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Rotary polishers make the pad spin around the center access point only. Kind of like how the earth spins around its own axis. Since the movement is more simple, rotary polishers can spin at much higher speeds than dual-action polishers and withstand a higher amount of downward pressure. This gives them the edge when it comes to buffing out swirls and scratches. The faster speeds and ability to apply more pressure makes it much easier for the abrasives in your polish or compound to quickly abrade the paint and level the surface.
However, there are downsides all of that power, speed, and pressure. Rotary polishers will definitely leave marring of its own behind that you will have to go over again to correct once the surface is level and scratch-free. Also, rotary polishers create a lot of heat on the paint surface due to the higher amount of friction. Combine this with the additional abrasive power and it is extremely easy to abrade too much and burn through the clear coat and paint! Rotary polishers also tend to be much more difficult to control, so using them properly has a steep learning curve.