Porter Cable Dual Action Polisher Review

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Curious as to how much I could improve the paint on my vehicle using an orbital polisher, I decided recently to pick one up and try my hand at it. I had heard many good things about dual action polishers, and the model that was most often recommended to me by friends in the detailing business was the Porter Cable 7424.

Porter Cable Polisher model 7424.

Porter Cable Polisher model 7424.

Orbital dual action polishers are great for newbies because their rotation is designed to be random. With a random action polisher, there is little chance that heat will build up under your polishing pad and burn into your paint (unlike a regular rotary polisher). In other words, it’s virtually impossible to damage your paint with an orbital polisher.

The Porter Cable I ordered was bundled with a Menzerna polish kit. I chose Menzerna because all of my research on polishes had lead to this well-established German company as one of the best values on the market. While a bit pricier than other polishes, the Menzerna system I used came with two polishes, one labeled Intensive and one labeled Final. Since my paint was quite faded in a few areas, the idea was to use the Intensive polish first and then fine tune it with the Final. The kit also included two different strengths of cutting pads for the polish, as well as a wax applicator.

I washed the car, clayed it, and then taped all of the trim so that it wouldn’t get stained by the polish. In retrospect, I wish I had spent more time on this last step, as the Porter Cable throws polish EVERYWHERE. I also didn’t use enough layers of tape on my door handles, and as such had to clean off baked on polish when all was said and done. The polish was easy to apply, and the Porter Cable was amazing at really working it into the paint well. It’s key to make sure that the polish is completely broken down so that it’s almost invisible on top of the paint before moving on to let it dry. I didn’t know that at first, and a few of the beginning panels I worked on streaked up from the leftover polish during removal.

The Intensive polish did a good job of bringing out the color, but it also left a sort of haze on the paint due to the level of its cutting action. Not to panic though – the Final polish took care of this haze easily and left a sharp, deep finish. The results were truly stunning once I had completed this second step – I was able to eliminate a huge percentage of the scratches my vehicle had accumulated over the past few years, as well as make my paint really look sharp again.

To seal things in, I went with a Klasse polymer wax that I applied and removed by hand. I chose a polymer because I don’t have time to re-wax every 30 to 40 days, which is what carnauba usually requires. Polymers are also easier to work with than carnauba-based waxes, and less expensive. The next time I wax, I am going to use the Porter Cable to apply and remove the product, as I found my hand-application didn’t give me the even shine I wanted and had to be done twice for satisfactory results.

Using an orbital polisher gave me amazing results. There was no comparison between my past attempts at hand polishing versus what the Porter Cable combined with the Menzerna did for my paint. I honestly wish I had bought this polisher years ago and saved myself hours of hand polishing for mediocre results. The best part is that the Porter Cable is affordable – around $140 – and has a great reputation for reliability, meaning I will be able to count on it to keep my ride looking great for many years to come.

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  1. Jeremy The Detailer says:

    After almost 30 years around the detailing business the Cyclo Dual Head Orbital Polisher is VASTLY superiour all others. A Recreational user should never have an issue with one. I Detail shop will go through a buffer like this in about 10 years with some minor upkeep and a few replacement brushes. That is with daily, near constant use. No shimmy, no jumping around, That is the biggest advantage. The down side is that it is about $300. If you want the best go for the Cyclo with a few sets of pads. One set wool, one white foam set, one green foam Set. This will keep you prepared for just about anything.

  2. Jeremy – Thanks for the recommendation. We were shooting for something sort of “affordable,” but the truth is if you spend $300 and it lasts forever, it’s pretty damn affordable. Thanks as always for your contributions here.

  3. Jeremy the Detail Guy says:

    Yes, That was the biggest thing. It does a better job and it last forever. I actually have a cyclo buffer from around 1981 in Tidy Car blue that I need to redo the cord and switch on then replace the brushes. It needs an overhaul but these buffers come fully metal cased so actually, unless you wear the metal out, they are repairable.

    I guess $269 is a bit steep unless you have used both. I can use it with 2 fingers from the very end of the handle to reach the middle of my roof, no need to fight it. Actually, it is really a whole other beast, there is more going on with the Cyclo.

    Bottom line, If you can swing the added cost, it is worth it. If all you can give is 140, the porter cable will get the job done.

  4. Mickey says:

    I get the same results with 2 craftsman buffers. I use one to wax on and the other to wax off. What I’m trying to understand with this article is you buy and expensive buffer and cheap wax. You can’t wax your vehicle every 30 – 40 days? Apparently you don’t care enough for the vehicle. Weather can cause havoc to paint so you have to let it go? I don’t agree with the techniques here. Yes claybar every 6 months to clean the impurities then a cleaner wax and then carnuba. I use the cleaner wax and carnuba once a month. To me I think I’m a slacker to my younger days when we did the turtle wax weekly in the 70’s.

  5. Mickey says:

    Forgot to mention been having the same two buffers now for 17 years. I bought them when I got my new 92 Sonoma ST.

  6. Mickey – Two buffers sounds like a great setup, but I would say that very few people wax as often as you do. While I agree that monthly waxes are best, once every 6 months is a step above the average person’s waxing routine and completely doable for most people. If the average person uses a polymer based wax, they’ll get acceptable results in terms of paint fade and protection. Again – it’s not the best, but it’s very doable and therefore our minimum recommendation.

  7. Mickey says:

    Yes I understand the times people have a hard time to keep up with everything. That’s why I got 2 buffers. I use the same one strictly to put wax on and the other to take wax off. It’s faster to use both and you get a better result by using a buffer to wax on. A note for those who wonder why I do 2 buffers is that when you wax on with a bonnet wax seeps into the pad of the buffer wheel. When you go to take the wax off with a terry cloth the wax that seep in on the pad now comes back out and turns your buffing job into a mix of wax back on while trying to get wax off. Double the work taking it off. So by having two different buffers I don’t have that issue no more.

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