Walk Behind Floor Removal Machines Vs. Ride-Ons: Which is Right For You

In the industry of floor demolition, there are many different tools available at your disposal with the advancement of floor scraping technology. You are able to have battery, propane, or electric versions to accommodate all types of job sites. There are two main types of removal machines that are most popular for contractors and rental companies; Walk Behind floor scrapers and Ride on Machines.

When you are looking into these units, it can be hard to determine which model would be best suited for your business. At the end of the day, you are interested in making money, which means you need to be mindful of the up-front costs and potential production rates you will get out of each.

So, how to choose?

Here are a few things to keep in mind when doing your research on floor scrapers.




This is probably the main element to pay attention to because of the unique differences each unit has to offer. If you are mainly a flooring demolition contractor who is doing medium - large jobs on a regular basis, a Ride On machine would be the best choice as you would get higher production rates, resulting in more profit per job.


Depending on the type of areas you are working in, you may still need to invest in a Walk Behind Floor Removal Machine due to the size constraints that offices and other types of buildings can have.


If you are just starting out, working mainly on small jobs, or are a rental company, a smaller walk behind scraper would be the best option. These units are smaller and easier to transport, and are an ideal solution for many different jobs and applications. When it comes to rental companies, these units will be used by contractors and DIY customers who are looking to take up floor in their houses or properties – so they’re good to have in your fleet.


Also, a smaller unit is a great place to start if you are not already in the floor demolition market. Ride On Floor Scrapers are extremely good for renting as well, but you need to have the market to make the up-front investment worthwhile.


If you can find the market for bigger floor demolition units, they can be extremely beneficial as they are able to be rented at great rates because not everyone has them, as well as many of these jobs last for weeks, resulting in consistent rentals rather than a day here and there.



The amount you have to invest in a unit can determine which type you gravitate towards. Obviously you need to evaluate your true business needs as well. If you need a ride on unit but don’t have the up-front capital for it, many companies offer financing.


Like most companies, cash flow is very important. Don’t feel like you always have to go for the Cadillac for your first purchase. If you are working on small- med job sites, a Walk behind floor removal machine would be the best option.


This will give you the ability to get the job done properly, while saving the bank in the up-front purchase. This will lead to more ROI for your company in the long run. If you end up growing and winning bigger jobs, you can always buy or rent a Ride on unit. A walk behind scraper will never be a waste because you can still use it in smaller areas and for smaller jobs.



Depending on who’s Walk Behind Floor Scraper you are looking into will determine if this is a big issue for you.

Many manufacturers report that their walk behind units can take up ceramic tile, while this is just not true in the real world.

Let me explain:

When you are trying to remove tile that has been down for years, which is almost always the case, the base material has got extremely tough over time. This makes the tile very difficult to get off.


Many marketing videos you see from manufacturers are taken shortly after flooring has been put down, making it very easy to pop off. In reality, if you took one of these walk behind scrapers to a job site that has tile that has been down for 20 years, it likely won’t do anything. In this case you would need to invest or rent a Ride on Floor Scraper that is capable for the job.


There are only a select few Walk behind removal units that will be able to handle well put down flooring like ceramic and wood floors. Make sure you do your research and really watch those videos closely.


Even so, if you plan on doing a lot of ceramic, wood, mortar and difficult surfaces, I would recommend that you seriously look into a Ride on unit. It will remove these tough surfaces much more effectively and will exponentially increase your production.


For carpet, VCT and other soft materials, walk behind scrapers will take those up with ease, depending on the unit you buy. All will get the job done, but ones with more down pressure and better drive technology will do a much better job.


If you are a rental company with customers who are doing all types of floor removal, I would still start with a walk behind removal machine. However, make sure that you buy a top of the line unit that can still handle some tough materials. It won’t be as productive as the Ride on scrapers, but it will still keep your customers happy. If you cheap-out on a lower range unit, you may risk the chance of customers bringing it back because it won’t actually remove the floor properly.



It’s really that simple. Evaluate your business and remember these 3 point and you will be on your way to getting a unit that will fit your needs. Make sure that you do your research when comparing units.

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