Best Dual Action Polishers – Tried, Tested and Reviewed
In my search to find you the best dual action polishers, it’s taken hours of research testing dozens of products. There’s a lot of rubbish on the market today, and most of these come in the form of cheap foreign knockoffs.
That being said, as the competition increases, the quality of the product continues to grow as well. I’ve already looked at the best dual action polishers for beginners, but I wanted to look a some of the higher-end products and how they perform.
Throughout my review I’ve included some of the best DA polishers in the sector right now, including Rupes and Megiuars, to name just a couple.
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Professionals – Rupes LHR21ES Deluxe Bigfoot Polisher
I think few would argue with me that Rupes are the best in the business right now. Their whole range is fantastic, but I’m specifically talking about the Rupes LHR21ES Deluxe Bigfoot Polisher, which in my opinion is the best DA polisher for professionals.
But that’s not all, because this polisher is also good for novices who want to achieve a flawless, mirror-like, and professional-grade shine.
In terms of negatives, there is only one; the price. You see, the Rupes Bigfoot polisher is not exactly the most affordable DA polisher out there. But you can often get them with some sort of pads and polishes combo, which is a great starting point for most.
Yes, they are expensive, but you get what you pay for here. Look after this, and you will never need to replace it.
Rupes LHR21ES Deluxe Bigfoot Polisher Spec Sheet
- Weight: 2.6KG
- Speed: 2500-5300 opm
- Backing plate: 150 mm
- Warranty: 1 Year
- Throw: 21mm
- Unflappable quality
- Larger 21 mm orbit diameter is best in class
- Efficient cutting power for effortless polishing
- Operates smoothly with minimal vibration
- Likely not suited if totally new to polishing
Midrange/ Enthusiast – Meguiar’s MT320OUK Dual Action Polisher
I’ve had the pleasure of using the Rupes Bigfoot for quite some time, but my stalwart for many years was the Meguiar’s MT320OUK Dual Action Polisher. This is actually a redesigned model over the older MT320 DA polisher. What’s new is an updated billet counterweight to offer a smooth and more precise operation, which is what you need in applying wax over freshly polished paint.
The Meguiars may be cheaper than the likes of the Rupes, but I still come back to it for smaller jobs. Things like single stage corrections or taking with you to use for jobs on-site make it an ideal inclusion for any detailing set.
Best of all, the Meguiar’s MT320OUK Dual Action Polisher won’t break the bank. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s the perfect middle ground that manages to provide outstanding results each and every time.
Meguiar’s MT320OUK Dual Action Polisher Spec Sheet
- Weight: 2.3 Kg
- Speed: 3,000 to 7,500 opm (orbits per minute)
- Backing plate: 127 mm
- Warranty: One year
- Ergonomic and balanced design
- Easy to operate courtesy of a thumb-adjustable speed dial
- Powerful cutting action
- Great build quality
- More affordable than Rupes Bigfoot but still quite pricey
Best Value – VonHaus Dual Action Polisher
Coming as the best value dual action polisher, it has to be that of the VonHaus DA. What I like about this is that you can get a complete pack (pads, cloths etc.) for less than £100!
Even though the price is small, the DA still packs a punch. Its 600w motor can oscillate from 1500 to 6800 opm, which gives an impressive range of control.
Ergonomically, it lacks a little over some of the more premium products. It comes in about the same weight as the Meguiars though, so it works well for longer detailing projects.
VonHaus have also included a 2-year warranty with it, which is great and shows that they back their own product.
I’ve been able to use this for an extended period of time and this is, without doubt, the most affordable polishing pack that I’ve tested to date. If you are new to paint correction or if you are on a budget, this is the dual action polisher for you.
VonHaus Dual Action Polisher Spec Sheet
- Weight: 3.68 Kg
- Speed: 1,500 to 6,800 rpm
- Backing plate: 150 mm
- Warranty: 2 Year manufacturer
- Affordable price
- Decent performance
- Variable speed controls
- Larger backing plate covers a larger surface area per pass
- Middling quality
- It’s a bit hefty and tiring to use for longer jobs
Budget – Katsu 850W Dual Action Polisher
When I say the Katsu 850W Da polisher is the best DA polisher for tight budgets, I really mean it. For a quarter of the price of the Meguiar’s, you can get yourself a fairly decent polisher with a powerful 850W motor.
But power is nothing without control, right? Thankfully, the Katsu DA polisher is gifted with an ergonomic design, although it’s a bit heavy for a polisher at around 2.8 Kg. Despite this, the variable orbit speed of 2,500 to 5,800 opm means you can clean, restore, polish, and wax the paint using just a single tool.
Sure, the 8mm orbit coverage is way less than in the Rupes Bigfoot. This does not mean the Katsu DA polisher is a lesser machine. It only means the Rupes can polish an area faster with its 21 mm orbit diameter, but it’s entirely possible to achieve great results in the Katsu as well.
Drawbacks? I can think of two. The Katsu DA polisher is a bit cumbersome considering the simple design, and build-quality is a notch or two below the Rupes and Meguiar’s. But still, the Katsu is hard to deny at this price range.
Katsu 850W Dual Action Polisher Spec Sheet
- Weight: 2.86 Kg
- Speed: 2,500 to 5,800 opm
- Backing plate: 150 mm
- Warranty: not available
- Strong cutting power courtesy of powerful 850W motor
- Adjustable variable speed control
- Affordable price
- It’s bloody heavy
- It’s not the last word in quality
Mini – SPTA 3-Inch Dual Action Car Polisher
Sure, you don’t exactly need a mini DA polisher. But if you want to take your detailing hobby to new heights, you’ll be surprised at the benefits of having a smaller 3-inch DA polisher.
For starters, a smaller 3-inch mini DA polishing tool allows you to target smaller areas like pillars, door jambs, roof edges, and even hard-to-reach areas like under the bonnet (yes, some enthusiasts like polishing under the hood believe it or not).
With that in mind, I prefer the SPTA 3-inch Dual Action Car Polisher. Equipped with a powerful 780W motor and six-speed variable control, this small polisher offers up huge servings of spectacular results.
Capable of orbiting at speeds of 2,000 to 5,500 opm, the SPTA 3-Inch DA polisher is sold as a kit complete with a set of polishing pads, a cleaning glove, and a set of microfiber towels. If you ask me, that’s not a bad deal given the sub-£90 price tag.
SPTA 3-Inch Dual Action Car Polisher Spec Sheet
- Weight: 3.2 Kg
- Speed: 2,000 to 5,500 opm
- Backing plate: 75 mm (3″)
- Warranty: not indicated
- Powerful 780W motor offers powerful cutting action
- Great ergonomics despite the heft
- Six-speed variable orbit control
- Great value
- Limited to how much work you can get through
- Heavy for its size (could be a postive also!)
Dual Action Polisher Buyers Guide
How does a dual-action polisher work?
It all boils down to the spinning action of the head. Rotary polishers are spinning on a single axis while dual-action polishers can oscillate instead of spin on its axis. As the backing pad on a DA polisher spins around, the spindle also spins to create a wobbling or oscillating effect.
You want this wobbling sensation to reduce heat and friction as you polish the paint. When you apply polish, you are essentially removing or shaving off a small portion of the clear coat to create a smooth and level surface, which is the principle of removing scratches and swirl marks.
However, a continually spinning head creates tons of heat and friction. This is the reason why rotary polishers are not intended for novices or beginners. Without the proper experience, it’s hard to eyeball when you’re applying too much friction over the paint, so using a rotary polisher demands patience, skill, and expertise.
On the other hand, a dual-action polisher is easier to use without any danger of damaging or burning off the paint. The oscillating action creates less heat and friction without reducing the cutting power of the pad. This also means you can polish with confidence using a DA polisher even if you have virtually zero experience in auto detailing.
Are DA polishers suitable for beginners?
Not only are DA polishers best suited for beginners, but it’s the only polisher that novices should use when polishing or waxing a car for the first time.
How to use a dual action polisher?
As with most aspects of car detailing, the best results come from the prep stage. Using a dual action polisher to polish your car is no different.
The first step is to wash and decontaminate the entire vehicle using water, car shampoo, a clay bar, and some iron removing spray. You should never polish without cleaning and decontaminating the paint to avoid inducing more scratches and swirls as you polish.
Next, make sure the surface is dry before polishing. After choosing the right pad attachment, the trick is to apply a couple of dots of polishing liquid on the outer edges of the pad and saturate the product on the pad using your finger. The idea is to get the pad wet with polishing liquid without applying too much. This prevents slings as you activate the polisher.
Lastly, place the pad on top of the paint, turn on the polisher, and work your way one area at a time. I size of about 30cm by 30cm should be about right to start. As you get more confident, you can do it a panel at a time.
After polishing, grab a microfiber towel and buff away the excess to expose a renewed shine.
Since you’re using a DA polisher, you don’t need to worry about damaging the paint even if you purposely leave the pad spinning on a particular area for extended periods.
What are things to avoid when polishing my car?
Here are some of the things you should avoid when polishing your car.
- Never polish a dirty car. Make sure to thoroughly wash, degrease, and decontaminate the paint before polishing and waxing.
- When applying polish, less is more. In truth, you only need small amounts of polishing liquid to treat a larger surface area.
- Make it a habit to saturate the polishing pad with liquid instead of spritzing the liquid all over the paint and catch it with a spinning DA polisher. This not only leads to wastage, but the slings will be hard to clean up afterwards.
- Avoid over-polishing your vehicle. Polishing is recommended every 12 months or before the start of summer and winter. The trick to is wax more and polish less since waxing won’t strip off the clear coat, unlike polishing.
- If you can avoid it, never polish or wax under a baking hot sun, also, never polish or wax a hot surface. Make sure all surfaces are cool to the touch.