Let’s be honest: there’s just a ton of buzz about the Shamwow super-absorbent synthetic chamois. Between Vince’s “…and the cola starts to come up!” commercial and all the road shows that advertise this thing, it seems like there must be something behind it, right?
Well, kind of. Let me start by saying the Shamwow does in fact absorb a lot of liquid – almost 16 ounces of water with the large size towel, according to my test. And it absorbs it quick.
Alright, a little background. I’m a late-twenties single guy who realistically doesn’t have as much use for a chamois as, for example, a stay-at-home mom with 3 kids. I just don’t spill that much stuff to be honest. I don’t think I’ve ever spilled a can of soda on my carpet, and I’ve certainly never thought to myself “gosh it’d be really great if I had a nice chamois right now to absorb this mess…”
I do wash my car by hand sometimes, though, and I’ve been using The Absorber branded towel to dry it for several years. I’d always thought this product looked intriguing all the times I saw it in the car wash aisle, so finally I gave it a whirl.
Naturally, then, when the Shamwow advertising started I wondered how it’d compare to the towel I was already using. I purchased a set of Shamwows because I had to see for myself. This finally evolved into “hey, both of these products are trying to mimic a natural leather chamois, so I’d better see how they stack up to the real deal”. Thus, I am the proud owner of all three different types of…well…glorified rags.
Take a look at the video below to see a few quick tests with each towel.
Here are the quick findings:
- The Shamwow does in fact absorb higher volumes of liquids, and it does so quickly.
- The Shamwow makes the liquid you wring from it visibly more murky.
- The Shamwow leaves a lot of streaking on a quick pass, likely because it has to be damp to perform its best.
- The Absorber doesn’t absorb as much and doesn’t absorb as quickly, but since it works dry, it doesn’t leave streaks and is probably better for drying a car (or anything else where you wouldn’t want streaking).
- The real chamois is inferior to either of the synthetic versions. Harder to clean, more expensive, awkward to use, and not particularly effective. It almost seemed like my version was treated with some sort of conditioner that made it less functional for its intended use.
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