Do you need a sweeper/scrubber or a scrubber/sweeper?

May 01 2022 Floor Cleaning3 Min. Read

Sweeper/Scrubbers and Scrubber/Sweepers sound the same, and they are similar in some ways, but there are some distinct differences you might not know!

Yes. You read that headline right!

Here’s a brief overview of the types of machines available and what they do.

  • A sweeper picks up dry dirt and debris indoors and out
  • A scrubber uses disc brushes, water and a cleaning solution to scrub the floor and a squeegee vacuum system to pick up the dirty water. Scrubbers require pre-sweeping.
  • A scrubber/sweeper is a scrubber that uses cylindrical brushes to both sweep and scrub by flicking minor dust and small particles into a small hopper as it scrubs.
  • A sweeper/scrubber is two machines in one, with an independent dry sweeping system that picks up dirt and debris before the scrubbing brush aggressively cleans the dirtiest floors, all in a single pass.


A sweeper/scrubber is like two full machines in one – a sweeper and a scrubber. Sweeping is done first, followed by scrubbing. Sweeper/scrubbers are popular because two cleaning procedures can be done in one pass, saving time. Because the actions are performed separately, an operator can choose to just sweep or scrub only depending on the situation. These machines can even be used to sweep outdoors.

Sweeper/scrubbers are large, complex machines which can mean reduced maneuverability in tight spaces. They have a higher price tag than single-function machines and require more maintenance.


What some refer to as a scrubber/sweeper is a scrubber with cylindrical scrub brushes that can pick up and deposit small dry particles and small objects in a small hopper and simultaneously wet scrub the floor. Any scrubber with a cylindrical brush (as opposed to rotary) and somewhere to put solid debris can be considered a scrubber/sweeper.

A scrubber/sweeper is usually more compact than a sweeper/scrubber and has simpler construction. These machines are less costly, easier to use, and offer lower maintenance costs, higher maneuverability, and better visibility than their sweeper/scrubber cousins.

However, scrubber/sweepers don’t match the sweeping performance of a dedicated sweeper or a sweeper/scrubber. A scrubber/sweeper will struggle to handle heavy dust, dirt, and larger debris and so require pre-sweeping—either manually or with a sweeper. Also, scrubber/sweepers can only be used indoors since they always combine sweeping and scrubbing.

A comparison

The following chart summarizes the pluses and minuses of each machine.

Comparison of SW/SC vs SC/SW



Purchase price



Maintenance costs




Better in tight spaces











Outdoor/indoor use

Indoor only

Can sweep outdoors

Sweeping performance

Problems with heavy dirt and large particles


Scrubbing performance



Ability to sweep or scrub only




Which should you buy?

Sweeper/scrubber or scrubber/sweeper? Which makes sense for your facility?

There’s not a clear right or wrong answer here since the decision needs to be based on the many variables unique to your application. Basically, however, if your floors have anything but minor dust, you will need to pre-sweep and then it comes down to the size of your facility, your budget and other variables we can help you sort through.

Rely on Morrison

Our floor cleaning professionals will work with you to determine the best solutions for your operation—from industrial floor cleaning equipment to a developing floor cleaning processes, procedures, and schedules.

We offer top quality floor cleaning equipment from leading OEMs, the largest parts inventory in the Midwest, and factory-trained service technicians for ongoing support and fast, knowledgeable service and parts for all brands of industrial floor cleaning equipment.