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At some point, all home automotive DIYers and aspiring professionals are faced with the decision to upgrade their power tools and accessories like polishing pads. With automotive care, for example, the choice to upgrade a random orbital polisher can keep many auto detailing/car care enthusiasts up at night since many features, like a dual-action design, high-quality backing plates, and extra buffing pads can increase the price. While many random orbital buffer options are affordable, upgrading to the next level can be a serious investment.
The Makita PO5000CX2 is one such option that comes with a steep price tag. While certainly not the most expensive buffer on the market, it costs around three to four times as much as budget competitors for a body that isn’t much larger. So, what do you really get with this model for the higher price tag? It turns out, quite a lot if you don’t mind great performance in a small package.
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If you can afford it, this polisher is one of the most capable options available. Sitting firm in the “professional” category of automotive tools, it has a powerful motor that can handle tougher surfaces than most others.
- An ergonomically-designed body with handle placements that are comfortable to hold.
- A powerful 7.8-amp motor that is capable of handling heavy surface swirl marks in blemishes for a swirl-free finish at high speeds.
- A great orbital polisher kit with heavy-duty foam pads included.
- A short rotation throw.
- The upper handle design lacks the surface area and positioning options of detachable varieties.
On paper, the PO5000CX2 makes a strong case for being an excellent professional orbit polisher. It has a large profile in the body with several points to comfortably grab while using the device. More importantly, the build quality touted by Makita suggests it can survive a lot of abuse if accidentally dropped onto the ground or scraped on a vehicle.
The body itself shares a similar shape with other lower-priced orbital buffers. Long and narrow, there are several ergonomically-shaped sections of the body for the hands to hold, including a traditional grip on the bottom and a rubber horn at the top. These placements position the hands around the motor and rotating pad to support the weight of the device.
Inside the orbital buffer is a 7.8-amp motor with variable speed up to 790 RPM. That also translates into a variable speed polisher control of 0 to 6,800 orbits per minute. The spindle is a 7/32-inch (5.5 mm) orbital diameter designed for 5-inch pads with a hook-and-loop back for quick changes.
Given the relatively light body of the PO5000CX2, using the orbital buffer is rather comfortable over long periods of time, like when you are working on larger vehicles like SUVs and light duty trucks. The handle placements are large and accommodating for a variety of hand sizes, and the rubber covering is just soft enough to pad the grip without losing much control.
The motor is controlled with a simple speed dial the hand can reach without much issue. At higher speeds, things get a little unstable and require a harder grip to maintain control. With that said, there isn’t any point where the buffer feels like it’ll escape the grip uncontrollably. Instead, the top grip near the motor makes it easy to guide the pad along the surface of the vehicle with the supporting hand.
The ergonomic design does leave some room for improvement. Higher-end orbital buffers have attachable and positionable handles on the top. A simple T- or D-handle, for example, offers finer control and a larger space to grip for the supporting hand. While the PO5000CX2 has a good horn to grab on the top, it still doesn’t offer the greater surface area of these attachable options.
As an orbital buffer with a high-priced tag, the PO5000CX2 promises a lot in terms of overall quality and performance. Thankfully, the orbital buffer actually delivers on these promises in spades. Of course, results are heavily influenced by the car care products and technique as much as the buffer itself, but the PO5000CX2 is more than capable of handling the rougher marks and blemishes cars can acquire over the years.
The motor is powerful enough at higher speeds to take on medium or heavy scratches, dirt, and debris that may be encrusted into the paint job of a car. In combination with one of the included pads (or one of your own), the orbital action of the motor does a good job of clearing away dirt and applying polish in an even spread over the surface.
The small size of the body and pad also make it easy to move the buffer around the more challenging portions of the vehicle. It is fairly easy to get a good shine on the sides and back of the vehicle in addition to the more fragile areas, such as headlights, with the right pad.
Unfortunately, the small size of the buffer also presents a few limitations. The 5-inch pad, for example, is simply too small to cover larger vehicles quickly for easy application. The small pad requires several passes over different body panel sections, more so than larger options. The motor also has a shorter throw than most competitors, making it difficult to evenly cover large swaths with polish or wax in a timely manner.
The PO5000CX2 manages to deliver a lot of great performance and results in such a small package. While it makes some minor trade-offs with the upper handle and short throw of the motor, it has a great deal of control and enough power to handle most messes and blemishes you may find on your vehicle.
Ultimately, this orbital buffer is close to being a true professional option. Its high cost certainly sits well with other professional-grade orbital buffers even if the size falls a little short. Regardless, this is one option to consider if you want to make a step up from the usual budget-friendly buffer options first-time car detailers often consider.
Final verdict: The PO5000CX2 is a near professional-grade car buffer/car polisher with a compact size that still manages to compete with the bigger competition.
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