Random Orbital Polisher
Polish like a rock star!

best auto detailing tips

The random orbital polisher has long been promoted as the safest type of car buffer to polish a car with. Random orbital car polishers move in two directions as a opposed to the single rotation of the high-speed car polisher which makes it the safer choice in a car polisher.

It is the two moving directions of the polisher as to why random orbital polishers are also known as dual-action car polishers, or simply DA as the appropriate acronym for dual-action.

using random orbital polisher to polish car paint

Random Orbital Polisher:
Questions and answers

What is a random orbital car polisher?

The random orbital buffer is what is also called a DA, or dual-action car buffer. It is called a DA as it has two types of movement. The easiest way for people to understand this is to think of the sun spinning on its single axis point, while simultaneously rotating around the sun while it is spinning. The reason it is called random is because the spinning is controlled by a free floating spindle that will stop spinning if enough pressure is applied to the head. (the head being the backing plate to which the polishing pad is attached to.)

maxshine random orbital polisher with ceram-x car polish

Since these buffers are made with a free floating spindle, if too much pressure is applied while polishing, the spinning of the polishing pad will cease to spin and only continue to vibrate. While this may first appear as a problem, it is this very reason that makes these random orbital polishers so safe. Unlike a rotary or high-speed polisher that continues to spin regardless of the pressure, the free floating spindle is essentially a safety mechanism that allows true beginners to enjoy the potential results that can only be produced by use of a car polisher.

Why would a person choose a random orbital polisher over a high-speed polisher?

random orbital polisher versus rotary polisher

For most people it is simply a matter of inexperience and safety. Dual-action, random orbital polishers are simply the easier and safer choice. This makes them very appealing to any beginner. But with advances in engineering, the latest versions of these random orbitals have far more power than the first generation DA polishers.

High-speed car polishers represent the greatest range in performance and applications. Due to the speeds and heavy-duty capacity of rotary car polishers, they can be used to not only perform car paint polishing, but perform gel coat/fiberglass polishing, as well as remove sanding marks after colorsanding. These types of jobs require heat and friction that can only be created with the higher speeds of a rotary car polisher. This does not mean these types of polishing cannot be done with an orbital buffer, but the results will not compare to those available with a rotary polisher.

Is there any other reasons a random orbital polisher would be your first choice in a car polisher?

Random orbital buffers represent each end of the polishing spectrum, that is, they are ideally suited for true beginners as well as represent the finishing tool for any truly advanced polisher. With that said, it is important to note that very few professional detailers and car paint finishers possess the skills necessary to raise paint perfection to this level, just as very few people possess a trained eye that can discern the difference of car paint that has been polished to such a high level of perfection. Which again is why most newbies will lean towards one of these random orbital car polishers.

Random Orbital Polisher:
Top Rated Car Polisher

See the following random orbital polishing kits that I recommend to deliver award winning shine to your ride!

Chemical Guys Random Orbital Polishing Kit

  • Complete random orbital polisher kit
  • As safe as safe can get while still producing professional level results
  • One of my favorite kits for the beginner and home hobbyist

Adam's Swirl Killer Polishing Kit

  • One of my favorite car polishing kits!
  • The kit I consider to be "professional grade"
  • My personal choice in choosing the best kit as a beginner if you want the closest in professional grade
  • You just can't go wrong with this kit!

Random Orbital Polisher:
Darren's professional tips

random orbital polisher and polishing car paint

Any of these random orbital polishers will be an excellent choice. Any of the random orbital car polishers I have selected for recommendation on this page will perform with professional level results.

Some things to consider when shopping for a top rated random orbital polisher would be the following:

  • Cost (what can you afford)
  • User experience (as a rule you get what you pay for. I can't really say that anyone of these actually performs better as far as producing results. The real difference is more about the subtleties of the user experience. It will also be what is contained within the car polishing kit you choose)
  • The complete polishing kits also make it easier for you to get started rather than now trying to pick and choose among the endless polish pads and polishes.

If you are searching for one of those big, over-sized orbital polishers that rattle your teeth loose; like the one your dad probably has collecting dust in the garage, then you have come to the wrong place.

Random Orbitals (Dual-action car polishers) represent an excellent place to start and would be the only car polisher most of you will ever require; even if you were to enter into the world of professional detailing. Easy to use and completely safe, I recommend random orbitals for most people when starting out.

So if you have been sitting on the fence looking to take your car paint to the next level, then shop any of the top rated random orbital polishers above!

You simply will not go wrong with any of these. It will really be more about your personal budget and the experience you will have behind the handle of each buffer. But that is very much like any area of life...the proverbial cost/benefit analysis!


Darren Priest