Originally Posted by tofu-
you do realize that the auto scrub pad has the same "material" as the wash mitt, right? you could basically just hold the pad in your hand and run it over the car manually if you don't want to use the machine. no need to spend an extra $50 on redundancy
Both products used the same core materials but there are differences between the two.
The rubber material on the pad is stiffer and it has a diamond like pattern with a dot in the center of the diamond. The mitt has a softer (stickier) rubber much like SM Arnold Speedy Prep towel (which was made by NanoSkin licensed to SM Arnold) and it has a north/south alignment. The pad was designed to be used with a DA first and hand application second while the mitt was designed for hand application from the start. I don't want to go in details on the reason for this. It is another topic for another day..... but there is one.
If you are working on a large flat surface then either one will work well. If you are doing it for money (like I am) or have OCD then you want both. The mitt can go in places that the pad simply can't (ie door handles, door handle cups, grill, around the windows, the narrow space space under the lights, etc).
The simple fact that I could feel the paint with the mitt gives me more control over the entire process. This is important if you are working on a soft or sensitive paint like BMW Jet Black. Again, if I am doing a full correction then this is a non-factor but if I am doing a light cleaning then I don't want to take any chances.
The initial cost for both products are high but these products were designed for professional use originally. If you run the numbers on cost of clay bars for 50 vehicles versus either of the 2 products for the same 50 then you can see the savings in these products.
I don't think this is a either/or. It is whats best for your particular situation. I look at all of them as tools and as such....I try to have a wide variety since I don't know what type of car paint system I will be working on next. For an average car owner/hobbyist working on their own vehicle, its kind of a big expense.