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Auto Scrubber Buyers Guide: Steps to Determine Which Auto Scrubber is Best For your Facility

Auto Scrubber Buyers Guide: Steps to Determine Which Auto Scrubber is Best For your Facility

There are dozens of automatic floor scrubbers on the market today, and choosing the best one will require some thought and consideration. First, you’ll need to identify why you’re looking to invest in a new machine. Then, you’ll need to narrow down the best machine option for your facility based on a number of factors.

To purchase the best auto scrubber for your facility’s needs, there’s a series of questions you’ll want to answer to determine which floor scrubber will be the best for your facility.

In this guide, we’re going to walk you through the typical questions you’ll 9dd9eb04e9a33b43d2be1d9ba18a61b952d45104need to answer in order to find the best auto scrubber for your facility.

Table of Contents

Click on any chapter to scroll directly to it: 

  1. Why Do You Need A New Automatic Floor Scrubber?
  2. What Are Your Current Cleaning Processes and What Equipment, If Any, Do You Currently Use? 
  3. What Is The Scope Of Work?
  4. How Large Is the Area You Are Trying to Clean?
  5. Are There Any Obstacles In The Area Being Cleaned?
  6. What Are Your Facility’s Current Goals?
  7. What Floor Scrubber Can I Afford With My Facility’s Budget?
  8. What’s Next?

Why Do You Need A New Automatic Floor Scrubber?

To begin, you’ll need to identify exactly why you need a new auto scrubber. You may think that an equipment purchase is straightforward and that you’re “just in the market for a new machine.”

Clarke MA10 Cleaning LobbyHowever, there are several different reasons you may be looking for a new auto scrubber.

Depending on why you’re looking to invest in a new auto scrubber, you’ll be able to guide the purchase process in a direction that makes sense for your unique situation.

For example, the right piece of equipment for a business currently using a mop and bucket will be different from a company who currently has a ride-on scrubber and is looking for a way to further increase staff efficiency.

Some of the most common reasons for a new equipment purchase include:

Existing Equipment Frequently Breaks or Is Old

The biggest expense to any cleaning operation is labor, and when equipment breaks down, it requires higher staffing and labor costs to complete the same amount of work in a time period.

Dealing with broken equipment is time-consuming and expensive. If you are constantly having to deal with taking your equipment in for repair, it might be time to invest in a new machine.

20191031_103307You’ll need to consider how much your equipment is currently costing you in repairs and whether it is worth it to continue to put money into an old machine rather than invest in a new machine.

Additionally, old equipment is likely no longer efficient in water and chemical usage. Upgrading your current auto scrubber can help increase these and other cleaning efficiencies.

When looking for a new machine, ask yourself if you were happy with the size and efficiency of your old floor scrubber. Did it fit into tight spaces, or was the machine too big? Were you able to clean without having to fill-and-dump the tank several times, or do you need a bigger floor scrubber?

This is a good opportunity to identify the features on your current auto scrubber that you like and those which you don’t. Understanding what features you must have and which you can do without will be helpful when selecting a new floor scrubber.

Looking For A Way to Reduce Labor Costs

Looking for the latest innovations in the janitorial industry can help you cut down on labor costs – which is the largest expense to most cleaning operations.

Integrating any type of new floor scrubber can help your staff do more work in less time, but the most dramatic increase in productivity can be achieved with autonomous equipment.

Automation is one of the newest ways to significantly reduce labor costs.

Autonomous equipment relieves your cleaning staff from repetitive and time-consuming tasks, like vacuuming or mopping, so you can redeploy staff to complete other higher value tasks or higher profit project work. 

Disruptions / Absenteeism

Employee retention and turnover are common issues in any industry.

Finding ways to increase the amount of work your current staff can do during a cleaning shift will help you keep your facility clean.

Investing in a new auto scrubber can be one way to improve the efficiency of floor cleaning procedures so your staff can move onto other cleaning tasks.

Forced to Reduce Operational Expenses

You may find yourself having to make budget cuts even when you don’t want to.

Using powered cleaning equipment, like auto scrubbers, will help improve worker efficiency so you can best utilize the staff you do have.

Auto scrubbers are available with a range of productivity-enhancing features such as large solution and recovery tanks to extend time between dump-and-fill cycles, large cleaning paths to decrease the overall cleaning times, and even technology to help push the machine along so operators do not exert as much energy when compared to other cleaning machines, like floor buffers.

Reduce Workplace Injuries & Lower Workman’s Compensation Claims

Losing an employee to an injury can set you back in costs and in the hygiene of your facility.

Viper AS530R Ride On 20in Autoscrubber-1When an employee is out for an extended period of time you’ll need to find a way to complete the work they were doing. If you’re like some people, may not want to hire a new employee per diem. If this is the case, automatic floor scrubbers can increase efficiencies so your current staff can complete more work in less time.

As an added benefit, many machines come with new, enhanced safety features. The new safety features on auto scrubbers can limit worker injury so you can avoid higher premiums due to comp claims and help your staff avoid future injury.

Examples of these safety features include:

  • Ride-on scrubbers that have steering controls that will prevent the machine from flipping over on turns
  • Autonomous machines have built-in infrared lights that allow them to react in real-time to a changing environment and avoid anything in its path.

What Are Your Current Cleaning Processes and What Equipment, If Any, Do You Currently Use? 

After identifying why you need new equipment, the following question will address your current equipment and processes.

This will help determine which type of auto scrubber will fit your facility best.

The goal of switching or upgrading to an automatic floor scrubber should be to:

  •  lower the time it takes to clean and improve worker productivity
  • help your staff achieve a better level of clean inside your facility

There are three common processes that are used by facilities to clean floors, and they include:

Mop & Bucket System

Mop Bucket and WringerCommon in many facilities, the traditional mop and bucket system is used to clean and remove spills from areas of hard flooring. The mop and bucket system is outdated. It is labor-intensive and inefficient.

Transitioning away from the mop and bucket method to a floor scrubber greatly increases efficiencies. 

Floor scrubbers remove the manual labor from scrubbing a floor. The machines are equipped with automated systems to scrub and dry your facility’s floor in one pass.

With a mop and bucket, it is inevitable that water and possibly even cleaning solution will be left behind, greatly increasing the risk of occupant slips and falls.

The mop and bucket system requires staff to push mops around, wring them out, and regularly change out water. With an auto scrubber, your staff will have to fill the tank once and then clean until the recovery tank is full, greatly reducing the amount of time your staff spends changing out the bucket solution.

Additionally, the mop and bucket system is not as hygienic because the mop reuses dirty water from the bucket. Floor scrubbers only lay down clean water.

Auto scrubbers clean floors with greater scrubbing pressure, reduced amounts of water and cleaning solution, and leave the floors dry, making it a more hygienic cleaning option, more environmentally-conscious and a safer choice.

Floor Buffer

Some facilities opt to use a commercial floor buffer to clean floors. Floor buffers can help you achieve a better, more hygienic clean when compared to mopping, but it is still very labor-intensive and will require more than one piece of equipment.

Unlike floor buffers, floor scrubbers do not require the user to remove water and dry the floor in separate steps.

When using a floor buffer, you’ll need to remove the water and solution from the floor after the cleaning procedure.

This will either require a mop and bucket or a wet/dry vacuum. A mop and bucket is the least effective solution removal method. It will not remove all water and can pose a slip and fall risk because water is likely to be left behind.

A wet dry vacuum will remove all the water and solution but you will need to switch between two pieces of equipment which is tedious.

When making the transition from a floor buffer to an auto scrubber the best type will depend on the size of the area being cleaned and what is occupying that area.

If you’re cleaning a medium to large size area (1,000+ sq ft) with a floor buffer, you’ll likely transition to a walk behind or stand on scrubber.

Automatic Floor Scrubbers

You may already be using some type of auto scrubber to clean your floors.

If so, you understand the efficiencies a scrubber can provide. However, you should evaluate if you have the correct size for your facility before purchasing a new one with the same specs.

CA60 20B right-1

The right size auto scrubber for your building will allow your staff to clean each area quickly and with minimal issues. For example, if you currently have a 20-inch floor scrubber and it fits nicely into congested areas, then you will likely stick with the same size. But, if you are using a 20-inch floor scrubber to clean 30,000 square feet of open area, you will likely be better suited with a larger auto scrubber.

If you’re not sure about why a larger, more productive machine might be better in the situation mentioned above, check out this example:

The typical 20- inch automatic walk-behind floor scrubber can clean 20,000 square feet in approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes, but a 28-inch ride-on floor scrubber can clean the same area in about half the time, saving 1 hour and 5 minutes.

That means your staff would be spending half the time on each cleaning procedure.


What Is The Scope Of Work? 

The next step is to determine the right size auto scrubber based on the area.

To determine the correct size auto scrubber, you’ll want to review the scope of work.

Scope of work includes two things:

How Large Is the Area You Are Trying to Clean?

The size of the area being maintained will help determine the type of auto scrubber you will need. It will also play a large role in helping narrow down the right size for your facility.

The right size auto scrubber will allow your staff to work efficiently in the area. The more productive your staff is, the more work they can complete during a shift.

There are a few types of auto scrubbers: upright, walk behind, ride-on or fully autonomous. 

Upright scrubbers are effective in cleaning areas 500-1,200 square feet.  

They are lightweight and most effective in small, congested areas such as entryways, offices, and restrooms.

Automatic walk-behind floor scrubbers perform best for cleaning areas of 1,000-150,000 square feet.

They are effective for cleaning large open areas such as gyms, warehouses, building lobbies, or open hallways. 

Ride automatic and fully autonomous floor scrubbers are the largest in size and can clean areas ranging from 15,000-150,000 or more square feet.  

Similar to walk-behind scrubbers, they are most effective in large open areas such as gyms, warehouses, building lobbies, or open hallways.

Are There Any Obstacles In The Area Being Cleaned?

It is also important to consider the things that are in the area being cleaned.  

You will need to choose a machine with a cleaning path that allows your staff to easily work and maneuver in the given space. 

Clarke MA10 12E Upright Scrubber-1An upright scrubber is the smallest available scrubber. They are available with cleaning paths ranging from 12 – 14 inches.

Walk-behind automatic scrubbers are available with cleaning paths ranging from 13 – 38 inches. 

Ride automatic scrubbers and fully autonomous floor scrubbers offer cleaning paths ranging from 20-45 inches.

Depending on the area or areas being cleaned, you may need two auto floor scrubbers. For example, if you are looking to clean larger open areas greater than 100,000 square feet, your cleaning team will be most efficient with a 45-inch ride automatic scrubber. 

However, if you also have some smaller areas, like restrooms, a small 12-inch upright can help your staff clean under partition walls and sinks where that ride on wouldn’t fit.

A larger walk behind or ride-on scrubber would not be efficient in the restroom and can actually increase the amount of time it takes to clean. It will be difficult for staff to maneuver such a large machine, requiring extra effort and decreasing productivity.

What Are Your Facility’s Current Goals? 

Every automatic floor scrubber is unique, and offers a set of features that can help you best achieve your goals.

After identifying the type and size auto floor scrubber that will best fit your facility based on the scope of work, the next step is to narrow down the different models based on available features.

Aside from wanting clean floors, you may have other goals. In some cases, the goals of your facility may be determined by your industry, but they may also vary based on your organization’s goals.

For example, healthcare facilities will likely require a floor scrubber with a low noise level so that it can be used without disturbing patients. Or, do you want your facility to be perceived as cutting edge? Then, you may want to consider an autonomous machine that can operate during the day on its own.

There are 5 common priorities that drive which features you should look for in a machine.

You’ll need to decide which of the 5 is most important to you:

Based on the importance of each of these factors, you’ll have a better idea of which equipment features your next auto scrubber should have.

1. Are you looking to increase worker productivity?

With the addition of any automatic floor scrubber, you’ll help your staff enjoy increased productivity and cleaner