Boats need specific maintenance – that’s no secret. One of your responsibilities as a boat owner is polishing. And the most essential element for polishing is the boat buffer. Using the best boat buffer and a proper cutting compound, you can get the hull back to the original shiny color. A buffer is something you can use every year on your boat if you want to remove any defects. But choosing the right product can be hard.
What is actually a boat buffer and is there any difference to the car buffers? What type should you get? How to buff the boat properly?
All these questions can make your decision even harder, but now our team at The Marine Mag can give you some answers. We have collected some interesting information, tips, instructions, and also reviews on boat buffers, you may find useful.
Best Boat Buffers Comparison Chart
Dewalt DWP849X Variable Speed Polisher
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Porter-Cable 6-Inch Variable-Speed Polisher
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Black & Decker 6-Inch Random Orbit Waxer/Polisher
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Wen 6010 6-Inch Waxer/Polisher
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Wen Variable Speed Polisher with Digital Readout
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Makita 7″ Polisher
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Tacklife Polisher Variable Speed Buffer/Waxer
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BEST BOAT BUFFER REVIEWS (RECOMMENDED PICKS)
The products you will see below are the finest ones on the market. Our team has carefully picked and described them all for your convenience. We hope you’ll find the info to be practical and useful. The products are not listed in any specific order.
1. Dewalt DWP849X Variable Speed Polisher
If you are looking for a reliable buffer, go for Dewalt DWP849X, a soft start polisher that can ramp up to 600/3500rpm. The featured electronic module maintains the desired speed to attain a better and smoother finish. This feature is quite beneficial, especially while polishing the edges for more precision work.
You can rest assure the longevity of the polisher. Thanks to the all-ball bearing construction and precision-cut steel gears that are heat-treated to ensure long-lasting useful life. Further, the wool ingestion shields prevent any loose wools or other unwanted particles from getting in the polisher. This will definitely eliminate the need for servicing the machine.
The DWP849X doesn’t lack when it comes to user comfort. This is because it comes with a 3 position bale handle and a side handle giving you more versatile. On top of that, the handles have a non-marring rubber cover to provide a comfortable and robust grip for maintaining much-needed balance.
The polisher also comes with a 180mm Velcro hook &loop backing plate allowing you to change any polishing accessory without using any tools.
- 12-amp powerful motor
- 2 ergonomically designed handles
- 2-year warranty
- Tends to overheat
- Switch burns out fast
- Doesn’t include a polishing pad
2. Porter-Cable 6-Inch Variable-Speed Polisher
When it comes to user comfort, the Porter-Cable 7424XP definitely beats its counterparts. The simple reason is that the polisher is compact and lightweight, weighing only 5 pounds, yet it doesn’t lack power. Moreover, the ergonomic design allows you to hold the tool by its tail and also the removable 2-position handle enables you to position the buffer more conveniently, giving less strain to both your arms.
The 4.5 amp motor employs a random orbit action which means that the rotation angle of the head varies with the nature of the surface. Thus it can work effectively on both even and uneven surfaces, corners, and edges. For marine use, it is most ideal for sanding and polishing.
The electronic variable-speed dial ranges from 2500-6800 orbits per minute- OPM, allowing you to choose a higher speed while polishing flat surfaces and a slower pace for more tricky parts such as the edges and corners.
The unit includes a 6-inch polishing pad and is compatible with 5/16 to 24 spindle thread accessories.
- Compact and lightweight
- Random orbit action
- Includes 6-inch polishing pad
- No backing plate
- The included pad lacks quality
- Strong vibration
3. Black & Decker 6-Inch Random Orbit Waxer/Polisher
Does your boat need buffing, waxing and polishing or better still, all of the above? Black & Decker WP900 buffer can do it all as it comes with foam applicator bonnet for waxing and wool polishing bonnet. It will bring back the shine and gloss to your boat.
The buffer features the random orbit action that can polish any kind of surface as the head changes the angle while cleaning giving a swirl-free finish. It also means that polishing around the edges can be done with ease.
The tool has a thoughtful two handle design so that you can use both hands, causing less strain. The unit includes a 10 feet long cord giving you more mobility rather than being restricted near the power source.
The polisher runs at 4400 OPM, allowing you to have the job done in no time. But having said that, lacking varying speed can be an issue when it comes to buffing the tight spaces where a slower rate is required.
- 2-year warranty
- Includes applicator bonnet and wool polishing bonnet
- 10-feet long cord
- Speed is not adjustable
- Does not include a backing plate
4. Wen 6010 6-Inch Waxer/Polisher
This is an affordable buffer that runs at the rate of 4000rpm, which is powerful enough to give your boat a good polish. Wen 6010 polisher doesn’t have a handle but a contoured palm and body-grip design for easy use. Such a configuration ensures better accuracy enabling you to attain a professional finish.
The polisher has a random orbital technology that can achieve a swirl-free finish. It works in such a way that the head turns the polishing angle according to the nature of the surface you are working on. This is useful, especially for edges or corners and uneven surfaces.
One drawback worth mentioning is that the buffer doesn’t have variable speed. It just comes with a lockable on/off switch.
The unit includes a 6-inch applicator bonnet that is intended for applying wax and a 6-inch terry cloth bonnet. It needs 110V and draws 0.5 amp which some considered to be underpowered. But considering the price, it is well worth the money.
- Ergonomically contoured palm and body-grip design
- Includes applicator bonnet and terry cloth bonnet
- No variable speed
- Lacks power
- Causes stable vibration while in operation
5. Wen Variable Speed Polisher with Digital Readout
This is another product of Wen which has improved features in comparison with the previous buffer mentioned above. It is priced a little higher but still at an affordable range. Wen 948 comes with a 7-inch hook & loop backing pad and combined with the variable speed feature makes it the perfect buffer for compounding, buffing, waxing, and polishing. The 10 amp powerful motor makes it an appropriate tool for tackling any stubborn stains.
One eye-catching feature is the digital readout showing the user the exact speed and thus enabling you to adjust the rate from 1000 to 3500 rpm easily.
The D-loop handle is set on the head, which will be helpful to do more precision work. Also, it will be accessible on your hand. The manufacturer offers a 2-year warranty, which clearly indicates that the unit doesn’t lack durability. It comes with a wool pad and two polishing pads.
- Variable speed from 1000 to 3500rpm
- Includes 7-inch backing pad
- 2-year warranty
- Lacks lower speed option
- Included polishing pads are not of the highest quality
6. Makita 7″ Polisher
To bring back the shine that your boat once had before exposing to marine condition and to protect the gel coat, you might want to consider Makita 9237CX3 buffer that offers the complete package consisting of a D-handle and a side handle, velcro backing plate, polishing pad, wool bonnet, and a storage bag.
The soft-start polisher has a convenient electronic speed controller, speed ranging from 0 to 3500 rpm. A recognizable feature of this polisher that we don’t find in other buffer is the constant speed control which maintains a consistent speed even under load. This not only makes the task at hand easier but also increases the accuracy needed for more precision work.
The rubberized loop and the additional side handle makes it a more versatile tool. Equipped with a 10 amp motor, it delivers powerful performance to attain an excellent finishing.
The improved cord guard not only ensures durability but also makes the buffer more flexible. Moreover, it has a wire mesh intake cover that shields wool fibers and other particles from escaping into the motor.
- 10 amp motor
- Constant speed controller
- Includes a storage bag
- Overheating issue
- Heavier than most polisher
7. Tacklife Polisher Variable Speed Buffer/Waxer
For those looking for a polisher that can be used for wide applications, Tacklife polisher is a great choice. With 6 variable speeds to choose from, it can tackle different tasks, especially buffing your boat. Apart from the backing pad and a polishing pad, it includes 120 grit sanding disc that can remove rust and paint.
Unlike most buffer, you don’t need to keep pressing the switch to maintain the desired speed. Thanks to the switch lock design that maintains the chosen speed consistently.
The 12.5 amp, 1500W pure copper motor delivers reliable and effective performance. You can set the speed from 600 to 3500 rpm depending on the materials used. The built-in digital screen will indicate the speed being used, allowing you to achieve more accuracy as you can select the preferred speed setting with ease.
For more convenient usage, the polisher has an adjustable D handle and a side handle.
- Switch lock design to maintain a consistent speed
- 5 amp motor
- Onboard digital screen with LED indicator
- Makes a loud noise
- Comparatively heavy
What Is a Boat Buffer?
A boat buffer is your personal machine assistance when you wax and polish your boat. Buffering alters and improves the painting of the car or the clear coat. It often takes a waxing compound to use a buffer to smooth the target surface.
It requires rubbing in whatever solution to be able to polish or wax your boat, and doing that by hand will take a great deal of effort, especially if it’s on a large vessel.
A boat buffer will take away most of that effort and allow you to buffer your boat expediently. It will imitate your hand’s motion, and the different heads will ensure an excellent finish.
Buffing compound is usually abrasive, and by getting rid of discoloration or other imperfections, the best buffer for fiberglass restores the shine of the surface.
Note: you need to look at the surface and determine how much you need to scrub it. If it’s only slightly dull or discolored, you just need a mild buffing compound and, of course, you won’t have to apply a lot of pressure.
Types Of Buffers
When you are searching for the most suitable product to maintain your boat in good shape you should take a look at the different types of products on the market. So here are the most common types of boat buffers.
These will help you remove mild and small scratches. The orbital buffers feature a shaft that spins rapidly. The buffer is located on top of it. This type of spindle is also known as “floating”. What this means is that the motion is not exactly a circular one. Instead, the head will simply vibrate.
If you apply too much pressure on the device, the head will stop spinning. This is considered to be a good sign because you will not damage the paint job of your boat. However, fixing deep cuts is impossible with such a unit.
These units rotate exceptionally fast. We recommend that they are used only by professionals because of possible paint burning. You see, the motion is not only very fast but it can also cause some instability in the device. Experienced people will be able to control it but if you are a newbie, we recommend that you stick to the dual action polishers.
We are going to introduce to you the main features that are important for the buffer.
Because you’re going to lift the buffer while you’re working on your boat or car, it’s crucial that you go for a lightweight buffer. If you choose a heavy one, you may quickly get tired, which means you won’t be able to work effectively for a long time, especially when it comes to larger projects.
A boat buffer is powered by a motor that, when used, tends to vibrate the whole tool. Nonetheless, because engines will lead to incorrect results, the more vibrations, the more uncomfortable it is to work. Consider selecting a buffer with minimal vibrations for a detailed buffer.
Is it time to do some detailing on your boat? You’ll need a tool that will allow you to move a few times at a slow pace and move fast whenever you want. The type of speed that you will need depends on the section of your vessel that you buff. For example, if you are taking care of the walls, just do it at high speed while the sections and edges of the attachment require you to move at a slower rate and with more caution.
Durability is crucial for the purchase of any machine or tool. Your boat’s best buffer comes with high-quality features that don’t need regular replacements. To determine the durability, carefully evaluate the types of features that come with the buffer you plan to buy.
Also, if you need to know how long it can last, you can check the tool’s warranty. The longer a tool’s guarantee, the higher quality it will have and the greater the manufacturer’s confidence in its product.
If you’ve ever used a device that oscillates extremely fast like a buffer or a sander, then you’ll know that if the grip is uncomfortable, your hand can get sore quickly. There are a few agents that will affect comfort.
Some people may want to look for a lighter model to avoid getting sore in their muscles. But the biggest comfort issue will come from the grip. This needs to be well-positioned, and it is a great bonus to have a softer finish like rubber. Usually, one hand is placed on the device’s main body, and the other has to be close to the buffer head. A top grip, a palm rest or a side handle next to the head will do this.
Random Orbit Action
This feature gives your buffer a lot of adaptabilities. The angle at which your unit spins is determined by the side from which the pressure comes. In other words, the machine will perform well and will give you smooth buffing even on uneven surfaces. This might not be necessary when we talk about polishing a boat as the hull will mostly be perfectly even.
How To Use A Buffer?
It is essential to take a few simple steps to learn how to buff your hull the right way to achieve the best possible finish. First, you want your boat to be cleaned up, so make sure that no debris lingers on it. You’ll want to add a small amount of product to the pad after that and work it into the boat slowly. As you get more comfortable with the process, you can increase the speed to make sure you have an exceptional finish. It is also vital to find the best boat polish which will improve the results even more.
For a few different reasons, cleaning your boat will be a vital part of the process. If you apply wax or polish to a dirt boat, it just won’t shine very well, and you won’t get an excellent finish. Moreover, if you use a buffering machine and catch small bits of dirt and debris, these will be driven into your hull’s surface, and a large amount of scratching will ruin its appearance.
How To Take Care Of The Buffer?
As you have already read, the boat buffer is a machine, so it is essential to take some good care of it. Here are some tips:
- Always check the instructions and the manual of the manufacturer. They will give you the necessary information on the usage and the maintenance of this item.
- Keep the cables far from the water and always check if they are dry and whole before starting the machine.
- Clean the buffer properly from dust.
- If the buffer seems damaged, change it or call technicians – they will help you.
- If strange noises are coming from the buffer, stop using it.
- Check the electrical wires and do not try to fix them by yourself.
Of course, one of the most important things is safety. If you use a boat buffer for the first time – it will be useful for you to check the instructions of the manufacturer and follow them. But you can also check our safety tip, you may find helpful.
- Unless the pad pushes firmly against the surface, do not start or stop the buffer. Otherwise, you will shoot the product all over the place.
- Do not put too much pressure on decals and unique letters like gold leaf. Workaround these areas lightly to avoid tearing the stickers.
- Do not throw the pads out. They can be run through your washing machine and reused whenever needed.
- It’s best for you to buff your boat from the transom to the bow.
- Set a low buffer speed for better control. An orbital buffer will minimize the chances of forming swirl streaks.
- Since all buffers have what is known as a soft start and can be set to very low operating speeds, any beginner can start slowly and work your way forward.
- You may find it necessary to tilt the buffer and polish it with the edges of the pad when polishing your boat. This will cause more heat and friction and make it even more aggressive for your tool and compound. Simply finish polishing with the buffer as flat as possible after removing the oxidation to remove any buffer trails/swirl marks.
If you’re looking to buy ship polishers and buffers, it’s essential to get one that best suits your needs for ship polishing. However, while you’re on the market, you’ll find plenty of boat buffer machine options at different prices. Therefore, it is likely to be challenging to identify the best boat buffer, especially if you don’t know what to look for.
You have already read our tips, instructions, and boat buffer reviews. Hopefully, our guide will make your choice easier.
If you find our guide useful and exciting, forward it to your sailing-loving friends and family. Tell us what you think – leave comments, write us an email – it is essential for us to know your opinion. And also do not forget to check our other articles – they may help you find the best products for your boat.