Check out this live demo of four different hybrid buffers – the Lagler Trio, Bona PowerDrive, Clarke Epoch, and Bona FlexiSand! Joe ran them side-by-side for a simple buffer comparison. Each of them were run with 40-grit paper on a hickory floor which featured two coats of waterborne finish, a dark stain, and some cupping. So these buffers had their work cut out for them!
What are the differences between these 4 different machines, and how did they compare when sanding this floor?
First up was the American Sanders Epoch 16” buffer (formerly Clarke) with the HydraSand sanding disc attached. This is a 2-speed buffer, meaning that one option is to run it like a normal buffer with a normal drive block on 175 RPM. You could also run it with the HydraSand and the steel plates (as well as steel backer pads) on the 300 RPM setting, which Joe did in this video. This brought the machine up to 130 pounds total––a lot of weight for a buffer, and ended up giving Joe a very aggressive cut. The Epoch is great for use with multidirection flooring and cupped flooring. As you can see, the Epoch took some of the flooring down to bare wood and did a good job of eliminating some of the cupping.
Next was the Bona FlexiSand DCS buffer with the 6 disc multihead attached. The FlexiSand is closer to a traditional buffer than the others in this lineup. You have the option either use the multihead, which Joe used, or a disc that uses bolt-on paper. Joe used medium interface pads here without steel plates. A unique feature of the FlexiSand is that you are able to adjust the angle of the handle up and down to change the amount of pressure applied to the floor. This machine has good dust collection. The cut of the FlexiSand was not as aggressive as the Epoch––it’s about 30 pounds lighter, which makes a difference––you can see this when comparing their cut paths.
The third machine Joe ran in this video was the Bona PowerDrive. A unique feature of the PowerDrive is that you can change the handle angle with this unit as well and push it forward very far to run it more aggressively. This is also a nice feature which allows for easier storage of the machine. This was run with intermediate pads. When Joe was done, the floor was fairly flat, with a significant amount of cupping and stock removed from the floor. The PowerDrive exhibited the most stock removal in this particular lineup.
The final machine was the Lagler Trio. The Trio is great for use on multidirection floors and cupped flooring like the one in the video. The Trio features a serpentine belt which allows the pads to spin individually. It has a phenomenal, self-contained dust collection system––no need for hoses. The machine is 170 pounds, making it an especially heavy buffer. Its speed of 700 RPM attributes to its aggressive cut. The Trio has a 18” cut path as opposed to the 16” cut path from the other machines. It got the floor quite flat and managed to keep it nearly dust-free, thanks to its self-contained dust collection system.
What did you think of this demo? Which one of these buffers is your favorite? Tune into our monthly live videos on our Facebook page, let us know your thoughts in the comments, and tell us if you have any ideas for an upcoming Facebook live video!