Automatic Floor Scrubbers are considered to be the best way to clean just about any hard surface floor. Because dirty water is consistently replace with clean, and the agitating action of the scrub heads, floors are left much cleaner than a traditional mop and bucket. Add to this the fact that automatic floor scrubbers are a lot less labor intensive and much more efficient, they provide real value to anyone who needs to maintain vinyl tile, stone or even hardwood floors.
When it comes to choosing the best automatic floor scrubber for your needs, there are a few things to consider. Below are 6 factors that you should evaluate when looking to purchase and automatic scrubber.
1. The Size and Type of Area Being Cleaned
Many times, when choosing an automatic floor scrubber, people will base the size they need on the largest are to be cleaned. This can be a mistake. You should evaluate all of the areas that the floor scrubber could be used. As an example, a school may be looking for a floor scrubber to clean a gym floor, but could also use it in cafeterias, hallways, classrooms or even larger bathrooms. While you may sacrifice a little extra time when cleaning the gym, the time saved cleaning other areas can add up quickly. Being able to use a floor scrubber in smaller spaces can recover hours of labor to be applied elsewhere.
If you have a lot of open area though, a rider floor scrubber may be a good option. Rider automatic floor scrubbers can actually use less operating space. Because you sit within the foot print of the machine, the space you would normally stand behind the machine is no longer used. This can be as much as 5’or 6’ saved over using a walk-behind.
2. Door Widths
The width of a floor scrubber should be closely evaluated. Most automatic floor scrubbers are designed to fit through a standard doorway, but many times in older buildings, there are a variety of doorway sizes. Be sure to check the machine specifications prior to purchasing. This goes for both walk-behinds and rider scrubbers. Don’t just look at the scrub head size. For most floor scrubbers, the squeegee will be the widest point. Most floor scrubber manufacturers offer an optional narrow squeegee kits that may solve this issue.
3. Floor Scrubber Drain and Refill Locations
Because automatic scrubbers can hold a lot of water, it is important to consider where you will be dumping and refilling the machine. Having enough space and/or hose to reach the clean water fill ports can be challenging in some facilities.
Likewise, it can also be difficult to find a place to drain the dirty water. Depending on the type of facility you are cleaning and local waste water regulations, you have to be aware of the safest and most convenient places to empty a floor scrubber. The drain port on all makes and models are a little different. Make sure the floor scrubber you select is compatible with the drain options you have.
Many floor scrubber manufacturers have options that address this. Longer drain hoses and special fittings may be available. Consult with the manufacturer if you have concerns about filling and emptying the machine.
4. Floor Scrubber Charging Areas
For the most part, automatic floor scrubbers use a 110 volt charging system that can be plugged into any standard outlet. Be aware that some use more electricity than others when charging. Be sure you are not overloading the circuit when the batteries are plugged in. It is also important that the charging area is well ventilated. If your scrubber has lead acid batteries, they do off gas and require a well-ventilated area while being charged. The newer generation of deep cycle batteries, including gel and AGM (Absorbed Glass Mat,) are sealed, maintenance free and do not give off gasses. With these, ventilation is not as much of a concern.
5. Automatic Floor Scrubber Storage
When the machine is not being used, having enough space to store a floor scrubber in a safe place is very important. Many of the latest units have a keyed switch that won’t allow unauthorized operation, but there is always the risk that it would be tampered with and be in the way. Most floor scrubbers do take more storage space than a mop and bucket, so plan ahead for a safe, secure, storage space.
6. Automatic Floor Scrubber Operators
Just like any piece of equipment, it is the person operating an automatic floor scrubber that has to take the responsibility for the safe use and care of it. Limiting the number of users reduces the chance that it will get miss-used. Those selected to use it, should also be instructed on some basic maintenance steps of the machine as well. Keeping the floor scrubber maintained properly can add years to its life. Things like keeping batteries filled, squeegees clean and rotated are simple steps that can save hundreds of dollars in replacement parts as well.
Automatic floor scrubbers are a great improvement to most cleaning programs. The productivity they provide can greatly outweigh their cost. Just make sure to select the right machine for your application. Provide all operators with thorough training on use and following scheduled maintenance suggestions will ensure years of clean floors and happy employees!