Buffer vs. Burnisher: Which is the Machine You Need for Your Job?


Both floor buffers and floor burnishers are machines used to maintain your hard floors. With a floor maintenance program in place, you will be able to extend the life of your floors, while keeping them looking like new. By having the correct machines for your jobs, you can save time, energy and money. Here are the key differences and uses.


What is the Difference Between a Floor Buffer and a Burnisher?

While buffers and burnishers are both used for hard floor maintenance, they are not the same cleaning equipment and can't be used interchangeably. The biggest differences between a buffer and a burnisher are the speed, motion, and floor maintenance tasks they are used on. Buffers are for stripping floors. Burnishers are for restoring floors' shine.


Floor Buffer Description and Uses

A floor buffer is a low-speed, rotary machine and is also known as a “swing machine” because of its side-to-side motion. These machines typically spin at 150-330 RPMs (rotations per minute). The uses for a buffer machine include scrubbing/cleaning, stripping and buffing hard floor surfaces. They can also be used to scrub and clean carpets with the correct brush or bonnet attachment. Floor buffers come in a variety of sizes to accommodate your needs depending on the square footage you are working with. Buffers will be electric, corded machines that have wheels for transportation.


If a floor buffer sounds like the machine you need, please check out the many options of floor buffers we carry.


Floor Burnisher Description and Uses

A burnisher is a high-speed machine that spins at 1000-3000 RPMs. These units are used for polishing your hard floors. Due to the faster rotations, the burnisher creates friction on your floor, which in turn produces the highly desirable “wet look” shine. Floor burnishers come in a variety of different sizes like buffers, but they also come in different power options. There are normal electric machines with cord, battery operated and propane powered burnishers on the market.


If a floor burnisher sounds like the machine you need, please check out the various floor burnishers we carry.





We're Experts in Floor Care!

Now that you have a better understanding of which machine you need, take a look at our “Floor Pad Guide” to decide which pads to use for your floor type/application. If you have any questions regarding which machine or floor pads would best suit your needs, contact our specialists at 888-722-5508 to discuss.



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