Technological advancements have made floor-maintenance equipment easier and more efficient to use, as well as safer to operate. The industry has also developed a huge range of different types/sizes of equipment designed to clean and maintain just about any surface, both indoors and out.
There are plenty of options when it comes to floor care equipment, including more than just types and sizes but also a choice of energy sources or fuel types used to power them. You can opt for electrical, power-corded or battery-operated motors or for propane, gasoline or diesel powered engines. It all comes down to what type of cleaning you’ll be doing, where you’ll be doing it, how much area needs to be covered in what amount of time, and how much you’re willing to spend on the equipment.
The power source you choose for your floor-maintenance equipment should be guided by the size of the jobs you’ll be performing, whether the work will take place indoors or outdoors and the ease of accessibility to your required fuel. Consider these points:
Machines utilizing electric power cords are generally for smaller, entry-level equipment such as buffers/burnishers or vacuums. They have an endless supply of power that’s as nearby as the closest electrical outlet.
These electric floor cleaning machines are primarily for smaller, indoor floor maintenance jobs where having an exposed cord, which can be a tripping hazard for passersby, is not an important consideration. They're popular for use in office settings, where maintenance is done after hours, but not as much in medical facilities or nursing homes, where 24-hour foot-traffic may be ongoing.
- Battery power is often found on walk-behind or small ride-on scrubbers or sweepers. Average run time is about 2.5-3 hours, and recharging will typically have to take place overnight, causing significant downtime between jobs. Lead-acid batteries, the least expensive and most commonly used, must be maintained regularly or premature replacement may be necessary. Battery-powered floor maintenance machines are front runners for environments without any access to electrical outlets, and the typical workload is three hours or less.
- Propane-powered equipment, such as propane floor buffers and burnishers, are by far the most popular for industrial floor maintenance use. There is generally a ready supply of propane available, since industrial companies utilize other heavy-duty equipment in their operations that also use propane. Propane power is best in areas with adequate ventilation, since they emit some CO2. They work well for larger jobs like retail malls and schools where cleaning is done after hours.
- Gasoline and diesel-powered equipment may be used only for outdoor operations because of dangerous emissions. Units like diesel floor scrubbers and sweepers are the most popular choice for outdoor sweeping equipment.