Simplicity of machine leads to durability; powerful enough for most home applications; easy to use.
Small coverage area; cleaning pads cost extra.
Durable, long lasting and the most coverage of any model available to the general public. Professional grade stuff, really.
Very expensive and the fact that it is so powerful means that you need to invest some time to learn how to use it properly.
Great hard surface cleaner on a budget; good sized water reservoir means more time cleaning and less time filling the tank; easy to use.
Covers a small area; instructions warn against using anything but Hoover cleaning products and those aren't cheap.
A top-of-the line, professional grade cleaner on a budget; tough, powerful and even has a great warranty. Wide cleaning path, too.
A bit too powerful and there's a learning curve involved.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Whether it’s in your home or at your place of business, keeping the floors clean can often seem like mission impossible. Sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming can only do so much, especially when it comes to sticky, stubborn messes.
With a floor machine, though, you can scrub and buff wood, vinyl, tile, and other hard surfaces, or loosen dirt from carpets to get your flooring as clean as possible.
A floor machine can be a pretty pricey investment, though, so choosing the right size, power, and other features is key if you want the most effective model available.
If you’re ready to shop for a floor machine, take a look at our top picks. For general tips on choosing a floor machine, continue reading our shopping guide.
Floor machines are often used in commercial venues to clean the flooring that sees heavy traffic. If you own a store, restaurant, or other retail business, a commercial floor machine is often a good investment.
You can also use a floor machine in your home, though. If you have children and pets who always seem to leave a mess behind, a smaller model can help you keep your floors looking great.
Floor machines can be used on a variety of sealed hard flooring materials, including:
Some floor machines can also be used on carpeting, to help loosen dirt.
Choose a floor machine with softer bristles for vinyl or laminated hardwood flooring to avoid damage.
Floor machines come in several sizes, which determine how large an area they can clean in one swipe.
For home use, a 13-inch machine works well, because it’s easier to maneuver around furniture and other obstacles.
If you have a larger home, or are using the floor machine in a commercial setting, a 17-inch machine may be a better option.
For cleaning a very large, open space, you may prefer a 20- to 21-inch floor machine.
A floor machine’s power is measured in horsepower (hp). While choosing the most powerful machine available may seem like a good option, keep in mind that different cleaning tasks require different types of power and speed.
A 1 hp floor machine is a good option for normal cleaning and home applications.
A 1.5 hp floor machine works well for cleaning commercial settings or stripping floors.
A 2 hp floor machine can clean any type of mess, strip floors, and is effective in drawing dirt out of carpeting.
While a more powerful floor machine can clean tougher messes, it can be difficult to control, especially if you’re new to using one.
The weight of a floor machine can make a big difference in how easy it is to maneuver when you’re cleaning. Lightweight machines, designed mainly for home use, can weigh as little as 14 pounds. Mid-size models that are slightly more powerful usually weigh between 15 and 25 pounds. Large, powerful commercial floor machines can weigh over 100 pounds, though, so they can be very difficult to move around if you don’t have the strength.
Most floor machines have cords, so they must be plugged into an electrical outlet, which may affect how easy it is to move them while cleaning. However, corded models are usually more powerful.
Some floor machine are cordless and run on batteries. That allows you to easily move a machine through a room while you’re cleaning without worrying about where the outlets are or tripping over the cord. Cordless models are usually less powerful, though.
If you plan to use your floor machine on carpeting, you’ll need a more powerful model to account for the increased drag.
Some floor machines have water tanks that allow them to dispense water to the scrubbing pad for cleaning, and pull the dirty water into a separate tank after cleaning.
If you choose a style with a water reservoir, make sure that the tanks are large enough that you won’t need to refill and empty the machine while you’re cleaning. Look for a model with tanks that hold at least 48 ounces for the most efficient floor machine.
For a floor machine to be effective, it should be easy to use. Look for a model with a power button that’s easy to reach, so you can turn the machine on and off without having to search. If there’s a control panel, make sure that the buttons are easy to read and press.
While you can clean more quickly with a larger floor machine, a smaller model is often easier to maneuver around furniture and other obstacles.
If you’re purchasing a corded floor machine, it’s important to choose a model with a long enough cord. That will give you more maneuverability as you’re cleaning. Machines with cords that are 20 feet long or less often don’t allow you to move that freely. Opt for a machine with a cord that’s at least 25 feet for the most versatility.
Floor machines can make a great deal of noise when they’re in use, which may disturb your household or customers at a commercial business. In most cases, the more powerful the machine is, the more noise it will make. Small, lightweight machines designed for home use tend to be the quietest. Large, commercial floor machines make a great deal of noise, so are best used at off hours.
A floor machine can be a significant investment, so look for a model that comes with a warranty to ensure that it lasts as long as possible. If you’re choosing a machine meant for home use, look for a model with at least a one year warranty. For a large, commercial-grade floor machine, choose a model with at least a five year warranty.
For a tile floor, use a fine bristled brush on your floor machine to avoid causing cracking or other damage to the tile surface.
Floor machines vary in price based on size and power, but you can typically expect to spend between $80 and $1,200.
For a small, lightweight floor machine made for home use, you’ll usually pay between $80 and $200.
For a medium, professional-grade floor machine, you’ll usually pay between $250 and $400.
For a large, commercial-grade floor machine, you’ll usually pay between $450 and $1,200.
Concrete floors are extremely durable, so you can use a floor machine with a stiff-bristled brush on them.
When you’re using a floor machine, it’s best to start cleaning at the back of the room and work your way toward the front.
Most floor machines require pads for scrubbing and buffing. Be sure to check the machine’s pad regularly to ensure that it’s not too dirty.
When you’re buffing with a floor machine, work in small areas, using the smallest amount of abrasive polish as possible.
Floor machines typically buff in a clockwise direction, so to avoid creating burns on the floor, you should clean the room from left to right.
When you’re polishing with a floor machine, you should also work from left to right, but work in a straight line. Overlap the strokes slightly to ensure a thorough cleaning.
If you’re using a heavy-duty, industrial floor machine, it’s a good idea to wear protective headphones, so your ears aren’t affected the noise.
When you’re using a floor machine, it’s best to start cleaning at the back of the room, and work your way toward the front.
Q. Is a floor machine easy to use?
A. A walk-behind model is fairly easy to use because you simply walk behind it, and guide it as you would with a lawnmower. However, commercial-grade models are usually very powerful, so they can be slightly tougher to maneuver.
A battery-operated floor machine is convenient because you can use it anywhere without worrying where the closest outlet is. Corded models are usually more powerful, though.
Q. Should I purchase the most powerful floor machine available?
A. If you’re using the machine at home, you may not necessarily want the most powerful model. They can be difficult to control if you’re not used to working with one, and the power usually isn’t necessary for normal floor cleaning.
Q. What sort of upkeep is necessary with a floor machine?
A. Most floor machines require some type of cleaning pad for scrubbing, buffing, and polishing the floor. You’ll need to replace them regularly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some also use brushes that may need to be replaced as well.