Variable Speed Polisher
Top picks from orbital to rotary buffers

best auto detailing tips

Variable speed polisher is really a generalization for numerous types of car buffers and polishers. From orbital to rotary, picking the best polisher will be about matching up your world to the buffer that best meets your needs.

Unfortunately many of us are left to make decisions with partial information and find ourselves disappointed after the fact. Often we find ourselves lacking enough experience or knowledge to even ask the right questions in the first place. Finding a top rated car polisher that fits your world will not only affect your polishing effectiveness, but greatly affect whether you are even willing to use the tool or not!

the good news and the bad news

The good news is that today, you have numerous choices of truly quality buffers and polishers. The bad news is that this will make the decision process that much more difficult. We will dissect the numerous variable speed polishers to see which one rises to the top and becomes your top pick of a quality car polisher.

high-speed car polisher

variable speed polisher

Generally when people refer to a variable speed buffer or polisher, they are usually referring to what is traditionally called a rotary, high-speed, or circular polisher. These types of buffers have been around the longest and represent the widest spread of abilities, speeds, and performance.

It is also an area of surface car care that is filled with really bad information, and endless stories of burned paint edges, swirl marks, or holograms. These stories circulate in all areas of life and they make for really good headlines. Unfortunately, all this bad press prevents many from understanding just how useful these types of polishers can be in the right hands!

They allow a person to do what I call the heavy lifting of paint correction and car polishing in general. But just like the proverbial gun debate, buffers don't kill paint; people kill paint!

why a top rated variable speed polisher?

Let's break this down into a simple pros versus cons moment:


  • Generates higher speeds to produce friction and heat that other types of buffers cannot produce. (this is a very good thing and allows you to "cut to the chase" if you know what you are doing)
  • The only real tool that will allow you to perform heavy duty gel coat/fiberglass polishing and restoration.
  • Can literally reduce the heavy duty polishing to a fraction of the time as compared to trying to perform the heavy lifting with a DA (dual-action), or random orbital car polisher.
  • Circulates on a single axis point which allows for precision polishing along fine lines, character lines, or "details" of car paint. 


  • The only drawback in my opinion is the learning curve associated with these types of car polishers.
  • You trying to get over all the bad press these types of buffers get.

Based on the simple list above; the pros certainly out-weigh the cons. But I get it....all those damned horror stories of burned edges, swirl marks, or car paint damage in general!

"With the newest generation of variable high-speed car polishers and their super-low operating speeds, they can be as safe as any dual action, random orbital car polisher. It's just very few people are letting you know it."

That is correct!

Because the industry itself has responded by building some incredibly amazing dual action, orbital car polishers, most guys are easily seduced into buying one of these random orbital buffers, and never realize how much time they could be saving themselves if they take the time to learn how to use a rotary polisher.

choosing a top rated rotary car polisher:

DEWALT DWP849X 7-Inch/9-Inch Variable Speed Polisher with Soft Start

  • 12 amp motor
  • Variable speed polisher
  • 600- 3500 RPM's
  • Professional grade
  • Comes with (2) handle choices
  • Soft trigger start and speed control
  • Speed setting dial
  • One of my favorites

Makita 9237CX3 7-Inch Variable Speed Polisher-Sander with Polishing Kit

  • 10 amp motor
  • Variable speed polisher
  • 600- 3000 RPM's
  • Professional grade
  • Soft start trigger and speed control
  • Speed setting dial
  • One of my favorites

FLEX PE14-2-150 Rotary Polisher Starter Kit

  • 10 amp motor
  • Variable speed buffer
  • 600- 2100 RPM's
  • Soft start trigger and speed control
  • Speed setting dial
  • The Mercedes of high-speed polishers
  • If you have the money, this is truly the Mercedes of equipment

darren's professional tips:

top rated variable speed polisher

Rather than repeat myself over and over in the individual reviews, I am saving my remarks for here at the end since all these buffers are a sure thing! Meaning, you just can't go wrong with any of these buffers. As far as high-speed polishers, all of these will perform at professional levels and unless you have the privilege of doing a true side by side comparison, you will like any of them, and you will get used to any idiosyncratic difference between them. Just like most every other area of life, you get what you pay for so please allow me to add the few remaining tips:

  • They all perform, and do so brilliantly.
  • If you are of the opinion that German engineering means something different and are willing to pay for it, then the Flex is for you.
  • If you want to save a few bucks then simply shop the cheapest of the bunch, and you will still be delighted.
  • The Flex is the lightest and quietest of the bunch.

I hope this has helped open your eyes with greater understanding with which you can now make a more informed decision!


Darren Priest signature

Variable Speed Polisher