If you are anything like us, you love it when your car is nice and buffed to a shine. A typical vehicle has multiple levels of paint applied to it that look great in the showroom.
But, after driving it home in the rain or shine, you will start to notice that dust and other debris will cause the paint to lose its shine over time.
You can always take your car through the car wash, but afterward, applying a little bit of wax can do wonders. This is where some of the best buffing pads available come in handy.
A great buffing pad will not only help remove any tiny scratches in the paint but will also help protect it from further damage down the road.
So, let’s take a look at the most popular options and see which one shines above the rest…
- 1 Best Buffing Pads Comparison Table
- 2 Top 10 Best Buffing Pads On The Market 2021 Reviews
- 2.1 1 VIKING 862401 Microfiber Applicator & Cleaning Pads
- 2.2 2 TCP Global Ultimate 6 Pad Buffing & Polishing Kit
- 2.3 3 Chemical Guys BUFX_102_HEX5 Hex-Logic Medium-Heavy Cutting Pad
- 2.4 4 Car Foam Drill Polishing Pad Kit 22 PCS, 3 Inch Buffing Pads
- 2.5 5 Chemical Guys BUF_HEX_Kits_8P Hex-Logic Buffing Pad Kit
- 2.6 6 7” Polisher/Buffer Soft Wool Bonnet & Pad
- 2.7 7 PORTER-CABLE 18007 6-Inch Lambs Wool Hook
- 2.8 8 Griot’s Garage 10527 5.5” Red Foam Wax Pads
- 2.9 9 Meguiar’s DA Polishing Power Pads
- 2.10 10 Griot’s Garage 10426 6.5” Micro Fiber FAST Finishing Pad
- 3 Best Buffing Pads Buying Guide
- 4 Before You Go
- 5 Final Thoughts on The Best Buffing Pads
Best Buffing Pads Comparison Table
|(4.7 / 5)|
6 - 8 inches
Foam and Wool
Scratch Removal to Finishing
|(4.6 / 5)|
Moderate Scratch Removal
|(4.4 / 5)|
Scratch Removal to Finishing
|(4.5 / 5)|
Foam and Wool
Scratch Removal to Finishing
|(5 / 5)|
Buffing and Polishing
|(4.2 / 5)|
Buffing and Polishing
|(4.4 / 5)|
Waxing and Sealing
|(4.8 / 5)|
Meguiar’s DA Polishing Power Pads
|(4.4 / 5)|
|(4.6 / 5)|
Top 10 Best Buffing Pads On The Market 2021 Reviews
1 VIKING 862401 Microfiber Applicator & Cleaning Pads
The VIKING 862401 is a 5-inch microfiber pad. The soft microfiber will not scratch clear coats on a car and does not leave behind any streaks or fuzz at all after using it.
These pads are not compatible with Velcro style buffers. They are intended to be used by hand only. They work exceptionally well at cleaning or even applying clear coats to your car. You could also use them to polish ceramics or clean electronics if you want.
The porous nature of this pad is excellent, but if you are using an expensive coating like ceramic, you might find that you tend to waste material in the long run.
These pads can be washed and reused. We do not recommend machine washing these, though. Your best bet is to use a mild dishwashing soap with warm water and wash by hand. We had to wash these a couple of times to fully clean them.
You will want to let these air dry out entirely as well before you use them again, or they will not be nearly as effective.
- Pack of 6.
- Leaves a streak-free shine.
- Not compatible with Velcro buffers.
2 TCP Global Ultimate 6 Pad Buffing & Polishing Kit
TCP Global has been around making some of the greatest buffing pads available since 1974. Their Ultimate 6 pad buffing set gets the job done but at a higher price point.
However, the plus is that these pads can be attached to machine polishers that have Velcro fastening and that support five-eighths-inch spindle heads.
Each pad this set comes with offers a different level of grit to it. The color of the pad determines how fine or coarse it is.
The 100% wool compound pad will work great at removing deep scratches from hard topcoats. Whereas the eight-inch black extra fine pad is ideal for that final layer of wax or glazing.
The blue-colored medium grit and the coarse orange pad work equally well on enamels and urethanes and your typical car topcoat.
All the pads absorb well and keep their shape over time decently. You may notice slight streaking with the coarser pads, but nothing that a little more buffing won’t take care of.
These pads even come with a 7-inch mounting plate. The non-slip nature of this pad makes it easy to switch between buffing pads quickly too.
When you are finished using these pads, we recommend washing them straight away. The wool pad can be left attached and just spun dry unless you have used some sort of compound on it.
You should also hand wash any of the other pads that have any type of compound applied to them as well. The waffle shape of the pads really soaks in the polish as you apply or remove it.
You will also want to make sure they air dry before reusing them.
- 6-Piece polishing set.
- Compatible with machine polishers.
- 7-inch mounting plate included.
- Rather pricey.
3 Chemical Guys BUFX_102_HEX5 Hex-Logic Medium-Heavy Cutting Pad
Whether you need to remove moderately deep scratches, or you just want to start a fresh wax, these medium-cut pads from Chemical Guys will do the trick.
They can attach to polishers that have up to a five and ½ inch backing pad that uses Velcro. We attached these to a 5-inch backing plate to avoid any potential paint damage while buffing at an angle.
You can use these by hand if you need to. The outcome would be less than ideal, though, because you will not be able to create enough heat in the pad to remove the oxidized outer layer of paint.
The laser-cut hexagonal shape of this 5-inch pad might remind you of a honeycomb.
When these pads are manufactured, the actual hexagonal cuts are measured, allowing for a more precise surface area. This results in more even coverage when applying polish or waxing.
No matter if you are working on a flat or curved surface, you will notice polish is still evenly distributed while still allowing for airflow through the pad.
You can clean these pads by hand with mild dish soap, but you will notice their life span will degrade over time. We recommend using a pad conditioner as well with these to help maintain the structure and overall effectiveness of them.
- Medium cut for scratches or swirls.
- Evenly distributes polish.
- Fits perfectly against 5-inch backing plates.
- Not intended for hand use.
4 Car Foam Drill Polishing Pad Kit 22 PCS, 3 Inch Buffing Pads
Petutu offers this next set of pads that are capable of being attached to a drill. This is a 22-piece set that offers 3-inch diameter buffing pads.
The color of the pad will determine the grit of it and whether it should be used for polishing, finishing, or just buffing.
The orange pads are the hardest cut and can be used on enamels and acrylics. The yellow and blue pads are softer and great for light scratches and polishing.
These pads have either a wavy or flat type foam surface. You will get one of each version per pad color as well.
Included in this set are two drill adapters and two suction cups to hold the buffing pads. You can attach these to pretty much any standard drill.
When you are using them with a drill, you do need to be incredibly careful. A drill can spin at a higher rate than your typical polishing machine or orbital sander.
You will definitely want to set your drill to one of its lowest speeds, if possible. Otherwise, you could generate too much heat in the pad.
We used them to polish glass and even some electrical equipment.
Since they are only 3-inch diameter pads, you need to also be careful while polishing at angles. The last thing you would want is to have the pad slide away from you and end up damaging the surface you are buffing.
- 22-Piece Set.
- Drill adapters included.
- Multiple grit levels allow for many applications.
- Hold multiple compounds well.
- Easy to clean.
- Small 3-inch diameter size.
5 Chemical Guys BUF_HEX_Kits_8P Hex-Logic Buffing Pad Kit
Chemical Guys are back again with their 8-piece Hex-Logic Buffing Pad Kit.
This kit includes the previously reviewed medium cutting orange pad along with six others that will cover every other step in a complete buffing job.
It works well at removing water spots, swirling, and deep scratches. It gets softer from there on, from orange to green and then on to white.
You will notice that working from the orange pad to the white pad, that any scratches that you might have had will begin to further diminish while also bringing out clarity and reflection in your paint.
You can use these pads to apply wet shines and sealant. The red ultra-fine pad will leave you with the highest shine in the end and can even be used to apply natural carnauba type waxes.
All of the finishing pads only need the smallest amount of compound to work at their best. They can also be attached to five-inch backed machine polishers as well.
You also get a foam and wool spray cleaner with these pads. This cleaner breaks down any compounds you have applied to the pad.
To get the best results out of the cleaner, you will want to spray the entire surface area of the pad. Then simply use a stiff brush to go over the entirety of the surface to break up any embedded polishing compounds.
Simply rinse off the pad in warm water and wring out any residual moisture and allow them to air dry before using them again.
This cleaner works well and can extend the lifespan of your pads over time compared to using soap and water.
- 8-Piece set.
- Includes pad cleaner.
- Compatible with Velcro-type polishers.
6 7” Polisher/Buffer Soft Wool Bonnet & Pad
This synthetic wool 3-piece buffing pad set is from Anytime Tools. It comes with a five-eighths inch TPI thread backing plate with male type Velcro.
The hook and loop style Velcro system implemented makes it easy to switch out a pad in seconds. They do excellent work at buffing up your typical paint job. The 7-inch diameter size of the pad makes it easy to go over large areas quickly.
You can apply multiple types of buffing compounds to them but do not expect them to buff out any deep scratches.
We did notice that the edges of the pads do get hot. When buffing at an angle, be careful not to burn your paint job.
There is not much wool protecting the outer edges of these pads at all. You also could potentially rub the backing plate on your car’s paint as well.
You can wash and reuse these wool buffing pads. The Anytime Tools pads are made to last if adequately taken care of, so we recommend hand washing immediately after use.
- 3-Piece set.
- Large 7-inch diameter.
- Hook and loop Velcro system.
- The edges of the pad get hot over time.
7 PORTER-CABLE 18007 6-Inch Lambs Wool Hook
Porter-Cable has crafted its 18007 model lambswool buffing pads to cover a variety of things.
They do a great job of bringing the shine out of your car’s paint job and even a reasonable job of buffing out light scratches.
These can be attached to a variety of orbital type sanders that use a hook and loop style Velcro system. You can also slip these over thick polishing pads as well.
We enjoyed how the wool stays cool over extended periods and even supplies excellent protection along the edges of the pad.
These are not the easiest pads to clean, unfortunately. You will notice that the lambswool will collect residual compounds well.
We found that soaking these in warm water was necessary to help aid in loosening any leftover compound stuck in the wool.
They do air dry rather quickly, though, so it will not take too long before you can use them again. You may also notice that these will occasionally leave lint on surfaces after they have been washed.
- Fine lambswool.
- No added compounds needed.
- Fits orbital sanders and polishing blocks.
- They occasionally leave behind lint.
- Can be tricky to clean.
8 Griot’s Garage 10527 5.5” Red Foam Wax Pads
Griot’s Garage set of 3 Red Foam Wax Pads is excellent for adding those final touches to a polishing job.
They are made from open-cell foam, are very soft, and work especially well with finishing waxes and sealants.
You can use these just as easily by hand, or they can be attached to orbital sanders thanks to their micro hook and loop system.
These pads have beveled edges and a flat surface. When applying a finishing wax to them, you will notice that it will distribute evenly through the pad.
The beveled edging works well to protect your paint even when buffing against sharp edges.
If you are using these to buff out that final coat of sealant, they do a fantastic job at leaving the surface streak-free with minimal effort.
When it comes time to clean these buffing pads, they can be tossed directly in the washing machine. This is because they are constructed using thermoset type bonding that protects them from losing their original shape.
- Streak-free finishing.
- Easy to use.
- 5-inch Diameter.
- Can be attached to orbital sanders.
- Machine washable.
- They will not be able to remove defects from paint.
9 Meguiar’s DA Polishing Power Pads
An ideal buffing pads roundup would feel incomplete without a Meguiar’s buffing pad being somewhere on the list. We are talking about their DA Polishing Power Pads.
This two-pack of 4-inch pads is made for buffing out minor swirls, and they glide well on flat or curved surfaces.
When using compounds with these pads, you will not need to use much. The foam these pads are made of is rather firm and will not absorb a considerable amount of compound anyways.
They do a great job leaving your paint shiny every time, though. We used this buffing pad by hand and got decent results.
You can also attach these DA Power Pads to some hook and loop style Velcro systems.
These pads work best with Meguiar’s Power System. This is sold separately and enables you to attach the DA Power Pads directly to your drill.
After washing, you can even dry these in your tumble dryer as well, according to Meguiars, although we didn’t test that.
They cleaned reasonably well in our washing machine, but we left them out to air dry afterward. We did not notice any deformation in the pads after they were put through a full cycle in our washing machine, either.
- Durable foam.
- Machine washable and dryable.
- Can be used by hand.
- Drill attachment sold separately.
10 Griot’s Garage 10426 6.5” Micro Fiber FAST Finishing Pad
Griot’s Garage is back to finish this review with its Micro Fiber Fast Finishing Pad. This pad incorporates 10mm of very plush microfiber that works well in removing any unwanted swirl marks.
This pad works well on flat or even the curviest of surfaces thanks to the foam body the pad has. It holds its original shape well over time, even though it allows for such incredible flexibility.
We had a hit and miss experience when using certain compounds with this pad, though. Thicker waxes did not seem to soak into the pad and left quite a bit of streaking after use.
Thinner compounds, on the other hand, buffed in well with minimal residual streaking. To be on the safe side, we would recommend cleaning it between applications for the best results.
This pad, like the other Griot’s Garage pad we looked at, incorporates thermoset bonding in its construction. You can machine wash this after use.
- Removes swirls in your paint.
- Can be attached to orbital sanders.
- Allows for increased bendability.
- It does not work well with some compounds.
Best Buffing Pads Buying Guide
When it comes time to put a new shine on your car’s paint, some buffing pads will be better at it than others.
Buffing pads can be made from foam, wool, synthetic, or microfiber to just name a few materials. Both the material and the grit of the pad will determine what it should be used for.
If you want to remove scratches from your paint, you will want a coarser pad. On the opposite side of things, you will want a super fine pad to finish off your polishing job.
You can commonly use buffing pads in combination with waxes, sealants, and other compounds to get the most out of your car’s paint.
Depending on what the pad is made from will not only determine how much compound it soaks up but also how difficult it is to clean afterward. If your pad soaks up an excessive amount of wax, for example, you might need to go over it again multiple times to remove any streaking that could occur.
Most buffing pads work best when attached to an orbital sander or even a drill. Not all buffing pads are capable of this, though, and you might find yourself doing the polishing by hand.
Pads typically attach via a Velcro system called hook and loop. You will want to have a backing plate attached to the sander or drill that will securely attach to the pad.
Since not all pads are the same diameter, you might not be able to use one backing plate for all your buffing pads.
Some buffing pad manufacturers even have their own attachable pad holders to be used with their buffing pads. If you are attaching a pad to a drill, you will want to make sure that you do not run the drill at its max speed.
Drills operate much faster than orbital type sanders and, if not careful, can cause the buffing pad to get too hot and damage your paint.
Another thing to keep aware of is the curvature of the surface that you are buffing on. Not all pads provide a lot of protection if used at an angle, and you could find yourself rubbing the backing plate on your paint.
Buffing pads are also versatile and can be reused. To get the most extended lifespan out of them, we recommend using a buffing pad conditioner or cleaner.
Soap and water also work well when it comes time to clean your buffing pads. You can sometimes find pads that can even be cleaned in your washing machine.
When you are not taking care of your car paint job, you can usually find other uses for your buffing pads. From polishing glass to dusting electronics, there are numerous other uses for a quality set of buffing pads.
Before You Go
There are a couple of other reviews you might find interesting. Check out the Best Mechanic Gloves, the Best Bug Tar Removers, the Best Car Compasses, and the Best Bluetooth Headsets for Drivers reviews.
Back to buffing pads…
Final Thoughts on The Best Buffing Pads
We really enjoyed the wide range of utility offered by the…Chemical Guys BUF_HEX_Kits_8P Hex-Logic Buffing Pad Kit.
You get a wide range of pads that will go from getting out deep scratches to leaving you with a high gloss shine.
They are compatible with orbital sanders and polishers that use a 5-inch backing pad with Velcro backing. You can also swap them out quite easily as well.
The included spray cleaner is exceptional at cleaning out all the different compounds you might use on your pads. This will increase the longevity of the pads, which is a huge plus given the higher price point this kit sits at.
If you want a professional-looking shine on your ride, then this Chemical Guys 8-piece kit is definitely the way to go.
We were impressed with the results.
Wishing you the best shine on your beloved vehicle too.