A little while ago I wrote what has become one of my most read posts on the differences between a dual action polisher, rotary polishing machine and orbital buffers. Since then I have been asked on a number of occasions which is the best dual action polisher to buy.
There are of course many variables when looking to choose the best dual action polishing machine for your own needs. Some will buy on price, others performance, maybe even on weight or a combination of all these factors.
In this post I aim to give you an unbiased dual action polisher comparison of many of the popular machines and consumer brands including Meguiars and Chemicals Guys as well as some of the not so well-known names i.e. Flex, Rupes & Shurhold
Before getting into the detail of comparing each car polisher side by side, let’s first look at what makes a good dual action car polisher. (But if you want to get straight into the detail you can scroll down to the comparison chart)
What Makes A Recommended Dual Action Polisher
The very first thing to consider is the overall quality of the machine. In this article I will only look at machines that have a good reputation for quality and reliability. There are some very cheap dual action polishers on the market but if you are looking for a machine that is going to last I would recommend you stick with those that consistently get good ratings.
Next is the “Throw” of your dual action polisher. This is the size of the orbit that the machine covers when in action. The bigger the throw the faster and easier it is to get the job done.
The speed of your dual action polishing machine will be another important factor. Most quality dual action car polishers will have a variable speed control ranging anywhere from 1800 orbits per minute (opm) to around 6800 opm. These are usually marked as speed settings i.e 1-6. For example, the speed settings of the Porter Cable 7424 are:
These maybe subject to slight change with variances in model and machine improvements.
Then there is the weight to consider. Depending on the size of your vehicle and how often you need to use the machine the weight of your dual action polisher may become an important factor when choosing the best one for your own use. Some of the lightest machines are just a little over 2kg, whereas some weigh somewhere nearer to a hefty 4kg.
Many of the latest dual action polisher machines now come with a load sensor which measures the amount of downward pressure being placed on the cars panels and automatically adjusts the power and torque to ensure a constant speed is maintained as the downward pressure varies.
If you have set yourself a budget you will want to find a machine that not only sits within your budget but also has the best of the criteria mentioned above.
Unfortunately, dual action car polishers can vary in price quite significantly and additionally depending on which country you are buying from, ranging anywhere from $32-$335 (£25-£260) in the USA, whereas in the UK it could be anywhere from £60-£400 ($77-$516). Based on current exchange rates of £1=$1.29.
The Top Rated Dual Action Polisher Comparison Chart
MEGUIAR'S Dual Action DA Car Machine Polisher Pad Kit MT320PADKIT with Pads
Any of these dual action polishing machines would be a great buy. The choice really comes down to your personal preference. Like with any detailing product, you can get some really top end car polishers if you’re willing to spend the cash, but there equally great products to suit every budget.
Pre 2007 the only serious choice for a dual action polishing machine would have been the Porter Cable 7424, Then came the meguairs G220 to steal the show. In 2014 the MT300 came out and took the machine polishing market to a new level and the new and improved Meguiars MT320 came to challenge the PC dominance.
This model introduced the digital torque management that electronically adjusts torque to maintain speed when machine polishing to create the perfect finish.
Digital torque management, electronically adjusts torque to maintain speed when machine polishing
These machines are well-built, sturdy bits of kit. The D shaped handle make it easy to grip and control and the variable speed settings make it easier to choose the right speed for the job.
The MT320also comes ready supplied with the starter pad kit including a foam cutting disc, polishing disc and a finishing disc for the perfect shine.
The LHR15 is engineered to the very best standards and is one of the lightest machines of its type and quality available. It’s also has a soft-start function which means that it gently builds up the speed when first started so as not to unevenly disperse your detailing product.
However the biggest innovation Rupes made with this machine was in its’ “Throw”. Appropriately named Big Foot it has a 15mm throw compared to most other machines which only have 5-8mm.
This means you can cover a bigger area quicker. Thus the combination of this, the build quality and ease of use make it the ideal choice for the professional detailer, serious enthusiast or beginner who only wants the best.
The Flex XC3401 is the next best thing to a rotary polisher but with the safety of the dual action. Unlike the other machines reviewed here the Flex is a “Forced Rotation Dual Action Orbital Polisher”. The others are known as “Dual Action Random Orbit” polishers.
The XC3401 has a powerful 900 watt motor and an impressive orbit speed range of up to 9600 opm.
Made in Germany the build quality and engineering is also excellent, with the machine also easy to handle, although might take just a slight more getting use to than the Meguiars or the Rupes, but not by much.
Because it is a forced rotation machine the gearing on the backing plate is different to that of other dual action machines and in the early days you would have been limited to backing plate and pad size options.
However there are now more options available for this machine making it a serious contender to be at the top of anyone’s list when choosing a dual action polisher.
What Is The Best Dual Action Polisher For Beginners?
As a beginner you don’t want to spend a small fortune on your first dual action polisher. The ideal machine will be a combination of price, features and handling. I would recommend you consider one of the machines with a load sensor torque control so that as you are practicing and learning you keep a steady speed in your polishing.
My own personal preference for a beginners dual action polisher would be the Meguiar's MT320 Dual Action Machine Polisher. This machine has a number of factors going for it. First it does have the torque control. It also has the mighty Meguiars brand behind it for both service and support. And it also comes in at a good medium price point.
I must stress however that this is my own personal favourite dual action polisher for beginners. Your criteria may be a little different.
One tip I would recommend is to get hold of an old car bonnet or trunk lid from a scrapyard and once you buy your first dual action polisher, practice on that before giving it a go on your motor. It’s not that you are likely to do any damage to your car, it’s more for building up your confidence and handling for a better result and finish when you start using it for real.
Should I Buy A Dual Action Polisher Kit?
There is a good argument for buying a complete dual action polisher kit. Especially if you are a newbie to machine polishing.
Some polishers will come with a pad or two and others just as the bare machine. You will also need to look at what pads, compounds, polishes and wax/sealant you will need to complete your set-up. This of course will depend on what you want to achieve from using your polisher.
As you can see from the options, some will come with a complete set of pads and a range of products for various jobs, whilst others will be a more basic kit for a single stage i.e a finishing pad and sealant.
Again depending on the work that needs doing will determine what kit you go for but ideally you may want at least one cutting pad, a couple of polishing pads and a finishing pad. If looking for a machine polishing kit that also includes detailing products it is best to choose a kit with a recognised brand of product packaged with it i.e. Meguiars, Pinnacle, Chemical Guys, Poorboys, Dodo Juice or one of the other respected brands within the detailing community.
What’s The Difference In A Cheap Rotary Action Polisher?
Many of the really cheap rotary action polishers have limitations compared to the machines reviewed in today’s article. Many can be heavier and not so well designed so making them a little harder to use and control. You might also find that the backing plate is fixed, thus limiting your choice of pad sizes. (Normally 9-10 inches)
You might also discover it difficult to get hold of spares should anything go wrong and the reliability is likely not to be on a par with the established brands.
If budget is a key factor in your decision then machines like below will be worth checking out (Most of these will be single action orbital polishers and buffers)
The Meguiars G3500 is an interesting development. It enables enthusiasts to enjoy the benefits of dual action polishing without the expense of buying a dedicated machine. It does however rely on you having a suiable power-tool to use it.
The Meguiars G3500 is a dual action fitting that fixes onto the end of your corded drill with an rpm between 1200 and 3500. It comes ready supplied with its own polishing pad.
You can also purchase packs for difference applications such as correction/cutting, polishing and finishing. These come with the relevant pads and Meguiars product for the job at hand.
Whilst enabling the option of dual action polishing to a much wider audience at a lower cost you have to take into consideration that the footprint is much small than standard as it used 4″ pads. And depending on the type of drill you have will also depend on how easy it is to hold, handle and control. It is not going to be as comfortable to use as a dedicated machine.
That said it is a viable option if you already have the drill in your tool-kit and you want to make a first step up from hand polishing to machine polishing.
Dual Action Pads & Plates
There is a vast array of pads on the market that are suitable for use with a dual action polishing machine, the type and use of which I will cover in a future post.
They also come in a range of different sizes and colours. Most manufacturers use the colours to help identify the type of pad. i.e. Meguiars cutting pads are a burgundy colour, the polishing pad yellow and the finishing pad a very dark grey.
When it comes to size, the bigger the pad the quicker you will be able to work. A common size pad for general detailing work is 6″. And to ensure the pad is held securely onto your car polisher you will need a suitable sized backing plate i.e. for 6” pads you will need a 5” backing plate, for 5” pads a 4-” backing plate and for a 4” pad, a 3-3.5” backing plate.
You will note the suggested plate size is just a little smaller than the pad size it is used with. This is recommended to help avoid any damage should you accidentally tip you machine to the side whilst polishing.
With the pad larger than the plate it will prevent the harder edge of the plate making contact with and damaging your paintwork.
Meet Your Needs - With powerful motor, this random orbital polisher is perfect for polishing and removing swirls, scratches, and defects from all painted vehicles, reappearing the shine of your car. You can also use it to sand wood or metal.
Variable Speed Control - 6-speed control dial allows you to adjust the car polisher speed according to different applications; No load speed: 1,500-6,800 rpm; Low speed for waxing and buffing; Medium speed for polishing and cleaning while high speed for removing paint defects and oxidation.
Ergonomic Design - The rubberized body and adjustable handle provide you with comfortable grip feeling and non-slip control while in use. Never worry about your machine rolling off the table or falling off your detailing car.
Easy To Operate - Whether you have one car, two cars, or a fleet of customers’ cars to care for, this polisher/buffer executes every detailing job quickly and easily. Easy enough for beginners, powerful enough for professionals.
What's Included - 1 x Avid Power dual action polisher, 3 x foam pads, 1 x foam disc,1 x Detachable D-handle, 1 x spanner, 1 x hex wrench, user manual.
➤【15mm Big Foot】Achieve fast results with a 15mm long-throw orbit and powerful motor 7.1A/850W, Contrast to the common 8mm random orbital polisher buffer, perfect for polishing and removing swirls, scratches, and defects from all painted vehicles, such as car and boat, also for sanding wood or metal, can let them shine quickly and safely.
➤【Easy to Operate】The position of the switch and 6-speed dial are designed on the top of tail, only one thumb can operate. No-load speed of this da polisher is 2,000-5,200 rpm; Soft start makes it smoother and safer for you to use. High speed for removing paint defects and oxidation, Medium speed for polishing and cleaning while low speed for waxing and buffing.
➤【Ergonomic Design】The circular arc head grip and becoming smaller tail, side handle, they all provide you with comfortable grip feeling and non-slip control while in use, Never worry about your car buffer rolling off the table or falling off your detailing car.
➤【Special Foam Pads】Made of durable open cell foam and with clear grid stripe, can lock and remain polishing compound (prevent falling off in high speed). Different size for two sides of the pad---front 6.4 inch (160mm), back 6 inch (150mm); all for polisher machine for car. The orange pad is best for polishing scratches, the yellow pad is best for polishing, the blue pad is best for fine polishing and waxing.
➤【Gift tools for men】This car buffers and polishers kit is the best gift for car lovers, father, Boyfriend, husband... Easy to use, Let your love cars shine at weekend and holiday, have a happy mood. 12 months warranty.
Polishes and removes swirls, scratches, and defects from all painted vehicles
Developed for enthusiasts and professionals using heavy-duty construction
Applies wax, sealant, and glaze in minutes. Power : 700 W. Voltage : 120V
Easy-to-use features for any detailing enthusiast or professional; Dynamic performance
Designed with streamlined controls for maximum comfort on any automobile surface. The wide 2800 - 7800 RPM power band is ideal for polishing, waxing, scrubbing, and cleaning, the torqx the perfect first machine that handles all detailing jobs
★【DUAL-ACTION POLISHER】7.5A 900W motor provides stable speed for low noise. Come with random-orbit, swirl-free polishing /sanding action, can reduce the damage of machine tracks, burn marks, holograms, which is different from normal polisher or rotary machines. Perfect for polishing, waxing, polishing, buffing and removing swirls
★【COMPACT SIZE & 6 VARIABLE SPEED】The body size is 14.56"X6.10"X6.10" and weighs only 5.7 pounds, compact and powerful. 6-level variable speed dial allows user to set 2000/6400 RPM according to different materials and applications
★【PROFESSIONAL ACCESSORIES】Come with two different design handles (D-handle and side handle), its ergonomic design meet your higher operational requirements. Attach 5pcs 6-inch types of foam , the yellow foam disc for smooth polishing, the black foam disc for fine waxing and polishing, the wool foam disc for fine grinding
★【HUMANIZED DESIGH】With switch lock design, you can maintain a speed by lock down the button, greatly reducing fatigue. When the spindle is locked, you can quickly replace other accessories without using other tools. Constant power and constant speed allows the operation more steady
★【WHAT YOU GET】1 * Ginour random orbital Polisher; 1* Hook and Loop Base Pad; 5* 6-inch Foam disc; 1*D-Handle；1* Side Handle；1* Hex Wrench； 2* Carbon Brush; 1* Packing Bag；1* User Manual；Lifetime warranty and best customer service
★【CUSTOMIZE YOUR SPEED】Variable speed control dial allows you easily to adjust the speed of this car polisher machine from 1800-5000 rpm. Good for working in polishing compounds at higher speeds and finish polishes and waxes at lower speeds.
★【DUAL ACTION POLISHER】Comparing with rotary polisher, the random orbital buffer polisher is fairly easy to use and won’t burn up your paint job. This DA polisher comes with a swirl-free action which can eliminate defects easily while preventing streaking.
★【CONVENIENT FOR DETAILING】Designed with dual grips allows you use this 6 inch buffer polisher more comfortable without slipping and minimizes user fatigue. Locking button for trigger lets your fingers release from continuously pressing.
★【HOOK & LOOP BACKING PLATE】This buffer comes with industry standard hook and loop backing attachment to change of discs in a second without any tools. Compatible with similar 6 inches industry leading discs which helps to maximize options.
★【THREE DISCS MEET YOUR NEEDS】1pc foam disc, 1pc microfiber disc and 1pc synthetic fleece disc are provided within this polishing kit to meet your various applications. It is high recommended to auto professionals as well as any DIY enthusiasts.
Powerful Motor - Equipped with 7.0A improved motor efficiency, guaranteeing more power and torque on any surface, this dual atiocn polisher will make your car detailing process easier, more efficient and achieve the swirl-free, scratch-free, debris-free results at the same time.
Faster & More Effectively - In contrast to those 8mm & 15mm orbit nomal polisher, this dual action random orbital polisher with eccentricity up to 21mm can make you experience unparalleled polishing effectiveness and high work efficiency.
Variable Speed with Locking Deisign - 6 speed control allows users to control speed from 2100 to 5000 rpm for different applications; variable-speed trigger with a locking function can reduce your fatigue while working.
Ergonomic Design - Designed with rubber side handle and soft rubber non-slip head design, it is convenient and comfortable for long time work, free from work fatigue.
What You Would Get - A 21mm long-throw orbital polisher, 1 X microfiber wash mitt, 3 X buffing pads, 1 X side handle, 1 x hexagonal wrench, user manual.
★【POWERFUL DUAL-ACTION POLISHER】1200W powerful motor provides stable speed and low noise. Random orbit, swirl-free polishing /sanding action to minimize heat and friction to provide surface protection
★【VARIABLE SPEED】Adjustable speed of 600-4000RPM perfectly adapts to different environments and materials. Suitable for car sanding, polishing, waxing, marble, wood, wall and motorcycle polishing, rust removal and other cleaning applications
★【DETACHABLE HANDLE】With a side handle and a U-shaped handle, you can choose the way to make yourself comfortable, safe and convenient operation
★【HUMANIZED DESIGN】Switch lock design, the speed can be maintained by pressing the button, thereby reducing fatigue. The machine's head and body handle are designed with soft rubber non-slip to ensure a firmer and more comfortable grip
Six Variable Speed --- Easily adjust the speed of your orbital polisher by manually turning the knob. Conveniently located variable speed dial allows users to set speed from 1500-6800 rpm according to different materials and applications.
Multi-Function Use --- It delivers excellent results for detailing automobiles, boats, wooden furniture, marble polishing, and granite. Perfect for professional and casual use.
Ergonomic Design --- Its compact light design allows you to polish, buff, and finish surfaces over longer run times and at various angles with precision and consistency. Find the perfect grip by adjusting swivel D-handle and interchangeable side handle of the polisher.
Saves Time & Money --- The key to extending the longevity of a vehicle's paint is proper upkeep, including waxing and polishing. With the high cost of painting a car, you are potentially saving thousands of dollars in future repair costs.
Complete Kit --- 1 x polisher; 1 x microfiber wash mitt; 1 x towel; 2 x detachable side handle; 1 x spanner; 1 x hex wrench; user manual; 2-year limited warranty.
✅Powerful & Stable - The polisher has a powerful 2.5 Amp 300W motor that can ensure strong power,long-term durability and smooth operation for the most demanding applications.
✅6 Variable Speeds - Features 6 speed setting that allows you to adjust speed from 1000 to 6400 RPM according to different materials and applications.
✅Detachable Side Handle - TPE coated shockproof side-handle makes low vibration,provides maximum comfort and firm grip even when working for long hours.
✅Wide Application - Designed for car polishing,sanding,waxing,sealing glaze,home appliance and furniture polishing,protect delicate surfaces from damage and make your car look brand new everyday.
🎁Complete Kits - Package included 1* 3" car polisher,2* 3" flat sponge wheel,2* 3" wave sponge wheel,1* 3" woolen wheel,1* anti-vibration handle,1* spaner,1* pair carbon brushes,1* canvas bag.It is also an ideal gift for him on Valentine's day,Birthday,Anniversary and Father's Day.
Do you use a dual action polisher? Which in your opinion is the best DA polisher? Have you had any good (or bad) experiences of using a DA machine – has it transformed your detailing regime? Are there any machine that you would recommend that I have not covered here. Please share your thoughts and experiences with us using the comments box below.