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What’s the Difference Between Buffers and Polishers?

The terms buffer and polisher are different names for the same thing. As with most power tools, knowing when to use which type of polisher requires an understanding of the similarities and differences between them.

The main distinction between the types of machine polishers is in the motion of the head. Both kinds of car buffers have variable speeds. The way that the pad rotates around the motor is what makes them different. Choosing the right machine, polishing pads and liquids helps professional car detailers and enthusiasts get the paint correction results they want.

High speed rotary polishers spin very fast in a circle, generating heat around the edges of the buffing pad. While circular polishers can be very effective for quickly removing oxidation or other heavy defects, there are risks. First, paint burn is a serious concern. Second, the only way to create swirl marks in clear coat is with a rotary buffer. Check out the Rupes LH19E Rotary Buffer.

Orbital buffers move in a completely different way, almost eliminating the risk of swirl marks and paint burn. Also called dual action polishers, they orbit in a random pattern while vibrating at the same time. Random orbital polishers are much easier to use and even beginners can remove swirls without much practice.

Top brands include Rupes Bigfoot Mark III, Griot's Garage BOSS and Meguiar's MT300. Because DA polishers are so user friendly, they work great as random orbital sanders, too!

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