If you want your car to look shiny and lustrous, there’s simply no better alternative than using a dedicated polisher or buffer. These machines will bring out the inner beauty of your car by smoothing down the slight imperfections and working down the top layer of paint to reveal an almost brand new layer underneath.
Orbital and High Speed Buffers
The two chief versions of polishers and buffers are orbital types and high speed buffing machines. Orbital buffers are the most common and are great ways to get your wax worked onto the body of your vehicle. These buffers spin or “orbit” at a high rate of speed and are known for their ability to apply an even coat. With this type, your car will gain a gleaming finish that will be very attractive.
High speed buffers, on the other hand, spin so fast that they can damage your car if not managed correctly. Despite this inherent danger, these buffers tend to provide the most noteworthy results when it comes to providing a beautiful luster on your vehicle. There are a few of these types on our list, so if you are planning on buying one of these types, proceed with caution during the buffing process.
Detailing your car with a buffer is one of the most important ways to reinvigorate your vehicle and return that showroom shine. There are a few different types of buffers/polishers to choose from, so let’s take a look at a few. RPM/OPM stands for revolutions per minute or orbits per minute for orbital types.
|Buffer||Max RPM/OPM||Best Design Feature||Overall Rating|
|Neiko® 10671A 7-Inch Electric Polisher and Buffer||3000RPM||Six Variable Speeds|
|Makita 9227C 7-Inch Hook and Loop Electronic Polisher/Sander||3000RPM||Lock on Button||4/5|
|Ryobi RB61G Green 6″ Orbital Buffer||4800OPM||Ease of Use; One hand Operation|
|PORTER-CABLE 7346SP 6-Inch Random Orbit Sander with Polishing Pad||6800OPM||Easy to Control Side Handle||4/5|
|WEN 10PMR 10-Inch Waxer/Polisher||3200OPM||Dual Handle Makes it Easy to Polish/Buff|
|DEWALT DWP849 7-Inch/9-Inch Variable Speed Polisher||3500RPM||DeWalt Put a Lot of Power Into This Product|
|Presa Turbine All-in-One Dual Action DA Random Orbital Polisher Kit||6800OPM||Two Methods of Holding|
The Neiko® 10671A is a high speed buffer that is one of the best available on the market today. As mentioned previously, this buffer moves at a very high speed and can actually cause damage to your car if not operated carefully. This is because of the powerful motor that powers this unit. The Neiko® 10671A has a 1300W motor that works in conjunction with a ball-bearing mechanism to provide a 3000RPM operation. For better control, Neiko included a full range of six different speeds, so that its users can manage the job based on its needs.
For ease of operation, the Neiko® 10671A has a top-mounted handle that will give you great control over the buffing process. The handle is large and will allow you to apply pressure or lift upwards for less pressure when you need to. Also, since this handle is multi-position, you can hold the device from the side so that you can operate on a vertical surface with relative ease. The handgrip on the rear also provides exceptional stability and also has a trigger lock so that you don’t accidentally engage the device when you don’t need to.
- Makita 9227C 7-Inch Hook and Loop Electronic Polisher/Sander
Our second product is another high powered, high speed buffer that is designed to handle even the toughest buffing jobs. The Makita 9227C has a very similar form factor to the Neiko® 10671A, but we find that it’s even better for the slow polishing of delicate surfaces. With the variable speed dial, you can actually have a revolution per minute range of 0-3000, which makes this a perfect buffer or polisher for materials you don’t want to damage overtly, like wood. Another great, unique feature of this device is its easy ability to convert to a sander, which once again is perfect for delicate wood surfaces that you want to shape without an overabundance of power.
In addition to these features, the Makita 9227C also has a built-in feature that will maintain the right RPM even under load, so if you’re really applying the pressure, the motor will adjust so that you can still get the right amount of spinning force. Ergonomically, this device has a very similar multi-position handle to the Neiko® 10671A. It will allow you to easily control the buffer from almost any position; making this device a very versatile unit. Finally, Makita included a lock-on button with this device that will let it stay at a pre-set speed level and a soft start function that will build up speed as you begin your buffing job.
- Ryobi RB61G Green 6″ Orbital Buffer
Our first orbital sander is also one of the most popular on the market today. The Ryobi RB61G Green 6″ Orbital Buffer has a plethora of great features that makes buffing your vehicle/boat a very easy and rewarding process. Firstly, this is a device that you can use one-handed. While not the most powerful of units, you won’t have a hard time using this to easily apply wax or buff out imperfections with only one hand. Ryobi has designed this unit to not leave swirls. This is partially because the orbital action of this device is designed to work in random patterns, which will apply wax and buff in irregular patterns.
Ease of operation is clearly at the center of the design principles of this device, there is an easy on/off switch near where you grip the device. The device also has a maximum speed of 4800 orbits per minute, which is relatively fast for one of these orbital types. There is only about five feet of cabling for this device, so if you’ll need to use it at longer ranges, you’ll have to purchase an extension cord. In addition to its convenience and ease of operation, this device is also a fraction of the cost of more powerful products in the category, making it an easy choice for those looking for an easy, low-cost way to wax and buff.
- PORTER-CABLE 7346SP 6-Inch Random Orbit Sander with Polishing Pad
Our fourth product comes from Porter-Cable and actually serves as something of a hybrid of our previous devices. While this unit has a similar two handed form factor to the first two high speed buffers, it is actually an orbital buffer. As a matter of fact, due to its orbital functionality, this device has some great power, but also has random patterning so that you can avoid swirls on your vehicle. Simply buff in the wax and wipe with a microfiber cloth and you’ll bring a bright luster to your car or truck’s paint job. In addition to buffing, this is also a unit that can handle sanding down wood to a smooth finish or even buff concrete.
This device has an orbit per minute range of 2,500-6,800 OPM, which will give you a large range of sanding/buffing speeds when you need them. This is a two-handed buffer/polisher that has a side handle that gives a large range of control. We found this device to be the perfect hybrid when it comes to buffing and polishing and using it on a vehicle gives plenty of power without the risk of damaging the finish or even the metal. As a matter of fact, this is a great unit to use in industrial settings as it has a lot of power, has a ball-bearing construction that makes it a perfect device for professionals and private users alike. Simply put, this device is durable enough to last for years.
- WEN 10PMR 10-Inch Waxer/Polisher
The WEN 10PMR 10-Inch Waxer/Polisher is a great device to restore some of the vibrancy of your car’s manufacturer’s paintjob. Its orbital design allows for you to bring your car to a swirl-free shine and the fact that it can accomplish 3800OPM will ensure that you will be able to work in any wax product that you desire. The device uses a 120-volt 0.75-amp magnetic motor that has a lot of extra power for buffing a vehicle to a fresh shine. In addition to this, it’s very easy to change bonnets on this device due to its flat-top design.
Control of this device is provided through two, side-mounted handles. This means that you will be able to easily apply pressure by shifting your weight, when buffing. This method of control differs from many of the other devices that we’ve featured here and many people actually prefer this style of buffing. With the control styling that this device offers, it’s really easy to buff a hood and switch seamlessly to buffing the sides of the front wheel well. We also found that both the ten inch applicator bonnet and a terrycloth bonnet that come with this device, gave us a nice amount of options when it came to buffing our test vehicles. Amazingly, this device is very durable and some users have reported it lasting through more than seven cars without needing replacement.
- DEWALT DWP849 7-Inch/9-Inch Variable Speed Polisher
DeWalt is one of the more iconic names in power tools. The brand manufactures some of the most reliable tools of any variety and their products are known for their durability and lastingness. This DEWALT DWP849 7-Inch/9-Inch Variable Speed Polisher is another high-speed buffer that is perfect for both professional/industrial use and also works well on privately owned vehicles. When it comes to power, this buffer has it in spades. Its maximum RPM is 3500, which is the highest speed for this type of buffer in this guide. One of our favorite features on this buffer is the inclusion of a variable speed dial that actually reflects the RPMs of the buffer assembly. These speed settings range from 600RPM to 3500RPM.
Controlling this device is also very easy. Like tour fourth entry, the Porter-Cable buffer, this unit uses a side-mounted handle for precision control. When using the device, you stabilize it with one and control it with the other hand. As mentioned, DeWalt makes durable tools and this is no exception; the assembly has a ball bearing construction so that the device will be less prone to wear and random defects. The device is a little weighty at seven pounds, but this extra poundage actually helps contribute to the balancing of the unit; making it one of the easiest of its type to control accurately. Also under extensive testing, we found that the buffer was able to stay cool, even after hours of extended operation and also experienced no variations in RMP; even under load.
- Presa Turbine All-in-One Dual Action DA Random Orbital Polisher Kit
Our final product is the Presa Turbine All-in-One Dual Action DA Random Orbital Polisher Kit. As an orbital buffer kit, this product also comes with several heads that will allow you to use it in various ways and on multiple surfaces. The kit includes a soft pad for delicate buffing, a medium pad for intermediate, and a hard pad for tough buffing jobs. Presa Turbine also included a microfiber cloth, a wash mitt, and a carrying bag for the device. When it comes to orbital action, the device is random and it can range, via its variable settings, OPMs of 1500 to 6800.
When it comes to control scheme, this unit has two handles for your hands. One is top-mounted for stabilization and the other is side-mounted for precision control. The entire unit only weights a little over four pounds, so you shouldn’t get too tired using it for extended periods. Presa also included a 16 foot power cord that is also fairly durable. This long power cord is a great addition and it adds significant range to your buffing job.
All of the devices that we’ve featured here in this guide will provide some excellent polishing, buffing, and waxing solutions for your vehicle. Some are great for additional purposes like sanding wood and smoothing out concrete and marble. In our opinion, out of all of our selections, the most premium, and overall best product is the Makita 9227C 7-Inch Hook and Loop Electronic Polisher/Sander. This is because of its excellent variable speed settings as well as the inclusion of a sanding function. This device is easy to use comfortably, has a soft start so that you don’t damage the surface, and is also very powerful when needed.
When it comes to the best bang for your buck, on the other hand, nothing on this list beats the Ryobi RB61G Green 6″ Orbital Buffer. It’s cheaper, has a great orbital speed, and is very easy to use with just one hand. This device is designed with only the simple buffing and polishing of your car in mind, which makes it the perfect device for someone who doesn’t need to think about other applications. Its one drawback , itsis its lack of cabling, which is easily countered with an inexpensive extension cord.
These are two great devices, but the other five options are exceptional as well, so if these don’t quite work for you, try out the others as they will bring satisfaction in all of your buffing and polishing jobs. Most will easily get the job done with ease and quality.