Top 13 Best Boat Buffer – Reviews and Buying Guide

Whether you’re looking to keep your boat looking great or looking to improve the value of your fiberglass hull, polishing is one of the best routes you can take.
If you intend to polish your boat hull by hand, it’s obvious you will use a huge amount of elbow grease, and it will take you forever to complete the project.

Do you know what the simpler way is? Using the best boat polisher.

Our Pick


The Best Boat Buffer on the Market

Easy control, Robust construction, Variable speed settings from 0 to 600 & 0 to 3500 RPM, Wool ingestion shields and a powerful motor has made this the best one overall.

This article is intended to help you find the best polisher for boats.

We’re confident that any of the products on our list will help you keep your boat, car or plane looking great without much hassle.

We’ve selected only the finest boat buffers to ensure you get professional results pretty fast.

So, let’s jump in. 

Our Top 10 Best Boat Buffer Reviews In 2020

1. DEWALT DWP849X Boat Buffer

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We can all agree that Dewalt is one of the most renowned manufacturers of valuable power tools.

Well, when it comes to buffers, the brand isn’t left behind. Its DWP849X polisher is definitely one of the best boat polisher for numerous reasons.

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to polish boats or cars, you will certainly benefit a lot from this machine’s 12-amp motor that delivers unmatched power and performance capabilities.

The variable speed settings will also be most helpful.

With the boat buffer, you are ensured of durability, thanks to the precision-cut steel gears, which are heat-treated to ensure they remain strong for many years.

Additionally, there’s the ball-bearing construction, which makes sure the tool lasts.

Don’t want to deal with high servicing costs? Tell you what?

The machine is designed with wool ingestion shields to protect the internal parts from dust and other little particles that might fly in there especially during the polishing.

This protection keeps the need for servicing to a minimum and, of course, prolongs the machine’s lifespan.

Wondering about the comfort? First, the boat buffer is pretty lightweight, weighing in at just 6.7 pounds.

There are two handles on it to ensure you’re able to grab it firmly and maintain proper balance. What’s more, these handles are covered with rubber to boost comfort.

Changing the polishing accessories on the machine doesn’t need any tools. The backing pad features a hook-and-loop system that makes the removal and installation effortless. 

Highlighted features:

  • Two different handles for easy gripping and control
  • Variable speed settings from 0 to 600 and 0 to 3500 RPM
  • Wool ingestion shields
  • Robust construction
  • Gear case made of non-marring rubber to minimize imperfections
  • 12-amp motor for high power 

2. TORQ 10FX Random Orbital Polisher

TORQ 10FX Random Orbital Polisher
  • Lightweight construction with vibration reduction technology
  • Digital display and speed control buttons for precise and intuitive control
  • Internal components and machine configuration finely balanced for superior ease of use and unmatched user experience
  • Smooth power delivery and start-up function. Voltage: 110 Volts
  • Ergonomic design with streamlined controls for maximum comfort

Random orbital action in the head is one of the features that make boat buffers not only super easy to control but also super effective.

This is one of the reasons why the TORQ 10FX is at the top of our list, and of course, there are many other cool features you will love about it.

Weighing in at only 5.5 pounds, the tool is made to ensure you don’t get tired quickly when using it.

It features a compact design, and this is extremely helpful when you want to navigate tight spaces especially at the transom.

Vibration is one of the factors affecting handheld power tools like boat buffers. But with the 10FX’s vibration reduction technology, that’s a problem you won’t have to deal with.

Another issue affecting handheld power tools is the loss of balance while using them.

But, as the precision power motor and gearing are blended up with an intuitive user interface in this Torq boat buffer, the balance is smooth and harmonious.

The 10FX is all about superior user experience, and another feature earmarked for that is the different speed control settings.

You get to choose from six different speeds, from low to high, so that you’re able to buff your items based on the situation you’re dealing with.

If you’re looking for an electric buffer for polishing boat that will help you handle a range of tasks from polishing paint and removing scratches and swirl marks to spreading wax and removing water spots, this buffer would be a perfect choice.

With it, you can buff not only boats but also seats, carpets, cars, and more. 

Highlighted features:

  • Six different speed settings from low to high
  • Rigged support for stability when placed down
  • Digital display for easy configuration
  • Heavy-duty construction for longevity
  • Applicable to different detailing needs
  • Lightweight and compact

3. TORQ TORQX Random Orbital Polisher

Torq BUF503 TORQX Random Orbital Polisher
  • Polishes and removes swirls, scratches, and defects from all painted vehicles
  • Developed for enthusiasts and professionals using heavy-duty construction
  • Applies wax, sealant, and glaze in minutes
  • Easy-to-use features for any detailing enthusiast or professional
  • Designed with streamlined controls for maximum comfort on any automobile surface

The Torqx is yet another best polisher for boats from the Torq brand that’s a perfect pick for anyone looking for excellent performance, durability, and ease of use.

This is a multipurpose machine that helps you handle varying detailing jobs, including removing swirls and sratches, polishing paint, spreading sealant, and cleaning headlights to restore their clarity.

Thus, rather than buying different machines for each of these tasks, it’d be cheaper and more convenient to get the Torqx and use it for all the tasks.

Another great factor is that the polisher is applicable to a wide range of items. Whether you need to detail trailer sidewalls, RVs, airplanes, car or boats, it’s a buffer that you can use and expect awesome results.

The tool’s motor delivers 680 watts, which is enough energy to power the wheel and execute the buff professionally.

Coupled with the tool’s dual action motion, the power of the tool ensures you’re able to polish your boat or vehicle in your preferred style and achieve great results.

What we loved most about the tool?

That compact design and weight. Yep, the machine is very little and lightweight, such that you can hold and operate it with one hand.
Its compact nature enables you to work through squeezed spaces.

If you need the complete polishing package that works for everyone, the Torqx won’t disappoint you. It comes with pads and buffing compounds and polishes to ensure you use it right from the box. 

Highlighted features:

  • For varying detailing jobs from polishing and cleaning to waxing
  • Easy to use
  • Lightweight
  • Compact design
  • Sturdy-built 

4. Marine 31 All-In-1 Gel Coat Polish and Wax

Marine 31 All-in-One Gel Coat Polish & Wax 32 oz.
  • Made in USA
  • Eco Friendly
  • A polish and wax – in one.
  • In one simple step, Marine 31 All-In-One Gel Coat Polish & Wax removes oxidation and staining while leaving a glossy, durable layer of wax protection.

Up to this point, we’ve talked about the best boat buffers for polishing. So now, we thought we’d throw in a good polish that will help you restore your gelcoat to a nice shine.

This 32-ounce bottle of the Marine 31 All-In-1 Gel Coat Polish and Wax will be profoundly useful when buffing your boat. Through our research, we found it to be one of the best solutions for removing gelcoat stains or light rusting.

This boat buffer is formulated with propriety cleaning ingredients and micro-abrasives that get rid of any stubborn dirt and stains on your boat hull.

Now, rather than using bleaching agents, which can harm the gelcoat, why not apply the power of this cleaner, which is hard on stains but gentle on the gelcoat?

The formula also integrated with nourishing oils, which ensure your boat's surface becomes shiny and stays that way for a long time.

When you’re done cleaning and polishing the boat, it’s always good to apply some wax, so the polish stays protected especially from the water.

But do you have to buy polish and then purchase wax separately? Not if you’re using the Marine 31 polish.

The boat buffer leaves a durable wax layer and sturdy protection against the water, and this helps maintain your surface’s sheen for a long time.

Want to apply your polish by hand or with a machine, perhaps? Well, this product will suit you either way. It fits whatever application style you choose.

Highlighted features:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Can be applied by hand or with a buffing machine
  • 32 oz in volume
  • Easy to apply
  • Long lasting gelcoat protection
  • Polish and wax in one product

5. Marine 31’s Porter Cable 7424xp Boat Polish and Wax Kit

Marine 31 Porter Cable 7424xp Boat Polish & Wax Kit
  • Porter Cable 7424XP Variable Speed Polisher
  • Lake Country Dual Action 5 Inch Flexible Backing Plate
  • 16 oz. Marine 31 All-In-One Gel Coat Polish & Wax
  • 16 oz. Marine 31 Gel Coat Carnauba Wax + Sealant
  • Lake Country CCS 6.5 inch Orange and Blue Pad with 2 Microfiber Detailing Cloths (16 x 16 inches) (color may vary)

Need the best boat polisher kit that comes with everything needed to start boat polishing?

Well, we have seen it’s more economical to by a kit rather than purchase a polisher and then purchase the polish, polishing pad and all the other cleaning items that are needed separately.

The Porter Cable 7424xp variable speed boat buffer from Marine 31 is the perfect boat or car polishing kit as it comes with all the items needed and they are super effective.

First, there’s the polisher, which has a couple of features you’ll love. For instance, it has variable speed settings so that you can set your preferred polishing speed.

The polisher is very light, and you can carry and operate it without much effort.

This boat buffer machine is also designed for maximum comfort. You can grab it by the tail and stabilize the machine by holding the side handle.

 Apart from the comfortability factor, there’s also the fact that it’s a compact little machine which can be operated in tight spaces.

Aside from the polisher, the kit includes the Marine 31 polish (16 ounces), which is a 2-in-1 product that contains both polish and wax.

With this, you just apply the polish, and a wax layer is left behind, protecting the surface, so there’s no need to buy wax separately.

This boat buffer kit also comes with a 16-oz bottle of Carnauba wax and sealant. If you have been in the business of detailing, you might already know that Carnauba wax is one of the best kinds of wax, helping surfaces stay glossy and protected for longer.

Lastly, the kit includes two microfiber detailing cloths and two pads. 

Highlighted features:

  • A compact, lightweight polisher
  • A bottle of the all-in-1 polish and wax
  • 2 microfiber detailing cloths
  • 2 detailing pads
  • A bottle of carnauba wax and sealant

6. PORTER-CABLE 7424XP Variable Speed Polisher

PORTER-CABLE Variable Speed Polisher, 6-Inch (7424XP)
  • The car polisher is 4.5 Amp, AC Only
  • The variable speed polisher features electronic variable-speed dial 2,500-6,800 OPM
  • Random orbit, swirl-free sanding/polishing action
  • Includes 5-inch proprietary counter balance for use with 6-inch sanding/polishing pad
  • Accepts 5/16 - 24 spindle thread accessories

In the review above, we talked about the Marine 31 boat buffer kit, which includes the PORTER-CABLE 7424XP buffer among other detailing items.

 We gave you a few highlights about the polisher, but now, it’s time to delve deeper into what this machine is all about.

Well, the tool’s random-orbit polishing action is what we loved most about it. What’s that?

You ask! Random orbit action means that the angle of rotation of the polisher’s head is variable. That makes it very easy to work on uneven surfaces or tricky parts like corners and edges without much difficulty.

When you want to achieve an even, smooth surface, you can count on the random orbit action of this polisher to make it happen.

Something else you will find most helpful about this little tool is the variable speeds. When you’re polishing different surfaces, it’s inevitable that you’ll need to use varying speeds.

For instance, you might want to use a low speed when polishing the floors and perhaps get faster when you reach the walls.

The tool’s speed setting range from 2500 to 6800 RPM, thus facilitating both slow and high-speed polishing.

It’s apparent that the engineers who made this device were very keen in ensuring that the user has the best experience when using it.

In that regard, the oat buffer is designed for easy gripping. You can hold it with both hands, with one hand grabbing the tail and the other grabbing the side handle; this makes the operation a piece of cake.

Still on comfort, the 7424XP is one of the lightest polishers we’ve come across. It weighs in at just over four pounds and features a compact design. 

Highlighted features:

  • Variable speed dial
  • Super lightweight
  • Many gripping surfaces
  • Random orbit action
  • Comes with a six-inch polishing pad

7. Owatrol Gelcoat Restorer Boat Buffer

Does your gelcoat look discolored and dull?

We’d recommend you polish it not with any product out there but with Owatrol’s Gelcoat Restorer. If you really want your boat to regain its color and sheen, this is one of the products you should consider using.

When use regular polishes and wax to treat your faded fiberglass hull, these products might dry out quickly, and you might not achieve the results you wanted.

 Or, you may need to use too much polish and wax, which isn’t very economical or healthy for the gelcoat.

In that case, the best option is to use Owatrol’s solution, which works almost magically in restoring fiberglass.

Unlike polish, which stays on the surface of the fiberglass, this product is in the form of oil, and it penetrates deep into the fiberglass, making the original pigment wet and giving it back its glow.

The oil then dries into a long-lasting, versatile finish that protects the surface of your boat from the water, oxidation, and other agents of fiberglass damage.

Fortunately, the oil is super easy to apply; not any different from the way you apply regular finish. You just soak your pad in it before attaching it your buffer and then you move the buffer over the boat’s surface.

Or, you can use your hands to make the application.

The Gelcoat Restorer is also for those who want to save some cash. How? It’s polish as well as a form of wax. Thus, you won’t need to buy polish and wax separately.

Oh – and it doesn’t work on just fiberglass. You can also use it on plastic, stone, paint, and more. 

Highlighted feature:

  • Easy to apply
  • Leaves a durable protective coat
  • Penetrates through fiberglass to restore the glow
  • Economical – no need to buy polish and wax separately
  • A liter can cover 193 sq.ft.
  • Effective 

8. TORQ TORQX  Boat Buffer Polisher Kit

Chemical Guys BUF_503X TORQX Random Polisher Kit with Pads, Polishes & Compounds (9 Items)
  • Polishes and removes swirls, scratches, and defects from all painted vehicles
  • Developed for enthusiasts and professionals using heavy-duty construction
  • Applies wax, sealant, and glaze in minutes. Power : 700 W. Voltage : 120V
  • Easy-to-use features for any detailing enthusiast or professional; Dynamic performance
  • Designed with streamlined controls for maximum comfort on any automobile surface. The wide 2800 - 7800 RPM power band is ideal for polishing, waxing, scrubbing, and cleaning, the torqx the perfect...

Here goes another amazing polishing kit that anyone will find useful for a vehicle, plane or boat detailing job.

The TORQ TORQX Polisher Kit comes with nine different items, ensuring that you won’t need to look for any other item to buff your boat or vehicle.

Let’s look at some of the items that you get in the kit.

For starters, there’s the Torqx random orbital buffer. This polisher moves smoothly regardless of whether the surface is even or uneven, polishing and removing scratches, swirls, and other imperfections effectively.

The boat buffer is built with high-quality materials and has rugged components to minimize the effects of a hostile working environment.

 It features a heavy-gauge construction, and this gives it longevity and makes sure the tool lasts many years without losing its excellent detailing capacity.

Looking for a multipurpose detailing tool? If so, you’ll find the Torqx quite appropriate, as it’s not just good for polishing but also great when it comes to cleaning and waxing.

Upon startup, the internal components, especially the motor, might get damaged if the power is not controlled.

To counter that, the buffer is designed with advanced electronic control modules that ensure there’s smoothness when the power is rising.

This subsequently makes certain that the internal components, including the motor, are well protected. Some of the other items that come with the boat buffer kit include several bottles of polish, pads and detailing cloths. 

Highlighted features:

  • Built from durable materials
  • Advanced power control technology to protect the motor and the internal parts
  • Economy kit that includes all the needed detailing items
  • Effective polish
  • Ideal for different detailing needs including cleaning, waxing, scrubbing, and polishing 

9. BLACK+DECKER WP900 Waxer/Polisher Boat Buffer

BLACK+DECKER 6-inch Random Orbit Waxer/Polisher (WP900)
  • Random-orbit action assures a uniform finish - fast for the car polisher
  • Comfortable two-handle design of the variable speed polisher reduces fatigue
  • 10 ft. cord for great mobility
  • Includes foam applicator for easily applying wax or polish
  • Includes polishing bonnets for a high-quality finish

One of the issues that DIYers and professionals are often concerned about when detailing with an electric buffer is the length of the cord.


The cord’s length directly relates to the mobility of the buffer, and thus to the ease of use.

Now, the BLACK+DECKER WP900’s cord measures 10 feet, which we can all agree is long enough. With 10 feet, you can reach points that are far from the power source without much of a problem.

Another issue that you have to think about is the ease of use and the effort you’ll use working with the tool. Here’s some good news – the machine has two handles, meaning you can easily operate it using both hands.

That not only improves comfort but also makes it easier for left-handed people to control the machine.

So, if you’re left handed and you have avoided using electric boat buffers due to lack of compatibility, try the WP900 and see how it works out for you.

If you’re looking for a uniform finish, then you will love the random orbit action of the polisher.

The head changes its polishing angle to suit the surface, and this comes out very helpful when working around the edges, corners, and other uneven surfaces.

The boat buffer has a foam applicator, and you know what the relevance of that is? It’s for making the the application of polish and wax easier with better precision and a smooth flow. 

Highlighted features:

  • 10-foot cord for better mobility
  • Two handles for greater comfort
  • Random orbit action for evenness and speed
  • Can also apply wax and polish
  • Foam applicator for efficient polish and wax application 

10. Stainless Steel Liquid Polish by Marine 31

Marine 31 Stainless Steel Liquid Polish
  • Made in USA
  • Marine 31 Stainless Steel Liquid Polish is harbor-safe and eco-friendly.
  • Works on stainless steel, aluminum and chrome.

Looking for a high-quality but inexpensive polish to restore the gloss of your boat’s surface?

Well, look no further because the Stainless Steel Liquid Polish by Marine 31 will definitely give you the shine you seek and it’s pretty inexpensive as well.
First off, this polish works on a range of materials, including aluminum, chrome, and of course, stainless steel.

The most surprising thing is that it seems to hold onto the surface because long after application, the surface still looks shiny and nourished.

Thus, we can safely argue that this Marine 31 polish boat buffer is manufactured with durable, high-quality ingredients.

By the way, it’s made in the US, and what we know about our factories is that when it comes to quality, they can be trusted.

Moreover, Marine 31 is a truly trustworthy brand.

So, if your boat’s metal surfaces are affected by dullness or oxidation, treatment with this polish could be just the solution you’re looking for.

The liquid revitalizes the metals surfaces with a nice luster, and from a distance, everyone can see your boat has had a good makeover.

Fortunately, the product is certified as harbor safe and environmentally friendly, so there is nothing to worry about.

If you’re wondering about the ease of use, you’ll be pleased to learn that the boat buffer is super easy to apply. You can either choose to apply it to a pad and then use your hands to wipe it onto the boat, or you can use an electric buffer. 

Highlighted features:

  • Easy to use
  • Restores the sheen of your boat’s metal surfaces
  • Long-lasting results
  • Harbor safe
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Effective on aluminum, chrome, and stainless steel

11. WEN 10PMC Waxer/Polisher Boat Buffer

WEN 10PMC 10-Inch Waxer/Polisher in Case with Extra Bonnets
  • High performance 120-V 0.75-amp permanent magnet motor
  • 3200 orbits per minute
  • High impact insulated housing
  • Not just for cars; great on countertops, bathrooms and banisters
  • Includes two applicators bonnets, two polishing bonnets, two wool blend polishing bonnets, one wool blend washing mitt, and blow molded carrying case

If you want the most versatile polisher out there that safely and effectively works on different surfaces, you’ll find the WEN 10PMC quite fitting.

This boat buffer machine doesn’t just work on boats and vehicles; it also effectively polishes your garage, banister, bathroom, and other stone, ceramic, or metal surfaces. Now, isn’t that amazing?

Talking of the attachments, this tool happens to be one of the polishers that come with everything needed for polishing.

In that regard, the product comes with six bonnets. Two of these are for wool blending, two are for polishing, and two are for applying wax and polish.

Apart from that, a washing mitt is included. Don’t you agree it’s a pretty comprehensive deal?

What about the control? You’ll be glad to see that the tool has two gripping surfaces. That way, there’s greater polishing precision as you’re able to control the polishing machine better.

Are you struggling with stubborn stains? Perhaps you have tried scrubbing them off but they wont go away. Rather than relying on your hands or on a regular polisher to get them off, try the power of the WEN 10PMC. We’d recommend you combine that with the power of the Marine 31 All-In-1 Gel Coat Polish and Wax.

We’re quite certain that with those two, the stains will be kicked out with ease, and your surface will look flawless and elegantly glossy. 

Highlighted features:

  • Versatile polisher that works on a range of surfaces
  • Free washing mitts
  • Polishes and applies wax and polish
  • Blow molded carrying case
  • Random orbit action

12. Meguiar's G3500 Detailing Tool Boat Buffer

Meguiar's G3500 Dual Action Power System Tool – Boost Your Car Care Arsenal with This Detailing...
  • VERSATILE: Excellent multipurpose tool for waxing, polishing and compounding to give your car a smooth, glossy finish free of swirls, oxidation and stains
  • FAST AND EFFECTIVE: An easier way to detail your car by letting your drill do the work. Wax your whole car in less than a half hour!
  • TAKE THE NEXT STEP: Bridge the gap between detailing by hand and professional machine tools. You get the speed, ease and professional finish of machine work in an accessible, easy-to-use home tool
  • CONVENIENT: Attaches to most standard drills. Recommended for use with 3/8" corded drill that operates between 1,200 and 2,500 RPMs
  • ENHANCED RESULTS: Use with with Meguiar’s products for outstanding results. Pair with DA Polishing Power Pack G3502 to enhance gloss and shine (tool comes with one polishing power pad), DA Compound...

Do you have a handheld drill at home?

Well, come closer and let us tell you how you can save some bucks. Rather than buying an electronic buffing system, get the Meguiar's G3500 tool.

You see, a good electronic boat buffer will likely cost you over 100 US dollars. But this buffing tool from Meguiar's will only cost you around 40 bucks, presently (price may vary with time). So, you get to save over 60 dollars!

Isn’t that a fine deal?

The good news is, the G3500 is compatible with most of the standard drills. It’s best used with the 3/8-inch drill with speeds of around 1000 to 2500 revolutions per minute.

Thus, it is clear that with this boat buffer machine, you have the ability to move at a slow or fast buffing rate depending on the situation.

The tool is also quite versatile. With regards to that, it can be used not only for polishing but also compounding and waxing. It’s the perfect inexpensive means of a smooth, shiny finish that is free of stains, swirl marks, and dents.

The tool’s comfort and ease of use are other awesome aspects that are worth mentioning. First, there’s that ergonomically designed handle that makes it so easy to grasp and control the tool. It has a non-slip surface that ensures you’re not struggling too much to hold or operate the implement.
Apart from that, the implement is super lightweight, weighing in at just 7 ounces. Yep, 7 ounces! If your drill is lightweight as well, you shouldn’t get fatigued using your buffer. 

Highlighted features:

  • Extremely lightweight – just 7 ounces
  • Versatile – use it for polishing and waxing
  • Compatible with most drills
  • Dual action rotation for quick results

13. Griot's Garage 10813STDCRD Polisher Boat Buffer

Griot's Garage 10813STDCRD 6" Dual Action Random Orbital Polisher with 10' Cord with Foam Pads
  • Griot's Garage 6-inch Random Orbital (10" cord)
  • Orbital runs on 120 Volts, 60Hz
  • Pristinewerks 6" Correcting Green Foam Pad
  • Pristinewerks 6" Perfecting Black Foam Pad
  • Pristinewerks 6" Finishing White Foam Pad

And lastly, we have the Griot's Garage 10813STDCRD. This polisher may be the last item on this list, but it’s in no way the least. Its power, versatility, and ease of use make it one of the finest detailing machines you could ever use.

Let’s start with the ease of use. We have mentioned before that the length of the cord greatly influences a buffer’s ease of use.

Now, on that note, you will love the machine’s 10-foot cord. With that, you have enough slack to move about, polishing the boat without having to drag the power extension all the time.

Optionally, you can also get the 25-foot power cord to enjoy greater maneuverability.

The polishing machine features a 6-poisiton handle, which is not only rubberized but also adjustable. If this isn’t superior comfort and ease of use, then we don’t know what is.
The rubberized grips are meant to make sure the tool doesn’t slip as you operate it, but above that are the molded finger grips. These further give you control over the tool, ensuring your absolute comfort while using it.

Something else you’ll fall in love with is the 10813STDCRD versatility.

This boat buffer machine isn’t just for polishing your surfaces to remove swirl marks, dents, and other imperfections. As other best boat buffers, it can be used to apply wax and polish.

Again, you can use it on various surfaces, including boats, cars, planes, and even shower and garage doors.

Highlighted features:

  • Random orbit action
  • Easy to use
  • Long-lasting
  • Effective
  • Ergonomically designed for comfort
  • Applicable to a range of surfaces
  • Also applies wax and polish 

Things to Know Before Purchasing A Boat Buffer or Polisher

Things to Know Before Purchasing A Boat Buffer or Polisher

If you really want to get the best boat buffer for your needs, there are a couple of factors you need to take into consideration as explained below.

Speed Settings

When detailing a boat, there are times that you will want to move super slowly and there are times you’ll want to move fast to complete your work quickly. The speed needed will mostly depend on the nature of the part you’re polishing.

For instance, when polishing the walls, you can move fast because the surface is almost uniform and there are no creases.

But when buffing the edges or parts where there are attachments, then more caution will be needed, and you’ll need a slower speed.

So, go for a boat buffer with a variable speed setting. Speed is measured in RPM (revolutions per minute), and you might find it rated something like 0 to 2500 or 2500 to 6000.


This is a vital factor to consider if you want to get the best boat buffer. Most good boat buffers go for over a hundred bucks, so we’d imagine you don’t want to replace your tool after every few months.

You can check the pictures to see how sturdy the boat buffers looks and observe the features for information about the longevity but it’s also wise to look at what people are saying.

Another way of knowing whether or not the buffer is durable is to check the warranty. A longer warranty period is an indication that the tool is of high quality and the manufacturer has confident in its longevity.


Boat buffers comfort is defined by a few factors, the most important ones being the size, weight, and handles. If you’re looking for maximum comfort, look for a lightweight boat buffer so you won’t get very tired using it.

Also, get a boat buffer with handles, preferably coated with rubber, so you don’t bruises holding it for extended periods.

Another feature that is related to comfort is the placement of the speed dials. A good example of a buffer with conveniently-placed speed dials is the TORQ 10FX Random Orbital Polisher (the first item on our list).

When the speed dials are placed where you can reach them without a struggle, operating the tool is a breeze.

Random orbit action

For the sake of ease of use and effectiveness, we’d highly encourage you to get a polisher that employs random orbit action.

This means that the angle of rotation of the head varies with the nature of the surface, and thus, the polishing is done smoothly and effectively even if the surface is not very uniform.

Random orbit action is particularly helpful when buffing edges and corners, and when you’re working through tight spaces. 

That aside, it’s now time to learn how to use a boat buffer correctly and efficiently.

How to Polish A Boat with A Buffer: Beginner’s Guide

How to Polish A Boat with A Buffer Beginners Guide

Does your boat hull look dull or discolored?

That’s an indication that it’s been subjected to agents of wear and it makes one thing clear – it’s time to do some cleaning and waxing.

The process of polishing a boat is not that hard, and in fact, it’s not much different from polishing a car, but there are a few unique aspects as explained in the guide below. 

Let’s see how to properly polish your boat with a buffer. Follow these steps:

Wash off the dirt

Before polishing your boat, it’s obvious that the first thing you will need to do is get rid of all the dirt on it.

So, get the boat out of the water and place it on an even, flat surface.
After that, cover the boat, so the water doesn’t splash into the interiors.

It’s best to use a hose, so you’re able to execute the wash quickly. While hosing down the boat, be sure to get off all the loose dirt, especially the leaves and algae that might be stuck on the hull.

After spraying the hull with water and ensuring the loose grime has come off, use a wet sponge scrub off it off and remove the dirt that still holds onto the surface.

In case you come across stubborn dirt that won’t come off, use fine-grain sandpaper to deal with it. A 220-grain should do it.

Note: a power washer can ruin the gelcoat’s efficiency so don’t use it.

Get rid of the old wax

Old wax can hinder the rubbing compounds and the polish from working effectively, and that’s why you need to get rid of it.

So, soak a few rags in a dewaxing solvent like toluene and use them to remove the boat’s old wax. 

Applying only a little pressure, wipe the surface of the boat with the toluene-soaked rags. Fortunately, the old wax comes off just fine and without much hassle when soaked with dewaxing solvent. 

Before continuing, allow the solvent a few minutes to dry on the surface of the boat. 

Give it another wash

This time, you’ll not be using a hose. Instead, you will apply a sponge soaked with warm soapy water. Ensure the soap or detergent used is only mild, for instance, the dishwashing detergent. Boat soap would be a lot more appropriate.

If there are sticky spots on the boat, feel free to use a degreaser or a lacquer thinner to remove them. A little bleach would come in handy for removing persistent stains but remember, bleach shouldn’t be used on untreated wood. 

Once you’re done washing the boat, rinse it generously with water and give it some time to dry. Feel free to use a soft towel or sponge to accelerate the drying. 

Buff the boat with buffing compound

Buffing compound is normally abrasive, and it restores your fiberglass’s sheen by getting rid of the discoloration or other imperfections.

Note, you need to observe the surface and determine how much scrubbing it needs. If it’s only lightly dull or discolored, you just need a mild buffing compound, and of course, you won’t need to apply much pressure when buffing. 

A strong buffing compound is needed only when the surface is exceedingly chalky or pitted.

Realize that the gelcoat on the fiberglass is not very thick and applying a strong rubbing compound can lead to the gelcoat’s damage and necessitate expensive repairs.
It’ best that you buff your boat starting with the transom and working toward the bow. 

Apply a little buffing compound to the pad and then move steadily in a circular motion. You should apply the buffer till the surface appears shiny but don’t go too far as you don’t want to ruin the gelcoat. 

For better control, set a low speed on the buffer. A buffer with an orbital motion will minimize the chances of swirl streaks being formed. 

Tip: you may note that the buffing compound sprays in all directions when you switch on the buffer. To avoid that, touch it lightly to the boat’s surface. 

After applying the buffing compound, you might want to apply some polish. To do that, use the same method of applying polish to the pad and moving the buffer in circular motions. 

Once you’re done buffing and applying the polish, it’d be a good idea to hose down the boat, so the accumulated dust comes off before waxing.

boat polisher

Wax the boat

The whole purpose of waxing is to keep the gelcoat shining for a long time. The wax acts as a protective barrier between the water and the gelcoat, so it’s very important. 

i. Get a suitable wax brand

There are many boating wax brands out there, and the right one for your boat depends on the nature of your gelcoat. The most commonly used brand is the Collinite 885 so you might want to consider using it.

ii. Use the buffer to apply it

Using the boat buffer rather than your hands makes the work a lot easier. Just apply the wax on the pad and move in circular motions as usual to prevent streak formation.

When you come across non-removable fittings or tight crevices, consider using your hands rather than the buffer to apply the wax. This will make it easier to navigate, and it will keep your fittings safe. 

iii. Let it dry and buff it

Five to ten minutes in the sun should be enough for the wax to dry. Once it’s dry, the wax will appear a little foggy, but by buffing it, you’ll remove the cloudiness and bring the wax to a nice shine. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

boat buffer faq

Q1. Common Buffing Mistakes That Boaters Make:

  • Setting a high speed on the boat buffer
  • Moving the boat buffer too fast
  • Applying too much polish
  • Using a pad that is too rough
  • Using a buffing compound that is too abrasive
  • Not working the polish into the surface adequately

Q2. What can you use to polish a boat?

The easiest way would be to apply the polish on a pad then attach it to an electric buffer before applying the buffer to the boat’s surface in circular motions.

You can also use your hands to rub the pad with polish on your boat, but that will consume time and take more effort.

Q3. How can I remove haze from my fiberglass boat?

The most reliable approach would be to buff it and apply polish and wax. Don’t forget to wash the boat and remove the old wax with a degreaser first.

Q4. How frequently should I wax my boat?

That depends on how often your boat stays in the water. If it stays in the water a lot, you want to wax it at least every four months. That means thrice per year.

On the other hand, if it’s almost always in the garage, once per year will do.

Q5. What is a boat’s gelcoat?

A boat’s gelcoat refers to the outer surface of its fiberglass. Its function is to protect the hull and give it color and sheen.

Q6. How do I clean my fiberglass boat?

First, use a hose to remove the algae and other loose dirt on the hull.

Then, add mild detergent or boating soap to some warm water in a bucket and use a sponge soaked in the water to clean the boat, scrubbing the surface to expel all the remaining dirt.

Use a little bit of bleach to get rid of the stubborn stains.

Q7. What grit size should I use for wet sanding my boat?

Start off with 220-grit sandpaper to get rid of the scratches and imperfections. To smooth out the surface and make it glossy, go over it with 600-grit sandpaper.

If you want to protect the surface and keep it looking good and shiny, apply some polish and wax.

Q8. How much would it cost me to have my boat waxed?

That depends on the size of the boat. For instance, a boat whose length is 24 feet would require a single pass of compounding and a single wax coat.

 In that case, the price would be roughly 17 dollars per foot, which totals to 408 dollars.

Of course, if you want more than one wax coat to be applied, the price will be higher than that. Also, if the height of your boat is bigger than average, that will attract a higher cost. 

Q9. Is there a natural way of removing fiberglass stains?

Yes, you can use lemon juice, baking soda, and water. First, spray the affected surface with lemon juice.

Next, sprinkle baking soda on the stained parts. Use a pad to scrub the stains, adding more baking soda and lemon juice where the stains seem stubborn. Once done, rinse the surface with clean water.

Q10. Who makes the best boat buffer?

In this article, we've reviewed 13 best boat buffer from some top brands.

 There are a lot of brands that produce best buffer for boat. Some of them are Dewalt, Porter Cable Black and Decker, Shurhold, Hi-Spec etc.

Final Word

The best boat buffer might cost you more than a hundred bucks, but it is, without a doubt, a worthy investment.

With any of the boat buffers among our selections, you will be able to polish your boat quickly and effectively.

We selected only the polishers that are easy to maintain and those that are durable, so you don’t keep returning to the shop.

We hope this post has helped you find a best polisher for boats that works for you.

By sharing the post with your friends on the internet, you will help them find the best boat buffer and polish too.

Read more such reviews at GlobalMarineRenewable.

Last Updated on July 13th, 2021

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