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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What is the main difference between a variable speed polisher and a random orbit polisher?

The variable speed polisher is $79 and the random orbit is $109.

I can get that even reduced more with a Harbor Freight coupon.

I am only looking at these two from Harbor Freight.

https://www.harborfreight.com/power...ual-action-variable-speed-polisher-64528.html

https://www.harborfreight.com/power...-dual-action-random-orbit-polisher-56367.html

I know there are more expensive brands but I won't be using this that often so Harbor Freight would be just fine.

Thanks
 

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they both do the same thing, the more expensive one is a copy of a more expensive name brand polisher (porter cable vs rupes). might have more power, less stall, more throw, stuff like that. if you're just getting started, spend on good pads and products, you can upgrade the polisher later. I'd rather have a cheapo DA with more 6 and 3" pad sets and good compound, etc.
 

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If you're just going to use it a few times a year or whatever the first one is absolutely fine. Pretty much every orbital is variable speed so I'm not sure why they labelled that one as such. The more expensive one has some nice features, but you don't really want a polisher to maintain speed when it starts to bog down because usually that's when paint damage will occur. That's tough to do with an orbital but still something I'm not sure I'd want.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If you're just going to use it a few times a year or whatever the first one is absolutely fine. Pretty much every orbital is variable speed so I'm not sure why they labelled that one as such. The more expensive one has some nice features, but you don't really want a polisher to maintain speed when it starts to bog down because usually that's when paint damage will occur. That's tough to do with an orbital but still something I'm not sure I'd want.
Thanks for the reply back.

What is the main key feature of the more expensive model?
 

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Buncha stuff
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If youre going to go any route and already spending $80, why not go with the tried and true/industry standard?

https://www.amazon.com/PORTER-CABLE-7424XP-6-Inch-Variable-Speed-Polisher/dp/B002654I46

I've had mine for 8 years and it works phenomenally well every time.
Yep. I have the same one in my cabinet and has been there for several years. You're already planning on spending the money, get the best bang for the same bucks. But as said above, quality pads and compounds are what really make the difference.
 

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If youre going to go any route and already spending $80, why not go with the tried and true/industry standard?

https://www.amazon.com/PORTER-CABLE-7424XP-6-Inch-Variable-Speed-Polisher/dp/B002654I46

I've had mine for 8 years and it works phenomenally well every time.

Yep. I have the same one in my cabinet and has been there for several years. You're already planning on spending the money, get the best bang for the same bucks. But as said above, quality pads and compounds are what really make the difference.
+ 1. It works so well (and is comfortable to use) that I bought a 3.5" version later. The removable handle on the Porter-Cable is worth the extra $10, increasing comfort and control. I wouldn't spend 25% more (plus shipping) for Griot's version, but their pads are a couple of notches better than others (especially the Harbor Freight ones) in terms of longevity.
 

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I bought the cheaper harbor freight one. It feels like good quality and it works perfectly. It was my first time polishing and don't plan on doing it often, so cheaper was better in my case. I spent the savings on two different size backing plates and some nice pads and I think it was the right call.

 

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I bought the cheaper harbor freight one. It feels like good quality and it works perfectly. It was my first time polishing and don't plan on doing it often, so cheaper was better in my case. I spent the savings on two different size backing plates and some nice pads and I think it was the right call.

side pipes.
 

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'21 Tacoma TRD-Offroad – '94 Miata – '16 RAV4
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I borrowed my buddy’s HF one, not sure which model. I need to get pads and compound still.

I’m goin to practice on my old Prius before tackling the swirls on the Miata.
 

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comparing the HF one to a porter cable really isn't fair. no one buys anything from there w/o at least a 20% off coupon so you're talking closer to half the price. They're (I'm assuming) both brushed motor units with similar spec bearings and componentry. Maybe the PC model will last longer but I wouldn't put my money on it.

The only thing I'd really pony up extra $ for as a DIYer is better vibration mitigation to combat user fatigue. I find my arms getting all weird after a few panels with either of my polishers, but to be fair I've never used a true fancy rupes or ones on that level.

That C3 looks good in the pics! dunno what it looked like before, but it's clean and shiny now.
 

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I've done my VW and Miata with this one. The roof of the VW had gone completely flat, multiple passes with this polisher and Meguiar's Rubbing Compound and Polishing Compound and I had a beautiful swirl free finish. Yes it's small, but easy to maneuver and control. Might not be the right option for a large car, but for a beginner, its going to go a little slower, but less risk to causing paint damage that way.

https://www.harborfreight.com/6-in-compact-palm-polisher-69487.html

This is the roof of the VW, Right side is before, Left is work in progress
[/url]20180831_003749 by Chuck's Pixs, on Flickr[/IMG]

This is the roof of the VW finshed polishing and waxing.
[/url]20180903_223331 by Chuck's Pixs, on Flickr[/IMG]
 

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comparing the HF one to a porter cable really isn't fair. no one buys anything from there w/o at least a 20% off coupon so you're talking closer to half the price.
I never go to Harbor Freight without coupons, but since CT/MA went into quarantine there haven't been any 20% or 25% off coupons. I was planning on buying a transmission jack at 25% off on Memorial Day, but will wait until they come back as it isn't an emergency.

After a Milwaukee reciprocation saw I had for 20 years died, I bought one of their reciprocating saws (the highest amperage motor) a few years ago and it lasted a week. The replacement lasted 3 months. Then I bought the cheapest one they had with a coupon for $20. It has been great, and even cut up the shell a Scirocco parts car. So HF stuff could be a home run, or go right in the dumpster.
 

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I’d get a porter cable over the HF one. Mine is well over a decade old and I use it a few times a year (we have multiple cars). I also have a Cyclo that I’ve had for over 20 years. It’s an amazing machine and super easy to use. It’s not the best for getting out really bad defects, but it does work well. I wish I still had pictures of my friend’s civic. The paint was oxidized and terrible looking. I used the cyclo and it came out super nice. Not like new because the paint was too far gone but it was a dramatic.
 

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Should work great. I'm still using mine from ~5 years ago after my griot's crapped out. Wear hearing and eye protection, get a good light(s), couple different pads (I usually use a med/heavy cut, polish, and finishing from whatever brand you like), and some decent product. I like Meguiar's line for most things because they're readily available, usually good value, and a known quantity. Don't chase products shilled by YTers, and have fun!

 

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Should work great. I'm still using mine from ~5 years ago after my griot's crapped out. Wear hearing and eye protection, get a good light(s), couple different pads (I usually use a med/heavy cut, polish, and finishing from whatever brand you like), and some decent product. I like Meguiar's line for most things because they're readily available, usually good value, and a known quantity. Don't chase products shilled by YTers, and have fun!
You should have contacted Griot's- their stuff has a lifetime warranty. I had a fluid extractor break on me, and they replaced it even after about 12 years.
 
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