Buying a floor cleaning machine can be a real challenge, especially if you have never purchased one before. There are so many types to choose from with variables such as different speeds, sizes and even weights. Then you have accessories to choose from just to make things even more confusing. Once you understand a few simple things though it really is very easy to choose the right machine for the job.
For this article we are going to assume that you are looking for a normal rotary floor machine and not a scrubber drier. We will cover scrubber driers in another article shortly, so don’t worry if this is something you need more information on.
The three main things to think about before you buy;
1. Machine Speed
2. Machine Size
3. What accessories to buy
So let’s tackle this one step at a time.
1. What Speed Of Floor Cleaning Machine Do I Need?
I want a floor machine to scrub dirty floors – Look for a slower speed machine with a speed of around 150RPM (e.g. HFM1515). For a lot of applications the primary goal is to keep a workshop floor, entrance hall or other communal area clean of grime. The environment and application will dictate how quickly your floors get dirty but in a lot of industrial applications walkways and areas with a high footfall can become dark in colour within hours. Putting a shine on the floor is not important but ensuring they stay clear of grease and grime that can be a slip risk is.
I want a machine to scrub some floors and also polish others – Look for a machine with a medium speed of around 230RPM (e.g. HFM1523). When you need to cover both bases with one machine, for budget reasons or due to space constraints a machine with a medium speed will work for scrubbing floors in workshops and kitchens, yet is also sufficient for polishing entrance halls and corridor floors.
I want a machine to just do polishing – Look for a fast machine with a speed of 300RPM (e.g. HFM1530). Machines of this speed are suitable for dedicated polishing, they are too fast to carry out scrubbing, but will polish smooth floors to a nice shine all day long with the right pads and chemicals. They are very well suited to hotels and conference centres where presentation is very important.
I want to do burnishing – Look for a high speed machine of around 450RPM (e.g. HFM1545). When presentation means everything and only the glossiest, deepest shine will do, a high speed machine is what you need. A shiny floor is essential in some sectors such as the car industry, where a clean deep shine on a floor brings out the best in paintwork.
2. What Size of Machine Do I Need?
So now you know what speed you need, it is time to start thinking about the size of the area that you need to cover. Generally there are three main sizes of machine, small “domestic size” machines, medium commercial machines and large machines, with the most popular sizes being the small and medium machines (We will explain why the larger machines are less popular in a moment)
Small Machines – If you have a domestic application, or an intricate area to clean like a kitchen floor or small bathroom floor then you need a machine that is easy to store, compact, and light to use. There are two machines in this category within our website these are the NLL332 and NLL415. These are separated by size and speed, the 415 is better suited to scrubbing as it is slower and has a larger head, whereas the 332 is slightly quicker and has a smaller head making it better for scrubbing and polishing.
Medium Machines – This is the most popular range of machines as they are suitable for 99% of commercial applications. The medium size range includes the NPR machines; these come in four speeds, and have a cleaning head 450mm in size. It is not too big to manoeuvre around furniture but is still sufficient for cleaning larger lobbies, workshops and entrance ways.
Large Machines – These are suitable for larger areas as the larger head size means you cover the floor faster. These are less popular for scrubbing and general polishing applications as scrubber driers are much more efficient and easy to use in these larger environments. If you are looking to burnish a large area though a high speed floor machine with a large head will be needed.
3. Should I get Pads or Brushes For My Floor Machine?
Finally we come down to what your floor is made of and therefore whether you should be looking at pads or brushes.
I Have Smooth Floors – If you have a smooth floor then we would recommend that you look at using pads with your machine. This means you will need to buy a drive board to attach the pads to. Floor pads are great as they are cheap, easy to change, and come in different grades from course through to fine. We have a guide here: floor cleaning pad colours that will help you choose what colour of pads to use.
I Have Uneven and Rough Floors – Brushes are what you require, they come in various grades for scrubbing through to polishing so they suit most needs. The benefit of using brushes is that the bristles can get into crevices and deviations on floors. Most brushes will have their application mentioned in the name such as polishing, scrubbing, shampooing etc.
I Have Smooth Floors With Deep Grout Lines or Crevices – You have a choice between pads and brushes, pads are cheaper and can be changed to alter their characteristics from polishing to scrubbing, yet they won’t clean into deeper grout lines or deviations in otherwise flat flooring. Brushes tend to be more expensive and require a special brush for each application, but they will get into crevices and deviations.
Now something else to bear in mind at this point is realistic expectations from your floor cleaning machine. If you have an old floor made up of uneven concrete it is unrealistic to expect a high speed machine to put a shine on it even with a polishing brush running at 300rpm. Like many things need to have a good foundation to get a good finish on top, flooring is no different.
Other things to consider:
Weight – Heavier machines are better for scrubbing than polishing, for this reason there are extra weights available for some of the medium machines for use in extreme applications.
Other accessories – Accessories that are available on some machines include tanks and spray bottles. These are for applying cleaning solution to the floor during cleaning. It is entirely down to the preference of the user if these are used or not as some people like to use them and other prefer to mop on cleaning solutions.
As there is quite a lot of information, and every individual application is different, and therefore requires a different machine, we offer a free demonstration service through Numatic. We do this for several reasons, we understand that these machines are not something that you will buy every day, they are also not cheap so getting it wrong can be expensive, and if you get it really wrong you may even damage your flooring.
It’s always best to be certain,
Having a free demonstration allows you to see the machine you are thinking about buying in action on your floor, so you know it will work. It also means you will have a technician who has years of experience visit your premises and determine what you want to use the machine for, they will always be happy to discuss your requirements in detail and will advise what accessories you may require to make cleaning as easy and effective as possible.