Best Auto Body Filler 2019 – Buyer’s Guide

Best Auto Body Filler
Best Auto Body Filler

Owning a car can come with some ups and downs. It’s like any kind of relationship; some days are fantastic, while others can be really painful. Just like when, through no fault of yours, a child playing with a shopping cart in the mall parking lot made a ding on your car body.

Oh, so annoying. You did nothing to deserve this. You parked your car correctly, spent about 15 minutes in the mall, only to come out and meet this ding on your car body that wasn’t there when you left it. Sometimes people are kind enough to leave a note of apology on your windshield. But besides calming your anger a little bit, it does nothing for you.

That’s the same feeling others get when hail falls and dents their car body or a less experienced driver mistakenly bumps into their back fender.

In other situations, it may not be any of those cases. Do you have an old vehicle that you want to restore? The general look of the car body will be one of your primary concerns.

What do all these have in common? They are all instances when you will ask yourself, “What can I do to make my car look new again?” If you are reading this, it means you already got your answer. And now you are on your way to decide which body filler will be the best for the purpose you have in mind.

What is best body filler and used for?

Most people call Car body fillers “Bondo” or “Putty”. Although Bondo is the brand name for a line of products produced by 3M, when you say it, people will always know what you are talking about.

Body fillers are made from polyester resin. They are used as easy plastic cover ups for dents on car bodies without losing structural strength and restoring beauty to the car body. People who love DIY are friends with body fillers. It is an easy way not to spend much on little body damage repairs and save time also.

Finding the best body filler to use would have been a difficult task many years ago. But today you have lots of guides and product reviews online. The problem, though, is that which of these are truly honest and not just trying to push their preferred products into your hands?

You can now rest assured that you won’t have a dishonest experience here. We will talk to you about the top 10 body fillers available in the market.

Top 10 Best Body Filler Reviews 2019

From our honest reviews of each of them, you can decide which one is best for the work you want to do.

3M Bondo 312 Autobody Filler Kit

Specification: Brand – 3M | Model – 312 | Weight – 2.9 lbs | Flash Point – 111 ºC [Test Method: Estimated]

Bondo 312 Autobody Filler Kit
Bondo 312 Autobody Filler Kit

This is a product by 3M that lives up to their motto “Science. Applied to life.” This autobody filler kit is really a complete kit for repairing damages on a car’s body surface. Whether it is a dent, a deep scratch or rust holes, this kit is ideal for the repair.

The kit contains the Bondo body filler alongside a spreader, a red cream hardener, and a self-adhesive metal body patch. The body patch is going to serve you as excellent support for the filler when fixing deep scratches and rust holes.

The red cream hardener is mixed with the filler to form the putty that will be used for the application. You will use the spreader for applying the filler; it works well with curved surfaces as well as flat surfaces.

You can always use the spreader again; make sure to clean it with acetone when you are done using it.

This particular Bondo filler is designed not to shrink, maintain its strength for a long time and dry quickly.

One thing we didn’t like about this particular kit is that it hardens too quickly. Besides that, it’s great if you don’t intend to work for long periods of time.

Composition: Polyester Resin, Talc, Styrene Monomer, Magnesium Carbonate, Inert Filler, Limestone, Sodium Silicate, Chlorite (Mineral), Titanium Dioxide.

Permatex 25909 Liquid Metal Filler

Specification: Brand – Permatex | Model – 25909 | Weight – 4.6 oz. |

Permatex 25909 Liquid Metal Filler
Permatex 25909 Liquid Metal Filler

When you have little damages to fix and you want to be done with it in a very short time, this is the product for you. This product is from a line of adhesives that don’t require any mixing. So you have one tube that contains all you need for a quick and easy fix.

You can expect this to have a great grip on galvanized steel. It was also designed to work well on things like oil pans, door panels, and any part made of cast metal, etc. In fact, these are suggestions made by the manufacturers themselves.

Not only is this a great option for small damages on metal, wood, and concrete, it can also repel water, gasoline, and oil. With easy application – just pop open the lid and squeeze the filler onto the damaged area and spread it in smoothly. As long as it is not a major damage that’s too large for this little tube to cover, you are good to go.

Composition: Barium Sulfate, Acetone, Isobutyl Acetate, Titanium Dioxide, Quartz Silica, Carbon Black.

3M Bondo 261 Lightweight Filler Pint Can

Specification: Brand – 3M | Model – 261 | Weight – 1.2 pounds |

Bondo 261 Lightweight Filler Pint
Bondo 261 Lightweight Filler Pint

This is another one of 3M’s products that have been serving autobody repair technicians and DIYers for many years. This particular Bondo is formulated to be durable and easy to apply.

What is special about it that also accounts for its easy application feature is its microsphere formula. It fixes up dents, scratches, rusted areas, etc., with little fuss and quickly. Whether the surface is made of metal, fiberglass, wood or even concrete, this Lightweight Filler can prove itself worthy of the job.

When you get one of these, they usually come with a hardener. So, you have to mix those together according to the instructions to get a paste-like substance. Use this in the work area, and a chemical reaction will harden it.

This reaction could get pretty hot and hardens the putty quickly. But in the end, you’ll have a durable solution to the scratch, rust or dent problem you had.

You have to bear in mind that this one wasn’t correctly designed to be fool-proof. So if you don’t follow the instructions very carefully, you will have problems with adhesion.

Composition: Polyester Resin, Talc, Styrene Monomer, Magnesium Carbonate, Inert Filler, Limestone, Sodium Silicate, Chlorite (Mineral), Titanium Dioxide.

Evercoat 156 Light Weight Body Filler

Specification: Brand – Evercoat | Model – 156 | Weight – 8.2 pounds |

Evercoat 156 Light Weight Body Filler
Evercoat 156 Light Weight Body Filler

You may be wondering why this one costs more than the other body fillers you’ve seen on the market. There is a very reasonable explanation for this.

First of all, this one has the quantity to match its price. Not to mention the extra spice of manufacturing finesse Evercoat brought to make the 156 Light Weight Body Filler one of a kind.

Some body fillers could give you the problem of pin-holing during the hardening phase of the repair. But this one was vacuumed processed. This only means that you don’t have to worry about pin holing here. It’s gone.

Also, this is a top quality product. If you are going for that extra smooth surface repair job, this is your best bet. It has a creamy consistency, so smooth that applying it can feel like child’s play.

However, it doesn’t come with a hardener.

Composition: Ethylene Glycol phenyl ether, Titanium dioxide, Tetrahydrophthalic anhydride, Glass enamel, Calcium carbonate, Styrene, Talc.

3M Bondo 00277 Glass Reinforced Filler

Specification: Brand – Bondo | Model – 00277 | Weight – 1.2 pounds |

Bondo 00277 Glass Reinforced Filler
Bondo 00277 Glass Reinforced Filler

This one has a lot to boast about: quick sanding, stronger than most fillers, waterproof, easy to spread and more.

This filler was designed for strength. The fiberglass strands make it 2 times stronger than regular body fillers, but that doesn’t make it difficult to spread.

Applying it is still as easy as most body fillers, and it will not sag under gravity. So that makes it great for vertical application. You can use it as a foundation for auto body repairs. Whether it is a hole, rusted area or a dent, this filler will hold up and stay strong.

You can use it on fiberglass, SMC (Sheet Molding Compound), aluminum, wood, and it is even great for masonry. This Bondo will also work well with any kind of paint.

If you are thinking of using body filler on a boat, this is your best bet. It is waterproof and has a thicker texture.

Composition: Talc, Polyester Resin, Magnesium Carbonate, Styrene Monomer, Glass Filament, Chlorite (Mineral), Limestone, Synthetic Crystalline-Free Silica Gel, Wollastonite.

3M Bondo Professional Gold Filler

Specification: Brand – 3M | Model – 233 | Weight – 2.27 pounds |

Bondo Professional Gold Filler
Bondo Professional Gold Filler

Is this one more expensive than other body fillers because it can make your car turn to gold?

No. But its quality as a body filler is definitely golden.

The resin was specially designed to suit galvanized steel. So those looking to work on cars produced after 1998 should pay special attention to this filler.

However, that is not the only reason why its quality is golden. This filler boast of great waterproofing quality, smooth finish after proper sanding and a non-shrinking formula. The resin formula here is impressive.

Once you fix a rust problem, you never have to worry about it again because the waterproofing will take care of it as long as the filler lives, which is a very long time.

It only takes about 20 minutes for this filler to harden and cure on the surface you are working on. So, in about 30 minutes you should be done with the repairs. Golden, isn’t it?

Composition: Thickening Agent, Polyester Polymer, Styrene Monomer, Talc, Inert Filler Trade Secret, Magnesium Carbonate, Proprietary Polyester Resin, 2-Hydroxyethyl Methacrylate, Pentaerythritol Tetraacrylate, Titanium Dioxide, Quartz Silica.

3M Bondo 272 Bondo-Glass Fiberglass Reinforced Filler

Specification: Brand – 3M | Model – 272 | Weight – 3 pounds |

Bondo 272 Bondo-Glass Fiberglass Reinforced Filler

Bondo 272 Bondo-Glass Fiberglass Reinforced Filler 

Here we have a strong contender for the best fiberglass reinforced filler title. With its fiberglass technology, you have very little to worry about when it comes to body filler strength.

If you are working on especially deep holes caused by rust, dents or scratches, you have the real deal here. It can fix holes up to 1/2 inches deep, and what’s more? You don’t need to use backing strips, cloth or fiberglass resin. Isn’t that awesome? What other faster way can you fix those deep car body injuries?

When you mix the hardener and the filler, you will have putty that dries up in about 20 minutes. It is easy to mix and spread, even if it has a thick consistency.

Composition: Talc, Polyester Resin, Magnesium Carbonate, Styrene Monomer, Glass Filament, Chlorite (Mineral), Limestone, Synthetic Crystalline-Free Silica Gel, Wollastonite.

Evercoat 112 Rage Gold Premium Lightweight Body Filler

Specification: Brand – Evercoat | Model – 112 | Weight – 8.3 pounds |

Evercoat 112 Rage 3 Liter Gold Premium Lightweight Body Filler

Evercoat is certainly not playing games. Even if the price may hit you as “outstanding”, wait until you hear what this one brings to the table.

There are 3 things we can tell you not to worry about if you are using this on a modern vehicle’s body: adhesion, ease of sanding, and pin holing.

This long-named filler was explicitly designed for galvanized steel and aluminum. It’s adhesion to these metals is something worth commending. They went for it, and they got it.

It is also another vacuum processed product by Evercoat to reduce pin holing. Expect a very smooth and easy application.

So finally, what does this one bring to the table? A special ingredient that makes this one of the easiest body fillers to sand after it has hardened and cured. This special ingredient is Hattonite. Give it up for the ingenuity of Evercoat once again.

Composition: Silica (amorphous), Ethylene Glycol phenyl ether, Tetrahydrophthalic anhydride, Titanium dioxide, Glass enamel, Calcium carbonate, Styrene, Talc.

24035 Duraglass Qt 448833 Valspar

Specification: Brand – US Chemical | Model – 24035 | Weight – 3 pounds |

24035 Duraglass Qt 448833 Valspar
24035 Duraglass Qt 448833 Valspar

Duraglass is a beautiful name to give to a powerful mixture of resin and chopped fiberglass. Honestly, it’s so good we wish we thought of it first.

As its good name suggests, this is very a durable reinforced body filler that can be used for a wide range of purposes.

Anything you can think of to use a filler for, this filler can do it for you. Its strength trumps over that of regular body fillers. They look up to Duraglass for guidance.

Fixing up holes, cracks, dents, tears, scratches, and rust holes have never been made so easy.

What’s even better, this special formula can be used to cover large holes; those holes you would think of welding first before using fillers on it.

But with fiberglass cloth, you can cover a wide area to repair and avoid welding at the same time.

It comes packaged with a white cream hardener. It is also rustproof and waterproof when used on wood, metal, and fiberglass. So expect excellent results if you are using it on a damaged boat’s body.

Composition: Styrene, N, N-Dimethylaniline.

U. S. Chemical & Plastics All-Metal

Specification: Brand – U. S. Chemical & Plastics | Model – 14060 | Weight – 3 pounds |

U. S. Chemical & Plastics All-Metal
U. S. Chemical & Plastics All-Metal

If you are working on a restoration project and you haven’t heard of this, let us acquaint you with an absolute beast in auto body repairs.

This filler is so strong that using it over welds can be one of the best practices in auto restoration.

It comes packaged with the body filler, all-metal, and aluminum filler/metal mender. This combo is responsible for its rock-solid bond that continues to serve well decades after.

It sets up fast, and the sanding is unbelievably easy. You will be surprised at how easy when you try it. This hardened filler is also easy to finish. For a body filler so strong, this is a new standard in body filler value.

Make sure you get enough for the job you want to do at the moment because this product doesn’t last long on the shelves. It could give you 4 months before it begins to harden on its own.

Composition: Styrene, Epoxy resin, N, N-Dimethylaniline, Hexanoic acid, 2-ethyl-, cobalt(2+) salt (2:1), Naphthenic acids, cobalt salts.

Things to consider before buying a Body Filler

This is definitely not an easy choice to make. The Body fillers we reviewed are fantastic in one way or the other and their own right.

Mechanic applying putty filler
Mechanic applying putty filler

Some of them have applications where they are excellent; others are just generalized in the application.

You also have to pay attention to the prices too and how easy they are to work with after hardening.

This can seem like a lot to hold in your head at once when you are comparing your options. So let’s just list it out to you.

Type of Body Filler

There are 3 major types of body fillers available on the market. Other types may just be a combination or derivative of these:

Metal

This is going to be your most common option when you’re shopping for body fillers. Metal body fillers are mostly used for their non-shrinkage formula and considerable waterproofing quality.

They are made with aluminum metal parts, and because they don’t shrink, you don’t need to reshape after the putty has hardened. You can expect a very durable and smooth finish with this type of body filler.

Fiberglass

This is the type of filler that consists of fiberglass and metal particles, so it can be very tough. Fiberglass filler does not absorb water. This is what makes it good to be used on the rusted areas on the exterior of vehicles.

It, however, requires you to heat it for it to dry and cure completely. It is not really that easy to apply as other body filler types, but it compensates for this by being great for repairs on large surface areas.

Lightweight

Just like the metal fillers, this type contains a significant amount of resin. But since it is lightweight, it not suitable for the kind of job that asks for metal fillers. It is not good for deeper damages, the type that metal fillers could easily handle. It is easier to sand and waterproof.

One more thing: it can be used as a final layer on metal fillers to give it a very smooth surface finish.

Compatibility with Car Body

This is a significant factor to consider when choosing your fillers.

You want to bear in mind the material you will be working on because some body fillers are specific about the surfaces they adhere to. There are fiberglass, metal, wood, plastic, SMC surfaces.

Read more: Best Rear View Mirror Glue 2019: Top Rated Adhesive Kit Reviewed

Sometimes you need to note if the surface is vertical or not, because gravity may make the job harder for you if you use the wrong body filler.

Quantity

Is it a large surface or just small damage? What do you want to work on? How much filler will you need?

Body fillers come in many different sizes. Some are in quarts and others in gallons.

Ultimately, you want to get enough for the job you are working on.

Some can last long on the shelves, while others will become useless in just a matter of a few months. Think about this when making your choice.

Ease of Application

A body filler can be the strongest thing since the 1940s but applying it can be a total pain in the backside. A job that would normally take you 30 minutes to complete can easily steal your entire evening plus dinner if you are working with the wrong kind of product.

Applying body filler
Applying body filler

So when you are thinking of buying one, also pay attention to how easy it is to apply. When the ease of application is remarkable, we mentioned it in the review above.

Ease of Sanding

After you are done with the putty application, delicately and carefully applying the right quantity and spreading it like a pro, all could go wrong and annoying if sanding is tough. So, look out for this.

Risk factors

There are many ways of using a filler that could go wrong. These things contain strong chemicals; some have names too long to pronounce. They could be harmful to your skin, the environment or even be carcinogenic!

Information about using them as safely as possible is available in their Safety Data Sheet (SDS) which are available online. The easiest place to find them is on the manufacturer’s website. For example, for the Bondo brand, it is 3M’s website.

Use best practices when handling fillers. Wear gloves and do the other things listed on their SDS. There are provisions for almost everything that could possibly go wrong.

Depending on your unique situation, make the best choice based on the kind of risks you can handle.

FAQs about Body Filler

Before you begin to apply these products to your car, we are sure you have some questions. And that is very smart of you. It is great to know exactly what you are doing so you don’t end up with funny stories to share on Reddit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the most popular questions people ask about these products.

What is body filler used for?

While a lot of people have creative uses for this resin-based substance, its significant use is to fill (hence, the “filler” in the name) damaged spots on a car panel. It is normally the first step before priming and painting. So, to smoothen out the surface of the car body, people use body fillers.

How thick can you go with body filler?

You can go as low as a hair’s breadth, but when it comes to how thick, there’s such a thing as too much. If your body filler is too thick, your repair work won’t last long. With time it will shrink and begin to crack and eventually fall off. So the maximum thickness you should go for is 1/4 inches.

There are instances when you have to work on the panel surface first before using the filler. When the dent is more than 1/8 inches deep, you have to restore the body to its original shape. You can do this by bumping, stretching, pulling or any combination of the 3.

What is the best Evercoat body filler?

This cannot be categorically stated because these body fillers are different for different reasons. It all depends on what you want to use it for. Some are great for use on fiberglass, while you can never use them on metal and expect the same kind of results.

If you know what you want to use the filler for, you can read the reviews we provided and decide on which one will work best with the goals you have in mind.

Are body fillers waterproof?

Not every body filler out there will give you the waterproofing qualities you need in your work. Body filler will naturally absorb moisture, and with time this will pose some problems like corrosion and rust. It will also affect the bond between the Bondo and the metal.

There are two ways to solve this problem: the easy way and the hard way. Let’s start with the hard way.

The hard way: You need impeccable welding skills for this. Make sure your welding work (that is if that is what you are working on) is perfectly done. This is not easy for everyone to achieve, so…

The easy way: Get fiberglass filler. With fiberglass filler, moisture absorption is no longer a problem. If you are working on a welded area, the short hair type of fiberglass filler is enough to solve the problem.

Can you use body filler on fiberglass?

Yes, you can. Regular body fillers work well on fiberglass. It is only on Sheet Molding Compound (SMC) panels that this could pose some problems for you. But this is not a problem for cars with Chrome bumpers.

There is a ‘standard’ procedure people use to apply body filler on fiberglass. First, they spray 2k High Build Urethane Primer on the car before sanding it and using the filler on that. This helps the filler bond better.

Can you use car body filler on wood?

Yes, some people who work with wood use this to fix minor damages on their work. Auto body fillers do a great job in withstanding stress and maintaining their structure. But you need to understand one thing though: Wood absorbs water.

Let’s explain the science, hoping it doesn’t bore you. Wood is made up of cells. These cells are the way the plant (when it was alive) absorbed water and made it flow from the root through the stem to branches. Even when the plant is dead, and becomes a coffee table, these cells still do their jobs.

So you see how this can be a problem? During the wet months, it is possible the coffee table that was fixed with Bondo may experience some problems around that area.

Can body filler be applied over primer?

A lot of people ask this question. It’s common to make a small mistake before priming. And, yes, this is okay. You don’t need to sand down to bare metal. Just work over the primer.

For extra precaution, you should sand the area a bit. You need to do this so that the filler can have a rough surface to grip on to. If it’s too smooth, you won’t get a good bond.

Can I apply body filler to bare metal?

You can easily apply filler to bare metal. You only have to understand that having a good bond is essential. Take this: If you ground the metal surface with 24-36 grit, you will give the filler good tooth to grip on to.

What we mean by “good tooth” is a rough surface that creates enough friction for the resin-based product to stick to the metal surface. If you want adhesion that lasts a very long time, think about “good tooth”.

How long does body filler take to dry?

It takes about 10 minutes.

Bondo, putty, body filler (a product has too many names), whatever you may like to call it, it doesn’t necessarily “dry”.

It “cures.”

This curing happens when the chemical reaction between the resin in the filler and the hardener is done. This reaction is hot, literally.

The time it takes for this reaction to be done depends on the temperature around it. If the temperature is cold, it will take a long time for the reaction to be done and for your Bondo to “dry”. But if you are working at room temperature, it is mostly 10 minutes to curing.

Will this bond to plastic?

Most fillers are not designed to stick to plastic. They were designed to be used on steel, aluminum, fiberglass, SMC (Sheet Molding Compound), zinc coated steel, and galvanized steel. You can find this on the product’s technical data sheet.

Although you can try to use body fillers on plastic, this is not advisable. Especially if you intend to use it on bumper covers made of plastic. These kinds of plastics are usually made from Polypropylene (PP) or thermoplastic polyolefins (TPOs). They don’t really like stuff sticking to them.

What’s the difference between Evercoats: lightweight, rage, and z-grip?

Rage is used for its long curing time. When you have a huge area to cover, this is ideal for the job. Rage can last long enough to allow you to work for up to 40 minutes. This helps you work faster and more efficiently.

Z-Grip is used in tough applications, for high tech metals like bare steel, galvanized steel, and aluminum.

Lightweight is the most popular of the 3 and the number one selling body filler that is treasured for how easy it is to use. Easy sanding, easy and smooth spreading; it is the most common choice for fixing dents and cracks.

Can body filler be applied over rust converter?

This depends. The rust residues left after using the rust converter is inert. That means it will not react with the filler. If you have carried out every other aspect of preparing the metal and cleaning it properly, you can go ahead with the filler. Just make sure you don’t sand too much of the good metal away. Moderation is key here.

After you have done this, you can choose to prime the surface before applying the filler or not. From experience, it doesn’t really make much difference.

On the other hand, you have to be careful about what primer you choose to use. If you use an epoxy primer (example, Southern polyurethanes) on the rust converter acid, you are going to have problems.

Does body filler work with car paint cracks?

Yes, it works well. If you know how to use the body filler, you can easily fix auto body paint cracks easily with body filler.

Can you add color to Body filler before using it?

You can actually do this, although there are two different beliefs about this. Some people think you shouldn’t do it, while others have shown that you can do it with no problem at all.

If you are brave enough to try it, here is an idea:

When you are using Bondo or another polyester filler that has benzoyl peroxide for hardener, you can use fresco colors to add colors to the mixture. But there’s a small problem with this: the color will be different when it’s cured and when it is sanded.adding blue color to Body filler

Does Body Filler come ready to use or do I have to mix it with something?

Your body filler must have come together with a hardener in a tube. This is what you will mix with the filler to make it cure (that is, dry) and harden on the surface you are working on. Use the instructions properly, so you don’t use more hardener than is required for the work you are doing. Expect the color of the mixture to change when you use it.

Does Bondo have a shelf life?

Yes, Bondo has a shelf life of 16 months (that is 1 year and 4 months) from the manufacturing date. If stored properly, Bondo can last longer than that on the shelf.

Avatar for Jack Harris

Jack Harris is a talented and advanced author, blogger, auto expert and senior technical consultant with Autosneed. He is a mechanical engineer who holds a Machine Lubricant Analyst (MLA) Level III certification and a Machine Lubrication Technician (MLT) Level II certification through the International Council for Machinery Lubrication (ICML) and ASE Certified. After years of working as both an automotive journalist and a Ford factory technician, to say I live and breathe the automotive world could still be considered an understatement.

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