Random Orbital Polisher
Why this may be the best tool for you

best auto detailing tips

The random orbital polisher has long been promoted as the safest type of car buffer to polish a car with. Since orbital polishers represent the

low-speed alternative to the dangers of the high-speed car buffer, there is no mystery as to the popularity of orbital car polishers. Since so many people easily accept the drama associated with high-speed buffers, many people go looking for the best rated orbital buffer armed with bad information.

While the industry has responded to the dangers of high-speed car polishers with the introduction of these ultra safe orbital car polishers, we shall see that the obvious answer may not be the best answer after all.

random orbital polisher: Questions and answers

What is  a random orbital car buffer?

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.)

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 over a rotary car 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.

random orbital polisher review

Why would a person want to choose a rotary buffer over an orbital buffer?

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 reason a person would want a random orbital polisher other than the reasons stated?

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.

darren's top picks:

Level 1: Entry level

Entry level is not to be confused with cheap or low budget in this case. The entry level I have chosen is the exact DA polisher I started with and actually continue to use to this day. (with that said, I happen to own 5 other types of polishers and continue to upgrade to the latest and greatest versions.)

Griot's Garage 11620Z Orbital Correcting and Wax Kit

  • The actual random orbital polisher I use professionally.
  • A kit that contains everything 95% of you will ever need to polish your own car.
  • Kit even includes detailing clay to decontaminate your paint prior to polishing.
  • It is very hard to beat the value brought together with this kit!

Level 2: Beginner to Professional

TORQ BUF501X 10FX Random Orbital Polisher Kit (Polisher + 9 Items)

  • Taking it to the next level with the Torq random orbital buffer.
  • Top pick of many professionals
  • The power to do serious paint correction as well as fine finish work
  • Truly the last random orbital buffer you will ever need if you decide to go with this model.
  • From absolute beginner to seasoned paint correction specialist.
  • A tool that will outlast most of you

Level 3: Beginner to Professional to Enthusiast.

Rupes LHR 21 Mark II Big Foot Random Orbital Polisher

  • Considered the Ferrari of random orbital car polishers.
  • As good as good will get you.
  • One of the many car polishers I have, and use professionally.
  • As you can see by the price difference; this is only for those who simply demand the best and can afford it.
  • This is a polisher only. The other options are complete polishing kits.

darren's professional tips:

best random orbital polisher revie

Any of these random orbital polishers will be an excellent choice. If you are wondering how all of them can be labeled as entry level; it is simply due to the fact that orbitals are just that safe.

The main difference in selecting one of the above polishers is going to be based on 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 user experience. From noise level, to the weight of the machine, to the ergonomics of the machine)
  • 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.  (eg: the Rupes polisher that is sold separately)

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. Orbitals 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 orbitals for you if you fit into this area of car care. 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!

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