What’s the differences between a regular walk behind floor scrubber and an i-mop?

In this article, we will have a look at when to use a regular walk behind floor scrubber, like the Columbus, and when to use an i-mop from i-team. We’ve also produced a video that explains this in more detail.

Cleaning Power

The first thing we're going to look at is the cleaning power. To work out the cleaning power of a machine, we use the following formula: RPM x weight of brushes = cleaning power

cleaning power

The i-mop xxl has 350 rpm compared to most traditional floor scrubbers that range from about 160 to 200 rpm. The i-mop xxl has 22.5 kg of brush pressure on the brushes whereas the floor scrubber in the video has 25 kg of brush pressure. When calculating these numbers, you'll see that the i-mop xxl has almost double the cleaning power compared to a traditional floor scrubber with equivalent scrub width.

Brush Heads

When it comes to brush heads, most traditional floor scrubbers up to 60 cm only have a single brush, whereas in the i-mop range it ranges from 37 cm up to 62 cm with a dual brush combination.


The advantage of a dual brush combination is that having two smaller brushes you'll get better penetration into grout lines and uneven surfaces and almost double the downward pressure per square centimeter versus one bigger brush. The reason for this is that the surface area of two smaller brushes is almost half that of a single brush.


Edge Cleaning

When it comes to traditional floor scrubbers you've often got to leave a 5-10cm gap from the wall so you can maneuver the scrubber and, so you don't get too close to furniture and fixtures. The result of doing this is that you then have to do edge mopping and that's when you see a lot of tide marks along the skirting boards.


Whereas, with the i-mop you can clean right up against the very edge on either side of the machine so therefore there's no need for edge mopping nor does it leave tide marks.



Another key point to consider when comparing floor scrubbers is their maneuverability. As you will see in the video, the i-mop xxl is extremely compact and together with its low-profile deck it is easy to get under tables and chairs and other fixtures. The i-mop doesn’t have an axle, allowing it to turn 360 degrees in one spot. A traditional floor scrubber has a brush, axle and a squeegee, making it harder to turn around in tight spaces.


Another key aspect that impacts the maneuverability is the weight of the machine. The i-mop xxl weighs only 32kg whereas the walk behind floor scrubber weighs over 200kg.


Portability is a key aspect to consider when transporting machines between sites. With a regular walk-behind floor scrubber of 200kg you're going to need a van or a trailer with ramps to transport the machine. And you're going to need a lift when working in a building with different levels. The i-mop xxl only weighs 32kg and is a lot easier to move between levels and multiple sites.


Battery Technology

Most regular scrubbers use either lead acid or gel batteries. Lead acid batteries have a longer life cycle than gel batteries however they require regular maintenance whereas gel batteries are maintenance free. When comparing battery specifications, another important point to consider is their recommended depth of discharge, otherwise known as DOD. DOD refers to the percentage of the battery that has been discharged relative to the overall capacity of the battery.


For example, if you've got a machine that has a maximum run time of four hours and the recommended depth of discharge for the batteries is 50%, you should only be running the machine for two hours before putting it back on charge again. Most lead acid or gel batteries experience significantly reduced cycle life if they're discharged below 50%. If these types of batteries are handled correctly you may get 700 cycles, but often we see them only getting around 300 to 400 cycles because they're being discharged to over 70 - 80%. The i-mop xxl uses Lithium batteries. The advantage of Lithium batteries is that they can be continually discharged up to 90 to 100% DOD with no long-term effect on the cycle life. These batteries will last 3-4 times longer than your regular lead acid or gel batteries.


With regular scrubbers you'll often get on average 3-4 hours run time and then 8-10 hours charge time. With the i-mop xxl you have 1 hour run time and 1 hour charge time and given that these batteries are interchangeable, you could have one battery charging while the other battery is running - effectively giving you a runtime of 24/7.


Emptying & Refilling

For a floor scrubber you'll need a hose or ideally a dosing station to refill your solution tank. When it comes to emptying your tank, you'll need a waste drain or take it outside to lower the dump hose. Whereas with the i-mop you can refill and empty at any location with a water source. This eliminates any unnecessary travel time to and from the cleaners-room or dedicated filling location.



Traditional walk behind floor scrubbers or ride-ons are better suited in large open spaces, especially warehouses with a high dust content. When there is a high dust content you need a higher volume of water, which traditional scrubbers lend themselves to. Another area where you need the high volume of water is when you've got a very porous floor like unsealed concrete, pavers, large basketball courts, shopping centres or hospitals.

The i-mops are better suited for congested spaces like schools, aged care facilities, patient rooms in hospitals, food courts where you've got a lot of tables and chairs or anywhere where you need more maneuverability than what a traditional floor scrubber can provide. In larger spaces like shopping centers, schools and hospitals there’s an application for both of these types of machines as you could use the walk-behind or ride-ons for your large opens spaces and then the a i-mop for your congested spaces like bathrooms and around tables and chairs.

Looking for more information about the i-mop range? Book a demo or visit our website here.