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A Commercial Floor Stripper Buyer's Guide: Costs, Types, and Purchasing Advice

Available in a wide variety of sizes and speeds, commercial floor strippers keep floors looking great by removing the buildup of wax, sealant, dirt, grime, and more. With so many floor stripper styles available, you need to understand your needs, as well as the abilities of each model in meeting them.

Most commercial floor strippers also function as buffers, eliminating the need to purchase and maintain two machines.

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What Do Commercial Floor Strippers Do?

Floor strippers remove a variety of substances from a variety of flooring types. Their most common uses include:

  • Removing floor wax, residue, and paint from cement floors
  • Removing wax, dirt, and grime from stone flooring
  • Removing wax and other finishing products from tile
  • Removing wax and varnish from wood flooring

As stated above, most floor strippers today also double as buffers/polishers; you only need to change the pad and reset the machine function.

Most people have two main reasons for using a floor stripper/buffer. The first is maintaining your flooring's appearance. The second is promoting safety, especially for concrete flooring in a warehouse or similar environment, where cracks and holes present a danger to your workers.

What to Look for in a Commercial Floor Stripper

Of course, you do not have to buy a floor stripper that also works as a floor buffer. Most people choose a dual function unit as a money-saving device because they need both types of machines. However, you may only need a unit that strips your floors. It all depends on your individual needs.

In any case, you want to look at a variety of factors when purchasing a commercial floor stripper, as each affects the machine's cost, both to purchase and maintain.

The first item most people need to consider is their budget. You can find a floor stripper for as little as $400, or you can spend close to $30,000 for the ultra-powerful, riding models. When choosing, look carefully at your budget as well as the area of flooring you need to clear, as a smaller model may save you money at the outset, but cost you in labor and maintenance, especially if you try to do too much with too little machine.

Also look at power options. Floor strippers are available in electric (plug-in), battery-operated, and fuel-powered (typically propane). Generally speaking, plug-in models are cheaper, but also have less oomph than their battery- and fuel-powered counterparts do. Battery operated units are probably the most popular, as they offer greater power at a lower price than fuel, and without the cord hassles of electric. Typically, fuel-powered units are reserved for heavy duty, industrial applications.

Finally, if operating in a large area with significant square footage, consider an automatic machine instead of a push type. Most of the larger units are automatic, but many of the smaller, electric units are push. If stripping only a few thousand square feet of flooring, this is okay. Working over a large area, however, quickly wears out the operator and significantly increases labor time.

How Much Does a Floor Stripper Cost?

Expect to pay anywhere between $500 and $5,000 for the average floor stripper. A large riding model powered with propane that doubles as a floor burnisher sets you back significantly more, but on average, you're looking at $500 to $5,000.

  • An electric, corded, 1.5 HP, automatic stripper/buffer averages $700
  • A battery-powered, 1.5 HP, walk-behind, automatic averages $2,800
  • A battery-powered combo machine with 25,000 square feet/hour capability averages $3,500
  • A propane-powered, walk-behind averages between $6,300 and $7,400

In addition to the machine, you also need pads, brushes, and solution. Your machine may come with a starter pack of these supplies (check with your vendor), but you will eventually need to replace them.

  • A case of floor stripper pads averages between $25 and $75
  • A brush for a propane unit averages around $400
  • A gallon of floor stripper solution averages between $5 and $25

Operating a Commercial Floor Stripper

First, check with your vendor to see if they offer any kind of training with purchase, especially if your operator is new to the task, or if you are upgrading to a more powerful machine.

If this is your first time using a commercial floor stripper, be patient and take your time. Some people compare operating a floor stripper to riding a mechanical bull (or even a real one). The larger ones, especially, are challenging when you first begin, as they tend to buck and are difficult to control. It becomes easier with time and practice.

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