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Scrubber Dryer Glossary 

Scrubber dryers are probably the most visible of floor cleaning machines and can be seen working in a variety of commercial and public buildings, from shopping malls to warehouses. The number of different machines available is quite extensive which when you consider the different types of floor covering, the evenness of the floor, the area of the floor even the size of the access door are just a few of the factors which influence the selection of the ideal scrubber dryer.

Listed below are some explanations of the types of terminology used by manufacturers and what it means to a potential purchaser.
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Terminology What does it mean? Why does it matter?
Dimensions The physical dimensions of the dryer

The cleaning width denotes the cleaning area, however the physical size of the machine also needs to be taken into account as it may have to fit through doorways or other smaller spaces. There may also be limited storage space.

Cleaning /Working Width The effective width of floor cleaned The cleaning width is determined by the size and placement of the cleaning brush, pad or roller and is different from the machine width. This is relevant for estimating how long it would take to clean a floor (along with the machine speed for ride-on machines). The dimensions of the area being cleaned are also relevant here, particularly if there are any small gaps or passageways which the machine needs to pass through.
Squeegee Width When a floor is cleaned the residue is collected by squeegees at the back the machine and vacuumed into the recovery tank

The squeegees collect the dirty water at the rear of the machine which is then vacuumed into the waste tank. The squeegee is wider than the machine body and is a vital part of the effective operation of the machine. An ineffective squeegee will leave dirty water behind

Vacuum Power Suction power of the machine The vacuum power is important, as the water needs to be removed. A weaker vacuum may mean not being able to clean in a single pass.
Tank Capacity

Capacity of solution tank and recovery (waste) tank

The capacity of the tanks is a factor determining how long the scrubber can work before refilling/emptying. Tank capacities can range from 4 litres to over 150 litres.
Brush/Pad The tools that do the cleaning

Scrubber dryers will use either a cylindrical or roller brush or a disc pad. Selection depends on the type of floor surface, how level the surface is and the nature of the soiling to decide which method gives the best results.

Scrubber driers with a disc type cleaning method usually have a lower initial cost (although not on all models), are simpler to maintain and replacement disc brushes are less expensive to replace than cylindrical brushes.

Cylindrical type scrubber driers keeps less bristle surface contact with the floor than disc brushes and also rotate up to 3-times faster. Most cylindrical models, particularly the larger versions also have the benefit of a debris tray mounted behind the brushes to collect small debris from the surface and eliminate the need for a pre-sweep prior to cleaning and reduce the potential of blockages in the squeegee area, giving better productivity.

Brush Pressure The pressure the cleaning brush exerts on the floor

Brush pressure is an indicator of cleaning efficiency, particularly on uneven floors.

Brush Speed

The speed at which the brush rotates

The brush agitates the detergent into the floor surface. A faster speed means more effective scouring


Machine with motive power

Pedestrian or walk-behind machines may be supplied with a traction drive to aid moving the dryer. For smaller machines it is not really practical as having this extra does add to the cost. Larger machines with bigger solution and waste tank need some additional motive power to reduce operator fatigue and increase the machine's manoeuvrability in tight areas.

Max Area Performance

The area that can be cleaned, normally expressed as square metres per hour

Enables a scrubber to be selected that can clean an area in the shortest time.

Machine Weight

The total weight of the machine normally in Kg

The weight is a consideration for the operator. It is also important to consider the design of the machine making sure that the machine is designed to make the weight manageable. If a machine is too light it may tip over or turn too easily

Power Source

Battery or mains powered

Mains powered machines have an advantage over battery operated dryers in that they can be used at any time and used for as long as needed. The downside is that, in larger areas the cable can get in the way of the cleaning process, slowing it down, as well as causing a potential trip hazard.
A battery operated machine can clean much quicker, however the cleaning time is limited by the battery size. A battery powered scrubber dryer will need to be charged before use and potentially needs more maintenance to ensure maximum use from the batteries.

Sound Level

The noise the dryer makes in operation

This is particularly important if the machine is to be used when other operatives or the public are present, normally the acceptable level is 63dBA.


Choosing a scrubber dryer is a big decision as efficient floor cleaning is an important part of any cleaning regime in industrial or commercial premises. The type and size of floor, the motive power, as well as the type of dirt being removed influences the choice of machine.

It is best practice to seek advice from industry experts who have the floor cleaning equipment experience and there is always the option to hire a machine for a trial period to see if it fits the bill.

Need advice? Give us a call and one of our scrubber dryer experts will be happy to help.