What is the Best Car Polisher For Beginners?

What is the Best Car Polisher For Beginners?

There are very few things in life that will give you the same satisfaction as using a machine polisher on your car for the first time, whether it be just for gloss enhancement or to carry out a bit of paint correction on some unsightly swirl marks or scratches in the paint.

I remember the excitement of getting my first car polisher ( Kestral Das-6 ) as a Christmas present years ago very clearly. I had butterflies in my stomach as I couldn’t wait to use it in my car. I had spent the weeks leading up to Christmas following guide after guide online and watching tutorials on youtube, studying them in great detail in preparation for the first time having a go at it myself.

The excitement was unreal.

Unfortunately, I don’t have access to a garage where I can work indoors, and in Ireland, it rains pretty much every day so I was left waiting.

The first dry day came and I was out ready to attack the paintwork!

best car paint buffer


Best Car Polisher For Beginner

Best Polisher for Beginner

Best Polisher for Beginner


Best Car Polisher for Beginner


Not a bad result for a 10-year-old car! ( And as a complete beginner at polishing car paint ) I enjoyed the process and learning the techniques so much I would often offer to do friends and families’ cars just so I could practice and get more time using the buffer.

Working on my Dads Old Saab 95

Best Car Buffer


Working on a friend’s Audi A4 

best car polisher


After doing my girlfriend’s VW Polo


best car polisher for beginners


People often ask me for advice on the best car polisher for beginners who want to learn how to polish their car. My answer is always the same: start with the safest type of machine polisher, which is a Dual Action (DA) machine polisher.

The DA polisher is perfect for learning because it is the best choice for amateur detailers who want to keep their car looking great without risking damage to the paint.

Unlike a Rotary polisher, which has the potential to do a lot of damage, a DA polisher is much safer to use.

When I was ready to get my hands on my first polisher, I made sure to get a dual-action polisher, and I can say with complete sincerity that it was the best decision I ever made.

To better understand the difference between the two types of machine polishers, let’s take a quick look at them side by side.

Difference Between Dual Action ( DA ) and Rotary Polishers

When it comes to car detailing, rotary and dual-action polishers are two of the most commonly used tools for paint correction and polishing. While both are designed to achieve similar results, there are significant differences between the two that can impact the final outcome.

Rotary Polishers

A rotary polisher, also known as a circular or high-speed polisher, uses a spinning disk to rotate a polishing pad in a circular motion. The speed of the spinning disk can be adjusted, allowing the user to control the amount of heat generated by the pad.

Rotary polishers are typically used for heavy paint correction tasks, such as removing deep scratches, heavy oxidation, and swirl marks. They are powerful and effective, but require a high level of skill and experience to use correctly, as they can generate significant heat and cause damage to the paint if used improperly.


  • Great for heavy paint correction tasks
  • High power and effectiveness
  • Can achieve faster results


  • Generates significant heat, which can damage paint if used improperly
  • Requires a high level of skill and experience to use correctly
  • Can be difficult to control and manoeuvre in tight spaces

best car polisher for beginners

Dual Action Polishers:

A dual action polisher, also known as an orbital or random orbital polisher, uses a circular motion to rotate the polishing pad, but also moves the pad in an orbital or random pattern to prevent overheating and reduce the risk of damage to the paint.

The movement of the pad is also less aggressive than that of a rotary polisher, making it safer and easier to use for those who are less experienced. Dual action polishers are typically used for lighter paint correction tasks, such as removing light scratches, swirl marks, and hazing but can also achieve similar results to a rotary polisher in the right hands.


  • Safer and easier to use, making it more accessible to beginners
  • Generates less heat, reducing the risk of paint damage
  • Can be used on a wider range of paint types and surfaces
  • Good for general maintenance and touch-ups


  • Slower than rotary polishers, which can be frustrating for those who want faster results
  • Less powerful than rotary polishers, which may make them less effective for heavy paint correction tasks

Choose a DA Polisher if:

  • You want to take a few swirls and light scratches out of your paintwork
  • Use it regularly to maintain your paintwork
  • Want something easy to use
  • You don’t want to worry about burning through your paint unintentionally

Choose a Rotary Polisher if:

  • You have serious paintwork blemishes you want to remove
  • You have time to get to grips with the way the machine works ( practice on old cars or panels etc)
  • You want to become a professional detailer

If you are a beginner it is a no-brainer which type you should start with, unless you have a lot of money put aside for a respray.

However, with all the polishers, polishing pads, backing plates and polishing compounds on the market, it’s a confusing place for the keen enthusiast looking to get started.

Let’s take a look at what you will need to do your first machine polish.

What To Look For When Choosing a Dual Action Polisher


You don’t have to break the bank when setting up your first DA Polisher. There are plenty of options online that can help you get the job done while you learn how to polish, and you may never need to upgrade unless you become a professional detailer.

However, be careful to avoid cheap kits on eBay, as they are often useless and a waste of money.

If you’re a first-time polisher buyer, my advice is to expect to pay between $150-$250 (£100-£200) for your first machine. While this may seem expensive, it’s really an investment that will allow you to maintain your car’s paint yourself for years to come.

To put it in perspective, most professional detailers would charge a lot more than this to perform just one paint correction on your car. So, in my opinion, it’s not a lot of money for something that will last you years while also giving you the satisfaction of doing it yourself.

how to remove swirls


When it comes to machine polishers, there are several brands such as Meguiar’s, Flex, Porter Cable and Rupes. All of these brands have their own pros and cons, and you’ll need to research each one to determine which one is right for you. Generally speaking, the more expensive ones will offer greater power and durability.


When looking at a polisher, think about what features are important to you. Do you want one that has variable speeds? Is comfort important? These are all questions that should be considered when deciding which polisher is best for your needs.


Finally, think about how durable the polisher is. The last thing you want is to buy a cheap machine that breaks after only a few uses. Look for brands that offer warranties and read reviews from other users to get an idea of how long the polisher will last.

Best Car Polishers For Beginners (Top 5)

1)Kestrel DAS-6 (Europe Only)

The Kestrel DAS-6 is probably one of the most recommended machine polishers for the beginner detailer. The Das6 is a good entry-level machine and the very first machine I had the pleasure of owning. Those results pictures at the top of this post were achieved with this little beauty. This is an ideal machine polisher for first-timers.

The Kestrel DAS-6 is very popular in Europe. I have had my one for years I’m very happy with it. Lightweight, easy to use and most importantly very safe. While far from what a rotary can do, the correcting power of the DAS-6 can be quite surprising and it allows for a lot of playing with different combinations of buffing pads and polishes. It’s a machine that will give you satisfaction for many years to come.

My Notes :

+ Affordable entry into the polishing game

+ Great Result

– It is a bit loud and vibrates pretty hard

You can find more info on Price and Spec Here


Best Polisher for beginners


Porter-Cable (PC) is a trusted brand in the detailing scene and has continued to produce quality buffers for detailing pros and beginners all around. The PC 7424XP Variable Speed Polisher is one of the best on the market for beginners looking to learn. One of the best things about this machine is it’s a very reasonable price for the level of performance and quality that this DA polisher has. True quality and professional-grade polisher without over-spending for a hyped-up brand name polisher

My Notes :

+ Easy to use

+ Lightweight and very little vibration

+ Very good value for the money

You can find more info on Price and Spec Here



3.Griot’s Garage 6″ DA Polisher

Another tried and trusted DA Polisher that you can’t go wrong with. Again, with all of the other DA polishers, this is completely safe for beginners. It has 6 different speed settings which also makes it very versatile. One of the nicest things about this polisher is that it comes with 25-foot power cable.

My Notes :

+ Durable and well built

+ Good for both beginners and more experienced detailers

+ Great and consistent results

You can find more info on Price and Spec Here


best car polisher for beginners

4.Meguiar’s MT300

This is an incredibly well-made product by Meguiars, who is one of the leading names in the detailing industry. This Polisher is a little higher on the price scale, but I would argue that the quality of this machine can command the price. This is one of those products where you buy once, and should not have to buy again as I would be fairly confident it could accomplish 99% of paint correction you could ever need.

This model features digital torque management – This a digital instantaneous feedback circuit that increases torque when downward pressure is applied to maintain loaded speed levels, which is something that a lot of other polishing machines don’t have.

My Notes :

+ Well Made with an attractive design

+ All you should ever need

–  A bit more expensive than other polishers, especially since it does not come with a backing plate included.

You can find more info on Price and Spec Here


Best Car Polisher for Beginners



Chemical Guys spent a great deal of time designing the TORQ 10FX Random Orbital Polisher, and it becomes apparent the first time you use it. I imagine that this Polisher was developed with the beginner in mind, and fine-tuned using feedback from professional detailers that polish paint for a living. I would say this polisher is ideal for long polishing sessions as it has very little vibration which limits fatigue. Once you start out polishing as a beginner you will know all about this problem soon enough! One particular thing I like about this polisher is its digital LCD screen indicating your selected speed setting

My Notes :

+ Well Made with an attractive design

+ All you should ever need

–  A bit more expensive than other polishers, especially since it does not come with a backing plate included.

You can find more info on Price and Spec Here



Best car polisher for beginners

You pretty much cannot go wrong with any of the models I have listed above, so just pick one that suits your preference and own budget and start learning how to machine polish your car. Once you get a feel for it, you will never look back. So once you have your polisher, there are a couple of more important things you will need to get started.

If you are a more advanced user, you can see some of the other polishers I recommend HERE

Choosing a Polish to Use For Your First Time

So you have your polisher picked, great! You can’t do much with a machine polisher without Polish.

The next step to get started on learning how to polish your car is to get some compounds. You will more than likely need 2 types of Compounds ( You could buy an all in 1 compound but I would suggest you are better off learning the tried and tested way and understanding the difference between compound types)

1)Cutting Compound

Cutting compounds have abrasive fibres and particles that cut into paint’s topmost surface, to remove very thin paint layers. The strength of the cutting compound you will need depends on the condition of the paintwork. If you have a heavily swirled car or need to remove big scratches, you will need something with a heavy cut. If this is your first time polishing, I would go for something with a medium-cut. I have always used Menzerna products and learned using them. So these what I would recommend to someone starting as you don’t have to worry about the quality of their products.  MCP2500 Medium Cut Polish is a good place to start. More info here.


Best Polish for Beginners



2.Finishing Compound

Finishing compounds are used as the last stage of polishing to bring out the paint’s lustre and gloss after cutting. Polishing compounds can use very tiny abrasive particles and cleaners or contain a wax and sealer combination. They function like swirl remover, aside from the extra sealant or protectant used as a barrier against UV light damage and oxidation. Menzerna Final Finish 3000 would be a good compliment to the cutting compound above. More info Here



best polish for beginners


There are hundreds of others out there, but these are stalwarts and all you’d need to learn how to machine polish. To go with the polish above, you will also need the correct pads to go with each compound. You will need a Medium Cutting Pad and a Polishing Pad.

1)Cutting Pad

A cutting pad is an aggressive pad that gets attached to a buffer to help remove noticeable surface imperfections in the clear coat or paint. For your first-time polishing, my go-to recommendation for beginners would be a medium-cut pad. My Pad of preference would be Chemical Guys Hex-Logic Medium-Heavy Cutting Pad. This is a great all-rounder to start with. You should use this pad with the Menzerna Intensive polish that I have listed above. You can read my guide on the hex logic cutting pads here


Best car polisher for beginners

2)Finishing Pad

A Finishing Pad is A soft pad that is used to produce a high gloss finish. Again, the Chemical guys’ pads would be the pad I would recommend. You can’t go wrong with the Chemical Guys Hex-Logic Finishing Pad. Another great all-rounder. You should use this Pad with the Menzerna Finishing Polish as listed above.


best polisher for beginners

How To Machine Polish Your Car For The First Time

If you want to learn how to machine polish your car for the first time, you can read a step-by-step guide I have written in another blog post, you can find this HERE

Some Tips For First Timers

1)Start with a low speed

Before you begin machine polishing, set the speed of the polisher to a low setting. Gradually increase the speed as you become more comfortable with the process. Starting with a low speed will help prevent any damage to your car’s paintwork and learn how to handle the machine properly.

2)Keep the pad flat

When using the machine polisher, it’s important to keep the pad flat against the surface of your car’s paintwork. 

3)Work in small sections

To achieve the best results, work in small sections, moving the machine polisher in a back-and-forth motion, overlapping each pass slightly. This will help you achieve a more even finish.

4)Don’t apply too much pressure

Applying too much pressure can cause damage to your car’s paintwork. It’s important not to apply too much pressure when using a machine polisher. Let the weight of the machine do the work for you.

5)Clean the pad regularly

As you work, the polishing pad will accumulate polish residue, which can affect the quality of your finish. Clean the pad regularly using a pad cleaner or a mild detergent to ensure that it’s working at its best.

Don’t forget you can check out the range of pads and compounds available on the DriveDetailed Store.

Until then,

Happy Detailing!

About the Author – Darren O Hara

Darren is the founder of the DriveDetailed blog and is a keen detailing enthusiast living in the rainy south of Ireland. When he is not cleaning his car he is always researching ways he can improve his techniques and enjoys testing out out new products.

Darren currently drives an Audi TTRS and is a big fan of performance cars.

You can follow Darren on Instagram @darrenoharacork

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14 thoughts on “What is the Best Car Polisher For Beginners?

  1. Hi Darren, nice post! I just want to add-up one more important point that car buffers and polishing is an area of auto detailing that is grossly misunderstood by many. Could you give more insights about this matter so everyone can even more aware of?

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