Boats could be polished by hand, but the best way to cover hundreds of square feet of fiberglass is with an electric polisher. Polishers vary in speed, power, quality, and accessories.
Our guide will help you to understand the differences between various models so you can choose the best polisher for your boat.
Best Boat Buffers
Here are the top 10 buffers for your boat.
DeWalt tools are top of the line because of their reputation for quality. They are the choice of professionals of all trades, although they can be a bit pricey. If you plan on polishing multiple boats every day DeWalt is your best choice. You can save a bit on the cost of buying the polisher if you already have DeWalt tools with interchangeable DeWalt battery packs.
- Available in cordless or corded models
- 12.0 Amps for variable speeds from 0 to 3500 RPM
- Includes three-position handle for comfort and flexibility
Black & Decker tools are an easy, off-the-shelf choice for beginners. This polisher needs a power cord, so as long as you have an extension cord you will be able to polish your entire boat. This unit is small and compact, which is comfortable and easy to get into tight spaces. What this polisher lacks in size it makes up for in speed; 4,400 orbits per minute will give your boat a fantastic shine.
- Runs on random orbit at 4,400 orbits per minute for a swirl-free finish
- 10-foot cord for large projects
- Includes two handles for comfort
The Shurhold 3400 is an entry-level professional model. It has all of the powers and features of a top-of-the-line model at an entry-level price. This polisher is a good choice for owners of large boats (30’ LOA x 10’ beam) or larger. Because larger boats have so much surface area you will want a professional unit like the Shurhold.
- Includes 7” quick change backing plate
- Thumb controlled variable speed dial
- Variable speeds from 600-3,200 RPM
The Avid power polisher is a simple-to-use powerful tool. At a maximum speed of 6,800 RPM, this polisher will bring out the finest shine in our boat, although keep in mind that to reach such speeds you will have applied four or five coats of wax.
- 6-speed control dial allows you to adjust the polisher from 1,500 to 6,800 RPM
- Rubberized body and ergonomic handle for comfort
- Includes 3 foam pads, 1 foam disc, 1 spanner, 1 hex wrench, and 2 carbon brushes
Makita is known for its high reliability at a great value, and this polisher is no exception. With 10 amps of power up to 3,200 RPM and a 7″ disc, you will be able to cover most boats with ease. This kit includes a handy carrying case for your polisher and accessories.
- 10 amps
- 0-3,200 RPM
- The two-handle design includes a large rubberized grip handle for various hand positions
The Goplus electric car polisher is all of the polisher that you will need for your boat, but the value in this kit is the large selection of 16 sponges. This will be more than enough to get you through two seasons keeping your boat ship-shape.
- 6 variable speeds from 1,000 to 3,000 RPM
- Comes with two wool pads, 4 wave-type sponge pads, 2 sponge conversion plates, five 6″ sponge round pads, five 7” sponge round pads, and 2 towels
- Large D-shaped handle for easy control
This kit has it all, including a top-of-the-line DeWalt polisher, a complete line of Marine 31 polish and wax, and enough polishing pads to get you started. Keep in mind that the DeWalt polisher is the corded model, but that will work just fine as long as you have an extension cord.
- Includes DeWalt 7”/9” variable speed rotary polisher
- King includes Marine 31 Gel coat oxidation cleaner, Gel-coat final step polish, and Carnauba Wax & Sealant
- Kit includes wool cutting pad, polishing pad, and finessing pad
The Vonhuas Rotary Polisher gives you the best control and dexterity to polish your boat to your specifications. The large D-Ring handle is ergonomically simple and comfortable to hold at any angle, and the flywheel speed control allows you to make the adjustments you need to get the shine just right.
- 10 amps for 600-3,000 RPMs
- Designed for 7” pads
- Kit includes 4 foam pads, 1 wool pad, and polishing bonnet
The HIMIMI 6 inch polisher gives you convenient control at your fingertips, and with power up to 6,400 RPM you will be able to give your boat the finest shine. The 6-inch disc is great for reaching tight corners such as around portholes, but a 6-inch disc will not cover as quickly as larger discs, so this polisher is better for smaller boats.
- 6 variable speeds from 2,000 to 6,400 RPM
- Detachable Handle
- 4 pads for cars, boats, furniture, sanding, and waxing
The TCP global polisher will cover your boat with ease. This kit includes a selection of pads to get you started on your first polish and wax, and it includes pad cleaning spur to keep your polisher running.
- Includes 4 pad buffing and polishing kit
- 12 amps for variable speeds from 1,000 to 3,000 RPM
- Includes foam waffle pads and wool pads
Buyer-s Guide – Finding the Right Boat Buffer for You
Boat buffers and polishers vary in cost from about $20 to $350 or more including batteries, accessories, and replacement pads. This guide will help you keep in mind what features are important so that you can pick the right buffer for your boat.
Higher RPM means a finer shine, but that’s not the entire story when polishing fiberglass. Most of the work polishing a boat will be done at lower RPMs while removing oxidation, which is the signs of weathering on the top (gel) coat of the fiberglass. After polishing and removing the oxidation 3,000 RPM should be plenty to buff out the wax. For ultra-high shine purposes or to improve speed by waxing below the waterline on high-performance boats, higher RPMs may be used for subsequent coats of wax.
Polishing a boat with an uncomfortable polisher will make a dinghy feel like the titanic. When choosing a buffer keep in mind ergonomic features such as large handles, rotating discs, and the location of the controls. When considering comfort more adjustments on the buffer are better because any position will get tiring over time, especially on a large boat.
Some buffers include a full set of pads, which comes in handy while working on the first polish and wax. Other polishers have name brands, but might be more of a premium polisher than a casual boater needs. Smaller polishers may seem economical, but not for large boats which might take an excessive amount of time. Buyers will find the right polisher for their needs as long as you focusing on the ergonomics and power needed for the job.
Our product guide will help you chose the best buffer for your boat. Each helpful review explains the product features and value for the product. Choose wisely and enjoy using a buffer that meets your expectations to save your elbows and back while giving your boat lasting protection and shine.