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Carpet Sweepers VS. Vacuum Cleaners

Choosing the right floor cleaning equipment for your facility is important for maintaining a neat and well-maintained appearance. For most facilities, the choice comes down to either carpet sweepers or vacuum cleaners. While some companies can afford to invest in both of these essential janitorial supplies, it may come down to choosing only one for smaller businesses or households. In these cases it is important to know the pros and cons of each device, and what jobs they are suitable for, so you know you will keep your floors dirt and debris free.

Vacuum Cleaners


Vacuum cleaners use a motor to create a vacuum, which sucks dirt and debris up from floors and carpets. They are powered either by battery packs or plugged into outlets; this power requirement is what really distinguishes a vacuum from a floor sweeper. Vacuums have superior power for lifting dirt out of thicker carpets. It also means that using a vacuum costs you money every time you clean. Vacuums see their best use on carpeting of any length, but tend to suffer on bare floor surfaces like wood or tiles. Most vacuums include a number of attachments that allow you to clean upholstery and other surfaces that a manual sweeper cannot, making it highly versatile.

The biggest downside of a vacuum cleaner is the upfront cost. Even the cheapest vacuum will cost you more than a quality floor sweeper, and will not yield nearly as effective results on some surfaces. A higher end, and therefore more effective vacuum, can run as much multiple thousands of dollars, making them prohibitively expensive for most homeowners and small businesses. Most also require bags which need to be replaced when full, which can be become a major expense in facilities that see a lot of floor traffic.

Manual Floor Sweepers

These devices have been around since the 19th century and are still in use around the world today. Manual floor sweepers use rotating bristles to draw material up into a collection unit. Floor sweepers are popular in commercial facilities with bare floors or short carpeting, where they prove effective. They are also very lightweight and easy to move and store for quick cleanups. As they require no power to run, they can also be used in areas where access to an outlet may be inconvenient like large warehouses. A good manual sweeper will also cost you about the same as a cheap vacuum, but will likely have a longer effective lifetime.

Manual floor cleaners have the drawback of being ineffective on thicker carpet, making them less common in households. Cheaper models may also lack the power to collect heavier debris like nails or screws. In those cases you would likely need to use a vacuum cleaner.