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Should You Use A Single Speed Or Variable Speed Tool?


The speed of your floor grinder, buffers and polishers play a role in the purpose and usage of your machine.

There are three types of Onfloor equipment speed options: low speed, high speed, and variable speed.

We’ll go through the benefits and uses of each type to help you find the perfect equipment for your flooring project—whether you’re doing it yourself at home or investing in your contractor business.

Below we’ll break down the meaning of the “speed” on your equipment to ensure the right fit for your flooring project.

Why does speed matter?

“Speed” typically refers to how fast the tool’s are turning. The speed can determine how well the equipment sands, grinds, polishes, and preps the surface.

With Onfloor equipment, a good rule of thumb is that the more you want to “cut into” the floor, the higher the speed. So a gentle decorative prep or interior wood sanding would call for a lower speed, while grinding concrete would require a higher speed.

The “speed” of the Onfloor machine correlates directly to its potential production. In all cases, the application will dictate the proper tool and speed for maximum efficiency.


Everyone wants to finish flooring projects faster, but you don’t want to select a high speed just to get the task done when a low speed is what the application dictates.

Recommended read: How To Choose The Right Floor Grinder & Sander


Image of an Onfloor OF16S-H concrete floor grinder and sander.

Single low-speed equipment

A single low-speed tool is designed for removal of toppings and overlays on concrete. They are also used for low-speed applications, like prepping wood floors and decks. The Onfloor 16S-L has a single low tool speed (500 rpm) and 120V power, making it the best machine for preparing exterior wood decks and sanding interior hardwood.

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Single high-speed equipment

The Onfloor High-speed equipment creates a deeper etching into the flooring surface. These machines rotate the tools at high speeds of 1000 rpm.  The Onfloor single high-speed machines are best for preparing concrete for coatings.

The Onfloor OF16S-H and OF20S-H are both high-speed planetary machines that can grind, polish, and burnish all in one. They prepare concrete for a coating while providing a superior finish and saturated scratch pattern on the floor. The OF16S-H is capable of producing up to 300 square feet per hour of prepared concrete while the OF20S-H can achieve up to 600 square feet per hour in the same application.


Side image of an Onfloor Pro20 floor grinder and sander.

Variable speed equipment  

When a machine is labeled as “variable speed,” it has multiple speed options built in. This means you can set the speed based on the task at hand.

This means that variable speed will typically give you more flexibility for a number of diverse flooring projects.

For example, the Onfloor 20Pro has a variable speed. This means it can be used for multiple surfaces and applications. It can be used to sand wood, grind concrete, polish concrete, and remove adhesives. Its slowest speed is light enough for gentle sanding while its higher speed can prepare concrete for sealing and staining. This makes it the ideal grinder and sander for any contractor’s “toolbox.”


Does the speed impact the power?

Typically, speed and power are independent factors. The two work together to determine the time, efficiency, and usage of the equipment.


A low speed, high power machine is best for removing glues and adhesives. This moves slowly but powerfully over the floor to cut into the top layer of coating.

A high speed, low power machine can prep floors quickly. This can work well for preparing concrete floors for a coating and/or removing various toppings from concrete.

A variable speed, high power machine will prepare a large surface area in a short period of time and will provide maximum versatility. This is great for preparing, grinding, and polishing durable materials like concrete as well as sanding interior wood floors and exterior decks.


Take note of both the speed and power to determine the efficiency and efficacy of your equipment.

Pro-tip: Onfloor offers a number of machines with patented triple-belt planetary technology. This creates a unique Spirograph pattern on the floor that allows for record timesaving maintenance cycles. It also helps avoid the costly breakdowns and delays that other companies’ high-speed and variable-speed equipment face. 



Speed refers to how quickly the tool rotates under the machine. In all cases, the application will dictate the proper tool and speed for maximum efficiency.

Lower speeds work well for lighter projects decorative concrete and sanding wood. High speeds work at a deeper level, making them the solution for polishing and grinding. Variable speeds offer flexibility between low-speed and high-speed to use on a number of grinding and prepping surfaces.

Still not sure which speed is right for your project or business?

No problem!

Contact Onfloor for a free consultation about your flooring needs.

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