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Ultimate Guide on Can you use an orbital sander for polish?

Can you use an orbital sander for polish

Can you use an orbital sander for polish? In a one-word yes! First, you need to know why polishing your car can make such a big difference to how it looks. If you’re new to car polishing or are unsure which orbital sander (or other tools) you should use, this guide will help you decide the best orbital sander for polishing your car. And will walk you through the entire process of how to polish your car using an orbital sander.

Can you use an orbital sander for polish?

Absolutely! Orbital sanders can still be used for polishing as long as you have the appropriate attachments and features. For example, variable speed settings and attentiveness to causing any notable swirl marks on the paint surface. Using an orbital sander for polish will be vital in getting your car to look its best. However, there are many options to choose from for orbital sanders. 

You’ll want one with high durability and speed and won’t cause too much damage to your vehicle. After hours of detailing your ride, you don’t want minor scratches or dents caused by cheap tools. There are plenty of orbital sanders that can get the job done just as well as any other, but you need one with lots of power, some vacuum system, and a durable handle. If you want quality results from start to finish, investing in those sanders will help get you there.

Types of orbital sanders for polish

Generally, orbital sanders are made up of 4 different types: 

Air-powered orbital sander 

Can you use an orbital sander for polish

Air-powered orbital sanders are more potent than their electric or hand-crank counterparts. They can spin faster and at high speeds for more extended periods, creating perfect finishes. What’s more, they are usually cheaper. In exchange for these strengths, air-powered orbital sanders require an external power source – either electrical or pneumatic – so they aren’t really as portable as other kinds of orbital sanders. These tools also create lots of noise while in use because air is being forced through them continuously; some people find them too loud to be used indoors.

Air Polisher orbital sander

Most people ask this question: can I use a random orbital polisher to sand? The answer is yes. Air polishers have become very popular among detailers today because they combine several functions into one device. For example, you can use an air polisher to polish your car and wax it all simultaneously! With most air polishers, you hook up your orbital sander to a compressed air line (or hook it directly into your compressor), then turn on your compressor. As soon as you start working, you will notice very little difference between using an orbital sander by itself and using one with an air polisher.

Hand-Crank Orbital Sander

Hand-crank orbital sanders were designed for D.I.Y. enthusiasts who need something compact but can get tough jobs quickly. Unlike pneumatic orbital sanders, which require constant pressure from an external power source, hand-crank orbital sanders work like manual screwdrivers: You manually crank its handle to spin its abrasive pad against whatever surface you want to smooth out. Since no electricity is required, these orbital sanders are easy to use and carry around.

What grit should I choose for polishing?

The grit of your sandpaper is directly related to how smooth your finish will be. Coarser, lower-grit papers remove material quickly but leave rough, raised edges. Higher-grit papers are usually smoother and make it easier to achieve a fine finish. For example, if you’re going for a glossy finish with a smooth surface, you may want to go for 220- or 320-grit paper; for something less glossy but more durable (like satin), try 80 or 100 grit instead.

Pads we can use for polishing.

There are several polishing pads, and each is designed for a different purpose.

Soft pad

Soft pads work best when using products that don’t require much rubbing or pressure. Another type of pad you’ll want to be familiar with is an:

Orange roughing pad (sometimes called an orange peel).

This type of pad has tiny pores that collect polish residue more quickly than other pads, so it’s good for getting your paint tip-top shape before applying waxes or sealants.

Yellow finishing and Red polishing discs

If you have some severe oxidation issues, then yellow finishing and red polishing discs may be worth looking into. These pads can help remove deeper scratches from your vehicle’s finish.

The last thing you’ll need to know about polishing pads is that they come in two varieties: wool and foam.

Wool pads: 

Wool pads tend to leave behind more swirl marks than foam, but they also hold up better over time. In addition, wool doesn’t compress quite as quickly as foam does, which means it lasts longer before needing replacement. 

Foam pads: 

The foam tends to give you better results because its pore size is smaller than wool’s—meaning less time spent working out those swirls—but it compresses quickly, which means its lifespan isn’t quite as long.

Polish your car with an orbital sander guide

Get the answers to all the questions that may come to your mind. How to sand a car with an orbital sander? Can you use a random orbital sander for car polishing?

Orbital sanders are very popular nowadays because they help speed up the cleaning process. However, it’s essential to know how to use these tools properly because improper usage can damage paintwork or, even worse – hurt someone! Therefore I created a simple guide on how to use an orbital sander for polishing your car correctly:

Step 1 – Prepare Surface 

Before using an orbital sander for polishing your car, you need to prepare it properly! First, you must wash your vehicle thoroughly with soap and water mixture, followed by rinsing off with water only. It’s also a good idea to wipe down your car with a microfiber towel after washing it so that no dirt remains. The next step is drying. You should dry your vehicle entirely before applying polish or wax (otherwise, there will be no point doing all of that). 

You can use microfiber towels for drying purposes but make sure that they are clean and dry! We have prepared our surface to move forward to the next step, which is applying polish/wax. 

Step 2 – Apply Polish/Wax

After preparing the surface of our vehicle, we can start applying polish/wax. We can either apply it manually with the applicator pad included in the package or use an orbital sander for polishing.

Step 3 – Polishing Using Orbital Sander

Polishing is one of the most critical steps to achieving nice-looking results. It’s not complicated with the correct technique and machine (in our case, an orbital sander).

Step 4 – Finishing Up

Finishing up is a crucial part of the whole process because everything else will look bad if done incorrectly. To finish the procedure, we need a microfiber towel included in most packages of automotive products like polish or wax.

You can also check out our other related article Sand Bamboo Floors:

Here are some essential tips on how to use an orbital sander for polishing purposes:

  • Use a low-speed setting when starting –
  • Increase speed gradually as you get used to the machine. 
  • Star from top to bottom. 
  • Move the sander in one direction( back and forth) smoothly. 
  • Press the sander gently to get a smooth finish.
  • You can change the sander’s pad to get a more finished surface.

Wet or Dry Polishing?

Can you use an orbital sander for polish

Deciding which kind of polishing you’ll use depends on what type of job you’re doing. There are two types of polishing when it comes to cars: wet and dry. We recommend using both methods; they each have their benefits and drawbacks, but both can be useful in different circumstances.

Wet Polishing: 

Wet polishing uses compounds that contain lubricants, such as silicones or carnauba waxes. The idea is that these lubricants will reduce friction and help remove defects more easily than dry polishings do (more on that below).

The process is relatively simple: Apply your compound of choice (in most cases, it’s a liquid polish) onto your buffer pad or orbital sander’s backing plate—then buff away! Because your tool has less surface area touching your paint at any given time during wet polishing than during dry polishing, there’s less risk of marring or burning through your finish. However, some people find that wet polishing doesn’t remove defects entirely as well as dry polishing.

Dry Polishing: 

Dry polishing works by removing fine scratches from your paint with micromesh pads. These pads come in various sizes and grades, so you can choose one based on how much work needs to be done and how deep into your paint you want to go. As for technique, all you have to do is place one side of your pad against your paint, turn on your machine (or hand-buff), then move back and forth across the affected area until it’s smooth again.

Can you use an orbital sander as a buffer?

The buffer attachment is perfect for car polishing. An orbital sander uses fast-moving sanding discs attached to a machine that keeps them spinning at high speeds. It’s excellent for removing paint and smoothing out surfaces, so you’ll need different grades of sandpaper, depending on what kind of surface you’re working with. If you use an orbital sander for car polishing, make sure that your orbital sander can rotate clockwise and counterclockwise; if it only rotates in one direction, it won’t be able to polish your vehicle correctly. 

You’ll also want to avoid orbital sanders with adjustable orbits, as they won’t give you smooth results when used for polishing. Instead, look for ones with fixed orbits and fixed grits (sandpapers) attached. Finally, always follow up your orbital sander with a finishing product like wax or glaze—it will leave behind a smooth finish! You might even want to start by trying out our D.I.Y. car polish kit —it contains everything you need to get started!

Final Finishing & Buffing – Laying Down Clear Coat Sealant/Finish (V.I.P. Section!)

The first step in applying a clear coat is using a wet sanding compound. This will aid in eliminating any of those annoying swirl marks, orange peel effects,s and other blemishes that can occur during polishing. The surface must be perfectly smooth for you to apply a clear coat successfully. We recommend either 800 or 1200 grit paper; both are available at most home improvement stores. 

Make sure you use liquid wet sanding polish with these papers – it’s easier to control than gel and provides better control over your machine (which would otherwise tend to drag if used dry). It’s always good practice after compounding, regardless of whether you’re applying a clear coat, paint, or primer, to hand-polish the surface with a rubbing compound and a polishing pad. You’ll want to do a final buffing with a high-quality microfiber towel like Meguiar’s Supreme Shine Towel (or similar) before moving on to clear coat application.


If you have a car that needs to be polished, you will likely have an orbital sander at home that is perfect for the job. This must be a random orbital sander and come with variable speed settings. Depending on what kind of power you would like to have, the power type of the random orbital sander changes. Try a random orbital sander for a beautiful, attractive effect, which beginners will find easier to work with.

If you want to end up with quality results, constant control over the tool is essential. As a result, many factors can impact the end result, including how much time you have, your skill level, and your experience.

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Why Trust About Sanders?

When it comes to the world of sanding and sanders, you need a trusted source of information and guidance to ensure you achieve those perfect finishes. That's where I come in – I'm Martin, a dedicated sanding enthusiast with a relentless passion for attaining flawless surfaces. With years of hands-on experience in the sanding industry, I've honed my skills and expertise to provide you with the most reliable and accurate insights. What sets me apart is my commitment to excellence. I meticulously handpick each sander after rigorous testing, ensuring that only the best tools make it to your hands. My goal is to empower you with the knowledge and recommendations you need to tackle any sanding task confidently. When you trust About Sanders, you're putting your faith in a seasoned expert who shares your passion for perfection and strives to deliver top-notch information and reviews for every sanding challenge.

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