A drill-mounted polishing/buffing device may not be as cool or as ‘gadget-y’ as a lot of the stuff we review here, but there is something to be said for a well-made device that does its designated job very nicely. The BufferBit kit is one of those not-so-fun but necessary items that keep you looking professional.
The $24.99 BufferBit kit consists of two main elements:
- A conical bit that fits any drill bit holder or that can be used directly in the chuck, and
- 3 wool buffing pads that fit snugly on the bit- red, black, and white/natural (all the same other than color), that can also be purchased separately.
The pads are held on the bit by a strong elastic band. The 100% wool pads are machine washable (cold water, air or cool tumble dry) and designed to be used without any other polishes or chemicals (although it is a good idea to clean whatever you are about to polish first.)
The pads will polish leather shoes, purses, leather jackets, leather or leather-like furniture, chrome, stone, tile, car rims, automotive chrome, and more around the home or garage. Although not mentioned, it would probably be smart to designate a specific colored pad for some cleaning jobs like polishing car rims, etc. where some abrasives may be picked up that may damage other surfaces. If you use it on leather or shoes, it may also be wise to roughly match the pad color to the leather color.
You don’t need much pressure, or a very powerful drill – in fact, slower speeds are generally better for this sort of thing. Cordless drills are recommended for this very reason. In use, I found that a smaller, lower-powered drill generally is easier to use and handle than the bigger ones. I suspect that the ‘power screwdriver’ versions, with the straight-line body and handle, would work even better, assuming they are powerful enough.
As mentioned, you don’t need polishes or chemicals – just light pressure and the all-wool pads. They will shed a bit for a while, but this is common with all wool polishing pads, so it is nothing to worry about.
Now that I had it all set up, I started to look for things to polish… and ran into a small snag. I just don’t have a lot of things in the house that this sort of device will help with. (I took it to my shop as well with similar results. I also drive a car that has few things it would help with. I would have sworn I had more polishable things when I agreed to do this review!)
I tried it on my most polishable shoes, but they barely showed any results- more due to not being very soiled and not having a finish that takes a shine than due to any flaw in the pads. (Although I did include most of the lint from the polishing effort!)
OK, the bathroom faucet was a little better example. I polished the right side and the spout. There is a slight haze due to a little water that got on the pad, but it did a nice job (shedding a little more lint).
The design of the BufferBit helps it useful for small jobs that can be done with a cloth and bigger jobs that might normally call for a power buffer unit. The conical shape allows it to fit in smaller spaces, while still being able to work larger jobs using the sides. All of the components are well-made. The bit especially is sturdy and should last a long time.
Overall, I was impressed with the build quality and thoughtful design of this tool. I was less impressed with the usefulness. Certainly part of that is because I have so little need for it now, but in my experience in the last several years with several tools of this type, most of the jobs a unit of this size can handle can generally be handled nicely with other options I already have (like microfiber cloths). I also find that cordless drills are generally not comfortable to use for long when you are using a bit that involves sideways pressure – the handles and balance of the drill is just not designed for that.