LAST UPDATED: December 05, 2020

The Best Buffing Compounds (Review and Buying Guide) in 2021

Best Choice Woodstock Extra Fine Buffing Compound Woodstock Extra Fine Buffing Compound
Best Value BeaverCraft Buffing Compound BeaverCraft Buffing Compound
Premium Pick 3D One Professional Cutting, Polishing, and Finishing Compound 3D One Professional Cutting, Polishing, and Finishing Compound

Are you looking for sparkle, shine, and the perfect finish? Whether you’re working on metal surfaces and materials or the exterior of your vehicle, you need a buffing compound. Typically used in combination with polishing products, buffing compounds allow you to smooth and perfectly finish different surfaces. They can work wonders, removing scratches quickly or gently finishing with a glossy, sleek look. Buffing compounds can make a significant, noticeable difference. But there are many different buffing compounds to choose from — so which is right for you and your needs?

Made in different levels of roughness and different forms for different uses, there’s a buffing compound for every kind of purpose. It’s a matter of finding a reliable buffer to get your vehicle looking as good as new. To help you track down the best buffing compound options available, we’ve broken down the top options and some tips on how to pick the right one.

The Best Buffing Compounds

The Woodstock Extra Fine Buffing Compound is versatile, easy to use, and suitable for most metal items and surfaces. Available in a one-pound bar that features 400 to 600 grit, this buffing compound is a great choice for anyone seeking a medium to fine polish. Use it to achieve an initial polish or a final polish. You can get a brilliant, reflective shining finish on metals like stainless steel and aluminum. It’ll deliver a mirror-like result on most metals. With an easy grip and great density, you’ll be covered for any buffing needs. Most importantly, though, this buffing compound is designed to last you a long time. You can get years of use out of this single bar, thanks to its density and large size.

Keep in mind that, despite being really effective, this buffing compound is fairly heavy to hold. Ensure that you control it properly to get the best shining results.

Key Features
  • Extra-fine grit material
  • Suitable for most metal
  • Comes in bright green block
Specification
  • Brand Woodstock
  • Model D2902
  • Weight 16 ounces
PROS

Dense material for optimal impact

Single block is easy to maneuver

Quickly buffs the vehicle’s surface

CONS

Block itself is fairly heavy

Chemicals may be unsafe for children

Cannot be used on leather

The BeaverCraft Buffing Compound combines great value with premium-quality buffing results on just about any metal surface. This 1.6-ounce buffing compound, which measures 2.9 x 0.8 x 0.6 inches in size, is made out of chrome oxide green and alumina. You can use it to sharpen knives, deliver a shining, sleek finish on metals like chrome, copper, brass, and steel, or perfect tools like woodworking tools and chisels for increased functionality. Highly versatile in its use and effective at delivering impressive results, this buffing compound is easy to use and easy to grip. You can use it in combination with polishing compound paste to achieve even more shine and brilliance. This buffing compound will deliver years of use, giving you even greater value for its affordable price.

Though it’s affordable, this buffing compound works well on various surfaces, it can leave behind uneven streaks of wax if used incorrectly. Take your time when buffing the car to avoid this issue.

Key Features
  • Made of chromium oxide
  • Works on metal and wood
  • Quickly buffs and polishes the vehicle
  • Compact size for simple maneuvering
Specification
  • Brand BeaverCraft
  • Model P02
  • Weight 1.76 ounces
PROS

Lightweight and easy to handle

Works on multiple surfaces

Combines polish and buffer

CONS

Can leave behind uneven wax

Does not fully polish the vehicle

Gritty pieces can rub off on metal

The 3D One Professional Cutting, Polishing, and Finishing Compound is your best bet if you’re looking for a product that’ll buff and polish your car’s exterior. This product can do multiple jobs in a single application — it’ll buff, polish, and finish your vehicle’s surface. It can deliver true paint correction, remove even heavy scratches that are equivalent to p1500 sanding scratches, and works on both chrome and paint. This buffing compound is water-based and all-natural, meaning it’s perfectly safe to use even if you’re worried about your car’s exterior. Just apply it with a foam pad and polisher, and you’ll have your car looking flawlessly shiny and lustrous in no time at all. You may need a little more elbow grease for correcting deep scratches, but this compound can deliver without damaging effects.

Despite the polisher working well aesthetically, the formula may get excessively thin in warm conditions. Store it in a cool and dark place to prevent it from getting too thin.

Key Features
  • Blend of buffer and finisher
  • Corrects scratches and dings
  • Made of water-based formula
  • Includes all natural ingredients
Specification
  • Brand 3D
  • Model 400OZ32
  • Weight 2.22 pounds
PROS

Easy to apply and polish on car

Water-based formula is safe

Corrects paint’s appearance

CONS

Vulnerable to thinning in heat

Can leak during storage

May apply unevenly to vehicle

If you need a buffing compound that can make the tough work of buffing and polishing items easier, the Drixet 6 Piece Buffing, Polishing, & Cutting Compound is the perfect pick. It includes six different buffing and polishing compounds that’ll help you tackle absolutely any buffing job. Each buffing compound measures 4.75 x 1 x 0.75 inches in size — but they all have different purposes and deliver different results. You’ll get one each of the following buffing compounds: black emery, brown tripoli, white diamond, red rogue, all purpose blue, and general green. Use these buffing tools on your car’s exterior, your jewelry, your appliances, and so much more. They’re highly versatile and can help you do everything from remove scratches to achieve more luster, even on materials like wood and plastic.

While these buffers are versatile, it can be difficult to achieve the right density. The compounds can dry out and may lose their shape when exposed to too much water.

Key Features
  • Comes in a six-piece set
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Made to wax, polish, and buff
  • Works on multiple surfaces
Specification
  • Brand Drixet
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 2.27 pounds
PROS

Gently cleans all types of metal

Creates a sheen on the surface

Each compound has a different density

CONS

Can dry out easily

Becomes hard and brittle over time

When wet, can thin excessively

The Turtle Wax Hybrid Solutions Ceramic Spray Coating is a buffing compound that’ll achieve shining, sparkling results without causing you to worry about your car’s critical exterior surface. It’ll gently work on problems like scratches, heavy swirl marks, and surface blemishes. Made with a silicone-free formula, you can use this whether you’re detailing your own car at home or are a professional. It can be applied either by hand or with a polisher, with cotton, microfiber, or foam pads, and it’s perfectly safe to use on all auto finishes. Featuring a fruity smell and the ability to work on a wide range of surfaces, this is a unique hybrid compound that is highly effective. It’ll help your paint look like new, eliminate stains, remove oxidation, and make scratches a thing of the past with ease.

Bear in mind that, though this buffer is of high-quality, it is technically a hybrid and not exclusively a buffer. It works best on a smooth surface, so may require a buffing agent if the surface is particularly distressed.

Key Features
  • Applies cleanly with spray bottle
  • Creates a distinct shine on the surface
  • Free of harmful chemicals
  • Goes on with microfiber cloth
Specification
  • Brand Turtle Wax
  • Model 53409
  • Weight 1.22 pounds
PROS

Easy to spray and wipe away

Limits water spots and corrects paint

Enhances the sheen on the car

CONS

Liquid can spill in storage and transit

A hybrid, not just a buffer compound

Can take a while to apply

When you want a reliable way to buff your vehicle without risking scratches, Chemical Guys Line Polish is a suitable choice. It comes in a set of four containers, each holding 4 ounces of polishing compound. Color-coded for ease, each of the buffers is designed to cover the entire vehicle (regardless of size). The formula is crafted to be entirely free of silicone. By avoiding fillers of all different sorts, the material is safe for both people and vehicle surfaces. Incorporating an abrasive agent that is gentle enough to prevent damage yet tough enough to get the job done, these are powerful polishes. After an application, your vehicle is left with a shiny appearance that is able to resist damage from scratches and environmental debris. 

It’s worth noting that, while the micro-abrasion technology is effective, it is not as powerful as a more dense buffer. The value of this polish depends on the state of the vehicle’s surface, since if it is too dinged up, it may not be powerful enough.

Key Features
  • Comes in a set of four containers
  • Each polish holds 4 ounces
  • Coats the vehicle for extra sheen
  • Free of any filling agents
Specification
  • Brand Chemical Guys
  • Model GAP_VKIT_04
  • Weight 1.35 pounds
PROS

Safe to use on all metal types

Improves the appearance of the metal

Prevents scratches from occurring

CONS

May not be dense enough for some surfaces

Can thin out in the heat

Prone to spills when improperly stored

If you are looking to restore the shine to your vehicle without straining yourself, the Swpeet Polishing Compound Kit is a good way to go. It comes in a set of eight bars, each small enough to hold and maneuver with ease. The bars themselves are color-coded. This point of reference ensures that you are able to use the best-suited buffer density to fix your vehicle. Working on a wide range of metals, you can use these polishers on anything from cars to jewelry. Thanks to the small size, you can fit them in tight quarters without a struggle. Simple to control, the material is activated by heat and movement. Basically, you move the buffer against the surface of your vehicle and it removes scratches and leaves behind a waxy sheen. 

It’s worth mentioning that, even though these buffers are high-powered, users need to exercise caution to apply the right buffer to the matching surface. Check the color of the buffer before you apply it.

Key Features
  • Set comes with eight bars
  • Color-coded for easy reference
  • Prevents fading on paint 
  • Leaves behind a clean finish
Specification
  • Brand Swpeet
  • Model S421
  • Weight 1.34 pounds
PROS

Easy to maneuver and control

Lightweight design for smooth application

Works on all types of metals

CONS

Wear down quickly after usee

Each buffer only works in specific situations

Can leave scratches if improperly used

Want a buffer that you can use on everything from your vehicle to your shoes? Consider the Sharpal Buffing Compound. It has a relatively unique structure that is bulky while remaining easy to control. The buffing block consists of an 8-ounce brick that is made out of high-grade materials. It goes easily onto leather, rubbing smoothly and eliminating roughness. The formula is reasonably gentle, going on without leaving streaks or damage. It is safe to use on a range of surfaces. Since it is effective on leather, this buffer is also safe on paints and metals. The thickness of the block enables it to be a long-lasting buffer. It stores well in between uses, provided you keep it in a dark, dry, and cool environment. 

It’s worth a note that, while this buffer leaves a good sheen, it might not be grainy enough to tackle larger issues. As a result, it is better-suited to preventative maintenance on vehicles rather than repairing the surface.

Key Features
  • Comes as a single 8-ounce brick
  • Bright green color with low density
  • Polishes and buffs the surface
  • Suitable for multiple materials
Specification
  • Brand Sharpal
  • Model 209H
  • Weight 6.4 ounces
PROS

Long-lasting due to large size

Works on leather and metal

Lightweight design handles easily

CONS

Relatively low grain density

Can get damaged during storage

Only suitable for preventing damage on vehicles

For those looking for a buffer that is easy to apply, Griot’s Garage Compound is a well-suited selection. It comes in a 16-ounce container that holds enough fluid for multiple buffing tasks. The material applies smoothly, working well with either a powered buffer or by hand. It is best when used with a microfiber cloth. Since the formula is entirely free of filling agents, it gives you real results without simply glossing over damage. The microscopic grit contained in the formula powerfully abrades the surface. Combined with the other materials in the compound, it leaves behind a good sheen on the surface of your vehicle. It is safe for application on all types of metals and paints. This is thanks to its ability to prevent streaking, rust, and a range of other issues (both functional and aesthetic). 

Keep in mind that, though this buffer compound is really easy to apply, it can get thin in the heat and thick in the cold. Try storing it upright in a cool and dry area to prevent these concerns.

Key Features
  • Container holds 16 fluid ounces
  • Works to buff and polish
  • Safe for use on all types of surfaces
  • Free of filling agents
Specification
  • Brand 1.06 pounds
  • Model Griot’s Garage
  • Weight Complete Compound 16oz
PROS

Works quickly and reliable

Can be used with machine or by hand

Won’t leave behind streaks or dust

CONS

Can spill during storage and transport

Microabrasion is better-suited to less damaged surfaces

Is your car looking a bit worse for the wear? Try the Carfidant Scratch and Swirl Remover to remove scratches and improve its overall appearance. This buffer comes with everything you need to eliminate dings and scratches. It comes in a fluid container and includes a buffer designed to optimize the effects. You can apply this buffer to any type of surface. It is safe for use on all kinds of paint and even on glass. When it goes on, the formula eliminates rust and water spots on the paint. The buffer pad gives you control over the abrasion intensity. This prevents any unplanned scratches. You can press harder on more dense paints and apply less pressure to more vulnerable surfaces. The versatility of the formula, coupled with the sturdy buffing pad, earns this option an honorable mention.

Key Features
  • Includes fluid polish and buffer
  • Works on all types of paints
  • Eliminates rust, scratches and spots
  • Free of dangerous chemicals and dyes
Specification
  • Brand Carfidant
  • Model CARF-C305
  • Weight 8 ounces
PROS

Safe to apply to all sorts of materials

Can be used on paint of any color

Gets rid of damage on vehicle surface

CONS

Fluid can be difficult to store and control

Can apply unevenly if not carefully used

Only suitable with the included buffer

Best Buffing Compound Buying Guide & FAQ

If you’ve ever suffered from scratches on the surface of your vehicle, you know the value of a quality buffing compound. It’s a necessary part of vehicle maintenance, in terms of both appearance and function. However, not all buffing compounds are made alike. A compound that is too dense will damage the paint. One that is too thin simply won’t get the job done.

Since buffing compounds consist of small particles suspended either in block or fluid form, it is absolutely critical to find the right fit. You need to find individual particles that are small enough to prevent causing scratches. You also need to find a compound that is thick enough to actually eliminate the scratches. The first thing you need to identify is the type of surface you plan to buff down. From there, you can track down the best-suited compound for your purposes.

Why Do You Need a Buffing Compound?

There are a lot of different reasons to have a buffing compound around. It’s more than a matter of making maintenance easier, it’s about getting rid of damage to the surface. Perhaps the best part about buffing compounds is that it has both aesthetic and functional benefits.

Polishing car with buffing compound

The appearance advantages are pretty straightforward. If you have an old paint job, it can get rid of scratches (either by eliminating them or covering them) and leaves behind a bright sheen. The abrasive component basically sands away the damage. This leaves your vehicle looking as good as new. Plus, since some buffers come with an included wax, it gives an attractive gloss. 

In terms of function, the benefits of a buffer are pretty far-reaching. The key is the ability to eliminate damage from oxidation and rust. Corrosion can build up over time, causing real issues to the frame of the vehicle. A buffer can get rid of this pesky grime and help avoid structural damage to the vehicle. The benefits don’t stop there. 

  • Come in different grit densities for optimal versatility. 
  • Easy to apply a buffer to the surface of your vehicle.
  • Eliminate scratches and dings to the paint on your car. 
  • Improve the overall appearance of the car’s exterior.
  • Help to prevent damage to the body of the vehicle over time. 
  • Useful as a step in preventative maintenance. 

Popular Types of Buffing Compounds

In order to get the full benefits of your buffing compound, it’s important to pick the most suitable type for your purposes. While each different type of buffer has inherent values, they won’t have an equal benefit on different surfaces. First, figure out what you want out of the compound, then you can identify the best-suited type. 

Liquid

This type of buffing compound is popular due to its multiple functions. Unlike other types of buffers, this one works to both abrade the surface as well as to polish it. As a result, you can save a lot of time during the application process. While solid buffers have very clear grit, liquid buffers usually have microscopic parts which are invisible to the naked eye. 

Liquid buffers are usually applied with a microfiber cloth, though you can also use them with a separate buffer. Generally, the application is quick. Though this type of hybrid polish and buffer is useful, it is best for newer vehicles and preventative maintenance. Often, the small size of the grit means it is insufficient to tackle larger scratches. 

Solid

This is a very common type of buffing compound, especially for those looking to overhaul the appearance of their vehicle. If the paint has scratched substantially, this type of buffer is the best-suited candidate. The most common color is green, noteworthy for its medium-density structure. 

The solid bricks come in a range of sizes and weights. In addition to keeping an eye on the density of the grit, it is important to look at the structure. The larger it is, the longer it will last. However, solid buffers that are bigger tend to be more difficult to maneuver. 

Another consideration of this type of buffing compound is the storage. While, if properly kept, it can last for a very long time, it is important to keep it away from fluid. Though most are heat and friction-activated, moisture can result in it losing structural integrity. Despite this caution, solid buffers are an ideal solution for vehicle restoration. 

Color-Coded

Perhaps the most common type of buffer, these are solids which, instead of coming as one brick, come as multiple bricks, each of a different hue. The color indicates the purpose of the buffer. Gray options are ideal for metal and include a fine, evenly distributed abrasive (good for stainless steel). Brown options are multi-purpose, working on more delicate metals like aluminum. A white bar is geared towards heavy metals such as nickel, thanks to its intensive abrasive abilities.  

Other colors include green (to create a shiny finish) and red (useful on jewelry). While this is representative of the industry standards of buffing agents, when you opt for color-coded buffers, be sure to double check the uses. It is a matter of grit density and safety on different surfaces. It can vary between manufacturers, so be sure to consult the color-coding chart of each individual buffer. 

What to Consider When Buying Buffing Compounds

There are several things to consider when buying your buffing compound. The first is what you plan to use it for. Identify the type of metal surface you are looking to abrade. Consider the structural integrity of that specific material. From there, you will be better able to determine what kind of buffer is suitable. 

Once you know this, it is a matter of finding a buffer with the correct density of abrasive ingredients. The density is not a reference to the size of the individual grit, rather it is reflective of the ratio of grit to the whole buffer. The higher this proportion, the more powerful the buffer will be. While this is good on very damaged surfaces, it is important to consider the vulnerabilities of the surface you will be buffing. 

Next, consider the grit itself. This does refer to the size of the individual grains. If you are tackling large scratches on hard metal, you are going to want bulkier particles. Conversely, if you are planning to use the buffer for routine upkeep, it is better to opt for a finer particle. Once you know these specifics, it is important to consider a few other things, too. 

  • Think about the ingredients in the formula. While it won’t go directly on your skin, there is still a level of exposure. Consider whether it was manufactured using safe materials that are free of toxins.
  • There are some hybrid buffers out there that include fillers (often in the form of silicone). While it might look nice once you are done, it doesn’t actually tackle the root issue. Choose something that is as free of additives as possible. 
  • Consider how you plan to apply the buffer. Are you going to do the entire vehicle or just a part of it? Do you plan to use a bar to rub the abrasion in or rely on a fluid to cover more surface area? Each type of buffer goes on differently. Choose something that is easy for you to apply. 
  • Chances are, you won’t use the buffer all in one go. Resultantly, you want something that will last you until the next time you need it. Fluid buffing compounds are more vulnerable to spill. However, bar options are more likely to see damage from humidity. 
  • Take a look at the different applications of the buffer. If you need to use the buffer on multiple surfaces, you may want a color-coded buffing set. However, if it is just for one purpose, you may want to find a compound specifically geared towards that use. 

The Most Important Features of Buffing Compounds

Though all different buffing compounds have their unique traits, there are some things they share in common. In order to find the best option, it is important to identify the key features to keep an eye on. So long as these features are accounted for, you can rely on the performance of the buffer itself. This way, you can get the most out of the formula.

Polishing white car with buffing compound

Grit and Abrasion

Possibly the most critical feature of the buffing compound, the grit is the part that gets the job done. The idea behind a buffer is to use the small components to grind away at flaws in the paint. The grit itself is made out of different materials and comes in unique sizes. In order to be effective, the grit needs to be harder on the Mohs scale than the material it is buffing. 

The next criteria of this feature is how the grit is held. There is a big difference between a bar and a fluid. For one, the bar gives you more density. The grit is held more closely together and creates a more powerful effect. A fluid goes on easier, though may need some elbow grease to get the necessary abrasion. 

Binding Agents

Whether a fluid or a solid, the binding agents are an important part of the compound. For one thing, this part holds the entire structure together. When it is a fluid, the fillers are likely to be wax-based and come off as a polish. In almost all cases, the material is hydro-phobic. This ensures that you get a barrier against water and rust. 

Even with a solid option, there are still binding agents. This is the component that holds the grit together. Generally, it is activated by friction (and the resulting heat). By moving the bar around on the surface, it spreads out the grit while remaining in an entirely solid form. The ideal binder is one that won’t thin out excessively when exposed to heat. 

Application Structure

Finally, each different buffing compound will go onto the surface in a different way. There are two basic formats for this. One is liquid. You can find it as a spray, but the more common way to find it is as a fluid. You pour the fluid on and use a separate applicator to rub it onto the paint. Some come with an application tool while others are sold separately. 

With a solid option, the application structure is self-explanatory. The bar itself is the applicator. You simply hold it and rub it on the vehicle. This activates the binding agent to thin and lets the grit do the rest of the work. Generally, these are the easier buffing compounds to apply. 

Care and Maintenance

In order to get the most value out of your buffing compound, it is important to take care of it properly. While most buffing compounds don’t require much maintenance, care is essential. It comes down to two aspects: use and storage. When it comes to use, it is important to be gentle and ensure that you don’t break the bar. Using it correctly goes a long way. Hold it properly and control the motion. Be consistent in your movements during application. 

Storage is a bit more nuanced. For one, you don’t want the structure to lose its form, whether it is a fluid or a solid. This means you need to find a cool and dry place to store the buffing compound. So long as you keep it responsibly, the buffer should be able to last for multiple uses. There are a few other things you can do to keep it in good condition.

  • Keep the fluid closed and stored in an upright position. 
  • If it is a bar, find an air and water-tight container to store it in. 
  • Ensure that the material stays dry and isn’t exposed to heat. 
  • Try to buff your vehicle away from direct sunlight to prevent streaks.
  • If you have color-coded buffers, use them only on recommended surfaces.
  • Make sure the car is clean and dry before you apply the buffer.

Best Buffing Compounds FAQ:

When it comes to vehicle upkeep, there are bound to be some questions. In order to get the best results from your buffing compound, it helps to be armed with all the relevant information. To help you along, we’ve addressed some of the most common inquiries. This way, you can both select and use your buffing compound more easily. 

Q. Is rubbing compound the same as buffing compound?

In short, rubbing and buffing compounds are basically the same. Both target uneven spots on the vehicle’s surface and smooth the appearance. 

Q. What’s the difference between buffing and polishing?

Buffing is an abrasion that smooths out flaws on the surface. Polishing goes over the whole surface and makes it shiny and looking like new. Sometimes, you can find both together.

Q. Is buffing bad for your car?

So long as you use the proper buffer for the material (paint and metal), it won’t harm the vehicle. Be sure to check the grit size and density before you get started. 

Our Top Pick

After careful consideration, we’ve named the Woodstock Extra Fine Buffing Compound as our top pick. From the quality grit to the ease of use, this buffer is excellent for restoring the paint quality on any vehicle. It is fine enough to be safe and makes light work out of the restoration process. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know the ins and outs of buffing compounds, you can make your pick. It could be the Woodstock Extra Fine Buffing Compound for its powerful effects or the BeaverCraft Buffing Compound for its affordable price. There is a compound to get any car looking like new. Happy buffing!

Sources:

  1. Polishing – Wikipedia