Tips for Selecting the Right Sweeper or Scrubber

Author: venusgeng

Apr. 24, 2023


Cleanliness is important - for health, safety, and your reputation. As people have become more aware of the role that cleanliness plays in health, companies have taken dramatic steps to improve sanitation protocols. It’s important to have a clean place to work, shop, eat and do business — there is no industry where this is not prominent.

This push has led many companies to begin looking to other methods that provide the deep clean that is needed. A mop and bucket simply won’t do anymore. The demands have increased, the necessity has increased, and the definition of “clean” has changed.

When you are looking for floor cleaning equipment that meets the needs of your facility, you have a lot of options to sift through. Do you need a walk-behind or a ride-on machine? Do you need a scrubber or a sweeper? What specific features do you need for your facility?

We’ve taken some of the confusion out of the process with these helpful buying tips for scrubbers and sweepers. This will help you make the right choice for your facility and your staff.

5 Questions about Floor Sweepers and Scrubbers

What is a floor sweeper and what does it do?

A floor sweeper is a machine that uses brushes and a vacuum to gather debris from the floor. It can come as a small walk-behind model, a medium-sized stand-on model, or a large ride-on model. More specifically, the floor sweeper cleans up dust and small objects from a large floor area faster than an employee with a broom could.

What is the difference between a sweeper and a vacuum?

A sweeper is used on uncarpeted floors and carpeted floors that have very short carpet fibers. A vacuum operates better on carpeting but doesn’t gather debris from hard floors as well as a sweeper.



What is a floor scrubber and what does it do?

A floor scrubber is a machine that uses brushes and squeegees to wash and dry a floor with a cleaning solution. It can also come as a small walk-behind model, a medium-sized stand-on model, or a large ride-on model. To explain in more detail, the floor scrubber mixes cleaning solution and water that is spread onto the floor and scrubbed with rotating brushes. The dirty water is then squeegeed, and excess water is sucked back up with a vacuum.

What is the difference between a scrubber and a mop?

A floor scrubber is a machine, meaning it does all the scrubbing for you. It is ideal for workplaces where large floor areas need to be cleaned.

Do I need a floor sweeper or a floor scrubber?

It all depends on the workplace and type of work being performed. The machines clean the floor to a different level, so you need to determine which level is preferable for your workplace. A floor sweeper is ideal for workplaces that have a lot of dust and other dry debris on the floor. On the other hand, a floor scrubber is ideal for floors that get covered in residue.

Generally speaking, floor scrubbers will require more day-to-day maintenance than a floor sweeper. Sweepers need to be drained and cleaned after each use, which could be tedious if you aren’t prepared for it. Conversely, floor sweepers only need to have the hopper emptied after use and then they can be stored away. (The Sweeper)

Regardless of which type you use, you need to be trained on operator safety prior to using these machines. Our newest training covers floor sweeper and scrubber operator safety. Come check it out today!

Good luck, and stay safe!

Selecting the Right Floor Scrubber or Sweeper

Do You Need a Walk-Behind or Ride-on Machine?

When you are looking at a walk-behind scrubber vs a ride-on scrubber it may not look like a big difference at first. Quite often, a good portion of many facilities’ cleaning budgets is in labor. In larger areas, a ride-on sweeper would be superior because it not only decreases the time it takes to clean the area but also decreases your labor costs.

Walk-behind floor cleaning equipment is typically best suited for cleaning smaller areas or facilities, especially those that may be difficult to maneuver with bulkier equipment. The price is also less than ride-on equipment, but that should not be the first — and definitely not the only — reason to purchase.

Using a walk-behind sweeper on a larger area will shorten the life of the equipment, and you won’t see the long-term impact of labor savings. A walk-behind also requires a certain amount of physical exertion which is also difficult to sustain over a larger cleaning surface. Ride-on machines are faster and therefore better for larger areas.

Take the time to assess the area to be cleaned and note any special needs you might have regarding how that space can best be cleaned.

Choosing the Right Machine for the Job

There are many factors that should be considered when choosing the right industrial floor cleaning equipment for the job. You may have other needs than those listed here that strongly influence your buying decision, but what we’ve listed here are areas that most people use to guide their floor cleaning machine choices.

Sweep or Scrub? This is the first consideration you need to make as you approach your purchase of a cleaner. Look at what is being cleaned. If you are dealing with light, bulky debris or heavy or wet debris, a sweeper may be the best choice. Fine dust or dirt like what is brought in by foot traffic, floor marks or grease is likely best handled with a combination sweeper-scrubber.  Combination sweeper scrubbers save you money on machinery with their two-in-one systems.

Size of the space to be cleaned. Look at the total square footage of the area to be cleaned. It is probably more cost-effective and efficient to clean larger areas with a ride-on machine while smaller areas may be better served with a walk-behind.

Cleaning path sizes. Assess key areas like the width of the narrowest aisle, if any of the aisles are a dead end (meaning the machine has to turn around), and the narrowest area (such as a doorway) that the machine needs to pass through for cleaning or for dumping.

Type of floor surface. With scrubbers and sweepers, you can choose the type of brushes to use. This means you have to consider your floor surface and the soils to be removed. Are you mainly dealing with a finer dust? Then you want a Nylon or Polyester brush. Heavier soils or debris may call for a wire reinforced broom. A squeegee blade that is at least 95% pure natural rubber is good on rough and uneven floors. A a gum rubber squeegee is better for finished, smoother surfaces.

Labor rate vs Machine cost. Based on the labor savings that are typically achieved by switching to efficient cleaning equipment, most facilities see a quick return on their investment. This helps to determine the best machine for your facility and factors it into your cleaning budget.

Maintenance. Any equipment requires maintenance to keep it working efficiently and effectively. It is best to assign upkeep and maintenance of the equipment to a single person. Or consider a service agreement to ensure it stays in peak condition and any issues are identified and fixed quickly.

Finding the right machine for the job is important. Trust Burns Industrial Equipment to assist you in finding the right piece of equipment to serve your needs and keep you under budget. We carry both Factory Cat and Tennant industrial floor cleaning equipment. These brands deliver the most cost-effective floor cleaning equipment with features that can boost your business to maximum productivity.





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