Car Polishing Machines and the Difference Between Rotary, Dual Action & Orbital

When looking to buy a polishing machine we often get asked if Rotary car polishing machines are suitable for first-time users and what the main differences are between Rotary, Dual Action and Orbital car polishers.

Rotary Polishers

The motor on these machines directly drives the polishing head that fixes directly to the backing plate onto which you fix your cutting, polishing or finishing pad.

This means all the power, and there can be a vast amount of it, is directly driving the rotation of the machine down onto and across your paintwork – too much pressure and you can quickly burn through your paintwork.

However the upside is that if you are seeking to do paint correction the Rotary is more suited to this type of work as it will allow you to take the paint layers down further and quicker than either a Dual Action or Orbital.

Many professional detailers use a rotary car polishing machines for both speed and where required for full paint correction details. However many will be the first to admit they started out with a Dual Action such as the original Porter Cables before moving onto the Rotary car polishing machines.

Dual Action Polishers

Image showing difference in motion of dual action and rotorary car polishing machinesThis unique action prevents the creation of holograms (symmetrical buffing marks), paint burns and other forms of paint damage often associated with rotary polishers.

The Dual Action polishing machine is ideally suited to light scratch and swirl removal and deep shine buffing – it would not be the ideal choice for the removal of deeper scratches where your finger nail “jarrs” when passed over the scratch (the finger nail test).

Orbital Buffers

These tend to have larger heads and dual handles that allow the machine to be pressed onto the paintwork. The also tend to work at lower speeds and have a single “jiggle” movement rather than spin.

They are ideal for applying product deep into the paintwork over a larger area and removing same (using different bonnets). They are however not as versatile as the Dual Action car polishing machines, which will allow the use of different size plates and pads and work at higher speeds, whilst being more user friendly than a Rotary.

The Dual Action as by its name combines two actions, one the rotating of the plate holding your pad and the other is the oscillation of the spindle. An easier way to understand this is comparing it to the action of the earth – which itself spins, whist at the same time orbits, or oscillates around the sun.

The motor on these machines directly drives the polishing head that fixes directly to the backing plate onto which you fix your cutting, polishing or finishing pad.

This means all the power, and there can be a vast amount of it, is directly driving the rotation of the machine down onto and across your paintwork – too much pressure and you can quickly burn through your paintwork.

Which Car Polishing Machine Should I Choose?

Your choice of machine really depends on what you want to achieve and your level of confidence (experience). The beauty of some of the latest car polishing machines is both the introduction of digital speed control and the lighter weight. The speed on some machines can be set in increments from 500 rpm to 3000 rpm, making them more user-friendly than traditional rotary machines. It does however still need to be treated with respect.

The Dual Action Car Polisher (DA) machines whilst not being equal to a rotary when it comes to paint rectification work, will produce excellent, professional-looking results with the added benefit that it is much harder to do any serious damage to your paintwork than it is with a rotary.

And lastly if you are seeking simply to save time and cover large areas the traditional dual handled orbital buffer may be the ideal choice.

Bestseller No. 1
WantJoin Electric Winery Wine Glass Polishing Machine,5 Polishing Cloth Washers Commercial Glass Polisher, Stainless-Steel Glassware Polishing Machine for Bar Kitchen
  • Polish up to 330 cups per hour: The machine can polish up to up to 600 cups within an hour, which is a quarter of the time it would take to polish by hand. In addition to the labor-saving feature, it leaves no fingerprints and makes your glasses clear and crystal
  • Warm air drying system: The blow tube maintains a steady stream of air at about 136℉over the polishing brushes. This ensures that the brushes are always dry and ready to use without leaving water stains on cups
  • Safe material and easy to clean: Our glass polishing machine is made of food-grade 304 stainless steel. Cloth of the 5 removable brushes is made of soft microfiber. Brushes are dishwasher washable, and can wipe all corners of glassware and make your glasses sparkling
  • Apply to various cups and occasions: The glass polishing machine can polish cups with diameter of 1.18-3.93in. It applies to red wine glasses, champagne glasses and decanters,etc. It’s popular in hotels, caterers, bars, restaurants, venues, and glassware rental companies where brilliantly polished glassware is vital to maintaining reputation
  • Reduce cost: Soft brushes of the machine is gentle on glassware without scratching or damaging cups and prevents artificial damage and save your costs of replacing cups. Besides, it spare your costs of polishing liquid which it doesn’t need
SaleBestseller No. 2
LDHTHOPI Buffer Polisher,1600W 7 Inch/6 Inch Rotary Buffer Polisher Waxer,7 Variable Speed 1000-3500 RPM, Detachable Handle for Car, Boat Sanding, Polishing, Waxing.
  • 【Powerful Motor】With 1600W powerful motor and pure copper wire, this rotary polisher for car detailing has durable and strong power. Built-in carbon brush structure safety, long service life, will not encounter the orbital polishing machine stop working. Light body, easy replacement of carbon brushes. Heat resistant copper wire motor allows long working time without burning the machine. Constant power and constant speed function, more stable.
  • 【Variable Speed Control】7 variable speed control dial allows you to change the car polisher speed according to different applications and materials. Easily adjust your speed without stopping from 500-3300 RPM. You can use a higher setting on harder materials and lower setting on softer materials. Low speed (1-2) for waxing and buffing; Medium speed(3-4) for polishing and cleaning while high speed (5-7)for removing paint defects and oxidation.
  • 【Wide Application】LDHTHOPI buffer polisher comes with sandpapers, foam pads for waxing, wool polishing pads You can use soft or hard foam pads to finish different application. This rotary polisher is ideal for polishing, sanding, waxing, sealing glaze, removing swirls, shallow scratches, excess wax oil and defects from vehicles. You can also use it on furniture, ceramic, wood, aluminum, steel, tiles, plastic and more.
  • 【Compact & Ergonomic Design】: LDHTHOPI polisher body size is 15.7"X3.5"X3.1" and weighs only 4.57lbs, the buffer polisher comes with detachable D-handle and side handle. With switch lock design, you can keep the speed by lock down the button, greatly reducing fatigue. Comfortable front grip, curved body sense handle is not easy to fatigue, more accurate operation.
  • 【What you get】:1 * LDHTHOPI Buffer Polisher; 2* Hook and Loop Base Pad; 6* 6-inch Foam pads; 3* 7-inch Wool Pads; 10*sandpapers, 1* Upgraded D-Handle;1* Side Handle;1* Hex Wrench; 2* Carbon Brush; 1* LDHTHOPI tool Bag;1* User Manual.
Bestseller No. 3
Hi-Tech Diamond 8" All-U-Need | Lapidary Rock Mineral Grinding Polishing Machine | Includes Accessory Kit
  • Complete flat lap machine that is one of the best on the market. Grind, shape and polish stones, minerals, synthetic material and metals on the All-U-Need.
  • Included accessory kit allows you to work right out of the box. Comes with everything you need to complete the entire rough-to-polish-process.
  • Powerful 1/4 hp, heavy-duty, ball bearing motor with variable speed, delivering speeds from 800rpm to 3,400rpm. Work at the speed you desire.
  • Made of lightweight, rustproof, impact-resistant material with small footprint. Easy to travel with and portable.
  • Manufactured in the U.S.A. Comes backed with a one-year warranty.
Bestseller No. 4
XtremepowerUS 45809 Polishing Machine w/Dual Pad 3/4hp 8" Electric Benchtop Polisher Grinder
  • Stable Operation - Cast iron base for reducing vibration and avoid damage caused by the vibration of the polisher during use
  • Powerful Performance - Powerful 3/4HP motor with reliable performance that starts quickly
  • Wildly Use - Multipurpose polishing, buffing metal or plastic parts for refined appearance
  • Precision Machining - Extra long ball-bearing supported precision machined shafts, high quality ensures long-term durability
  • 2 Buffing Wheels - It includes 2 buffing wheels allows users to do 2 kinds of polishing operations at the same time
Bestseller No. 5
75W High Power Adjustable Speed Electric Shoe Polisher Machine with 3 Soft Moving Heads for Cleaning and Polishing,Automatic Shoe Shine Machine Kit1
  • 【Say Goodbye to Elbow Grease】You polish your shoes in hurry before going work every morning? The shoes are still dirty and not shining even your arms get sore? Always mess up your hands by the shoe polish? OK, time to say goodbye to elbow grease! You are capable of dealing with your shoes efficiently and easily with this electric shoe shine kit, and keep your hands clean. This is a time saver that makes you in decent shape quickly every time before you go out.
  • 【Strong Power,Adjustable Speed】The polisher is with a plug-in design, that assures the sufficient power is supplied to the motor for cleaning and polishing. The max power is 75 W, meanwhile the speed can reach 2500 rev / min, and yes, the speed is adjustable.
  • 【Scratch Free】The electric shoe buffer kit is all made with quality materials which are soft to your valuable leather shoes. These moving brush heads are made with natural swine bristle, horse hair, wool, sponge, the main body of the electric shoe shine machine is made with solid wood and brass. What can we expect more about a shoe care valet?
  • 【Two Sets of Brush Heads】 Two sets of brush heads are provided for this shoe care kit so that you can take care of your different-colored shoes. And all the items come with a case that is convenient for storing .
  • 【Versatile】Here are multiple attachments in the box, 3 moving brush heads for automatic shoe polisher. The instruction is quite simple: 1, remove the dirt by the bristle head which is also available to wash the sneakers;2, use the sponge head with shoe polish as the applicator, then wait seconds for the shoe polish absorption; 3, replace it with the wool brush to buff for the last time. Well, done, a mirror finish is a breeze since now.


  • Man and Van Cambridge
    Posted January 3, 2012 3:11 pm 0Likes

    Dodo Juice Machine takes my vote. One of the positive point is that it is the lightest weight in its category and speed can be adjusted easily. It gribs well in hand and less chance of slipping.

    I have one, and it is very reliable and long lasting. It consume less power and gribs very easily. The size of the pad is also very reasonable…remember. bigger pad tends to slip and are not good while doing the corners.

    • Fax
      Posted July 23, 2012 6:24 pm 0Likes

      Hey mate, thinking of getting one dodo juice, how has it been treating you in the last six months. Thanks faz

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