If you’re a Gearhead that just can’t get enough of cleaning and waxing your auto, you’ll know that the waxing part of it takes some elbow grease, and time. But can it be made easier without spending beaucoup bucks? I’ve reviewed seven of the best car buffers and polishers that could change your world (at least for that one small part).
Before you rush out and buy the first recommendation, think about what you’ll be using it for … are you intending on opening a shop? Or just buffing your car once a year? Are you looking to remove heavy swirl marks (and need something that can use a cutting compound), or just give your paintwork that little extra sparkle?
Table of Contents
- 7 Best Car Buffers and Polishers Reviewed 2018
- 1. DEWALT DWP849X Variable Speed Buffer
- 2. PORTER-CABLE 7424XP orbital Buffer
- 3. Torq TORQX Random Orbital Polisher Kit (9 items)
- 4. Griot's Garage 10813STDCRD Random Orbital Polisher
- 5. Makita 9237CX3 Variable Speed Polisher Kit
- 6. Meguiar's MT300 Dual Action Polisher
- 7. BLACK+DECKER WP900 Random Orbit Polisher
- It’s All About The Buff
Buying a car buffer or polisher machine is a smart move, but if you don’t know what to look out for, you could be wasting your money, or worse still, cause some damage to your paintwork, which could cost you thousands of dollars to put right.
Even putting that aside, have you given a consideration to the actual physicality of it all? Some car buffers are heavy with a capitalized H, this means that ten minutes of lugging one around your auto could be enough to make you want to stop using it, so ideally, you’re looking for something with a little less weight, but that doesn’t compromise on quality.
Is the grip interchangeable? Some models use a grip that’s located on the side of it, and certain users could find that awkward, so the buffer needs the ability to have the grip located on either side.
Is it a variable speed? Depending on the job, you’re going to want to slow it right down, especially if you’re new to all this, so a variable speed adjustment is crucial to getting the perfect finish.
You even need to consider what length of power cord comes with it … do you have an outlet close to the buffing area? And is the cord long enough so that you’re not having to trail it over the car?
Rotary or Dual Action? There are typically two types of car buffing machine, a rotary or dual action – the rotary is akin to a grinder – it literally just spins the polishing mop, whereas the dual action spins the polishing pad whilst moving in an orbital pattern (can’t visualize this? Think of the Earth spinning around, while traveling around the Sun).
7 Best Car Buffers and Polishers Reviewed 2018
1. DEWALT DWP849X Variable Speed Buffer
DeWalt have been making rugged tools and equipment for eons, what they don’t know about power tools isn’t worth knowing, so as you’d expect, their dual action polisher is a quality piece of equipment with some neat touches like the built-in wool ingestion shields (so stop the loose wool from clogging up the workings).
Added to that is the powerful 12 Amp motor and an all ball-bearing construction, along with precision cut all-steel gears and you’ll see that the DeWalt DWP849X is built tough, and is suitable for everything from home to professional use.
It has other neat touches as well – a rubberized gear case cover won’t mark the paintwork should you catch it (which is easily done), a soft start mechanism which helps to reduce polish ‘fling’ and it’s fitted with an electronic control module to hold a steady speed, regardless of load.
Speaking of speed control – the DeWalt DWP849X is variable from zero to 600 / 3500 rpm, which means it’s ideal for working with a number of different materials and compounds.
This is not the lightest car buffer on the list, but at just 6.7 pounds, you’ll be able to spend the day with it and you won’t need to be Mr Universe.
Comes with a 180mm hook and loop backing pad.
2. PORTER-CABLE 7424XP orbital Buffer
A little like DeWalt, Porter-Cable have been in the business for decades, and while the 7424XP is aimed more at the home user, it’s a pretty solid tool that should last a while for someone that isn’t beating it every day.
It’s a random orbital action polisher, so getting a swirl-free finish is relatively easy, but unlike the DeWalt, the speed isn’t infinitely variable – it has speed settings, ranging from 2,500 – 6,800 OPM (Orbits Per Minute). The biggest giveaway to what market it’s aimed at (Professional or Home) is the motor amperage – 4.5 Amps (the DeWalt is 12 Amp for example).
At just 5.5 pounds, the machine is lightweight, and while you may think that’s because it’s down on quality, the Porter-Cable 7424XP has a 3-year limited warranty, comes with a one-year service contract, which means Porter-Cable will inspect and replace parts (free of charge) if it goes wrong through normal use.
You get a polishing pad with the kit, but to be honest, you’ll need to go out and buy a hook and loop backing pad if you’re looking to use this lightweight car buffer for detailing.
Perfect for the more serious home detailer.
3. Torq TORQX Random Orbital Polisher Kit (9 items)
The TORQX has been designed for everyone from 1st time user through to professional paint correctors, with the 8mm of throw being ideal to get professional results. It features intuitive controls for speed, is well-balanced, and you can switch between 3, 5 and 6” pads without the need for adjustment with a counter balance.
The listed motor amperage is 6.8 Amps, but it’s slightly less – calculations put it at closer to 6.6 Amps (insignificant really), so it should have enough power for most jobs. What I really like about the Torq is that it seems to have been designed with the user in mind – a forward control grip (actually called the Torq Forward Grip or TFG) gives the user a great deal of control.
The TORQX Polisher Kit comes with everything you need to get started – the buffer, three Hex Logic buffing pads, a sampler range of the V-Line compounds and polishes.
One other neat little touch is the ridge on the back of the tool – a simple design touch to stop the tool from rolling over when placed down.
Heavy-duty construction and streamlined controls makes for an ideal car buffer for DIY enthusiasts.
4. Griot's Garage 10813STDCRD Random Orbital Polisher
Griot’s is a well-known name in the car care business, and this heavy-duty car buffer is the third generation of their popular tool. Being 3rd gen means that they’ve been able to refine it from customer feedback, so this should be everything that you need.
A 7 Amp motor provides enough power for the professional, but the ergonomics and ease of use means that a first timer could pick it up and get great results. The main control handle mounted on the top is adjustable, but it’s pretty bulky and could limit access to smaller spaces, or hard to reach areas. You could remove it as the machine has a domed, rubberized palm grip also.
A maximum OPM of 6,800 and six speed settings should be enough for all jobs, whether that’s polishing, cutting or waxing. A really neat touch is the option for the extended power cord – it come with a 10ft cord as standard.
Backed up with a lifetime guarantee, the Griot’s car buffer is a great all-rounder, whether you’re just starting out, a professional detailer or someone that’s been playing with car buffers for a while, this will do it all.
5. Makita 9237CX3 Variable Speed Polisher Kit
This is at the higher end of the budget, but Makita power tools have an excellent reputation for delivering solid results and reliability.
Equipped with a 10 Amp motor, it’s one of the most powerful car buffers in the list, but as the old saying goes, power is nothing without control – this machine features a soft start, six speed settings and a constant speed control regardless of motor load.
Small details such as being able to replace the motor brushes without a full strip down mean that the Makita is meant for professional and heavy use, as is the wire mesh guards on the intake to prevent it sucking in wool strands.
A rubberized handle and gear housing gives a little extra protection from accidental damage. The Makita 9237CX3 Polishing kit includes: the buffer, wrench, centering sleeve, 7” wool bonnet for compounding, 7” wool bonnet for polishing, and the loop handle, all packed up in a heavy-duty tool bag.
Being a rotating polisher means that it’s easier to damage the paint if you’re a novice, my recommendation would be to buy this if you’re an experienced pro.
6. Meguiar's MT300 Dual Action Polisher
Meguiar’s are best-known for their detailing products, so you’d expect the MT300 to be everything to all people, but while it has some neat touches, there’s a few areas that can’t compete with some of the other makes – at just 4.5 Amps, the motor is pretty light duty, but the digital torque management systems does its best to modulate the speed vs load. Similar to the Makita, it’s possible to replace the motor brushes without the need for a complete teardown of the tool.
This is one of the lightest car buffers – weighing in at just 5.4 pounds – you could wield this buffer about all day long long and not suffer, but you need to add a little pressure when cutting because the tool is just a bit too light.
A soft start function means that the compound or polish won’t be flung off, and there’s 6 speed settings, from 3,000 – 7,500 Orbits Per Minute. If it wasn’t for the price, you’d say that this Meguiar’s car buffer was very definitely aimed at the driveway detailer, but there are cheaper models available.
The MT300 is a middle of the road car buffer – it does everything that you need, but it isn’t special.
You’ll need to purchase a separate backing pad with the MT300, as it comes with nothing as standard.
7. BLACK+DECKER WP900 Random Orbit Polisher
The WP900 from Black & Decker is aimed squarely at the occasional home user, with just 0.5 Amps of power, this isn’t designed to be loaded up and abused.
The tool has a fixed speed of 4,400 OPM, which while it isn’t ideal for a range of solutions, is enough to get you started. The twin handle design gives you plenty of control, aided by the lightweight – just over two pounds.
It’s supplied with a foam applicator pad and two polishing bonnets, but you may want to switch these out for a decent hook and loop kit.
Overall, if you are looking to try polishing machine for the first time and want an inexpensive introduction to it, the WP900 will do just that.
It’s All About The Buff
Using a car buffer takes some time and practice, but with a little experience, you can get your car’s paintwork to look like glass, perhaps even better than new. A random orbital or dual action car buffer is easier to master, and gives you less risk of burning the glaze, but many of the pro’s go for a straight rotating action.
These seven car buffers all have their pro’s and con’s, but all of them (perhaps aside from the Black & Decker) will work in a semi professional capacity at the very least.