The 10 Best Floor Machines
This wiki has been updated 32 times since it was first published in June of 2015. Floor buffers can turn one of the most difficult tasks in your home or business into one of the easiest. A good quality scrubber will take care of tile, laminate, marble, and more without all the usual hard work and elbow grease. Some of these even work on carpet, so you'll be able to clean practically any space. Check out our selection of machines to find the best for your needs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
February 08, 2021:
Though it has been a long time since we have had to make any changes to our floor machine recommendations, a couple of years in fact, that streak continues today. After careful research on the various models available, our current lineup still represents the best options on offer. Commercial-quality machines, like those here, have been built to withstand years of use of regular use, and these models are proving the truth of that statement. If at any time we find a newly released machine that deserves mention here, we will be quick to update our recommendations at that time.
April 26, 2019:
Some people may think that floor machines are only suitable for the hands of professional cleaners, but that is actually untrue. Of course there are heavy, high-powered machines that are best left for experienced operators, but there is also a nice variety of small, easier-to-control models that are perfect for home use. If are buying a machine for business use and need something that can handle large spaces quickly, we recommend the Clarke MA50 15B, Mercury L-17E Lo-Boy, Powr-Flite NM2000 Millennium Edition, Clarke CFP Pro 17HD, Farag Janitorial BF522, or Koblenz TP 1715. These all have a 17-inch or larger head diameter, have powerful motors, and are built to withstand constant daily use without failing. The Bissell BigGreen BGEM9000 is also built to commercial quality standards, but its small path makes it ideal for those times you need to work in tight spaces. When it comes to options for home use, few models are better suited to the task than the Oreck Orbiter ORB550MC and Oreck Orbiter ORB700MB. Both of these are affordably priced, compact enough for easy storage, and have a very small learning curve. If you have a large home and are worried the 13-inch cleaning path of these models might be too small for your needs, then Viper Cleaning Equipment VN1715 Venom Series might be a better choice for you. It offers the same benefit of a wallet-friendly price, but with the advantage of a 17-inch deck size. Be aware however, that it requires significantly more storage space and is a bit harder to control.
Proper Cleaning Starts From The Ground Up
Stone is hard to damage, easy to clean, but can be very expensive, often out of the price range of the homeowner or smaller business.
There are myriad different types of flooring an architect, designer, or homeowner can choose to install in a facility or residence, and every type of floor has many positive attributes offset by a negative or two (or more). Whether you are designing a building from the ground up or you are considering a renovation to a single existing room, it's important that you take the time to think through each type of flooring available in terms of aesthetics, durability, ease of cleaning, and cost of installation, maintenance, and repairs.
Let's spend a moment taking a look at a few of the major types of flooring you will find in offices, hotels, homes, and more.
Tile is both one of the most ancient building materials known to mankind and one of the most durable, versatile, and overall excellent materials still in use. The great versatility of tile helps to explain its lasting popularity -- tile can look like wood, stone, or terra-cotta, it can be colored and decorative or simple and demure. Tile is durable and mosts types resist staining and are easy to clean. However, it can be an expensive material, and when cracked or otherwise damaged, the process of replacing the compromised tile can be laborious, especially if the specific type of tile used was rare to begin with or has since become scarce.
Hardwood is another timeless flooring (and general building) material that remains as popular as ever. When properly sealed and treated, wood is relatively durable and can easily be kept clean with regular maintenance. Many wood types are affordable, but many woods are also not rugged enough for very high traffic areas, such as lobbies, office hallways, schools, and other institutions.
Stone floors, often made of marble, granite, or slate, are elegant and lovely. They add style and gravitas to any room, and by their very nature are built to last. Stone is hard to damage, easy to clean, but can be very expensive, often out of the price range of the homeowner or smaller business.
Linoleum is not exactly an elegant flooring solution, but it just might be the perfect choice for rooms like a commercial kitchen or a school bathroom -- in other words, it's a good choice for places where messes may happen. That's true based both on this synthetic material's ability to resist stains, and because it can usually be removed and replaced at relatively low cost. Note that while the term linoleum is still in common usage, when people use the word, they are more often referring to the material that has largely succeeded it, which is polyvinyl chloride, better known as PVC.
Polished concrete is a relative newcomer to the flooring industry, but is now making rapid inroads into upscale interior design. While concrete floors have long been used in factories and warehouses, new high quality, high shine concrete floors treated with "densifiers" are now seen in condos, luxury lofts, and more. Finely polished concrete resembles stone more than the simple building material it really is, and the cleaner you keep it, the better it looks.
Carpet is affordable, available in countless colors and styles, and is relatively easy to remove and/or replace as needed. It's not that easy to keep clean, however, unless you have the right equipment for the job and you are willing to put in the time to clean it, or else the cash to hire professionals to do the maintenance for you.
Cleaning Hard Surface Flooring
Most floor machines can handle the cleaning needs of tile, stone, or concrete floors with ease. In fact, you might want to pay more attention to the excess of power a floor machine might boast instead of worrying about an underpowered unit. If you have decades old hardwood floors, for example, an industrial grade floor machine might lift more than just dirt and grime, but might take wood fibers with it.
When choosing a floor machine, look for one that can accommodate various different types of buffing pads instead of a unit purpose built for one type of floor. Most homes have several different types of flooring after all, as do many businesses, hotels, and other areas requiring deep cleaning.
And do know that if you are looking to buy a top quality floor machine suitable for commercial use, you must be ready to spend several hundred dollars at least. Some high end units actually cost nearly a thousand, in fact.
Cleaning The Carpets And Rugs
If you have a generations old hand woven Persian carpet adorning the floors of your home or office, you will probably be well served to have it cleaned by professionals. For almost any standard type of carpeting, however, you can save yourself money by investing in a great carpet cleaning tool once and never needing to pay for a rug cleaning company's services again. (And you can potentially even save yourself time, too, as there will be no need to bring your carpets to a facility or to liaise with a company and then clear out while they clean at your home or office.)
A good carpet cleaning machine uses both heat and a cleaning solution to help lift stains and stubborn grit out of carpets and rugs, and uses powerful suction to remove the solution it puts down as well as all other debris and dirt, so that one or two passes should leave your carpets clean and almost fully dry, as well.
Make sure to choose a carpet floor machine with the option to switch its rotating brush on or off, as depending on the thickness of your carpet's "pile," this feature can be a bonus or a burden.