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Cleaner, Faster, Safer: The Advantages of Micro-Scrubbers Over Mop and Bucket Systems

Cleaning floors can be a time-consuming task, but with the right tool, it doesn't have to be. For wide-open spaces, automatic scrubbers are an easy choice. A mop and bucket were necessary for smaller areas to clean in tight spaces. Over the last few years, manufacturers have introduced a new class of scrubber, the micro-scrubber, which competes directly with the mop and bucket.


Micro-scrubbers offer several advantages over mop-and-bucket cleaning for many commercial and industrial settings, making your cleaning faster and more efficient. In this article, we'll explore the differences between micro-scrubbers and mops. We will also talk about understanding the return on investment for cleaning machines, a key factor in making the right decision. Finally, we'll end with an overview of the types of micro-scrubbers Hillyard offers so you can find the one that's right for your operation.

The Advantages of Micro-Scrubbers

Micro-scrubbers are little machines that offer big benefits compared to a mop and bucket. Key benefits include increased productivity, improved performance, reduced slip-and-fall hazards, and improved ergonomics.

  • Improved Productivity: In the last few years, many custodial programs have felt the pressure of labor scarcity. One way to deal with a lack of labor is to improve productivity. Micro-scrubbers do exactly that. Compared to a mop and bucket, a micro-scrubber can reduce labor by over 90%. Labor savings from this change can be used to help address other issues in your cleaning program.
  • Improved Cleaning Performance: Automatic scrubbers remove more soil from the environment than a mop and bucket. Thanks to micro-scrubbers, taking advantage of this long-known benefit in even smaller areas is possible. Because scrubbers use a continual supply of clean cleaning solution and a squeegee to remove the soil, they leave the area cleaner than a traditional mop and bucket.
  • Improved Building Safety: Micro-scrubbers virtually eliminate the chance of a slip-and-fall accident compared to mop systems. The squeegee and vacuum leave the floor clean and dry, making micro-scrubbers an excellent choice for occupied spaces.
  • Easier to Use / Better Ergonomics: Improved ergonomics are key advantages to using micro-scrubbers. Traditional mop and bucket systems require custodians to bend, stoop, and swing a heavy mop side-to-side repeatedly. This can lead to back, shoulder, wrist, and hand injuries. Micro-scrubbers are much easier to use than mops and buckets, with no repetitive motions required. Many models offer adjustable handles to fit custodians of any height, and the machine itself is light enough to be pushed around without strain or injury.

The Advantages of Mop and Bucket Systems

While Micro-scrubbers offer many advantages, there are still times when a mop and bucket is the best choice.

  • Low Budget and Limited Spaces: Micro-scrubbers are more expensive than a mop and bucket. If you don't have a large enough space to justify purchasing a micro-scrubber, then a mop and bucket may be the right choice. If you're unsure, calculate the return on investment generated by the labor savings created by the micro-scrubber. You may be surprised how quickly the equipment can pay for itself through labor savings.
  • Quick Spill Cleanup: A mop and bucket can be more convenient for immediate spill cleanup. Grabbing a mop and cleaning a small spill quickly is easier, whereas setting up and operating a micro-scrubber might take longer.

Calculating Return on Investment for Cleaning Equipment

For a complete discussion of equipment ROI, see this article: Justifying Your Next Cleaning Machine Purchase: Tips for Facility Managers

One of the main benefits of using cleaning equipment for a task is labor reduction. The ISSA has a resource, The ISSA Cleaning Times, that helps us figure out how much time we can save by using a cleaning machine.

Check out the incredible labor savings micro-scrubbers can provide:

Cleaning Process / Equipment Time to Clean 1,000 Square Feet (Minutes) Labor Reduction Vs. Mopping
Wet mop and rinse with 16 oz. Mop, a Single Bucket, and Ringer 34.8 minutes --
Tennant i-mop Lite 4.0 minutes 89%
Tennant i-mop XL Plus 3.1 minutes 91%
Tennant i-mop XXL Plus

2.4 minutes


Hillyard Trident XM13SC

6.0 minutes


Hillyard Trident XM14SC Pro

4.3 minutes


Hillyard Trident XM17SC Pro

3.5 minutes


To calculate the equipment return on investment, you will need to know your hourly cost of labor, including benefits, and the price of the equipment. Your local Hillyard representative can help you with this calculation. Use the form below to contact us.

Micro-Scrubbers From Hillyard

Tennant i-mop Series

Hillyard proudly stands as an authorized Tennant dealer, showcasing a commitment to delivering top-tier cleaning solutions. Hillyard carries the renowned i-mop series of micro scrubbers among their impressive products. The i-mop series, known for its efficiency and effectiveness, represents a pinnacle in micro scrubber technology. You can rely on Hillyard's expertise and dedication to quality in their pursuit of high-performance cleaning solutions.


image image image
Feature i-mop Lite i-mop XL Plus i-mop XXL Plus
Cleaning Path 14.5 inches 18.1 inches 24.4 inches
Productivity (Sq Ft / Hr) 15,069 19,375 24,750
Solution Tank (Gallons) 0.79 1.0 1.25
Recovery Tank (Gallons) 1.06 1.5 2.0
Run Time (up to) 45 min 70 min 70 min
Sound Level 68 dB 79.6 dB 79.6 dB

Hillyard Trident Series


XM13SC Micro-Scrubber

11" Micro-Scrubber

  • Replace the mop and bucket with this micro-scrubber for faster, better results.
  • Clean everywhere - perfect for car dealerships, kitchens, and any tight spaces.
  • Parabolic squeegee swings around the brush allowing for the tightest turns and leaving the floor safe and dry.
  • Eco-Mode function conserves water, chemical, and energy.


XM14SC Pro Micro-Scrubber

14" Micro-Scrubber

  • Professional cleaning results in the tightest areas.
  • Clean everywhere - perfect for car dealerships, kitchens, and any tight spaces.
  • Parabolic squeegee swings around the brush allowing for the tightest turns and leaving the floor safe and dry.
  • Cast aluminum components are corrosion resistant, sturdy and durable, lightweight, and offer a precision fit for components.


XM17SC Pro Micro-Scrubber

17" Micro-Scrubber

  • Professional cleaning results in the tightest of areas.
  • Clean everywhere - perfect for car dealerships, kitchens, and any tight spaces.
  • Parabolic squeegee swings around the brush allowing for the tightest turns and leaving the floor safe and dry.
  • Cast aluminum components are corrosion resistant, sturdy and durable, lightweight, and offer a precision fit for components.

Let Hillyard Help You Find the Right Machine

At Hillyard, we know that the right equipment can be the difference between a good cleaning program and a great one. We have experienced representatives throughout the United States who can help you sort through your options, calculate equipment ROI, and select the perfect equipment for your facility. Use the "I'm Interested" form below, and one of our representatives will contact you to help you improve your cleaning program.

DISCLAIMER:  Specifications are subject to change without notice. Examples and recommendations in this article may not apply to every situation. This information is provided on an “as is” basis and does not supersede any other documentation. Always follow the instructions as written on the product label.

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