6 Best Dual Action Polisher Review: Honest Guide 2022

Best Dual Action Polisher_ Honest Guide

When looking for a car polisher, it’s important to know what types there are to choose from especially if you are new to using polishing machines. We will help to provide clarity on a few of the more confusing points, and also recommend the best dual action polishers that will suit beginners through to more advanced users. 

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Best Dual Action Polisher


  • Two rotation modes
  • Cutting and finishing
  • Speed setting range
  • Speed settings access
  • User friendly
  • Powerful
  • Smooth start-up
  • Clever design
  • Well-placed handle knob
  • Value for money


  • Small orbit diameter
  • Short rotation throw


The Makita PO5000C polisher is a dual action that to two rotation modes. These are:

  • Random orbit with forced rotation
  • Random orbit with free rotation

The random orbit with forced rotation mode has an orbit diameter of approximately 7/32 inch (5.5mm). This setting will typically be used when you want to focus on cutting and compound applications for deeper scratches and swirls.

The random orbit with free rotation is recommended for waxing, polishing, buffing applications. Not as effective at treating scratches and swirl marks, but excellent for the finishing/gloss phase of the detail job.

This dual-mode feature is a huge plus point as they are both yield great results at their respective jobs.

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The PO5000C has excellent ergonomic and design features.

An easily accessible speed setting dial is conveniently placed within easy reach of your thumb during operation.

The speed setting range is large at 1,600 to 6,800, which accounts for pretty much any application spec.

Special rubberized knob at the end of the polisher is well placed to allow for a more secure grip of the machine, allowing for more security and control.

Rubberized pads are situated at the top of the polisher to help prevent accidental damage if you rest it on a hard surface.

A well-designed air intake cover prevents any debris from entering the machine while still allowing for cooling.

The build quality is also noticeably high. No weird noises or creaks. Just a very solid and reassuring piece of kit.

The polisher also comes as part of a kit – the Makita PO5000CX2 orbital polishing kit comes with:

  • 5″ Dual Action Random Orbit Polisher (PO5000C)
  • Hex Wrench
  • 5″ Plastic Backing Plate, Hook & Loop
  • 1 x 5-1/2″ Hook and Loop Foam Polishing Pad, White
  • 1 x 5-1/2″ Hook and Loop Foam Polishing Pad, Orange
  • 1 x 5-1/2″ Hook and Loop Foam Polishing Pad, Black
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Makita PO5000C Specification

Spec Value
14 x 7 x 4 inches
Pad Diameter
5 inches
1,600 to 6,800 OPM
Orbit Diameter (Throw)


  • Easy to use
  • Powerful enough and safe for beginners
  • Adjustable and removable handle with rubberized grip
  • Affordable price
  • The backing plate can be changed
  • 6-speed settings
  • Durability
  • Available as a dual action polisher kit


  • Noisy
  • A bit heavier than the average polisher


The Griot’s Garage 10813STDCRD 6” Random Orbital Polisher is the third generation of this line of polishers. It also comes equipped with

  • Includes a 6″ hook-and-loop backing plate
  • 8mm wrench
  • Pristinewerks 6″ Finishing White Foam Pad

The main plus point of the Griot’s Garage 10813STDCRD is that it manages to combine power with safety.

This combined with the ability to operate a low at low speed makes it extremely suitable for beginners.

The ergonomic design is improved by the rubberized 6-position handle which is also detachable.

This allows the user more flexibility with the holding position.

Griot's Garage 10813STDCRD

It oscillates 8mm off-center making a short throw random orbital. This should again make it easier for users of all experiences to operate in tighter areas.

This polisher has 6-speed settings to allow for adjustments according to the purpose of the job.

These higher speeds are better for heavier duty polishing and cutting activities, while the lower speeds are recommended for finishing polishes and waxing.

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General feedback of the Griot’s Garage 10813STDCRD 6” Random Orbital Polisher has rated it highly for its ease of use for beginners but also suggests that this isn’t quite so good for advanced or professional users.

Something that should be expected from this product is durability.

Many owners of the first and second generations say that they are still going strong, which is a good sign for anyone wanting something that is built to last.

The Griot’s Garage 10813STDCRD is also sold as a dual action polisher kit for those that would prefer to purchase everything they need in one go. The kit includes:

    • Griot’s Garage 10813STDCRD 6” Random Orbital Polisher
    • Cleaning clay
    • 3 application pads
    • 3 microfiber towels
    • 1 spray bottle of Speed Shine
    • Spray bottle of Spray-On Wax
    • Spray bottle of One-Step Sealant

This is also available with a 10 ft or 25ft cord.

Griot’s Garage 10813STDCRD Specification

Spec Value
8.08 lbs
15.83 x 10.63 x 8.82 inches
Pad Diameter
5 inches
Orbit Diameter (Throw)
8 mm
850 W


  • Less noisy
  • Smooth operation
  • Less pressure needed to achieve the desired outcome
  • Capable of removing deeper scratches and swirls
  • Seems to stay cool when operated for long periods.


  • Pricey
  • Vibration noise is loud at the highest OPM setting of 9000
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The Flex XFE 7-15 150 Long Stroke Orbital Polisher – also known as The Finisher, is widely regarded as one of the best long throw random orbital polishers on the market.

Smooth operation due to the soft-start feature, and seems to stay cool when operated for long periods.

It is capable of successfully removing deeper scratches and swirl defects, and is good at maintaining speed when pressure is applied. It also fares well on non-flat surfaces for a long throw DA polisher.

Flex XFE 7-15 pic

This is partly due to the tacho generator speed control feature, which aims to monitor the OPM continuously and tweak the power required to maintain it when necessary.

The high OPM upper limit (9000) seems to cause more issues with vibrations for many people compared to other competitors (usually max of around 6000 OPM).

The noise level is average when compared to its competitors. However, it must be noted that the Flex XFE 7-15 has a higher OPM limit of 9000 and when operated at this level it has a high vibration and noise.

It is designed with safety features that make sure it cuts out if it overheats, and doesn’t restart if the mains power is returned after being unexpectedly lost.

As touched on earlier, the Flex XFE 7-15 has a VR microprocessor control which features:

  • Tachogenerator constant speed control
  • Soft start
  • Continuous speed control trigger
  • Restart protection after power failure
  • Overload protection
  • Temperature monitoring
  • Speed selection

Flex XFE 7-15 150 Specification

Spec Value
5.2 lbs
(L x H)370 x 140 mm
Pad Diameter
6 inches
Orbit Diameter (Throw)
15 mm
3000-9000 OPM
420 W

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  • Highly efficient motor
  • A smooth operation that makes it great for professionals and less experienced users
  • Durability
  • Ergonomic design
  • Long power cable
  • Looks gorgeous
  • Lighter than average
  • Quieter than the average polisher (about the same as the mark the II)
  • Highly regarded by professional detailers
  • Also available as part of a dual action polisher kit


  • Pricey
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Rupes Bigfoot polishers have been widely respected for a while now. The Rupes BigFoot LHR15 Mark III DA Random Orbital Polisher is the follow up to the much-loved mark II and successfully preserves that reputation.

It has a long throw orbit of 15mm and is therefore capable of larger surface area efficiently.

Rubber rest pads on top of the polisher allow for safe resting on any surface.

It also comes with a rubberized front grip to give good comfort and some protection against vibration.

Designed to be used with 5.5-6inch foam pads.

The handling of the Rupes polisher is helped by the long 30ft power cord, which allows plenty of access if you are operating in a powered workshop.

If you are out in the front drive and plugged into the house, then you may still need an extension. Nonetheless, the cable length is still a pleasant surprise.

Progressive speed control is an excellent feature that changes the speed of the rotation depending on how hard you squeeze the trigger. There is also a gauge on the trigger to explain this.

The speed dial is also nicely placed and easy to work out due to the clearly designed graph which sits just above the speed dial. The graph tells what speed each dial setting represents.

There is also a speed lock so that you can be confident in maintaining the desired rotation speed.

In the instruction manual, Rupes recommends lubricating between the backing plate and rubber shroud to keep performance optimized.

This seems to split some detailers, so at least they are clarifying their position on this.

Rupes recommends only using their pads, products, accessories to get the best results.

So, if you are considering the Rupes BigFoot LHR15 Mark III, but don’t have the required accessories, then they also do a dual action polisher kit that contains all of the accessories needed as well as the polisher itself.

Rupes BigFoot LHR15 Mark III Specification

Spec Value
5.73 lbs
Pad Diameter
5 - 6 inches
Orbit Diameter (Throw)
15 mm
3000-5200 RPM
500 W


  • Soft start
  • Backing plate flexibility
  • Price
  • The auto speed control feature


  • No Backing plate
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The Meguiar’s MT300 Dual Action Polisher is a good intermediate level DA polisher that continues the legacy of the Meguair’s G110v2.

This manages to combine power with safety well, especially the soft start mechanism, making it suitable for advanced users and novices.

Meguair’s keeps the automatic torque adjustment feature which works by maintaining the expected speed of rotation even when pressure is applied by the user.

It’s great that they’ve kept this excellent feature, as without this the pad rotation would simply slow down if put under downward pressure.

The polisher is ergonomic and comfortable to grip with an adjustable handle to aid different handling angles. Also, the speed dial is well placed for easy access during operation.

It has balanced handling which is helped by the Billet Counterweight with Multi-Bearing Design.

It is capable of removing light scratches and swirls when used with the right compound and pad and performs well when applying finishing polish and wax.

Some people have encountered issues with the power cord failing, but this has been reportedly resolved by Meguiar’s now.

If the wrong type/size of backing plate is used then the user may experience quite a bit of vibration. So be sure to use the recommended spec of accessories.

On the plus side, the Meguiar’s MT300 Professional DA Polisher can be used in combination with non-Meguiar’s branded accessory pads, etc.

However, be sure to check if your order comes with a backing plate, because currently this is not provided.

Meguiar's MT300 Specification

Spec Value
5.4 lbs
18.43 x 6.15 x 4.92 inches
Orbit Diameter (Throw)
8 mm
3000 - 7500 OPM
500 W


  • Soft-start
  • Smooth transition between speeds
  • The flexibility of pad sizes: 3 – 6-inch pads


  • Speed control placement
  • Poorly constructed drive plate
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The Chemical Guys Torq 10FX Orbital Polisher is a great intermediate level polisher for those that want something better than just a starter machine, but are maybe not prepared to spend a top-end premium for one.

The build and handling of this polisher should also give seasoned professionals a positive experience.

The Torq 10FX offers flexibility for the user to use pads with 3 to 6-inch diameters.

It also boasts an onboard digital control which helps the user to precisely adjust the speed settings. 

This works well as the transition between speeds is very smooth, which will allow less experienced users to operate this without fear of being physically forced around by suddenly increased spin when the speed is adjusted.

One issue with the rotation speed is the start-up mechanism. If you stop and then restart it, the speed will resume from zero but gradually running up through the speed range.

This may irritate advanced users, that might prefer a trigger action to control the speed, more than then beginners.

The vibration also seems to be average, and so shouldn’t cause issues with fatigue.

It performs well on minor swirl marks and scratches. This is made easier but the ability to use a wide range of pad sizes, allowing the user to focus on problem areas if necessary.

General user feedback has been positive regarding this.

The Torq 10FX also comes as part of an 8 piece, 9 piece, and 13 piece kit.

Torq 10FX Specification

Spec Value
5.5 lbs
20 x 8.5 x 8.5 inches
Pad Diameter
3 - 6 inches
Orbit Diameter (Throw)
8 mm
1,500 - 4,200 OPM
700 W

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Rotary Polisher vs Dual Action Polisher

There are two main categories of polishers:

  • Rotary polishers
  • Dual Action polishers

The key difference between the two machine types ultimately impacts how easy they are to use for the person operating it. Let’s explore exactly why the differences are significant.

Rotary Polisher

Rotary polishers have been around longer than it’s a dual-action cousin. There are a number of key factors that distinguish it from the Dual Action Polisher.

Rotation Pattern

They rotate in a single forced direction from one axis. This means that if you don’t move it enough it could act very fast on the spot that it is rotating on.

This is due to the lack of any movement aside from the spinning of the pad. This can potentially cause it to burn through the paint’s clear coat very easily.

The outer diameter rotates at a faster speed than the inner diameter. This means that the edge of the pad can create more friction and heat if used in a certain way, leading to it burning through the paint faster than the inner part of the pad.

User Technique

Also, whenever the user applies downward pressure on the polisher (towards the paint), it will lead to a more aggressive application.

These characteristics can make using a rotary polisher risky business for beginners, due to the higher risk of burning through the paint or causing holograms and swirls.

If you are experienced, then the main benefit of using rotary polishers is that they are excellent at removing heavier defects quickly.

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What Is A Dual Action Polisher?

The main difference between the rotary polisher and dual action polisher is the spinning action.

Rotation Pattern

While rotary polishers only rotate on a single axis, dual-action polishers rotate using two motions – hence the term dual action:

  • Spinning on a single axis – offset slightly from the center spindle; and moving up and down simultaneously (oscillating)
Rotary and DA polisher patterns
The rotation patterns of the Rotary polisher and the Dual-Action polisher 

This means that even if the user doesn’t move the polisher, this oscillating rotation of the pad will affect the paint as if it is still moving around.

This is a game-changer as far as reducing risk to paintwork is concerned.

How To Use A Dual Action Polisher

The rotation speed of dual action polishers tends to slow as you put pressure on it, which makes it far less likely to heat up with friction and burn the paint.

Larger pads make for a less aggressive application, unlike the rotary polisher.

Advantages of a Dual Action Polisher

The benefits of using a dual-action polisher are geared specifically to help beginners and those who want to use a less aggressive polishing method:

Disadvantages of a Dual Action Polisher

The main disadvantage of using dual action polishers is that they are said to be generally less effective at removing heavy paint defects than the rotary polisher.

This is dependent on a few things:

  • The type of dual action polisher
  • The type of applicator pads being used
  • The compounds being used
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Dual Action Polisher Variations

Fixed Orbital polisher

These are typically top mounted and are generally and used to apply wax and sealants. Fixed orbital polishers operate at low speed and usually have larger pads, and as such are not good for removing defects.

The movement is not a spinning motion and more of a semi-rotation and oscillating combination.

Dual Action Random Orbital polisher

You will hear these referred to as random orbital polishers, DA polishers, DA buffers, and are the most widely used of the dual action orbital polishers.

Long Throw Dual Action Random Orbital Polisher

These are similar to the DA random orbital polisher, but the axis is offset further from the center of the pad – hence the term long-throw. 

Long-throw DA orbital polishers can cover a larger area due to the larger surface area the oscillating movement covers.

This makes it good at covering large surface areas, but not great with smaller intricate spaces.

Dual Action Forced Rotation Polisher

These are similar to the DA random orbital polisher except for the continually spinning pad, even when pressure applied. 

This makes it easier to polish in tight spaces and crevices and also helps it to polish out defects more effectively.

Due to the direct driven pad, this can be harder to handle due to the effort required to constantly have to control its movement.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you burn paint with a dual action polisher?

Yes, but the risk is far lower than using a rotary polisher, or even a forced rotation orbital polisher. Dual-action polishers are designed to slow down or stop when too much pressure is applied, they are not driven by forced rotation.

What is the difference between a buffer and a polisher?

There is no difference, it’s just terminology. Some people and manufacturers use the term polisher some use the term buffer, others use both and interchange the terms.

The main thing that distinguishes between the two is the product you are using and for what purpose. That is, what stage of the detailing process are you focused on at the time?

If using compounds and products with high cutting ability, then technically your machine will be polishing. If you are using finishing polishes and waxes, then technically your machine will be buffing.

What's better DA or rotary polisher?

It’s a long-standing debate. The crucial defining factor is the skill level of the user. For professionals, the difference in results is arguably small.

But for beginners the risk of damage being done to the paint is increased drastically. So, for a beginner, the best type of polisher to use is the DA polisher.

Will an orbital buffer remove scratches?

Yes, but this is depending on the specific rotation action the machine operates with.

Is random orbital the same as dual action?

A random orbital is a type of dual action polisher.

Can you use a polisher to wax a car?

Yes, although it depends on which type of wax you intend to use.

The softer liquid waxes are easy to apply with a dual action polisher. Whilst harder Carnauba waxes are designed to be applied by hand initially.

What is the best car polisher on the market?

Read our review guide further up this page.

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