From Dull to Dazzling: The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Polisher for Cars

Ollie Barker

Updated on:

best polisher for cars

best polisher for cars

Are you looking for the best polisher for cars? A quality polisher can provide a smooth finish to any car, restoring its original shine. This blog post will discuss what makes a good car polisher and recommend today’s best tools. When selecting these top choices, we will consider ease of use, affordability, effectiveness, and other factors. So read on if you’re searching for the perfect tool to keep your vehicle looking showroom-fresh.

Our Top-Rated Polisher for Cars Summary Table

NameProduct ImagePower SourcePowerAdditional FeaturesIncluded AccessoriesPrice
DEWALT Buffer Polisher DWP849X

Amazon best-selling product B004W1WGIC

Corded12 ampSoft Start, Variable SpeedPolishing pad, Bail Handle

Check Price on Amazon

Milwaukee 2738-20 M18

Amazon best-selling product B01N909O6H

Cordless18VLight weightPolishing pad, Side handle, Backing pad

Check Price on Amazon

Griot’s Garage G9

Amazon best-selling product B089JFDKRZ

Corded1,000 wattsLifetime warrantyPolishing pad, Backing plate, Allen wrench

Check Price on Amazon

Adam’s Swirl Killer

Amazon best-selling product B081V8RC2B

Corded500 watts12mm orbit for precisionPolishing pad, Backing plate, Spare brushes

Check Price on Amazon

The Chemical Guys TORQX Polisher Kit

Amazon best-selling product B01BKT63XM

Corded680 watts8mm orbit for versatilityPolishing pads, Backing plate, Polishing compounds, Detailed instructions

Check Price on Amazon

Types of Car Polishers

Car polishers, also called buffers, come in various types, each designed for a specific purpose. The most common types of car polishers are rotary, dual-action, and orbital polishers.

Rotary polishers

Rotary polishers are powerful and intended for heavy-duty tasks, such as removing scratches and swirl marks. However, they use a fixed spinning pad that generates high heat levels, making them unsuitable for beginners or those with little experience.

Like any tool, rotary polishers have their advantages and disadvantages.


  • Fast and Effective: Rotary polishers are fast and efficient at removing imperfections on paint surfaces due to their powerful motor and rotary action. This makes them popular for professionals who must complete their work quickly.
  • Versatile: Rotary polishers can be used on various surfaces, such as paint, glass, and metal. They can also handle different types of polishing pads, allowing for customization based on the task.
  • Heavy-Duty: Rotary polishers are built to handle tough jobs and can remove heavy scratches and swirl marks. This makes them ideal for heavily damaged paint surfaces.
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  • Rotary polishers can be difficult to use properly. It takes practice to master the technique and avoid causing damage to the paint surface.
  • Risk of Overheating: Rotary polishers generate heat due to high speed and friction. This can be a risk if the tool is not used properly, as overheating can cause damage to the paint’s surface.
  • Potential for Burn Marks: If the rotary polisher is not used properly, it can cause burn marks on the paint surface. This is caused by the heat the tool generates, which can be difficult to remove.

Dual action polishers

Dual action polishers operate with rotating and oscillating motions, making them a versatile option for novice and professional users. In addition, this type of polisher is less intimidating and leaves fewer swirl marks than a rotary polisher, making it a popular choice among car enthusiasts.

Like rotary polishers, they have their advantages and disadvantages.


  • User-Friendly: Dual-action polishers are generally easier to use compared to rotary polishers. They have a dual action mechanism that prevents the machine from overheating, reducing the risk of causing damage to the paint surface.
  • Safer for Beginners: Their dual action mechanism makes dual action polishers less aggressive than rotary polishers. This makes them a safer option for beginners or those with less experience in detailing.
  • Versatile: Dual action polishers can also be used on various surfaces and with different polishing pads, making them versatile tools in the detailing industry.


  • Slower: Dual action polishers are generally slower than rotary polishers, which can be a disadvantage when working on heavily damaged surfaces or trying to complete a job quickly. They are used to remove light scratches. 
  • Less Effective on Heavy Scratches: While dual-action polishers are effective at removing light to moderate paint imperfections, they may be unable to remove heavy scratches or swirl marks.
  • May Require Multiple Passes: Dual action polishers may require multiple passes to achieve the desired level of paint correction. This can be time-consuming and require more effort than a rotary polisher.

Orbital polishers

Orbital polishers, as the name suggests, use a circular motion to polish the car’s surface. They are highly efficient in removing stains and producing a smooth, shiny finish. This type of polisher is a great option for those who prefer to put less effort into the polishing process.

Like rotary and dual-action polishers, they have their advantages and disadvantages.


  • User-Friendly: Orbital polishers are very easy to use and do not require as much practice or skill compared to rotary or dual-action polishers. They are also very safe to use, as they are less likely to cause damage to the paint’s surface.
  • Versatile: Orbital polishers can be used on various surfaces and with different polishing pads. They can also be used for waxing and sealing, making them a good all-in-one tool.
  • Less Aggressive: Orbital polishers are less aggressive than rotary or dual action polishers, making them a good choice for removing light to moderate paint imperfections and maintaining a vehicle’s finish.


  • Slower: Orbital polishers are generally slower than rotary or dual-action polishers, which can be a disadvantage when working on heavily damaged surfaces or trying to complete a job quickly.
  • May Require More Effort: Due to their less aggressive nature, orbital polishers may require more effort and time to achieve the desired level of paint correction.

In addition to these three types, there are also electric buffers, which are designed for quick touch-ups and smaller surface areas. They are also excellent for applying final touches to a recently polished car.

Choosing a polisher is important based on experience level and task. For example, a rotary polisher may be more powerful but requires skill and expertise to use it properly. On the other hand, a dual action or orbital polisher is more user-friendly and less intimidating for beginners.

Here is a brief comparison table of the three polishers: Rotary vs. DA vs. Orbital Polishers

Features Rotary Polishers Dual Action Polishers Orbital Polishers
Aggressiveness Very aggressive Moderately aggressive Less aggressive
Speed Fast Moderate to slow Moderate to slow
Skill Required High Moderate Low
Risk of Damage High Moderate Low
Versatility Versatile Versatile Versatile
Effectiveness Effective on heavy scratches and swirls Effective on light to moderate scratches and swirls Effective on light to moderate scratches and swirls
Ease of Use Difficult Moderate Easy
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Top 5 Best Polisher for Cars

#1 Best Corded Polisher: DEWALT Buffer Polisher DWP849X

DEWALT Buffer Polisher,...
  • The car polisher features powerful, 12 amp, all...
  • Electronic module of the variable speed polisher...
  • Conveniently located variable speed dial of DEWALT...

Key Features:

  • Type: Rotary
  • Corded electric
  • Weight: 6.7 pounds
  • Vol: 120V
  • Watt: 1250W
  • Speed range: up to 3500 RPM

The DEWALT Buffer Polisher DWP849X is a powerful, high-quality tool that provides numerous benefits to professionals and DIY enthusiasts. This dynamic polisher is designed to help individuals achieve a perfect, high-gloss finish on their vehicle or any other surface they are working on.

One of the most significant benefits of this machine is its powerful motor that provides exceptional performance, allowing for efficient and effortless polishing tasks. Additionally, the DEWALT Buffer Polisher DWP849X features a soft start feature, making it easy to control and reducing the risk of damage to the surface.

Another great benefit of this tool is its electronic speed control that allows for consistent speed, even under heavy pressure. This means users can achieve an even and polished finish with minimal effort.

The DEWALT Buffer Polisher DWP849X is also designed with user comfort in mind. Its adjustable side handle gives users a comfortable grip, minimizing hand and wrist fatigue even during extended use. In addition, its ergonomic design makes it easy to use the tool in difficult-to-reach spots, thus making it an efficient and versatile choice.

Lastly, this polisher has a rugged and durable construction, providing longevity and high performance for heavy-duty polishing tasks. Its resilient build also ensures that it can withstand the wear and tear of any workshop or outdoor environment.

Editor’s rating 4.8/5
Power 4.9
Ease to use 4.7
Ergonomic 4.8
Maneuverability 4.6
Value for money 4.8

The DEWALT Buffer Polisher DWP849X is an exceptional tool for those looking for reliable, high-performance polishing solutions. Its power, precision, and user-friendly features make it a must-have tool for any professional or DIY enthusiast who values quality and efficiency.

#2 Best Portable Polisher: Milwaukee 2738-20 M18

Milwaukee 2738-20 M18 18-Volt...
1,325 Reviews
Milwaukee 2738-20 M18 18-Volt...
  • By harnessing the power, performance and run-time,...

Key Features:

  • Type: Rotary
  • Cordless with Lithium Ion battery
  • Weight: 7.68 pounds
  • Vol: 18V

The Milwaukee 2738-20 M18 Cordless Polisher is a powerful tool that provides users with numerous benefits. 

One of the most significant benefits is its cordless design, which allows for greater mobility and ease of use. This means that users can work on their projects without being tied down by power cords, leading to greater efficiency and productivity.

One fully charged battery can complete the polishing job of the whole car. If you’re tired of dragging the cord around, try this. You’ll be fine if you have a fast charger or a backup battery.

Also, the polisher features a variable speed trigger, which allows users to adjust the tool’s speed according to their specific needs.

In addition to its performance and mobility, the cordless car buffer is also built to last. If you have owned any Milwaukee products, you know their lifespan. The tool is designed with a durable exterior that can withstand the toughest working conditions, ensuring that it will continue providing reliable service for years.

Moreover, the tool is also incredibly user-friendly. The cordless car buffer is ergonomically designed, making it comfortable to hold and operate for extended periods. Also, the tool is equipped with a side handle and a spindle lock, which further enhances its functionality and ease of use.

Editor’s rating  4.8/5
Power 4.8
Ease to use 4.8
Ergonomic 4.7
Maneuverability 4.8
Value for money 4.8

The Milwaukee 2738-20 M18 Cordless Polisher is an excellent investment for a powerful, durable, and versatile polishing tool. Whether you’re a professional or a DIY enthusiast, this cordless polisher will impress with its outstanding performance and user-friendly design.

#3 Best Affordable Polisher: Griot’s Garage G9


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Key Features:

  • Type: Orbital
  • Corded electric
  • Weight: 6 pounds
  • Vol: 120V
  • Watt: 1000W
  • Comes with a 6″ backing plate
  • Speed range: 6,400 orbits/min

The Griot’s Garage G9 random orbital car buffer is an exceptional tool that offers numerous benefits to car enthusiasts and professional detailers alike. 

One of the key advantages of the G9 Random Orbital Polisher is its versatility. It can be used for various tasks, including polishing, waxing, and paint correction. In addition, the device operates using a random orbital motion rather than a linear one, which means the user can achieve stunning, swirl-free results every time.

Additionally, its ergonomic design ensures that even the hardest-to-reach areas of your vehicle are easy to access.

One major advantage of the G9 is its powerful 8.5-amp motor, which delivers highly efficient polishing and detailing performance. It also comes equipped with a thoroughly designed cooling system that prevents unwanted overheating so that you can work on your car for hours without any worries.

Moreover, the G9 boasts an impressive 9mm orbit, making it highly effective at removing scratch marks and other paint imperfections.

It is backed by a comprehensive lifetime warranty, ensuring you get the most out of your investment.

Editor’s rating  4.7/5
Power 4.7
Ease to use 4.7
Ergonomic 4.6
Maneuverability 4.7
Value for money 5

The Griot’s Garage G9 Random Orbital Polisher is an excellent device for anyone looking to take care of their car’s paintwork. Its versatility, efficiency, precision, durability, and user-friendly design make it a sought-after tool by car enthusiasts and professional detailers. 

#4 Best Mini Polisher: Adam’s Swirl Killer 12mm

Adam's Polishes Swirl Killer...
  • Removes swirls in small and hard-to-reach areas!
  • Compact design, smooth operation, low vibration
  • Strong correcting ability with 12mm throw and up...

Key Features:

  • Type: Orbital
  • Corded electric
  • Weight: 9.18 pounds
  • Adjustable speed dial

During the polishing process, we will need a good mini polisher. Mini polishers are essential for detailers because they provide increased precision, better control, reduced risk of damage, and time-saving benefits. And in this field, Adam’s Swirl Killer is our pick.

This powerful machine is designed to deliver exceptional results, significantly reducing the time and effort required to attain a flawless finish

One of the most amazing things about this item is its versatility. This tool can be used on various surfaces, from vehicles and boats to furniture and countertops.

In terms of performance, this mini polisher is in a league of its own. It features a high-torque motor that delivers up to 4,000 oscillations per minute, enabling it to tackle even the most stubborn swirls, scratches, and other imperfections.

Furthermore, it is equipped with a 12mm throw that provides excellent coverage, ensuring you can polish large sections of your vehicle quickly and effectively.

Another critical benefit of this buffer polisher kit is its user-friendliness. This tool is designed with the operator in mind, ensuring it is easy to use and manipulate.

It has an ergonomic grip that provides a comfortable and secure hold, reducing the risk of accidental drops or slippage.

Editor’s rating 4.8/5
Power 4.7
Ease to use 4.9
Ergonomic 4.6
Maneuverability 4.9
Value for money 4.7

Adam’s Swirl Killer 12mm is a game-changer in car detailing. Its versatility, performance, user-friendliness, and durability make it a must-have for any detailer looking to achieve a professional-grade finish on their vehicles.

#5 Best Polisher for Beginners: The Chemical Guys TORQX Polisher Kit


Key Features:

  • All-in-one kit (8 items)
  • Type: Random orbital
  • Corded electric
  • Weight: 8.6 pounds
  • Vol: 120V
  • Watt: 700W

This polisher kit is perfect for beginners for several reasons.

Firstly, it comes with everything that a beginner needs to get started with machine polishing, including the polisher itself, various pads for different types of polishing, and a range of different polishes to try out. This means that a beginner can avoid buying all these components separately or trying to determine which products best suit their needs.

Secondly, this random polisher kit is designed to be easy to use and operate. It has a user-friendly interface that allows beginners to adjust the speed and settings according to their specific needs. Also, the polisher has a gentle touch, which makes it less likely to cause damage to the vehicle’s paintwork, even if the user is inexperienced.

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Finally, this polisher kit has detailed instructions and guidelines, making it easy for beginners to understand how to use it properly and achieve the best results. The instructions also provide helpful tips and tricks for attaining professional-level results, even for those who have yet to gain experience with machine polishing.

Editor’s rating 4.8/5
Power 4.6
Ease to use 4.9
Ergonomic 4.6
Maneuverability 4.8
Value for money 4.8

Overall, the Chemical Guys TORQX Polisher Kit is an excellent option for beginners looking to get started with machine polishing, as it provides everything they need to get started, is easy to use and operate, and comes with detailed instructions and guidance for achieving the best results.

A Complete Buying Car Polishers Guide

Picking the right car buffer can be daunting, especially if you are new to machine polishing. However, there are several factors that you should consider when buying a buffer, including:

Power Source

Car polishers can be corded or cordless. Corded polishers tend to have more power and are ideal for heavy-duty work. Cordless polishers offer greater flexibility and are convenient for use in areas without power outlets.


The speed of a car polisher is measured in RPM (rotations per minute). A polisher with variable speed settings allows you to adjust the speed according to the task at hand. A high-power speed polisher is ideal for heavy-duty tasks, while a lower speed is best for more delicate work.

Pad Size

polishing pads

The size of the polishing pad determines the coverage area of the polisher. Larger pads cover a larger area and are ideal for heavy-duty work, while smaller pads are better for more detailed work.


The weight of a car polisher is an essential factor to consider, especially if you plan on using it for extended periods. A heavier polisher may cause fatigue and strain on your arms, while a lighter polisher is more comfortable.

Vibration Reduction

Vibrations can cause discomfort and fatigue when using a polisher. Look for a polisher with vibration reduction technology to reduce the impact of vibrations on your hands and arms.

Adjustable Settings

Look for a polisher with adjustable settings, such as speed and pressure. This will allow you to customize the polisher to suit the task at hand and achieve the desired results.


Consider the type of work you will be doing with the polisher. Some polishers are designed for heavy-duty work, while others are better suited for more delicate tasks.

Included Accessories

Look for a polisher with the necessary accessories, such as polishing pads and backing plates. This will save you time and money; you won’t have to purchase these items separately.

Features of a Good Car Polisher

A good car polisher should be efficient, easy to use, reliable, and durable. In addition, it should be able to remove scratches and imperfections from the paintwork, enhance the shine and luster of the car, and leave a smooth and uniform finish.


The motor of a good car polisher should have enough power to work quickly and efficiently on the car’s surface. In addition, it should be adjustable, allowing the operator to set the speed and intensity mode by the car’s condition and the task at hand.

Compatible with various pads

Another important factor that contributes to the effectiveness of a car polisher is the choice of pads and accessories. A good car polisher should come with a range of pads and brushes that are suitable for different types of paintwork and surfaces. In addition, the pads should be soft enough to avoid damaging the paintwork and tough enough to remove dirt and grime.


Ergonomics is another essential consideration when choosing a car polisher. A good car polisher should be comfortable to hold and maneuver, reduce operator fatigue, and be lightweight to prevent arm strains or injury.

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Reliability and durability

These are critical features of a great car polisher. A good car polisher should be built to last, with high-quality components that can withstand constant use under challenging conditions. It should have a robust construction that can resist wear and tear, heat, and dust.

Basic Polishing Techniques

polishing small section on car's surface

A polisher machine can help complete a perfect car’s paint job. Here are some basic techniques for using a polisher machine:

Choose the right polishing pad.

Different polishing pads are designed for different purposes. For example, a cutting pad is used for heavy compounding work, while a polishing pad is used for milder polishing work. Finally, a finishing pad is used for refining the paintwork and adding shine.

Apply the right amount of polish.

It’s important to use the right amount of polish for the job. Too much polish can create excess heat, which can damage the paint. Less polish may not be effective. Start with a small amount of polish and add more as needed.

Apply the machine to the paint.

Place the polishing pad against the paintwork and turn on the machine. Use light to medium pressure and work in small sections, moving the machine in a back-and-forth or circular motion.

Keep the pad clean

The polishing pad can become clogged with polish residue and debris, reducing its effectiveness. Therefore, cleaning the pad regularly with a pad brush or compressed air is important.

Don’t apply too much pressure.

Excess pressure can damage the paintwork, so using a light to medium pressure when using the polisher machine is important. Let the weight of the machine do the work.

Work in small sections

Working in small sections, typically 2-3 feet, is important to ensure that each area is polished thoroughly. This also helps prevent the polish from drying out before it can be properly worked into the paint.

Use the right speed

Different speeds are appropriate for different polishing tasks. Start with a low speed and gradually increase the speed until the desired level of polishing is achieved.

How to Polish a Car

Polishing a car is an important step in the paint correction process that helps restore and enhance the car’s paintwork. Here are the basic steps for polishing a car:

Step1: Wash and dry the car

Before starting any polishing work, it’s essential to thoroughly wash and dry the car to remove any dirt, grime, or debris that can scratch the paint during polishing.

Step 2: Clay bar the paintwork

Using a clay bar helps remove any remaining contaminants on the paint surface that cannot be removed by washing alone. This helps prepare the paint for polishing.

Step 3: Choose the right polish

There are a variety of polishes available, each designed for different purposes. Choose the suitable polish for the job based on the condition of the paintwork and the level of correction required.

Step 4: Apply the polish

Apply a small amount of polish to the polishing pad and place it against the paintwork. Turn on the polisher machine and work in small sections, using light to medium pressure and moving the machine in a back-and-forth or circular motion.

Step 5: Buff the polish

Once the polish has been applied to the paintwork, use a clean microfiber towel to buff the polish to a shine. Work in small sections, using light pressure and a circular motion.

Step 6: Apply wax or sealant

Applying a coat of wax or sealant helps protect the paint from environmental contaminants and UV damage. It also adds depth and shininess to the paint. Apply the wax or sealant according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

How to Use Car Buffer: Buffing and Sanding Techniques 

buffing a car

Basic polishing techniques can help achieve the object’s refined and polished finish.

The first technique is buffing, which involves applying abrasive compounds to the object’s surface using a buffing wheel. The buffing wheel is made of cotton, felt, or leather and coated with diamond, alumina, or silicon carbide compounds. As the wheel rotates, the abrasive compounds remove the rough spots and scratches from the surface, resulting in a smooth and glossy finish.

Another technique is sanding, which involves using sandpaper or other abrasive materials to smooth the object’s surface. Sanding can be done by hand or with the help of sanding machines. It is commonly used in woodworking and metalworking to achieve a smooth finish and remove imperfections.

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Polishing can also involve the use of special tools such as rotary polishers, which use a rotating pad to apply abrasive compounds to the surface of an object. These tools are often used in automotive detailing to remove scratches and swirl marks from the paintwork.

Tips for Maintaining Your Car Polisher

Here are some tips for maintaining buffers and polishers:

  1. Clean the machine after use: After using a buffer or polisher, it’s important to clean the machine to remove any polish residue and debris. Use a soft cloth or towel to wipe down the machine and remove any excess polish or debris.
  2. Keep the pads clean: The polishing pads can become clogged with polish residue and debris, reducing effectiveness. It’s important to clean the pads regularly with a pad brush or compressed air.
  3. Store the machine properly: When not in use, store the machine in a clean, dry area. Avoid storing the machine in a damp or humid area, which can cause rust or corrosion.
  4. Check the electrical cord: Over time, the electrical cord can become worn or damaged. Check the cord regularly for any signs of damage, such as fraying or cracking. Replace the cord if it is damaged.
  5. Lubricate the machine: Lubricating the machine can help prolong its lifespan and ensure it runs smoothly. Use a light machine oil to lubricate any moving parts or bearings.
  6. Replace worn parts: Over time, the parts of the machine can become worn or damaged. Check the machine regularly for signs of wear or damage, such as worn brushes or a damaged backing plate. Replace any worn or damaged parts as needed.

Check out This Video for Hand Polishing vs Machine Polishing

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I polish my car?

It depends on a few factors, such as the condition of your car, how often you use it, and the type of paint it has. Generally, cars should be polished every 6 to 12 months if they are used regularly and kept in good condition. However, polishing may only be necessary every three months for cars that are used very often or have specialty paints.

Can I use a car polisher on a matte finish?

No, you should not use a car polisher on a matte finish. It can cause damage to the paintwork and can make it look unappealing. Instead, use a soft cloth and mild cleaner to clean any dirt or debris from your matte finish car. 

How long should I wait to apply wax after polishing?

You should wait at least 24 hours after polishing before applying wax to your car. This will give the polish time to settle in and ensure it is scorched before you wax the vehicle. It is also important to ensure the car’s surface is completely clean and free of dirt or dust before applying the wax. 

Can I use a car polisher on a brand-new car?

Yes, you can use a car polisher on a brand-new car, but it is important to choose the right setting. Start slowly and work up to higher settings as you become more familiar with polishing. This will help ensure that you are not damaging the paintwork of your new vehicle.

Using a specific car polish designed for new cars is also recommended, as it will be less abrasive than a traditional polishing compound. But, again, read the instructions carefully and take your time while using the polisher. Always opt for the lower setting when in doubt and proceed with caution. 

Can I use an orbital polisher on my car?

Yes, it is possible to use an orbital polisher on your car. However, you will need to take extra care since these machines are more powerful and can easily damage your vehicle’s paintwork if not used properly. 

Can I polish without a polisher?

It is possible to polish your car without using a polisher. The best way to achieve this is by hand, using a good quality microfiber cloth and a metal polish. This method will take much longer than using an orbital polisher, but it can still effectively achieve the desired results. 

Wrap Up

In conclusion, the best car polisher will depend on individual needs, preferences, and budgets. Power, speed, weight, and accessories should be considered when choosing a polisher. It’s essential to choose a high-quality polisher and to use it correctly to avoid causing damage to the car’s paint. Regularly maintaining the polisher and the car’s paintwork is also important to ensure the best results. You can achieve a smooth and shiny finish on your car’s paintwork with the right tools, techniques, and maintenance.