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Ask DI – What Polisher Should I Use As A Beginner?

Ask DI - What Polisher Should I Use As A Beginner

In this series, I am going to take some time to highlight some of the most popular detailing questions I encounter on a daily basis as a customer service representative here at DI. These questions can range from washing, drying, and polishing, to almost any other step in the detailing process. With the help of Ask-a-Pro Author James Melfi, check out our answers and some helpful detailing resources covering the topic at hand.


I am looking to get into polishing.Should I spend the $400 on a Rupes or pick up a polisher that costs less?


Rupes hands down are my favorite units on the market right now, but they are more expensive than many other units out there. If this higher price point is within your budget or you want the best of the best, picking up a Mark III 15 or Mark III 21 would be my suggestion. We also carry the LHR 15ES and the LHR 21ES, both of which are the first iteration in the Rupes lineup so they will come a little cheaper overall. All of these units are incredibly powerful and the smoothest units I have used.

With that said, as a beginner using a $400+ unit is not necessary. If you are looking to spend a little less starting out, the Griot’s Garage G9 Random Orbital Polisher is an awesome unit. This unit does come at a lower price point but still has some higher-end features making it a great enthusiast unit.

Honestly, you can not go wrong with either here, they are both great. I would go with what fits your budget and desires overall.


If you’re just starting to get into paint correction and polishing, I’d always recommend starting with a lesser expensive smaller machine. This way you can get a feel and develop your technique and procedure before making a larger investment. A machine like the Griots Garage G9 would be a great place to start. The machine itself is less important than the development of proper polishing habits.

Bonus Polishing Articles:

Related Detailing Guide Section(s):

6 comments on Ask DI – What Polisher Should I Use As A Beginner?

  1. James E Stockwell says:

    So many of these polishers are overpriced, plain and simple. I have a Griots and recently bought a great Bauer unit from Harbor Freight. Try C.F. for a deal on a great polisher.

  2. Piggie Jones says:

    I got the maxshine 8m and love it. It is great and also very affordable. I paid $89 on Amazon. Apex detail does a tear down and review.

  3. If you were just getting one Rupes the Mark III 15 is the way to go. It’s so much more versatile than the 21. No comparison. For reference I also have the 21, Mille, Duetto, Mini, Nano and do this professionally, every day. They all have their place in my kit but 9 out of 10 times I’m grabbing the 15.

  4. Dan says:

    I still use the Porter Cable 7424xp, and recommend it to beginners.

    Incredibly versatile in that it can accommodate 3″, 4″, 5″, and 6″ plates. It’s a very durable and reliable tool for the price.

    Get a 3″ and 5″ plate, some Buff and Shine Uro-Fiber, and yellow Uro-Tec polishing pads, some 3D ONE and you’ve got a very solid and versatile starting point.

    I also use the Rupes Duetto and Mini, but consider those more of a professional tool, but I do this for a living and can still get a lot done with the Porter Cable.

  5. Brad says:

    I started off with a Porter Cable 7424xp. Its a great beginner polisher. This polisher excels great in the bang for the buck category. What nice about it is the price point and value. It allows you to invest in the parts of paint correction beyond the machine, the pads and the product that do the correction and touch the paint.

    Like Dan said above “Get a 3″ and 5″ plate, some Buff and Shine Uro-Fiber, and yellow Uro-Tec polishing pads, some 3D ONE and you’ve got a very solid and versatile starting point.” This allows a person to do a wide range of paint correction with little up front cost.

    I have since expanded my tool arsenal to FLEX machines as I like the power you get from a gear drive orbital. Not to mention that they have a great cordless line up of tools. Even with these machines in the garage I still grab the 7424 when I need a more manageable tool for subtle paint correction tasks.

    With all that said Detail Image offers a catalog of machines that you cant go wrong with. Pick one out that fits your budget and start building your pad stock. Down the road expand your arsenal.

    • Reece @ DI says:

      Brad – Well said! The PC is a great place to start and you can always add to your collection down the line.

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