Finding the Perfect Car Polish Machine for Your Vehicle
A look at the best orbitals and car polishing machines on the market
Updated August 17, 2018
So, you’ve seen what kind of magic a good car polish can do for your vehicle and you’re ready to step it up a notch and buy a car polish machine to get the job done better and faster? Well, you’ve come to the right spot! We’ve done plenty of research to find you the best car polish machines that are available on the market today in 2018/2019.
If you’ve already started looking around on the internet and in automotive stores, I’m sure you’ve probably noticed that there are thousands of these products available. In this day of mass-production and international trade that’s gone nuts, everybody and their mom are making these things. However, the majority of the car polish machine assortment is crap. The majority of them these days are just Chinese knock-offs and other new brands that are trying to jump in on the business. However, many of these newer brands don’t know a thing about cleaning or detailing cars – they’re just in it for a quick buck. If you care anything about your vehicle, I highly recommend that you check out the car polish machine list that we’ve thrown together in this article.
Why buy a car polish machine?
There’s a very easy answer to this question. Polish your car by hand just once and you’ll know why you should buy a car polish machine! The simple answer, it’ll make your life much easier and will probably save your back from going bad at an early age.
In addition to the simple answer, a car polish machine opens up new doors to auto polishing and allows you to work the polish much harder and way more effectively. A lot of the best car polish machines typically rotate over 5,000 times per minute. Just imagine how many minutes it would take you to rub polish into a car’s finish 5,000 times. It would take you at least 30 minutes to do what the car polish machine can do in just one minute. Not to mention it’s easier to apply pressure.
When you polish a vehicle you’re ultimately filling in scratches, fractures, etc. in the clear coat of the vehicle’s finish. To get the absolute best results, you must really work the polish solution into the vehicle’s finish as much as possible to fill in every nook and cranny of the paint’s defects.
All of the decent car polish machines are capable of controlling the speed at which they rotate, making them safe and easy to use on pretty much any vehicle’s surface and are effective in correcting pretty much any kind of defect that polish can fix.
If you really care for your car and give it a good detail at least once or twice a year, have a car that you take to shows, or own a shop or detailing company, you’ve got to be equipped with a good car polish machine. There’s no question that one of these machines will pay itself off in no time just from the time and energy you’ll spend. A car polish machine will also give you a higher quality polish that you simply cannot achieve by hand.
What should I look for in a car polish machine?
There’s no question about it – buying a car polish machine is a smart choice. However, it’s important that you buy the right kind of car polish machine and do your due diligence and learn a little bit about polishing cars because you could potentially damage the finish if you don’t know what you’re doing. A vehicle’s clear coat is typically quite a bit thicker than the primer and color paint layers. It’s OK to use abrasives (with caution) to thin out the clear coat and remove imperfections, but you must be sure to leave at least 75% of the vehicle’s clear coat or permanent damage could be done to the vehicle’s finish.
As you’ll see when you start shopping for a car polish machine, there is quite a bit of variety in these machines. Car polish machines typically come in two forms. There are rotary car polish machines and dual-action car polish machines. The rotary car polish machines typically spin in a 360-degree circle around the center point of the cleaning pad and often spin at about 2,500 rpm. However, most of these tools have variable speed adjustability features. The rotary car polish machine creates quite a bit of friction, especially at the higher speeds, which makes it a great tool for removing paint defects. However, if you’re using speeds that are too high, which may create too much friction, you could end up taking off too much of the clear coat and causing “burn marks” in the car’s paint job. These are usually obvious circular scar-like marks in the vehicle’s surface. Because of this risk, the rotary car polish machines are usually the choice of the more experienced car cleaners and car professionals with polishing experience.
If you’re more of a newbie to car detailing and cleaning, you may want to go with a dual-action polish. It can take a little while to master the art of polishing, so we always recommend starting by hand at first until you see how the paint job reacts to polish. Then, step it up to a dual-action until you get the hang of power polishing. Then, if you feel comfortable, make the change to a rotary polish machine. Dual action car polish machines work a bit differently than their rotary counterparts. The dual action polisher head oscillates randomly around the center point of the polishing head. This reduces the amount of friction that is caused by the polishing head making them much safer to use on the finish while still reducing the risk of permanent damage. However, this also reduces the effectiveness of the car polish machine by quite a bit. It is still MUCH more effective than cleaning by hand, though, and more times than not, the end result is very similar. You just may spend twice as long doing the same job with a dual-action car polish machine. When it comes to damaging the finish, though, the extra time is probably well-worth the trade.
How to polish with a car polish machine?
The first step is finding which car polish is going to fit your needs the most. There are several different types of car polish that are meant to serve different purposes, such as all-in-one polish solutions that typically offer a polish and wax or sealant in one single solution. There are also polishes that are semi-abrasive that are meant to correct the surface of the clear coat and that fill in minor paint defects. Then, there’s the single-step polish that is pretty abrasive and meant for use to correct more serious paint defects. For the most part, you’ll probably be using one of the softer types of polishes.
To begin the cleaning and polishing process, you must get your vehicle as clean as humanly possible! This is a very, very important step. You don’t want to have dirt, particles, and other contaminants present on the surface of the car when you begin spinning the polish head at top speeds. It’s just going to trap these particles under the polish head which can cause further damage to your vehicle’s finish.
After you’ve given your vehicle a deep-clean and removed all possible contaminants from the surface, you’ll want to break out the car polish machine. Apply some polish to the vehicle either by using a polishing rag or by simply applying your polish to the surface of the polishing head of your car polish machine. We recommend polishing a 2 ft x 2 ft portion of the vehicle’s exterior at a time. Start out by working the polish into the surface at a slower speed (if your machine has a variable speed feature) and don’t spend too long on a certain area. While you can basically leave a dual-action buffer on one spot all day long with no negative side effects, a proper rotary machine will decimate your paint in a matter of seconds, so make sure to keep it moving.
After working the polish into your vehicle, wipe off the excess polish and you should be ready to wax and/or buff the finish of the vehicle. Once you remove the excess polish from your vehicle, check to see if the defect appears to be any better. If it’s still pretty visible, you may go back and apply more polish and work it in a little longer, and possibly at a higher speed. Unfortunately, there is no textbook way to instruct how to polish the perfect amount – it’s all about experience. However, it’s not rocket science and, most likely, you’ll have it down after you give your ride a couple of good polishes.
Some of the best car polish machines available today!
Porter Cable 6-inch Variable-Speed Polishing Machine
Say what you will about Porter Cable. I think it’s an amazing brand that offers great products for the price. I personally own a construction company and most of our tools are Porter Cable. Not only does this brand’s product offer amazing value, their tools usually work just as well, if not better, than many of the leading brands. On top of that, most of the Porter Cable tools I’ve owned last longer than the leading brands as well.
This 6-inch variable speed polishing machine by Porter Cable is compatible with just about any 6-inch sanding or polishing pads. It also accepts 5/16 – 24 spindle thread accessories. It is powered by a 4.5-amp motor and has a variable speed dial to control speeds between 2,500 – 6,800 orbits per minute. It’s capable of operating on a random-orbit setting, as well as a swirl-free sanding and polishing action. Another great feature of this car polishing machine is the removable 2-position stabilizing handle that swings either to the left or right side for better control, stability, and comfort.
Goplus 7″ Electric Variable Speed Polisher
Tired of tripping over a power cord while polishing your car? Or is the power cord causing your spotless, shiny cleaning job to not be quite so perfect anymore? Then this all-electric car polish machine by GoPlus may be just what you need. GoPlus really outdid themselves with this one – an all-electric and cordless car polish machine and tons of goodies that come with it will take care of all of your polishing needs.
This is one of the toughest car polish machines on the market today. It is housed in a high-anti-impact housing with a die-cast aluminum head, a high-quality fine copper motor, and gears that have been cut with a heated precision-cutting process. This car polish machine possesses all of the qualities that a polishing machine will ever need to ensure a long life while also being durable enough to handle pretty much any type of incident. On top of its durability, this electric car polish machine kit comes with a heavy-duty carrying case for safe and easy transfer of the polishing machine and all of the accessories that come with it.
The Goplus Electric Car Polish Machine comes with a handy dandy variable speed dial that controls how fast the car polish machine operates. The variable-speed adjustment control is capable of making the polish machine operate at speeds between 1,000 to 3,000 rotations per minute and even comes with a safety constant speed switch. Another great safety feature that this polisher has is its D-shaped handle, on top of the other standard handle, to add comfort and control for operation of the polishing machine. The handle not only fits the contour of your hand very well, but it also has a no-skid grip that is made of sweat-proof material.
The best part about this car polishing kit is the wide variety of accessories that it comes with, ensuring that you’ve got everything you could possibly need for sanding or polishing a finish. Among the accessories in the kit are five 7” round sponge pads, five 6” round sponge pads, 2 soft cleaning towels, 2 sponge conversion plates, 2 wool pads, 4 wave-type sponge pads, 2 wool pads, 3 polish plates and more! You can get all of these accessories, the carrying case and the durable, high-powered electric polishing machine all for under $100!
ProElite Car Polish Machine
After looking at most of the decent car polish machines online, you may think that you’re going to have to spend a pretty penny in order to get a good polisher for your vehicle’s exterior. However, that’s not always the case. Here’s an awesome orbital car polish machine that’s available for about $30 that can serve about every purpose you will need a car polish machine to serve. However, like I mentioned earlier in this article, this car polish machine is an orbital machine without a variable speed control, so I would only recommend it for more experienced car polishers to avoid potential orbital burns caused by too much friction being generated in a single part of the vehicle’s finish.
ProElite’s polishing machine is powered with a 120-volt motor that is plenty strong to handle any kind of polishing, waxing, or buffing job. This tool is compatible with pretty much any type of 6-inch pad, which is basically the standard size for car polish machines. This product also comes equipped with 2 microfiber bonnets and 1 terry cloth bonnet. The motor spins at a powerful 3,500 rpm rate. This machine isn’t only for polishing, but is also well-reviewed for its waxing and buffing capabilities as well!
ProElite 10-inch Polishing Machine
Looking to knock out your polishing job a little faster? ProElite’s 10” Polishing Machine may be a better option for you. It’s still plenty powerful – in fact, it generates a higher rpm than its 6” cousin. This model weighs in at less than 5 lbs, which is pretty light considering the amount of machine that you’re getting from it.
There are really only two downsides to this model. The first downside is that this machine does not have a variable-speed adjustment control. This isn’t necessarily a horrible thing, but having this feature definitely provides more control over its polishing capabilities. The other downside is that this machine only comes equipped with a 6 ft-long heavy-duty power cord, so you’ll most likely need an extension cord if you’re going to go with this model. However, it’s available for under $40, so you can probably buy a nice extension cord with the money you’ll save on this model if you don’t already have one.
ProElite’s 10” Polishing Machine is compatible with almost all 10” circular polishing, waxing, or buffing pads. It comes with a microfiber and a terry cloth bonnet. This model spins at random orbits to simulate the work of hand polishing. However, it does so at speeds of around 3,800 rpm which will get you the same results (if not better), just much faster. Another great feature that you’ll love about this machine is its dual-handled balanced design provides total control while also allowing you to apply the perfect amount of pressure while polishing. Like the 6” model, this model is also capable of waxing and buffing vehicle finishes as well.
Performance Tool 7” Horizontal Air Polisher
More of a pneumatic kind of person that doesn’t want to rely on power cords and motors getting burned out? Then you should check out this 7” horizontal air polisher by Performance Tool! As long as you’ve got an air compressor that pumps out at least 90 psi, you can power this polisher forever. Another great perk to using a pneumatic air pressure-powered buffer is the ability to use air hosing instead of heavy extension cords. Since the air hoses typically come in at least 50ft sections, it’s extremely easy to reach areas all around a vehicle. You may even be able to reach a vehicle quite a ways outside the garage or shop.
Performance Tool’s 7-in horizontal air polisher comes with a 1 horsepower motor with variable speed capabilities and a safety throttle. The throttle is extremely easy to use and contoured for comfortable use and maximum control. This tool has a built-in regulator to ensure precise speeds. Every piece of this tool is made with high-quality and hardened moving parts, and thanks to Performance Tool’s reputable designs, materials, and production practices, this tool is going to outlive most other tools you own. The tool has a comfortable handle that can swing either to the left or right side for added comfort and control. The air-pressurized polisher is compatible with pretty much all types of 7” polishing heads. The tool typically spins at speeds up to 2500 rotations per minute. Another great property of this pneumatic car polish machine is its light weight. The air tool only weighs a little over 4 lbs, which is considerably lighter than most similar tools. This tool can also be used as a sander or a grinder if you purchase the appropriately sized 7” circular head.
Chemical Guys TORQX Random Orbital Polisher
This polisher is quite simply amazing and extremely well-designed. The TORQX random orbital polisher is brought to us by Chemical Guys, which is one of the most well-known brands in the car cleaning and detailing industry. The TORQX simply has one of the most perfect designs that we’ve ever seen in a polisher. It’s not quite as affordable as the other polishers we’ve listed in this article, but it can usually be found for around $150, which is extremely well-priced considering all that this product has to offer. It’s designed to polish and remove light scratches, swirls, and most other paint defects on all types of vehicle finishes. This model is also designed for safe use by both enthusiasts and professionals.
This polisher is built with a very durable hard casing and only the strongest materials for moving parts. Its streamlined controls and contoured design makes it one of the most comfortable and easy to use polishers on the market today. The internal components of this amazing polisher are well-balanced and very lightweight for easy usage and strain prevention. On top of that, it was built with vibration-resistant features, too, that will keep it running steady and will ensure that you receive a nice and smooth polish! This car polish machine not only applies polish to your finish, but can also be used to wax, seal, or to apply a glaze to the surface of your vehicle.
One of the best features of this car polishing machine is its flexibility in not being limited to a certain size of polishing pad. Not only can this car polish machine handle the standard 6” polishing pad, it can also be used with 3” and 5” polishing pads and doesn’t even require any counterweights to be changed out. This is extremely beneficial and allows you to quickly switch out and use a smaller polishing pad to polish thinner painted areas without needing tools to change the head or having to switch and use a different car polish machine.
The TORQX polishing machine is powered by a monster of an electric motor, rated at 680 watts. This provides an impressive output of about a 1,200 to 4,200 rpm power band range. This tool has an 8 mm versatile dual-action orbit for safe use and perfect polishing in any painted surface area. So, if you’re the type of person that trusts the professionals, you definitely can’t go wrong with Chemical Guy’s TORQX!
Dewalt Horizontal Variable-Speed Polisher
Another brand that I’m a huge fan of (along with millions of other Americans) is Dewalt. Dewalt employs some of the best power tool engineers on the planet and built their tools with high-quality materials and amazing designs. Almost all of their tools have amazing reviews and this horizontal variable-speed polishing machine is no exception.
Dewalt’s horizontal polisher is powered by a powerful 12 amp motor. It is built with an amazing technology that uses ball-bearings for moving parts to ensure smooth operation, optimal performance, limited electricity consumption, and a longer operational life. All gears in this bad boy have been heat-treated and cut with precision for an even smoother operation. The polisher is also constructed with wool-ingested shields to reduce vibration and increase the life of the tool overall.
This horizontal-angled car polish machine also comes equipped with one of the bests variable speed dials available which offers a wide range of speeds between 600 rpm and 3,500 rpm for efficient usage on different materials and different vehicle finishes. Dewalt’s polisher is compatible with almost all types and sizes of polishing pads and is also capable of waxing and buffing. The high-tech design allows for a fully-operational polisher that weighs only 3 pounds total. This product also comes with a non-mar rubber gear case cover to prevent surface imperfections and to improve the gripping surface. To improve control and comfort, Dewalt has also included a detachable side handle as well as a detachable D-shaped handle that is able to adjust forward and backward. This is an all-around amazing polisher; however, it’s a bit more expensive than the other tools we’ve listed in this article. It generally costs about $250 plus tax. However, it’s worth every penny you’ll spend on it and even comes with a 3-year limited warranty should anything go wrong.
Finding the best car polish machine for your needs has never been easier, but it’s also never been more complicated. Not only do you have to find a polish machine that is safe to use (based on your experience), but you also need to find a polisher that’s capable of handling all of your polishing, waxing, and buffing needs. Then, you’ve got to sort through all of the junky brands that have polluted the car cleaning supplies market over the last decade. Finally, you have to find the model that provides the most bang for your buck. If you’re shopping for a car polish machine, start by checking out these specific models we’ve listed in this article. Don’t be afraid to do plenty of research on them and read all of the reviews and customer’s experiences that are usually located towards the bottom of each product page.