How to Choose the right Floor Scrubber for an Industrial Workshop

If you have an industrial workshop to get clean in the shortest time possible, it’s essential you’re using the right equipment.

Not only can you reduce cleaning times, with the right floor scrubber, you can improve the cleanliness of your floors and even improve your OH&S outcomes to keep staff and visitors safe.

The problem is, though, that the floor scrubber market is filled with options that vary drastically in terms of performance, prices and features.

So we’ve put together a guide with some considerations to help find the best workshop floor scrubber for you.

What are the Different Types of Floor Scrubbers for an Industrial Workshop ?

As a general overview, you’ve got three options when it comes to floor scrubbers:

  1. Conventional Walk-Behind Electric Scrubbers. These are available in a range of sizes from 35 – 60cm scrubbing width. Electric scrubbers are cheaper than battery powered variants, but have the downside of an electric power cord, which can be a safety hazard and is inconvenient for operators.
  2. Conventional Walk-Behind or Ride-on Battery Scrubbers. Similar to the above, but battery powered, giving cord free mobility. Battery scrubbers are available in 35 – 100cm+ scrubbing widths, and would be the unit of choice for very large workshops (ie 1000 sqm+)
  3. Flexible Upright Scrubbers. Similar in principle to walk behind scrubbers, but designed in a way that makes them dramatically more manoeuvrable. Downside is smaller tank capacity than walk behind scrubbers. Available in 35 – 62cm scrub widths. Great for smaller more congested workshops up to 1000 sqm.

Things to consider when choosing a workshop floor scrubber:

1. The Size of the Workshop

Perhaps the most important thing to take into account is the size of your industrial workshop or warehouse, and how this stacks up against a floor scrubber’s design, and the theoretical performance.

A large walk-behind floor scrubber is a great option for a big workshops, because the added width of the unit translates to faster cleaning times.

workshop

Generally, the theoretical performance of a floor scrubber will be listed in square-meters per hour. This is calculated by taking the cleaning width of the scrubber and multiplying this by average walking speeds.

You need to bear in mind though that the practical performance of a scrubber will almost always be less than the theoretical cleaning performance. Practical performance takes into account cleaning around obstacles, and the overlap in your cleaning path.

As a general guide, practical performance can be anywhere from 50 – 75% of the theoretical cleaning performance of a scrubber, depending on a scrubber machines manoeuvrability and the tank size. Higher manoeuvrability and larger tanks will mean higher theoretical cleaning performance.

The size of the workshop also influences your need for high-volume onboard water and recovery tanks. Choosing an industrial floor scrubber with larger volume tanks reduces wasted time refilling water tanks and emptying your recovery tanks.

2. Cleaning Power

Industrial workshops get dirty, which means you need a floor scrubber machine with good cleaning power.

The best way to calculate the cleaning power of any given floor scrubber is to take the weight on the brushes – which will be specified by the manufacturer – and multiply this by the speed of the spinning brushes, which is measured in RPMs.

The resultant figure can be used as a Theoretical Cleaning Performance (TCP) and can be used to compare the cleaning power of floor scrubbers. The higher the number, the better the cleaning power will be.

TCP

As an example;

A. Scrubber Model X has 25kg of brush pressure, 160 RPM brush speed. 25 x 160 = 4000 TCP

B. i-mop XL has 22.5kg of brush pressure, 350 RPM Brush speed. 22.5 x 350 = 7875 TCP

The i-mop XL has 97% more cleaning power than Scrubber A!

3. Workshop Layout

The advertised productivity or performance rating of an industrial floor scrubbing machine is normally calculated from cleaning in an uninterrupted straight line. It does not normally consider any equipment, furniture or obstacles you’ll be cleaning around.

So consider the impact of the layout of your workshop and any obstacles you need to clean around on your cleaning time. You’ll also want to consider whether the floor scrubber you are purchasing will be able to get to all areas of your floor space.

If you have large open spaces with minimal obstacles, larger bulkier scrubbers with high tank capacity will give you excellent productivity.

If you have more obstacles and equipment to clean around, the agility of a Flexible upright scrubber such as the i-mop will give you a lot more accessibility in these areas.

The best way is to have a hands on demonstration of the floor scrubber you are considering onsite in your application.

4. Storage

Storage for your floor scrubber is often an afterthought.

Storing your scrubber machine in a neat, tucked-away spot in your workshop helps to minimise trip hazards and give your staff more flexibility as they’re working – rather than dancing around the new floor scrubber.

Storage

It’s important to be aware of the fact that large walk-behind or ride on floor scrubbers have a larger sizable footprint, and if you’re limited on storage space, a flexible floor scrubber with its compact, portable design might be your best option.

So think about where your floor scrubber machine will be stored.

5. Budget

Floor scrubbers comes in many different brands, quality levels and sizes, and a range of price tags to match. Prices for the smallest automatic scrubbers start at around $3,000 and stretch all the way to $50,000+ for very large industrial units.

To learn more about what influences the price of a walk-behind, ride-on or upright floor scrubber, you can read our full guide to how much floor scrubbers cost here.

Once you’ve had a demonstration and worked out the type of floor scrubber to best suit your workshop size and layout, our suggested rule of thumb for budget is this; Buy the floor scrubber with the widest possible scrubbing width that you can afford, ensuring it is still manoeuvrable enough to clean your smaller areas.

To find out more about our range of class-leading floor scrubbers, or to organise a hands-on demonstration in your industrial workshop, click here.