9 Best Products for Rust Prevention

Want to protect your vehicle, tools and equipment from rust, but are confused by all the rust prevention products on the market? Here are nine to consider.

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Rusty Watering Can
Xavi Talleda · Photo collection · (C)/Getty Images

What Is Rust?

Rust is a reddish brown, flaky substance produced when iron or steel chemically reacts with oxygen. It forms more quickly when in contact with moisture. Rustable metals are a huge part of most of our lives. Vehicles, tools, machines, modern buildings and many other integral parts of our existence depend heavily on ferrous substances mined from the earth.

The trouble is, metal will rust if unprotected. That slowly ruins the appearance and, if left too long, the function of each item it affects. Enter rust preventers. This eclectic collection of substances share a common purpose — to stop rust in its tracks and protect your tools, vehicles or any other rust-prone item you want to preserve.

Rust prevention is a general term covering many products that work in different ways. Keep reading to learn about nine of the best rust prevention products on the market.

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Best Rust Prevention Paint

Often the best way to prevent rust on a bare metal surface is by applying several coats of the right paint. I’ve tried many paints designed to protect against rust, but one called POR-15 stands head and shoulders above the rest. Not only does it dry into a thick, exceptionally tough protective layer of glossy black, it can also be applied straight over rusty metal.

I used this product on some steel stair railings I welded, and can attest that it provides exceptional rust protection. Even with hands sliding over the railings many times a day for years on end, there’s not a speck of rust anywhere. Learn how to paint on rusted metal.

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Best Rust Prevention for Hand Tools

Even though we live in an age where corded and cordless power tools are mainstays of construction work, I still get quite a lot of use from my hand tool collection. Axes, hatchets, pickaroons, scythes and other bladed hand tools are a regular part of my life here in rural Northern Ontario, Canada, and each is is prone to rusting.

That’s where boiled linseed oil can help. It forms a hard protective film when it dries, the perfect way to prevent rust and damage on hand tools. I coat the blades and wooden handles of all my outdoor hand tools with it at least once a season. It offers exceptional protection against rust, wear and tear.

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Best Rust Prevention for Vehicle Paint

If you’ve got a well-cared-for vehicle you’d like to keep rust-free for as long as possible, consider regular applications of Brazilian carnauba paste wax. Not only does the paste wax offer a tough protective coating on top of your vehicle’s paint and clear coat, it also enhances sheen and overall appearance. You’ll get best results preventing rust by reapplying the wax every few months.

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Best Rust Prevention for Under Vehicles

As every diligent vehicle owner knows, there’s a whole lot more rustable metal on cars and trucks than what you can see on the body. The entire underside of your vehicle needs protection too, and that’s where Krown Rust Protection and Lubricant really shines.

An oil-based formula, this spray-on product repels water and prevents rust on your vehicle’s undercarriage for the same reason that you can’t wash oil off your hands with water alone. Yep, oil and water don’t mix! I use Krown spray on the underside of my car every fall and have never had any serious rust issues.

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Best Rust Prevention for Inside Sealed Spaces

If you’re an experienced DIYer, you probably learned long ago that putting tools and other metal valuables in a sealed box, cabinet or case doesn’t keep them from rusting unless they’re stored in a dry, heated room all year. Trouble is, many sheds and workshops are neither dry nor heated. That’s why it’s common to open a toolbox for the first time in months and discover rust.

These silica gel packets can help. Silica naturally absorbs moisture, so placing a few of these packets in your toolbox is a great way to keep precious tools from rusting.

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Best Rust Prevention for Surfaces Carrying Iron Particles

The trouble with rust is that it often starts because of things that are hard to see. That’s why being aware of invisible rust triggers is a vital first step in rust prevention.

Iron particles are one such trigger. They can easily be generated by vehicle brake use, machine parts grinding together and more. Once released into the air, these iron particles can settle on visible parts of your car, truck, tractor, combine, etc., where they’ll embed in paint, eventually triggering rust.

That’s the problem this rust prevention spray is designed to solve. It works by chemically releasing particles of iron and other unwanted debris from the surface, leaving it smooth and free of rust triggers.

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Best Rust Prevention for Hard-to-Reach Areas

There are dozens of effective rust preventing sprays on the market, but most ignore one simple fact — many areas in need of rust protection are hard to reach with a regular spray bottle or can. Enter this product from KBS Coatings.

Sold with a long flexible wand attached to each spray can, this stuff sprays on like water, creeping into the smallest nooks of your vehicle, machinery or implement. It then dries into a thin, waxy coating, protecting the surface against moisture, road salt and rust.

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Best Rust Prevention for Nuts and Bolts

Every serious DIYer knows the pain and frustration of trying to loosen a rusted, seized nut from an equally rusted bolt. Rust doesn’t seem all that strong, but it sure puts up a fight in the tiny space between the threads of nut and bolt.

Luckily, this brush-on product from Loctite offers the perfect solution. Simply brush it over the threads of any bolt where the accompanying nut won’t be removed for a long time. Then, when the time comes to loosen it, you’ll enjoy smooth sailing. I’ve tried lots of anti-seize compounds over the years and this one lasts longer than any other, leaving behind an anti-rust residue a year or more after application.

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Best Multi-Purpose Rust Prevention

Protecting bare metal from rust is great. But what if you want to paint the newly protected surface, but the paint won’t stick because of the rust protection?

Try this product from Corroseal. Not only does it chemically neutralize existing rust and prevent new rust from forming, it also acts as a primer and paint, all in one step! It’s a great time saver, and most effective at preventing rust.

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