How To Buy a Floor Buffer – Low Or High Speed?

Buffer machines come with varying specifications, and the specifications of a single brand or range could be quite different from the other. So if you are planning to have one for your home or office you must study the specifications of different models from different manufacturers to conclude which one best your requirements. Read user reviews, check all the manufacturer features, and options. The collective information from both the sources will help you arrive at a good decision. (see our best reviewed floor buffers here)

Things to Check: Gauge your requirements off the floor buffer machine. The idea of having one should fit your plans of floor maintenance. Unless you assess your requirements correctly, you are likely to go wrong. Make a check list to help you decide.

Commercial versus Domestic Use: The common classifications for floor buffers range, but for most individuals it should start with domestic applications versus industrial applications. Machines designed for domestic use are smaller in size and thus lighter too. Their operation is simple. . These are ideally suited for cleaning the floors of house. Such machines are of great help to people with busy lifestyle and who like to entertain people at home.


You have to assess if the buffer you buy needs to be a high speed (burnisher)  or low speed machine (buffer).

The two kinds of machines are designed for different types of functioning, and purposes.

Considering its features of low cost and convenience of use makes it worthwhile to have a low speed buffer for domestic use, for example for buffing hardwood floors at home.  Once again it must be emphasized that while buying a buffer you need to understand that there are two kinds of buffers distinguished by their speed and if you are buying one for the first time, you must understand the difference between the two.


Traditionally, the speed of a low speed machine is 175 revolutions per minute. Therefore it takes longer for a machine to give a certain level of glow to the floor. However, the benefit of low speed is that the machine remains more versatile.

Further, they are less expensive compared to the high speed variety, allowing you to save money if you are using them for domestic use.  You may find some “fast” domestic buffers that run at 300 RPMs, and some even come with a dual speed setting that allow a speed from 175 to 300 RPM.


High speed floor buffers, working at 1,500 to 3,000 revolutions per minute are designed for polishing of solid floors only. These high speed floor buffers are often called “floor burnishers”. The parts of a high speed buffer and a low speed one are not usually compatible.

As already pointed out the speed of about 170 RPM of a slow speed buffer is just about ten percent of the high speed buffer operating at 1,500 RPM. That makes it easy understand a high speed machine can quickly and effectively shine the floors. The main advantage of a slow speed buffer is its lower cost.

This means, if you intend buying a buffer machine for your business, you should aim for a high speed machine because even though  low speed machine is economical initially, it works out more expensive in the long run. That’s because the slow speed model will take much longer to polish the same area and give perfect shine, thus adding to your power and labor expenses.


Despite all the advantages of a low speed floor buffer, it just can’t beat the performance of a high speed buffer. High speed buffers are better designed to polish the floors. As these are heavier machines and you need to apply force for cleaning the floors, the weight of the machine helps achieving the required results.

So, if your budget and requirements permit, you should aim for a high speed floor buffer, because the very purpose of having a buffer machine is to make a floor shine in the shortest possible time.


The video below is a pretty good look at how the two machines differ.