The Difference Between Floor Buffers and Floor Burnishers - Xtreme Polishing Systems

The Difference Between Floor Buffers and Floor Burnishers

Maintaining attractive and glossy floor surfaces undoubtedly require more maintenance than just sweeping and mopping. Hard floor surfaces may present a visibly clean appearance to the naked eye however, the dirt and grime that is not visible to us will build up over time so it is very important that you award your hard floors with a deeper surface clean. Floor buffing and floor burnishing are two different types of surface cleaning methods that were designed to efficiently clean, disinfect, and restore hard floor surfaces that endure constant wear and tear. Hard floors may consist of concrete, tile, laminate, hardwood, marble, and other types of hard flooring surfaces.

Floor burnishers and floor buffers are dynamic pieces of equipment that are easy to maintain for commercial and residential floor restoration, surface cleaning, and other janitorial purposes. Even though floor burnishers and floor buffers both serve the same purpose for hard floors, they are still two completely different electrical units that operate distinctively to produce glossy finishes at different degrees. Before investing in a piece of equipment, such as a floor buffer or floor burnisher, it is best that you understand how each machine operates.

What are Floor Burnishers?

High-speed floor burnishing is a process that entails controlled scratching on a hard surface, abrasively removing and smoothing the topical layer of the floor and increasing the surface gloss. Floor burnishers are lightweight, high-speed polishing machines that spin at 1000-3000 RPMs. Floor burnishing machines are primarily used to polish and restore the surface shine on your hard floors.

Floor burnishers extend the life of hard surfaces by using a method that combines your choice of floor cleaning solution and a single-disc floor pad that can easily attach and detach from the bottom of the machine. This floor burnishing pad generates faster rotations on the surface because burnishing machines are specifically built to have more power so in turn, this creates more friction on your hard surfaces, ultimately removing any residue and yielding a spectacular shine. Our vigorous collection of ultra-high-speed floor burnishers are available in a variety of power options and different size preferences. Financing options may be available for select machine models.

What are Floor Buffers?

Floor buffing is a process in which the surface of your hard floors is deep cleaned using a designated floor cleaning solution. Floor buffers exfoliate the topical layer of your floors to remove dirty surface residue, which in-turn reveals its original glossy appearance. Floor buffers are low-speed rotary machines that typically spin at 150-330 RPM and are operated with a side-to-side motion, which is also why floor buffers are referred to as swing machines.

Floor buffers are multi-purpose floor restoration units that are primarily used for surface scrubbing, polishing, cleaning, and stripping hard floors. Floor buffers are easy-to use and were specifically built to remove scuffs, eliminate previous finishes from the floor, level the surface, and enhance the floor’s original shine. Our collection of floor buffers are available in a variety of sizes to be able to accommodate your floor restoration needs.

So What is the Difference Between Floor Buffers and Floor Burnishers?

The principal differences between floor buffers and floor burnishers are their speed, the motion in which you operate each machine, and the specific tasks they can be used for. Floor burnishers use a mechanical process involving high-speed disc rotations to produce a much higher gloss finish that can be achieved in a faster time when compared to floor buffers. It is ideal to take caution when handling a burnisher because multiple coats of a floor cleaning solution may be necessary to maintain the shine for longer periods of time while preventing the floor from becoming worn. Floor buffers may also have limitations on their capabilities to handle more modern finishes, such as high-speed burnished floors.

Floor burnishers and floor buffers sometimes look very similar in appearance, but typically floor burnishers are much heavier units compared to floor buffers. This additional weight is due to the complex engine design that is built within a burnishing machine, helping it generate more power for much higher speeds. The additional pressure from the weight of a floor burnisher also gives a major advantage to producing a remarkable shine when compared to a floor buffing machine. Floor buffers will also restore the gloss levels of your hard floors however, they tend to produce a more refined and subtle surface gloss finish when compared to a floor burnisher, which produces a glossy, “wet-look” surface finish. Also, when operating a floor buffer the machine moves in a side-to-side motion, while floor burnishers move back and forth in a straight line.


The benefits of practicing commercial and residential surface restoration and floor maintenance procedures go far beyond achieving a shiny finish. There are major advantages for possessing a piece of machinery such as a floor burnisher or floor buffer. Upkeep on your hard floor surfaces is essential in today’s unpredictable and demanding world so it’s recommended to modernize your normal methods of routine surface cleaning and maintenance. Surface gloss and applied floor finishes will deteriorate much faster based on the amount of foot traffic they endure on a daily basis, so it is important to always remind yourself that preventative floor care is much cheaper than restorative floor care.

Floor restoration equipment, such as a floor burnisher or floor buffer are reliable tools to simplify laborious manual cleaning methods. Using these machines is as simple as literally pulling out your broom, mop, or vacuum! Once you have cleaned and restored your hard floor surfaces they become much easier to maintain and way more effortless to keep them that way. Ultimately, you are able to make a good first impression, while also meeting health and safety standards. Floor maintenance machines are built specifically for individuals like yourself to prevent strenuous physical labor while saving you time, and most importantly, money!


At Xtreme Polishing Systems, our team of experts understands that concrete can variate in properties, therefore each slab must be treated differently. We also know how common it is for those unforeseen complications to occur after hours while still on the job site. It is crucial to have immediate support for achieving beautiful concrete finishes.

Whether you’re a professional contractor or a do-it-yourself type of person, our top-of-the-line concrete product supply and industry expertise are available to anyone. Our pros are here to discuss all your project concerns to assist you every step of the way, from START to FINISH.

Questions? We would love to hear them! Our professionals are readily available to answer all your questions and to provide you with concrete knowledge and industry expertise in the overall preparation and completion of a concrete floor project. Shop Online or Call (877) 958-5732 for all your concrete flooring needs!