Best Auto Buffers Review
Deciding the perfect fit for you!

best auto detailing tips

Welcome to Best Auto Buffers Review where I am going to walk you through the difficult process of picking a top rated car buffer. In today's world of the Internet, most of you will find yourself sifting through too much information and opinions, rather than not enough.

As society we are on information overload and anyone with an opinion now has a stage to voice their opinion. Any trip into one of the many car and detail forums will only confirm we are drowning in a sea of endless opinions; most of which originate from people who really have no business even offering up an opinion in the first place. It seems we are now living in a world of free information that is little more than people looking to simply give an opinion.

I get it! It feels good to give an opinion regardless of whether this opinion actually comes from first hand experience, or more importantly what I call "real-world" experience.

But when it comes to making important decisions, how does one tell which are the good opinions versus the bad.

Real World Experience!

auto buffers

"Darren, I visit so many detail and car forums and each time I walk away being more confused and frustrated than ever. Can you help me figure out what is the best fit for me when it comes to choosing from what feels like an endless selection of auto buffers?"

Unlike most other car buffer reviews, my reviews come from the real world of professional detailing. The reality is that 80% of the people offering opinions on the many car forums have no business offering their opinions...

Opinions which are generally based on very limited experience and knowledge. Only 20% of the people are actually qualified to give an opinion and offer tips that are based on real-world experience. To make matters even worse, many of these so-called experts have hidden agendas based simply based on their own pocket book or self-promotion.

"Unfortunately most people like yourself lack the experience and knowledge to even ask the right questions in order to make a true informed decision. If you had the answers, you likely wouldn't be here in the first place!"

Darren's Auto Buffer Review made Simple!

If you are anything like myself which I know many of you are, you would appreciate things made simple by someone you can trust; my goal is to be that someone....

  1. Today's buffers are more user friendly than ever before.
  2. I can perform 99% of my professional and personal detail polishing and buffing with a single polisher.
  3. 95% of you will only ever need a single polisher for all your polishing needs. Whether you are a driveway detailer, enthusiast, or looking to go professional. And most often, this will be a quality random orbital like the ones below.
  4. The good news is that due to the newer car polishers/buffers, you no longer have to start with some low-budget entry level polisher if you are a true beginner.
  5. I have instructed hundreds of people with this same checklist and philosophy, and have never had anyone tell me they weren't able to come to the best decision for themselves.

Auto Buffers:
Myth Busting!

Before we get too far into selecting a top rated car buffer, let's begin by busting a few bad rumors that continue to circulate and have likely caused you confusion yourself.

  • You should never use a car buffer. Polishing a car by hand is the only way and the safest way.

False! Yes, you could argue that polishing by hand is the safest way as far as not creating swirl marks or burning any edges, but the simple fact is that no person will ever be able to maintain the consistency of speed, pressure, and duration produce by using a car buffer over using your hand. There is a reason that in virtually every area of craftsmanship, the use of powers tools exists for a reason. Because when you match up the right tool with the right craftsman; amazing things happen! Car buffers and polishing your car with a quality car buffer is no exception.

  • I heard that once you touch your car with a buffer, the paint is never the a bad way.

Depends. I know; I hate that answer also. But it really does depend. It depends on lots of things. The good news is that with today's car buffers, polishes, compounds, and buffing pads, it would be hard for even an "out of the box" beginner to actually screw car paint up! The car buffers and everything else that goes along with polishing your car have been engineered to perform at such an entry level position, a monkey could do it and produce far better results than you will if you think you are gonna do it by hand.

Let's Help You Pick the Right Car Buffer

auto buffers review tips

Having grown up in the world of professional detailing, I was limited to high-speed car polishers. Today's auto buffers consist of both high-speed (rotary) and what is called random orbital or DA (dual action) car buffers.(I am using a DeWalt rotary polisher to polish out the gel coat on a boat in this picture)

While the heavy lifting of paint correction and car polishing has traditionally been left to the high-speed car polishers, today's DA car buffers can achieve virtually the same results as a high-speed buffer without the risk generally associated with high-speed (rotary) car buffers.

Random Orbital, Dual Action Buffers

Random orbitals are what many consider to be the best auto buffers for the largest group of people; from beginners to professionals. Also called DA for dual action, these car buffers are designed to replicate the motion of your hand when applying polish or wax; there are (2) rotating points. (Think of the earth spinning on its axis, while circling around the sun.)

  • Random orbitals are considered the safest car buffers due to lower RPM's and non-forced rotation. This means that if too much pressure is applied, it will cease to spin (it continues to oscillate, but not spin) and therefore minimize risk to the paint. This is why it is called a random orbital; versus a forced rotation dual action polisher.
  • The tool most people will want to start with and likely the last polisher you will ever need moving forward regardless of where your detailing path takes you. This would be the one I recommend for virtually anybody looking to learn how to use a car polisher for the first time.
  • Also ideal for any true beginner due to the non-forced, dual action motion; extremely easy to maintain control while using.

Darren's Top Pick for Random Orbital Buffers
(Also known as dual-action or DA)

Griot's Garage 10813STDCRD 6" Random Orbital Polisher with 10' Cord

  • One of the exact DA buffers I use professionally.
  • The perfect auto buffer 95% of you will ever need.
  • From applying wax to high levels of paint correction.
  • As easy to use as easy can get.
  • From a complete beginner to advanced professional.
  • Louder and less ergonomically friendly as other higher priced DA polishers.

Shurhold 3500 Professional Grade Dual Action Polisher Pro

  • Based on the quality and the price; this polisher is actually my first choice as the winning combination.
  • Winning price, performance, ergonomics, and overall user experience.
  • The most under-rated random orbital car buffer on the market!
  • I promise, you will not be disappointed!
  • One of the auto buffers I now use as my go-to car buffer professionally.

Professional Grade Random Orbital Auto Buffers
(Also known as dual-action or DA)

Darren's Note:

The professional grade random orbital car buffers below are in-fact professional grade equipment which is reflected in the price. What you don't know is that along with the added cost, mostly what you are getting is name recognition which is code for paying for a name-brand car buffer.

But once again I get the draw and allure of shopping a top rated car buffer that everyone and their brother is calling the best, or the coolest. And if that is how you roll, then you will want one of the versions below.

Rupes LHR 21 Mark II Big Foot Random Orbital Polisher

  • For those who are looking for the next level in performance.
  • For those of you that generally shop for what is considered the best regardless of cost.
  • A high quality, dual-action car buffer.
  • Made in Italy from a well known tool manufacturer.
  • Second generation version.
  • One of the many buffers I own and use professionally.

Griot's Garage BG21 21 mm THE BOSS Long-Throw Orbital

  • A true professional grade car polisher.
  • From a company that has specialized in cosmetic car care for decades.
  • Featuring the latest in performance, ergonomics, and technology.
  • Also one of the many car buffers I own and have tested in the real world.

Rotary Car Buffers
(High-speed buffers)

Rotary or high-speed car buffers are considered the red-headed step children by many inexperienced and misinformed people. Similar to the proverbial gun debate that guns don't kill... high-speed buffers don't damage paint; people do! Now the industry has responded with updated forms of these necessary tools with reduced starting speeds that make these tools every bit as safe as an orbital car buffer.

They are still heavier and more difficult to use due to the weight, but nonetheless, they are very safe when used at the lowest speed settings.

  • Slow start speeds of 600 RPM's (this is very slow!)
  • Every bit as safe as any orbital auto buffers.
  • Represent the broadest range of performance and abilities that can be used in every form of car, boat, or RV polishing.
  • Slower speeds mean that true swirl free finish can be obtained without switching to orbital car polisher as a finishing tool.
  • Based on your budget and expectations with regard to build quality, any of the (2) auto buffers below will not disappoint and will last you a lifetime of use!

Top Rated High-Speed Car Buffers
(Also known as rotary polishers)

DEWALT DWP849X 7-Inch/9-Inch Variable Speed Polisher with Soft Start

  • One of my favorites.
  • The exact car polisher I use for any of my "heavy lifting".
  • A must have if you plan on doing fiberglass/gel coat restoration or polishing for heavy duty oxidation removal.
  • Soft start for a great user experience.
  • Super slow run speed starting at 600 rpm.

This high-speed car polisher from DeWalt is a true work horse. Yes you could spend more on a top rated car buffer, but if you are not concerned with "appearances" and having to shop based on perception, then this DeWalt is an excellent choice and will provide endless years of true professional level performance.

This is the exact auto buffer that 95% of all body shops use because they are such work horses and can truly perform at a professional level.

The Mercedes of High-Speed Car Polishers

FLEX (PE 14-2 150) POLISHFLEX Compact Variable Speed Rotary Car Polisher

  • Considered the Mercedes of car polishers.
  • German made; German engineering.
  • Your choice when ultimate in user experience and performance is a must.
  • Based on the price difference between the Flex and the De Walt, you can also see why big-time body shops are not supplying their workers with the refinement of the Flex polisher.

I realize there are those of you that simply want the best of the best. If you consider yourself one of those people then the Flex rotary polisher is going to be your pick as the top rated car polisher.

I accept that as a rule we truly get what we pay for, and while I know I can produce the same end result with the DeWalt from above, that I can with this Flex, the difference comes down to the user experience, and the user experience behind this polisher will simply be "better".

Darren's Professional Tips:

polishing mercedes benz

Most of us live on tighter budget than we would like, so most of you will be deciding upon one of these auto buffers that will do the most with the least price. In a perfect world you would probably have 4 different types of polishers; a specific buffer for a specific job. ( I currently have 3 polishers I rotate in and out of testing as can be seen in the various pictures of this website) With all that said, how do you decide upon the best buffer that will do the most and allow you to go the furthest. Without knowing your world, all I can do is apply my perspective based on years of experience:

  • The most simple answer will be to choose one of the random orbital auto buffers from above; my top pick that represents the winning combination of features is the Shurhold.
  • Everything has limitations and trade-off's. Hopefully you know what those are based on these auto buffers I have reviewed.
  • 95% of you will only ever need a single polisher to start with and it will last you for years to come; so go with one of the random orbitals.
  • For the other 5% of you that either want to have ultimate in versatility and want to branch out into other areas of detailing such as heavy oxidation removal on boats and RV's, you will need a rotary for those types of jobs. With that said, I would still begin with one of the random orbitals and work up from there as you progress in skill.

Auto Buffers Review

My goal is to always provide what I consider usable information, not information for the sole purpose of entertainment. Hopefully you are much more informed and can make a decision as to what the winning combination of auto buffers means in your world.

Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel and can be done so using the icon at the bottom of this page.


darren priest signature

› Best Auto Buffers Review