How to Choose an Autoscrubber

by | Aug 3, 2022

If you have lots of hard surface floors to clean, an autoscrubber might be the tool for you. Far superior to a bucket and mop, these floor scrubbing machines improve efficiency, boost productivity, and guarantee cleaning consistency. 

But with dozens of options out there, choosing the right auto scrubber – or any other kind of floor cleaning machine – may seem daunting. 

Here are factors to consider before investing in an expensive autoscrubber, floor scrubber, or other floor cleaning machine. 

What Autoscrubbers Do

Auto scrubbers allow one crew member to clean and dry large expanses of hard surface flooring quickly and efficiently by doing three things simultaneously. These machines automate cleaning by: 

  • Delivering a mixture of water and cleaning chemical directly to a brush or pad
  • Agitating that brush or pad to scrub away dirt, grease, and soils
  • Using a squeegee and vacuum to recover the dirty water

This method is far more efficient and consistent than tackling the same surface with a bucket and mop. But using an autoscrubber requires some preliminary steps. Staff must first vacuum or dry mop to remove dust and grit from the floor. Skipping this important step will eventually result in a damaged pad or squeegee and a machine that delivers a less satisfactory clean. 

If that extra step seems daunting, consider an AutoVac Stretch™ from Kaivac instead. This machine allows workers to clean more than 25,000 square feet of hard surface floor per hour without sweeping or dust mopping first. 

Choosing the Right Floor Scrubber for the Right Floor Type

Floor scrubber machines come in many sizes and styles from simple upright models to walk-behind automatic scrubbers to large, ride-on options. All these devices are appropriate for servicing cement, vinyl composition tile, rubber, ceramic, stone, marble, granite, and terrazzo floors. Basically, if you can mop it, you can auto scrub it. 

Do keep in mind that using the wrong kind of scrubbing pad or setting the pad pressure too high will damage the floor. Check flooring manufacture specifications before running an autoscrubber over a surface. Always be sure to use the right color pad and set the machine to the right pressure to avoid costly mistakes. 

Size Matters When Choosing an Autoscrubber

The amount of square footage your cleaning crew must cover determines what style and size of auto scrubber to buy. Small floor areas, between 500 to 1,200 square feet, could be serviced well using a simple upright scrubber, compact auto floor scrubber, or a UniVac® system from Kaivac. 

Floors between 1000 and 150,000 square feet require bigger machines to get desired efficiency. In this case, choose a walk-behind or ride-on autoscrubber for best results. Walk-behind floor scrubbers range in size from micro models, where the cleaning surface is just 13 inches wide, to large machines that measure 32 to 38 inches wide. 

Ride-on autoscrubbers, perfect for cleaning large open areas like gyms, warehouses, lobbies, and open hallways, also come in different sizes. The smallest ride-on auto scrubber measures between 20 to 24 inches while large models top out at 45 inches. 

Bigger machines also have larger recovery tanks. These bigger tanks increase efficiency as operators do not have to stop and empty them as often. 

The AutoVac Stretch offers another option for cutting down on emptying and refilling time. Using patented filtering technology, the AutoVac Stretch reuses cleaning solution without sacrificing effectiveness. This gives the device unprecedented cleaning range, allowing it to work faster than a 32-inch ride-on autoscrubber.

Price is another factor to consider. “Manual push machines are usually $500 to $2,500, while walk-behind machines are $4,000 to $12,000. Ride-on machines can be $10,000 to $50,000. On average, companies spend between $1,150 and $30,000 on these machines,” according to this blog.

No matter what you pick, don’t forget about storage when choosing your floor scrubber machine. Your square footage may warrant investing in the biggest ride-on model. But if you don’t have the space to drain, fill, service, and store the unit you may be buying a problem. 

Best Autoscrubbers for Busy Floors 

Not every floor is a clear, wide-open surface. Floors with lots of tight, hard-to-reach areas or obstacles like furniture, desks, or other equipment require different equipment choices. Smaller floor scrubber machines, like the upright scrubber or micro walk behind model offer more flexibility to maneuver around hurdles and barriers. 

The UniVac from Kaivac is another good option for cleaning congested areas. Especially good on grouted surfaces, this nimble machine fully removes soils and tough grease from the entire floor, including under equipment. 

Autoscrubber for the Restroom?

Floor scrubber machines outfitted with a brush instead of a pad are well suited to clean the grouted tiles found on restroom floors. Be sure to choose a smaller model that can maneuver around partitions and toilets as well as under sinks and urinals. 

Or choose the UniVac. This tool offers all the power and speed of a compact auto floor scrubber while still getting into hard-to-reach areas. 

But neither of these options clean fixtures. 

If you’re looking for a tool to clean the entire restroom, toilets, urinals, sinks, and floors check out a No-Touch Cleaning® system from Kaivac. These machines use a high-pressure spray to blast soils from fixtures down to the floor. That same high-pressure spray blasts grout lines clean too. Then, like an auto scrubber, the No-Touch Cleaning system vacuums the dirty water back up leaving the entire restroom clean, dry, and ready to use. 

When it comes to cleaning floors, there are a lot of better choices than a bucket and mop. Check out these options from Kaivac before making a final decision on an autoscrubber or other floor scrubbing machine. 

Amy Milshtein covers design, facility management and business topics for a variety of trade publications and consumer magazines. Her work has won several awards, most recently a regional silver Azbee Award of Excellence.She lives in Portland, OR with her family and Clyde, a 15-lb tabby cat. Once an avid hiker, these days she finds herself on the less-challenging -but-still-exciting 'creaky knees' trails.
Amy Milshtein
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