The best budget machine polishers

If you look carefully, you don't have to break the bank when it comes to polishing a car.

best budget machine polishers

by Aaron Hussain |
Updated on

Let's cut to the chase, detailing is expensive, so we don't blame you if you fancy a budget machine polisher to keep your car's paint in good shape. You can spend several hundreds of pounds on machine polishers by top brands, and not everyone wants that level of professionalism.

How does polishing a car work? Well, it's all about the clear coat. The signs of a clear coat being uneven are often swirl marks or light scratches. These only ever appear on the clear coat and require polishing out. Polishing a car is simply the process of lightly removing the damaged clear coat and leaving a scratch-less, flat layer of paint.

The residue is then buffed out using a microfibre towel. You can choose to add a layer of ceramic coating to give that top layer of paint a bit of extra protection. After all, the role of the clear coat is to protect the paint of its colour and from UV rays. But whether a cordless machine polisher or a corded one is for you, you will need one to be able to polish your car.

The best budget machine polishers at a glance:

Editor's pick: Sealey MS900PS Sander/Polisher - Buy from Demon Tweeks
Best budget corded polisher: Draper 01817 Storm Force Dual Action Polisher - Buy from Amazon
Best starter machine polisher: Workpro Cordless Buffer Polisher - Buy from Amazon

Looking at where to start in your machine polishing journey can be daunting. There are a lot of cheap machines out there by budget brands that only trade through Amazon. We've made things a little easier by scouring across the internet to find the best budget machine polishers. They're from reputable brands and ensure good quality upon application with the polishing pads.

The best budget machine polishers

Editor's pick

best budget machine polishersVia Sealey

With varying speeds ranging from 1400 to 3000rpm, the Sealey MS900PS is a great tool if you need multiple adjustments.

You get six settings for the speed and weight of 3.8kg. As far as going for a machine polisher on a budget goes, this is about as good as a corded one will get.


  • Useful variable speed control
  • Decently-sized backing pad


  • Not much equipment included

Best starter machine polisher

best cordless machine polishersVia Workpro

12V, along with two lithium-ion batteries and a number of attachments, is what you need with a cordless machine polisher. And handily, Workpro have managed to build their Cordless Buffer Polisher down to a price as well.

The speed is variable in 0-2800 and 0-7500 increments. The lower speed is recommended for buffing and waxing, whereas the higher speed is more in-tune with sanding and removing paint defects.


  • Versatile machine for the price
  • Pretty lightweight at 880g


  • Battery life is reportedly very short

Best quality budget cordless polisher

best budget machine polishersVia Sealey

Another great budget option comes from Sealey with its 12V Cordless Polishing Kit. It is battery-powered, which can hinder performance, but the machine itself is a very neat piece of kit.

You get two speed settings along with a side handle, two foam pads and one woollen polishing pad. It's quite a bit heavier than the Workpro unit at nearly 3kg, but the quality is just that little step higher.


  • Good quality machine
  • Variable speed control


  • Quite heavy compared to others

Best budget corded polisher

best budget machine polishersVia Draper

With corded polishers, you needn't worry about the battery running out. However, you will need to consider where you'll plug a corded unit in, as the Draper Dual Action Polisher has a 5-metre cord. This is pretty healthy for such an item, but access from a socket is always a consideration.

It comes with a polishing sponge, a polisher, and a backing pad with the kit. It weighs a bit more than the Sealey at 3.5kg but has 220V.


  • Powerful machine for its size
  • Comes with necessary kit


  • Socket access may be an issue for some

Best compact budget machine polisher

best cordless machine polishersVia Milwaukee
Price: $251.00

A battery isn't included in the Milwaukee cordless polisher, but it boasts great build quality for the price and is relatively compact - which, for some - is an added benefit. It also weighs just over 1kg (with the battery attached) which is a neat advantage as well.

It also comes with a soft-grip handle and a sander as part of the package.


  • Great quality tool
  • Easier to hold than others


  • Not much included as standard

Best variable budget machine polisher

best budget machine polishersVia Hyundai Power Tools
Price: £79.99

Not to be confused with the Hyundai Motor Company (although this polisher is made by an arm of the parent group), the HYDAP900E is ideal for polishing and buffing a car's paintwork when you don't have the biggest of budgets.

It has a variable speed control ranging from 1500 to 4500rpm and weighs just 2.3kg, which is lighter than some of the others on this list. It also comes with a 5-metre cord, which is competitive with other corded polishers at this price point.


  • Wide variable speed control
  • Relatively lightweight


  • Quality isn't as great as some others

Things to remember with budget machine polishers

Should I go corded or cordless?

This largely depends on where you're polishing your vehicle. If you have access to a socket or a few in your garage (next to where you might be cleaning your polishing pads), a corded machine polisher will be the way to go. On the budget end of the spectrum, you may find that cord lengths are shorter than you might expect.

However, you may need to opt for a battery-powered one if you'll mainly be working outside. However, the drawback to this is that in budget machine polishers, the battery life can be quite short. Top-end manufacturers such as Flex or Rupes will charge a load of cash for cordless polishers, but these last longer on stints.

Should I use polish or wax on my vehicle?

To put it simply, those are two different ballparks. The purpose of polishing is to iron out and remove minor defects that are noticeable in paint. These include swirl marks and light scratches that haven't dug in too deeply. They achieve this by steadily removing part of the clear coat and revealing the top layer of paint. Waxing, on the other hand adds a layer of protection on top of your clear coat as well as enhancing the colour and gloss. If you're wondering whether wax should be applied after polishing, the answer is yes. But you should never wax a car before polishing, as the polish won't do its thing as well.

Aaron Hussain is a commercial content writer at Bauer Media writing for Parkers and CAR. He is obsessed with classic cars and anything with a fascinating story to tell.

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