The best way to remove visible defects and improve the overall finish of the paintwork is to use a car polishing machine and suitable compound. Car polishers are available in multiple types that include rotary or dual action and they also come with multiple foam pads. When used with the correct polish, you are able to use a car polisher to remove light scratches, swirl marks and other defects in the paint.
In terms of rating our recommendations, we based them upon our own experience and several factors. As you can see in the image above, that’s one of our team using the PORTER-CABLE polisher. However, we also have experience using both the Meguiar’s MT300 and Rupes Big Foot. Some of the factors used to rate the polishers include build quality, weight, attachments, motor, features, warranty and value for money.
If you are looking for a quick answer, the best car polisher is the Meguiar’s MT300, which is a dual action buffer with variable speed control and an ergonomic design for extended use. However, if you are new to using a car polishing machine, the PORTER-CABLE 7424XP is perfect and also offers great value for the money.
Table of Contents
Car Polisher Comparison
|Rupes Big Foot
|Flex XC3401 Positive Drive
|Griot's Garage 10813LNGCRD
|Adams Swirl Killer Mini
A car polisher isn’t just for removing defects in the paint because it can also be used to apply a car wax. All that is required is for you to change the buffing pad to one that’s suitable for applying wax. Investing into a polishing machine is a big step and it allows you to achieve far better results than using a polish or wax by hand.
Below is a list of the best car polishers that include both rotary and dual action orbital polishing machines.
The Best Car Polisher
1. Meguiars MT300 Polisher – Best Dual Action
The Meguiar’s MT300 is a dual action polisher that’s designed for wax, polish or compound detailing products. Whether you are an advanced or beginner user, the MT300 is easy to use with an ergonomic construction, which is designed for extended use.
As this DA polisher is produced by the reputable Meguair’s brand, there are plenty of accessories and backing plates available that can be attached to the machine.
Other features of the Meguiar’s MT300 include:
- Dual action polisher
- 8 mm orbital through
- Weighs 5.4 LBS
- Soft starting functionality
- Multi position D handle
- Thumb adjusting speed control
- Digital torque management
- Billet counter weight multi bearing design
- Includes a 1 year warranty
The Meguair’s MT300 is the best dual action polisher and includes everything you need to remove defects from your car’s paintwork. There isn’t one feature it doesn’t have and the reduced weight and ergonomic design is the perfect combination for extended use.Check it Out
2. Rupes Big Foot – Best Random Orbital Polisher
One of the most popular car polishers favored by professionals is the Rupes LHR 21ES, which is nicknamed “Big Foot”. It’s given this name because it provides a unique 21 mm throw, which allows you to cover more surface area than a standard orbital polisher.
The longer throw allows it to run much smoother and correct the defective paint faster, which is ideal for tackling large panels.
Other features of the Rupes LHR 21ES Big Foot include:
- Random orbital/dual action
- Italian design and craftsmanship
- Soft start to reduce accidental application
- Designed to use 6 inch pads
- Powerful 500 watt motor
- Weighs 5.37 LBS
- Variable speed control with 6 settings
- 11 foot power cord
When used with a quality detailing product, the brand state that the Big Foot can remove heavy paint defects and leave a flawless finish each and every time.
The long 21 mm throw of the Rupes Big Foot makes it the best car polisher for those that use larger buffing pads. It does come with a premium price tag but the build quality and performance makes it a worthwhile investment that you won’t regret.Check it Out
3. DEWALT DWP849X – Best Rotary Polisher
In terms of its performance, it uses a 12 amp motor with a ball bearing construction to provide effortless performance for long periods. The polisher also has unique features such as a wool ingestion shield to eliminate any wool getting into the motor.
Other features of the DEWALT DWP849X include:
- Rotary polisher
- 6.7 LBS in weight
- Variable speed trigger
- 12 amp motor
- 3 year limited warranty
- Non mar rubber gear case
- Ball bearing construction
- Soft start functionality for control
- No-load speeds from 0-600/0-3,500 RPM
Overall, the DEWALT DWP849X is the best rotary polisher that’s built to the highest of standards and provides excellent performance. Although it comes with an expensive price tag, it’s backed by the reputable DEWALT brand and a long warranty.
It’s worth pointing out that DEWALT also offer a 20V cordless option for those that don’t want to be limited to the length of the power cord whilst polishing their car.Check it Out
4. PORTER-CABLE 7424XP – Best Polisher For Beginners
The Porter Cable 7424XP is by far the most popular car polisher on the market and is often included in complete detailing kits. It’s a 6 inch variable speed polisher that’s suitable for both automotive and marine applications.
In order to make this polisher as versatile as possible, it’s able to accept 5/16 to 24 spindle thread accessories, which can be switched over with ease.
Other features of the Porter Cable 7424XP include:
- Random orbital/dual action
- Weighs 5.8 LBS
- 8 mm throw
- 2.4 meter power cord
- 3 year warranty against defects
- 1 year normal use warranty
- Able to move control handle to either side
- Speed ranges from 2,500 to 6,800 OPM
Although it’s a cheap car polisher, it’s built to last with a heavy duty construction. This is proven by the impressive warranties that are provided with the polisher.
Whether you are removing defects with a rubbing compound or perfecting the finish with a wax, the Porter Cable 7424XP is a great option. It’s the best car polisher machine for the money and is also backed by a long warranty for peace of mind.Check it Out
5. TORQ TORQX Random Orbital Car Polisher
Another popular option is the TORQ TORQX, which is a random orbital car polisher machine that’s available as a complete kit. The brand states that it’s ideal for applying a car glaze, wax or sealant to the paintwork in a matter of minutes.
In order to improve usability, the brand has integrated an advanced vibration reduction technology into the polisher. It also has a lightweight construction that weighs just 4.3 LBS, which is one of the lightest on the market.
Other features of the TORQ TORQX include:
- 8 mm dual action orbital throw
- Powerful 680W motor
- Weighs just 4.3 LBS
- Variable speed controls
- Balanced ergonomic design for extended use
- Accepts 3, 5 and 6 inch backing plates
- Safety support ridge for increased stability
- Lightweight and heavy duty construction
The brand have designed this car polisher for enthusiasts and professionals with many intuitive features. The lightweight design and the random orbital motion allows you to remove swirls, light scratches and defects from all painted car surfaces.
Overall, the TORQ TORQX combines value for the money and performance to produce an excellent all-round car polisher that won’t disappoint.Check it Out
6. Flex XC3401VRG Rotary Orbital Polisher
The Flex XC3401 is a positive drive rotary orbital polisher that’s designed for professionals or detailing enthusiasts. It uses a high powered 900W motor that can handle extreme loads with an orbit rate between 3,200 to 9,600 OPM.
The orbital rotation is similar to the circular motion of the human hand whilst polishing and the positive drive ensures a uniform movement under load. This results in a more precise and smooth finish, which is required for precision polishing.
Other features of the Flex XC3401 include:
- 8 mm orbital movement
- 900 watt motor with soft start
- Weighs 5.7 LBS
- Spindle lock and removable knob grip
- Accelerator trigger switch
- 10 foot long power cord
- Variable speed control
- Multiple safety protection functions
- Includes a one year warranty
The permanent direct drive is a very desirable feature that ensures the surface is evenly polished regardless of the pressure, angle or slope.
Although the Flex XC3401 is one of the most expensive car polishers, it’s a worthwhile investment for enthusiast or professionals. The powerful motor and orbital motion provides superior performance but it does require more user input for the best results.Check it Out
7. Griots Garage 10813STDCRD DA Polisher
The Griot’s Garage dual action polisher is another high performing option that’s developed by a reputable brand. It’s available with a 10 or 25 foot long power cord and is suitable for both beginner or advanced users.
In terms of the performance, it uses a powerful 850 watt motor and 8 mm throw to provide effortless results on neglected paintwork’s that’s full of defects.
Other features of the Griot’s Garage DA Polisher include:
- Dual action
- Weighs 7.0 LBS
- 8 mm orbital throw
- Uses a 7.0 amp, 850 watt motor
- 6 inch random orbital head
- 10 or 25 foot 18 AWG power cord
- 6 speed settings
- Max 6,800 OPM
Griot’s Garage have put a large amount of effort into ensuring that it’s comfortable to use for long periods. Features such as the six position adjustable handle and rubberized palm grip make a huge difference and maximize your control of the polisher.
Overall, it’s an excellent all-round dual action polisher that offers great value for the money. The brand also offer an array of pads to use with the polisher to best suit your requirements.Check it Out
8. Adam’s Swirl Killer Mini Car Polisher
Adam’s Polishes are a highly reputable brand in the USA and have recently released a selection of car polishers. The Swirl Killer series features a number of different sized polishers and even a cordless model.
Unlike many of the alternatives, this DA polisher has a long throw of 12 mm, which is very desirable for many detailing professionals.
Other features of the Adam’s Swirl Killer Mini include:
- 12 mm throw
- 3 inch backing plate size
- Adjustable speed settings
- 5,500 RPM with soft start
- Weighs 4.125 LBS
- 25 foot long power cord
- Compact design with minimal vibrations
- Large on or off rocker switch
As this is the “mini” DA polisher, it’s the best car polisher for tackling hard to reach spots. However, the brand offer larger alternatives that include the same desirable features.
The Adam’s Swirl Killer Mini is a highly rated dual action polisher that offers excellent value for money. For peace of mind, the brand provide a 110% satisfaction guarantee and state that it’s the best mini car polisher on the market.Check it Out
9. Maxshine M8S Dual Action Polisher
The Maxshine M8S is an affordable DA polisher that uses a powerful 900W motor for improved polishing efficiency. In order to improve the ergonomics for extended use, it has an exquisite design and soft touch head for comfortable use.
To maximize control of this DA polisher, it has 6 variable speed settings that range from 2,500 to 6,500 RPM for flexible polishing.
Other features of the Maxshine M8S include:
- 8 mm orbit throw
- 900W motor
- 3 meter power cord
- Weighs 5 LBS
- Removable D-handle
- Sliding safety switch
- 6 speed variable speed control
- Available in blue, yellow or grey
The Maxshine M8S is the perfect car polisher for beginners due to the ease of use and affordability. Although it may not be as rated as some of the premium options, this dual action polisher is a cheap solution to begin polishing your car with a machine.Check it Out
10. Neiko 10671A Rotary Polisher Machine
One of the cheapest car polisher machines on the market is the Neiko 10671A. It uses a 300W motor with six variable speeds that range between 1,000 and 3,000 RPM. Although it’s cheap, it’s packed full of premium features such as a heavy duty die cast aluminum head and a ball bearing mechanism.
To ensure that the car polisher is comfortable to use, it also has a multi-position side handle, ergonomic soft grip and a trigger lock for constant operation.
Other features of the Neiko 10671A include:
- Rotary polisher
- Weighs 9.3 LBS
- 1,300 watt
- UL/CUL certified
- Adjustable side handle
- Ball bearing mechanism
- 7 inch backing pad
- Motor head constructed of aluminum
The Neiko 10671A is a powerful and heavy duty car polisher that’s excellent for those on a budget. However, it’s fairly heavy at 9.3 LBS but this is mainly due to the heavy duty materials used within the construction.
Overall, the Neiko 10671A is the best car polisher for those on a budget and can be used with a range of accessories due to the 9 inch backing pad.Check it Out
How We Rated The Car Polishers
In terms of how we rated the car polishing machines in this article, we based them upon our experience and several factors. Across our team, we each own a car polisher from a number of different brands. This means we have great experience with using a wide range of polishers in order to rate the available options on the market.
We also based the recommendations upon their build quality, weight, attachments, motor, features, warranty and value for money. These are all factors that are important to anyone looking to buy a new car polisher.
Car Polisher Buying Guide
Although you can achieve great results by hand, the combination of a car polisher and the best rated car polish is far more superior. The orbital motion works the polish into the paintwork in order to effortlessly remove defects and restore shine.
However, in the wrong hands, polishing machines can ruin the paintwork and introduce more swirls or holograms. Therefore, it’s important that you research the various options available to best suit your requirements.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding car polisher machines.
The Process of Polishing Your Paintwork
Properly polishing the car’s paintwork requires you to round the edges of the scratches or buff away an extremely thin layer of paint. This has the effect of eliminating the visibility of the imperfection upon the paintwork.
The removal of a microscopic paint layer requires a delicate touch, which is determined by the amount of force applied. If you have never used a car polisher machine before, we highly advise that you test it out on an older vehicle that you aren’t too worried about.
It’s also important that you use the correct buffing pad for the polishing task in hand. Whether you are waxing or using a compound, each product requires a specific pad.
Types of Polishers
There are many different types of car polisher machines on the market but the two main types include a dual action polisher (also known as a DA polisher) and a rotary polisher. Both have their own benefits and drawbacks and are suited towards certain applications.
Rotary car polishers function on a single axis where the head spins in a regular circular motion. This results in the build up of heat and friction, which allows you to work a rubbing compound into the paintwork.
Dual action polishers that are often referred to as DA polishers spin in two different motions (hence the term dual action). In short, the head spins in a concentric circular motion on a spindle, which results in a wider circular motion. This type of circular motion prevents excessive heat build up or friction, which reduces any damage to the paintwork.
Advanced dual action polishers are equipped with a positive drive action. They still allow the polisher to wobble in order to disperse heat and friction but the wobble movement is actually purposefully driven as opposed to being the random result of oscillation.
Rotary vs Dual Action
When it comes to choosing between the two different types of car polisher machines, there are various pro’s and con’s for each. Rotary machines are normally cheaper and can be used for light to heavy paint correction work.
However, in the wrong hands, there is potential to cause damage to your paintwork, which may result in swirl marks, hazing and other defects.
Dual action car polisher machines therefore are great for beginners that want to carry out light to moderate paint correction work. However, you may struggle with heavy duty correction work and they also cost more too.
Weight & Ease of Use
One of the most significant considerations to make regarding a polishing machine is the weight. This is due to the fact you must be able to easily control and direct the tool in order to effectively work the rubbing compound into the paintwork.
For beginners, the lighter polisher machine is highly recommended as there will be less weight pressed against the paintwork. This will reduce the heat and friction and prevent the risk of causing any damage.
The weight of the car polisher machine is one of many factors that define how easy the tool is to use. Of course, there are many other factors such as the ease of switching between the speed settings, switching between the pads, hand control aids and much more.
Many car polisher manufacturers will state an orbital throw, which usually ranges between 6 to 10 mm. However, there are certain polishers such as the Rupes Big Foot that offers a much larger throw of 21 mm.
Larger throws allow the pad to cover more distance and provides more power, which allows you to correct the defective paintwork faster. To ensure the polisher operates smoothly upon the surface, it uses counter weights and a clever motor design.
The main drawbacks of the longer throws is that you have to use larger pads (often 5 inches and above) and they often cost far more. The standard throw of 8 mm allows you to use standard pads and is also far cheaper to purchase.
Common Mistakes Car Buffing Mistakes
Using the wrong technique when polishing your car can cause expensive damage to your paintwork. However, there are many easily avoidable mistakes that you should avoid in order to preserve your cars paintwork and these include:
- Using the incorrect buffing pad or rubbing compound
- Buffing one area too hard or for too long
- Setting the speed/RPM too high to begin with
- Not using tape to mask off plastics and other components
- Using too much or too little rubbing compound
- Not fully cleaning the vehicle beforehand
- Using a dirty buffing pad
- … and much more
Technique is key to ensuring that you are actually correcting the paintwork and not making it worse. We highly recommend that you watch multiple video tutorials for helpful tips.
Preparing the Paintwork
Due to the speed at which the polisher machine turns the buffing pad, it can be enough to cause damage. This can include causing permanent marks to plastics, headlights and other components. Therefore, before using any polisher, we highly recommend using masking tape around fragile areas.
In the below photo whilst testing out a car polisher, we taped up the brake lights, plastics and edges of the convertible roof. To ensure that the sun doesn’t dry out the rubbing compound, a carport canopy is also used to block the sun, which is also highly recommended.
There are hundreds of car polishers available that are suitable for both beginner or professional use. Dual action polishers are the most popular and you can perform excellent paint correction with very little effort. If you are new to using a car polisher, we highly advise that you watch a few tutorials beforehand.
All of our recommendations are suitable for a range of applications and budgets. Choosing a polisher that best suits your skill level is highly advised. Attempting to use a professional machine can be far less forgiving and result in paintwork damage.
After you have found the perfect car polisher, we advise that you test it out on an older car beforehand. Once you have perfected your technique and tested a range of products, you should feel confident enough to correct the paint on your pride and joy.