[Hands-On Review] Griot’s Garage 6 Inch Polisher (GG6) After 4 Years Use

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Griot's Garage Dual Action Polisher 6" Buffer Review

After using the 3rd generation Griot’s Garage 6 Inch Dual Action Polisher, which I like to refer to as the GG6, for about 4 years now I thought it might be helpful to do a review to share with everyone. I’ve used the polisher way more than I originally intended to when I purchased it (and believe you will too) and have become intimately familiar with all of its ups and downs.

After all these years it’s still my favorite polisher and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it again.

What’s Included

I originally purchased my GG6 from Advance Auto for around $100 using a ridiculous $40 off of $100 coupon I found online. I honestly don’t know if you can do this anymore. If not, you can’t find it for a deal here at Amazon. I purchased the (new then) 3rd gen version of the polisher with the 10-foot power cord (because I already own a sweet 100ft 14ga extension cord).

When I received the polisher it came in a box like this:

Inside the box was the following:

Griot's Garage 6 Inch Polisher and Accessories

Griot's Garage 6" Polisher Backing Plate Top

Griot's Garage 6" Polisher Handle

Griot's Garage 6" Polisher Instructions

You’ll note there is:

  • The polisher itself in all of its red plastic and black rubber glory
  • Removable handle
  • 6” backing plate with hook and loop (Velcro)
  • Flat wrench for tightening the backing plate to the polisher’s spindle
  • Allen wrench for installing the handle
  • Bag with spare brushes for the electric motor inside the polisher
  • Instructions (which are pretty good I might add).

Specifications

  • Powerful 850-watt, 7-amp motor
  • 8mm throw orbit
  • 2500-6800 orbits per minute
  • 10-foot 18 AWG, or 25-foot 16 AWG power cord
  • Domed, rubberized palm grip
  • 6 speed settings via dial, 1/2-speed increments
  • 5lb 3oz weight
  • Made in China
  • Lifetime Warranty

The Good

 

Weight

The first thing I noticed when I purchased this polisher was the weight. At 5 lbs 3 oz it felt right to me. It’s enough to feel substantial and stable while using it without being too much that it wears you out on vertical panels.

Since using the polisher, my feelings about the weight remain the same. I’ve also used and compared other polishers and still don’t feel like there are any shortcomings in this category for the GG6.

Vibration

Out of all of the standard Porter Cable style polishers that I’ve used this polisher is the smoothest to me. I cannot tell a discernible difference in the vibration when running the 6″ backing plate or the 5″ backing plate that I often run. Admittedly this may be due to the 5″ plate being a little ticker and likely weighting close to the same.

If you plan to compare any polishers side by side make sure you have a pad and backing plate installed otherwise the vibration will be off the charts due to the counter weight on the spindle.

In my experience, to get a smoother DA than the GG6 you’ll need to step up to one of the long throw polishers like the Griot’s Boss G21 or Rupes Big Foot. They cost a lot more and can’t work  as tight of spaces but they are smoother and cover more area faster.

Noise

This is the main reason I bought this polisher when I did. It was said to be a fair bit quieter than the competition, namely the Porter Cable xp7274 and Harbor Freight DA at the time. I’m happy to report that was true. For a standard Porter Cable style DA polisher this one is definitely the quietest by a large margin.

Is it quiet? No, I still wear ear plugs after speed 3. It’s simply the quiet-EST of the bunch.

Power

The GG6 is advertised as the most powerful of the standard or short throw polisher and it sure feels like that’s true. Though the truth is that if you’re using your polisher correctly any of the DA polishers available are powerful enough to get the job done in the same amount of time. It’s nice to have the power on tap though.

Heat

You would think since this tool generates more power that it would also generate more heat. Fortunately, the polisher stays cool to the touch no matter how long I run it. The motor vents air out of the side of the body on both sides, which is nice because you don’t get a face full of hot air when you’re working up close in tight spaces.

I do have to be careful of overheating pads, due to in part to the extra power of the tool. If your speed is too high, your pad is too wet, and your pressure is too much, you can quite literally melt the pad and backing plate where they stick together. This is not a fault of the tool, just something to be mindful of with any DA style tool since they tend to generate heat where the pad and backing plate stick to eachother. It’s just more pronounced in more powerful tools.

Ergonomics

For me, I like the rubber palm grip hand holds and finger grooves. They really do help me hang onto the polisher while working all the weird angles I run into when working on cars and random parts. I don’t use the handle (I don’t on any polisher because I don’t feel like I have as much control) so the rubber grips really come in handy. If you’re a handle user, it has a rubber grip on it as well.

Griot's Garage 6" Polisher Grips

Griot's Garage 6" Polisher Grip and Power Switch

The power switch is located on top of the unit toward the middle and is easy to reach with your thumb or index finger to turn on or off while the polisher is held against the paint. This is good because you never really want to turn on a DA when it’s off the surface of the paint because it’s quite unstable and will fling polish everywhere.

The speed switch is located on the top of the unit toward the bottom. It’s a little cumbersome to turn the speed up or down while using it but it keeps you from bumping it accidentally while using it, which I personally feel is more important.

Griot's Garage 6" Polisher Speed Switch

Versatility

I’ve used this polisher on everything from paint on automobiles to plastic lenses to glass and it always works. I’ve even seen some people use it for sanding though Griot’s recommends not to do that. With the right pad and polish I’ve polished out 1500 grit sanding marks in both clear coat and plastic. At the end of a correction I also use it to apply wax if I’m not putting on a paint coating.

What I’m getting at is this polisher can do it all and, with how many things I’ve been able to restore with it, has literally paid for itself.

I like that it uses a standard sized 5/16 – 24 threaded spindle so you can swap out different sized backing plates from the included 6″ backing plate all the way down to 3″ or 4″ for use with 4″ pads to really get into tight places. I personally run a 5″ backing most of the time because it’s a little easier for me to control and maneuver around the weird angles of my cars.

Reliability

Like I said in the title, I’ve been using the Griot’s Garage 6″ Polisher for 4 years now. I’ve corrected numerous cars, routinely applied wax, and polished out dozens of plastic and glass parts to resell. The polisher has never had an issue. It’s just as tight as it was the first day I used it with no new rattles or noises or smells.

The counter weight and spindle area under the shroud is even still clean and rust free after an estimated 100 hours use as you can see here:

Griot's Garage 6" Polisher Counter Weight

Even though it comes with a spare set of brushes for the motor and a lifetime warranty I haven’t had to use either. I’m confident I will be able to use this tool for many more years to come.

The Bad

My only real complaint is the vibration. After a couple hours of use I’m pretty worn out from it. This isn’t a disadvantage of this polisher over other similar polishers. It’s just an inherent problem with this style polisher. Like I said earlier, the only way to get a DA polisher that is smoother is to buy one of the more refined long throw polishers like the Griot’s BOSS G21 or Rupes Big Foot, but you’ll pay twice as much.

With that said I would still purchase this polisher today for a first polisher because of how versatile it is and the relatively small monetary commitment it takes to see if you like this hobby. If you find you don’t like polishing you can always relegate it to sanding without feeling bad about it. I couldn’t stomach turning a $350 long throw polisher into a sander.

Griot’s Garage GG6 vs Porter Cable 7424xp

The Porter Cable 7424xp is equally capable to the GG6 when used properly. It also usually costs a few dollars less. and is made by a reputable, long-standing tool manufacturer. Why then, would anyone buy the GG6?

In comparison to the GG6 it does not come with extra brushes for the motor and has a shorter warranty of 3 years versus the Griot’s GG6 lifetime warranty. It is also lower power and does not include a proper backing plate for using traditional polishing pads meaning an extra purchase is required.

The handle sticks out to one side like an angle grinder or rotory polisher whereas the GG6 loops over the top. The body lacks the rubber grips and finger grooves of the GG6.

Lastly, the vibration and noise of the 7424xp is noticeably worse than the GG6 speed for speed.

Though the Porter Cable DA was the foundation to which all others were built upon, I don’t feel it has the refinement of other polishers like the GG6. I have zero regrets buying my GG6 over a 7424xp.

Griot’s Garage GG6 vs Meguair’s MT300

Power wise both machines are equally capable. The ergonomics on the Meguiars MT300 are a hybrid of the GG6 and a rotoary polisher in that it has the elongated body with pistol grip, plunger trigger, and trigger lock along with the top side looping handle. The motor has a soft start feature so you don’t have ramp up the speed dial like you do on the GG6 to keep from flinging polish everywhere. The machine is also a little lighter.

The MT300 costs about 1.5x-2x as much as the GG6, has a shorter warranty of only 1 year, and has questionable long term reliability with many users having issues with the cord fraying at the body.

If it weren’t for the reliability problems and the short warranty this would be an all around better tool than the GG6. As it stands, I still pick the GG6.

Griot’s Garage GG6 vs Harbor Freight DA

At almost $75 cheaper than the GG6 and $50 cheaper than the 7424xp the Harbor Freight DA is a tempting choice. If you get one that works it works great. Though, the build quality is noticeably lower being much louder and having worse vibration than the PC or the GG6. The warranty is also only 90 days.

If you’re just looking for the cheapest way to correct the paint on one car, this tool fits the bill. If you’re planning on using it more than once and like the idea of keeping tools for a long time, then I say buy once cry once and get the GG6. You won’t regret it later.

Griot’s Garge GG6 vs BOSS G21 and other Long Throw Polishers

The GG6 is a short throw polisher, meaning its spindle is offset by a short distance of 8mm. The Boss G21 (which stands for Best of Show System) and other Long Throw polishers have spindles that are offset by as much as 21mm. This increases the area of correction that the pad moves in and also requires more refined construction of the counter balance and motor to keep vibration down. This refinement typically leads to a smoother and quieter polisher.

In the most simplest terms, the GG6 will correct less area in the same amount of time and will not be as smooth. It will also require more downward pressure to remove defects than the long throw polishers. On the flip side it can accept smaller backing plates allowing it to get into tighter areas. It’s also about  a third of the cost of the BOSS G21, Big Foot, and other long throw polishers.

If I were to correct cars full time, I’d definitely opt for the BOSS G21 over the GG6 as the main polisher in my arsenal. I’d still keep the GG6 around for general use when I needed to get more precise or work on smaller parts that are off the car.

Wrap Up

After 4 years I have no regrets in buying this polisher, even with newer polishers out such as the Griot’s BOSS G21 and the Meguiars MT300. While it may lack some of the refinements of more expensive polishers it’s just as capable and reliable. Knowing how much I’ve used it I could have paid twice as much for it and I still wouldn’t have any regrets. I have no doubts I’ll continue to use it for years.

That being said, if I were in the market right now and $300-400 didn’t mean much to me (it does) I would probably opt for the smoother and more efficient Griot’s BOSS 21 or Rupes Big Foot for the bulk of my paint correction tasks and use the GG6 for odd ball stuff.

If I could only have one polisher, though, it would be the Griot’s Garage GG6. I believe it’s the best all around DA polisher for the money. There is no way I could effectively polish out a full car by hand and you couldn’t pay me the $120 I spent on the GG6 to do it!

Don’t forget to grab a quality extension cord and ear plugs as well. Since the motor is 7amps and the polisher includes 10ft of cord you’ll want to get 16ga or thicker cord at 50ft or 14ga or thicker cord at 100ft to safely handle the sustained current.

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3 thoughts on “[Hands-On Review] Griot’s Garage 6 Inch Polisher (GG6) After 4 Years Use

  1. Reply
    Jessica Deffley - August 8, 2018

    Just purchased the battery operated Griots. First time using one. I noticed a slight noise once in a while that sounds like the brushes in the motor. Works great just worried about the noise a bit due to the cost of the unit. anyone using this and your thoughts

    1. Reply
      Brian - August 9, 2018

      I’ve used the battery operated 5″ Griot’s Garage polisher and the sound was pretty consistent, as it should be considering it’s a fixed speed polisher. It has a similar motor sound to the other cordless tools I have used. Now the sound will change a bit when you add downward pressure since the motor has to work harder. If the odd sound comes and goes with consistent pressure I would reach out to Griot’s Garage. They are really good about taking care of this kind of stuff. I’d be interested in hearing what they say.

  2. Reply
    Belisarius - August 26, 2018

    Awesome article, because of people like you, costly mistakes are avoided (I was about to buy a MT300 and the cord power issues flood the internet 2015-2018 and ongoing). Thank you!!! Can’t believe it took so long to find your article. Can you republish one entitled BEST DUAL ACTION ORBITAL POLISHER Long Term Review?

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