The Best Boat Buffers of 2021

Nicholas Swartz
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When it comes to the interior of your boat, it’s always nice to improve the appearance and protect the color.

Many people consider waxing their boat, but traditionally it’s a painstaking job that can take long, hard hours. It’s a messy process that requires a lot of elbow grease and protection equipment.

Sealing your boat can be a much better option. Boat buffer systems have really come a long way over the years. A boat buffer is a great way to keep your ice protection and hull shiny. It’s far less work than waxing, and much faster.

We tested the best boat buffers on the market to find how they all hold up on our boat. We are going to share our experience, and the main features of each product.

If you’re tired of hand waxing, give our guide a look. We’ll walk you through the features you should look for when selecting a boat buffer system. It’s a smart investment anyway.

NameCategoryProduct
Makita 9237CX3 Makita 7" PolisherBest OverallMakita 9237CX3 Makita 7" Polisher
WEN 10PMC 10-Inch Waxer/Polisher in CaseBudget PickWEN 10PMC 10-Inch Waxer/Polisher in Case
Shurhold 3101 Dual Action Random Orbital Car Boat Buffer Polisher Starter KitUpgrade PickShurhold 3101 Dual Action Random Orbital Car Boat Buffer Polisher Starter Kit

1. Makita 9237CX3 Makita 7" Polisher

Our rating: 9 / 10

Makita 9237CX3 Makita 7" Polisher

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The Makita 9237CX3 is a solid polisher for many car and boat users and certainly doesn’t disappoint. Makita is a well known company for high quality products and customers testify that this polisher meets that high standard.

This hex-shaped grinder is ideal for boat restoration. It has a bit taller profile than a square grinder but will fit in a carry bag and is less cumbersome than a full size polisher.

It swivels the pad and it has a simple pedal that turns the polisher on and off with your foot. The polisher comes with a loop handle, an operator’s manual, a double-sided polishing pad, a buffing pad, a side handle, and an adapter sleeve.

2. Avid Power Polisher

Our rating: 8 / 10

Avid Power Polisher

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Pros:

  • Dense foam pad
  • Details tight corners and paint chips
  • The patented ball-and-socket buffer handle attachment
  • Soft touch ergonomic handles
  • The vast speed range of 800 to 6,500 RPM, offering more power than other hand buffers
  • The two-year warranty
  • It is equipped with power, speed, and versatility
  • Excellent in removing swirls and scratches and other paint imperfections
  • Compatible with any 3-inch backing plate
  • The light weight of 7 lbs

Cons:

  • The fist time users may find the machine difficult to use
  • Need time to build the comfort to operate the machine

Looking for an affordable electric car polisher that comes with extensive speed range and the ability to handle paint imperfections? Then, the Avid Power Polisher may be the one for you.

It comes with a 6-inch reinforced foam pad and variable speed settings from 800 to 6500 RPM, allowing users to buy many different accessories in the future to match their polishing needs.

The machine itself weighs 7, so you can use it for polishing while sitting comfortably in any surface.

3. Chemical Guys BUF_503X TORQX Random Polisher Kit

Our rating: 8 / 10

Chemical Guys BUF_503X TORQX Random Polisher Kit

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Pros:

  • Great for beginners
  • 3 premium polishing pads
  • Suitable for a variety of surfaces, including paint, gel-coat, gel coat, fiberglass, plastic, chrome, rubber, glass, and much more
  • Chemical Guys D275 Extreme Tack Wheel Wax and Shine Compound + P40 Car Polish + Green Light Bonding Glue + P80 Polish Pad + Sidekick Dual Action Polisher
  • The wide range of polishers, compounds, and polishes makes your work easier
  • Great polishing tools for boat cleaning
  • Chemical guys are well known to be one of the top brands for polishers and other detailing tools

Cons:

  • This is a very expensive detailing kit
  • A detailed manual for using the kit will be the top priority if you decide to buy this product

4. Meguiar's G3500 Dual Action Power System Tool

Our rating: 8 / 10

Meguiar's G3500 Dual Action Power System Tool

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Pros:

  • Grippy handle for easier use
  • Completely portable
  • Ultra-fine polishing pad
  • For quick touch-ups
  • Great for restoring old paint

Cons:

  • Have to use the supplied pads
  • Longer than many others

The Meguiar's G3500 Dual Action Power System is a 800-Watt machine that produces a less irritating, more refined finish on your cars than sandpaper.

It is 34 inches long and features a dual action, orbital head for maximum efficiency.

5. Goplus 7 Inch Electric Car Polisher 6 Variable Speed Buffer Waxer Sander Detail Boat w/Case

Our rating: 8 / 10

Goplus 7 Inch Electric Car Polisher 6 Variable Speed Buffer Waxer Sander Detail Boat w/Case

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Pros:

  • Good speed
  • Brush stand for compact storage
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Easy to operate

Cons:

  • Not very powerful
  • The plastic casing wiggles a bit

The Goplus is an affordable yet sturdy electric buffer from a manufacturer who makes many popular buffers and polishers in China. It’s lightweight and compact, meaning that it should be fairly easy to transport without adding a lot of extra weight. It’s designed to be easy-grip so that you can twist the wheel forward and back without getting tired or hurting your hands. This buffer can also be used with a polisher for your boat, smartphone or glasses, unlike some buffers that can only be used with a backing plate. If you need to wax and polish, this buffer works well. It’s almost equivalent to the Porter-Cable 7424 XP for polishing, and the buffers are of similar quality, just the Goplus is a bit slower, smaller and less powerful. The Goplus has two different speed settings, and makes no noise when it’s running. It comes with a small case to store your Goplus safely when it’s not in use.

6. BLACK+DECKER 6-inch Random Orbit Waxer/Polisher

Our rating: 8 / 10

BLACK+DECKER 6-inch Random Orbit Waxer/Polisher

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Pros:

  • Comes with an extra set of sanding pads
  • Ideal for removing blemishes in automotive and marine applications
  • Provides a deep, streak-free shine
  • The non-marring outer case maintains the integrity of your boat's finish
  • The two-speed settings allow you to get the right amount of speed for the surface you're buffing

Cons:

  • Doesn't feature an auto shutoff
  • Affixed power cord isn't long
  • Difficult to use in awkward areas
  • Does not come with a counter counter

When it comes to detailing boat hulls, you need a strong, yet thorough, polishing machine to effectively buff out paint imperfections without causing new ones. The six-inch orbital waxer and polisher from Black+Decker fits the bill, as it can cover large surfaces in no time.

Along with boat hulls, it can also be used on automotive and marine applications to remove paint imperfections, as well as sanding marks from prior paint jobs and water spots. You can use it on fiberglass, gel coat, and aluminum boat finishes. Host of the additional sanding pads that aren't usually included with the kit, you'll have the piece of mind that should something happen to your boat's finish while you're detailing it, you'll be prepared to continue your project.

7. Shurhold 3101 Dual Action Random Orbital Car Boat Buffer Polisher Starter Kit

Our rating: 8 / 10

Shurhold 3101 Dual Action Random Orbital Car Boat Buffer Polisher Starter Kit

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Pros:

  • Made from heavy-duty materials
  • It’s easy to use with the buffer and polisher
  • Can remove oxidation, decals and rust
  • It can help with large projects
  • It can restore the surface of your car or boat
  • There are different pads for different jobs
  • It can make your projects smooth.

Cons:

  • If you don’t know how to use this, you may damage the surface and the tools
  • You have to buy each item separately
  • On the expensive side.

If you’re looking to give your boat or car a face lift, then you’re in the right place. The Shurhold 3101 Dual Action Random Orbital Car Boat Buffer Polisher Starter Kit is the kit you need to get the job done.

The Shurhold 3101 Dual Action Random Orbital Car Boat Buffer Polisher is the best boat buffer for boats and cars. It has everything you need in one kit.

The 31-01 buffer comes with a 16oz of Pro Polish Wax and Sealant to restore and renew the shine of your car or boat.

8. Griot's Garage 10813LNGCRD 6" Dual Action Random Orbital Polisher

Our rating: 7 / 10

Griot's Garage 10813LNGCRD 6" Dual Action Random Orbital Polisher

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Pros:

  • Extremely easy to handle
  • Features rubberized handles
  • Can handle plenty of products
  • Available in different sizes
  • Very affordable

Cons:

  • Doesn’t come with a carrying case
  • A little bit loud

If you’ve been looking for a top of the line buffer, then you’re lucky, because the Griot’s Garage 10813LNGCRD 6" Dual Action Random Orbital Polisher with 25' Cord could be the one for you.

The Griot’s Garage is powerful enough to be used for polishing, which makes it a fantastic choice for severe paint conditions and those with extreme oxidation.

The 6-inch treads can be used to speed up or slow down the buffer, making it a great buffer for beginners. The polisher can be used with a variety of Griot’s Garage 6-inch backing pads. A 25-foot power cord makes long working periods easy while the buffer’s special high-quality case keeps the buffer safe and clean.

9. PORTER-CABLE Variable Speed Polisher

Our rating: 7 / 10

PORTER-CABLE Variable Speed Polisher

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10. DEWALT Buffer/Polisher

Our rating: 7 / 10

DEWALT Buffer/Polisher

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Pros:

  • Extra power
  • High durability
  • Very quiet even at high speeds
  • Ergonomic design for ease of use
  • Lightweight construction
  • No vibration
  • Cuts through tough grime and mildew
  • Nicely priced
  • Comes complete with case

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for the best car buffer for 2019, the DEWALT DW849X is a perfect choice. It can be used on boats to remove dirt and grime, and to restore the paint layers. It also works great on RV and automotive exteriors. It’s a good buffer to use for furniture and cabinet restoration.

11. WEN 10PMC 10-Inch Waxer/Polisher in Case

Our rating: 6 / 10

WEN 10PMC 10-Inch Waxer/Polisher in Case

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Pros:

  • Perfect for boats, RVs, and vehicles
  • Durable even when used on projects with large surfaces
  • Durable construction
  • You get plenty of extra bonnets in the package as well as a carrying bag
  • The bonnets are so versatile

Cons:

  • May be slightly too large for small hands
  • The bonnet quality can be a little hit or miss
  • Handle may not be the best shape for everyone

The first item in this list is the amazing WEN 10PMC 10-Inch Waxer/Polisher. This can be your professional and personal detailing tool when it comes to buffing out waxing and polishing jobs. The unit has a handle that is designed with the right length, so there is minimal reaching needed which means less potential for mistakes.

The unit can be used on a wide range of jobs just like any other buffer. Whether you need to push them all out, pull them all in, grip them in or twist them in you can do that without any problems. The built-in regulator conveniently allows you to adjust the pressure to your needs.

You get the unit in a carrying bag with plenty of accessories. That means you will have everything you need as soon as you get it and will be prepared for any detailing job that you need to do that day.

12. WEN 948 10 Amp Variable Speed Polisher

Our rating: 5 / 10

WEN 948 10 Amp Variable Speed Polisher

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Whether you need to use a rotary polisher on a boat or a car, the WEN variable speed polisher can handle it with ease. It uses a 10-amp motor to power through pretty much any finish.

The WEN 10 Amp Polisher may cost a bit more than others but it has a lot more power and is a bit safer as it has the polisher stops still. The variable speed is great for all the auto paint jobs and buffing boats.

It has a nice rubber grip and it’s super easy to use with plenty of power to throw at almost anything. Also the light on top is great for working in tight spaces.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best boat polish?

Boat polish is used to buff hard gel coat or fiberglass without damaging its appearance. The key to using a boat buffer correctly is to stablize the speed of the machine with your hand while moving back and forth over the surface of the boat.

Are orbital buffers good?

I use an orbital buffer for the majority of my polishing needs. They are convenient, they don’t consume a lot of material like rotary buffers do, and they do a really good job.

Orbital buffers, also called spinner buffs, spin both ways. One way is for cutting with the disc, and the other is for polishing with the pad.

How do you buff a boat with a buffer?

You cannot add shine to a boat by using a buffer. When applied to a boat, the wax is melting. But, a good compound will remove the oxidation, which can age the boat, and then the wax will protect the material of the boat.

A buffer (or buffer pad) is used to smooth the application of wax while removing oxidation. The difference between a buffer and a polisher is that a normal car waxing machine is rotating, whereas in a buffer, the pad is stationary and you move the machine over the boat.

A buffer helps to add shine to a boat by removing oxidation, but it doesn’t add shine, per se.

How do you get the shine back on a fiberglass boat?

Most fiberglass boats start out as glossy as new cars. But sitting in the sun does a number on the shine eventually. If you don’t want to use a power buffer or just don’t want to pay, there are other options that are healthier for you and the environment and also do a great job.

There are a few ways to buff fiberglass and most are simple. Buffing materials are easy to find and you can use products you already have in your home.

Along with using a buffing material, you can use a buffer if you have one handy. This is the fastest way to achieve a glossy finish for sure.

If you don’t want to use your buffer or don’t have one, there are other options. In this post, we’re going to discuss some of the best options for completing this task.

Conclusion

The number one thing that most boat owners miss out on is boat protection. And because they don’t have anything to protect their boat with, they end up with a very expensive “everyone’s boat”. But that’s not how you want to treat your boat, is it? Of course not, and you have options. You can either get a boat cover or a boat buffer. And if we have to choose between the two, then we’d go with the latter.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Makita 9237CX3 Makita 7" PolisherBest OverallMakita 9237CX3 Makita 7" Polisher
WEN 10PMC 10-Inch Waxer/Polisher in CaseBudget PickWEN 10PMC 10-Inch Waxer/Polisher in Case
Shurhold 3101 Dual Action Random Orbital Car Boat Buffer Polisher Starter KitUpgrade PickShurhold 3101 Dual Action Random Orbital Car Boat Buffer Polisher Starter Kit