The Best Cordless Car Polisher – Which is best for you!

Auto Know It is reader supported. When you buy something through a link on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

When I first entered the automotive industry the only way to get a quality tool that would last, was either with a cord or an air powered tool. Modern day power tools and battery technology have changed significantly since. Now you can buy the best cordless car polisher and not worry about the hassle of an extension cord, or worse yet, an air hose. 

Just imagine, instead of having to drag out that bulky extension cord you would just plug in a freshly charged battery. That small scratch that you picked up in the parking lot would be fixed in an instant. 

There are many important things to consider when you are looking to buy a new cordless car polisher. In this guide we are going to help you learn more about what features you should look for when shopping for a new polisher. 

We also rate three of our top picks based on the type of usage that you are going to use your new polisher for. 

Our ratings consist of DIY Use, Daily Use, and Professional Use categories. Using over 20 years of experience buying, using and even breaking tools we are going to make sure you find the best cordless car polisher for your toolbox. 

So let’s jump right in and find your next addition to your tool collection.

Features and Benefits of the Best Cordless car polisher

Things to look for that make the best cordless car polisher.

  1. Weight

This is the most important aspect of a cordless tool. If you are completing a full vehicle paint correction you may be using a cordless car polisher for hours at a time. A corded unit might be better in this situation but having a good set of batteries will leave you polishing paint for hours.

  1. Power 

This is not the most important feature to look for when buying a new cordless polisher. However, power is still important. You will find these tools are rated in watts, the higher the wattage rating the higher the power. With more power you will be able to apply more pressure without stalling out the motor. This can be useful in some situations. For example, when you are trying to polish complex body panels. 

  1. Battery Pack

Unlike a corded automotive car polisher you need a battery pack to use a cordless car polisher. Some of the best cordless car buffers come with a battery pack included. However, even some come without a battery pack. Also important is battery pack capacity. If you are polishing in your home garage, small capacity battery packs may be okay.  Mobile detailers however will get best use of the large capacity battery packs such as the ones offered by Milwaukee.

  1. Buffing Pads

A polisher will not work without a paint correction buffing pad. Some prefer a certain type of buffing pad so you will find not all polishers come with pads. Important to note however is the size of the buffing pad, make sure that the cordless polisher that you are shopping for has a common size pad. If it is a common size it will be cheaper and easier to buy correction pads for the job at hand. 

  1. Speed 

Adjustable speed is important when it comes to selecting the polisher that is best for your uses. There are a few different ways of controlling the amount of cut that your polisher is capable of, speed is one of them. Having a speed adjustment allows for precise control of the polisher to ensure the best possible surface finish.

  1. Rotary Vs DA

DA or dual action polishers spin in two separate circular paths. A rotary polisher only spins in one circular direction. Because of this motion a rotary polisher is able to cut or polish paint at a much faster rate then a Dual Action polisher.

Image describes the path that a cordless car buffer takes when buffing

The Best Cordless Car Polisher – Detailed Review 

ProductRating Best FeaturesPrice
Milwaukee 2738-20 M18 7” Polisher5/5Easy to use
Professional Performance
Various battery sizes available
Check Price
Milwaukee M12 Cordless Polisher4.5/5Small size
Very lightweight
Great battery life
Multiple uses (Polisher/sander)
Check Price
POPULO Brushless Buffer Polisher4/5Comes with battery and charger
DA polisher
Digital display with 7 different speeds
Beginner Friendly
Check Price

Milwaukee M18 7” Cordless Polisher

Specification Overview

  • Brand: Milwaukee 
  • Part Number: 2738-20 M18
  • Battery Included: No battery included
  • Weight: 7.2 lbs
  • RPM: 0 – 2200 RPM


  • Easy to Use
  • Professional performance
  • Easily available battery packs, ranging in capacity
  • Capacity for 7” Pads
  • Rubber molded front housing to prevent accidental paint damage


  • Unit does not come with a battery or charger

The Milwaukee M18 cordless polisher is hands down the top rated cordless polisher that is available. The cordless polisher weighs in 1 lb less than a comparable corded unit, that is even with the 5 amp hour battery installed. 

Milwaukee’s M18 product line runs on an 18 volt battery system which ensures plenty of power no matter the speed setting you are running. The speed of this unit is easily adjustable from 0-2200 RPM to ensure that you always have the right speed when polishing. 

One thing to be aware of if you decide to buy this great polisher is the lack of a battery. When you order the polisher you will need to order a battery and charger separate. For those who already own Milwaukee tools this is no big deal and if you need to purchase a battery you will find many different types. 

Being a Milwaukee tool you have the great battery selection that all of the other tools have. The batteries range in price and amp hour capacity, available capacities range from 2 amp hour all the way to 12 amp hour. However you may find the 12 amp hour battery very heavy when installed on this polisher. All that battery power gets transferred through a brushless motor to ensure not only quiet but powerful performance. 

This Milwaukee cordless polisher is a rotary type polisher, this means if you are for a  machine that will polish quickly this is the unit. However, please be careful as there is always the risk of burning through paint when you are first learning how to use a rotary polisher.

When polishing paint on a vehicle it is important to be able to swap pads quickly. The 3M quick connect system allows for easy swapping of velcro polishing pads. 

Overall the Milwaukee M18 Cordless Polisher is a great purchase and it gets our Professional Use rating. It truly is a tool that you will be able to use for years to come.

Milwaukee M12 Cordless Polisher

Specification Overview

  • Brand: Milwaukee
  • Part Number: 2438-20
  • Battery Included: No
  • Weight: 1.58lbs without battery


  • Easy to Use
  • Professional performance
  • Excellent for polishing small scratches
  • Variable Speed Trigger
  • M12 Battery Compatible


  • Small unit is not suited for polishing a complete vehicle
  • No battery included, need to purchase separately

The Milwaukee M12 cordless polisher continues and expands on Milwaukee’s excellent line of car polishing equipment. Think of the M12 cordless polisher/cordless sander as the little brother of our other great selection, the M18 cordless polisher.

The M12 polisher finds it spot on our list because it is a very versatile tool. Not only is the tool capable of polishing from 0-2800 RPM it also has a sanding mode that increases the RPM up to 8,300 RPM. This allows you to not only polish but also sand, providing multiple different uses with one tool. 

The price of this unit is also very good. While priced slightly below the larger M18, you really are paying for a great quality unit that is small and rugged. 

This unit also does not come with a battery, so make sure when you purchase you get a battery at the same time. The M12 batteries come in two different sizes, 2 and 3 amp hour capacities. You are still going to get good run time but you will not be able to polish or buff an entire car with this tool.

The M12 Cordless Polisher is better suited for someone who needs a polisher to remove a scratch. Possibly a shopping cart hit your vehicle and left a scratch. This polisher can quickly and easily be used to remove the scratch. When it is not being used its small size can also ensure that you are able to store it easily. 

Being a Milwaukee product you are going to be completely satisfied with its great and rugged design and performance. I have seen paintless dent companies use these in their rolling tool boxes. When the dent is removed they generally have to polish the area that they were working on. Quickly and easily this tool gets removed, gets the job done, and gets stored, ready for the next job. 

Overall the Milwaukee M12 Cordless Polisher fits in our Daily Use category. The Milwaukee would also be suited in our professional use category, but due to its small size we think it fits perfectly in anybody’s home toolbox. 

POPULO Brushless 6” Car Buffer Polisher

Specification Overview

  • Brand: Populo
  • Part Number: not available
  • Battery Included: Yes, both battery and charger
  • Weight:  4.62 lbs


  • DA Polisher
  • Beginner Friendly 
  • Best value to price 
  • Comes in excellent kit with battery and charger


  • Unit only comes with 1 battery
  • Batteries are not easily available

The Populo 6” Brushless buffer is a DA (Dual Action) polisher, this makes this polisher very beginner friendly. A DA buffer does not remove material as fast as a rotary polisher, making it hard to damage the paint. 

If you are new to polishing vehicles or want to make sure that you do not wreck the paint on your first vehicle you polish, a DA polisher would be a great fit. Also beginner friendly is the kit that it comes with. The kit contains 4 different buffing pads, microfiber cloths and as we previously mentioned an included battery and charger. This can all be stored and carried in the included carrying case. 

The Populo Cordless car buffer gives you some great features that only the best cordless car buffers have. It has a LCD screen located at the top of the cordless buffer that gives you an easy to read RPM settings. The RPM is adjustable in 7 different speeds from 2000-4800 RPM. This allows easy to select speeds for buffing, polishing, and even completing the final wax. 

The unit itself has an ergonomic design with not only a top handle but also an included side handle that can be easily installed. Not only will the different handles keep your hands fresh but the light weight will keep you from tiring quickly. This unit weighs in at just 4.62 lbs., almost 3 lbs. less than the M18 Milwaukee. 

The only downfall of this unit is that it only ships with one battery. Unlike the Milwaukee units which you can buy batteries in almost any small rural town, these batteries are a little harder to find. This unit is best to use at home because with only one battery, mobile use is limited. 

The Populo Brushless 6” cordless buffer/polisher sits firmly in the DIY category. It would find a good home at any automotive enthusiasts house or garage.

As you can see there are many things that should be looked for when looking to buy the best cordless car polisher. You need to determine how you are going to use your cordless buffer. This use will determine the best cordless car buffer for your use.  

John Morris
John Morris
John Morris is the technical editor for His years of experience in automotive repair as well as an automotive professor have prepared him to ensure that even the most technical information is accurate and concise at all times.

Latest Articles