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Cheap Orbital Polisher Guide

How to Purchase Cheap Orbital Polisher

Want a cheap orbital polisher to wax or polish your car? Want to spend around $65 to forever make car detailing easier? Need a bang for the bucket polisher that can work reliably for waxing or polishing?

Is there a cheap quality orbital on the market that won’t hurt the bank for a beginner detailer or serious professional?
Enter the Harbor Freight Chicago Electric Platinum 6″ Variable Speed Dual Action Polisher.

Cheap Orbital Polisher

Professional, beginner, enthusiasts, or serious detailers have positive reviews for the polisher: Harbor Freight DA Polisher New (60+ Pages on AutogeekOnline)
– More than enough power to polish on paint, competes with top entry orbitals
– Low price! At around $65 you can buy 2 polishers for the price of a high end orbital
– Reliability will be better than most entry grade plastic polishers at this price
– Many professionals can use this machine in & out on a daily basis with great results
– Machine is noisy and rough, users need to lubricate gears for smoothness
– From Harbor Freight, hit or miss quality.
– Runs a bit 6 inch backing plate and should be replaced with a smaller setup and better backing plate
– Harbor Freight accessories should be completely avoided.

Cheap Orbital Polisher for Any Detailer

STEP 1 – Buy the Harbor Freight Polisher

Run to Harbor Freight and get the 6 in. 5.7 Amp Heavy Duty Dual Action Variable Speed Polisher for 20%-25% off. Regular price $60, add a 20-25% coupon and after tax price will be from $50-65.

Step #2 – Modify your Harbor Freight Polisher

Essential modifications for sound, feel, and reliability you should make to your cheap orbital polisher: HA Freight DA Weak Points Mods

Cheap Orbital Polisher

Important! Repack the gear grease to reduce noise & make a smoother polisher: Follow the Autogeek Guide to repack your polisher.
Use an extreme pressure and high temp gear grease. Examples being Mobil 1 Grease, Valvoline Wheel Bearing Grease, Sta-Lube CRC Grease or any Auto Parts Grease. If you need new screws – m4 x 0.7 x 16mm is the general measurement. Use a screwdriver, flathead, and vice clamps.
Adjust the power cord for a new longer more flexible and convenient cord
If you prefer a different power switch position, you can totally change the from side to top trigger.

STEP 3: Replace the Harbor Freight Backing Plate & Pads 

The stock backing plate and foam pads are horrendous. The backing plate is a 6 inches, good for large surface areas but a bit hard to maneuver. The pads have weak velcro design and the foam is prone to breaking easily. Your cheap orbital polisher is an amazing value, spending the right money on a proper backing plate and buffing pads are essential: Buy Quality Buffing Pads & a 5.5 inch Backing Plate!
Purchase from the 3 preeminent brands: Lake Country, Buff & Shine, or Meguiar’s. I recommend two online detailing stores with great customer service and replacement warranties: Detailed Image Buffing Pads & Autoality Buffing Pads


I suggest 5.5 inch diameter & low profile thinpads for ease of use and flexibility. Don’t overthink cell composition, venting holes, size, thickness, or hybrid pad designs. Use the same brand for backing plate and buffing pads:
Lake Country 5.5 DA Backing Plate & 5.5 Hydro Tech or Regular Padsor Buff & Shine 5.5 DA Backing Plate & 5.5 Buff & Shine Pads 

Step 4. Have fun with your Cheap Orbital Polisher!

 The most important attribute of polishing is the operator! Don’t overthink pads, machines, or chemicals. Skill, patience, technique, and proper detailing practices are far more important. Start waxing your car, then practice polishing your paint. Here are some great guides to understand your orbital:
Autogeek: Dual Action Polisher
DetailedImage: Polishing Auto Detailing
The Harbor Freight Polisher can be loud, trigger mechanism lackluster, has a cheap finish, the speed control rough, and it should be backup polisher in any detailer’s inventory. However the polisher is a workhorse with an amazing price point that can’t be ignored. Without a doubt it’s the best cheap orbital polisher easily accessible on the market. Happy Detailing!
Want to learn more about Car Detailing and how to utilize your Cheap Orbital Polisher? Have a look at Liquid Finish’s Educational Sessions.
Brandon Woo
Madman of Liquid Finish Detailig

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