Budge car covers, sometimes confused with “budget” car covers (cough, cough Google), are big players in the segment. While they absolutely offer low-cost models, Budge prides itself on a broad product mix ranging from expensive, multi-layer outdoor covers to some that are the absolute lowest price points in the market.
If you have a nice car, you love it, you baby it, and you want it to stay in prime condition for many years to come, so you need to take proper care of it. You can’t just leave your car to be damaged and destroyed by Mother Nature or other forces.
As a fun little exercise, we’ve outlined in painful detail 20 ways to damage your car’s paint even while parked. The main message is, if you expect your car to stay in good shape for a long time, you need to take the steps to keep it in prime condition.
The real question for most people is how to pick the right cover? Let’s face it. Car covers pretty much look the same, especially online. In actuality, big differences exist in price, usage, protection levels and durability. We’ve outlined all the main purchase considerations that you need to know in detail. A quick review is well worth your time and will get you up to speed quickly.
The main considerations are do you park indoors or a combination of indoors/ outdoors and how much protection do you need from the elements? If you just park outdoors for a few hours each day, a light, easy to install cover would likely be ideal. If you park your car outdoors for long periods of time in a tough climate, you need max protection.
We’ve chosen three highly rated Budge car covers that span the entire range. These particular products have great reviews, multi-year warranties and 30-day return policies.
Let’s get right into it and review these nifty car covers right now.
Product Comparison Table
Note: the ratings in the table below refer to level of protection rather than a feedback rating. A 5 out of 5 offers the highest level of protection against a particular element. Also, indoor car covers are obviously not rated for rain, sun and snow.
|Soft Stretch||Indoor||13'1" to 22'||5/5||n/a||n/a||n/a||$$$$$|
|Poly Guard 1||Indoor/|
|16'8" to 19'||3/5||2.5/5||2/5||2/5||$|
|Protector IV||Outdoor||13'1" to 22'||5/5||5/5||4/5||4.5/5||$$$|
Budge Soft Indoor Stretch Cover
Indoor car covers need to protect against three things. Dust is the biggest one for most people. The second is scratches from pets or falling items in a cluttered garage. The third is moisture condensation for those living in humid locales.
The Soft Stretch Indoor provides great protection against all three. In terms of dust protection it is rated a 5 out of 5 by Budge. Although it is only one layer of material, the special nylon-poly blend is a more than sufficient dust barrier indoors.
The fabric is also highly breathable so that condensation trapped under the cover will evaporate before any mold or mildew forms. Breathability is doubly important if you plan to park your car and leave it unchecked for long periods of time.
The primary material is “stretchy” and has been compared to swimsuits or other athletic gear. It is thick enough to prevent scratches or dings from moderate accidents (e.g., a dog jumping on your car or a rake falling over and striking the fender).
The stretchiness does have another advantage…a tight fit. This is important since it prevents dust or other debris from entering from underneath a car. Because it conforms to the shape of your car and has an elastic hem, fit is not the problem it is with most universal car covers.
So for we’ve been focused on external threats to your car’s paint, such as dust, dogs and gardening tools. There is another threat – the car cover itself. Covers with cheap and abrasive inner linings can easily scratch the delicate outer clear coat. The Soft Stretch gets very high marks for its fleece lining, some even describing it as being like “microfiber.”
With five different size and three colors available, there is something for almost everyone. It will fit cars up to 22 feet long. Almost all cars today are less than 17 feet, which is why the Soft Stretch is a favorite of classic car owners with extra-long, vintage Caddies and Lincolns.
As with all universal covers, the Soft Stretch will fit some models tighter or looser than others. The problematic ones are cars that fall right on the border between two sizes (e.g., Soft Stretch Size 2 and Size 3). This issue comes up relatively frequently. If you’re unsure, always email the manufacturer before purchasing.
Choice of color is mainly about style for an indoor car cover. With outdoor covers, color has functional implications as light colors with reflective colors properties perform better in areas with intense sunlight and UV radiation. For this particular car cover, just pick the color that tickles your fancy.
The Soft Stretch is a great cover to protect your car indoors when parked. With a 2-year warranty and a 30-day return window, it’s hard to go wrong.
- Top notch dust protection
- Highly breathable
- Premium non-abrasive, inner lining
- Multiple colors available (red, gray or black)
- 5 sizes to fit virtually all cars
- Storage bag included
- 2-year warranty
- Limited to indoor use
- Somewhat pricy
Budge Poly Guard 1
The Budge Poly Guard 1 is a true budget car cover and listed at an unbeatable price point. Like the Soft Stretch above, it is designed primarily for indoors use. The Poly Guard 1 does offer some UV and moisture protection, but we only recommend it for short stints of outdoor use. Even then, it is best used for stopping larger debris like leaves and bird poop, not rain storms and sun.
The material is a single layer of polypropylene. This is a perfectly acceptable entry-level fabric. It is not very thick but will protect against light-to-moderate impacts. It is not abrasive but also not as soft as the fleecy Soft Stretch.
The flip-side of its single layer construction is that breathability is excellent. Moisture evaporates quickly, and mold and mildew are unlikely in normal settings.
Fit is good for a budget universal car cover. Five sizes are available although Amazon often only stocks the most popular 16’ 8” and 19’ models. The good news is that those two sizes fit virtually all medium-size family and sports cars. Examples include Civics, Camrys, Challengers, Mustangs and Camaros. Elastic hems in the front and back and tie-down grommets ensure that any slack is easily removed.
As a budget model, grey is the only color option available. The Poly Guard 1 does come with a 2-year warranty, which is excellent for a car cover at a sub-$20 price point.
Who is this car cover best suited for? Anyone on a tight budget who is primarily worried about indoor dust.
- Unbeatable price point
- Great breathability
- Light and easy to maneuver
- Tie-down grommets
- Storage bag included
- 2-year warranty
- Highly limited outdoors (basically sunny days)
- Entry-level, thin fabric
Budge Protector IV
When it comes to outdoor use, the Budge Protector 4 is one of the better options available right now. Unlike the previous options we just looked at, this one is built for outdoor use. Sure, it can definitely do what the others can in the sense that it will protect your vehicle from dirt and dust if used indoors, but it can do so much more than that too.
While we hesitate to say that any woven fabric that breathes is truly 100% waterproof, the Budge Protector IV comes close. It is made for serious exposure to the elements with the highest protection ratings for rain and dust and a 4.5 out of 5 for sun.
The secret lies in the construction of the four-layer material. The outer two layers are a durable polypropylene. The third layer is a highly water resistant membrane. The inner layer that comes into contact with a car is a fleece-like material similar to the Soft Stretch reviewed earlier. Added UV treatments mean that the Protector IV won’t allow harmful UV rays to damage paint, plus the cover itself won’t become weaker due to exposure to sunlight.
Like the others, the Budge Protector IV comes an elastic hem but also includes a strap and buckle system for extra security in windy conditions.
Sizing is described by Budge as “semi-custom.” If your vehicle is 264″ L x 70″ W x 53″ H or smaller, one of the five size choices will fit. It is offered in a tan color that won’t show dirt and other stains as much as white or grey.
Who is the Budge Protector IV best suited for? Anyone who stores their car outdoors for long periods of time in climates with challenging sun, wind, rain or dust. It is a great car cover, and despite the mid-premium price, a good investment as well.
- Works indoors and outdoors
- Highly resistant to all elements, especially rain and dust
- Soft inner lining
- Elastic hem with a strap and buckle system
- 5 sizes to fit virtually all cars
- Storage bag included
- Whopping 5-year warranty
- Premium price
- Bulkier than light covers
- Only one color
If you like the Budge brand name and are looking for a new car cover, you would be well served to consider one of the above options. These are among the best that Budge has to offer.
While the Soft Stretch and Poly Guard 1 are meant for indoor use, the Protector 4 is a rugged “all-arounder.” With the generous return policies and strong warranties, there are limited concerns on the product side.
As for fit, measure your car or look up the specs on the internet. We always recommend carefully reading through the reviews and emailing the manufacturer if your car is on the borderline between two size models.
All in all, these are great car covers competitive prices. If you want to protect your car, they are definitely worth a careful look.