Shurhold Shines Among Electric Buffers


Practical Sailors endless testing of hull waxes and polishes gives us ample opportunity to try out electric buffers. Weve used countless brands and types over the years-from cheapos to professional grade-and decided to see how Shurhold Industries new Dual-Action Polisher compared.

Shurhold Shines Among Electric Buffers

Florida-based Shurhold touts its new variable speed (2,500-6,500 rpm) random-orbital polisher as a do-it-yourselfers tool that offers professional results. The lightweight polisher (about 5 pounds) has some great features: six speeds, quick-change pads, an extra long heavy-duty cord (20 feet), and a special GFCI plug that helps prevent electric shock in wet environments. Designed for marine use, the polisher comes with a rugged toolbag, a wrench for changing pads, a carbon brush, and two handles, one that is adjustable and the standard 90-degree handle.

For buffing and waxing, the $150 Shurhold matched our $200 7-/9-inch DeWalt DW849 rotary polisher and weighs less. Key distinctions are the Shurholds smaller pads (5.5 to 6-inches), dual-action, and higher minimum speed. The small pads get into tighter spaces, but some of our favorite products like 3M Finesse-it II call for a slower turning speed.

Another con testers noted about the Shurhold is its short warranty: one year. DeWalt tools are backed by three-year warranties, and Milwaukee gives its power tools have five-years.

The Shurhold DA polisher is well made, easy to use, comparatively inexpensive, and performs great. If you own a small to mid-size boat and covet a super-shiny hull, the Shurhold is a fine choice for buffing, waxing, and polishing projects. But if you own a large boat, understand polishing, and need a more versatile tool, a good 7- to 9-inch device than also can sand and grind would be our first choice.

PS tested the Shurhold on the well-oxidized hull of a 21-foot powerboat. Testers reported that the dual-action tool was relatively quiet and easy to operate. The job went fast, and the finish was top notch. However, it is worth noting that technique, pad selection, and polish choice can matter as much as tool selection. Weve gotten great results from $50 rotary polishers, too, but a dual-action polisher offers the DIYer a little more margin for error. (For tips,check out this past article.)

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Darrell Nicholson
Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 50 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida. You can reach him by email at


  1. I liked how this Shurhold orbital buffer has made my old boat look new without any burn and swirl. Furthermore, it comes with a 20-feet power cord for easy test ground fault and movement around your work area