Boat buffers are helpful tools that do more than just keep your boat shiny and well-polished. It helps reinforce the protective coating of your boat’s hull, therefore, allowing it to withstand the constant exposure to the water and other elements.
However, finding the best boat buffer for your needs can be difficult, especially if you don’t know where to start and how to choose one. This is why we have created this detailed product review and buying guide to help you get started or with your decision.
This guide will highlight each product’s specific features, pros, and cons, as well as a comprehensive guide on how to choose the best boat polisher for your needs.
- Best Boat Buffer Reviews
- 1. DEWALT DWP849X Buffer
- 2. PORTER-CABLE 7424XP Variable Speed Polisher
- 3. Goplus 7 Inch Electric Buffer
- 4. Chemical Guys 7424XP Complete Detailing Kit
- 5. Shurhold 3101 Boat Buffer Kit
- 6. TORQX Polisher Kit
- 7. Makita 9237CX3 Polisher
- 8. TACKLIFE Buffer Polisher
- 9. DEWALT DWP849 Variable Speed Polisher
- 10. Avid Power AEP127 Polisher
- 11. Marine 31 7424XP Porter-Cable Boat Polish Kit
- 12. TCP Global Variable Speed Polisher
- Boat Buffer Buying Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Boat Buffer Reviews
1. DEWALT DWP849X Buffer
First on the list is variable speed DWP849X buffer from DEWALT. As one of the best buffers for boats out there in the market, it’s easy to see why it’s often the choice for most professional boat owners. Add to that the fact the DEWALT has a reputation for producing high-quality tools.
That said, I really like the overall performance of the DWP849X buffer, especially its ability to polish multiple boats at the same time. As one of the best boat polishers and buffers, the tool features a powerful 12-amp motor which is powerful enough to reach speeds of up to 3,500 RPM on various surfaces. It’s also versatile which is shown by its ability to polish different surfaces without any issues.
Another thing that I really like about this buffer is that it comes with variable speed settings. These will further enhance its polishing and even waxing capabilities. Moreover, it has heat-treated steel gears to make sure it can last for a very long time and can take on heavy-duty usage. Its overall durability is also complemented by the addition of a ball bearing construction.
As a buffer and a polisher at the same time, the DEWALT allows you to polish and also buff your boat –even your car as well! When talking about the level of comfort it provides, the unit has a fairly lightweight construction, so using it won’t be that much of a hassle. Additionally, it features two handles that have a firm grip to make sure it won’t slip from your hands while using.
Lastly, the unit comes with DEWALT’s very own Controlled Finishing System which makes it quite easy to use even for beginners.
Though the Dewalt DWP849X buffer is a great product and all, it’s not without its issues. The most obvious issue I noticed is that it’s prone to overheating. Therefore, using it continuously for long periods of time isn’t recommended.
2. PORTER-CABLE 7424XP Variable Speed Polisher
Next on the list is the 7424XP polisher from PORTER-CABLE. Like that of DEWALT’s, this one’s also beginner-friendly, so first-time users of boat buffers won’t have any issue using this tool for polishing their boat. Additionally, it won’t even take you a lot of time just to adjust the speed since it’s fairly easy and safe to use.
One of the best things that I like about this machine is that it has variable speed settings. This means that you can adjust its speed anywhere from 2,500 up to 6,800 OPM (orbit per minute). Aside from that, switching back and forth between a high and low setting is pretty simple. All you have to do is press the dial control located at the right of its base.
Despite having a less powerful motor at only 4.5 amp, it’s still powerful enough to get the cleaning job done. It also has a 6-inch standing pad to let you clean any surface of your boat without leaving behind any marks. There are also two-position side handles which you can adjust and even remove to make usage even easier.
In terms of its build, the 7424XP polisher is fairly lightweight and compact. Lastly, it includes a sealant as well as a 16-oz bottle of Carnauba wax.
Despite its ease of usage, there were a few issues I found with this unit. First, it tends to produce a lot of noise while operating. Second, it produces quite a strong vibration which can make it a bit harder to control.
3. Goplus 7 Inch Electric Buffer
Durability and stability are two things you’d want to look for in a boat buffer. Luckily, those are exactly the qualities that the Goplus electric buffer has to offer. For starters, it comes with variable speed settings that allow you to adjust its speed from 1,000 up to 3,000 RPM.
One of the things I like about this unit, and I believe it’s something that you’ll like too, is the fact that it comes with heat-treated precision cut gears, top-grade copper motor, and an anti-impact housing. Needless to say, all those features I just mentioned all work toward making it ideal for heavy-duty usage.
Another thing that amazed me is that it also comes with a number of accessories that will help make polishing boats even easier. You can use it for various applications, and it does have a number of functions not limited to buffing. These include compounding, waxing, grinding, and polishing.
Also, if you’re worried that using a boat buffer might cost you a hefty electrical bill, then worry no more. The Goplus electric buffer is designed to produce a powerful output while consuming very little electricity. It’s also very lightweight compared to most dual-action orbital buffers on the market.
Lastly, the unit comes with a D-type handle to make sure you can firmly hold it without any issues of slippage. It’s also anti-skid and sweat-proof which are really nice to have.
The only issue I noticed with the Goplus is that it often takes a bit of time before it comes to a full stop.
4. Chemical Guys 7424XP Complete Detailing Kit
As the name implies, this product is a complete detailing kit that features everything you would need to start buffing your boat. All in all, the kit includes 2 bottles of pad conditioner, 5 polishing pads, a pad cleaner, 2 microfiber towels, a buffer, and several other accessories.
The buffer that’s included in this kit is the PORTER-CABLE 7424XP which we’ve just reviewed above. However, what I really like about this model is that it’s no longer necessary to purchase separate accessories since everything you need is right here in this package.
Let’s try to check every item that’s included in the package. First is the blue soft finishing pad which you can use to clean up any glossy surface. Then there’s the orange solid foam pad which you can use for fixing any scratch marks on your boat’s surface. This pad can also be used for removing stains and swirls.
You can also find a white-colored cleanser as well as the red polishing pad for applying boat wax on any surface. Lastly, there’s the black foam pad which makes sure that your boat’s surfaces are swirl-free.
There’s no major issue I noticed with this buffer except for the fact that it produces a bit of noise when operating.
5. Shurhold 3101 Boat Buffer Kit
As a product that’s admired by a lot of boaters, the Shurhold 3101 boat buffer provides a number of amazing features alongside protection for your boat from damage that might be caused by sun and saltwater. In fact, it was acknowledged by the National Marine Manufacturers Association for its effectiveness when it comes to polishing boat surfaces.
One of the things that I really like about this kit is that it allows you to save money since it includes all of the basic necessities for buffing your boat. It’s pretty much like the complete detailing kit I’ve just mentioned earlier. It comes with its unique dimpled pattern for the foam pads, and it also includes a self-absorbent microfiber towel.
As a boat buffer that’s made for beginners, it’s quite easy to use and maneuver. Apart from that, it’s also very compact and lightweight. It has a powerful enough motor with variable speed settings ranging from 2,500 to 6,500 RPM.
The only issue I have with the buffer is that it can sometimes turn off due to its power switch. It might not be too much of an issue, but it can surely be annoying when you’re in the middle of your task.
6. TORQX Polisher Kit
This polisher kit from TORQ is yet another kit that comes with all of the accessories you need for your boat detailing job. Manufactured by TORQ, the TORQX kit includes nine items that will make sure you no longer have to separately purchase individual accessories for your needs.
First off, you’ll find the random orbital buffer that can effectively polish various surfaces on your boats, removing any swirls, scratches, and marks in the process. What I really like about this tool is that it’s made of high-quality materials to make sure that you can use it for heavy-duty applications without any worries.
Most boat buffers have their internal components damaged during startup if the power isn’t properly controlled. However, that won’t be an issue with the TORQ buffer since it’s designed with advanced electronic control modules. This means that you won’t have to worry about its components malfunctioning and its performance waning when power is rising.
Apart from the buffer, the kit also comes with Hex-Logic Quantum pads to ensure that you can complete your polishing detail task perfectly. Each of the pads come in different sizes and can be used for cutting, finishing, and polishing purposes.
Despite all its features, the one thing that makes the TORQX buffer fall behind is the fact that it’s not as long-lasting as the ones I included in this list.
7. Makita 9237CX3 Polisher
Makita is a brand that’s known for producing high-quality and reliable tools at a very affordable price, and the 9237CX3 polisher is just one of them. The unit is powered by a 10-amp motor that can produce up to 3,200 RPM. Though it’s not as high as the other units above, it’s still more than enough to cover most boats without any problem.
What I like about this unit is that it has a constant speed control which you can’t easily find in other buffers on the market. Essentially, this feature allows it to maintain its speed even when under heavy load. As a result, you’ll be able to make your task a lot easier and also increase its accuracy.
Another thing that makes it stand out is the rubberized gear housing and loop for added comfort. There’s also the improved cord guard which ensures durability and make it flexible at the same time.
However, one issue I noticed is that it’s prone to overheating issue, especially when used for long periods of time.
8. TACKLIFE Buffer Polisher
If you need a polisher that can serve multiple applications, then this one from TACKLIFE is perfect for you. First off, it comes with 6 variable speed settings to choose from. Due to that, you can take on various tasks since you can adjust its speed depending on where you’re using it. It also includes a backing and polishing pad as well as a 120-grit sanding disc which is capable of removing paint and rust.
Perhaps one thing that I really like about this product is that the manufacturer itself makes sure that their customers’ safety is not compromised. This can be evident by the polisher’s Safety Lock design. This is as opposed to most power tools on the market where you have to hold down the power switch when using them.
The TACKLIFE polisher, on the other hand, allows you to lock down your preference after choosing your speed settings. As a result, you can maintain the same speed all the time while keeping yourself safe when doing your polishing tasks. Also, the speed could range from 600 up to 3,500 RPM.
If you think that’s all there is to it, then wait until you see its built-in digital screen. This handy feature lets you indicate the tool’s current speed, thereby making it easier to achieve more accuracy when doing your work.
One thing, however, that I don’t really like about the TACKLIFE polisher is that it’s quite heavy compared to other products. Therefore, it might not be as comfortable when used.
9. DEWALT DWP849 Variable Speed Polisher
DEWALT certainly is a known brand when it comes to power tools. This variable speed polisher is yet another DEWALT product that can make for an excellent addition to your toolbox.
Featuring a 12-amp motor, the tool is powerful enough to take on a variety of boat buffing tasks. Additionally, it comes with a solid construction as well as a smooth appearance to make sure it can last for a long time while requiring very little maintenance.
Of all its features, one thing that really amazed me is how lightweight it is, despite looking quite heavy and intimidating. In fact, you won’t even believe it once you hold it in your hands. Its lightweight construction is really something that will help you work in various angles without any pressure.
Just like the DWP849X, the DWP849 polisher is also fitted with DEWALT’s Controlled Finishing System which is really useful for beginners. It ensures that the unit will start at a slow pace then eventually build up pressure when necessary. Also, its variable speed settings let you choose between 600 and 3,500 RPM.
Despite its powerful motor, the DWP849 is fairly easy to control. It has a cushioned handle that allows you to use it comfortably.
Of course, no product is perfect, so you can expect a few downsides to this unit. First off, it can overheat pretty quickly. And second, its switch tends to burn out fast, so extra caution is necessary when using it for long periods of time.
10. Avid Power AEP127 Polisher
If you’re in need of an easy-to-use polisher that can provide excellent performance, then the AEP127 from Avid Power is for you. In fact, due to its performance, it’s often the choice by a lot of professional detailers. If that still doesn’t convince you, then allow me to discuss its features.
First off, the AEP127 polisher comes with a 6-speed dial control so you can adjust its speed depending on its application. This means that you can use it for multiple applications. I also like the fact that it can be used on various surfaces, even on sand wood and metal.
Second, it comes with a rubberized body as well as an ergonomic design. The handle is made of a non-slip material to prevent any slipping when you’re doing your detailing work.
Third, the package includes a number of accessories which you can use while doing your work. There are two carbon brushes, one foam disc, one hex wrench, three foam pads, and a spanner.
The only problem I had is that the paint on your boat might get into the unit’s head, thereby affecting its performance. However, this is more of a design concern than anything.
11. Marine 31 7424XP Porter-Cable Boat Polish Kit
We’ve already talked about the specific features of the PORTER-CABLE 7424XP polisher above. This time, we’re going to talk about this boat polish and wax kit from Marine 31. Simply put, this is a kit that includes the 7424XP polisher alongside Marine 31’s products which are the gel coat polish & wax, the gel coat carnauba wax + sealant, foam pads, and microfiber detailing kits.
Just like the other kits I’ve included, this one has all the basic necessities you need for your boat detailing job. It’s not as complete as the other more expensive packages out there, but the items included will be more than enough to finish your typical detailing work.
Apart from the polisher, another highlight of this package is the Marine 31 polish which is a 2-in-1 product that includes both polish and wax. This way, you don’t have to buy a separate wax and polish since you can get them both in a single product.
Apart from that, there are also 2 foam pads and microfiber detailing cloths.
Despite it being a kit, there might be some accessories that you will have to buy depending on your specific application.
12. TCP Global Variable Speed Polisher
The last one on our list is the high-performance polisher from TCP Global. Made of hard and durable plastic, this unit is capable of meeting the needs of every boat owner in terms of polishing, waxing, or buffing their vehicle. Apart from that, car owners can benefit from its performance as well.
Due to its corded design, you won’t have to worry about it running out of battery life. Moreover, its variable speed settings allow you to adjust between 1,000 and 3,000 RPM any time you like. It’s also powered by a 12-amp motor which can let you do your detailing task very efficiently.
Apart from the polisher itself, the package also comes with waffle-type pads which are perfect for dealing with deep scratches as well as overheating issues, especially when working on very large surfaces. The kit comes with medium, fine, and extra-fine pads to choose from based on your specific application.
Perhaps the only major issue I find with this one is that it’s not an orbital polisher.
Boat Buffer Buying Guide
Who are Boat Buffers for?
Boat buffers are for boat owners who want to polish their boats in a quicker and more efficient manner. It allows them to effectively reinforce the protective yet sensitive surfaces of their boat and remove damages like cuts and scratches without having to spend hours doing so manually and ending up with sore hands and arms as a result.
Features to Consider When Buying a Boat Buffer
As with any purchase, buying any old boat buffer isn’t advisable as there are factors you need to consider when choosing one to ensure that you have the best polishing machine for your needs.
With that said, here are the things you need to consider when buying a boat buffer for your polishing needs.
When choosing the best polisher for your boat, you should first consider its type as there is quite a number to choose from. Depending on your needs and experience handling one, you will need to carefully consider the type of buffer you use. Here are the two most common types of boat polisher buffer.
- Rotary Buffer
If speed is what you’re looking for, then a rotary buffer is the best option. However, since these boat buffers are incredibly fast, many recommend that they only be used by professionals as improper handling may lead to paint damage. Moreover, the high-speed settings of this tool can cause instability while handling which can lead to accidents and injuries.
If you’re a beginner, then it might be best to stick to the dual action polisher for boat detailing models.
- Orbital Buffer
Orbital buffers don’t have the same amount of speed as rotary buffers but they are perfect if you’re removing smaller scratches. It typically features a spinning shaft on top of which the buffer is located. Otherwise known as “floating,” this buffer doesn’t spin per se, rather the head vibrates to polish your boat’s surface.
Applying too much pressure on it will prevent the head from spinning, a good sign if you don’t want to accidentally damage the paint job of your boat. However, it’s only limited to small scratches and cuts – it’s incapable of handling deeper cuts.
When choosing a buffer for your boat, you will need something that offers more versatility in terms of speed, giving you the option to move as slowly or quickly as you wish. This is because the speed of your buffer needs to be adjusted, depending on what area of your boat you’re polishing. For example, you will need a slower, more deliberate speed when working with sections but quicker speed for walls.
Having a polisher with variable speed settings is ideal as this gives you increased versatility when working. This will can be seen in the measurement of RPM or revolutions per second, with many rated around 0 to 2500.
Another factor to take into account is the weight of your tool. You will need to lift it so it’s best if you get something lightweight as the weight can also affect how you handle your buffer. This especially true if you will be working with it for long periods of time. A heavy buffer will be harder to carry and you might require more rest in-between polishing sessions due to the weight.
Since a buffing a boat tends to be arduous work, you will need a buffer that’s durable enough to be worth the investment. You wouldn’t want to keep repairing or repurchasing the same tool because of the lack of durability as this will end up costing you more than investing in a highly durable model.
Determining its durability can be done by evaluating the features of your chosen boat buffer. You can also check out the warranty offered by the company to ensure its quality and durability.
5. Vibration and Stability
Buffers are powered by motors which is why you need to consider the vibration created by the tool. This can affect the stability of the tool since a buffer that creates more vibration tends to be uncomfortable and unstable to work with. This is why it might be best to go for a buffer that creates less vibration for easy handling and detailing.
Speaking of comfort, when working with something that produces immense vibration like a buffer, comfort is one of the factors you need to consider, especially if working with them for long periods of time. This is because an uncomfortable grip will lead to sore hands more quickly.
Weight and a well-positioned grip will come into play when it comes to comfort. Aside from being well-positioned, it needs to have a soft finish such as rubber so it’s easy and comfortable to hold.
7. Random Orbit Action
Since buffers are meant to make the arduous task of polishing your boat easier and more efficient, it’s best to get a polisher that has random orbit action. With this, you can change the angle of the head to vary the rotation, allowing for a smoother and more efficient buffering experience, even when the surface is uneven.
This is especially helpful when it comes to corners and edges, often reaching into places wherein normal buffers wouldn’t be able to.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using a Boat Buffer
Every product has its advantages and disadvantages and boat buffers aren’t any different. When it comes to using buffers for polishing boats, here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using one compared to regular elbow grease.
- You achieve your desired results in a quicker and more efficient manner.
- You get a smooth finish almost every time you use it.
- You don’t have to spend hours polishing just one area of your boat.
- It costs more than polishing manually.
- It’s an investment so make sure to only get one if you’re going to use it often.
- It takes time and experience to master using one without damaging the sensitive gel coat of your boat.
Care and Maintenance of Boat Buffers
To ensure a longer lifespan for your marine buffer polisher, then proper care and maintenance is needed. Here are some tips on what you can do to prolong its lifespan:
- Make sure to check the instructions of your boat buffer as this will give you everything you need to know about that specific boat polishing machine.
- Keep all cables and anything electrical away from water and ensure they are dry before operating it.
- Always keep it free from dust and other particles that may affect its performance.
- Always check the electrical wires to see if they are still intact and don’t attempt to fix them yourself if you see anything amiss.
- If there seem to be problems with your buffer such as strange noises or damages, stop using it and call technicians to have it repaired.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Buff and Wax?
If you plan on buffing and waxing your boat without knowledge or experience, it might be best to hire professionals to do the job. However, DIY is possible as long as you follow the next steps:
- Prepare your needed equipment. This includes the items you will need to clean your boat, your buffer, clean and dry rugs, as well as the attire you need.
- Remove the boat from the water. As you will need to clean the boat first, you will need to remove it from the water and allow the hull to dry completely.
- Divide the surface area into sections for even distribution and effort. This is necessary, especially for bigger boats as this will allow you to work systematically.
- Wash the hull to remove most of the stains and dirt. For this, you will need to use marine-grade cleaning agents, especially for tough stains. Dry thoroughly after washing before applying the wax.
- Apply the wax on the surface. Apply evenly on the surface. Make sure not to use too much or too little.
- Buffer the surface until even or when you’re satisfied with the results. Make sure to start slow and gradually increase the RPM then decrease as you finish. Don’t use too much force or pressure as this may result in damages to the sensitive surface.
- Repeat for the next section. Repeat each step until you cover all ground.
- Wipe the surface with a clean cloth. This removes any excess wax from your boat’s hull or surface.
- Inspect each spot to see which needs retouches.
How Many Times Should I Use My Buffer or Polisher Pads Before They Need Replacing?
For smaller-sized boats, around 6 to 8 uses is enough and even less for bigger boats. You will need to replace them once they’re thin as this can cause damage to your boat.
Can I Use Wax or Polish on Boat Surfaces?
Although it’s possible to use, it’s not advised. This is because unlike cars, boats are constantly exposed to water and the elements, therefore, they are more prone to oxidation. Marine-grade wax and other products are designed to deal with this unique environment.
How Often should I Polish My Boat?
Polishing your boat at least twice a year is essential if you want to prevent the paint from fading, the surface from rusting, as well as chalking and other damages.
How Many Coats of Wax or Polish is Needed?
For the most part, one coat is enough and most products advise applying a single coat of the product. However, there are some products that are more effective when you apply more than once. However, the general rule remains: one coat is often enough as long as you cover everything and it’s evenly applied.
Why Do I Need to Clean My Boat Surface Before Applying Wax and Buffing?
Cleaning your boat’s hull will remove most of the dirt and stains from it, giving you a clean slate before applying the wax. Cleaning it before buffing will also prevent your buffer from driving bits of debris further into your boat’s surface, damaging the delicate protective coating.
Polishing your boat adds more than just to its aesthetic appeal. Polishing it also reinforces the protection added by the applied wax, allowing your boat’s surface to withstand the wear and tear brought upon it by the constant exposure to the water as well as other elements.
Using a boat buffer will make the job easier and more efficient, saving you the time and energy and allow you to enjoy your boat instead. However, it can be difficult to find the best boat buffer, especially with the extensive variety of options available out there.
With the aforementioned boat buffer polisher reviews and buying guide, you can now make a sound decision when purchasing your preferred buffer for your boat.