The 10 Best Polishers

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This wiki has been updated 35 times since it was first published in June of 2015. A quality polisher will have your car, boat, plane, or anything else that needs a waxing, sanding, or buffing looking great, without much hassle or effort. You can achieve fast and professional results for your finishes with any one of the easy-handling, low-maintenance options featured here, but make sure you always follow all the safety precautions when operating any power tools. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. DeWalt DCM848B

2. Wen 948

3. DeWalt DWP849X

Editor's Notes

March 01, 2021:

During this update, we made some changes to our recommendations to include some additional cordless options, as well some more affordably-priced ones ideal for home users. Falling into the former category we have the DeWalt DCM848B. This model comes from one of the most popular, and arguably one of the best, manufacturers of power tools. Their equipment is rugged enough to stand up to heavy daily use by contractors, and the DeWalt DCM848B is no different. It offers a lot of variability in speed too, making it well suited to a wide variety of applications. If you prefer something slightly more affordable than the DCM848B, but from the same company, you can look to the DeWalt DWP849X instead, though it should be noted it can't spin as fast as the DCM848B. Other cordless models on our list are the Milwaukee M12, which is one of the most compact models available, and the Worx WX856L, which falls into our second category.

On the focus of adding more budget-friendly options, we have included the Wen 948 and Worx WX856L. The former offers more versatility and may be better for beginners due to its variable speed that ranges from 1500 to 3500 OPM, while the latter has a set speed of 3,000 OPM. That being said, you'll be connected to a power outlet the whole time with the Wen model, whereas the Worx WX856L is cordless. The Black+Decker WP900 is also extremely affordable, more so in fact than either of the above options, however it is not nearly as heavy-duty of a tool.

August 20, 2019:

Removing scratches from paint or other surfaces can be done quickly and efficiently with a polisher machine. These lightweight devices are relatively easy to use and come in a variety of styles to suit most needs and budgets. In addition, most of them conveniently double as sanders.

Joining our list today is the Tacklife 7-Inch, a 1,500-watt, variable speed model that features a handy digital screen that indicates which speed you’re currently operating at. Unlike many others, it offers two interchangeable handles, so you can decide which one works better for your current project: A traditional side-based one, or a D-shaped one that can come in handy when you’re polishing a large surface. It’s adjustable in increments starting at RPMs of 600, followed by 1,000, and increasing in increments of 500 up to a maximum of 3,000.

The powerful, 12-amp DeWalt DWP849X retains its top spot on our list. It features rugged, ball bearing construction for long life and reliable performance. A handy, well-placed dial lets you set your desired speed, with a maximum of 3,500 RPM, while wool ingestion shields also help to increase its lifespan and reduce service costs. Like the Tacklife, it too provides the convenience of interchangeable handles.

4. Makita 9237CX3

5. Milwaukee M12

6. Worx WX856L

7. Porter-Cable 7424XP

8. Griot's Garage G9

9. Tacklife PPGJ01A

10. Black+Decker WP900

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

This will just require special movements, known as the cut and color motions.

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.

Make sure your polisher has a counter balance system so you do not lose control of your tool while using it.

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.

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.

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.

Brett Dvoretz
Last updated by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as in front of a laptop screen, Brett can either be found hacking away furiously at the keyboard or, perhaps, enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He has been a professional chef, a dog trainer, and a travel correspondent for a well-known Southeast Asian guidebook. He also holds a business degree and has spent more time than he cares to admit in boring office jobs. He has an odd obsession for playing with the latest gadgets and working on motorcycles and old Jeeps. His expertise, honed over years of experience, is in the areas of computers, electronics, travel gear, pet products, and kitchen, office and automotive equipment.

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