!


Standard windscreen wiper blades

Also known as conventional windscreen wipers, standard blades are the ones commonly found on older cars. You’ll recognise them by their ‘coat hanger’ shape, and they are attached using a hook-type fitting. You can buy standard windscreen wipers in a range of sizes – from 11-28”, making them suitable for a wide range of vehicles. Many vehicles will also have different-sized standard windscreen wipers for the driver’s and passenger’s sides.

Flat windscreen wiper blades

Flat windscreen wipers are a newer type of wiper with a more modern style and technology. You’ll see them fitted on newer vehicles, and they can only be replaced by a similar flat-style blade. These feature a tensioned metal strip along the length of the rubber blade for better aerodynamics and performance. With less wind noise, they perform quieter than standard or conventional blades. They are also fitted with a range of adaptors including Side Pin, Bayonet, Pinch Tab, Push Button, and Slider.

Hybrid windscreen wiper blades

Also among the more modern range of wipers is the hybrid windscreen wiper. These combine the conventional wiper blade structure with flat-blade aerodynamics for enhanced performance. They usually feature an articulated plastic frame and a steel sub-structure along with the rubber blade. Together, these components provide improved aerodynamics, even downforce, and increased durability.

Spoiler windscreen wiper blades

Spoiler windscreen wipers are easily recognised by the spoiler that runs along the entire length of the blade. Far from a simple styling touch, the spoiler enables the blade to maintain closer contact with the windscreen at higher speeds. This allows for improved clearing results. Similar to a standard blade, spoiler windscreen wipers are attached to the wiper arm using a hook fitting.

Retrofit windscreen wiper blades

Retrofit windscreen wipers are among the newer types of blades and allow you to upgrade conventional wipers for more modern ones. They are flat compared to conventional wipers which have more of an arched shape, and they have a tensioned metal strip inside the rubber blade. An advantage of retrofit wipers is increased aerodynamics, where the flatter shape helps reduce wind noise. With consistent pressure along the entire length of the blade, you also get to enjoy more efficient performance.

Specific Fit windscreen wiper blades

As their name suggests, Specific Fit windscreen wipers are suitable for specific vehicles. They are designed to be an Original Equipment replacement similar to the blades originally fitted. Many rear blades are Specific Fit to cater to the unique design of certain vehicles. These should normally fit straight onto the compatible vehicle, with no adaptor required.

Rubber refill windscreen wiper blades

Though not technically a whole wiper, rubber refills are a great cost-effective alternative to a full replacement. These kits contain the rubber element of the windscreen wiper, which can be inserted into the existing frame to replace the old rubber. These are only compatible with certain vehicles and are not a long-term solution, as the whole wiper will need replacing in time.

Read more about how to make your windscreen wipers last longer.

Shop new windscreen wipers for your car

At Windscreen Wipers, we offer a wide range of premium quality windscreen wipers for your vehicle. With our vehicle search tool, finding them has never been easier! Simply enter your registration to shop products guaranteed to fit your vehicle from our vast database.

Depending on your vehicle, we’ll have several options for you from leading manufacturers. These include BOSCH, MICHELIN, Lucas, Valeo, and more. Not sure which windscreen wiper blades you need for your car? Feel free to use our simple vehicle registration tool or get in touch with us and our friendly customer service team will be able to help.