In the simplest terms, a floor scrubber or scrubber dryer is a heavy-duty machine used for scrubbing, cleaning and drying all types of hard floor surfaces in one continuous movement. These floor cleaning machines are used extensively in commercial and industrial environments as they provide numerous benefits such as a more efficient way of cleaning - saving time and labour, more consistent and higher-quality cleaning results, savings in water and chemical usage, improved health and safety and maintaining the appearance of your floors.
There is much to understand about floor scrubbers before you can decide if these floor cleaning machines are right for your cleaning task. With so many options to choose from we understand that it can be a bit of a challenge choosing which floor scrubber is best for your business – battery, electric, diesel or LPG-powered, walk-behind, step on or ride-on models, disk pads or brushes or cylindrical brushes, robotic floor scrubbers and so on.
This article guides you through the various types of floor scrubbers and the pros and cons of each type, and also recommends which type of scrubber is best-suited to the various floor surfaces and environments.
What does a floor scrubber actually do?
These commercial cleaning machines are designed to efficiently clean a variety of floor surfaces in much less time than an old-fashioned mop and bucket. And they do the job faster, more thoroughly, more efficiently and with no mess, no fuss and no harmful chemicals.
Floor scrubbers have either a rotary (disc) or cylindrical scrub head and a system for dispensing the cleaning solution. Floor scrubbers work by the user dispensing a cleaning agent, mixed with water from the solution (or freshwater) tank, on to a pad or brush, which agitates and breaks up the dirt, then as the machine moves forward over the washed area, vacuums it up with a squeegee attachment at the back of the machine. There are usually two tanks in an auto scrubber – a dispensing (solution) tank and a collection (recovery) tank. This allows the dirty water to be kept separate from the clean water.
Floors are left clean, dust-free, streak free and importantly, the floor scrubber dries the surface as it moves forward which means limited downtime and a safe workplace or public space is restored, reducing the risk of slips, trips or falls.
Types of floor scrubber
There are two main categories of floor scrubber, namely walk-behind and ride-on scrubbers. As their name suggests, a walk-behind floor scrubber is operated by an operator walking behind the machine, whilst a ride -on floor scrubber is operated by a person sitting on, or standing on, the machine.
Determining the floor scrubber which is right for you will depend on a number of factors including the type of facility and area to be cleaned, the size of the area, the type of floor surface and the budget available. Here is a summary of the different types of floor scrubbing machines, their features and where they are best suited for use.
These durable machines are available in compact, micro models, similar to a large upright vacuum cleaner, to mid-sized models for cleaning small to medium-sized areas. They are easy to maneuver and can be transported with ease, usually by a single person. They generally range in size (of the scrub head) from 30cm wide to about 80cm wide.
- Smaller walk-behind models are compact and lightweight.
- Easy to maneuver – great for smaller spaces and congested areas, narrow hallways or hard-to-access areas. Can easily navigate around corners and edges.
- Quiet operation, making it ideal for areas which are noise-sensitive, or which have high levels of foot traffic e.g., hotels, retail operations and hospitals.
- Can be used on multiple floor types.
- Easy to transport and store – some models have folding handles.
- Greater visibility and control than ride-on models.
- Budget – most walk-behind machines are more affordable than ride-on models, both in terms of up-front costs and maintenance costs.
- Not suitable for large open spaces.
- Less efficient – Smaller scrub heads and tank sizes means more time spent emptying and refilling with fresh water.
- Operator fatigue and reduced comport after long periods of use.
Ideal For: retail stores, restaurants, schools, where there are narrow gaps through which the machine can go.
Ride-on floor scrubbers
These larger-sized machines are specially designed to handle large surface areas with ease.
- High productivity – operators can cover a large floor area in a single pass.
- Efficient – much faster than walk- behind models and can save time and labour costs.
- Excellent for floor cleaning in uncluttered, open areas.
- Improved deep cleaning performance – more powerful motors and large scrubbing heads can remove built up grease and grime in commercial and industrial sites.
- Excellent for cleaning both sealed and unsealed concrete floors.
- Reduced Operator Fatigue – as operators sit on the machine less physical strain and fatigue.
- Longer Run Times – as they have larger solution and recovery tanks and wider scrubbing paths this results in more efficient cleaning and less time required emptying and refilling tanks. Ride-on machines tend to have larger batteries or battery packs to produce longer running times between charge cycles.
- Size – Bulkier, heavier and less manoeuvrable making them unsuitable for enclosed spaces which have tight mobility challenges.
- Cost – often more expensive than walk-behind models.
- Maintenance – because there are more moving parts, such as drive motors tec, they may be more costly and more complex to maintain due to the larger size and additional features.
- Training – greater time required to train operators.
Ideal For: warehouses, factories, large retail spaces, shopping centres, airports, transport hubs.
Other Key Factors
Once you have determined the type of floor scrubber best suited to your facility there are a number of other factors to consider when choosing the model and brand of cleaning machine.
- Battery – consider battery life and run-time of the machine, charging station and additional batteries.
- Electric – consider location of power source, length of cable.
- LPG/Diesel– for use in outdoor areas, may have longer run times, consider access to fuel.
- Different floor types may require different scrubbing systems including disk brushes, cylindrical brushes and oscillating pads. Generally, disc floor scrubbers give best results on smooth floors, while cylindrical machines give best results on profiled floors.
- Some floor scrubbers are designed for use on multiple different floor types while others are used for specific flooring types.
- Carpet – some floor scrubbers can be used to also clean carpet along with hard floors.
- Consider the frequency of use and how practical it is to access and use the scrubber on a daily basis.
- The level of dirt, stains, grease and grime will determine whether a heavy-duty scrubber is required, or one designed for routine maintenance.
- These automated robotic floor scrubbers are used in a variety of commercial and industrial environments where productivity is paramount to clean large areas quickly and efficiently.
- Their advanced AI technology allows the machine to map, navigate, clean and dry the floor without the need for a human operator.
You’ll find an extensive range of high-quality floor scrubbing machines in our range, including technologically advanced models from global brand leaders such as Tennant, Comac, Duplex, Karcher Numatic and MotorScrubber.
Investing in a floor scrubber is a smart choice as it will save your business time and money, allowing you to focus on your core activities. Maintaining a clean and hygienic floor is essential for all commercial and industrial operations and areas within Government.
Ultimately the choice between a walk behind and a ride-on floor scrubber will be dependent upon your specific needs and factors listed above. We recommend you seek demonstrations and test drive a number of brands and models to ensure you are making the right choice.
Commercial Cleaning Equipment have been advising our customers on the best choice of floor scrubbers for over 20 years. We are the trusted experts in commercial cleaning equipment in Perth and with our extensive industry experience and in-depth technical product knowledge we can help you make the right decision. Contact us today on (08) 9498744 for an obligation-free site survey and demonstration. Alternatively, please visit us in-store to view our full range of floor scrubbers.