Best Car Buffer – Bonus: 30+ car buffing tips for the perfect shine

When you see a fresh, clean car with the showroom luster dive by you can't help but stare. How much did that cost? You wonder. Believe it or not, that glow can be achieved at home, and it can be relatively inexpensive. Read our reviews, and find the best car buffer and the best car polisher -- so your car will be the one causing all the stares and people will stop you in your tracks and ask who does your auto-detailing.

Our Top Pick of Car Buffers/Polishers


Top Pick
DEWALT DWP849X 7-Inch/9-Inch Variable Speed Car Polisher with Soft Start

Best Car Buffer Reviews

DEWALT DWP849X 7-Inch/9-Inch Variable Speed Car Polisher with Soft Start


This baby took the top prize in our list as the best car polisher buffer. It comes equipped with a variable 12-amp motor that offers variable speeds. The Dewalt car buffer will also double as an all-purpose finisher for concrete and metal surfaces.

One of the best features of this buffer is that it comes equipped with an electronic module that makes sure it will maintain the proper speed and RPMs even while under load. This is important because fluctuations in RPMs can cause issues with the finish.

This buffer for car or boat also comes with a technology that Dewalt calls soft-start. The primary benefit is that this feature will ramp up the speed to your selected RPM rather than jump straight to it. This can really help you control the car buffer by keeping a better grip and allowing you to hold it in place. Some polishers will just straight to the set speed, and if you are not 100% ready, you could slip, and it could travel somewhere you don't want it to go.

This car buffer polisher hits the high end of the price category for the car buffers we examined. It comes in at just over $175. For the price, you also get a bale handle that sits in three different positions, giving you precise control of the car polisher at all times.

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Finally, out of over 350 customer reviews, we couldn't really find any significant deal breaking concerns. As with all products, some customers liked features while others didn’t. It’s hard to please everyone, all the time -- but it did a pretty good job.

Why It Made The List: It is loaded with features and speeds. It's a bit more expensive than others but well worth it.

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Black & Decker WP900 6-Inch Random Orbit Waxer/Polisher


The Black and Decker car buffer starts off the list because it is a very reasonable price. At just over $25 during the time of this review, it's hard to find another high-quality buffer for the price. Add the fact that we had to search to find any negative comments on the Bland & Decker buffer and you've got a top product.

This car buffer polisher comes with random orbit to help prevent swirl marks. It also has a long 10-foot cord so even those without a long extension cord can still use it. The two-handle comfort design makes this car buffer polisher easy to hold the entire time you’re buffing your car. This is one of the top-rated car polishers for the weekend detailer.

Why It Made The List: This is a budget polisher that will still work as well as some of the more expensive models.

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Carrand 94001AS AutoSpa 10" Orbital Professional 120 Volt Automotive Polisher


The Carrand car buffer polisher would make a fantastic addition to any home detail collection. At a massive 10 inches, this orbital buffer will make buffing and polishing your car a breeze. It comes with a microfiber pad, a polish applicator pad, and foam wax. The 120v motor will apply a steady stream of electricity to this polisher so you can be confident that you will maintain the desired RPMs.

Users rave that this product gets the job done. And not only does it do its job, but it also does it quietly. Despite the 120v motor, this car buffer is exceptionally quiet. This was an extremely high rated car polisher that comes at a very affordable price.

Why It Made The List: The buffing disc is almost a foot wide. The size makes polishing your car a breeze.

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


This deluxe car polisher buffer from WEN is a fantastic buy. It comes in at just over $40, and with the extra bonnets, you’ll have this for quite some time before needing to purchase more. It has a 10-inch orbital base that operates at 3200 orbits per minute. The 120v motor is just right for this multi-purpose car buffer. The manufacturer states that this car polisher doubles as a buffer for countertops and banisters. It also has a convenient case for clean storage.

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Why It Made The List: It comes with a nice storage case and some extra bonnets.

Goplus® 10" Car Polisher Random Orbital Detailing Waxer Buffer Boat Truck Professional


The Goplus random orbital car polisher buffer is the best bang-for-your-buck car buffer you can get, while still maintaining quality. It comes in at less than $30 at the time of this review which is less than any of the other car buffers on our list. Just because it costs less than the others, does not mean it lacks in quality. This will be the perfect car wax buffer for someone who wants to have the showroom luster but doesn't want to spend a lot of time or money. It will certainly pay for itself after one use when compared to a professional wax job.

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This is a fantastic first buy for someone looking to get into home detailing but not spend a small fortune.

Why It Made The List: It is the best bang for your buck among our list of polishers.

XtremepowerUS 18v portable Orbital Cordless Buffer polisher


The best feature about this orbital car buffer from XtremepowerUS is that it is cordless. Most cordless car polishers run well over $100, yet this little guy costs just under half that price at about $40. Most users said they expected that this unit was going to suck, but were pleasantly surprised when it was actually pretty good. No wires for you to trip on, get tangled or scratch the newly polished paint. That makes this a great product to buy when searching for a buffer for the car. Users report getting a good use-time out of the battery as well, so that’s a good thing.

Why It Made The List: It's cordless. Need we say more?

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What are the different types of buffers?


This question can be broken down into several parts based on how much you know about car buffers and car polishers. First of all, there are 3 main types of buffers.


  • Manual Car Buffers
  • Pneumatic Car Buffers
  • Electric Car Buffers

    Manual car buffers are merely a handheld pad and/or cloth (usually microfiber) that you use to buff and wax your car using your own muscle power and elbow grease. No moving parts and they are about as basic as it gets. They will get the job done, but you're going to spend a lot of time doing it.

    Pneumatic car buffers are mechanical in nature, so they have moving parts, i.e., a spinning disc to attach a pad. Pneumatic buffers are similar to electric buffer machines in nearly all ways, except for the force that drives them. These buffers use air power, typically from an electric or gas powered generator.

    Electric car buffers are just like pneumatic buffers, except they use electricity as a source of power. Typically they are plugged into an outlet and run at 120v. Some electric car buffers are battery operated. These tend to be a double edge sword. On the one hand, you have the freedom and mobility to move around your car while polishing it, without tangling cords or dragging a cable across your excellent new wax job. On the other hand, the battery power might not last very long causing you to have to recharge in the middle of your auto detail. The battery will slowly discharge and could also create a loss of RPMs in the car buffer.

    With pneumatic and electric car buffers, you typically have two types of subcategories.
  • Orbital Car Buffer
  • Random Orbit Car Buffer

    Each has a rotating disc in which you would attach your wool or microfiber waxing or polishing pads. The difference is that an orbital car polisher will spin the disc in the same direction around a central pivot point. A random orbit car polisher will have a spinning disc, similar to an orbital polisher, but the disc is usually slightly off center or is designed to vibrate while spinning.

    The main benefit of a random orbit car polisher is that they are designed to eliminate swirl that is sometimes left behind when using a straight orbital polisher.

How to use your Car Buffer


There are many techniques for using your car buffing machine and what works for some might not work for others. Here are a few simple steps you can follow if you are new to using a car buffer or are just looking to refine your technique.


  1. Clean your baby.

    This may seem obvious, but we should mention it anyway -- wash your car. You need to start with a clean slate. This will help you identify areas that may require more work when using your car buffer. The most important thing this step accomplishes is removing potential abrasives. You may not see fine particles of dust or dirt, but when you power up the car buffer and run it for a few minutes, those particles could create some nasty scratches.
  2. Locate your “test” area.

    This is usually a small, nondescript location of your car, where if you happen to make a mistake, won’t be the first thing people see. Maybe somewhere toward the rear of the vehicle and usually less than a 2x2-foot area. You should end up working in 2x2-foot areas throughout the process anyway.
  3. Use a compound when necessary.

    When your paint is dull or damaged (including scratches), you might consider using a rubbing compound or polishing compound with a suitable car buffer. The mixture actually removes some of the clear coat allowing even coloring and providing a smooth layer.
  4. Apply wax to your car.

    Some waxes have different instructions, so always refer to your specific brand of wax when looking at how much to apply. As a good rule of thumb, you should be working in your 2x2-foot area and should only use a tad over one square inch of wax. Put it on your car and using a soft foam applicator pad or microfiber cloth, spread it by using small circular motions. Make sure your circles overlap and evenly spread the wax in the section you are working on.
  5. Get your car buffer, and get to work.

    You can use it to help evenly spread the wax. Apply more if necessary. Use slight pressure and polish your car until it gleams. During this phase, you are focusing on imperfections that exist. Use your buffer to smooth them out.
  6. Grab your beverage of choice and hang out for a few minutes.

    After you’ve used the best car polisher buffer and smoothed out all the imperfections, you will want to let the wax sit for a few minutes. Always refer to the specific wax you are using for how long to wait. After a few minutes, you can run your finger over a section and see if it smears. If it does -- it's not done yet. You ready to complete the polishing only when it’s clear.
  7. Wipe your car down and admire your work.

    You’re almost done. All you need to do now is wipe down your car and admire your work. Using a microfiber cloth or gentle polishing pad on the buffer, wipe down everywhere you just worked. Take your shiny new car out for a drive and watch as people stare. You just buffed your own car and saved a bunch of money doing it yourself.
Best Car Buffer Polisher

After cleaning your car, it is best to use your buffer indoors so the weather doesn't catch you by surprise.

30+ Tips for using your Buffer


  1. Do a spot test.

    Pick a small, nondescript area to test the process and your technique. It will be easier to cover up if you make an error. You will also not need to worry about everyone noticing a colossal mess-up right on your hood.
  1. Work in smaller areas at a time.

    Focus on this area before moving on. It is a lot easier to do a fantastic job if you are working on 2x2 foot areas at a time, instead of your whole car at once.
  2. Always make sure your car buffer pad is level with your car’s surface.

    Tilting the pad can cause more pressure along the outer rim of the pad. This will create an uneven wax or polish job at best and could cause significant harm to your paint job.
  3. Use your car buffer in decent lighting so you will better see the results.

    Trying to use your car buffing machine in a dark or dimly lit garage can cause you to miss spots, or falsely see blemishes. You might press too hard or spend too much time in one area producing undesired results.
  4. Always avoid buffing in the direct sunlight.

    For similar reasons as not using your car buffer in the dark, too much light can cause similar undesired results. Direct sunlight will also cause the car to get hot. And you should...
  5. Avoid buffing your car when it’s surface is hot.

    A hot surface can cause the wax or polish to dry out and/or evaporate more quickly, leaving your buffer pad empty. You can do damage to your car’s beautiful glow by buffing with a dry pad.
  6. Always avoid buffing dry.

    If the polish starts to go clear or is too thin, add more polish to the car polisher buffer pad.
  7. Often pause and check your work.

    It is easy to get into a rhythm when using your car buffing machine. This can be a good thing, as you are most likely having fun and will finish faster, but you might be doing something wrong. It might be something that ends up costing thousands to repair. Just take your time.
  8. Keep moving when using your car buffer.

    You can cause some severe damage to your paint if you stay in one spot too long. This is similar to using your car buffer machine at an angle. You can buff right through the clear coat, doing harm to your car.
  9. Try always to keep your buffing pads clear from sharp edges or your trim.

    For obvious reasons, sharp edges can cut your pad. Car buffer polisher pads can be used over and over again so don't make yourself have to buy a new one. The grit in the polish can also do harm to your trim.
  10. Use caution when using the car buffer near things that can snag.

    Examples include; windshield wipers, emblems, antennas, etc. Outstanding buffers will rotate pretty fast. This can cause you to rip these things right off your car. 
  11. You also want to be cautious around your headlights.

    Use a particular cleaning product called a headlight restoration kit, and not your car buffer.
  12. Steer clear of rubberized side moldings.

    These can easily get burned or stained. If you do burn or stain your side moldings, you can try to clean them up, but you may just have to replace them.
  13. Use painters tape to tape trim.

    Polish can accumulate in the crevices and cracks, or you could stain the trim. You might be able to wash out some of the stains, but it’s called a stain for a reason. You can also clean the cracks around your trim, but that’s a step that can easily be avoided.
  14. Double back on your previous work.

    If you were working right to the left, switch it up and go back over it left to right. Same goes from top to bottom.
  15. Do your best to avoid rotating the buffing machine, especially avoid turning it upside down.

    Rotating the machine can cause an uneven distribution of the pad on the car. Running the machine upside down isn't safe and can have some unintended consequences.
  16. Always use the correct RPMs when using a car buffing machine.

    Take note of the different settings at the various stages of the process. You will often need to adjust the speed at different stages so remind yourself to check the operation and RPMs.
  17. Make sure you don't move your buffing machine too fast over the paint.

    You’ll end up skipping or missing some sections of your car leaving an uneven luster, or buildup of polish.
  18. Use the correct amount of polish.

    Too much can cause the car polisher buffer pad to become overly abrasive possibly damaging your car’s clear coat.
  19. Apply polish to the car's surface first, then carefully place the car buffer machine on that spot.

    You may unintentionally run the car buffing machine before you have firm contact with the car. This can cause the polish the splatter on you or your vehicle.
  20. Start with fine grit and work your way up to more coarse grit if necessary.

    Like seasoning a steak, you can always add more, but it’s challenging, if not impossible, to remove it. Same with buffering your car. You can still increase the grit level to help clean up blemishes, but if you do too much, it will be difficult/impossible to remove or fix.
  21. Avoid mixing your car polisher pads.

    Each pad should be used with only one specific compound. Pads for the best car buffers don’t tend to cost that much. Don’t be shy when ordering replacements or additional pads.
  22. Take note of your car’s paint conditions.

    Only use the proper polish, pads and speed for the specific conditions. Some paint conditions require heavier compounds, and some situations need lighter compounds.
  23. Always keep the pad on your paint when the car buffer machine is on.

    Lifting the buffer pad from the surface of your car can cause splatter, and even worse, uneven polish distribution.
  24. For heavily oxidized paint, use a wool pad.

    Wool will typically cut faster than foam and will help with oxidized paint.
  25. Never let your car polisher pads touch the ground.

    They can pick up debris such as rocks or dirt. These can cause severe damage to your vehicle if you don't catch it in time.
  26. Know when to consult a professional.

    If a scratch extends below your clear coat, you might want a second opinion on your technique. Even the best car buffer might not be able to fix/treat deep scratches. You might end up wasting time or doing more damage to your car when trying too hard to repair a deep scratch.
  27. Apply the correct amount of pressure.

    When trying to remove defects, apply medium amounts of pressure. Using too much pressure will cause the buffer to cut faster and will cause the pad to generate more heat.
  28. Purchase a Spur and use it to clean your car buffer pads.

    Using a screwdriver or other random tools can damage the pad and leave abrasives on it, which can damage your car’s paint.
  29. Be mindful of the electric cord.

    Keep it over your shoulder, so it doesn't scratch the paint you just buffed, and so you don't trip on it.
  30. Knot your cord.

    You should consider using a small knot at the intersection of your extension cord and car buffer polisher machine, so it doesn't come unplugged while you’re moving around.
  31. When reaching higher up on your car, always use appropriate step stools.

    While it may be cheaper to use something around your garage (like a five-gallon bucket), they are not approved for standing on and can easily slip or give way.
  32. Wash your car often.

    You can do an excellent service to your car, and yourself, by washing it often and using proper care methods. This will make buffing and polishing your vehicle more natural because you won't need to spend as much time on it and hopefully you won't need to remove large scratches.

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How we selected the best car buffer


In our search to find the premier car buffer, we came across some awesome random orbital polishers and buffers. We looked at everything from price and available accessories to RPMs and customer thoughts and concerns. We selected the top five buffers that excelled in all areas that we examined. We also picked one particular car buffing machine that outshines the competition, although it’s price was also out of the others league as well.

Car Polishers/Buffers -
Complete Comparison Chart


Best
DEWALT DWP849X 7-Inch/9-Inch Variable Speed Car Polisher with Soft Start
Better
Black & Decker WP900 6-Inch Random Orbit Waxer/Polisher
Good
Carrand 94001AS AutoSpa 10" Orbital Professional 120 Volt Automotive Polisher
WEN 10PMC 10-Inch Waxer/Polisher in Case with Extra Bonnets
XtremepowerUS 18v portable Orbital Cordless Buffer polisher
Goplus® 10" Car Polisher Random Orbital Detailing Waxer Buffer Boat Truck Professional

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