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.

SaleBestseller No. 1
PORTER-CABLE Variable Speed Polisher, 6-Inch (7424XP) , gray
2,177 Reviews
PORTER-CABLE Variable Speed Polisher, 6-Inch (7424XP) , gray
  • The car polisher is 4.5 Amp, AC Only
  • The variable speed polisher features electronic variable-speed dial 2,500-6,800 OPM
  • Random orbit, swirl-free sanding/polishing action
  • Includes 5-inch proprietary counter balance for use with 6-inch sanding/polishing pad
  • Accepts 5/16 - 24 spindle thread accessories
Bestseller No. 2
Moneysworth & Best Buff Shine Electric Shoe Polishing Machine
319 Reviews
Moneysworth & Best Buff Shine Electric Shoe Polishing Machine
  • Buffs a magnificent shine in seconds, Buffers imported made with Australian lambs wool
  • Push-button control for convenience and stability
  • Finest floor model shoe buffer
  • Outperforms other brands shoe shine machines
  • 110V machine for North America (Adapter or transformer not recommended)
SaleBestseller No. 3
Avid Power Buffer Polisher, 6-inch Dual Action Polisher Random Orbital Car Buffer Polisher Waxer with Variable Speed, 3 Foam Pads for Car Polishing and Waxing, AEP127
3,124 Reviews
Avid Power Buffer Polisher, 6-inch Dual Action Polisher Random Orbital Car Buffer Polisher Waxer with Variable Speed, 3 Foam Pads for Car Polishing and Waxing, AEP127
  • Versatile Applications - 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.
Bestseller No. 4
POWERTEC BF600 Heavy Duty Bench Buffer, 6-Inch
785 Reviews
POWERTEC BF600 Heavy Duty Bench Buffer, 6-Inch
  • INCLUDES: 6" Bench Buffer Machine
  • FUNCTION: An easy-to-use buffing station designed for a variety of buffing and polishing projects
  • FEATURES: Dual end wheels for simultaneous polishing, a convenient off/on switch and extra long ball bearing supported machine shafts
  • HEAVY DUTY BUILD: This benchtop buffer polisher was made with a cast iron base providing a weighted and stabilized platform for reduced vibration, while also eliminating potential damage often caused by vibrational buffering
  • POWER BUFFER SPECS: 6" buffing wheel diameter, ½ horsepower induction motor, 120V, 60 Hz 3450 RPM

2 Comments

  • 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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