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Dual-action Polishers: Our 2017 Guide and Reviews

When you’re passionate about your car, you hate to see even the slightest imperfection on its coat. A dual-action polisher is an effective way to shine your vehicle. Care must be taken what kind of polisher is used as using an inferior model can damage the exterior. For that reason, it’s crucial that you choose the best dual-action polisher available.

Quick Look: Our Top Picks

Dual-action Polisher NameQualityPriceRating
Meguiar’s MT300 Pro Power Dual-action PolisherA+$$$
Porter Cable 7424XP 6-Inch Variable-Speed PolisherA++$$
TORQ TORQX Random Orbital PolisherA$$$
Griot’s Garage Random Orbital 6 Inch PolisherA++$$
TruePower 6 Inch Variable Speed Dual-action PolisherA-$

How does a dual-action polisher work?

If you are new to machine polishing, you might be a little bit intimidated by the idea of using a dual-action polisher. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there at some point.

Basically, the pad of a dual-action polisher will orbit the central spindle while rotating at the same time. Because of this pattern, dual-action polishers are sometimes referred to as “random orbital polishers” and likened to the human hand, which makes similar, though much slower, movements.

If you want to see a DA polisher in action, check out this video.

Why choose a dual-action polisher?

If you have any prior knowledge of car buffers and machine polishing in general, you are more than likely aware that a dual-action polisher isn’t the only way to go. There are a couple of other options out there, most notably the rotary buffer and the traditional orbital buffer.

If you have no experience in vehicle polishing, it probably isn’t a good idea to start out with a rotary polisher. These are generally reserved for professionals and those with a good bit of knowledge in the area because rotary buffers are extremely powerful polishers. They are generally used to remove deep scratches that cannot be eradicated through other methods. A rotary polisher has the strength to burn through a vehicle’s clear coat and will do so if not properly handled.

The traditional orbital polisher is widely available and can be purchased for relatively little, but it is far from the first choice of most car enthusiasts. It is the most basic of all the polishers and won’t do much more than spread wax across your vehicle. It has neither the power nor the versatility of a dual-action polisher and is really more of an obstacle to the finish you want.

How much is a dual-action polisher?

The price of a dual-action polisher will rise and fall depending on the quality of the polisher in question. Some dual-action polishers sell for as little as $40 both online and in stores. Obviously, a lot of the less-expensive polishers will be of a lower quality. They will also perform to a lesser standard than the pricier models, but that’s not to say you won’t find a diamond or two in the rubble. If you want to be certain you’re going to get the best performance as possible from your dual-action polisher, you’re going to have to drop a little bit of cash. The majority of worthwhile models sell for between $120 and $200.

You should also make room in your budget for things such as pads and wax, because you won’t be able to do much with your dual-action polisher without them. There are a number of pads available—polishing discs, finishing discs, and cutting discs—so you should be prepared to drop an extra $50 or so if you want to pick up the whole shebang. Car wax tends to come in at less than $20, but it can deplete quickly, so you might want to consider buying two or more bottles at a time, especially if it saves you money.

Finding the right dual action polisher for you

Choosing a dual-action polisher over a rotary and traditional orbital model is only half the battle. Once you have decided to purchase a dual-action polisher, you must then decide which is the best dual-action polisher for you.

There are a couple of things to consider here, the most obvious being your budget. As I already mentioned, the price of dual-action polishers varies depending on the quality of the individual product. While professionals probably shouldn’t choose a $40 model, you may be able to get away with it if you are just starting out. After all, there is no sense in dropping hundreds on a dual-action polisher if you don’t yet know how to use one.

Frequency of use should also be taken into consideration. If you are somebody who uses a dual-action polisher on a regular basis or for long periods in one day, you should be conscious about the weight of the buffer you choose. The good news is most dual-action polishers are lightweight, but some have been specifically designed for marathon polishers and those who deal with multiple vehicles a week.

The 5 Best Dual-action Polishers

Dual-action Polisher NameQualityPriceRating
Meguiar’s MT300 Pro Power Dual-action PolisherA+$$$
Porter Cable 7424XP 6-Inch Variable-Speed PolisherA++$$
TORQ TORQX Random Orbital PolisherA$$$
Griot’s Garage Random Orbital 6 Inch PolisherA++$$
TruePower 6 Inch Variable Speed Dual-action PolisherA-$

Meguiar’s MT300 Pro Power Dual-action Polisher

Meguiar-5be9f7f6c25f2

Meguiar’s has put a lot of effort into establishing an online community through which auto-enthusiasts from all over the world can keep in contact and exchange vehicle polishing tips. If you want to become a part of the Meguiar’s community, the MT300 Pro Power Dual-action polisher is your in.

Pros

  • Ergonomic design: The Meguiar’s MT300 Pro Power Dual-action polisher features an ergonomic design in order to combat and decrease user fatigue. It is particularly suited for in-depth restoration projects, as it can be used for long periods of time without straining the user’s arm or back.
  • Thumb-adjustable speed dial: The MT300 Pro Power has a number of speed settings and can reach up to 7,500 orbits per minute. Speed can be easily altered using the thumb-adjustable speed dial, eliminating the need for complicated maneuvering while you work.

Cons

  • Noise pollution: While a lot of DA polishers can be quite loud when turned on, most of the more expensive models tend to run pretty smoothly. A frequent complaint about the Meguiar’s MT300 Pro Power Dual-action polisher is that it is extremely noisy without any warning, startling a lot of first-time users and their neighbors.

BUY THIS ONE

Porter Cable 7424XP 6-Inch Variable-Speed Polisher

Porter Cable 7424XP 6-Inch Variable-Speed Polisher-5be9f7f87ed8a

Porter Cable has produced some great DA polishers over the past couple of years and is still churning them out. The Porter Cable 7424XP makes the perfect starter buffer, but more experienced workers may also find some use for it.

Pros

  • Heat control: When I first got involved in machine polishing, I didn’t realize the importance of monitoring the heat being emitted by your buffer. My second time polishing a car, I failed to notice the polisher getting hotter and hotter, which led to me burning through the paint. It was embarrassing, that’s for sure. It would never have happened had I been using the 7424XP, which produces minimal heat when in use.
  • Removable side handle: For our left-handed brothers and sisters, controlling right-handed power tools can be a challenge. If you are a leftie, the 7424XP may be the best buffer for you. It features a removable side handle, which can be placed on either side of the tool in order to give you the most comfortable user experience possible.

Cons

  • Unsuitable for demanding work: While the 7424XP is a popular choice among experienced polishers, few use it as their primary buffer. When assigned demanding tasks, such as removing water spots, the buffer’s performance suffers and its weaknesses are revealed.

BUY THIS ONE

TORQ TORQX Random Orbital Polisher

TORQ TORQX Random Orbital Polisher-5be9f7fa3d9bf

TORQ (that’s how they like to stylize it) manufactures both manual and electric tools — everything from monkey wrenches to, you guessed it, dual-action polishers. The TORQX Random Orbital Polisher is one of the brand’s flagship products.

Pros

  • Versatile: Removing smudges from your car hood is pretty easy with any dual-action polisher, but it can be a little trickier to polish those hard-to-reach areas. The TORQX, however, can be used to effectively shine all parts of your car’s exterior and will even fit beneath your side view mirrors.
  • Professional design: Though it is often recommended to novice car polishers, the TORQX is designed to be used by professionals. A relentlessly powerful motor and ergonomic design makes it a great choice for anybody who finds themselves polishing numerous vehicles on a daily basis.

Cons

  • Aggressive minimum speed: Some have noted that the minimum speed of this dual-action polisher is still way too high for the machine-polishing novice.
  • Easy loss of control: Hobbyists have complained of losing control of the polisher, resulting in the clear coat being eroded away. This, obviously, won’t be a problem for professionals, but it is definitely something to be mindful of if you’re in the market for a starter tool.

    BUY THIS ONE

Griot’s Garage Random Orbital 6 Inch Polisher

Griot’s Garage Random Orbital 6 Inch Polisher-5be9f7fb9ff3a

This 6” random orbital polisher from Griot’s Garage was designed for newbies. It is still sometimes purchased by veterans looking for a secondary buffer, but works best as a starter model.

Pros

  • Improved grip features: Literally getting a grip on your first DA polisher can be challenging, but Griot’s Garage has introduced a couple of features to simplify things. The combination of a rubberized palm grip, finger notch, and looped 6-position handle will give you greater control over this buffer.
  • 10’ power cord: How frustrating is it trying to complete a task using an electronic device with a short power cord? You are so conscious about pulling the plug from the socket that you end up concentrating more on minimizing your movements than on the job itself. It’s an inconvenience when you’re vacuuming, and infuriating when you’re polishing your car. This DA polisher features a 10’ power cord, eliminating the need for complicated maneuvering as you work.

Cons

  • Expensive: This buffer has a heftier price tag, which may not seem like a lot if you’re an experienced car polisher and regularly use a buffer. If you are a novice, however, it might be slightly more than you’re willing to spend on your first polisher.

BUY THIS ONE

TruePower 6 Inch Variable Speed Dual-action Polisher

TruePower 6 Inch Variable Speed Dual-action Polisher-5be9f7fd0ec70

The TruePower 6-Inch Variable Speed Dual-action polisher is geared towards those who are new to vehicle polishing. If you are used to working with more expensive tools, however, it won’t have a whole lot to offer you.

Pros

  • Inexpensive: The Random Orbital 6-Inch Polisher from Griot’s Garage is a popular choice for newbies. This polisher offers all the basic features you would expect from a DA polisher at a much lower cost than the Griot’s Garage alternative.
  • Variable speed: This buffer features a number of speed settings which can be easily alternated between. It can reach speeds of anywhere from 2,000 to 6,800 OPM and is fitted with an adjustable side handle to ensure complete control of the machine, even when operating at maximum speed.

Cons

  • Reported malfunctions: The most common complaint about this dual-action polisher is that it cannot be depended on to deliver an acceptable performance beyond the first year of use. Problems with the TruePower 6 Inch Variable Speed Dual-action polisher range from issues with the motor to exterior troubles, such as a cracked head.

    BUY THIS ONE

Which is the better polisher?

So, which of these polishers is the best of the best? I’ve got to give that title to the Meguiar’s MT300 Pro Power Dual-action Polisher.

While this buffer is a little pricey, its ergonomic design and streamlined controls make it the perfect introductory tool, as well as a great choice for professionals looking to replace their primary buffer.

Sure, there have been complaints about the loudness of the machine, but that’s to be expected with anything. In my opinion, if the worst thing you can say about a DA polisher is that it’s a little loud, it must be a pretty impressive polisher that gets the job done.

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