Canadian Rental Service

Push your profits

By Michael Frank   

Features Tech tips

It would seem that equipment is simply more effective with motors. What works better for finishing wood: a block wrapped in 150-grit sandpaper, or an electric belt sander spinning at 3,500 RPM? Nine times out of 10, the job gets done more quickly and efficiently with the help of horsepower.

However, the same principle does not necessarily follow with broom attachments. Although beefy, hydraulic-powered rotary brooms certainly have their time and place – they excel at sidewalk snow removal, for instance – simple push broom attachments provide similar levels of performance while offering their own set of unique benefits. Here’s when and why to consider a push broom over a rotary counterpart.

Cost considerations
Although the hypnotic spinning bristles of a hydraulic rotary broom may grab a person’s attention, it is the price tag of a push broom that really raises eyebrows. Unlike rotary brooms, which are complex tools with multiple moving parts, the comparatively simple designs of push brooms lend themselves to greater affordability. Push brooms also are extremely durable, meaning the initial investment pays off longer down the line.

Maintenance requirements
With a push broom attachment, there are few if any moving parts to wear down or fail because of use, aside from those doing most of the work: the bristles. And even so, reputable manufacturers offer modular brush sections, so bristles can be reversed or rotated to extend service life before eventually needing to be replaced. It’s an economical system that results in less downtime and fewer headaches from having to track down spare parts.

No job too big
At first glance, a whirring rotary broom would appear to be a do-it-all material mover. The fact is a push broom typically offers similar or even preferable results.

When it comes to moving dirt, leaves, rocks, steel shavings or other debris, push brooms often are comparable to rotary brooms. And while rotary brooms do wonders with snow removal, the push broom is the clear favorite when moving standing water. Acting as a squeegee, bristles move wet material and water cleanly and effectively. Try doing that with a rotary broom, and watch the mess expand tenfold from a dousing spray.

Dust busters
As with the aforementioned spraying water, hydraulic-powered rotary brooms have a tendency to agitate material. Drywall dust, sawdust, insulation and similar substances can cloud the air quickly, and even heavier objects, such as bolts or small rocks, can become airborne. In such instances, a push broom is the clear favorite. Material stays in front of the unit, thus minimizing what goes into the air – an especially welcome attribute on jobsites where bystanders are present or there is a risk of damage from flying debris. Airborne dust, especially when hazardous materials such as asbestos and fibreglass are present, has been identified as a health concern for workers. Airborne wood dust is recognized as a fire hazard. Many contractors and building owners will prefer a system that keeps the dust on the ground instead of swirling about in a cloud.

It is true that push brooms may not be applicable for every situation, however they possess particularly notable attributes in many work environments. If cost, durability, versatility and performance are factors, the push broom has clear advantages over a hydraulic rotary broom. Like many motorized machines, rotary brooms may initially appear to have the upper hand in completing projects quickly. But stick a belt sander on a pinewood derby car, and you’ll soon be the proud owner of a toothpick. The same can be said for brooms – sometimes simple is better. Consider that the next time you’re in the market for a broom attachment for a compact tool carrier.

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