There are a lot of new machine polishers that have emerged on the market in the last couple of years that offer professionals and enthusiasts a lot more variety and possibilities for polishing that was not available of 5 years ago.

We get asked a lot “which is the right polisher for me” or “which is the best polisher?” and with so much choice out there now the various styles and types can take some understanding. So here is a quick guide to the differing polishing machines and hopefully you can find one that suits your needs:


This style of polisher has been around for a long time and has been used by industry for many years. It is a geared machine that rotates around a central spindle, usually fitted with a 6”-9” pad. It has very fast cutting ability through high torque, but an inexperienced operator can ‘burn through’ paint and cause damage to trim and rubber surrounds easily. Older versions were heavy 4-5kgs and hard to handle, while newer styles are more usable and ergonomic at just 2-3kgs. Used in bodyshops, car dealerships and by commercial detailers. Best suited to: professionals who have been machine polishing for many years, it offers fast cutting and good for hard paints. First time enthusiasts should not try to learn with a Rotary Polisher. Suggestions for Lightweight Rotary Polishers: Mint Rotary Polisher, Shinex or Rupes Rotary Polisher.

Random Orbital

This style of polisher is relatively new and has evolved from Random Orbital Sanders – the difference being the size of the orbit (stroke), and the speed of the oscillation (opm). Sanders oscillate fast (8-10,000 opm) and have a small stroke (2-3mm) while Polishers oscillate more slowly 2-6 opm and have a large stroke 8-21mm. Which means that Random Orbital (RO) Polishers can ‘cut’ and actually have the power to permanently remove swirls and marks in the paint, but they are very safe because of the oscillating motion. They do not cut as fast as the Rotary Polishers but can deliver similar results, albeit taking longer.

Now to explain the different types:

DAS6 – 8mm Orbit

This was the first of the new style of RO Polishers and has been in the market for around 5 years, proving very popular with enthusiasts looking to achieve real polishing results versus the old-school method of constantly hand polishing. Machines like the DAS6 have revolutionised the industry because they are suited to complete beginners who have never used a machine before, yet within 5 minutes they are completely comfortable and achieving great results. Please do not confuse this machine with the cheap ‘wobbling’ ones they sell in most auto-stores, this does have 500W of power to permanently polish paint. Another benefit of the DAS6 is the ability to change the backing plate to suit a pad size of 80mm right up to 165mm which allows polishing in the tightest of spaces, and it can also be combined with foam pads or the new technology of microfibre pads.

- Best suited to: Beginners who want to polish their paintwork and get real results, but have never dared to put a machine on their car – the easiest polisher to master quickly.

DAS6-Pro – 8mm Orbit

This is a more powerful version of the DAS6 that is very similar in every other aspect but has 850W. That means it offers the same safe polishing action however with ability to complete the job a little quicker, and also offering that extra bit of grunt required sometimes for harder paints. Ultimately it does the same job as the DAS6 and is used by a lot of professional detailers as a finishing machine because of the RO motion which removes holograms and light swirls with ease. If you are looking to polish your car once or twice a year; DAS6 – if you want to polish a car every week; DAS6-Pro. And like the DAS6, the Pro has the ability to change the backing plate to suit a pad size of 80mm right up to 165mm and it can also be combined with foam pads or the new technology of microfibre pads.

- Best suited to: Enthusiasts or Weekend Detailers were time is more of a factor, or want an RO Polisher with some extra power. Also for Professional Detailers wanting a good machine for final finishing.

Rupes – 15mm Orbit

Otherwise known as the new or small Bigfoot, this 15mm version looks and feels very similar to the 21mm big brother (see below). The 15mm orbit sits in the middle of the 8mm and 21mm for both polishing ability and versatility, it offers more polishing power than the 8mm orbit machines but again the flexibility is limited by the size of the stroke for corners and polishing closely into edges and trim – however it is more versatile than the 21mm orbit as you can imagine, and although it orbits faster max 5,000 opm, it still lacks some of the 21mm’s raw polishing power for the large flat panels. A good compromise and more aimed at detailing rather than panel shop polishing. This polisher is used with matching foam and microfibre pads in a 150mm size, not smaller.

- Best suited to: Enthusiasts to Professional Detailers looking for a more powerful RO machine, perhaps in combination with other machines for complete coverage and correction.

Rupes – 21mm Orbit

This is known as the ‘Bigfoot’ because of the huge footprint it lays down when polishing of the 21mm orbit. The larger orbit offers more polishing power for paint correction, the closest anything has come to a Rotary but still not there. Your polishing time would be quicker than the smaller orbit RO machines but there is the large drawback of curves, corners and contours – the 21mm does not like them and with modern vehicles comprising of lots of curvy bits these days it can be quite a challenge. The 21mm is great for polishing large open flat panels; roofs, bonnets etc but when it comes to anything intricate even like contoured doors it does struggle to polish the area consistently. The other advantage of this machine is that it is still safer than a Rotary Polisher, so unskilled staff in commercial operations can use this without fear of doing more damage than good. This polisher is used with matching foam pads only in a 180mm size, not smaller.

- Best suited to: Panel Shops or Professional Detailers that are looking to polish cars quickly, and usually used in combination with other machines for complete coverage and correction. Not really for the beginner who wants a singular machine.

So coming back to the original question of Which Polisher is right for me? – it depends:

Is it your first polisher and you only have a car or two to polish every 6-12 months? Maybe a DAS6 suits your needs perfectly – if you own cars with Harder Paints (Mercedes, BMW, Audi, VW…) and again want something versatile to start with, maybe the DAS6-Pro. If you are looking to polish cars on a frequent basis, even weekly then maybe invest in the Rupes 15mm as your main machine. If speed is the main requirement then the 21mm RO Polisher delivers this but ultimately nothing cuts as fast a Rotary Polisher, just as long as you know what you are doing! However if money is not an issue then combining 2 machines will give you the best of both worlds, a lot of the top detailers will use a Rotary Polisher or 21mm to cut and then refine the paint to perfection with an 8mm RO Polisher to remove any holograms or swirls and achieve that gloss and depth in the paint.