The Makita 18V Random Orbit Polisher with Dual Action is packed full of features that make the work of any professional auto detailer shine. It did a fantastic job on a recent Porsche restoration. It should also be forgiving enough for DIYers to use it on their projects.
- Random orbit with forced rotation or free spin rotation
- Variable speed trigger with five speeds and two modes for 10 total OPM speeds (0-6,800 OPM)
- Constant speed control adjusts to load
- No cord to mar finished surfaces
- Comfortable ergonomics and rubberized tool body to protect your work
- The battery fuel gauge isn’t visible when installed in the polisher
Restoring a Porche 924 with the Makita 18V Random Orbit Polisher
My ongoing weekend (or weekends) project involved the restoration of a 1982 Porsche 924. I picked it up in rough shape, although the body had zero rust. It’s been very satisfying to see it come together. Of course, the Makita 18V random orbit polisher contributed greatly to its current mirror-like appearance!
The Makita XOP02 polisher comes with both 5 and 6-inch hook and loop backing plates. You need to pick up your own pads, however. I picked up some inexpensive Harbor Freight pads and quickly got to work.
The Porsche’s finish wasn’t perfect after paint and clear coat, so I wet-sanded the entire body by hand from 800 to 3,000 grit. That made it look flat with visible sanding marks. Then it was time for the Makita Polisher to shine. Although I scrimped on the pads, I splurged on Meguiar polishing compound. First, I used the 105 for cutting, which removed all the sanding marks. Then I used the 205 for final polishing.
Switching Speeds on the Makita XOP02 Polisher
The strength of the Makita 18V random orbit polisher lies in the granularity of speeds, modes, and power. It also functions as a dual-mode polisher. Random Orbit mode offers you five speed settings—split between high and low power modes. That means you have the choice of ten speeds between 1,600 and 6,800 OPM. Free Spin Rotation mode offers up to 780 RPM with the variable speed trigger.
If you need to make large corrections (like removing sanding marks), use the Forced Rotation orbital mode. When you have work that requires more finesse for final touches, switch it to Free Spin orbital. This can let you develop a mirror-finish as I achieved on my Porsche. At the moment, there isn’t another cordless inline polisher I’m aware of that gives you this choice of modes. It’s a significant advantage and it is as easy as flipping the Makita XOP02 polisher’s switch.
The brushless tool also has an electronic controller, giving your work more consistency. It provides a soft start and constant speed control which adjusts to the load.
How Does the Makita XOP02 Compare to a Corded Polisher?
Since the Makita cordless random orbit polisher works without a cord, you don’t have to worry about marring up a newly polished surface. Also, wire mesh air vent covers on the tool body keep pad fibers from getting sucked into the motor. Finally, the black, plastic screws on the head let you remove the cover to attach a front grip handle—but that’s sold separately.
Ergonomically, the Makita Polisher is very comfortable to hold and use for extended periods. I’ve had corded polishers that made my hands fall asleep. The Makita XOP02 has very little vibration while it runs. A lock-on mode also helps since you don’t need to expend energy squeezing the trigger.
Balance also feels natural, and the inline design works really well to let me guide the pad where I want it.
In the event you insert a battery with the trigger lock on, the polisher’s anti-restart function prevents the motor from starting. This feature should be mandatory on grinders, but I like seeing it on cordless polishers as well. The tool has rubber overmold protection in all the right places. You also get a trigger lock-off. At 7.9 pounds (with the battery), it’s a little hefty, but I found that actually helps when polishing.
My one little gripe: I can’t see the battery’s fuel gauge when it’s inserted in the polisher. It’s not a huge deal, but a gauge on the tool would be helpful.
How Much Does the Makita 18V Dual Mode Polisher Cost?
With its cordless, inline design and ability switch between random orbit and free rotation, the dual-mode Makita 18V random orbit polisher currently has no direct competition among major tool manufacturers or brands catering exclusively to detailers. Even so, here are some tools in the same space.
The Bottom Line
The Makita XOP02 18V Random Orbit Polisher has everything a professional automotive detailer—or an avid DIYer—could wish for. It performs large corrections or the finest of final touches that make your finishes really pop. The soft-start, anti-restart function, and lack of a cord protect your work. Free Rotation mode’s variable speed trigger and Random Orbit mode’s ten speeds from 1,600 to 6,800 OPM—with the constant speed control under load—give you the type of command over this polisher that you may not find in other tools.
Makita 18V Dual Action Random Orbit Polisher Specifications
- Model Numbers: XOP02Z (tool only), XOP02T (kit)
- Pad Size (round): 5 inches
- Speed (variable no-load) : 0 – 780 RPM
- Orbits per minute (variable speed) : 0 – 6,800 OPM
- Orbit diameter: 7/32 inches
- Variable speed control dial
- Vibration: 3 m/s²
- Length: 20-1/4 in.
- Weight: 7.9 lbs.