I was recently contacted by none other than Dremel to check out their latest product, the Dremel Versa. You likely know Dremel from their famous rotary tools used to grind, sand, and cut just about anything you want, but the Versa is a cleaning tool meant that has the same power and small size you’d expect from Dremel, but with a hook & loop system to attach various cleaning pads. Dremel was kind enough to send me one free of charge to review and check-out as part of their #ConquerTheCleanup campaign, and in this post I’ve tested it out on a number of surfaces and determined my three favorite uses for it; emblem removal, cleaning wheels, and scratch removal (it can be used for a lot more, but these three use cases alone make it well worth the price).
The Versa retails for $49.99 and is a cordless rotary buffer/cleaning tool that charges by USB, can spin at 2,200 RPM and is the fastest on the market, and comes with several different pads from a scrub brush to one meant for automotive applications. The size is what makes this product special – while I have a full-size random orbital polisher, I only bust it out for big jobs and I have to run an extension cord making it quite the undertaking…this product is small, cordless, and easy to re-charge, making it perfect for small jobs on my car or around the house.The product comes with four different cleaning extensions depending on the job; a white “eraser” pad which is very similar to a light cutting pad you’d use in automotive polishing, a blue non-scratch pad that is for slightly tougher jobs (i.e. adhesive or tar removal), a heavy duty pad (rust removal), a bristle brush (things that need a brushing motion more than a polishing motion). Like anything with detailing, you should always use these least abrasive pad you can to get the job done and start by testing a small spot, then get more aggressive as needed. You can swap out the pads easily with a hook & loop system (like you would most normal polishers) and it has a splash guard show in the retracted position above, and I’d imagine you could probably get non-Dremel pads to work (it’s roughly 2″ so I’d imagine any Lake County pads from DetailedImage.com could work).
Use Case #1: Debadging / Emblem Removal
To test it out, I removed the chrome emblems from my trunk; my plan is to replace them with black badging to complete the “storm trooper” look my car has currently. Removing the badges is pretty simple, simply heat them up a little and use fishing line from behind the emblems to slowly pry them off; however, cleaning all of the adhesive “gunk” and residue after the emblem comes off is the time consuming and difficult part. Using the Dremel Versa, this is much easier. Start by soaking the area in an adhesive remover like Goo Gone, then use the blue heavy duty non-scratch pad with very light pressure to quickly remove the majority of the adhesive. Once complete, dry the area completely and then use the white eraser pad and a polish of your choice to get the area glossy and perfectly clean and then leave as-is or install new emblems as you please:
Use Case #2: Polished Wheels / Lips
I absolutely love my rotor wheels, but keeping the polished lips clean can be annoying. Over time the finish starts to get dull and discolored, so an occasional buffing is needed to keep the wheels looking best. In the past, I would do this by hand and dread doing it, but the Versa is the perfect size for polishing wheels – it’s easy to maneuver and control, so you only polish the areas that need it…and being cordless, it doesn’t feel like a hassle to bust it out and polish up your lips. The splash guard is a nice bonus to keep the polish from slinging everywhere, and also prevent the cleaning pad from brushing up against the tires.
Use Case #3: Scratch Removal
Notice a new scratch thanks to someone who parked a little too close? Bust out the Versa for quick and easy scratch removal. Again use the white eraser pad and polish of your choice and make several slow and steady passes over the scratched area with light to moderate pressure. The Versa has anti-binding technology so if it stops rotating it will turn off all together, making it a pretty easy and risk-free way to polish out smaller areas of your car that have scratches or need some TLC like a rear wing, around the door handles, and other “high use” areas of the car that are more likely to get scratched or show wear and tear from over-use. I didn’t have many scratches on my car to use this on, but I gave it a go on my wife’s car with some pretty awesome results you can check out in a separate post.
Tips & Tricks for Best Results
- Don’t use too much cleaner: As with any polishing, start with just a few pea sized drops of compound…a little goes a long way. I primed the pad by massaging some polishing compound into the pad itself, then did 1-3 drops on the pad depending on how big of an area I was covering. From there the Versa is plenty fast, so you can move the Versa slowly left to right, then top to bottom, meticulously covering the same area until it goes from a haze to practically removed by the pad itself, then hit it with a clean microfiber to remove any remaining residue. If you find a lot of product is still hazy on the paint after 4-5 passes, you’re probably using too much product.
- Don’t press too hard: The Versa has built in detection so that if the pad binds and stops spinning freely, it will stop, which helps prevent you from burning the paint, which is a great feature! Given it’s high speed, it’s also not necessary to put much if any pressure at all down on the tool – the speed of the rotation will remove the scratch, not the force of your hand. If this feels like hard work, you’re probably doing it wrong.
- Give it a full charge before starting: I was so excited to try this out that I took it out of the packaging and put it to work right away…it’s a lithium ion battery which has a good capacity, but it doesn’t come fully pre-charged. Let it charge for even just 30 minutes and it’s good to go, but don’t expect to rip it out of the package and remove every single scratch in your wife’s car. Had I plugged it in when I started washing the car it would have been fine, but when I found it running out of battery midway through I stopped to eat lunch and when I came back it was ready to go again. The battery life is surprisingly good, just let it charge fully before starting.
- Use the splash guard: Last but not least, the built in scratch-guard is great to prevent you from flinging wax or polish everywhere, but if you’re flinging product that is again one more sign you’re probably using too much. Be sure to spread out the product over the area you want to cover using the pad before turning on the machine!
You can pick this product up at any of the usual suspects – Home Depot, Lowes, or Amazon. It’s also worth noting it’s water resistant and built for both indoor & outdoor use. It’s really easy to use, and something I’ll likely use around the house from time to time too. A big thanks to Dremel for giving me this product to review and participate in their #ConquerTheCleanup campaign. I was already a Dremel owner and use my rotary tool to do everything from trim fender liner to prevent my wheels from rubbing to cutting and sanding tabs to make parts fit better. It’s a great product, and awesome to see the brand branch out to use their rotary technology for other uses.