The 10 Best Polishers

Updated May 10, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

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We spent 36 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top picks for this wiki. A good polisher will have your car, boat, plane, or anything else that needs a waxing, sanding, or buffing looking good without too much hassle or effort. You can get faster and more professional results in your finishes with any one of the easy-handling, low-maintenance options from our selection. We've ranked them here by power, durability, and features. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best polisher on Amazon.

10. Black & Decker WP900

A great budget-friendly option, the lightweight Black & Decker WP900 accommodates pads up to six inches in diameter for waxing at a constant speed of 4,400 orbits per minute. Its comfortable two-handle design ensures you'll be able to grip it firmly as you work.
  • provides a swirl-free finish
  • two-year warranty
  • included bonnets are of poor quality
Brand Black & Decker
Model WP900
Weight 4.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. Tradespro 836788 7-Inch

The Tradespro 836788 7-Inch isn't as powerful as some of the more expensive models on the market, but it does have the versatility of a sanding option, so it can save you from having to buy a separate machine, and is suitable for most DIY jobs.
  • includes three bonnets
  • twin handles offer good control
  • won't stand up to heavy daily use
Brand Tradespro
Model 836788
Weight 7.9 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Griot's Garage 10813 Dual Action

The Griot's Garage 10813 Dual Action comes with a 10-foot power cord that allows you plenty of range of motion. It removes the swirl marks and scratches found in many types of paint and surfaces easily, without removing too much material.
  • adjustable loop handle
  • variable speed 850-watt motor
  • runs very noisily
Brand Griot's Garage
Model 10813STDCRD
Weight 7.2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

7. Flex XC3401VRG Positive Drive

The Flex XC3401VRG Positive Drive boasts an 8mm orbital movement that simulates the motion of the human hand as it works to create a consistently buffed surface. It operates at a very low heat, making it ideal for sensitive finishes.
  • automatic shutoff prevents damage
  • removable ergonomic knob grip
  • on the expensive side
Brand Flex
Model XC3401VRG
Weight 8.3 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Bosch 1250DEVS 6.5 Amp

The soft-start function on the Bosch 1250DEVS 6.5 Amp allows the unit to begin spinning with less torque than whatever its RPM setting would normally provide. This protects your surfaces against unwanted or uncontrolled contact.
  • vacuum port for sanding work
  • maintains its speed reliably
  • vibrations are very intense
Brand Bosch
Model 1250DEVS
Weight 7.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Milwaukee M12

For detailed buffing applications, the compact and lightweight Milwaukee M12 is tough to beat. At just two pounds and with a head capable of holding up to 3-inch discs, it's perfect for use on bumpers and other hard-to-reach areas of your vehicle.
  • two rechargeable batteries
  • ideal for rim and hub detailing
  • not great for polishing entire cars
Brand Milwaukee
Model 2438-22X
Weight 5.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

4. Porter-Cable 7424XP 6-Inch

Professional detailers and home DIY car restoration enthusiasts alike will find the Porter-Cable 7424XP 6-Inch up to the job, thanks to its random-orbit swirl-free action and variable speed settings, which are controlled by an electronic dial.
  • ambidextrous removable side handle
  • suitable for sanding and buffing
  • guaranteed for three years
Model 7424XP
Weight 6.5 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

3. Makita 9237CX3

The Makita 9237CX3 has a variable speed trigger to control the RPM you need for any given task, and it comes with a convenient carrying bag and two wool bonnets. This is a great choice for delicate projects requiring finesse, as it maintains constant power under load.
  • soft start for a smooth application
  • comfortable rubberized loop handle
  • wire mesh intake cover
Brand Makita
Model 9237CX3
Weight 13.4 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

2. Wen 948 10 Amp

With its bright digital readout, the Wen 948 10 Amp lets you know exactly how fast it's set to spin. Its handle is positioned directly over the unit's head, giving you a great amount of control over the tool, even at its highest speeds.
  • adjustable in 500 rpm increments
  • long power cord
  • two-year warranty
Brand WEN
Model 948
Weight 6.7 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

1. DeWalt DWP849X

With the DeWalt DWP849X, you get the choice of using the side stability bar or a D-loop handle. Choose whichever setup you find fits the job: the former is more comfortable for long-term use, while the latter promises a maximum of focused power.
  • maintains speed under pressure
  • strong 12-amp motor
  • wool ingestion shields prolong life
Model DWP849X
Weight 10 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

What Does A Polisher Do And Why Do You Need One?

Polishing is an essential final touch to cleaning or finishing an array of large items, from boats and cars to massive floors. In fact, the current eco-friendly climate is calling for more fiberglass as a building material in everything from homes to boats, and regular polishing is crucial to maintaining the quality of fiberglass. So builders of all sorts can no longer ignore the importance of polishing. A polisher usually uses an abrasive, which removes small irregularities on a surface, that has been applied to a work wheel. There are a few important jobs that polishing accomplishes. It can remove oxidation from surfaces which, if left alone, can cause corrosion. Oxidation is simply the process by which oxygen chemically combines with another substance.

Depending on with what the oxygen combines with, the material's property changes in different ways. Rust, for example, is a form of corrosion and shows up a lot on iron and steel. A good polisher can remove layers of rust, and prevent them from deteriorating the materials on which they lay. As previously mentioned, polishing can be used to finish a surface. For this application, an abrasive that has anywhere from 60 to 80 grit should be used. As the surface becomes smoother, the worker can move to a higher grit abrasive. The grit spectrum works like this; the lower the number, the more aggressive the abrasive, and the higher the number, the more gentle it becomes. If you were polishing something like brass, a very soft metal, and wanted absolutely no visible lines or marks, you would use an abrasive with around a 600 grit.

A polisher can accomplish buffing, too. This will just require special movements, known as the cut and color motions. The former happens when you move the polisher against the rotation of the wheel, and the latter is achieved by moving the workpiece with the wheel. The cut motion gives a semi-bright, uniform surface. The color motion creates a very bright, shiny surface.

What To Look For In A Polisher

Always look at the rotations per minute the work wheel is capable of. The higher that number is, the faster the tool can accomplish a job. One also wants the option of lower speeds, for surfaces that cannot handle aggressive polishing. This is especially important if you are polishing floors since falling is the second leading cause of personal injury, and overly-polished floors are one of the top causes of falls. So look for a polisher with a well-placed and responsive speed dial, so you can adjust the RPM of your polisher as you move over various surfaces.

If a polisher has multiple hoses for things like air, exhaust, and water, then you can move seamlessly through every process of polishing something, without needing to grab many extra tools. Some polishers even offer a sanding option, eliminating the need for yet another tool. Those with random orbit action in the head, in which the angle of rotation of the head and the disk is variable, deliver some of the smoothest results.

Make sure your polisher has a counter balance system so you do not lose control of your tool while using it. If you are purchasing this tool to be used by multiple people, make sure it's suited for left or right-handed use. Unfortunately, most tools are made for only right-handed individuals, which is one of the reasons few left-handed people take construction jobs.

Why It's Important To Polish Your Car

Most people want to get in and out of the car wash as quickly as possible, and often turn down certain upsells like the polish. That is unfortunate considering that 72 percent of individuals who take their car to a professional car wash, do so to maintain the value of their vehicle, and polishing it is an important part of that. Since, visually, a car that is post-polish or post-wax can look the same (namely clean and shiny) a lot of people just opt for the wax, which is less expensive.

The reality is that wax only covers up problems, like scratches, oxidation, swirls and other imperfections in your paint job. But waxing isn't very effective without a good polishing first. Likewise, polishing is rather useless if you aren't going to protect your car with a quality car wax afterwards.

If you only wax your car, then you are not getting to the root of the problem behind its markings. You also are not allowing the wax to penetrate deep enough to offer your vehicle much protection. For example, if your car has suffered oxidation, but you do not polish that away, and simply put wax over it, the wax is not really getting to the layers of your vehicle's surface that it needs to. You must polish away the oxidated layer, first.

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Last updated on May 10, 2018 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.

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