Which floor machine is best?
Floor machines are two-in-one cleaning wands that scrub both hardwood floors and thin carpeting. They are typically used in commercial environments to deep clean large chunks of flooring quickly. Some people also use them for their homes if they have messy children or pets. Even the affordable options are pricey, so make sure you need the power before committing.
The best floor machine is the Oreck Commercial Orbiter Hard Floor Cleaner Machine. It has an extra-long cord and commercial strength, but the head is smaller than most.
What to know before you buy a floor machine
Cleaning head size
The size of the floor machine’s cleaning head determines how much you can cover and how quickly it can be covered.
- Residential heads for smaller homes are roughly 13 inches wide so they can be more easily controlled around tight spaces.
- Commercial heads can be as large as 20 inches or more to clean as quickly and efficiently as possible.
- Mixed-use heads, such as those for large homes or small commercial spaces, are roughly 17 inches wide.
Floor machines are either corded or cordless.
- Corded machines are more common as they’re more powerful. Double-check the cord length against your space to be cleaned before purchasing — If it’s too short you won’t be able to reach every space while being too long means you’ll waste time winding up the cord when you’re done cleaning. Most are roughly 20 feet long but some can be as long as 50 feet.
- Cordless machines are battery-operated. They can reach any space and there are no fears of tangles or tripping, but the batteries rarely last longer than 30 minutes on a full charge. They are also usually weaker.
Most floor machines are, unfortunately, loud. The more powerful the machine, the louder it will be. Small residential machines are the quietest but still make their share of noise while commercial machines can drown out average volume speech. Keep this in mind when choosing when to clean.
What to look for in a quality floor machine
Floor machines typically come in 1-, 1.5- and 2-horsepower strengths with each power being better suited to certain tasks.
- Standard cleaning, especially for residential use, is best handled with 1 HP.
- Commercial cleaning and stripping floors are best handled with 1.5 HP
- Powerful cleaning that can handle anything and also draw dirt from carpeting is best handled with 2 HP.
Floor machines can weigh 15-100 pounds with heavier weights being harder to wield but cleaning more thoroughly. Residential and midrange commercial machines usually weigh 15-25 pounds.
Some floor machines have water tanks, one for expelling clean water and one for pulling in dirty water. The larger the tanks, the less you’ll need to refill and empty while cleaning larger floors.
How much you can expect to spend on a floor machine
Floor machines cost $100-$1,200. Small residential models cost less than $200 with a few dropping below $100. More powerful modes cost up to $400. Huge commercial-grade machines start at around $500.
Floor machine FAQ
What surfaces can a floor machine clean?
A. Floor machines are typically designed to clean any sealed hard floors, including tile, concrete, laminated hardwood and vinyl.
Additionally, some machines can also clean carpeting, though it needs to be thin.
How do I use a floor machine?
A. Most are as simple as powering them on and pushing them around. Some of the heavier, stronger commercial-grade options technically follow the same general practice but can be much harder to control.
What maintenance does a floor machine require?
A. Most of the maintenance revolves around replacing the cleaning pads and brushes that are attached to the head, though some can be reused. You also need to clean any water tanks your machine may have on occasion to prevent the buildup of mold and mildew. Otherwise, give the exterior a rub down if it gets dirty.
What’s the best floor machine to buy?
Top floor machine
What you need to know: It has just the right amount of power for residential and small-scale commercial use.
What you’ll love: It can be used on all hard flooring and thin carpets to not only clean but to sand, wax and strip. Its cord is extra-long at 50 feet, meaning less time changing outlets. The brush head rotates orbitally to prevent brush marks and residue.
What you should consider: The cleaning pads need to be replaced with more regularity than other floor machines and the small head means cleaning takes longer.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top floor machine for the money
What you need to know: It’s perfect for light residential cleaning.
What you’ll love: It uses two rotating mopping pads that are reusable and washable, plus it doesn’t make much noise. You can manually apply the cleaning solution with the press of a button for accurate measurements.
What you should consider: It doesn’t have the capability to handle major messes or deeply soiled carpeting. The battery only lasts for up to 20 minutes.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is another great residential machine, but corded.
What you’ll love: It’s available individually or bundled with one of several cleaning solutions. It has two tanks, one for clean water and one for dirty water. A control fingertip on the handle lets you apply extra solution to problem areas.
What you should consider: You can only use other Hoover products with it. It doesn’t fully dry the floors, but, that said, there isn’t much water left.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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