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The anatomy of a scrubber dryer

10 January 2017

Clean Hire, a specialist supplier of industrial cleaning machines, looks at the latest features for scrubber dryers and how they can be used in a range of environments

It is hard to imagine how laborious a task floor scrubbing was prior to the arrival of scrubber dryers – not only with the mightiest of machines, but also the smallest of machines. With today’s warehouse space making ride-on machines a popular item, having several people mopping the floor is labour intensive.

A wealth of sizes are available to purchase today, making scrubber dryers an essential item for many workplaces, especially hospitals, schools, railway stations and airport terminals. In fact, they are suitable for use anywhere with hard surfaces including concrete floors, wooden floors and forecourts. 

With the emphasis on flexibility, battery-powered scrubber dryers have become the norm. For smaller scrubber dryers, you are no longer bound by the mains supply, unless you are charging the scrubber dryer. With the larger ride-on scrubber dryers, battery-powered models are usurping petrol and diesel counterparts. Energy efficiency is a major factor, though petrol or diesel scrubber dryers will be with us for some time.

Principal manufacturers of scrubber dryers include Viper from Denmark, Tennant whose headquarters are based in Minneapolis, USA, and Comac from Italy.  

How a scrubber dryer works


The handheld scrubber dryer can either be as small as a lawnmower or resemble a giant snail. These are typically used for negotiating confined spaces. Commonplace among handheld and ride-on scrubber dryers are two separate tanks: one for recovery and the other for solution. One example of the smaller handheld scrubber dryers is the Comac Vispa 35b. The cleaner resembles an oversized vacuum cleaner with the recovery tank at the top part of the scrubber dryer. The cleaning solution is fed into the squeegee brush at the bottom part of the cleaner.  

At the rear of the brush section is the 12V battery. Only AGM or Gel batteries can be used. Charging the battery from the mains can only be done once the solution and recovery tanks are emptied. The squeegee brush oscillates its way around the floor with the user controlling the machine via its handlebars. A digital display details the charging level.

Another handheld scrubber dryer, the Viper Fang 24T, is designed for less confined spaces. As with the Comac Vispa 35b, this has handlebar style controls. At the front, it has a circular squeegee brush (81cm diameter) with a rear squeegee strip.


The ride-on scrubber dryer is a boon for large spaces, from warehouses to airport terminals. Both recovery and solution tanks are placed in the rear of the cleaner, behind the operator’s seat. Another bonus is the fact they can also be used outdoors.

There is more scope for expandability. You can choose a different brush to the standard polypropylene one; these include Tynex, Nylon and Steel. Ride-on machines can be petrol, diesel or battery powered. The Comac Ultra 85B for example uses a 36V battery (AGM or Gel batteries only). This is placed underneath the operator’s seat. On charging and recharging, the base support of the seat needs lifting as the batteries could get hot and burn the seat.

At the high end of the scrubber dryer pecking order is the Tennant T17. This is battery powered, with the ability to do a seven to eight hour shift after a single charge. It has a choice of disc and cylindrical cleaning. Its easy functionality is suitable enough for unskilled or semi-skilled staff to take control.