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The Best Auto Buffer To Shine Your Vehicle Like a Pro

Using a buffer is a great way to rid vehicles of unsightly scratches without professional intervention. It allows you to showcase your car’s assets, highlighting certain areas while drawing attention away from others. But to get the best auto buffing results, you need the best auto buffer. Today I’m going to help you find it.

Quick Look: Our Top Picks

Auto Buffer NameQualityPriceRating
WEN 10-Inch Random Orbital WaxerA$
Porter Cable 7424XP 6-Inch Random Orbit PolisherA++$$
Meguiar’s G3500 DA Power SystemA$
Carrand AutoSpa Automotive PolisherA$
TORQ TORQX Random Orbital PolisherA+$$$

Different kinds of auto buffers

1. Traditional orbital buffer

The traditional orbital buffer is seldom used as it doesn’t have a whole lot to offer beyond the ability to spread wax slightly faster than the human hand. Over the years, I have witnessed dozens of auto enthusiasts purchase this kind of buffer simply because it is less expensive than a dual-action model. I know we all have to stick within a budget, but when you’re letting price be the deciding factor in which buffer you choose, you can’t expect to see any great results when you put your buffer to use. Traditional orbital buffers have their limitations, as many of the auto enthusiasts I spoke of soon learned. While a traditional orbital buffer will spread wax just fine, it simply does not have the power to eradicate large smudges or swirls from a paint job.

2. Dual-action buffer

The next step up from the traditional orbital buffer is the dual-action buffer, also known as a random orbital buffer. The random orbital buffer takes its name from the pattern of its plate, which both spins and oscillates concurrently. This buffer is a whole lot more versatile than the traditional orbital buffer. While it can indeed be used for simple tasks, such as the spreading of wax, it also boasts the ability to remove scratches and marks which may appear on your car’s paint job.

The less expensive models of dual-action buffers are often recommended to car-polishing newbies, as they feature non-forced rotation. This means the buffer’s plate will rotate without any influence from the user. Should the wielder put too much pressure on the buffer, the plate will cease to spin, thereby preventing any damage to the vehicle’s clear coat. As well as being a popular choice among those who have never used a buffer before, dual-action buffers are commonly used by grizzled veterans of the detailing scene. A high-quality dual-action buffer will carry out close to every conceivable task in the realm of car polishing, meaning you could use the same buffer for decades without ever having a reason to upgrade.

3. Rotary buffer

Rotary buffers are sometimes used by automotive professionals, but even at a mechanic’s, it is rare to see one in action. They are a great deal more powerful than both the traditional orbital buffer and the dual-action buffer and are most often used to remove deep scratches from a vehicle’s paint job. Owing to the sheer power rotary buffers are capable of, inexperienced car owners who are amateurs at detailing are advised to stay away from them. The slightest hiccup while using one of these buffers could, and most likely will, result in lasting damage to your vehicle. Even car detailing experts tend to stay away from the rotary buffer as they feel the risks far outweigh any benefits it has to offer.

A further explanation of the difference between traditional orbital, dual action, and rotary buffers can be found here.

What kind of vehicles can I use a buffer on?

If something has wheels and a paint job, you can use a buffer on it. The only challenge is figuring out which buffer will work best. For small vehicles, which don’t have much room for intricate detailing patterns, you can get away with using a traditional orbital buffer if you are willing to commit to the extra work.

Dual-action buffers will work on a wide array of vehicles and can be utilized to treat the paint job on any car or jeep. If you’re looking to remedy scratches and swirls on an everyday vehicle, you can rest easy knowing a dual-action buffer will do the trick.

If you own a vehicle such as an RV, you’re likely going to have to extend yourself beyond your random orbital comfort zone. For effective detailing on an RV or a large boat, you’re going to have to get your hands on a rotary buffer. Again, I need to stress that improper use of this kind of buffer can burn through paint jobs and do more harm than good. If you do need to use one, it is imperative that you consult with a professional or seek the help of a more experienced friend before getting down to work.

The Five Best Auto Buffers

Auto Buffer NameQualityPriceRating
WEN 10-Inch Random Orbital WaxerA$
Porter Cable 7424XP 6-Inch Random Orbit PolisherA++$$
Meguiar’s G3500 DA Power SystemA$
Carrand AutoSpa Automotive PolisherA$
TORQ TORQX Random Orbital PolisherA+$$$

WEN 10-Inch Random Orbital Waxer

WEN 10-Inch Random Orbital Waxer-5be9f95ecc8c1

This buffer from the folks at WEN is the perfect example of the kind of random orbital buffer a beginner should be looking at. It offers a multitude of features and sells at a fantastic price, so you don’t have to worry about being out of pocket should you discover you don’t enjoy machine polishing after one or two attempts.

Pros

  • Versatile—The WEN 10-inch Random Orbital Waxer is one of the most versatile low-end dual-action buffers on the market. Despite its low price, it can be effectively used to polish not only cars but surfaces things out of the automobile world as well, such as countertops and banisters.
  • Superb customer service—WEN is successful to the point that it could disregard its customers and people would still flock to it. Thankfully, it doesn’t do that. In fact, the customer service team at WEN has been known to actively pursue customers who may have received defective products in order to compensate them appropriately.

Cons

Non-adjustable speed—If you want to detail your car in a timely a manner, you’re going to need a buffer with more than one speed setting. The WEN 10-Inch Random Orbital Waxer is not that buffer. With a single, non-adjustable speed setting, this buffer requires a strong arm and remarkable dedication to completing the job.

BUY THIS ONE

Porter Cable 7424XP 6-Inch Random Orbit Polisher

Porter Cable 7424XP 6-Inch Random Orbit Polisher-5be9f9602ff01

If you’ve been honing your vehicle polishing skills and are ready to move up to a professional-quality buffer, you could do worse than Porter Cable’s 7424XP 6-Inch Random Orbital Polisher.

Pros

  • 2-position handle—Lefties often have a hard time finding tools designed to meet their needs, which is why this buffer has been so enthusiastically embraced by left-handed car owners. It features a removable 2-position handle which can be fitted to either side of the device, allowing you to master buffing regardless of which hand you write with.
  • 3-year warranty—Porter Cable offers a 3-year warranty with each purchase of this buffer, one of the longest warranties in the industry, so can be sure your specific model will be repaired or replaced should any problems arise.

Cons

  • No backing plate—If you have considered purchasing the 7424XP, it’s important to remember that no backing plate is included with the buffer. A backing plate is essential in the use of a dual-action polisher, so you’ll need to make some extra room in your budget if you don’t already have one.BUY THIS ONE

Meguiar’s G3500 DA Power System

Meguiar’s G3500 DA Power System-5be9f96260e5f

This is one of the most unique dual-action buffers on the market. Meguiar’s G3500 DA Power System is a dual-action head, which attaches to a household drill to give you the results of a random orbital polisher at a fraction of the cost.

Pros

  • Inexpensive—Because this is not exactly the Platonic ideal of a random orbital polisher, it is one of the more affordable buffers on the market. You get a buffer which is capable of waxing, polishing, and compounding. Even previously skeptical consumers have given it a plethora of positive reviews.
  • Fits most household drills—Meguiar’s G3500 DA Power System can be easily attached to the majority of household drills. This means no further spending is required as long as you already own a decent power drill. It is advised, however, that you pair this buffer with a drill that operates between 1,200 to 2,500 RPMs.

Cons

  • Time-consuming—Although Meguiar’s claims the G3500 will shine your car in less than half an hour, those who have used the buffer have reported otherwise. It seems this buffer can take twice as long as a more expensive dual-action polisher to complete basic tasks.

BUY THIS ONE

Carrand AutoSpa Automotive Polisher

Carrand AutoSpa Automotive Polisher-5be9f963c0def

The AutoSpa Automotive Polisher is another inexpensive buffer geared towards car detailing novices. Operation of the machine can be mastered in virtually no time at all, and basic waxing jobs can be completed with ease.

Pros

  • Low vibrations from motor—The AutoSpa Automotive Polisher comes fitted with a heavy-duty motor, so it can hold up to countless hours of use. Despite the power of its motor, this buffer emits minimal vibrations when in action. This is beneficial as strong vibrations from a buffer can cause damage to your car’s paint job, no matter how careful you are while polishing.
  • Multi-grip—Extended work with a buffer can require a lot of shifting angles and directions, resulting in user fatigue and pain in the back and arms. The AutoSpa Automotive Polisher, however, is fitted with a number of grips to make holding your buffer for long periods of time effortless.

Cons

  • Short power cord—There are few things more annoying than using a device with a short power cord, especially when trying to complete a task outdoors. The folks at Carrand got a lot of things right with this buffer, but fitting it with a power cord of just 12” was a pretty major misfire.

BUY THIS ONE

TORQ TORQX Random Orbital Polisher

TORQ TORQX Random Orbital Polisher

TORQ is one of the biggest names in the machine-polishing industry, and not just because its marketing team insists on each letter being capitalized. TORQ boasts an expert design team and extensive automobile detailing knowledge, the culmination of which is the TORQX.

Pros

  • Ergonomic design—Every part of this buffer, from the front handle to the power switch, has been designed with the user in mind. An effective shining of your vehicle is attainable with minimum effort, significantly decreasing user fatigue and leaving you with more time to focus on other car-related tasks.
  • Versatile—As well as being one of the most reliable random orbital polishers available today, the TORQX is one of the most versatile. While a lot of buffers use one size of backing plate exclusively, the TORQX works with multiple plate sizes. This allows you to alternate between plates according to which area of your vehicle you are working on, resulting in a more comprehensive shining.

Cons

  • Expensive—While the TORQX can be used by vehicle polishing novices, it was designed to be used by professionals, which is reflected in its price. This buffer may stretch the budget of even the most ardent auto buffer fan.BUY THIS ONE

Conclusion

Trying to name one auto buffer as the absolute best auto buffer in the world is a fool’s game. I’m no fool, but I am going to tell you which auto buffer I would choose if I were in your position. It would be the TORQ Random Orbital Buffer.

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