Make sure your floors are as clean and shiny as possible.

Make sure your floors are as clean and shiny as possible. (Curtis Adams via Unsplash/)

Cleaning might not be everyone’s idea of “fun” home improvement, but it’s an essential part of the DIY process. And when it comes to floors, if you think about it, they’re the foundation of almost every project—quite literally. Whether they’re tile, hardwood, or carpet, floors suffer near-constant wear and tear with minimal upkeep—and it probably goes without saying that the occasional Swiffer treatment isn’t quite enough to keep them up to snuff. Your floors deserve some love, and cleaning them with the right equipment—say, one of the best floor buffers on the market—is the sure way to guarantee their beauty (and usability) for years to come.

If you think floor buffers are exclusively for experts, think again—though they are one of the more intimidating pieces of cleaning equipment, with enough research and practice, you’ll be able to operate your very own buffing machine in no time.

Features to consider when shopping for the best floor buffer

When it comes to your most basic floor cleaning equipment—think brooms and mops, for instance—there’s only so much they can do to rehabilitate your floors. And if they’re in bad shape, having suffered through innumerable trials and tribulations, addressing issues with a surface-level solution isn’t going to cut it.

Say your hardwoods have lost their sheen, or your tile is looking impossibly drab; at this point, you might consider calling in the experts. Let us stop you there. Although it perhaps goes without saying that a professional will leave your floors looking good as new, learning how to do this project yourself has some serious perks, price notwithstanding. Most notably, investing in this kind of equipment will set you up for success for years to come—empowering you to reinvigorate your home, one room at a time. Essentially, it’s a one-time cost that will quickly earn its keep. Why rely on the expertise of others when you can reap the benefits of pursuing that knowledge yourself?

Floor buffers are categorized by task—namely buffing, polishing, and waxing—and a few other factors, like speed, floor type, and price. Ahead, we’ve kept these in mind in curating the best floor buffer for almost any home improvement project.

Want a floor buffer machine that will make your hardwoods shine?

Anyone who has hardwood floors knows they are expensive, and that’s reason enough to want to keep them in good shape for as long as possible. Hardwood floors are subject to constant wear and tear, and are often in the highest traffic areas of the home, like the living room and dining room. And while there are protective measures you can take, like putting down a large rug, for example, who really wants to cover these beauties up? Instead, we’d recommend keeping them super clean and polished, and if that’s your M.O., you’re going to need a floor buffer machine.

Best floor buffer machine for hardwood floors: Bissell BigGreen Commercial Easy Motion Floor Machine

At 175 RPM, this relatively low-speed buffer will leave your hardwoods looking good as new, without damaging or over-sanding them.

At 175 RPM, this relatively low-speed buffer will leave your hardwoods looking good as new, without damaging or over-sanding them. (Amazon/)

The Bissell floor buffing machine is called Easy Motion for a reason—it’s very easy to use (no torque or swirling), and will be tough on dirt and gentle on your hardwoods. Now that’s what we call a win-win.

Need a tile floor scrubber that goes the extra mile?

Compared to hardwoods, tile is an entirely different beast, and one that you can be a little tougher on. Here, there’s no risk of oversanding, whereas with hardwood, if you sand too aggressively and start uncovering nail heads, you’re on the verge of ruining the wood. Tile, by contrast, is rock hard (obviously), and the grout requires a strong hand. Thus, we’d recommend a tile floor scrubber with some serious muscle to leave those floors spick and span.

Best tile floor scrubber: Prolux Core Heavy Duty Commercial Floor Buffer

This small machine is ready to tackle the dirtiest of floors and bring them back to life.

This small machine is ready to tackle the dirtiest of floors and bring them back to life. (Amazon/)

If you’ve got a seriously dirty job, consider this heavy-duty, commercial floor scrubber. It’s small, but it’s the best tile floor scrubber around—and with an extra hard brush, it leaves nothing behind. Additionally, it comes fitted with a random orbit motor, meaning you won’t be left with circular marks all over your floors when you’re done (which might happen if you use a buffer head that only spins in one direction).

Looking for a cordless floor polisher?

Floor buffers have cords just like vacuums do, and they can be equally annoying and cumbersome. Luckily, a cordless option does exist—and it’s worth checking out if you don’t have easy access to an outlet, or if you’re working with lots of square footage that will take some time to traverse. The availability of cordless cleaning tools means you can cover ground without worrying about your power supply—as long as you keep them charged, that is. With that in mind, check out our top pick for the best floor polisher, cordless of course.

Best cordless floor polisher: Gladwell Cordless 3 in 1 Spinner, Scrubber and Waxer

This cordless “electric mop” does it all, hence the name—and without a single wire to get in your way.

This cordless “electric mop” does it all, hence the name—and without a single wire to get in your way. (Amazon/)

The long-lasting battery on this Gladwell cordless floor polisher makes it the perfect match for the shopper who just can’t deal with all those messy cords (we don’t blame you). Plus, it only takes two hours to charge this baby back up. It’s also quite versatile, with multiple settings and functions, so you can use this machine on a variety of floor types.

Need a buffing machine that can handle different types of floors?

If you’re in the market for a multi-purpose floor buffing machine, it’s important to keep in mind the needs of all of your floor types. The best floor scrubber, in this case, will be able to go hard on tile grout, and gentle on hardwood floors, and maybe even give your carpet a good clean, too. Of course, this level of adaptability will cost you, and prioritizing versatility often means sacrificing particulars in favor of broad strokes. Shopping for the best floor buffer is no different: while you might lose out on some hyper-specific features that only cater to one type of floor or the other, the upside—namely, that one machine can clean an entire home’s worth of flooring—makes the trade-off worth it.

Best multi-purpose floor buffing machine: Oreck Orbiter Multi-purpose Floor Cleaner

Refinish hard flooring and deep clean soft carpets with this multi-purpose floor cleaner.

Refinish hard flooring and deep clean soft carpets with this multi-purpose floor cleaner. (Amazon/)

With several different removable pads (available for purchase separately, of course), this Oreck Orbiter floor cleaner is set up to service virtually any type of floor—including hardwood, tile, concrete, marble, and carpet. It goes without saying that having to purchase more gear separately isn’t ideal, but once you own the floor buffing machine itself, you have the foundational tool to tackle almost any job.

When is it time for a high-speed floor buffing machine?

There are three things you should know about purchasing a high-speed floor buffing machine. One: they provide a deeper clean, because the buffer is moving at a much faster speed than your typical 175 RPM, or revolutions per minute. Two: because of that, you probably don’t want to use this floor polisher on hardwoods, because a buffer moving that fast will quickly sand down the wood, and subsequently ruin it. Three: they’re much more expensive than their low-speed counterparts.

With these three points in mind, you might be wondering when, if ever, you should consider purchasing a high-speed cleaning tool. These floor buffers are best when you need to totally strip your floors, when you need to scrub and polish a lot of square footage (and you want to do it fast), or when you’re rehabbing some really dirty, really hard flooring, like garage floor concrete, for instance. If your next DIY project fits the bill, keep reading.

Best high-speed floor buffing machine: Viper Venom Series High Speed Floor Burnisher

Heavy-duty, super high-speed buffing will turn your gnarliest floors into shiny works of art.

Heavy-duty, super high-speed buffing will turn your gnarliest floors into shiny works of art. (Amazon/)

This Viper Venom is a beast of a floor buffing machine, weighing in at 88 pounds of pure metal. It’ll last a lifetime (or somewhere near there), but keep in mind that this is really only for serious, industrial projects, and isn’t the right piece of equipment for your kids playroom, or your living room floor.

On a budget? Best floor buffer under $100

As you’ve probably noticed, floor buffers are notoriously expensive, and really only worth the cost if you’ve got a laundry list of DIY projects (and square footage) to tackle in the near future. If you live in an apartment or a small space, investing in a $1,000 floor cleaner machine probably isn’t the move. That said, there are options for the budget-conscious among us, and keeping your floors shiny and looking like new shouldn’t be limited to those who happen to live in a large space.

When you’re shopping for a floor buffer on a budget, it’s inevitable that you will miss out on the latest and greatest tech advances—and, thus, you might not get the deepest clean. However, sometimes affordability wins out over precision, and that’s perfectly ok. This is the best floor buffer we’ve found, for a whole lot less.

Best floor buffer under $100: Boss Cleaning Equipment Scrubber

Clean your entire house with this easy-to-operate, super lightweight scrubber.

Clean your entire house with this easy-to-operate, super lightweight scrubber. (Amazon/)

At one-tenth the price of the most expensive floor buffer on our list, the Boss Cleaning Scrubber wins most affordable cleaning tool by a mile. It’s not cordless or of industrial-strength, but it is very lightweight (seven pounds, to be exact), and works on a variety of different floors. Bonus: it includes two washable microfiber pads, so you can take this out of the box and get straight to work.

Best floor buffer FAQ: people also ask

How often should floors be buffed?

How often floors should be buffed depends largely on two factors—the amount of foot traffic on the floor, and how often you’re using other cleaning methods, like a mop or Swiffer. If there’s a ton of people coming and going over the floor, you might consider buffing once a week, or once a month. If there’s low foot traffic, three or four times a year should be sufficient.

Can you use a buffer on hardwood floors?

You can absolutely use a buffer on hardwood floors. Just make sure the manufacturer’s instructions for your cleaning tool of choice say it’s appropriate for hardwood. If it’s not, it could further scratch the surface of the wood while you’re cleaning, and do more harm than good. Hardwood floors should be buffed in order to extend their lifespan (which will save you a lot of money in the long run).

What is the difference between buffing and polishing a floor?

The difference between buffing and polishing a floor is in the tools and, thus, the resulting finish. While buffing uses a cloth wheel and creates a bright finish, polishing is more abrasive (and thus more precise) and makes for an even shinier finish. Obviously they’re quite similar and, in some product descriptions, you might see them used interchangeably.

A final word on shopping for the best floor buffer

Shopping for the best floor buffer for your needs can be intimidating and, if you’re prone to sticker shock, discouraging. But, equipped with knowledge and predetermined preferences, you can find exactly what you’re looking for—without breaking the bank. If home improvement projects are in your future, consider adding a floor buffer to your arsenal of cleaning tools. Your floors will thank you.

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