The Rupes iBrid Nano was a product that I had extremely high hopes for when it was announced at the SEMA Show in 2016. After what seemed like forever, the iBrid was finally available for sale and I was eager to put it to work (see my Unboxing Article Here). I have spent many months with the tool now, and I have learned a lot about the iBrid Nano as I continue to use it whenever possible.
To be perfectly honest, this tool was perhaps a bit overly hyped in my own brain. When it finally showed up, and I put it to use, I was somewhat disappointed. My first few hours with the machine were a bit of a struggle. I had fitted the machine with the 3 mm orbit, 1 inch pads, and battery pack for cordless operation. I found it to be quite challenging to maintain pad rotation, and I was not seeing the results I was hoping for. The machine is extremely quiet, so initially I just assumed it was drastically under powered because it didn’t sound like it was working hard even at full speed, but I would later discover that this tool requires you to pay a lot of attention to your technique.
Keeping the pad level relative to your working surface is more of a challenge due to the long body of the tool compared to the small pad face. Any small change in the angle of the handle can create too much pressure on the outer edges of the pad, slowing or stalling the rotation. I found that when I switched to the larger 12mm orbit it was not as much of a challenge for me to keep the pad spinning, so this is now how I use the tool most of the time. It also felt like the machine had a bit more power when it was plugged in via the supplied power adapter, though it may have just been due to the fact that my battery was no longer fully charged. I still prefer to use the tool cordless as it gives you so much more freedom.
As I grew more comfortable with how to make the most of the tool, I found it to be extremely useful for a variety of tasks. Obviously, the tool is made for polishing small, hard to reach areas, and it certainly does work well for this.
The Rupes iBrid Nano allowed us to get into intricate areas on the exterior of the vehicles as well as interiors, engine bays, wheels, and almost anywhere else that may have a surface in need of polishing. Most luxury vehicles are equipped with a glossy trim of some sort, typically carbon fiber, wood, or piano black. These trim pieces will show wear over time as mine had in my 2008 Lexus ISF. The nano was the perfect size to safely polish all of the trim pieces, using both the 1″ and 2″ attachments, to restore clarity in my carbon fiber pieces.
I really enjoyed the freedom of being completely cordless, especially when working in tighter areas such as interiors and engine bays. The compact size of the machine and the cordless operation enable you to easily navigate small spaces, though you do need to be aware of the metal neck on the polisher. This piece can cause damage to nearby components if you are working in a congested area.
I found the trigger to be very easy to operate, though I do wish there was a lock mechanism like the ones found on the larger Rupes machines. The speed dial is easy to manipulate during operation, and the battery indicator light is quite handy for letting you know when you need to switch to a new battery. Changing attachment is quick and simple with the supplied tool. You can change to different size orbits, different size backing plates, or brushes in no time at all.
I wasn’t sure if I would find much use for the supplied brushes, but after fixing the horsehair brush to the tool and testing it out on some of my interior pieces, I was hooked. The random orbital motion scrubs the leather and vinyl surfaces so much better than I could do by hand, and with much less physical effort required. When paired with a nice interior cleaning like CarPro Inside, you can do a lot of cleaning in a very short period of time.
Overall, we have found the Rupes iBrid Nano to be a welcome addition to the Rupes lineup. The tool certainly has its limitations, but it enables us to get into areas that were previously not accessible with larger machines. I still feel that the price is quite high for this kit. I would rather there be an option to purchase a kit with fewer attachments. I personally have not found the need to have the sanding backing plates, sanding discs, Rupes compound, Rupes polish, 3mm orbit attachment, blue Rupes pads, microfiber cloths, or the large case. A standalone polisher with batteries and backing plates would have been much more appealing to me. Perhaps I am in the minority and most others find all of the supplied products and attachments to be useful.
In any case, we enjoy using our Rupes iBrid Nano when it is needed, but in my opinion the high price for the kit makes it hard to justify purchasing the iBrid unless you are a professional and will be making good money with this tool.