What Polishers and Buffers Are Professional Detailers Using
When it comes to paint correction and achieving the best possible finish on a vehicle, we all know there is no magic combination that works every single time. If there was, many product manufacturers would be out of business and professional detailers would not get paid as much for their services. I created a recent detailing survey to find out if there were any commonalities between detailers. Sure enough there was. This will be the first article in a series relating to those survey results.
Is the Rotary Era Truly Dead
When the question was asked, “What polisher / buffer do you turn to the most when correcting paint imperfections?”, of the professional detailers who completed the survey, 88% of them said they do not turn to a rotary buffer. This isn’t to say that many of them don’t own a rotary buffer or use it as needed, it is merely saying that it’s not the first one they grab for paint correction. When asked to name the polisher or buffer used to finish a vehicle, over 95% of the detailers answered with a dual action or random orbital machine. This makes sense to me as rotary buffers have a much higher potential of leaving holograms and haze in the paint. Not to mention, a much higher chance of burning the paint or trim due to the high spin speed of a rotary buffer.
A current product that seems to be tailored to the rotary market are denim and velvet pads designed to remove orange peel from the paint. There are also a variety of other reasons why you want to keep a rotary around, so don’t just give up on them yet!
Rupes Bigfoot Polishers Leading The Pack
RUPES Bigfoot Polishers are indeed the leading machines detailers turn to first when either correcting or finishing the paint. Of those who completed the survey, just over 50% said they use a RUPES buffer as their go-to machine. A little more than 25% of professionals turn to the Griot’s Garage buffer, Porter Cable 7424XP, or Meguiar’s DA machine. The remaning 20% of completed answers were split between other DA units, Flex 3401VRG or rotary buffers.
Buffers for Small and Tight Spaces
Correcting and polishing small and hard to reach areas has always been something that separates a good detailer from a great one. The most common ways to tackle these areas are to change to a smaller backing plate and pad combination, use a buffer dedicated to small and tight spaces or simply polish the area by hand. The detailers were asked if they have a specific machine dedicated for tight and small areas and if so, name which one. Around 30% of the detailers who replied do not have a dedicated machine for tight areas. The remaining detailers who answered that they do have a dedicated machine had a variety of evenly distributed responses. The 3 most common answers detailers gave were they change out the backing plate to a smaller size, the Griot’s Garage 3″ polisher or the Rupes LHR75 pneumatic random orbital polisher. Electric options (Griot’s 3″ polisher and backing plate change) accounted for 65% of the answers where 35% of detailers turn to a polisher that requires an air compressor (RUPES LHR75, RUPES TA50, Dynabrade 57126, Mirka MR-30 3″ Rotary) to power them.
Polisher and Buffer Observations
Professional detailers have shifted away from rotary polishing, a skill that takes years of dedication to master, and now resorting to safer alternatives that produce the same, if not better, results. When it comes to some advanced paintwork correction, such as orange peel removal and chasing deep imperfections, rotary buffers still have their place. The RUPES buffer is the latest in polisher technology by utilizing it’s long throw to produce safe, fast and effective results. This is the current go-to choice of professionals. Most professionals have a buffer dedicated to small areas, some that go down as small as 2″ pads. This allows for maximum correction and finish in the hardest areas. Next up with be an article continuing on to pad and product selection. Thanks for reading, please leave any comments below.