20 best car polisher for beginners [Ultimate Guide]
Are you asking yourself questions such as….
Which car polisher is best for me as a beginner?
What is the difference between a rotary polisher and a DA polisher?
What are foam pads and backing plates?
All these questions and more are answered in the blog post along with all the information to enable you to make the right choice when you purchase your car polisher.
How many types of polishers are there?
Generally speaking there are two types of car polisher
- Rotary polisher
- Dual-action polisher
As the name suggests this is a type of polisher with a circular disc that rotates at various speeds. The polishing pad is attached to the disc by means of a backing plate. Polish is deposited on the pad and the pad polishes the car’s surface in with a rotary action
Dual-Action Polisher (Da polisher)
As the title suggests this type of car polisher is often referred to as a “DA Polisher” meaning it has a dual action rather than just the circular motion of the rotary polisher.
This means the pad spins the same as the rotary polisher but the head of the polisher also moves in an orbital fashion. Again polish is deposited on the polishing pad then applied to the car paint or clear coat.
Advantages and disadvantages of Rotary and Dual Action polishers.
- Ability to remove serious paint defects
- Quicker working time
- Danger of high rotation causing excess heat and paint damage if too much pressure is applied
- Can be difficult to achieve constant pressure without practice.
Dual-action polisher Advantages
- Less chance of damage by overheating the car surface
- Easy to use
Dual-action polisher Disadvantages
- Unsuitable for deep scratches and major swirl marks and paint correction
- Slow time to complete job
Rotary or DA Polisher for beginners?
Based on the advantages and disadvantages a dual action polisher is definitely the perfect choice for a beginner.
The chances of causing overheating on the car surface area are far increased with a rotary polisher. Just holding one of these high speed rotary polishers in the same position for too long a time can cause immense damage to the car paint.
Beginner polisher feature considerations
Now we have established that a DA polisher is definitely the best choice for a beginner let us take a look at their main features so that you can make an informed decision.
Variable or set speeds?
Most dual action or rotary polishers have a variable speed dial, enabling you to change speeds at will by simply moving a dial.
Speeds vary usual from around 1500 to 6800 rpm, often in 6 speed increments. The main advantage here is that when you apply the polish to the buffing pads you can use the really low speed to start before increasing to the higher speeds. This is often called a Soft Start feature and it is really worth looking for in your search for the best dual action polisher.
Corded or cordless polisher?
This can be purely a personal choice, if mains electric supply is available. I prefer corded as I dislike having to charge things up as I tend to forget and enjoy just plugging in a polishing!
The main disadvantage I find with the corded models it the trailing cord and often pulling an extension lead around the car.
Power supply is the main factor in this choice and cordless has to be the only option if where you are polishing the car doesn't have power or is difficult to get power.
An example is if you ever show your car and there is no power near to the car when you need that final buff over!
Beginner polisher price range
Budget is always a factor for most people, especially with this being your first polisher purchase. The polisher can have all the great features in the world and be the top choice of pro detailers but if the price is too high it can be hard to justify the purchase.
We will take this into consideration when giving you our recommendations. We will also consider build quality.
Choosing a car polisher
So without further ado let's take a look at what is the best car buffer for beginners in four categories
- Dual Action Polishers
- Rotary polishers (Incase your set on one of these)
- Corded and Cordless
- Purchase Price
Dual Action Polishers
As I have already mentioned, dual action polishers are in my opinion the best choice for a beginner. But it is important to know there are different types of dual action polishers.
These are Standard and Long throw
Standard Dual Action Polishers
Standard DA polishers are as the name suggests the “normal” type of polisher which most DA polishers are based on. The pad rotates and the orbital head moves in a standard pattern to prevent the pad staying in the same position too long. On this type of machine the orbital head will move about 8 mm.
Long Throw Dual Action Polishers
Long Throw DA polishers have a “longer orbital pattern” meaning with this type of polisher the head moves a lot further out on its orbit than the standard type. A long throw polisher will often have a 15mm or 21 mm throw.
These are important points to note as you really could end up with something that really isn't suitable for you as a beginner. But it is worth noting that the longer throw machines can be even more safe for the beginner polisher. As if you think about it there is even less chance of the polishing head staying in the same position due to the longer throw distance of the orbit.
Now let us take a look at some of the machines that suit the above suggestions.
Batoca Dual Action Polisher (Standard Polisher)
We are recommending the Batoca DA Polisher as on of the best polisher's for beginners because as a beginner you may not have all the pads, backing plates etc that are needed to get going right away.
With this machine you get everything you need to start polishing your car and get the best results right from the moment you receive the parcel!
It is a strong, robust machine with a wonderful design. It can be used with the handles provided or with the ergonomic design head. It is also a really nice size, measuring just 16.5 inches as you can see and compare to a wheel in the picture below.
You also get 13 other pieces:
3 6-inch types of foam pads suitable for applying the polish
3 wool pads ideal for buffing off the polish to get the ultimate shine
1 fine wool pad for greater detail shine
2 super microfiber towels for cleaning.
1 pair of polish gloves,
1 polish tool bag, which is just ideal to keep all the components together.
2 carbon brush for periodic replacement
The machine has six variable speeds from 1000 to 3800 OPM (Oscillations per minute). These give you more than enough options with the speed to experiment and find the ideal speeds for best results.
This compact reliable machine weighs around nine pounds which is about average for a polisher and is not too heavy for a beginner even if you are buffing larger vehicles.
Overall an ideal choice for a total beginner.
Chemical Guys TORQ15DA 15MM Long-Throw Dual Action (Long Throw Polisher)
Maybe you have had some experience with a dual action polisher and you want to move up to a Long Throw machine then I thought I would mention the Chemical Guys TORQ15DA machine kit.
Chemical Guys are a well established brand in the car detailing space, mainly from their super range of washes and polishes but they also have equally good polishing machines.
This machine as the title suggests gives a 15 mm long throw which is nearly double the standard but not out as far as the extreme 21 mm types. This will allow you to experience a long throw machine without feeling out of control with the longer throw type.
Again this is ideal for a beginner as it comes as a kit to get your going right from the start.
It weighs in at around the 9 pounds mark again and comes with some of the superb Chemical Guys products. No thing to note here is that it is a 110V machine not a 220V
I believe this is the best choice for a beginner but there are three other dual action orbital buffers you may want to take a look at in this section, they are:
As you know my recommendation for a beginner polisher is a dual action polisher but if you feel the need for a rotary polisherI will cover the rotary polishers I consider to be the best for beginners.
Golpus 6 Speed Rotary Polisher Kit
With the Golpus Rotary polisher you have a solidly built machine with a powerful 10 amp motor. This rotary buffer is suitable for beginners and professional car detailers alike due to its powerful motor and six different speeds.
It is ideal for beginners as it comes in a kit form with back plate, sanding and wool pads and removable side handle.
Weighing in slightly heavier than the Batoca model, I featured previously this a very robustly constructed machine.
Supplied in a sturdy case this would be the ideal choice for a beginner if a rotary polisher was their choice
Here are three other rotary polishers that could be of interest
Corded or Cordless Polishers?
This is a very important consideration. The decision can be governed by personal choice or by practical considerations such as access to power supply etc
Lets take a look at the options
Just in case you are unsure, this means that the polisher is connected to the mains via a plug and a lead.
These used to be pretty much the only type of polisher but in recent years the cordless models have made great developments and now have to be seriously considered.
Corded polishers are usually always the first choice for the professional car detailers as their machines are working all day every day and down time for charging can have a serious effect on time taken for a detailing job and ultimately affect the business bottom line.
Power and torque are a real benefit of most corded power tools have over cordless but when you consider that torque is not really an important factor in car polishing. Therefore, corded polishers do not really have that much advantage here over cordless
The main disadvantage is the trailing cable that you often have to keep adjusting as you work around the car.
Here we have the distinct advantage of no power supply needed and if there is one no need for annoying trailing cables to trip over of become unplugged when you tread on them!
Cordless power tools and in particular polishers have really developed over the last few years. And if you stop and think about it cordless suits polishers better than most power tools.
If you have a cordless drill or grinder for example then the job you are doing is usually just in the one place. Drill a hole or grind off some loose metal. But when polishing a car you are continuously moving around the vehicle and this is where cordless polishers have a real advantage.
The disadvantages as already mentioned are the time it take to recharge the battery. This can be somewhat helped by having two batteries, one for use in polisher while the second is being charged.
An important thing to note here is that when purchasing a cordless polisher, ensure the battery is included in the purchase as I see many for sale as “Machine only” battery not supplied, so beware.
Suggested Cordless Polishers for beginners
Ryobi P435 cordless DA polisher
I would recommend having a look at the Ryobi P435 cordless polisher. This is a totally unique designed DA polisher. Even with its powerful motor it still weighs in at just 2.14 pounds. This enables hours of effortless use further enabled by its unique designed handles. Please note this is a one speed polisher that operates at 2500 OPM.
It is important to note as mentioned before this is one of the polishers that comes without a battery. But any Ryobi battery will fit, so if you have a Ryobi drill or other power tool in your possession then you can use that.Or you can purchase two for $34.99.
Having the two would work out well by using one while the other is charging ready to take over if you're working on a large vehicle. Also not this only comes with two wool polishing pads.
Therefore you may need to buy some foam applicator pads, I find the Griots Garage foam pads are great for use with these type of polishers.
Even though I am suggesting this is suitable for beginners I think any professional detailers or car owner would benefit from having one of these in their detailing fit as it can be a real change to use from the more conventional polishers.
TECCPO Cordless Brushless Polisher
Here we have a very serious cordless polisher with variable speed control and again in a kit form making it ideal for the beginner detailer to get better results right from the start.
Interestingly this machine has a brushless motor and comes complete with a battery, and a fast charging unit, which makes it quite unique in this power tool sector.. Also included are four polishing pads
Equipped with two detachable handles that can be fixed in varying positions makes it a real joy to use for extended periods. And finally a lock on switch can ease the burden of holding a switch and maintain the maching at a constant speedin for long periods of time.
All these come in a robust carry bag making it a superb kit that can last for years.
Here are 3 other cordless DA polishers which maybe of interest to you.
Suggested Corded Polishers for beginners
TCP Global Heavy Duty 6" Variable Speed Random Orbit Dual-Action Polisher
Here one of the best options for a Corded DA Polishers that I consider to be suitable for beginners. It is a heavy duty machine which ensures it can absorb the sometimes heavy application of the beginner detailer with out and damage occurring to the machine.
As with the cordless models it comes with six variable speeds to enable all polishing situations to be dealt with in the best way. It is equipped with a soft start option making it ideal for the circular motion of the pad to spread the polish on the car surface before speeding up as required to attain the best results.
This soft start option has to be a serious consideration for the beginner detailer as many hours and polish can be wasted by applying a fast rotating polishing pad on to a car surface!
A unique feature of this machine is the speed digital display that allows you to constantly know what speed you are running at with a mere glance down.
Recommended speeds are
2000 OPM for Waxing and buffing
2600 OPM for Waxing and buffing
- 3200 OPM for Polishing and cleaning
- 4400 OPM for Removing serious paint defects
- 4800 OPM for Removing Oxidation
This wide range of speeds and their best uses makes it very easy for a beginner to get the basics right and attain great results even at the early attempts there by making early success and learning virtually guaranteed.
Please note the kit with this machine polisher is not as extensive as the ones supplied with the cordless models I featured earlier. This one only contains six polishing pads ranging from coarse waffles to fine wool. Even though the kit is not as extensive this machine is still a great choice.
WISETOOL 6-Inch Dual Action Orbital Polisher
My second recommendation is the Wisetool dual action random orbital polisher. This does come in a more extensive kit form than the previous featured polisher. IT includes a carry bar, buffing and polishing pads as well as a pad changing wrench.
This model also has a soft start option and boasts a powerful 7 amp 850W motor enabling it to tackle even the most stubborn of paint correction jobs.
Antivibration handle and a ergonomic head holding option are two nice features to be considered by the complete beginner. The speed control unit is not as accessible or visible as the previous model and is positioned at the rear of the machine but it easily operated with it being a simple dial switch to adjust the six different speeds.
Interestingly the weight of this machine is just 6.52 pounds making it very easily useable compared to the heavier cordless products featured earlier. This is mainly due to there not being a heavy battery attached to the machine. This may also be a serious consideration you need to think about when deciding to purchase a corded or cordless machine.
Here are three more corded polishers you may want to check out to compare to my selections as it is a personal choice in the end.
Budget, the recommended beginner polisher price range.
Your budget is always a governing factor and will largely determine your final choice, but I must say that you should not go for too cheap a machine as quality wins everytime and the saying buy cheap buy twice often proves true. Especially with power tools!
I imagine by the time you have started to search for your first car polisher machine you have had some experience with car polishing and waxing by hand. So, now ready to take the step to machine polishing?
On reaching this stage you now should have a healthy interest in car detailing and are counting on being still detailing in a few years? Therefore you really do need to choose the best machine you budget can stretch to without breaking that bank.
I will cover a range of high quality machines that I think represent great value and will give you great results from your hard work.
I will start the range at $90 which in my estimation is the lowest end of the value and quality range you need to go if you are considering detailing as a serious hobby or commercial use.
The range will have an upper limit of $160 as I do not believe you should spend more than this on your first car polisher as a beginner.
The $90-$160 range is what I determine as the sweetspot between value and quality. Below this range the quality of the product can often become questionable and above the range I doubt you would get value for time used.
This price range will give you a good machine that will last but not break the bank. Also if maybe a change in your life circumstances change you can usually sell a polisher in this range without losing too much money.
Lets take a look starting at the lower end of the price range and work upwards.
Aiment Cordless Car Buffer (Cordless)
This superbly designed cordless polisher has all the features of a powerful corded machine such as six variable speeds and a big 6 inch backing plate but weighs in at a meer 2.5 pounds!
Speeds vary from 2500 to 5000 which makes it capable polishing out minor scratches and swirls as well as waxing to a high level.
Battery life is a concern with most cordless polishers but in the case of this Aiment machine these concerns are well addressed. It comes with two rechargeable batteries to give you the ability to have two fully charged to start the job and one on charge when you start using the second one. Combine this is fast charging and a charge idicator light and most all the concerns are answered.
A wonderful compact polisher that should be in any detailers tool kit and with it being at the bottom of my suggested price range at $99 it represents an ideal entry level machine.
Batoca DA Polisher
The Batoca DA Polisher has been featured earlier in this post but we will again mention it as it fits perfectly into the suggested price range.
Clocking in at around the $119 range (Varies on Amazon) this well built type of polisher is amazing value. Its features and performance are equal to a machine twice its price in my opinion.
It has the standard six speeds as featured on most polishers but its RPM is rather lower than some machines at 3800 RPM.
The machine comes as a kit which is quite extensive making it an ideal choice for a beginner detailer
Adams Swirl Killer Car Polisher
This versatile corded DA machine has a throw of 12 mm and a relatively small overall size meaning it is ideal for the more intricate parts of cars. It can also be the better choice if your vehicle has complex curves and tricky places to access. This is further assisted by a four inch backing plate rather than the six inch normal.
Its speeds go up to 5500 RPM and it has a lengthy 25 foot cord to allow good movement around the vehicle.
On the budget front this is starting to push the upper limits of my suggested range at $149.99 but with its quite unique size and capability I felt it necessary to include in the list
Teccpo Car Polisher
Are you looking for a robust but lightweight corded machine this Tecco Polisher weighs in at just 6.36 pounds.
With a 21mm throw this Dual Action Polisher enables safe working for most car surfaces and the chance of paint damage through burning is minimised with the extra distance throw. Complete with wool ingestion shields this is a compact and efficient machine, ideal for use by a beginner.
It is the higher end of my suggested price range but the quality of the machine justifies my choice and I really do not think you would be disappointed if you purchased this polisher.
Surehold 3101 Car Polisher Kit
From the beginning of this post I have given priority to the kit form of polisher for the beginner. Therefore, I had to include the Surehold 3101 kit as I think it gives terrific value.
The polisher itself is very robust and weighs in at double the weight of the last featured polisher (Liquid X XR21), tipping the scales at a full ten pounds!
However, the kit supplied along with it is one of the most extensive I have seen and will give any beginner more than what they would need to start polishing to a high quality right from the beginner phase.
The kit includes, 16oz Pro Polish Wax & Sealant, 6.5” Foam Pad, Microfiber Towel, and a robust Carrying Bag and I think gives great value at around the £170 mark on Amazon.
Best Car Polisher for beginner conclusion.
Having outlined what I believe are the major points to consider when purchasing a polisher I hope you have at least short listed a few or made your choice?
I think budget is always a major factor in which model you choose and will always be the major governing factor. However I think the price range I have suggested is the real sweet-spot for a beginner polisher. Below that range there are doubts about build quality and reliability and above the price range are where the more professional machines are found and value is harder to find for the amount of time you are likely to use the polisher
The Rotary or Dual action polisher choice is firmly in the Dual Action camp for a beginner as you really need to get used to the machine and not risk paint damage by having a high speed rotary polisher held in the same spot for too long.
The holding design is really a matter or personal choice. It does not effect the performance of the machine but may affect the overall result if you are not comfortable with the way in which you hold it. So, you may want to go to a hardware or automotive detail shop and try holding some of the machines to see which is more to your preference.
Finally I would definitely go for the “Kit” type of machine and the accessories will be wel suited to the machine and you will not have to worry about what backing plate, polishing pad or buffer to select as they will all be supplied with the machine.
If you do decide to buy a car polisher not in kit form then I would recommend choosing a good brand of polish such as Griot's Garage or Meguiars
I hope I have helped you in some way to make a more informed choice on what is the best car polisher for a beginner and you are inspired by your results. You can then develop further to a more advance or rotary polisher if you wish.