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What is the Best Floor Pad for your Buffer or Burnisher? [VIDEO]

What is the Best Floor Pad for your Buffer or Burnisher? [VIDEO]

Using floor machines during your floor maintenance procedures will make the job easier and less time-consuming. Selecting the proper floor pad for your floor finish, machine, and maintenance procedure is critical to a successful floor maintenance program.

Not all floor pads are the same. Every floor pad is designed to perform a specific floor maintenance procedure.

To choose a floor pad, you should first identify the type of floor maintenance you want to do.

Depending on the maintenance procedure there are typically two different pieces of janitorial cleaning equipment, a buffer or a burnisher, that will be used to achieve your desired result.  Sometimes an auto scrubber will be used for larger areas.

Not all machines are compatible with all floor pads or floor types.

Not sure you’re using the right floor pad? Download our FREE poster:

Using the wrong pad on your machine can not only lead to machine or floor damage but operator injury.  

Floor pads built for buffers cannot handle the high speeds at which burnishers operate. Applying a low-speed floor pad, designed for a buffer, to a high-speed burnisher will cause the floor pad material to stretch and/or break apart allowing it to dislodge from the machine.       

Check with the manufacturer guidelines for floor pad compatibility with your machine type and floor type.

Read More: What is the Difference Between Floor Buffers and Burnishers?


Buffers should be used to clean, buff, scrub, or strip your floor.  Buffers operate at low speeds, typically between 150-300 rotations per minute or RPM.

Everything you need to know about commercial floor buffers including types, sizes, specs, & more!

Floor pads for buffers are identified across most manufacturers by a standardized color scheme based on the function of the pad. Buffers generally use darker color floor pads.  Typically, the darker the floor pad the more aggressive or abrasive the pad is.  

When selecting a floor pad for a buffer, you will want to choose the least aggressive pad for the floor finish that will best perform the maintenance procedure.  The more aggressive the face of a pad is, the more finish it will remove.

From least aggressive to most aggressive:

Spray Buffing

Spray buffing will remove scuffs, heel marks, and enhance the shine of your floor.  

Scuff Mark

What color floor pad should be used for spray buffing floors?

White or Red floor pads should be used for spray buffing a floor.  

Spray buffing is not considered best practice and is not recommended.


Cleaning will remove light soil and dirt.  

What color floor pad is used for cleaning floors?

Red floor pads should be used for everyday cleaning.


Deep scrubbing your floor removes the top layer of wax from your floor and prepares it for a new coat of finish.   

What color floor pad is used for scrubbing floors?

Blue floor pads should be used for heavy-duty scrubbing. Green floor pads should be used for deep-deep scrubbing.

Pro Tip: When automatic floor scrubbers are used for scrubbing your facility’s floor, a red floor pad is the best and most popular choice.


Black Hi-Pro Floor Pad

Stripping will remove finish, sealer, and wax from the floor surface. 

What color floor pad is used for Stripping?

Black or black high-productivity floor pads are the darkest, most aggressive pads and should be the pad of choice when stripping a floor.


Burnishers operate at high speeds of 1000 – 3000 RPM and should only be used when burnishing or polishing your facility’s floor.

Everything you need to know about commercial floor burnishers including types, sizes, specs, & more!


Burnishing will remove scuff and heel marks to restore the “wet-look” shine of your floor.  

Floor pads for burnishers do not adhere to the same color guidelines as buffers.  Burnishers operate at high speeds creating friction that produces heat in order to shine your floors.

Burnishing pads are light in color to avoid color transfer from the pad to your floor.

Warning: Don’t use dark pads on your burnisher.  Applying a dark buffer pad to your burnisher will cause the color of the pad to transfer to the high spots on your floor.      

To select a floor pad for a burnisher, you will want to identify the hardness of the floor finish you are dealing with. Each burnisher floor pad has an application based on how hard or soft the finish is.

Pro Tip: If you are dealing with a softer floor finish use harder pads.  If you have a harder floor finish, softer pads will produce a better shine.

Aqua floor pads are the most universal pad that can be used to create a brilliant shine on a wide variety of floor finishes.  

Recommended for Soft Finishes:

Tan floor pads, which can be made from a mix of hog hair (sometimes called natural fiber) and synthetic fibers are the pad of choice for soft finishes.  Tan floor pads are also available without hog hair.

Tan Natural & Synthetic Fibers Floor Pad

Harder floor pads will do a better job of shining soft finishes.

Recommended for Hard Finishes:

Softer pads are the preferred floor pads for hard finishes because they will stick to the harder finish.  

White floor pads which can also be derived from hog hair and synthetic fibers will create the bestSky Blue Floor Pad shine on harder finishes.  

Light pink or bubble gum colored floor pads are great for removing black scuff marks and restoring the gloss of your floor on harder finishes.

Light blue floor pads will also do a great job at shining harder floor finishes.

Softer floor pads will do a better job of shining hard finishes.

Final Thoughts 

Selecting the right floor pad is critical to a successful floor maintenance project.

Ensuring that the proper floor pad is being used for the right machine and cleaning procedure, will help reduce damage to your floors, make your job easier, and improve the appearance of your facility. 

If you’re located in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the Caribbean, Imperial Dade can help you select the right pad for your floor machine and cleaning procedure.

Speak to an Imperial Dade Equipment Specialist today for a review of your current floor cleaning protocols and procedures.

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