Top 10 Best Buffing Pads
If you’re looking to get your car looking like it’s brand new again, you’re going to want a high quality buffing pad. Whether you’re using an orbital polisher/buffer or doing things by hand, a well-made buffing pad gets the job done quicker, easier, and with better results. There are plenty of different types of buffing pads on the market today, made from various types of materials such as microfiber, wool, and terry cloth. Sponge pads are also popular and you’ll see quite a few products on our list that are sponge pads.
So if you’re shopping for the right buffing pad for the job, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll look over the top 10 buffing pads you can currently purchase, detailing what each pad or kit is designed to do and the benefits for each type of pad.
For more information on buffing pads, refer to our table of contents.
Table of contents
- 1. Editor's Pick: Viking Car Care Microfiber Applicator Pads
- 2. Chemical Guys Hex-Logic Buffing Pad Kit
- 3. Petutu Car Foam Drill Polishing Pad Kit
- 4. Meguiar’s Supreme Shine Foam Applicator Pads
- 5. Griot's Garage Orange Polishing Pad
- 6. Fontic Compound Drill Buffing Sponge Pads Kit
- 7. SPTA Car Polisher Bonnet Pads
- 8. TCP Global Ultimate 6 Pad Buffing and Polishing Kit
- 9. AutoCare Microfiber Wax Applicators
- 10. 3M Perfect-It Ultrafine Foam Polishing Pad
1. Editor's Pick: Viking Car Care Microfiber Applicator Pads
Viking Car Care's microfiber applicator pads is our Editor's Pick, not only because they're extremely popular on Amazon and highly rated, but they're affordable and have a wide variety of options. You can choose to purchase either 4 or 6 applicator pads at once.
These pads are designed for applying waxes, polishes, and protectants, featuring soft microfiber or cotton terry that are clear coat safe. Best of all, they're all machine washable and reusable, so you'll get plenty of use out of them despite being so affordable.
The round pads measure 5" in diameter.
Wide variety of options, extremely affordable, available in soft microfiber or cotton terry, machine washable
5" diameter is a bit small for some applications, aren't extremely durable for heavy-duty use
2. Chemical Guys Hex-Logic Buffing Pad Kit
This kit from Chemical Guys not only includes 7 buffing pads, but a bottle of polishing pad cleaner. While it's a bit more expensive than other products on our list, it's a comprehensive kit for cutting, polishing, and finishing. These Hex-Logic foam pads use premium high-density foam and cutting-edge pad designs with grooves in the face to spread the product around evenly.
You can choose from either 5.5" or 6.5" pads, all of which work with buffers and polishers thanks to a hook and loop system that makes them extremely easy to install.
Here's a quick breakdown of each pad and what they're designed to do:
- Yellow: Heavy cutting pad to remove severe scratches, swirls, oxidation, and paint defects
- Orange: Removes light to moderate scratches, swirls, oxidation, and paint defects
- Green: Removes light to moderate scratches, swirls, oxidation, and paint defects, then finishes like a lighter polishing pad
- White: Restores gloss and reflection after cutting away swirls and scratches
- Blue: Ideal for spreading glaze for added gloss and shine—no extra cut for polishing or paint correction
- Black: Ideal for spreading glaze, sealant, or wax
- Red: Ultra-soft pad for spreading glaze, sealant, or wax
Also included with the kit is a 16-ounce bottle of foam & wool citrus-based polishing pad cleaner, designed to break down and release product, removed paint, dirt, and contaminants from the polishing pads.
Comprehensive kit with all types of pads, fits buffers and polishers, includes polishing pad cleaner, high-quality product
Price, foam isn't extremely durable for amateur use—needs to be well maintained or properly used to stay durable
3. Petutu Car Foam Drill Polishing Pad Kit
A comprehensive, yet affordable kit comes from Petutu. This kit comes with 22 pieces total, including 16 3" sponge polishing pads, 2 wool buffing pads, 2 drill adapters, and 2 suction cups. Designed for sealing glaze, polish, or wax, these buffing and polishing pads feature adhesive backings so you can quickly change your pads in seconds. All the pads included with this kit are washable and reusable, so your minor investment could last you a long time with some care.
The different colored sponge polishing pads represent different softness, so you can choose what you need for your particular task, whether it's buffing, polishing, or finishing. The orange pads are designed for coarse polishing, while the yellow and blue pads are ideal for medium polishing. For fine polishing, you'll want to use the white and black pads.
If you already own a hand drill, this kit is great for making car detailing much easier, while providing better results.
Comprehensive kit, price, variety of sponge pads and wool pads, designed to work with a drill
Not compatible with all drills, pads are a bit on the small side
4. Meguiar’s Supreme Shine Foam Applicator Pads
If you're shopping for buffing pads, there's a real good chance you recognize the Meguiar's name. The company is a leader in the car care industry and offers its 4" foam applicator pads as a standalone product. If you have ever used any Meguiar's polish or wax, you may recognize these pads as they're typically bundled with those products. They're available in a 4 pack at a real affordable price, designed to apply car polish, wax, or many other car care products.
These pads are made of ultra-soft, tight-cell foam to deliver a smooth, even application on all surfaces. They can even be used on wheels, tires, leather, vinyl, and rubber. Expect them to last you multiple uses, since they're machine washable and highly durable.
Trusted car care brand, affordable, foam applicator, machine washable, can be used on a variety of surfaces
A bit on the smaller side, a bit hard to grip, designed for hand use only
5. Griot's Garage Orange Polishing Pad
Griot's Garage has several different buffing pads available in its lineup, but the company's orange pad is the most popular. The orange pad is designed for paint correction, working on light to moderate defects in your paint. Griot's Garage also offers black foam finishing pads for fine tuning and protection, as well as a red foam wax pad and a microfiber fast finishing pad for light defects and fine tuning.
These pads boast a chamfered edge to maximize their footprint, while improving productivity and safety. Available in 3", 5.5", and 6.5" sizes, you can use these pads either by hand or attached to a buffer since they have a hook and loop backing. The orange pads specifically work well to polish effectively without being too aggressive.
Made from premium, reticulated, and open-cell foam, Griot's Garage uses a thermoset bonding to make sure these pads are durable enough to be machine washable.
Variety of sizes, high-quality foam, chamfered edges, thermoset bonding makes them durable and machine washable
Price, not great for use by hand
6. Kshineni 11 Piece Polishing Kit
Kshineni's kit is very similar to another we’ve previously recommended, and it earns a spot on the list due to the variety of attachments included. There are 9 sponge pads, 1 wool buffer, and 1 drill adapter with shank. Those wool and sponge pads are washable and reusable as well (just make sure to look up how to properly do so). As with so many others, different colors are used for different hardness levels in this kit.
The black sponges are ultra fine units, and can be used as a polishing and finishing pad. The white sponges are extra fine pads and can also be used for polishing and finishing. Both the blue and yellow sponges are medium, designed for light cutting and polishing, final cutting, or glazing clear coat surfaces. Lastly, the orange pad is a coarse sponge, serving as a standard grade cutting pad.
A nice kit for the price, variety of sponge pads, one wool pad, can be used with a drill
Pads are on the smaller side, not extremely durable
7. AUTDER Car Polisher Buffing Bonnet Pads
These bonnet pads form AUTDER are a great option if you’re using a 5” or 6” buffer, these pads will fit and are offered in a number of finishes, from wool to microfiber to terry to cotton. You can also buy a mixed set if you’re experimenting. That includes two of each type. The bonnets are designed to fit over your buffer head, which should provide a little peace of mind. They’ll safely and evenly apply wax, and are also washable and reusable.
Designed for polishers/buffers, variety of material type, affordable, washable and reusable
Material is a bit thin
8. TCP Global Ultimate 6 Pad Buffing and Polishing Kit
Offered by TCP Global is this 6 pad buffing and polishing kit, which includes five 8" waffle foam grip pads, a single 8" wool grip pad, and a 7" polisher grip backing plate. The grip mount backing plate features standard 5/8" polisher threads, providing a no-slip grip and quick pad changes. Here's a quick breakdown of each of the pads included with the kit:
- Black: Extra fine ultra smooth finishing pad for final finishing, polishing, glazing, or waxing
- Green: Fine pad for final cut, polishing, and finishing, offering a light cut on clear coats
- Blue: Medium pad for light cut and polishing, final cutting, polishing, or glazing clear coat, works for light oxidation and scratches
- Orange: Coarse pad for standard grade cutting, works on cutting surface orange peel, color sanding scratches
- Red: Extra coarse pad for heavy aggressive cutting, buffing oxidized paint, orange peel, deep scratches, and color sanding scratches
- Wool: Coarse pad for heavy cutting, buffing oxidized paint, orange peel, deep scratches, and color sanding scratches
These pads are made with durable open cell foam, which improves the airflow between the pad and the surface. The waffle design holds the product better, helping reduce any slinging from the pad. The design also improves effectiveness by providing better pad contact with the surface, while also reducing heat buildup while in use.
Comprehensive kit with a variety of pads, durable open cell foam, waffle design, includes grip mount backing plate
Expensive, foam edges may wear quickly
9. AutoCare Microfiber Wax Applicators
AutoCare offers a 10 pack of simple-to-use wax applicators at a low cost. These are soft and absorbent microfiber pads with premium 70/30 blended microfiber and they work great for applying waxes, sealants, glazes, dressings, and more. The pads are inside stitched two times to ensure the edges never touch the surface of your paint and they can be rewashed multiple times, even in a machine.
For added convenience, there's a sizeable finger pocket on the pads, making them easier and more convenient to use.
These pads are really ideal for light duty use, such as routine maintenance in caring for your car. For the price and the fact that you get 10 pieces, it's a great product. They are a bit on the smaller side and aren't the most durable—but you get what you pay for.
Price, 10 pack, microfiber, finger pocket, great for light-duty applications
Finger pocket doesn't work that well for some hands, not the most durable
10. 3M Perfect-It Ultrafine Foam Polishing Pad
No list of car care products would be complete without an offering from 3M. The company's Perfect-It ultrafine foam polishing pad is available in 3", 6", and 8" sizes along with different styles. Each pad features an ultra-smooth finish with a waffle pattern, which helps maintain surface contact for smooth operation without excess heat buildup. These are the ideal pads for ultra fine polishing, eliminating swirls, and tiny defects.
Best used with a polisher, the pads have a hook and loop attachment and work with 3M's Quick Connect Adapters on rotary polishers.
High-quality product, durable, waffle design, available in 3 different sizes, ultra-smooth finish
A bit on the soft side, backing isn't very stiff—bends easily
Is there a difference between buffing and polishing?
There is absolutely a difference. Polishing removes deeper defects and dirt, while buffing is used to finalize the finish on your car.
Is foam or wool better for buffing?
Broadly speaking, foam is preferred for buffing. They’re held to be more gentle in the last stages of paint correction, but wool is better for deep scratches and dirt removal.
What speed should I use for buffing my car?
When using cutting compounds, it’s best to hover between 1,500 RPM and 2,500 RPM on your buffer. Generally, use whatever is recommended by the compound manufacturer. For finishing, drop the RPMS to between 1,200-1,750.
October 31, 2023: Updated the link and image for our top recommendation. Swapped out products #6 and #7. Added three FAQs.
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Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at AutoGuide.com saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.
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