In-Depth Review: DeWalt DWP849X Polisher Review
A close examination of one of the most well-known polishers available on the market today.
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BY Austin Fracchia / LAST UPDATED ON August 21, 2019
This is a polisher that is comfortable to use, especially for long periods of time. Just don’t expect too much in terms of continuous, one-shot use since the motor has some noticeable limits after extended use.
- The ergonomically-designed body is actually comfortable to hold at high speeds.
- The large D-handle fits comfortably into the hand.
- Good car care results in terms of removing light or medium marks and dirt.
- Easy to switch between different polishing pads.
- The motor can start to fatigue after extended use.
- A burning smell from the motor, buffing pads, and wheel/backing plate is common at higher speeds.
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Random orbital buffers make it easier to buff and polish a car without getting too much elbow grease all over the place. With the right dual-action, variable-speed orbital polisher, you can save time and compound while potentially tackling harder surface swirl marks that hand-wiping can’t really address for a swirl-free look.
The DeWalt DWP849X Polisher is one of the most popular car polishers on the market today for auto detailing. Coming from a company known for reliable, capable power tools, including several high-profile variable-speed polishers and dual-action polishers, this heavy-duty car buffer seems like a good candidate to tackle heavy jobs on paper when a regular foam pad won't do. The good news is that it actually does deliver a lot of what is promised as long as you don’t push the motor beyond its comfort zone.
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Coming from a well-known power tool company, it’s easy to get a sense of what the DWP849X has to offer on paper. Power is no problem with the included 12-amp motor. The power is enough to drive the pad up to 3,500 RPM without straining the motor or causing any issues with overheating. Speed is controlled from a handy onboard dial.
The design of the DWP849X’s body has a lot to offer in terms of general comfort when using the buffer for long periods of time. Like most orbital buffers, this one has a two-handed design that uses one hand for lower support and the other for upper support/control over the tool. Unlike other options, however, this buffer can use two different types of handles for control. In addition to the more common T-handle that sticks out either side of the buffer, a D-handle can fit around both sides of the buffer so your hand can grasp the tool from the top. The D-handle also pivots forward and backward into different positions.
As a kit, the buffer comes with a 180mm backing pad with a Velcro surface. The 7-to-9-inch pad size theoretically makes it easier to handle different surface sizes, or even vehicle sizes, without too much effort to switch out pads as you work.
Usage wise, the DWP849X is about as good as it gets before getting into the expensive territory of professional orbital buffers. For garage use, the performance of the buffer is more than enough for occasional car care maintenance. More frequent use, however, starts to cause some problems.
The motor has no problem running for the average amount of time it takes to tackle a small- or medium-sized vehicle. With the included soft start, it’s easy to get the motor going without flinging the automotive compound all over the place. The motor does a good job of getting up to speed, but it can wind up too much before falling back to the desired speed every now and then.
Problems start to creep up with extended use. For larger tasks involving SUVs or light trucks, the motor can start to generate more heat than other higher-end options. The wheel, as well, generates more heat to the point of creating a noticeable burning smell. As a result of the heat, you should look at other options if you want something that can handle the rigors of routine professional use.
Design wise, the body of the buffer delivers a comfortable, controlled experience. The body is on the heavy side, so without the ergonomic design, it would be easy to fatigue the arms and hands long before the job is done. Thankfully, the larger D-handle is perfect for managing the weight in the front.
Like other orbital buffers, the results the DWP849X can produce depend on the quality of polish, pad, and technique. When everything is working in its favor, the buffer has no issues getting a car’s surface down to a deep shine, even in the presence of heavy dirt, debris, and grime. It does a great job of removing light scratches and dirt.
For heavier tasks, the variable speed works throughout the range without any major noticeable drops in performance or speed. It can support extended periods of higher speeds for soft grinding or heavy buffing when dealing with deeper scratches or bigger messes. With the right pad and a lower speed, the buffer is also gentle enough to tackle more fragile areas of a vehicle like the head or tail lights.
Unfortunately, the results can still be limited by the buffer’s longevity. If the performance starts to waver as the buffer runs, it will be difficult to get uniform results over a large surface area on big vehicles without pushing the motor. In doing so, the speed shouldn’t fluctuate too much, but expect the burnt smell to creep up.
In general, this polisher has a lot to love in terms of feel and overall performance. It offers more power and higher speeds without costing as much as a true professional model. The body design, in particular, is a highlight due to the D-handle that offers more surface area to hold. If you can avoid the longevity issues the motor can present with constant use, this is a solid option to consider for regular car care.
Final Verdict: A good performer in general use, the DWP849X should definitely be a contender when searching for a new orbital buffer.