There are a wealth of choices for car detailers and DIYers who want the best buffing compound for their car’s finish. Our team scoured the web for the top-performing buffing compounds and rigorously tested each compound to see if they are as good as they say. Find out below which buffing compounds do the best job and won’t damage your car’s paint job.
5 Best Buffing Compounds
- Best Overall: Chemical Guys V-Line Polish And Compound Kit
- Runner-Up: 3D One Car Scratch & Swirl Remover
- Best Scratch Removal: Meguiar’s Quik Scratch Eraser Kit
- Best Value: Meguiar’s G17220 Ultimate Compound
- Best for RVs: Meguiar’s Marine/RV One Step Compound
#1 Best Overall: Chemical Guys V-Line Polish And Compound Kit
The Chemical Guys V-Line Polish and Compound Kit is engineered specifically for scratch-resistant and ceramic clear coats. The kit itself consists of four 16.0-ounce bottles of compound and finishing product: the V32 Optical Grade Extreme Compound, the V34 Optical Grade Hybrid Compound, the V36 Optical Grade Cutting Polish, and V38 Optical Grade Final Polish. All of the buffing and polishing compounds are silicone- and filler-free.
The buffing compounds in this kit feature Optical Grade micro-abrasives, which remove deep scratches and blemishes to provide a clear and high gloss finish. The V32 compound removes 1,200 to 1,500 grit scratches, as does the V34 compound. The V36 is a cut compound that removes 2,000 to 2,500 grit sanding scratches, swirls, and holograms. The V38 is a finishing polish that removes 2,500 to 3,000 scratches.
It should be noted that the buffing compounds in this kit are all compatible with dual-action polishers and rotary polishers.
In our testing experience, the Chemical Guys V-Line Polish and Compound Kit is an exceptional kit, as it gives you the power to fully buff, cut, and polish your car.
|Overall Rating||5 out of 5|
Effectiveness: In terms of effectiveness, there wasn’t a buffing compound that could match up to this kit from Chemical Guys. The fact that we’re not considering just one buffing compound, but rather four, should tell you all you need to know about the different compounds’ effectiveness. In particular, the V32 compound had incredible fast-cutting capabilities.
Versatility: Easily the most versatile buffing compound we tested, the inclusion of different types of cutting and polishing compounds in this kit allows you to fully complete the buffing process without purchasing extra compounds or tools.
Shine: Our team was incredibly impressed by the high-quality shine that the V38 Optical Grade Final Polish left on our testing vehicle’s paint. We applied the V38 to our favorite polishing pad and the glossy shine it left was unlike any other luster we saw while testing.
What Customers Are Saying
Exceeding 4,200 customer reviews on Amazon, the Chemical Guys V-Line Polish and Compound Kit has an overall customer review rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars. The vast majority of reviewers say they recommend this buffing compound for anyone who needs to remove light scratches, water spots, or swirl marks from their car’s paint. Many say it works better than other similar products. One reviewer dubs his results as “spectacular.”
#2 Runner-Up: 3D One Car Scratch & Swirl Remover
Designed as an all-in-one compound, the 3D One Car Scratch & Swirl Remover features a hybrid formula of cutting compound and finishing polish. This means that the buffing compound can remove light scratches to heavy cuts, while also offering sealant protection. Furthermore, this compound is excellent for true paint correction, remedying paint defects, and eliminating swirl marks from a car’s paint.
The brand, 3D, has over 25 years of experience in the car care industry and produces high-quality products that at-home DIY guys, detailers, and body shops alike trust. The 3D One, like all detailing products from 3D, is made in the United States. This all-in-one buffing compound is easy to apply, as you can use your fingers for small surface imperfections, or use with a polisher and one of the best buffing pads on the market for larger areas.
The 3D One Car Scratch & Swirl Remover performed very well during testing. Our review team was blown away by the results we had when using this buffing compound.
|Overall Rating||4.7 out of 5|
Effectiveness: Only slightly less effective than Chemical Guys V-Line kit, our review team had reservations about this product prior to testing as it was an all-in-one compound. We’re pleased to report that this buffing compound is nothing like your average men’s all-in-one shampoo and conditioner – because it actually works.
Versatility: By nature of the hybrid formula implemented in this buffing compound, the 3D One is incredibly versatile. Our team members found ourselves quite satisfied with this buffing compound’s ability to accomplish multiple portions of the buffing process.
Shine: Even though this all-inclusive formula can remove grime and scratches on a car’s paintwork, it can also act as car polish and leave behind a bright shine. We were thoroughly impressed by the quality of shine that this buffing compound left on our testing vehicle.
What Customers Are Saying
The 3D One Car Scratch & Swirl Remover exceeds 4,600 customer reviews on Amazon. It’s deemed as incredible for paint correction by a large number of reviewers, and many others refer to it as user-friendly. One reviewer states she recently shipped her car across the country, which left a number of swirl marks all across the hood of her vehicle. She says 3D One is better than any multi-step compound she used.
#3 Best Scratch Removal: Meguiar’s Quik Scratch Eraser Kit
The Meguiar’s Quik Scratch Eraser Kit consists of a 4.0-inch scratch eraser pad that can attach to a cordless drill, a 16.0- by 16.0-in. microfiber towel, and a 4.0-oz. bottle of Meguiar’s ScratchX. During your research, you may have come across Meguiar’s ScratchX 2.0 – this was reformulated in 2020 and “2.0” was dropped from the name. In summary, this means that the bottle of ScratchX included in the kit is the more effective new formula.
This buffing compound is able to quickly remove scuff marks, scratches, defects, paint transfer, and even fingernail marks near door handles. Meguiar’s ScratchX formula features micro-abrasives that remove defects and enhance the level of shine. It should be noted that this buffing compound is safe to use on all clear coats and glossy paints.
We really like Meguiar’s Quik Scratch Eraser Kit and felt its scratch-removing capabilities were a notch above the rest of the competition.
|Overall Rating||4.5 out of 5|
Effectiveness: Our team members were impressed by the effectiveness of Meguiar’s ScratchX. In particular, this buffing compound’s ability to remove scratches was notably better than other competitor products that we tested in person.
Versatility: Although this buffing compound’s marquee characteristic is its ability to remove scratches, it also features micro-abrasives in its formula to enhance the shine it leaves behind. We think that this buffing compound is a solid choice for any stage of the buffing process.
Shine: As touched upon earlier, this buffing compound does leave behind a shine. While the quality of shine is not to the same level as the Chemical Guys V38 compound, it is undoubtedly still a quality shine.
What Customers Are Saying
More than 4,700 customers on Amazon have left reviews for Meguiar’s Quik Scratch Eraser Kit. Reviews speak to how easy to use this buffing compound is and how well it works. Many reviewers state going to a body shop is a waste of money when buffing compounds like this exist. A few negative reviews state that this buffing compound left swirl marks on paint, but we personally didn’t experience this.
#4 Best Value: Meguiar’s G17220 Ultimate Compound
Safe and effective on clear coats and single-stage paints, Meguiar’s G17220 Ultimate Compound features a time-reducing formula that makes it easier to restore neglected paint finishes. This buffing compound is designed to remove scratches, oxidation, blemishes, and water spots without scratching or swirling. We recommend taking your car through a car wash or using one of the best car cleaning products to remove contaminants before using this compound.
Featuring exclusive micro-abrasive technology, this buffing compound can restore your car’s paint finish and even add gloss to the paintwork in just one step. Although this buffing compound is reasonably priced, Meguiar’s didn’t curtail its quality as it cuts as fast as harsh abrasives to restore surface clarity. It should be noted that this buffing compound can be applied with your hands or via a dual-action polisher, such as Meguiar’s MT300.
The Meguiar’s G17220 Ultimate Compound is a budget-friendly option for those who want a quality buffing compound.
|Overall Rating||4.2 out of 5|
Effectiveness: Undoubtedly effective, this buffing compound worked well at removing light to moderate scratches on our testing vehicle. Our team members were impressed, as it managed to buff out a few deeper scratches with quite large surface areas.
Versatility: Relatively versatile, the Ultimate Compound from Meguiar’s greatest strength is arguably its biggest drawback – it’s an all-in-one compound. While you won’t have to worry about switching between different compounds during your buffing process, this compound is better at scratch removal than it is at leaving a shine on your car’s paint.
Shine: If you want a buffing compound for the shine it leaves on your car’s paintwork, then this might not be the right compound for you. However, this buffing compound does leave a gloss over your car’s paint, which we found restored some radiance to the paint on our testing vehicle.
What Customers Are Saying
Meguiar’s G17220 Ultimate Compound has about 8,300 customer reviews on Amazon. Reviewers speak to how well this buffing compound removes light scratches on their car’s clear coat. Lots of customers say they highly recommend this product, while several go as far as saying their car looks brand new now. Negative reviews focus on the buffing compound’s failure to remove scratches – however, our review team didn’t find this to be true.
#5 Best For RVs: Meguiar’s Marine/RV One Step Compound
The Meguiar’s Marine/RV One Step Compound is a buffing compound that’s designed to clean fiberglass, gel coat surfaces, and leave behind a high-gloss finish. This one-step compound restores surfaces by way of removing water spots, scratches, stains, and oxidation. It also restores color and leaves behind a bright shine. It should be noted that you should not apply this buffing compound to vinyl and rubber surfaces or decals.
In terms of application, this buffing compound can be applied by hand or via a high-speed rotary buffer. For applying the buffing compound by hand, Meguiar’s recommends using a 100-percent cotton towel or a foam applicator pad. For applying the buffing compound by machine, we recommend using a foam or wool buffing pad.
In our experience, Meguiar’s Marine/RV One Step Compound is an aggressive yet simple and safe-to-use compound – making it the buffing compound that’s Best for RVs.
|Overall Rating||4 out of 5|
Effectiveness: During our testing process, we were impressed by how well this buffing compound worked. It eliminated heavy oxidation, tough water spots, and scratches – all while leaving behind a high-gloss finish.
Versatility: Albeit having a poor rating in our versatility testing category, this buffing compound is in fact incredibly versatile, as long as you use it solely on your boat or RV. Due to its more aggressive makeup, it shouldn’t be used on cars or trucks. However, it is more than effective at each stage of the buffing process.
Shine: This buffing compound for RVs isn’t going to leave a showroom shine on your camper or boat, but it will leave a high-quality glossy finish. Simply put, this buffing compound enhances the shininess of your RV but won’t wow you with the level of shine it leaves.
What Customers Are Saying
Over 3,100 customers have left reviews on Amazon for Meguiar’s Marine/RV One Step Compound. A huge number of reviewers speak to how effectively this buffing compound restores heavily oxidized panels on their RV. Several customers comment that their RV looks nearly brand new after using this product.
Negative reviews state the buffing compound didn’t work as expected, but our review team chalks this down to customer misuse as we had no issues with the product.
Buffing Compounds Buyers Guide
Every buffing compound that you encounter is unique to some extent. Whether it’s different because of what it’s made up of or the way it’s applied. We recommend reading the back of your buffing compound bottle diligently, taking note of how much or how little of each compound you need to apply to your buffing pad.
Some buffing compounds work best at certain speeds or with certain machines, but as long as you follow the manufacturer’s directions as closely as you can, you should be able to get the high-quality finish you’re looking for on your car, truck, or RV.
Our Review Standards
The buffing compounds in this article went through two rounds of reviews. We started by searching Amazon for top products, looking at factors like Prime shipping eligibility, customer ratings, Amazon superlatives, and prices.
Our product testing team then ordered the five buffing compounds that best met these standards. A team member tested each product on a car, taking note of how effective the buffing compound was, its versatility, and its shine. Each buffing compound was given a rating out of 5 stars based on this criteria.
Buffing Compounds Testing Process
Each buffing compound was tested with one of the best buffing pads on the market with both a cordless drill and a random orbital polisher, specifically the TORQX Random Orbital Polisher. This was done to recreate real customer interactions with these buffing compounds, from both a DIY standpoint and from a professional detailer’s point of view.
During our testing process, we judged each buffing compound against the criteria listed below:
- Effectiveness: Above all, customers want a buffing compound to be effective. We tested each compound’s effectiveness by judging how well it performed each step of the buffing process, from removing deep scratches to final polishing.
- Versatility: Testing for versatility involved our team members noting if the buffing compound was intended to be used for multiple stages of buffing, cutting, and polishing processes. Depending on its intended use, we then judged how well it functioned in each process.
- Shine: Simple and straightforward, we observed how bright and impactful the shine was that each buffing compound left on our testing vehicles.
Frequently Asked Questions
*Data accurate at time of publication.