Car buffers, also known as car polishers, are widely used among professionals as well as amateur detailers. They are used to remove scratches from car paint and bright metals and lift them to the next level regarding shine and color depth.
When used correctly, car buffers or car polishers do a much better job in just a fraction of time and effort it would take to hand polish. It’s like polishing on steroids…
They also serve a double purpose as power waxers: slap on a different kind of foam pad and the intense manual labor of waxing your car by hand is greatly reduced while getting even better results!
Even sanding pads are available for heavy paint correction. Can’t get more versatile than that, can you?
More on polishing in “How To Polish Your Car“.
Check out the car buffers we recommend:
Best Professional Car Buffer
Best For Hard-To-Reach Spots
Best Cordless Medium Size Car Buffer
Best Mini Car Buffer
What’s the difference between car buffers, car polishers and power waxers?
In the old days polishing was called “buffing”, but it’s actually the same thing. It refers to making a (car) surface shinier and more reflective and making it smoother by rubbing the surface with a buffing pad or polishing pad coated with a polishing liquid.
Often though, polishing refers to a more aggressive abrasive action with the aim to remove scratches. Buffing on the other hand is generally used to describe the final stage of polishing by adding a very delicate high gloss.
Once the surface is polished to the desired shine, it can be waxed with the same car buffer or car polisher, using a very fine waxing pad coated with wax. This wax coating will form a protective layer over the surface by sealing it from the elements. It also smoothens the surface even more, adding extra shine and repelling rain and dirt. This is often referred to as “power waxing”.
Though both buffing, polishing and waxing is done by the same power tool, it is called a car buffer, a car polisher or a power waxer depending on the task it is performing.
Car buffers, car polishers or car power waxers come in all shapes, sizes and prices, with different accessories for different applications. The main difference is the way they operate mechanically. There are four main categories of polishing machines: rotational or rotary, random orbital (RO), dual action (DA) and Forced Rotation or Gear Driven. Though they look the same, they differ mechanically. Each type has its following and benefits.
Different Types of Car Buffers
Rotational or Rotary Car Buffers
Rotational car buffers or car polishers have been around for ages and are still very popular, especially with professionals. Basically they rotate at fast speed, that’s it. They are the fastest cutting machines out there. Which is great, if you know what you’re doing.
Rotary car polishers are also great for polishing jobs in tight corners or along edges, especially with polishing pads in smaller diameters. They are very stable with very little vibration. The downside is that beginners are much more likely to “burn” or rub through paint or worn chrome than with the other two car polisher types. You really need to keep the buffing pad moist and apply only light pressure while constantly moving the pad around the application area.
Random Orbital (RO) Car Buffers
Random orbital car polishers perform a forced orbital motion, without a forced rotational action. They rely on orbital imperfection to rotate the pad. The resulting gentle rotational motions are extremely safe for beginners but are also loved by pros because they create a random buffing pattern.
Dual Action (DA) Car Buffers
These car polishers rotate in a circular motion, but in the meantime they also perform a sideways motion, called “throw”. The larger the throw, the more aggressive the polishing action.
The result is a much more complex buffing pattern which makes swirl marks much less visible to the eye, especially on large areas. They also greatly reduce the risk of rubbing or burning through paint or chrome.
Forced Rotation or Gear Driven Car Buffers
These car buffers are intended for pros and experienced DIY’ers. Simply put, they are dual action buffers with a forced rotation, directly driven by cogs. Because they are directly gear-driven, they do not slow down no matter how much pressure is applied. They can be very aggressive and burn through your paint in a heartbeat if you don’t know what you’re doing. Not for beginners or the faint-hearted.
However, in the right hands they are very capable tools. They are the go-to polishing tools for many professional detailers.
Things To Consider When You Buy a Car Buffer
Avoid Dedicated Car Buffing Pads
Don’t buy a car polisher that only accepts dedicated buffing pads or polishing bonnets. You want to be able to choose products and pads that work best for you.
There are a lot of different pads from different brands out there. They have different properties depending on the specific compound, polishing agent or wax you want to apply. Pads, polishes and waxes are a major determining factor for the end result.
You should never accept to be limited to one single brand range, because if the results aren’t what you expected, you’re stuck. You should be able to grow and experiment.
Why You Shouldn’t Buy a Full-Size Battery Powered Car Buffer
We have to admit that battery powered car polishers are sexy toys for (big) boys and you have the freedom of moving around without cable. The downside of full-size quality ones however, is that they are much more expensive and the advantage of buffing cordless is outbalanced (literally) by the added weight of the battery pack.
Full-size battery-powered car buffers are larger and clumsier than corded ones. Their bulgy battery pack sticks out the rear end like a hammer. This can scratch or even dent your car paint if you’re not careful.
A serious car polishing job will take several hours or even much longer, while even the largest battery packs only last 30-60min if you work continuously. Furthermore, high capacity batteries, or even a charger are not included with most quality cordless buffers. So unless you already have several batteries lying around from the same brand, buying extra battery packs may double the initial purchase price.
It should also be taken in account that a car polisher is only used occasionally. Chances are that when you want to use it, the batteries will first have to be charged. A corded buffer is always ready when you need it. Its batteries don’t deteriorate over time either.
In our experience, the only cordless car polishers that make sense are the small to medium size battery powered polishers, meant to polish in areas where the big corded ones can’t go. These won’t run out of battery power because they won’t be used for hours in a row.
Full size battery powered car buffers? No thanks, we’ll put that power cord over our shoulder!
You should keep in mind that a polishing job can take hours to complete, sometimes even days. That’s why you should consider the buffer’s weight too. A pound extra doesn’t seem much, but if you have to perform the same movements for hours in a row, you’ll come to appreciate lightness. Especially if you are not used to doing manual labor or if you have health issues or physical limitations, heavy power tools may be an issue.
Depending on what you want to accomplish, the buffer’s throw can be important. Throw is the distance the pad swings out of the center. The more throw, the more aggressive the rubbing action will be. Buffers with a large throw will have more vibration and cover a larger area but will be harder to control close to edges or protrusions. Short throw buffers are more precise and more controllable with less vibration. They are the safest option for beginners.
Short throw polishers typically have a throw of 8-12mm while long throw polishers have a throw of 15mm or more. Most common are the 8mm,15mm and 21mm throw car buffers. A 15mm throw is generally considered a good compromise.
Buy Wise or Buy Twice
Yes, we know there is a difference of about $40 between the cheapest car buffer you can find and the budget buy we recommend. And there are good reasons for that.
We draw the line in our selection when it comes to reliability, power, functionality, ergonomy and accessory availability. If all those aspects aren’t balanced, your purchase will end in a dark clauset gathering dust anyway. Your hard earned money will be completely wasted.
Instead of filling that clauset with cheap disappointments and paperweights, spend just a little more and enjoy a car polisher that does what you expect it to and will enjoy using!
Budget car buffers work just fine for occasional use. On the other hand, if you plan to use your car buffer intensively and/or on multiple cars, it pays to invest in a premium buffer. If you don’t, over time you’ll end up paying more to replace cheap ones that don’t last long.
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” (Benjamin Franklin)
How we did our review
For this test we’ve tried a lot of different car buffers. We tried them on a recently clayed delicate black metallic car. We also tried them on our older 4×4 with weathered paint. For each different type of car buffer, we only selected one winner. After all, who wants second-best?
For our review we also dove deep into the manufacturer specifications and looked at customer reviews to see what their experience was. We only recommend buffers that did an excellent job for us and the vast majority of other car enthusiasts. We’ve selected car polishers for different purposes, to make it easy for you to choose the right tool for your car, depending on what you intend to use it for.
Top 6 Best Car Buffers and Car Polishers
Rupes invented the first electric random orbital sander in 1968 that over time evolved in a buffer for the car detailing industry. These premier car polishers are the tool of choice for professional detailers across the globe.
When you unbox the Mille, the first thing that strikes you is its extra long power cord of nearly 30ft. That’s about 5 times the normal length! What’s not to love about that? Why doesn’t every power tool have a cord that long?
Next thing you notice is the solid build quality. It’s not made in China but in their own factory in Milan, Italy. They even design and produce their own electrical engines in-house.
This car buffer comes standard with two backing plates, a 5” and a 6” and accepts pads from 5” to 7”.
We tested the Rupes Mille on our old weathered 4×4 with the emphasis on paint correction, a task this type of buffer is renowned for. We used the Rupes blue Coarse 6” Coarse Cutting Foam Pad with Rupes Course Compound and then finished with Rupes Yellow Fine 6” Polishing Foam Pad and Rupes Fine Polishing Compound.
The pads have a high quality feel and they cling tenaciously to the backing plate. Their rounded edges form a protective bumper to prevent the backing plate from hitting the car coating. Both Coarse and Fine compounds have exceptionally long working times, which is awesome. They are easy to wipe off too.
Like all gear-driven buffers the Rupes Mille has a bit of a mind of its own and it takes getting used to if this is the first time you’ve worked with a forced-action polisher. Compared to its gear-driven competitors however, it’s the least juddery and easiest to control because of its relatively small throw of 5mm. The patented clockwise rotation makes it more willing to handle too. Like most gear-driven polishers, it is a little heavier than a standard DA or RO buffer. We did not feel this was an issue during our test though.
Ergonomically, this car buffer leaves nothing to be desired. It’s arguably the buffer with the least tiring handles. We like the large progressive trigger too, which makes it easy to start polishing at low speed without compound ending up everywhere.
Compared to a classic DA, this gear-driven tool definitely has a lot more bite when you need to remove deeper scratches. If you hold it slightly tilted, focused at the problem area, it removes blemishes without effort. That said, the Mille can be gentle too if you only apply light pressure and work at lower speeds with a soft pad and fine polishing compound.
Overall, we love this professional grade electric buffer because it is more capable than any competitors we’ve tried when it comes to serious paint correction. We wouldn’t recommend this powerhouse to a novice though.
Even the most demanding customers out there are enthused. We can however relate to reviewers stating that this buffer is priced at the high end. But, what you pay is what you get, the saying goes…
- Solid build quality
- Very powerful, ideal for serious paint correction
- Extra long cable greatly improves mobility
- Clockwise rotation and 5mm throw for more stable handling
- Progressive trigger for more control
- 2 backing plates included
- Except for 2 backing plates, there are no accessories included
- Premium price (but worth every penny)
We chose Adam’s Swirl Killer for our best overall because it is nicely balanced in every way. It’s an affordable quality tool for semi-professional and even light professional use.
In our test we liked the way it handled. Although it has a respectable 15mm throw combined with a powerful motor, it doesn’t take a lot of force to control because of its nice ergonomics. In front it has a professional feeling rubber long-nose grip instead of a side grip or D-handle. The rear grip and trigger fit comfortably in your hand reducing muscle fatigue. The trigger can be locked for continuous use. There’s the classic electronic speed control wheel on top of the handle. We also loved the freedom the 25 foot power cord gives!
This car polisher, or buffer if you like, performed brilliantly for both correcting and buffing our black car paint. We felt the most comfortable at speed setting 4-5, depending. The buffing action was powerful but controllable. We never had the feeling we were at risk of damaging our paint, which is nice. The 15mm throw is an excellent compromise between a precise short-throw or rotational buffer and a shaky 21mm long-throw polisher. In our opinion it combines the best of both worlds.
Customers say that this is a great machine at a good price. Some even claim that it’s as good as much more expensive brands, and that it’s built to last a lifetime. They also state that it has less vibration than most competitors. People are surprised about how easy it is to work with too.
A few people complain that it stalls or lacks power when pressure is applied. Stalling under pressure is inherent to this type of buffer, though. If you want a polisher that doesn’t stall, buy a Rupes Mille instead, which is a forced action buffer (hence the name).
If you’re looking for a high quality do-it-all at half the price of European A-brands, look no further: Adam’s has got you covered!
- Professional performance for an affordable budget
- Very safe on paint, even for newbies
- Ergonomic long nose grip and trigger handle
- Double / dual action random orbital car polisher (sideways and circular motion) for safe paint correction
- Slow start, variable speed control
- Fits 5.5” up to 6.5” pads, controllable 15mm throw
- No “D” or side handle
- Buffing pads and products not included
- Type: Dual Action, Random Orbital
- Backing Plate: 5”
- Pad size: 5” up to 6”
- Included Accessories: 1x 120ML Coarse Compound,1x 120ML Fine Compound, 1x Wash dish brush, 1x Large size kit, 1x Apron, 1×5″ backing plate, 1x Handle, 2x Carbon brush, 2x Wrench, 1x D type handle, 2x Hex screw, 1x Manual, 3x 5″6″ Sponge Pad, 1x 5″6″ Wool Pad, 1x Yellow Glove, 2x Towel,12×5″ Sanding Discs Sandpaper,12×6″ Sanding Discs Sandpaper
- Weight: 8 lbs
- Size: 16.5”x 5”x 5.5”
- Throw: 15 mm
- Cable Length: 72”
The SPTA double action car buffer does what it’s supposed to without hurting your wallet. It comes with a “D”-Handle & side handle, a packing bag, 5″ backing plate, compound and polish, 6 foam pads, 2 wool pads, 24 sanding discs, 2 towels and a wash mitt. It’s a complete car polishing set that can also be used for waxing or to polish bright metals.
Right off the bat, you can see and feel that this is not a $500 buffer when you unbox it. That’s the truth. However, compared to the other polishers we’ve tried in this price range, it’s the best bang for your buck for sure! There’s a lot of accessories included and we like the three-way handle setup. You can choose between the classic side handle or D-handle or just use the long-nose grip. We like the long-nose grip best, but that’s a matter of taste. It is remarkably quiet at all 6 speeds, it feels stable and is easy to handle.
For our test we used the accessory pads and polishes that came with it. They are OK and do a decent job but we would highly recommend upgrading to Adam’s or Rupes pads and their polishes when the time comes to replace them. It will really lift your experience along with your results to a whole new level. We really like the way this powerful budget car buffer performs but we feel the free accessories don’t allow it to perform like it would with quality pads and fluids.
Reviews show that the vast majority of customers would recommend this buffer to their friends and family. They like the fact that it is easy and safe to handle with very little vibration and that it comes with lots of extras. Some rightfully feel the included accessories are a bit of a let-down but again, they are OK if you take the price in account. The buffer works great and that’s what it’s all about. The accessories are replaceable anyway.
Nice bargain, you won’t be disappointed!
- Double / dual action car polisher (sideways and circular motion) at a budget price
- Safe to work with, even for beginners
- Ergonomic “nose grip” and trigger handle with hold button to prevent muscle fatigue
- 6 step speed control
- Attachable D-handle and side handle included
- 5” backing plates with polishing pads, sanding discs, a bag and lots of accessories included
- Comes with compound and polish
- The extras are entry level quality
- Great for occasional use, not intended for professional use
- Type: Rotational
- Backing Plate: 1” / 2” / 3”
- Pad size: 1” up to 4”
- Included Accessories: 18pcs mixed polishing and wool polishing pads, 3pcs mixed size polishing backing pads, 3pc extension shaft
- Weight: 2.1kg / 4,6 lbs
- Size: 11.41” x 3.14”
- Throw: 0mm
- Cable Length: 72”
Full-size car buffers do a great job at polishing large areas but they can’t reach tight spots or get near handles, mirrors, license plates,… That’s where this lightweight comes in: with its three extension shafts and three backing plate sizes, there won’t be many spots you can’t reach. This medium-size rotary buffer comes loaded with different sizes and grades of foam and microfiber pads from super soft to coarse. This means you can adapt this power tool to the situation at hand.
In our test, what we liked most about this rotary buffer, is that it is very stable and controllable in even the tightest spots. Because it has no orbital deviation, you can really get up close to edges, around door handles and license plates. We easily removed minor swirl marks and light superficial scratches around the door handles of a black metallic car using the included blue foam pad with Sonax Perfect Finish. But, if needed, it can effortlessly correct deep scratches too using a different pad and compound. We dialed the six-speed wheel switch to position 4 for best control and to stay clear of the handle, we mounted the longest extension bar. You can also combine two or three bars to get an even longer reach, by the way. It worked great! It’s the versatility that is so unique to this product.
Some negative customer reviews claim that this car buffer can ruin your car paint, and that’s absolutely true if you don’t know what you’re doing. You need to take care not to put too much pressure for too long in one spot so your car paint doesn’t overheat. You should also not use the polisher at the highest speed settings if you don’t have to, because it is a surprisingly powerful machine that won’t stall. For cooling purposes it is important to keep the pad sufficiently lubricated with polish or compound fluid too and to never work in full sunlight. If you keep these simple tips in mind and use common sense, you’ll be just fine!
Other customers remark that this device is falsely advertised as a Random Orbital polisher, which we can confirm: It is NOT a RO polisher, It is a rotary buffer only. There are also customers who don’t like the sliding on/off “angle grinder type” switch, but this didn’t bother us at all. We just started at the lowest setting and dialed up until we reached the desired speed. Almost 9 out of 10 reviews were very positive about this product, that’s not a bad score in our book…
- Won’t break the bank
- Deceivingly powerful
- Very versatile: 1″, 2″ and 3″ backing plates with pads included
- Variable speed control
- 75mm, 100mm and 140mm extension shafts included
- 21 accessories included
- Not intended for professional use
- You’ll still need a full-size buffer for large areas
- Type: Rotary
- Backing Plate: 3”
- Pad size: 3”
- Included Accessories: 1x 2.0Ah Lithium-Ion Battery, 1x Fast Charger, 1x Carrying Bag, 1x 3” Replaceable Paste Tray, 1x 3” Wool Buffer Pad, 1x 3” Microfiber Polishing Pad, 1x 3” Flat Foam Pad, 1x 3” Wave Foam Pad.
- Weight: 1.7 lbs
- Size: 10” x 3” x 2”
- Throw: 0 mm
- Cable Length: Cordless
This great medium-sized lightweight cordless sidekick isn’t meant to polish an entire car. However, it sure does a great job at delicately polishing smaller surfaces where your full size car buffer can’t reach or where you might struggle with a power cord.
Its very light weight (1.7lbs), maneuverable size and medium size 3″ polishing pads make it the ideal tool to buff A-pillars, bumpers, headlights, windshield surrounds, bodywork curves, door frames… without having to worry about the power cord scratching your paint.
KIMO’s 3″ Cordless Car Polisher comes fully packed in a zip bag which holds a 2.0Ah Li-Ion battery pack and fast charger. A 3″ replaceable paste tray, a microfiber polishing pad, a woolen buffer pad, a flat foam pad and a wave foam pad are also included. The foam pads that come with the buffer are OK but they don’t come close to Griot’s Garage foam pads which lift this buffer’s performance to the next level. They last much longer too, which is a big bonus.
In our test, we were particularly charmed by this mid-size buffer’s cordless agility and its exceptional lightness. You shouldn’t buy it for heavy paint correction, but it’s great to remove swirl marks and light surface marring in tight places your big buffer can’t reach. We recommend the 3” buffer over the bigger 4” because it’s the ideal pad size to get an even finish on door sills, headlights, bumpers and A, B,C pillars. A 4” pad is often too large for those areas. Equipped with the smaller 3” pad, you’ll also get longer battery life and a stronger polishing action.
For our test car’s door sills, this compact tool worked wonders! We got a uniform buff using a Griot’s Garage Finishing Pad with Sonax Perfect Finish after our mini buffer had done the minute detailing work first. We just let it do its work but didn’t force it. By applying light pressure we got the best results.
We used it at full power the entire time and it only got luke-warm. Its lightness and low maximum RPM (3000) make it a very safe polisher to use. It has ample battery juice to complete these light tasks too. It’s not the type of car buffer you will use for hours in a row anyway. This battery-powered medium-size buffer is a nice addition to any serious detailer’s arsenal and won’t disappoint.
Customers who bought the Kimo cordless buffer confirm that it works miracles on headlights and small polishing jobs. They love its lightness and that it can even be used single-handed without muscle fatigue. There are some negative comments too about it not being powerful enough and that it grinds to a halt under pressure. Guess it’s like blaming a bicycle for not having four wheels, or an engine… This tool isn’t a heavy lifter, that’s not what it’s designed for, but in our experience it works just fine to buff out light swirl marks and minor blemishes and get an even finish.
Try it for yourself, you’ll love it!
- Incredible deal
- Accessories and zip bag included
- Only one battery
- Not for professional use
- Type: Dual Action and Rotational
- Backing Plate: 1” / 2”
- Pad size: 1” / 2”
- Included Accessories: 2 batteries + charger, 42 polishing pads, protective case, 2 axle extensions, 1”+ 2” backing plates, DA adapter, small wrench and pin, protective cover
- Weight: 0.88 lbs
- Size: 11.6” x 2.4”
- Throw: 4.5 mm throw (9 mm orbit)
- Cable Length: Cordless
This battery powered little fella is in a league of its own when it comes to polishing hard-to-reach spots without breaking the bank. The double-action head can easily be removed to make it a rotary tool. It is ideal for polishing metal car trim, grilles, wheels, around car logos and lettering, etc…
You can easily adjust its speed electronically with the +/- pushbuttons. This buffer will always start in the lowest speed setting when you turn it on, no matter what the last setting was. Then you can gradually increase the speed to the desired setting which is a cool safety feature: You can’t accidentally start at maximum speed and mess things up.
The SPTA Cordless Mini Car Polisher comes fully equipped with a 1” and a 2” backing plate and buffing pads. A soft case is also included. This little guy packs sufficient punch to handle the small and difficult-to-reach detailing areas it is intended to.
For our test we used this polisher to remove light scratches from our glossy dashboard trim. Because this trim is right next to delicate leather upholstery, only this kind of precision tool is suited to do the job. We used it without the DA adapter, as a rotary tool, to have maximum control and get as close to the leather as possible without touching it. We covered the surrounding edges with masking tape, just in case.
For starters we used the yellow 1” foam pad with Sonax Cutmax at speed 4 applying only light pressure to gently correct the most pronounced scratches. To get an even high-gloss finish we used the 2” red foam pad with Sonax Perfect Finish at speed 7, again with only light pressure. In very tight spots we used the 1” red foam pad, again with Sonax Perfect Finish. While polishing, we always kept the pads well nourished with polishing fluid to prevent heat buildup.
Because car interior finish is generally more delicate than exterior car paint, we always kept the pad in motion, no matter what. The reason people burn through their paint is because of friction heat accumulation. The paint (or plastic) gets too hot, softens and gets scorched in the blink of an eye. That’s why you should never keep polishing in the same spot for too long at a high speed setting and you should never apply too much pressure. Less is more, you can always go back and do another pass if needed.
After removing the polish residue by buffing the trim with a very delicate, super soft microfiber towel, we were amazed by the result with so little effort! We wouldn’t compare this agile tool with an electric toothbrush, but it feels equally nimble. It can’t get much easier than this. Man, what an awesome shine!! We can’t imagine the trim looking any better when new!
Customers give this little polisher a solid 4.5/5 out of nearly 600 reviews, which is huge! They like the fact that it is so affordable compared to A-brands and say that it works just as well. Even professional detailers say that this tool does what it promises. Its lightness and ease of use is also appreciated. Replacement batteries are hard to get, which is a weak point for some customers. SPTA says they are working to solve that issue though.
In the case of the The SPTA Cordless Mini Car Polisher, size does seem to matter. In the opposite way, that is…
- Great value
- Easy and safe to use
- Double action or rotary action
- Lightweight: 0.88 lbs
- Variable speed: 1000-6000 RPM / 9mm throw / slow start
- Comes with different sizes of backing pads and plenty of buffing pads
- 2x 12V Li Ion batteries and charger included
- Soft Case included
- Working time limited up to 1hr per battery (2 batt. incl.)
- No charging station, just a plug-in charger
- Replacement batteries are hard to come by
Comparison Table Of The 6 Best Car Buffers And Car Polishers
|Best Professional Car Buffer||Rupes Mille||Forced Action DA Polisher|
|Best Overall||Adam’s Polishes||Adam’s Swirl Killer|
|Best Budget||SPTA||5-Inch Dual Action Car Polisher Set|
|Best For Hard-To-Reach Spots||SPTA||Small + Medium Size Rotary Polisher Set|
|Best Cordless Medium Size Car Buffer||KIMO||KIMO 3" Cordless Car Polisher Set|
|Best Mini Car Buffer||SPTA||Cordless Mini Car Polisher Set|
If you’re in the market for a car polisher, all of the above selected buffers are great. You should first ask yourself what for and how much you’re gonna use it.
Adam’s Swirl Killer is our Best Overall full-size car buffer for good reasons: you get a quality buffer at less than half the price of its A-brand competitors and it performs just as well. Ergonomics are great and if you don’t use it on a daily basis, it will last for years to come.
If you only want to treat your beauty to a light buffing maybe once in a year to make the paint pop, and occasionally remove a scratch or scuff, the SPTA 5” Double Action Polisher will do just fine on a budget.
Want more versatility with 3 sizes of buffing pads and extension shafts to get in the tightest spots with ease? Consider the SPTA Small+Medium Rotary Polisher set. It’s the Swiss knife of car buffers.
If you have several cars to maintain or if you are an avid detailer we think Rupes Mille Forced Action DA Polisher will be the best match. This professional grade car buffer won’t disappoint. It’s a powerful gear-driven beast! Ask any professional detailer.
Smallest, but not least: The SPTA Mini Cordless Car Polisher Set can buff the smallest details like logos, striping, grills, chrome light surrounds, interior trim…It compliments any medium to full-size car polisher.
Is your full size car polisher too clumsy to swiftly buff A-pillars, bumpers, headlights, windshield surrounds, bodywork curves and door frames? Then do yourself a favor: get a KIMO 3″ cordless car polisher set to polish these areas with ease.
Want ‘em all? So do we 😉
In our experience these polishing products make the difference between average and professional buffing results.
These are the ones we like best:
For a step by step guide on car polishing, check: “How To Polish Your Car“
For a step by step guide on bright metal polishing, check: “How To Clean Chrome, Stainless Steel and Aluminum“.
Does polishing your car damage the paint?
No, not if you respect these simple guidelines:
- Only polish freshly cleaned, dust-free surfaces.
- Preferably clay exterior car surfaces after washing your car to remove stubborn contamination (optional)
- Don’t rush. Polish gently with a pristine pad at low speed with only light pressure and always use ample polishing fluid.
- Don’t use coarse pads and heavy compound unless absolutely necessary, car coating doesn’t grow back once removed. Gone=gone!
- Start with soft or medium pads with light or medium polish, use heavier stuff only when light pads and polishes don’t work.
- After each pass, wipe the surface clean with a clean, super soft microfiber towel to assess your progress.
- Know when to stop: leave some paint for the next time.
- For the highest gloss, finish with finishing polish (hence the name) and the softest pad.
- Wipe clean with a clean, super soft microfiber towel and admire your work!
How long does buffing a car last?
30 minutes up to 2 days or even much longer, depending on what you mean by buffing. 30 minutes might be enough to buff a small car after you’ve applied a simple wax coating. If you want to buff (correct / polish) old car paint to remove all scratches and blemishes in order to get concours-winning results, it could take several weeks easily, depending on the level of perfection you want to achieve.
Can I use a buffer as a polisher?
Absolutely! Actually, “buffer” and “polisher” are two words that mean the same, depending on who you ask (state, region, country, professional / amateur, age). While professional detailers call this tool a polisher, the general public often refers to it as a buffer.
“Buffing” a car became popular among car enthusiasts in the US around the middle of the twentieth century. Back then, people used a simple rotary power tool fitted with an attachment that was covered in a sheep hide cover called a “bonnet” to make their car paint shinier, or “buff” it, often after applying a wax coating.
Over time, this simple tool evolved into more sophisticated Random Orbit, Dual Action and Gear-Driven multi-tasking “polishers”, very often still called “buffers”. These modern polishers, or buffers if you will, perform many tasks using different accessory add-ons, pasts and liquids. The purpose has remained the same though: to make car coating, car paint or brightwork more reflective (shiny) by flattening it.
Over the past decades, the car polisher or car buffer has also increasingly gained popularity for its scratch removal and paint correction abilities.
How often should you buff your car?
Once or twice a year should do. If you frequently go to a (mechanical) car wash, you might have to buff your car much more frequently to keep it looking its best, because a car wash scratches and marrs your car paint, giving your car a dull and worn appearance. A vehicle that is used off-road will need more intensive paint care too, of course.
Don’t overdo it though, because every time you buff your car, a minute layer is removed from your car’s clear coat, especially on sharp edges. Real life testing has shown that, depending on the car type and brand, a clear coat should be able to withstand up to 70! polishes before you rub through and reach the color coat that lies underneath. That’s about 35 years of “normal” polishing!
Should you wax after polishing?
Waxing is not strictly necessary after you’ve polished your car. However, it is highly recommended to apply a protective coating (wax / sealant / polymer / ceramic / graphene) if you want to protect your car paint and help preserve that “new paint” look for as long as possible after polishing.
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