10 Best Car Buffers and Polishers Reviewed and Rated

Our car polisher reviews are here to help everyone find the best car buffer. We all understand why we have oil changes, tune-ups and rotations, managing the exterior body is critical to your car’s life. The elements can leave their mark, gradually decreasing the value of a vehicle.

Road salts, moisture, debris, scratches, they all leave a dirty trail. Regular cleaning helps beautify and protect the vehicle’s surfaces, but buffing is about removing scratches, eliminating rust spots and other defects. Take note that polishing is not waxing. Waxing is about giving your car a nice protective coat. In fact, most professional detailers will polish and then wax.

If you’re interested in the best car polishers, we invite you take a close look at our car buffer reviews and info.

Our Top 10 Recommended Car Buffers

PORTER-CABLE Variable Speed Polisher, 6-Inch (7424XP)
  • Porter Cable 7424XP
  • The best random orbital polisher: ideal for marine and automotive sanding and polishing projects.
  • The 4.5 amp motor promises high overhead protection.
  • Price: See Here!
Griot's Garage 10813STDCRD 6" Dual Action Random Orbital Polisher with 10' Cord
  • Equipped with ball side handle, horizontal side handle and an 180 mm Velcro packing pad.
  • Three position bale handle and an ergonomically rear handle, providing finesse throughout operations.
  • Price: See Here!
DEWALT Buffer/Polisher, Variable Speed, Soft Start, 7-Inch/9-Inch (DWP849X)
  • Griot’s Garage 10813STDCRD
  • Simplified engineering makes it a perfect tool for the novice yet has enough features for the professional.
  • This best car polisher eliminates imperfections by removing thin layers of material.
  • Price: See Here!

Car Buffer Reviews: Best Car Buffer for the Money

1. Porter Cable 7424XP 6-Inch Variable Speed Polisher

PORTER-CABLE Variable Speed Polisher, 6-Inch (7424XP)


  • This best random orbital polisher is ideal for marine and automotive sanding and polishing projects.
  • The 4.5 amp motor promises high overhead protection.
  • The product is covered by the manufacturer’s one year free service contract.

  • Internal controls can separate from the motor and cause the device to stop functioning.
  • The buffing pad is known to stop rotating anywhere between a few days and a few months.
  • Defective models are known to have thin threads, offering less than effective results.
With a 4.5 amp motor, the Porter Cable 7424XP 6-Inch Variable Speed Polisher comes with a half-foot polishing pad. It features a proprietary counter balance and a two position removable side handle. This provides greater control, important to swirl-free, random orbit sanding and polishing. The Porter Cable is a best car polish machine with an electronic variable roller bearing and full ball construction to manage even the most industrial workloads.

PORTER-CABLE Variable Speed Polisher, 6-Inch (7424XP)


  • The Porter Cable has a random orbit, swirl free polishing functionality that returns a professional finish.
  • The buffer has a variable speed capacity of 2,500 to 6,800 OPM.
  • It has a two position side handle that’s removable and offers solid comfort and control.


The Porter Cable 7424XP promises to be one of the best car buffers. You’ll immediately see a difference in vehicle body appearance. From managing swirl marks to oxidation, this Porter Cable polisher is the best car buffer for the money.

Best Car Buffer for Home Use

2. Griot’s Garage 10813STDCRD 6″ Random Orbital Polisher

Griot's Garage 10813STDCRD 6" Dual Action Random Orbital Polisher with 10' Cord


  • This multi-purpose best electric car polisher can remove water spots from shower doors, and can polish glass and countertops.
  • Simplified engineering makes it a perfect tool for the novice yet has enough features for the professional.
  • This best car polisher eliminates imperfections by removing thin layers of material.

  • Some purchasers have found problems with the switch. Power stalls, shuts off or will not work at all.
  • Smaller individuals or people with small hands have found the device bulky and heavy.
  • Device has been said to emit a burning smell.

The Griot’s Garage 10813STDCRD 6″ Random Orbital Polisher with 10′ Cord is considered one of the best car polishers. The manufacturer took professional grade processes and opened them up to a general audience. This is the third generation Griot’s garage polisher. Like its predecessors, it has safe and effective dual action polishing and random orbital functionality redesigned to provide high levels of user friendliness.


  • Griot’s Garage 10813STDCRD takes engineering used by top auto body professionals and gives the technology to do-it-yourselfers.
  • This car polisher review found the Griot combines torque, power, reliability and ergonomic stability.
  • It has a rubberized, six position grip.


The Griot’s Garage 10813STDCRD 6″ Random Orbital Polisher with 10′ Cord is the best car buffer for home use. If you want that professional look, this is the high speed polisher you want.

Best Car Buffer and Polisher

3. DEWALT DWP849X 7-Inch/9-Inch Variable Speed Polisher

DEWALT Buffer/Polisher, Variable Speed, Soft Start, 7-Inch/9-Inch (DWP849X)


  • The device is equipped with ball side handle, horizontal side handle and an 180 mm Velcro packing pad.
  • Its electronic module manages precise speed loads going from zero to 600/3500 RPM that return exceptional finishes.
  • It has a three position bale handle and an ergonomically rear handle, providing finesse throughout operations.

  • Despite product description, the device is not shipped with a bag or gloves.
  • There appear to be issues with the power switch stopping for no reason.
  • Some have found the polisher bulky and heavy.

If you’re in the market for the best car buffer and polisher, look no further. The DEWALT DWP849X 7-Inch/9-Inch Variable Speed Polisher with Soft Start belongs on any list of electric car polisher reviews. The DEWALT buffer combines what’s needed for the best form and function. It delivers 1,250 max watts with a 12 amp motor easily controlled by a two finger variable speed trigger.

DEWALT Buffer/Polisher, Variable Speed, Soft Start, 7-Inch/9-Inch (DWP849X)


  • The ball bearing construction and 12 amp motor enhances performance.
  • The device has a variable speed facility with no-load speeds of up to 3,500 RPM.
  • Wool ingestion shields reduce service costs and increases tool life span.
  • This DEWALT polisher is used by paint specialists, metal fabricators, and auto and boat detailers.


No list of a top buffer machine would be complete without the DEWALT DWP849X 7-Inch/9-Inch Variable Speed Polisher with Soft Start. It offers performance and power for the most complex polishing assignments.

4. Meguiars MT300 Pro Power DA Polisher

Meguiar's MT300 Dual Action Variable Speed Polisher


  • The machine’s actual weight of 5.4 pounds makes it an adaptable tool for even the novice.
  • Comes with the tools and instructions for dealing with surfaces that are average, new, new-like or neglected.
  • Designed for the professional body shop worker or detailer, the product’s ease-of-use also make it a staple in the driveway or garage.

  • Some users found the volt to be too low and bought a third-party inverter to correct the issue.
  • The power cord has been known to short out.

The Meguiars MT300 Pro Power DA Polisher was designed for precision polishing. It has adjustable speed management and digital torque settings. It is the best DA buffer from a manufacturer noted for control and optimal use.

Meguiar's MT300 Dual Action Variable Speed Polisher


  • The DA polisher has an ergonomic design to minimize user fatigue.
  • The digital torque manager electronically adjusts power to maintain loaded speed levels.
  • It has an adjustable speed dial that’s handled by the thumb, allowing for a superior polish and faster compounding.
  • Thanks to the billet counterweight and multi-bearing design, expect a smooth balance with maximized durability.


The Meguiars MT300 Pro Power DA Polisher is an extremely capable device for removing defects in metal surfaces. Removing rotary swirls, scratches or water spots, this is a top electric buffer.

5. Flex XC3401VRG Orbital Action Polisher

Flex XC3401VRG Positive-Drive Rotary-Orbital Polisher


  • The product has an ergonomic, removable knob grip and high powered motor.
  • The tachometer generator provides consistent speed control.
  • The device has restart protection if power is interrupted as well as temperature monitoring and overload protection.

  • There has been some issue with the warranty. Manufacturers are accommodating but have not been successful in repairing units to customer satisfaction.

An accounting of the best random orbital sander would be incomplete without the Flex XC3401VRG Orbital Action Polisher. Its design is engineered to stimulate hand movement while in operation. It has a consistent lift that ensures an uniform operation and a nice stroke length for ridding dark surfaces of holograms.

Flex XC3401VRG Positive-Drive Rotary-Orbital Polisher


  • This car buffer machine has an auto-shutoff when carbon brushes wear down, avoiding damage to surfaces.
  • The product has an accelerated trigger switch and speed selection.
  • It has an eight mm rate without load, a 3,200-9,600 OPM power input and a 900 WattPower output.


The Flex XC3401VRG Orbital Action Polisher definitely belongs in a listing of impressive car polisher reviews. From its affordability to significantly cutting production time, this variable speed buffer is a great choice.

6. Neiko 10671A Pro Grade Variable Speed Polisher

Neiko 10671A 7" Electric Polisher & Buffer 6 Variable Speeds Ul/cUL Listed


  • The sturdy die cast aluminum head and all ball bearing mechanism combine to make a best car polishing machine.
  • The power code is to UL/CUL standards, tested for durability and safety.
  • Its 11 amp facility promises to supply enough power for the most complex project.

  • The speed switch has been known to fail.
  • This buffing machine has experienced shortages, leaving it running only at maximum RPM.
  • Gearbox can leak grease onto pad holder and leaving traces on paint jobs.

For high performance, you won’t find a better car buffer polisher than the Neiko 10671A Pro Grade Variable Speed Polisher. It has six variable speeds, ergo-dynamic handling, an impressive 11 amps of power and adaptable tools for polishing granite and marble. Speed is managed by a thumb wheel.

Neiko 10671A 7" Electric Polisher & Buffer 6 Variable Speeds Ul/cUL Listed


  • The product comes with a one piece, seven inch Velcro backing pad allowing for use with varying types of buffing and polishing pads.
  • Comes with six variable speeds ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 RPM ensuring the right rotation for exact surface materials and projects.
  • It has an ergonomic, soft grip trigger lock with a multi-position side handle, providing maximized control and comfort while in use.


With its capacity for high performance, the Neiko 10671A Pro Grade Variable Speed Polisher is going to be the best car polisher for a variety of exacting materials, applications and surfaces.

7. Bosch GP712VS 120-Volt Large Angle Polisher

Bosch GP712VS 120-Volt Large Angle Polisher (Discontinued by Manufacturer)


  • Lightweight, this best car polisher machine is noted for increased user efficiency, comfort and flexibility.
  • The speed dial has ranges of 750 to 3,000 RPM and allows optimal results the first time and every time.
  • The device has a lock on-and-off trigger switch located underneath the handle.

  • There have been some issue with the three way switch making operation difficult.
  • Users have found the product to be loud.

The Bosch GP712VS 120-Volt Large Angle Polisher holds up as a best electric car polisher. Powerful and lightweight, it’s the ideal detailer for vehicle and marine projects, including collision repair. The tool removes deep scratches, oxidation and it polishes to perfection.

Bosch GP712VS 120-Volt Large Angle Polisher (Discontinued by Manufacturer)


  • The Bosch GP712VS has a 12 amp motor that promises an efficient power-to-weight ratio.
  • The device is engineered to provide up to 20 percent more power than comparable tools.
  • The soft grip rat tail allows multiple hand positions and easy control.
  • The electronic package has soft start and re-start protection.


Going through car polisher reviews, the Bosch GP712VS 120-Volt Large Angle Polisher is an outstanding buffer for metal and paint. It has impressive electronics and torque for managing speed as you load the machine and other advanced features that make it an exceptional car buffing machine.

8. Milwaukee 5540 11 Amp 7-Inch Polisher

Right Angle Polisher, 7 In, RPM 0-2800


  • The buffer comes with a spindle lock for accessory changes.
  • This device is not only excellent for work on a car, boat or RV, it can be used on countertops and tiles.
  • This best car polisher buffer has an AC only, strong 11 amp motor.

  • Compared to other items on this list of car polish reviews, at nine pounds, this device is on the heavier side.
  • For those experienced with best car buffers, informative specifications are found to be lacking, requiring additional research.
  • The polisher is noisy.

The Milwaukee 5540 11 Amp 7-Inch Polisher is easy to use. It has a side handle that can be maneuvered right or left to accommodate hand orientation. The trigger controls variable speeds of up to 2,800 RPM. With its comfortable grip, bearing down for a deep polish will be easy regardless of how much power goes into the 11 amp motor.


  • With reinforced glass, the handle stays cool even after extended use.
  • Ideal for DIY-ers who don’t need the power and functionality of a pro machine.
  • The aluminum gear case comes with protective urethane bumpers.


The Milwaukee 5540 11 Amp 7-Inch Polisher is easy to use and durable. It has trigger speed control, a powerful motor and great features like a spindle lock, reliable gear casing and will make an excellent tool for preserving surface beauty.

9. Milwaukee 5460-6 with Electronic Speed Control

Right Angle Polisher, 7/9 In, RPM 0-1750


  • Professional restoration shops have said the casing is of higher quality than comparable brands.
  • This device is not only excellent for work on a car, boat or RV, it can be used on countertops and tiles.
  • This best buffer for car, motorcycle and other metals has been noted for putting a mirror finish into surfaces.

  • Compared to other items on this list of car polish reviews, at nine pounds, this device is on the heavier side.
  • For those experienced with best car buffers, informative specifications are found to be lacking, requiring additional research.

Rich with features, the Milwaukee 5460-6 7-Inch/9-Inch Polisher with Electronic Speed Control makes for an outstanding entry in car buffer reviews. The 11 amp motor offers power that will never bog down production. The side handle is adjustable for left or right hand usage, and the spindle lock is going to make accessory change easy.


  • With reinforced glass, the durable nylon handle stays cool after extended use.
  • Ideal for the DIY-er who needs a polisher but not the power and functionality of a pro machine.
  • If cut or damaged, the detachable cord makes for easy replacement.


With its electronic speed control, 11 amp motor and professional grade capacity, the Milwaukee 5460-6 7-Inch/9-Inch Polisher with Electronic Speed Control is going to simplify the task of keeping your vehicles and surfaces beautiful.

10. WEN 10PMC 10-Inch Waxer/Polisher in Case

WEN 10PMC 10-Inch Waxer/Polisher in Case with Extra Bonnets


  • The kit comes with a range of tools for a variety of projects.
  • The device has a high performing, high impact insulated housing.
  • The dual handle grips increase control and accuracy.
  • The random orbital tech ensures a streak free finish

  • The product has been known to begin rattling for no apparent reason.
  • There are concerns about the pad refusing to spin.

The WEN 10PMC 10-Inch Waxer/Polisher in Case with Extra Bonnets is a full kit. It includes a blow molded carrying case, a pair of applicator bonnets, two wool blending bonnets, two polishing bonnets and a washing mitt. It’s a random orbital polisher ready to tackle all types of surfaces.

WEN 10PMC 10-Inch Waxer/Polisher in Case with Extra Bonnets


  • The resource has a 120 volt 0.75 amp permanent motor.
  • It’s capable of 3,200 OPM per minute.
  • The WEN 10PMC 10-Inch Waxer/Polisher is perfect for vehicles, bathrooms, banisters and countertops.


The WEN 10PMC 10-Inch Waxer/Polisher in Case with Extra Bonnets is ready to remove any and all unwanted grime, dirt and other unwanted elements that give a dull finish to surfaces whether it’s your motorcycle or bathroom tiles. 

What Is Car Buffing and How Does It Work?

Car BuffingIf you don’t take care of it, the exterior of your vehicle will gradually lose that beautiful shine. When you add buffing to vehicle maintenance, you manage your car’s overall allure and value, keeping it beautiful as long as you own it. 
Buffing entails taking a device with a motor that spins a pad. Used with carefully selected compounds, the device removes scratches, oxidation and other minuscule elements that surfaces pick up over time. The process will take a dull finish and return a bright gloss that you’ll never get with regular washing and waxing. 
There are three solid techniques for buffing.

  1. Manual buffing takes longer, but can leave a beautiful finish. Unfortunately, the manual approach can come out uneven and isn’t as long lasting as other options.
  2. There are tools for high speed buffing. It is recommended this process be performed by a professional trained in the use of the required heavy-duty equipment.
  3. Orbital buffing is reliable and can be applied by the DIY-er. It does not require the compounding of other options and still promises outstanding results. In the end, orbital buffing is a faster process, saving money and time.

The benefits of buffing are immeasurable.

  • You create a fresh layer of protection. Exposure to the elements – dirt, rainwater, grime, salt – creates a dull appearance to metal surface. Unfortunately, when we wash and wax, we often can’t tell there’s a layer of hidden paint waiting to sparkle.
  • Buffing prolongs value and appearance. Managing the look of the exterior creates a car that not only lasts longer, but looks better. The resale value on a regularly buffed vehicle will be higher than one that’s not – even if that vehicle’s washed and waxed weekly!
  • Nothing is more frustrating than defects in vehicle surfaces. No matter how careful we are, scratches happen. Buffing will remove minor defects, giving your car the look you want to keep.

There is an ever-growing market of products for buffing. If you want to know more about choosing the best car polishers and buffers, take a look at our reviews above.

Different Types of Car Buffers Available: What Type Suits You Best?

PORTER-CABLE Variable Speed Polisher, 6-Inch (7424XP)

If you want to take detailing seriously, you have to take buffers seriously. They will become an important tool in your arsenal whether you work in a pro shop or out of a garage.  
You need a polishing tool. The days of arguing the best method is by hand is almost foolhardy. We would dare say the only persons preaching this are those who have never used a reliable machine. The technology in this field returns amazing results, and eliminates extensive labor and the often uneven results hand-applied processes can create. 
Of course, the success of any car project is dependent on proper preparation. Novice or professional, you need to research and tackle the production with education. Don’t worry if you’re starting out. With experience will come expertise. But with appropriate research, there is no reason why anyone cannot turn out an admirable polish on the first try. 
The first step will be choosing a tool. There are many options and no one is the answer to every problem. Let’s take a look at types, including orbital car polishers, high speed buffers and more, and provide a primer on getting the best out of these assets.

Power Sources:

  • Pneumatic 

Manometer for checking pressureAir pneumatic devices are options for a shop. If you plan to do buffer work primarily in the garage, it’s also an option. Pneumatic platforms are not necessarily developed for transport as the required air compressor isn’t exactly mobile. On the other hand, compared to an electric-powered device, the pneumatic unit itself, powered solely by air, will be lighter and have fewer components. They do tend cost more, especially when you factor in the expense of the air compressor. It is believed the pneumatic device may have better control of speed. 

  • Electric

Drawing of an electric plugThanks to the advancements in tech, electric buffers are likely the preferred option for polishing metal in both the professional and DIY communities. Electric buffers and polishers have motors and related components which will make them heavier than a pneumatic machine. Electric units will probably be quieter and are portable. The latter because these options require nothing more than being unplugged and moved to the next location. They are a shock hazard though and cannot be used in wet locations. Electric devices are generally less expensive than the pneumatic.


  • Random Orbit Buffer

Cycling iconThe random orbital buffer uses speeds in various ranges. When handled properly, it is applied with angled movement similar to a planet on a lopsided orbit. The orbital buffer solution is excellent for the beginner who lacks the heat management experience needed for products like rotary buffers. On the other hand, the orbital car polisher is available in a variety of sizes and functions. This means, depending on size, function and user needs, it’s also an option for the intermediate and professional detailer. 

  • Standard 10″-14″ Sizes

Icon of a standard rulerChoosing the right size is important. Weight and your ability to balance it can impact the process. Some like to use larger buffers that cover as much of the work area as possible. Other users like the idea of working smaller areas for better control. Standard sizes are great for beginners and intermediate DIY-ers interested in learning proper usage.

  • Variable Speed

Speedometer iconWhile high speed units may be popular in the professional community, the variable speed polisher is probably the most popular in general. These solutions tend to be easiest to use while still returning an inspiring shine to surfaces. They are exceptional for removing deep scratches, dirt, grime and other elements that leave an almost unseen layer on top of paint. Once these components are removed, paint will sparkle. The application of a variable speed device has to be done with caution as they can remove paint as quickly as they do dirt. But this is why you have the variable speed, to control the intensity, being as aggressive as you or the project can afford to be.

  • Mini Orbital Buffer

While you can apply the best orbital buffer to a task, sometimes the job simply doesn’t require a full-sized polisher. Most shops use mini orbital buffers alongside something like a Meguiars dual action polisher. The smaller devices offer an opportunity to truly get into the detail in ways that a standard sized buffer never could. With a smaller solution, you can work along trims or focus on a specific defect without lugging out the big boy. If the budget allows, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a mini orbital buffer in your toolkit.

  • Dual Head Polisher

Cyclo Polisher

A dual head polisher creates an overlapping circular motion in order to prevent swirling. The goal is to duplicate the movement of hand polishing. While the spinning pads conduct complex curves, the overlapping motion minimizes the possibility of strike marks that can be left behind after compounding. Many users do not directly apply pads to surfaces. They cover the pad with a cloth to avoid contaminating the pad with polish. The dual head is popular in the aircraft community.

  • High Speed Rotary

A high speed rotary buffer could be considered the hardest working device in polishing. Many believe these solutions should be left to the professional who has an understanding at how quickly a high speed device can damage a surface. You will likely find more high speed rotaries in body shops than any other type. 

  • Dual Action Buffing

Vector clip art of an orbitA dual action car polisher has a head that spins on a central spindle rotating around an eccentric offset. Many describe the motion as the earth spinning in its orbit while also spinning around the sun. The orbiting simulation of the buffer produces a jiggling motion that prevents burning the paint.

This “burning” refers to removing paint below the surface’s clear coat. DA buffers are considered extremely user friendly – making them perfect for the beginner – as they produce little heat and avoid the potential damage of applying too much. 
The above are general guidelines to consider before buying a polisher. To make sure you’re getting the right product, talk with an expert in auto body work, specifically detailing. Car model, color, experience and other factors will all be major influences in what kind of professional car buffer you should be looking at.

How to Choose the Best Car Buffer: List of Important Aspects

Polishers are engineered to accomplish different tasks. In order to get the full range of paint correction and maintenance, many professionals use more than one. This ensures a thorough treatment. While it never hurts to have a number of tools for refreshing your car’s appearance, you need to have at least one quality device. The following is a set of considerations for choosing the top rated car buffer.

  • Ease of Use

Vector okay signThis is probably the most important factor, influenced greatly by one’s experience with these devices. Many pros would say the easiest platform is a random orbital dual action electric polisher. The free rotating spindle assembly minimizes the possibility of burning through paint. Also, the product and its pads will not create swirls that can result from uneven work. 
The best solutions are lightweight and easy to control. Use them to polish surfaces to a high gloss, to apply a paint sealant or wax, to remove swirls and other imperfections, and to remove wax or sealant after they have dried in safe and efficient fashion. These are the devices to turn to if you’re new to machine polishing, looking to move beyond traditional orbital buffering or the do-it-yourselfer leaning toward their own polishing. The random orbital dual action electric polisher is also a good choice for body shops that want swirl-free finishes, as well as boat, airplane and RV owners.

  • Price

Price tag iconProfessional car detailing can be an expensive endeavor. Some collision repair and paint shops will charge as much as $500 to repair scratches. Buffing is usually an hourly process, ranging anywhere between $40 and $50 per. The professional understands why having a good polisher is worth the price. The DIY-er will have to see this as well. While you can certainly find plenty of affordable car buffers that can return admirable results, you can find just as many that won’t.  
An expensive car polisher isn’t the answer either. Whether you are spending $40 or $300, look at the motor’s amp capability, compare speed variables, machine loading, weight and ease of use. Look for features like lockouts and noise levels. Consider if you may go beyond metal surfaces and want something that can also be used to buff your marble kitchen counters or the granite deck tiles.

  • Functionality

Vector icon of gear wheelsReputable companies like DEWALT, Bosch and Meguiars all manufacture the best car polishers. While you can certainly lean toward a purchase from a company you trust, it might be wise to carefully compare products to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck. An auto shutoff feature can be invaluable if it prevents you from damaging surfaces because brushes are worn down. A lightweight device might be preferable.

One’s hands may be too small to get comfortable grips on larger buffers. Depending on the power, one detailer may do a better job on deeper scratchs than an unit engineered to manage only minor defects. The specifications of an unit have to be paramount. Buying a $40 unit and finding it doesn’t meet your needs is a waste of money and time.  
Beginners may want to take a look at a kit like the one offered by WEN. It includes a range of items with a random orbital buffer at an affordable price. This solution will give you a greater idea of what you can do with polishers.

  • Compounds

Vector drawing of a flaskYour choice of compounds will be critical to a successful project. They have to be chosen based on the condition of the car. You would not want to use the same compound on a green car that you’d use on a black vehicle. A car that was regularly cleaned and waxed would not need the same compound as one whose surfaces have been neglected for years. A repaint of the vehicle can impact how you go about polishing its surfaces. It’s suggested that, starting with the gentlest methods, compounds should be tested on small areas with results analyzed as you go.

Types of Car Buffers

Polishers come in a variety of options. There are dual head and dual action, random orbiters, standard and mini sizes, pneumatic and electric. See our breakdown of car buffer types. Each are quality tools that will make maintaining a vehicle’s appearance a faster and better process. But they operate in different ways and use different types of accessories. RV owners do not require what airplane owners need. But everyone should want a device that’s well balanced and lightweight, easy to hold and control, and not something that has an extensive learning curve. Leave those for the professionals.

Whether operating a detailing business or looking to manage family vehicles, these considerations are the best ways for selecting the best car buffer. 

Types of Buffing and Polishing Pads for Car Buffers

The pad you use for your car buffer or car polisher can make or break the operation. At the very least, the wrong pad will not return the shine you want. At worst, the wrong accessory can damage surfaces. Everything from material to composition, size and design will make a difference.

What You Need to Know Before You Shop

Book drawn iconThere are a variety of pads designed for exacting purposes. Some may not be compatible with all metal polishers, so one has to select carefully. One type of pad may be engineered to remove mild or severe oxidation. Another may be unique for swirls and scratches. There are pads for older finishes and pads designed for brand new surfaces.  
Pads are manufactured for a thorough process. You start with one type and the project will be finished with a different type, usually to refine the smoothness of a surface. In between, any number of pads may be applied to target a specific refinement. 
As you shop for buffer and polishing pads, be sure you not only know what they do but that they’re compatible with your device. There are center ring pads, grip wool, industrial bolt on, double sided, recessed foam, dual head, curved back foam, direct mount, contour and more. Some pads are abrasive and, under some circumstances, will do more harm than good. Others are engineered to provide a soft touch and bring out the shine. 
It should be noted, with any project, it’s the user’s talent that ultimately determines how a tool will influence success. Your choices and your ability to act wisely will be the most significant factor in the project. 

Wool Buffing Pads

Wool Buffing PadsWool is probably the most effective and common medium. It cuts faster and, as paints become more solid and less solvent, becomes a more compatible substance. 
Wool buffing pads are spun into a variety of yarns. The design can differ depending on the aggression needed. For instance, a wool buffing pad can be twisted 100%. This maximizes its cutting ability. The user will, of course, need the know-how for using such an abrasive resource. In the wrong hands, this pad can do as much damage as it does repair.  
For non-aggressive polishing, such as final touches, a wool pad that’s non-twisted can be applied or perhaps you’d use a synthetic tool with a mix of materials (a blend). You may use various wool pads in combination with other types to accommodate chemicals, polishing and finishing. 

Foam Buffing Pads

Foam Buffing PadsLike wool, there are an array of foam pads with different properties for unique purposes. The difference is foam is considered the tool for getting that fine finish in surfaces. In most operations, you start with a wool pad and cap off the project with a foam buffing pad. 
Foam pads perform differently based on construction. If you were to inspect one under a microscope, you’d see the pad consists of small, uniform cells, akin to a honeycomb. The density of the foam is based on the size of the cell. The smaller the cell, the greater the density. Like wool, foam pads are designed for aggressiveness. The less aggressive – foam pads with large cells and less density – are excellent finishing pads.  
Based on the compound in play, you may need an unique density. Foam pads have grades to distinguish them as finishing or aggressive. These are PPI, or Pores Per Inch, grades. These pads are usually broken down by a standardized system of color with new colors added as buffing tech advances. The most common colors are the black, yellow and white. Foam pads also come in a number of configurations and sizes. There are categories such as ventilated, center tee and dome faced.  
You want a foam pad with high reticulated strength which ensures air, compounds and polishes flow through the foam sufficiently. 

European Foam Buffing Pads

Single 5 1/2 X 7/8 Inch Hydro-tech Tangerine Ultra Polishing Foam Pad

European foam pads have found a loyal niche in North America.  
In the past, European detailing was usually done in a shop and shops were rare, meaning a smaller market for these solutions. Most buffing projects were small, such as panel repair or damage removal. 
Times have changed. Detailing has gradually grown in popularity in Europe and there has been a noticeable rise in independent detailing service stations. This has given the European foam pad some notice. As European paints are traditionally higher in solid, low solvent composition, their foam pads are manufactured to manage their paint’s physically restrictive conditions. Stateside buffers and polishers have found the functionality of the European foam pad to be beneficial to their operations. 
Getting a handle on the types of pads your car buffer uses and their distinctions will make or break your project. These guidelines are a great resource for getting started.

Making the Decision

When your car looks good, you feel good about being behind the wheel. The condition of your vehicle is up to you. By taking advantage of the best car buffers, regular waxing and washing, and knowing how to maintain these processes, you manage your car’s resale value, its curb appeal and your enjoyment.

We’re here to maximize all that and more. Use our resources to learn what needs to be done, how to do all these things and where to find and buy the best tools like the top-rated obd2 scanners for maintaining your car. If you have any questions, talk with one of our reps.