Picking Your Perfect Polisher
In the earlier days of detailing, there were really only two basic polishers used in detailing, and they weren't extremely user friendly. Since then, the industry has grown and there are now over 20 different polishers and buffers available - and we have most of them available right here at Autogeek.
Now, looking at that many different options, we understand that it's hard to make a final decision. What you need to consider is your personal skill set and experience level, as well as your personal preferences. There are three groups of people in the detailing world when it comes to using polishers and buffers, and deciding which group you belong to is the first step in choosing the right buffer or polisher for yourself:
1. Beginners - these are people that have never used a machine to wax or polish their car. In fact, beginners are the people that are transitioning from only using their hands to using your basic polisher.
2. Intermediate - these are people that have some experience using a machine, but only use them rarely. These people are often "weekend warriors" or part time detailers mostly doing work for family and friends.
3. Professional - this group is made up of people that have been using polishers for years - either on a commercial or personal level. Most often these people detail full time for a living or work in a body shop. They've used both dual action orbital polishers and rotary polishers and have become experienced in both.
These polishers are perfect for entry level detailers and beginners and make the transition from using only your hands to using a polisher very easy. All of these machines are lightweight, small, and compact enough to hold easily in your hands.
These machines are free spinning models, with no direct drive, and this is what makes them safer than any other machine. If you push down too hard on the polisher, or if you're going over a raised edge or curved panel, the polisher will stall out and quit spinning. So no matter how ill experienced your technique is, you won't burn through the paint.
The Dual Action name comes from the motion design of these polishers. The pad rotates in a large circle, while also rotating in smaller circlec inside of the larger circle - thus, dual action; meaning two actions at once.
You can use these entry-level Dual Action Orbital Polishers to compound (remove swirls and scratches), polish (bring back the original gloss), or machine-apply your favorite wax or sealant.
If you have previous experience with a polisher, a machine from this category may work best for you. These tools are more powerful and will help you get the desired job done faster. While these polishers do offer more power, they're still dual-action polishers with the same motion as the polishers above.
There are some, like the Griot's Garage BOSS Polishers and the RUPES BigFoot Polishers that have a 15 or 21 mm drive - rather than the standard 8 mm. And of course, the Lake Country UDOS 51E polisher, has all three! These removes defects and produce a super high gloss finish faster and with more power.
The FLEX XC3401, the RUPES LK 900E Mille, and the Lake Country UDOS 51E polisher are very unique in that they're both gear driven. These machines are perfect for high production work that requires speed and agility. The orbital rotation simulates the circular movement of the human hand while polishing. This motion is less likely to cause holograms than a rotary buffer. At the same time, these polishers' highly smooth running facilitates a careful, precise finish and allows for hologram-free polishing.
The Cyclo Dual Action Polisher has been on the market since 1950, and thanks to its good durability reputation, will be around for many more years to come. The two buffing pads, instead of just 1, makes quick work of detailing and is super easy to handle.
Flex The Beast XC 3401 VRG Dual Action Orbital Polisher
FLEX The Finisher XFE7-15 Long Stroke Orbital Polisher
FLEX XCE 10-8 125 Corded Polisher
Griots Garage BOSS G15 Long-Throw Orbital Polisher
Griots Garage BOSS G21 Long-Throw Orbital Polisher
RUPES BigFoot LHR15 Mark III Random Orbital Polisher
RUPES BigFoot LHR21 MARK III Random Orbital Polisher
RUPES BigFoot LK 900E Mille Gear Driven Polisher
Lake Country UDOS 51E Polisher
Cyclo Orbital Polisher
The machines featured in this category are recommended for seasoned professionals with plenty of experience using machines to polish and correct paint. These rotary buffers are the most powerful at correction work, but you'll still need a dual action orbital polisher to perfect the paint and apply wax.
A rotary polisher is perfect for tackling really severe swirls and scratches, sanding marks, and heavy oxidation on gel coats as it's the most powerful tool you can use.
There is some risk involved, which is why they are only recommended for seasoned professionals. It can be easy to burn through paint or leave behind swirls and holograms in the paint if you've never used one before.
Rotary polishers have been around since the beginning - in fact, they were the first tools made to polish and correct paint. While the polishers of today's standards are nowhere near the same weight as the older models (upwards of 10-12 lbs in the past!), the Makita and Dewalt Rotary Buffers are still heavy compared to the lightweight FLEX PE-14 (a mere 5 lbs!).
All of these rotary polishers come in a variety of kits with foam, wool, and microfiber pads. If you're a seasoned professional looking for fast and better maintained results, pick up a rotary polisher today.
RUPES BigFoot LHR 19E Rotary Polisher
RUPES Bigfoot Nano iBrid Long Neck
RUPES Bigfoot Nano iBrid Short Neck
FLEX XFE 7-12 3 in. Mini Polisher
FLEX PE8 Kompakt Rotary Polisher
FLEX PE14-2-150 Rotary Polisher
FLEX PE14-3-125 Lightweight Rotary Polisher
FLEX PE-150 Cordless Rotary Polisher Set
Griots Garage GR3 Mini Rotary Polisher
DeWalt DWP849X 7 in. - 9 in. Variable Speed Rotary Polisher
No matter what background or skill level you have, there is a buffer for everyone. Beginners looking to upgrade their hand-waxing to machine-waxing (you can't beat the time you save when you use a machine!), experienced detailers looking to up their polishing game, or season professionals hoping to streamline their tool line-up can all find what they're looking for at Autogeek.com.