Bauer Long Throw DA Polisher: Harbor Freight
Having a DA (dual action) polisher is a detailer’s best friend when it comes to paint correction. DA polishers offer a double action, combining a spinning motion, as well as a rotating motion to polish a car’s paint. This offers some safety to keep you from going too aggressive and damaging your paint, but at the same time not allowing you to remove deeper scratches.
In the past, we only had rotary polishers to do the heavy cutting that is required for more aggressive paint corrections. Now, we have long-throw DA polishers available for use. This combines the safety of a DA polisher with a more aggressive (or long-throw) motion to more quickly and effectively remove those deeper scratches. Most short-throw DA polishers will run you around $100. But the long-throw polishers generally cost around $200-$300.
The best-bang-for-the-buck long-throw polisher is probably the Bauer Long Throw Polisher from Harbor Freight. This unit has a throw of 20mm (compared to a standard throw of 4-8mm) and comes with a 6-inch backing plate. The price at the time of this writing is $100, so you are basically getting a long-throw polisher for the price of a standard short-throw polisher.
The polisher looks and feels nice in the hand, but a bit unrefined. However, the most important thing about a long-throw polisher isn’t the finish, but how it performs. After using the Bauer Long Throw Polisher for many months now, I’d say that it performs quite well. Expectedly, it polishes out scratches much more quickly than my short-throw Porter Cable 7424XP.
Many detailers will recommend changing out the grease that is included with the polisher with a lithium-based grease for smoother operation, as well as changing out the backing plate to a 5-inch backing plate for more usability. I did these two things and it does feel like a much nicer unit to use once you’ve done these upgrades.
There are a few things I do not like about the Bauer Long Throw Polisher. One, is the noise that comes from the machine. I can only use this machine comfortably if I have noise-cancelling headphones or earphones on.
The second thing I don’t like is the vibration of the unit. It vibrates quite a bit and leaves my hands ringing for a while after using it. The polisher has a speed dial that goes from 1-6 (with 1 being lowest up to 6 being the fastest.) If you’re using speeds 1-4, you won’t feel much vibration— this would be if you were applying a wax or performing a very light polishing. Otherwise, you’re normally using speeds 5 to 6 for your typical paint corrections. Using these higher speeds for prolonged periods of time will leave your hands reverberating for a while after using the machine polisher.
Finally, the 6-inch backing plate is simply unusable in my opinion. I think many folks will agree with me that 6-inch backing plates and 6-in polishing pads are a bit unusable. Personally, I like using a 5-inch pad as it’s more manageable and gives you a better feel when doing paint corrections.
Aside from the downsides, the performance of this polisher is why many folks who don’t want to spend a ton of money, buy this machine. It works very well especially if you’re using good-performing compounds along with an aggressive polishing pad.
Below, you can see the results of compounding with Meguiar’s M100 Compound with the use of microfiber cutting discs on the rear quarter panel below. The amount of clarity you can get from a budget long throw polisher is amazing. Can you believe getting results like this from a $100 polisher?
Finally, here are some shots below using this machine polisher on the trunk. Again, I’ve used Meguiar’s compound and microfiber cutting discs to polish out the right side of the trunk. The photos below the difference from the left side of the trunk (wet-sanded area) to the right side (polished area).
If you’re looking for a long-throw polisher for cheap, this really is the one to get. It’s available only at Harbor Freight and for the price of $100, you get a lot of performance out of it. If you can live with the noise and vibration, you can do some serious paint corrections with this machine polisher. For about $40-$50, consider changing out the grease and the backing plate and you’ll have an excellent performing budget long throw polisher.
Bauer Long Throw DA Polisher: Harbor Freight
You talked about the speeds 1-6 and I’m not sure how they compare to the Rupes. We have two of the 15mm throw and love them but for the diy crowd 250 bare and 600 for the starter kit can be steep. During our training we were told that essentially we should never need anything higher than 3. It’s worked great for us and I’d say find what pads and polishes work best for your application. We’ve tried Rupes, Meguiars and 3D. They all work great. I actually recommended this one to a coworker just this week. So I would concerned with vibration. Keep the speed consistent and allow the machine, the compound and the pad do their job. Don’t try to rush the process.
I’m not sure how they compare either, but I would expect them to be similar. It’s interesting to hear that the training says you would never need anything higher than 3. I can’t imagine doing some of the heavier paint corrections without going speeds 5-6… or at least it would take forever to do. I wonder if the training is intended to be done that way so that the trainee learns how to use the machine, as well as the patience involved with not speeding through–then for sure if you’re going with a lower speed you would certainly learn some of those fundamentals.