Choosing the best automotive polisher will be a frustrating and difficult task for most of you; and the reality is that you are your biggest obstacle and you don't know it!
Searching for the top rated auto buffer on the market will produce almost as many opinions as there are people you are willing to ask. As a professional detailer I find that in answering people's questions, very few so-called experts actually apply context to the question so you can actually make an informed decision. The fact that you came here looking for an automotive polisher tells me that likely you are a beginner and therefore lack even enough experience to ask the right questions!
"Darren, I have wanted to learn how to use a car buffer for the longest time. I am so confused by all the opinions and don't know how or where to begin!"
Just like many of us and a common problem within any industry, when you have decided you want to learn how to polish a car and go searching for a top rated automotive polisher, you instantly want "the best".
But looking for the best car polisher is what will trip you up to begin with, and prevent you from getting what you really want. So ask yourself the following questions:
There are (2) basic car polishers:
For the purpose of getting you what you want sooner than later, we are going to discuss random orbital car buffers. There are specific reasons that me and virtually every other professional prefer and recommend these types of car polishers.
DA (dual-action) Orbital, Random Orbital:
It doesn't matter what you call them, they are the safest, most user friendly car polishers whether you are a car polishing virgin, or a seasoned detailing veteran. These types of automotive polishers are unique in that the polishing head spins, while vibrating. This is why they are also called DA for dual action.
This is a subject that can get confusing very quickly due to the many terms and the misuse of the many terms. For example, many people will refer to the moving polishing head as both spinning and oscillating. This is a subtle difference in movement, but when you add both the big differences and subtle differences in desciptive words, it is not wonder this industry is filled with so much confusion!
The best way to imagine this concept is to think of the rotation of the earth and sun:
The idea is to replicate the hand application of polishing or waxing. When applying wax or polish by hand, generally people have been taught to rub in circular motions, while at the same time your arm is also moving your hand around. The idea is to eliminate the dangers of car polishing most commonly associated with what is called the high-speed polisher. (rotary polisher)
Random orbital polishers were developed for some very specific reasons:
The good news is that the industry has responded by making every part of the equation easier then ever. From the polisher, to the pads, to the polishes.
Now a true beginner can polish their own car and produce professional level results right out of the box! Not only can you produce professional results, but create an award winning shine completely free of any swirl marks often associated with using car polishers.
Darren's Tip: The majority of you could literally stop right here with this car polishing kit from Griot's Garage. Not only does this kit contain everything to create an amazing shine, but it represents both the perfect starting point, but also the stopping point for many car enthusiasts, driveway detailers, or soon to be professional detailers.
Even though the car polishing kit above is what I consider the winning balance between performance, cost, and user experience, there are a few other top rated automotive polishers that can take you to the next level of performance and user experience if you are willing to pay the added cost.
Darren's Tip: I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but having been in your exact shoes so may times, I know the struggle of picking out the "perfect" tool the first time around. And while I said the kit above is where most of you CAN stop, it doesn't necessarily mean you WANT to stop, or HAVE to stop there.
As a rule, guys are like women when it comes to power tools: we can never have enough! With that said, I always offer these additional words of advice:
How do you like the "almost" part?!
It seems everywhere in life you are trying to find the perfect combination. But there is always going to be trade-off's no matter what.
The trade-off with this kit is you will still need some form of detailing clay to decontaminate your paint with, prior to performing any polishing, paint correction, or even waxing. Don't underestimate this part of the process. So this kit is very comprehensive, but still lacks that one critical part of the process.
Darren's Tips: Many of you might be here simply "looking" to get another car polisher to replace your current one. Often I have found that when this is the case, many times it is the type of polish being used that is more the problem. If this might be you then I suggest you look at the following polishes that are now available to anyone.
The Ceram-X is truly the place to start if you are looking to do medium to heavy duty paint correction wile still being able to use a single product to polish down to a swirl free finish.
The D-1 Enhancer would be for the complete beginner who simply wants to do basic defect removal and produce amazing results.
Any of the automotive polishers above will work as they will all have the ability to deliver professional results. Like anywhere in life you tend to get what you pay for (The Ceram-X and D1 Enhancer are also towards the higher end of pricing) and these car polishers are no exception.
More money equals higher performance along with a better, overall user experience!
I will also add that shopping for an automotive polisher from one of those cheap supply stores whether it be online or not, will be hugely disappointing. If you think you can get a quality car polisher for $35-$65 you are sorely mistaken and I promise you will be disappointed when compared to the quality of these automotive polishers and paint correction kits.
So what are you waiting for?