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Choose Between a Ride-On or Walk-Behind Sweeper – 2024 Update

2024 update


Sweepers are one of the most common types of cleaning equipment for hard surface and short-hair carpet cleaning, used primarily to remove dirt and dust from the floor to help maintain a clean and inviting appearance.

There are two main categories of sweepers maintenance workers can choose from as it pertains to cleaning their facilities: ride-on sweepers and walk-behind sweepers. While both types of sweepers are more than able to get the job done, the type of sweeper you select should largely depend on the area it’s intended to clean.

In this post, we’ll dive into the basics of each type of sweeper and the key factors to weigh when making your selection to optimize cleaning performance. Read on to learn more:

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Ride on Sweeper

Ride-on sweepers tend to be larger pieces of equipment, designed to clean a bigger area faster. As the name implies, ride-on sweepers have a seat for the operator who uses a steering wheel to navigate the sweeper throughout the cleaning area.

The sweeper sweeps the floor and picks up dirt and debris. Some are often equipped with dual brushes near the front of the machine, which can be adjusted to maintain optimum pressure and handle uneven floor surfaces.

Ride-on sweepers are either battery-powered or fueled by liquid propane gas or Diesel.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Walk Behind Sweeper

Unlike ride-on sweepers, walk-behind sweepers are operated more similarly to a vacuum cleaner. Rather than riding on the machine, they’re manually pushed throughout a cleaning area. Their compact size allows them to get into some of the more compact areas that a ride-on sweeper cannot, and these machines still tend to have a sizable hopper capacity for capturing dirt and debris.

While ride-on sweepers are best for cleaning large areas of flooring, walk-behind sweepers are better suited for cleaning pathways and smaller areas of floor. That’s not to say they can’t be utilized for cleaning large areas; it’ll just take longer than if you were to use a ride-on machine.

Key Differences Between Ride-On and Walk-Behind Sweepers

So, what are some factors you should be weighing when it comes to selecting between a ride-on or walk-behind sweeper?

  • Cleaning productivity;
  • Cleaning frequency;
  • Cleaning area;


Here’s a look:


Key Factors to choose sweeper


Cleaning productivity

Perhaps the biggest variable that should be weighed when deciding between sweeper types is the space that needs to be cleaned. Keep in mind that ride-on sweepers may offer more than double the cleaning width that walk-behind sweepers do, making them more suitable for cleaning large areas of flooring. While some walk-behind sweepers are only capable of cleaning around 2.000 square meters (about four times the area of a basketball court) per hour, some ride-on sweepers have the potential to clean more than 7.000 square meters per hour. Ride-on sweepers are able to clean faster and more productively in the right environment. 

Cleaning frequency

While ride-on sweepers are ideal for enhancing cleaning productivity, they tend to be larger pieces of equipment and aren’t often intended for everyday use. Walk-behind sweepers, conversely, are more compact and easier to bring out of the janitor’s closet for more routine, daily cleaning activities. It’s not to say that ride-on sweepers can’t be used on a daily basis, but they’re more intended for deep cleaning on occasion. Another added benefit of walk-behind sweepers is that they can be used both indoors and outdoors. 

Cleaning area

Do you need to clean large open areas or pathways and compact spaces? The former is better done with a ride-on sweeper based on the productivity gains that we described earlier in this post, while more compact spaces are better cleaned by a smaller, walk-behind sweeper. 

Contact IPC Worldwide Today

Ride-on or walk-behind sweeper? You really can’t go wrong with either piece, as they’re both highly effective in the right environment. But the type of cleaning you’re doing, the space you’re cleaning and the time you want to spend doing it should all be factors you weigh when selecting the sweeper that’s right for you. For more information and to browse our line of ride-on and walk-behind sweeper models, contact IPC Worldwide today.