Slow Speed or High Speed Rotary Machine?

by Ken Buckley on 10-10-2017


Should you be using a slow or high speed rotary?

Often we see the wrong speed rotary machine being used for a task and there seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding which speed machine should be used where. 

Rotaries can be used for a whole range of different tasks; buffing/polishing, scrubbing, carpet cleaning and stripping to name a few common ones. 

There are essentially,  four different types of rotary machines;-


1/ Slow Speed Machines 

These typically  range from 120 - 200 rpm (revolutions per minute) and are used for stripping polished floors, wet scrubbing floors and bonnet buffing carpets.

Slow Speed machine .png

The slow speed machine is an important machine in the cleaning teams armoury. You cannot wet scrub or strip floors with a high speed machine, it must be slow speed.

I have seen lots of people trying to strip polished floors with a high speed machine, and it just doesn't work. The solution on the floor tends to get flung out by the speed of the machine and then you don't have the stripper or cleaning solution where you need it. Don't make this mistake, it makes stripping floors very hard work. 


2/ High Speed Machine

These typically  range from 350-500 rpm and are used for buffing, polishing and spray cleaning. 

High speed machine .jpg

Again, an important machine, if you have polished floors to maintain. You cannot buff or polish a floor with a slow speed machine. 


3/ Twin Speed Rotary Machine

This is the best of both worlds, at the flick of a switch you can change between slow speed or high speed. 

Twin Speed.png

This is a very versatile machine and can obviously be used for all the applications mentioned above. 

This is the best choice if you have polished floors to look after. You can strip and polish with one machine. 


4/ Ultra High Speed Machine

These machines are quite different from the other rotary machines mentioned above. The pad just floats on the floor, often with the weight of the machine taken by a set of wheels. The speeds are well over 1000rpm. 

These machines are used for buffing/polishing, spray cleaning and diamond polishing.

UHS buffing machine image.jpg

These are easier to handle compared to the High Speed and need little skill. They will produce the highest gloss shine on a polished floor, however they are not that good at removing heavy scuff marks, the High Speed, with the extra weight on the floor, is better here. 


So there's a very brief overview of the different machines and what they are commonly used for. There are other machines like orbital polishers/sanders, but these are not that common yet.

So you have the right speed machine now, which colour floor pad should you use? 

Ah, that's another blog, see What Floor Cleaning pads should you be using?

Or you can download the below guide. 


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