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How to select a floor buffer machine

If it’s important that the floors of your business look clean and polished, a floor buffer machine is essential. But with different manufacturers and a huge range of models to choose from, it can be hard to know which one is going to be right for your business. Floor polishers and buffers all basically work in the same way, and they're very effective at giving your floors a polished look your customers and clients will love to see.

How a floor buffer machine works

Floor polishers and buffers are a type of commercial floor cleaning machine that typically uses a rotating disk to remove dirt and grime from the floor and leaves it with a clean, polished finish. A polish or cleaning agent is often sprayed on the floor first, which helps the tough acrylic bristles of the polishing pad do its job.

Because of the way a floor buffer machine works, different types of polish can make them versatile for cleaning a range of different floor surfaces, including:

The most common models are also know as swing buffers, because of the side to side action the operator uses to polish the floor. The low RPM of these commercial floor buffers ensures that they are easy to control, but still a quick and effective way of bringing a shine to a floor.

Features to look for

When you’re trying to choose from the various floor polishing machines available on the market, here are some of the features you want to consider.

Width - Floor buffer machines come in different sizes, which means you shouldn’t have too much problem finding one that matches your needs. Buffers with a wide diameter will be great for cleaning large, open floor spaces; but if you’re only looking to polish a small area, or need to be able to get into tight spaces, a smaller sized machine might be better.

Speed - The majority of buffers tend to operate at around 150-300 RPM, which is fine for basic floor cleaning and polishing. However, a high speed floor buffer machine, sometimes known as a scrubber, can often be better if you need more effective cleaning equipment or want for a much more polished look.

Solution capacity - With basic models, the operator will usually spray the cleaning solution or polish onto the floor before going over it with the buffer. Larger, more expensive models often have a tank for the solution and an automatic dispenser, with some of the high speed floor buffers having enough capacity to cover thousands of square feet.

Prices paid for floor buffer machines

$9039 for a Tennant T5 28" with fast foam.

- Buyer from New Braunfels, TX

$3500.00 was what I paid in the end.

- Buyer from Powhatan, VA

I paid $4000 for the machine. Included in the price was training and one 5 gallon can of heavy duty soap.

- Buyer from Atlanta, GA

What others are looking for...

Looking for a manual floor buffer/cleaner. Needs to be commercial quality and able to stand up to use in rental business.

- CEO/President/Owner, Equipment Sales & Service, Freeport, IL

Years ago I cleaned floors and used an Atlas 15" buffer with a steel spike buffer wheel that held steel wool pads to both strip and buff vinyl floors. We used stripping solution, a sealer, and then finished with a solvent base wash. We also had polishing brushes that fit the buffer. I will need help to select a package for my needs.

- CEO/President/Owner, Construction/General Contracting, Woodbridge, VA

Looking for a stand behind floor buffer/stripper, with round buffing pad.

- Marketing/Public Relations, Other Business Services, Tallahassee, FL

Need a lightweight hardwood floor buffer for home use.

- Other, Other Business Services, Burnsville, MN

Buffers, wet vacuum, burnishes, extractor, and vacuum for an 85,000 sf new school.

- CEO/President/Owner, Construction/General Contracting, Newburyport, MA