The Best Benchtop Buffer of 2018

Whether you’re a DIY’er, artist, woodworker, or metalworker, you’ve most likely used a buffer once or twice in your life. Buffers do exactly what the name implies, they buff or polish objects to make the smoother, cleaner, and more perfect overall. If you haven’t ever used a buffer before, then you don’t know what you’re missing out on. In this article, I talk about the best benchtop buffer available on the market today and the ones that follow close behind. If you are looking for more information on handheld buffers or polishers, then you’ll have to check back later. This article covers benchtop models specifically.

What is a benchtop buffer?

You may have heard of them, seen them, or even used them before. Benchtop buffers look like a small metal machine with two arms on each side. At the end of each arm is a fluffy looking wheel called a buffing wheel. Benchtop buffers mount to your workbench and are used for buffing or polishing objects. Not to be confused with a handheld buffer/speed polisher, benchtop buffers look and function differently.

How do they work?

First of all, instead of a single wheel, benchtop buffers have two. Since they are mounted to a workbench, the wheels are vertical and not horizontal like you would hold a handheld one. Unlike the handheld models, benchtop ones are much more stable and precise. As opposed to guiding the machine, you are guiding the object.

Benchtop buffers are pretty simple machines when it comes down to the mechanics. All you have to do is flip the switch, and the buffing wheels start spinning. You then guide whatever object you are buffing towards the spinning wheels and go to town.

What about benchtop grinders?

Many times benchtop buffers and benchtop grinders are lumped into one category. This is not correct because a dedicated benchtop buffer is different than a grinder. Sure the wheels can be used interchangeably, but a benchtop buffer typically has longer shafts so you have more access to the buffing wheel.

What are the buffing wheels?

The buffing wheels are the parts of the machine that does the buffing. They come in all different sizes, materials, and thicknesses. Depending on the material you are working with, you’ll need to change the wheel accordingly.

Materials

Buffing wheels can come in all kinds of materials ranging from felt to fabric, or even wool and flannel. Each material is good for a specific purpose so you’ll have to research which is best for you. Generally speaking, the buffing wheels that come with the benchtop buffer will serve you well in a good majority of situations.

Sizes

Buffing wheels come in many sizes. The typical size that comes with most benchtop buffers is a 6-inch buffing wheel. There are many other sizes though. These wheels can range in size from 2 inches all the way up to 16 inches.

Thicknesses

Just like the size and material variations, the thickness is also a concern. Some buffing wheels come in 1/4 and 1/2″ sizes, while some may come as large as 3″ thick or more. It all just depends on what you need it form.

What to look for in a benchtop buffer

Since there are so many benchtop buffers out there, it’s hard to choose one that is right for you. Some are more expensive; some are cheaper. Some come with better buffing wheels, some come with cheap ones. Knowing what to look for in a benchtop buffer is important if you want to make sure you pick the right one the first time.

When it comes to choosing the right benchtop buffer, it comes down to a few things. These few things including the quality of the materials used, the motor type, the overall size, and the arbor size. As for quality, this matters because you don’t want the buffer breaking on you in the first week.

Materials

When it comes to the materials used, cast iron is ideal. Cast iron is great because it reduces vibrations and it can take a beating. Other cheap metals can break easily and aren’t as stable when it comes to buffing.

Motor Type

The motor type is another consideration to make. This will determine how fast the buffing wheels can spin, and ultimately how effective of a job it does and buffing. Standard benchtop buffer motors range from 1/3 horsepower to 1 horsepower or more. Obviously, the higher the horsepower, the faster it goes.

Overall Size

The size of the benchtop buffer should be looked at as well. Some are wide and short, while some are not so wide, but taller. The ones that are taller than others allow for larger buffing wheels, while the shorter ones can only take smaller buffing wheels.

Arbor Size

The arbor size isn’t too much of a concern, but it is also something to be considered. The arbor size determines what kind of buffing wheels you can fit on your machine. If you are buying additional wheels, make sure to match this up to your machine before you waste your money on ones that don’t fit.

The Best Benchtop Buffer

Since there are so many out there to choose from, choosing the right one is hard. To make it easier for you, I compiled a list of the six best benchtop buffers available today. In my opinion, the first one is the best benchtop buffer, but the other five that follow are great alternatives as well.

POWERTEC BF600 Heavy Duty Bench Buffer

POWERTEC BF600 - Best Benchtop BufferThe POWERTEC BF600 Heavy Duty Bench Buffer is my favorite of the six in this list. This benchtop buffer is a 6-inch buffer with a 1/2 horsepower motor, cast iron base, extra long shaft, and a 1/2 inch arbor size.

The BF600 comes with two buffing wheels which are decent if you are just using them for buffing standard stuff. The cast iron base reduces the vibration, and the ability to mount it to a workbench makes it, so it is super stable. The 1/2 HP motor makes for easy and efficient buffing of all kinds of materials including metals. Just flip the switch for this single speed benchtop buffer, and you’re off to buff in no time. At one of the lowest price points with the best features for a benchtop buffer, this is my favorite of the six.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 20 pounds
  • Length: 20 inches
  • Width: 10 inches
  • Height: 9 inches
  • Wheel Size: 6 inches
  • Arbor Size: 1/2 in
  • Horsepower: 1/2
  • Speed: Single

Central Machinery 6 inch Benchtop Buffer

Central Machinery 6 inch Benchtop Buffer PhotoThe Central Machinery 6 inch Benchtop Buffer is another great option for a benchtop buffer. Like the Powertec BF600, this too is a 6-inch buffer. The heavy-duty 1/2 horsepower motor on this baby spins so quickly you’ll be able to buff just about anything.

This buffer is also built with a cast iron base, so the vibration is kept to a minimum. With this buffer you’ll be able to smooth and polish plastic, metal, and many other materials. This buffer comes with extra long shafts supported with ball bearings. The motor is built well so that you won’t find it stalling anytime soon. With the easy on/off switch and provided buffing wheels, you’ll find yourself buffing within 5 minutes of taking this out of the box.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 17 pounds
  • Length: 18 inches
  • Width: 7.5 inches
  • Height: 7.5 inches
  • Wheel Size: 6 inches
  • Arbor Size: 1/2 in
  • Horsepower: 1/2
  • Speed: Single

Stark Benchtop Buffer Polisher

Stark Benchtop Buffer Polisher PhotoThe Stark Benchtop Buffer Polisher is a larger buffer than the first two. This one is an 8-inch buffer, which means more room for you. The fact that it is 8 inches also means that its bigger than the 6-inch ones.

This one measures in at around 25 inches wide, so you’ll need a little more space on your workbench. It comes with two 8 inch buffing wheels that are good to go right out of the box. This buffer has a 3/4 horsepower motor which gives it plenty of power, but if you put too much pressure on it, it will tend to bog down a little. This Stark buffer is good quality and works for a long time without having any problems. One thing to keep an eye out for is the fact that the arbor size is 5/8″ and not 1/2″. This can catch you off guard when you go to buy new wheels. At a decent price and great quality, you can’t go wrong, especially if you are looking for a larger benchtop buffer.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 18 pounds
  • Length: 24.2 inches
  • Width: 11.8 inches
  • Height: 10 inches
  • Wheel Size: 8 inches
  • Arbor Size: 5/8 in
  • Horsepower: 3/4
  • Speed: Single

XtremepowerUS 8 inch 3/4 HP Single Speed Benchtop Buffer Polisher

XtremepowerUS 8 inch 3/4 HP Single Speed Benchtop Buffer Polisher PhotoThe XtremepowerUS 8 inch 3/4 HP Single Speed Benchtop Buffer Polisher is another 8-inch buffer that works like a beast. This buffer is made with a cast iron base, which means its heavy and very stable. The cast iron base also means that the vibrations are kept to a minimum.

The motor on this buffer is 3/4 horsepower which means you’ll find yourself buffing at a higher speed. The only problem with this buffer is that the shafts are not as long as some of the other ones. This means that maneuvering around it is a little more difficult. The way they made up for the short shafts is by having the larger wheels. One thing to note about this buffer is the fact that it is one of the cheapest out there. So for the money, you can’t go wrong. It also comes one flannel and one cloth wheel so you can switch it up if you have too.

Specifications:

  • Wheel Size: 8 inches
  • Horsepower: 3/4
  • Speed: Single

BEAMNOVA 8 inch Bench Buffer Polisher

BEAMNOVA 8 inch Bench Buffer Polisher PhotoThe BEAMNOVA 8 inch Bench Buffer Polisher is yet another great 8-inch benchtop buffer. While this one is at the higher end of the price range, it is well justified.

Where do we begin with this one? Well for one, it can use 8-inch buffing wheels, while still having long shafts for easy maneuverability. This buffer is made of cast iron, so it is built like a tank. It also comes with rubber pads on the bottom for added vibration reduction. And the one special thing that this buffer has that none of these other ones do is a one horsepower motor. That means this baby can spin fast. If you’re looking to spend a little more cash on a benchtop buffer that is top quality with features that none of the other have, then look for further.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 25.4 pounds
  • Length: 23 inches
  • Height: 9 inches
  • Wheel Size: 8 inches
  • Arbor Size: 5/8 in
  • Horsepower: 1
  • Speed: Single

Neiko 10205A 6-Inch Bench Buffer

Neiko 10205A 6-Inch Bench Buffer PhotoThe Neiko 10205A 6-Inch Bench Buffer is the last on this list, but certainly not the least. This buffer is a 6-inch one that has extra long shafts and a solid cast iron body.

The 10205A is easy to use because of its long shafts and easy accessibility. The long shafts also mean more variability in buffer angles. Although the motor is less horsepower than some of the others, it still does a good job at keeping up with the work. You can use it for an hour or more at a time, and while it may get hot, it never bogs down or overheats. The weight of this machine and the ability to bolt it to a workbench means that it is super stable and has minimal vibrations. You can work gently or beat this thing up, and it will still get the job done. The buffing wheels are easy to change, and you’ll find yourself using the ones that come with it for a while to come. While this may not be the top of the line when it comes to benchtop buffers, it does the job, and it does it well.

Specifications:

  • Length: 25.4 inches
  • Width: 10.3 inches
  • Height: 9.9 inches
  • Wheel Size: 6 inches
  • Arbor Size: 1/2 in
  • Horsepower: 1/3
  • Speed: Single

Summary

As you can see, when it comes to benchtop buffers, there are so many different options out there. You can get 6-inch buffers or 8-inch buffers. Buffers with 1/3 horsepower, all the way up to 1 horsepower. Buffers that are wide, and buffer that is stout. It all just depends on what you are looking for. While I think that the POWERTEC BF600 is the best benchtop buffer, the other five are all great alternatives. Now that you know what to look for and what’s the best available, it comes down to buying one and using it.

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