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Do I need a walk-behind or ride-on scrubber machine? | Tennant

When you’re in the market for a floor scrubber machine, one of the first questions you might ask is:

“Do I need a ride-on scrubber or a walk-behind machine?”

Once you know the answer, you can narrow down your options to a smaller set of machines that are ideal for your needs.

So, we’ve put together a set of handy pros and cons lists to help you figure out what features are a priority for your cleaning needs, and what kind of machine is best for you.

Walk-behind scrubbers: pros and cons

Walk-behind scrubbers are scrubbing machines that require the operator to walk behind them as they clean - a bit like a push mower. But unlike push mowers, the operator doesn’t need to use much physical energy to push the machine - they only need to walk behind and guide it.

Pros Cons
  • A smaller upfront investment
  • Ideal for smaller floor spaces
  • Suitable for areas with inclines
  • Smaller footprint
  • Ideal for cleaning narrow walkways and fitting through small doorways
  • Easier to transport to different worksites
  • Takes up less storage space
  • May come with built-in technology that helps minimise water 
  • May come with technology to help manage and track your machine
  • Requires the operator to walk, which is a little more involved than a ride-on scrubber (although it’s still automatic, so not as involved as pushing around a manual floor scrubber)
  • Operators may experience fatigue and discomfort more quickly
  • Cleans may take longer

Ride-on scrubbers: pros and cons

Ride-on scrubbers come with a comfortable operator seat and steering wheel to direct the machine. They’re larger, more powerful machines than walk-behind scrubbers.

​​Pros ​Cons
  • Ideal for cleaning large spaces in a shorter timeframe
  • Requires the least amount of effort to move
  • A range of sizes available for different scenarios
  • More comfortable for operators (especially for large floor areas or frequent cleaning)
  • They may increase productivity
  • May come with built-in technology that helps minimise water 
  • May come with technology to help manage and track your machine
  • They’re usually a bigger investment (although most organisations recoup the costs through labour savings)
  • They may require more storage space
  • They’re less portable between worksites
  • Some ride-on scrubbers may not be suitable to operate in small or narrow spaces

What about stand-on scrubbers?

Stand-on scrubbers offer an in-between solution - they’re great for larger spaces but take up less space than a ride-on machine. Plus, it’s easier to see the floor area in front of the machine as you clean (compared to both walk-behind and ride-on scrubbers). The main downside is they’re less comfortable to use for longer periods of time.

Which one’s right for you?

It depends on a few key factors - how much time you have to clean, the amount and type of floor you have installed, your overall floor plan, your available storage space, and the overall investment.

You might like to try our product finder tool - this will ask you 5 simple questions and guide you to the Tennant machine that’s best for your situation.

Or give us a call and request a demo. We’ll ask you about your situation, recommend a few machines that we think will be a good fit, and give you the chance to try them out for yourself. Contact our friendly team on 1800 226 843 to book a demo time that works for you.​

Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With a vision to become a global leader in sustainable cleaning innovation that empowers our customers to create a cleaner, safer and healthier world, Tennant creates solutions that are changing the way the world cleans. Tennant products include equipment used to maintain indoor and outdoor surfaces, as well as TennantTrue® financing solutions, equipment parts, service, and maintenance to help ensure superior cleaning performance from your Tennant machines.

To keep updated with Tennant Australia’s products and developments:
CALL: 1800 226 843
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