5 Machines Every Detailer Should Have

As a boat detailer, investing in the right machines can make a world of difference. Great tools and machines can make a major difference in how difficult a detailing job is and how well it turns out. We’d never recommend that detailers purchase more machines than necessary or break their budget to get the new, shiny tools, but we do think having the right machines is a great starting point. Here are five machines every detailer should invest in:

Rotary Buffers

Great for tough oxidation areas or deep scratches, rotary buffers are a must-have for any detailer. These machines work wonders, providing a smooth, damage-free surface area when the job is done. With a range of speeds from 600-3000 RPMs, rotary buffers can tackle many types of scratches or surface damage. By heating up the surface area, buffers are a great way to smooth out gel coats on even the toughest of jobs.

With great power comes great responsibility; if used incorrectly, rotary buffers can lead to damage on boats, so be mindful of the power and pressure you’re placing on the surface. It’s best to keep the buffers moving at a steady pace so the surface area doesn’t get too hot, and no lasting damage is done.


We’re all chasing the perfect glossy finish before handing the boat back to its owners, and polishers are the way to do that. With many polishers out there, it can be hard to know when to use which one. Below are four polishers you should have on hand:

Dual-Action Polisher

With a spinning AND oscillating movement pattern, dual-action polishers greatly reduce the potential of damaging a vessel while still providing some powerful “elbow grease” when needed. The spinning is offset by the oscillation, helping to ensure a smooth polishing process that doesn’t put too much heat or pressure on the boat. Though these polishers are notorious for being stronger than rotary buffers, the ease of use and lack of potential problems make them great for beginners who are up against some big jobs.

Long-Throw Polisher

Similar to a dual-action polisher but with a wider oscillation pattern, long-throw polishers build more friction and have a larger reach than their counterparts. Capable of offering more correction than a standard dual action polisher but still relatively free of challenges for new users, long-throw polishers are great to have on hand.

Forced Rotation Polisher

With most polishers, if you place enough pressure on the pad, the machine will stop spinning. However, a force rotation polisher works exactly as it sounds and will not stop spinning no matter how much pressure is applied. It’s an incredibly powerful tool that can work through moderate to heavy scratches but is still less likely to overheat and cause damage than rotary buffers.

Let the Machines Do the Heavy Lifting

With the right machines on hand, you’ll have enough power to work through detailing jobs efficiently and effectively. When you’re first starting out, it can be challenging to know when to use which machine, but with time, you’ll start to develop your personal preferences. Even with the best tools available, detailers will naturally build an approach that works best for them.

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