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What machine polisher for what job

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There are a few different kinds of machine polishers on the market, these are designed with different strengths and weaknesses. Knowing what machine suits which job the best can help to make the job easier or achieve better results.

The rotary

The rotary is a very common polishing machine. It’s appearance resembles that of an angle grinder. This was also one of the first polishing machines as the general machine was already in existence, they only needed to turn down the speed. The rotary spins in only 1 motion, it spins on 1 axle. This motion makes polishing fairly effective and allows to achieve more cut at a faster rate. The downside is that it is difficult to get a flawless finish. It is very common to get the so-called “buffer trails” or “holograms” after using this polisher.

The dual action

Dual action
Dual action

This machine can also be called an “excenter” or “DA”. This machine is a common choice for novices as it is easy to use and it is fairly safe in the hands of unexperienced people. The look is similar to that of the rotary, but it spins at 2 axles. The pad spins around, but also makes small circles on its own axle. This gives it a “dual action” movement. The benefit of this is that it is much easier to achieve a flawless finish. “Buffertrails” and “holograms” are not very common when using a dual action. The “throw” (difference between maximum out and maximum in from the dual action motion) can differ. There are machines with a throw of 8 mm up to 25 mm.

The buffer


The buffer is a cheap machine that can sometimes be used to buff off wax or polish. It is not very suitable for polishing or other correction jobs, but it is cheap and easy to use.

When to choose what machine

A rotary would be a suitable choice when:

  • You need extra cut
  • You need speed
  • You work with a product that requires a rotary
  • You know you will need to refine the polishing anyway
  • You are very experienced
  • You are using denim pads

A dual action would be a suitable choice when:

  • You need a flawless finish
  • You are not very experienced
  • You work on a delicate surface
  • You are finishing your polishing steps
  • You are jewlling
  • You are applying wax or similar
  • You work on very tight places with many corners

A buffer would be a suitable choice when:

  • You only need to buff wax
  • You have trouble with your muscles
  • Your other polisher has broken down
  • You need to wipe off polish residue before a wipe down
Pad motion of rotary and dual action
Pad motion of rotary and dual action

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