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
SILVEL Buffer Polisher, 1600W 7 Inch/6 Inch Polisher for Car Detailing, Wax Machine, 7 Variable Speed, with 6 Foam Pads, 3 Wool Pads, Packaging Bag, for Boat Polishing and Waxing, Red
503 Reviews
SILVEL Buffer Polisher, 1600W 7 Inch/6 Inch Polisher for Car Detailing, Wax Machine, 7 Variable Speed, with 6 Foam Pads, 3 Wool Pads, Packaging Bag, for Boat Polishing and Waxing, Red
  • 【Powerful Motor】With 1600W powerful motor, this 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. 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.
  • 【 7 VARIABLE SPEED】: 7-speed variable speed control dial allows you to adjust the car polisher speed according to different applications; Easily adjust your speed without stopping from 500-3300 RPM. Ideal for cars, boats, motorcycles, marble, and floors. The high-performance electric car polisher helps to increase your efficiency.
  • 【HIGH-PERFORMANCE ROTARY POLISHER】: Pure copper wire with high quality motor, durable and strong power. Built-in carbon brush structure safety, long service life, will not encounter the orbital buffer or polishing machine doesn't work half the work. Perfect for polishing and removing swirls, scratches, and defects from all painted vehicles, make your car look brand new everyday.
  • 【COMPACT SIZE &Ergonomic Design】: The body size is 15.7"X3.5"X3.1" and weighs only 4.57 pounds, Polisher comes with two detachable handles (D-handle and side handle), With switch lock design, you can maintain a speed by lock down the button, greatly reducing fatigue. Comfortable front grip, curved body sense handle is not easy to fatigue, more accurate operation.polishing efficiency is high and the power is strong.
  • 【WHAT YOU GET】:1 * SILVEL Buffer Polisher; 2* Hook and Loop Base Pad; 6* 6-inch Foam disc; 3* 7-inch Wool Pads; 10* 1000 mesh emery paper; 1*D-Handle;1* Side Handle;1* Hex Wrench; 2* Carbon Brush; 1* Packing Bag;1* User Manual
Bestseller No. 2
OPAVIOC Jewelry Polisher - Adjustable Variable Speed Bench Grinder Polishing & Buffing Machine, Dental Buffer & Lathe - Includes 6 Cloth Wheels, 2 Abrasive Fiber Wheels, Safety Glass, Polish Compound
231 Reviews
OPAVIOC Jewelry Polisher - Adjustable Variable Speed Bench Grinder Polishing & Buffing Machine, Dental Buffer & Lathe - Includes 6 Cloth Wheels, 2 Abrasive Fiber Wheels, Safety Glass, Polish Compound
  • ✅Lightweight Table Grinder Polisher - Whether you're a professional in a busy workshop or a hobbyist making DIY projects, this polisher buffer can be used anywhere without taking up too much space.
  • ✅More Than A Jewelry Polishing Machine - By adjusting the speeds, you can polish anything from chains and jewelry to gems and machine components. This buffer polisher can even be a dental lathe!
  • ✅Compact, Portable, Powerful - Don't be fooled by the size of this bench polisher grinder machine. Despite its size, it boasts a low-noise 320W motor that churns out speeds of 1750RPM up to 8500RPM.
  • ✅With Buffing Wheel Polisher & More - This bench buffer comes bundled with six 4" cotton wheels for post-polishing jewelry, two fiber wheels for rust removal, and one polishing compound.
  • ✅Adjustable Speed: The grinder wheel polisher features different speeds, making it ideal for any type or level jewelry worker looking at buffing their pieces! The variable speed bench buffer and polishing machine for jewelry can perform different degrees of polishing by adjusting the speed. Variable speed bench buffer speeds ranging from 1750 to 8500 RPM, you can go from steady-going up through high-speed fine grinding with perfect finishes on rings or other jewelry!
Bestseller No. 3
Chemical Guys BUF_503X TORQX Random Orbital Polisher, Pads, Polishes & Compounds Kit - 9 Items
10,225 Reviews
Chemical Guys BUF_503X TORQX Random Orbital Polisher, Pads, Polishes & Compounds Kit - 9 Items
  • EVERYTHING YOU NEED IN ONE KIT - The TORQX Kit features everything you need to polish paint, remove swirls and scratches, clean and restore clarity to headlights, and more!.Fit Type: Universal Fit
  • DEVELOPED FOR PROFESSIONALS & ENTHUSIASTS - The TORQX is the dual action polisher of choice for any beginner, hardcore enthusiast, or professional detailer looking for one simple, lightweight, and powerful machine that can do it all.
  • POWERFUL -The powerful 700 watt motor, 8mm dual action orbital throw, and compact design deliver powerful and consistent polishing, paint correction, and cleaning results with minimal fatigue and wear on the user.
  • COMPACT & VERSATILE - The TORQX features simple and intuitive controls, rugged components, and durable build materials to last for years of dependable detailing use. Easily polish single stage and clear coat paint finishes, polished metals, glass, and clear optical plastics with the TORQX.
  • READY TO WORK RIGHT OUT OF THE BOX - The TORQX kit ships with the entire range of the V Line series of compounds and polishes; Choose between three of the fan-favorite cutting, polishing, and finishing pads for the best result on any paint finish!
SaleBestseller No. 4
3M Perfect-It EX Machine Polish, 06094, High Performing, 1 qt (32 fl oz/946 mL)
1,116 Reviews
3M Perfect-It EX Machine Polish, 06094, High Performing, 1 qt (32 fl oz/946 mL)
  • HIGHEST-PERFORMING: 3M’s highest-performing machine polish that helps remove compound swirl marks, haze, holograms and other minor imperfections
  • REFINED RESULTS: Creates a fine, polished finish on painted surfaces
  • COST EFFICIENT: Long wet times reduce the amount of product needed
  • STRONG HOLD: Dependably adheres to the pad to reduce sling, mess, and cleanup time
  • For industrial/occupational use only. Not for consumer sale or use
Bestseller No. 5
KITLUCK Buffer Polisher, 10A 7-Inch Rotary Polisher for Car Detailing, 1200W 7 Variable Speed Car Buffer Polisher Machine, Max 4800RPM, with Foam Pad Wool Bonnet Kit For Car Polishing, Buffing, Waxing
31 Reviews
KITLUCK Buffer Polisher, 10A 7-Inch Rotary Polisher for Car Detailing, 1200W 7 Variable Speed Car Buffer Polisher Machine, Max 4800RPM, with Foam Pad Wool Bonnet Kit For Car Polishing, Buffing, Waxing
  • ✅【Precision Engineered Polisher】KITLUCK buffer polisher for car detailing features a precision-constructed pure copper motor with the power of 1200W, which is suitable for most buffing jobs. And it can reach a maximum speed of 4800rpm, far better than those claiming "13.5A, 1500w" polisher. Heat resistant copper wire motor and dual-row heat dissipation allows long working time without burning the car buffer polisher. The 5/8-11" spindle allows you to change the disc to different sizes at will.
  • ✅【Variable Speed Control】7 level variable speed from 1600-4800RPM allows you to choose the suitable speed of KITLUCK car buffer according to different applications freely without stopping the car polisher. Low speed (MIN-2) is recommended for waxing and buffing; medium speed (3-4) recommended for polishing and cleaning; high speed (5-Max) recommended for removing defects and oxidation. You can also adjust the buffer machine speed according to different materials to help you improve efficiency.
  • ✅【More Pads For More Application】KITLUCK car wax buffer machine comes with wave foam pad, flat foam pad, wool bonnet, microfiber bonnet, sandpaper. Different pads serve different needs. This car buffers and polishers kit is ideal for polishing, waxing, buffing, sanding and removing swirls/scratches/rust/paint/defects from cars. What's more, KITLUCK buffing machine can also be used for polishing on furniture, marble, tiles, floor and more.
  • ✅【More Thoughtful Design】 KITLUCK car polishing machine maintains a compact size of 19.7"x4.9" and weighs 5 pounds. Effortless for long time use and easy to carry. With the curved D-shape handle, side handle and rubber anti-vibration grip, the operation will be more comfortable. External carbon brush structure makes it easier to replace the carbon brushes. What's more, we've prepared a protective thickened storage bag with fixed cloth tape inside to keep your accessories clutter-free!
  • ✅【What You Get In Kit】1 * KITLUCK Buffer Polisher Machine; 1* 7-inch Hook And Loop Base Pad(5/8"-11 Thread); 2* 7-inch Wave Foam pads; 2* 7-inch Flat Foam pads, 2* 7-inch Wool Polishing Bonnet; 4*sandpapers, 2* Microfiber Bonnets, 1* Anti-Vibration D-Handle;1* Side Handle;1* Thickened Tool Organizer Bag;1* Hex Wrench; 2* Replaceable Carbon Brush;1* User Manual.

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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