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What Is a Buff Sander?

Buff sanders are also called orbital floor sanders and are used to sand a newly installed floor or to sand away the scratches left from a drum or rotary sander when removing the finished surface of an old hardwood floor. Buff sanders are very convenient to use but do require a lot of skill and know-how to maneuver the machine and to evenly sand the floor without damaging it.
  1. Why the Name "Buff Sander"?

    • Buff sander is a shortened name the type of orbital floor sander that has several floor care functions. While some orbital floor sanders have only one function, this type of orbital floor sander has an additional buffer and edger feature, and it functions as a floor buffer would. So instead of calling it an "orbital floor sander buffer edger," calling it a "buff sander" is easier to say.


    • A buff sander stands at a comfortable height to operate in a standing and walking position. The controls are located at the top of the machine, and its two handles make it easy to handle and maneuver the machine in synch with the force of its spinning base. Although it is a heavy machine, the wheels on the back of the unit makes it easy to move around, and the machine is even easier to move once it is turned on and operating. The spinning base makes the buff sander glide from side to side, and this is why it must be guided with both hands because it can take off on its own.

      Buff sanders get the job of sanding away the top layer of a floor in a fraction of the time it would take with a handheld palm sander or by hand.

    Other Uses

    • The multifunctional buff sander makes it an all-in-one floor cleaning and finishing machine. Sand the floor with its sanding attachment to make a floor smooth and level. Change the sanding disc to the edge attachment to sand the edges of the room, where the floor sander was not able to reach. Without this attachment, the edges of the room would have to be sanded by hand, because the floor sander is too bulky to reach into the corners and along the edges of the room.

      For a finished floor whose shine needs a refreshed appearance, change out the sanding disc to the buffer pad and use the machine to apply an even coat of floor wax or polisher. The spinning action of the machine works the finishing solution into a clean, well-buffed, brilliant shine.


    • As an industrial piece of machinery, a buff sander can be very expensive to purchase. This is a good idea for floor care businesses that will get many uses from their investment, but for a private home, a buff sander only needs to be used once over many years to refinish a floor and maybe once every one to two years to polish them up. For these reasons, it is a wiser choice to rent a buff sander for a home or hire a professional floor sander, than to purchase the unit. Buff sanders are commonly featured in rental and home-improvement stores, and it is also very easy to locate a professional floor specialist to finish a home's wood floors.