Photo: Glenda Taylor
Cleaning the bathroom, banishing grease and grime from car tires, and getting a heavily trafficked tile floor or cement walkway looking good again may be among the most dreaded chores, but the right tools can make them more bearable. Hence, the popularity of the power scrubber—a portable power tool with a rapidly rotating stiff brush. A useful addition to a household cleaning arsenal, it allows the user to eliminate stubborn dirt and stains without too much elbow grease. The best models are not only tough enough to tackle unpleasant tasks but also come with attachments tailored to the specific challenges of bathtubs, toilets, kitchen appliances, and outdoor surfaces.
Power scrubbers can reduce the time and effort it takes to clean manually with a standard sponge or brush, but are they robust and versatile enough to warrant an investment in yet another power tool? We wanted to know whether today’s power scrubbers are really worth the cost, so we tested them. We selected an array of scrubbers designed to clean various surfaces, and we put them through their paces. We cleaned meticulously, subjecting each model to multiple types of scrubbing situations.
Keep reading to learn more about choosing the best power scrubber for common cleaning tasks as well as about attachments that fit onto a power drill or power washer to get tough jobs done. Readers will also discover the pros and cons of the products and why they earned a spot on the lineup.
Spoiler alert: Not all the models we tested made the cut! Check out the ones we had to eliminate in the Also Tested section below.
- BEST OVERALL: Ryobi One+ 18V Cordless Compact Power Scrubber
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Holikme 33-Piece Drill Brush Attachment Set
- BEST PRESSURE WASHER: Simpson Cleaning 15-Inch Universal Scrubber
- BEST HEAVY-DUTY: Ryobi One+ 18V Cordless Telescoping Power Scrubber
- BEST FOR GROUT: Rubbermaid Reveal Power Scrubber
- ALSO CONSIDER: Klever Power Scrubber Brush
How We Tested the Best Power Scrubbers
When we set out to select power scrubbers for our hands-on tests, we initially looked at brand names—both Ryobi and Rubbermaid are respected manufacturers of tools and household helpers, respectively. But we discovered several new brands, so we depended on the manufacturer’s description of the tools plus the reviews from actual buyers when deciding which to test. We didn’t include corded scrubbers because today’s trend is toward cordless versions, and the corded ones we found were designed mainly for commercial floor scrubbing.
When the scrubbers arrived, we charged their batteries (if applicable) and then put them to work. We tested each scrubber on a variety of surfaces, using the manufacturer’s suggestions as our primary guide. The only scrubber tested on just one surface was the Simpson power washer scrubber because it is designed only for flat concrete surfaces and is not suitable for any other type of cleaning.
We used a rubric and awarded points for each feature or function, including power, runtime, durability, ease of use, water resistance (when applicable), and overall quality. For products with multiple attachments, we tested each brush/buffer option in its intended use.
When testing was complete, we added and averaged the points for each scrubber and used the results to help categorize the award and best use for each product.
Our Top Picks
The following power scrubbers and attachments all earned a spot in this lineup by excelling in our hands-on tests. We didn’t go easy on them! After charging their batteries (or inserting fresh ones), we started cleaning everything in sight. We scrubbed car tires, house siding, shower stalls, tiles, and more. We analyzed their power, dependability, ease of use, and effectiveness. Here are the top performers.
Our top pick in the lineup is made by Ryobi, a well-known power tool brand. Being familiar with the high quality of other Ryobi products, we expected great things from the company’s 18-volt handheld power scrubber, and we weren’t disappointed.
We charged its 18-volt lithium-ion battery on the included charger, inserted it into the water-resistant case at the tool’s base, and got busy. We started outdoors because the tool’s ample rotating brush (6 inches in diameter) is well suited for scrubbing siding, decks, concrete steps, and automobiles. We used it on dirty tires, a muddy truck bed, and the bowl of a water fountain that had gunk buildup. To test its water resistance, we sprayed the Ryobi with a garden hose.
The scrub head on the Ryobi spins at around 210 rpm when the battery is fully charged. Some scrubbers rotate faster, but the Ryobi kept on spinning even when we exerted firm pressure against the surfaces we were cleaning—a sure sign of a powerful motor. It ran strong for about an hour before the battery began to lose power and needed to be recharged. When we removed the battery to do so, we were pleased to find that no water had gotten into the sealed battery case.
We found the nonslip grip comfortable, and the scrubber has a trigger lock that allows it to run continuously without us having to hold down the trigger. We found this powerful scrubber to be a valuable addition to any DIY or car-care tool kit.
- Brushes included: 1; 6 inches
- Corded or cordless: Cordless; 18V
- Rotating speed: 210 rpm
- Powerful motor provides good scrubbing action
- Runtime up to 1 hour of constant use
- Battery and charger included; compatible with other Ryobi 18V tools
- Pricey compared to similar options
Get the Ryobi handheld power scrubber at The Home Depot or at Amazon (tool only).
Want serious scrubbing muscle without spending a lot? Anyone with a cordless drill may find the Holikme 33-Piece Brush Attachment Set a super solution to a host of cleaning conundrums. Our first reaction to this brush-and-sponge bonanza was wonder: How could we ever find ways to test that many different attachments? But over the course of a few hours, we did just that.
The brush bristles, we discovered, are color-coded by stiffness. We used the white-bristle brush to clean delicate items, such as the car’s windshield, and the stiffest black-bristle brushes to scrub mud from the tailgate of a pickup truck. The green, yellow, and red brushes had in-between levels of stiffness, and we used them on siding, to clean dried-on mud from a shovel, and to scrub hard-water stains from a shower wall. We also tested the various scrubbing and polishing pads, and we found the orange ones ideal for buffing chrome bumpers to a high shine. This set even includes a 6-inch-long extension attachment that allowed us to reach tight spots between cabinets and along the inner side of a car’s wheel wells.
Our cordless drill isn’t waterproof, so we were pleased that using the scrubber brushes on wet surfaces didn’t cause splashing on the drill. Although this isn’t a power scrubber in the strictest sense, if you own a cordless drill, the Holikme attachment set offers powerful scrubbing ability at a very reasonable price point.
- Brushes included: 33 (including scrub and buffing pads)
- Corded or cordless: Not applicable
- Rotating speed: Not applicable
- Includes multiple scrubbing and polishing attachments
- Also comes with an extension bar for reaching tight spots
- Fits standard cordless drills; suitable for most users
- Drill not included; scrubber heads only
Get the Holikme power scrubber set at Amazon.
The Simpson Cleaning Universal Scrubber is a simple and straightforward cleaning tool that relies on the power of a pressure washer (not included) to clean even ground-in mud and stains from concrete. This scrubber is rated to fit standard pressure washers ranging from 2,200 to 3,700 psi.
We attached the Simpson Scrubber to the wand of our 3,600 psi gas-powered power washer, hooked up the garden hose, and pulled the wand trigger. Water shot sideways out of the scrubber, and the pressure of the water nearly flipped the scrubber over! We immediately shut it down and examined the scrubber. Beneath the cylinder of the scrubber are two rotating aluminum arms that carry water to nozzles at the ends. One nozzle was clogged with a bit of plastic, so we cleared it and tried again. This time the scrubber remained on the concrete, and a fine mist appeared around its edges as the spinning arms beneath rotated and delivered strong jets of water to the concrete. Success!
We attached a soap dispenser (not included) to the pressure washer wand and we were able to deliver a soapy water mixture to the concrete that helped soften and remove stains. The Simpson scrubber works well without a soap dispenser, however, so there’s no need to buy one.
A big plus with this scrubber is the cylindrical case that directs the spray in a uniform pattern and prevents the water from shooting back on the user. Just keep in mind that this scrubber is only as powerful as the pressure washer. Also note that the brush that runs along the circular perimeter of the scrubber simply helps keep water from spraying out in all directions. The cleaning is accomplished solely by the water pressure.
For those who need to clean sidewalks, patios, and driveways, the Simpson scrubber is a boon—as we pushed it along, we were pleased to see clear rows of cleaned concrete. We found it well suited for cleaning concrete without getting overspray on surrounding plants, bushes, or other items.
- Brushes included: 1
- Corded or cordless: Not applicable
- Rotating speed: Depends on water pressure
- Fits most pressure washers
- Directs water spray in uniform rows; easier to clean with
- Design helps keep water from spraying back
- Not suitable for pressure washers with less than 2,200 psi.
Get the Simpson power scrubber at Amazon or Target.
Balancing on a wobbly ladder to clean the eaves of a home can be treacherous, but the Ryobi telescoping power scrubber takes the danger out of such overhead chores. The sister to our Best Overall pick, this Ryobi model features the same powerful 18-volt lithium-ion battery (battery and charger included) and delivers just as much power. The difference? The spinning brush sits atop a sturdy pole that extends to 51 inches.
This extended version also has a nonslip grip and features an additional auxiliary handle that is essential for successfully balancing the scrub brush overhead. It has a lock-on power button, so we didn’t have to continuously hold the trigger to power the scrubber head. We found this to be a huge plus—until wasps took too much interest in our activities, causing us to drop the scrubber into some vines. It kept spinning, and tore out quite a few vines. Oh well!
The battery ran constantly for nearly an hour as we scrubbed under eaves, along walkways, and on brick steps. And when we took the battery out for recharging, we were happy to see that its compartment was bone dry even though we’d sprayed the scrubber directly with the garden hose. This is a powerful scrubber made better by its telescoping pole; just be sure to wear protective eyewear if working overhead because this Ryobi dislodges stuck-on dirt and debris and sends it flying.
- Brushes included: 1
- Corded or cordless: Cordless
- Rotating speed: 210 rpm
- Pole extends up to 51 inches; great for hard to reach areas
- Lock-on power button prevents hand fatigue during use
- Waterproof battery case helps protect from splashes
- Includes an extra handle for balancing tool
- Quite pricey due to all the added features
Get the Ryobi telescoping power scrubber at The Home Depot.
Our first impression of the Rubbermaid Reveal power scrubber was that it closely resembled an electric toothbrush, but that’s where the similarities ended. The stiff-bristle brush on the Reveal spins up to 60 times per second—that’s 3,600 rpm. It has a nonslip rubberized grip that makes it comfortable to hold and features a lock-on power button.
The Reveal worked right out of the package, thanks to the four preinstalled AA batteries. We tested the scrubber on kitchen tile grout lines, along the narrow inner seals of our casement windows where months’ worth of dust and dirt had accumulated, and in the little crevices between the bathroom sink faucet handles. We were uniformly impressed. Although a beveled grout brush did not come with the tool, the standard all-purpose brush is plenty stiff for cleaning even stuck-on gunk in grout lines.
The Reveal ran continuously for just over 40 minutes before the batteries started to run down. Still, we had no idea how long the batteries had been in the tool, so we installed new batteries, and it ran an additional 1 hour and 10 minutes before beginning to wane again.
We really liked the little Reveal power scrubber. It comes in a tiny package but packs a big cleaning punch. Its small head makes it suitable for cleaning in tight spots. The scrubber got wet multiple times during testing, but the battery compartment remained dry.
- Brushes included: 1
- Corded or cordless: Cordless
- Rotating speed: 3,600 rpm
- Spins very fast; great for stubborn stains
- Stiff brush bristles dislodge dirt and debris
- Lightweight tool is comfortable to use
- Compact size helps reach into tight spots that other tools cannot
- Only 1 brush included; likely will need replacing after several heavy uses
Get the Rubbermaid power scrubber at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Target.
We found the Klever power scrubber to be quite clever for indoor bathroom and kitchen cleaning chores. Rather than the user needing to remove and recharge a battery, the Klever scrubber comes with a built-in battery and a cord that plugs into a standard USB port. After charging the scrubber, we attached a half-sphere black brush and squeezed the power button. The Klever jumped into spinning action.
The head spins at about 200 rpm, and it ran for just over 45 minutes on a full charge. We scrubbed many surfaces, including the inside of a glass shower door, the bottom of a stainless steel sink, and even the cast iron legs of a garden bench, switching out the brush heads as necessary to suit the task.
Though we did use the scrubber for a short while outdoors, it’s more suited to indoor surfaces, and it’s not waterproof. The charging port on the bottom of the scrubber is exposed to the air, so we avoided getting that area wet during testing. However, we used liquid cleaners with the spinning brush, and the scrubbing portion of the tool appears to be moisture-resistant.
The tool has a nonslip rubberized grip for comfort and a lock-on power button, making it handy to use without having to constantly hold the trigger. The best features of this scrubber are its quality construction—it’s well made and durable—and its eight different brushes offer a good deal of versatility.
- Brushes included: 8, in a variety of shapes and bristle stiffness
- Corded or cordless: Cordless
- Rotating speed: 200 rpm
- Well made with a comfortable rubberized grip
- Comes with 8 sturdy brush attachments
- Simple device charges directly via USB port
- Charging port not sealed or protected, so it’s not waterproof
Get the Klever power scrubber at Amazon.
In addition to the above lineup of power scrubbers, we also tested two models that did not meet our high standards.
We really wanted to like both of these models—each offered extended reach and a variety of scrub brushes. Unfortunately, when we tried to adjust the angle of the scrub head on the Tilswall power scrubber, it broke off. Perhaps it was accidentally cracked during shipment, which may have weakened it, or maybe it was a factory flaw. Either way, we had to eliminate it at that point.
The Qybeede scrubber seemed to be made from high-quality materials, and we were impressed with its overall construction. However, the internal battery would not hold a charge, so the scrubber would not operate. We feel as though this was a fluke because we found that other online buyers had good luck with this scrubber.
Though these two power scrubbers didn’t earn a spot in our lineup this time around, we are open to testing them again in the future and revising our results.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Power Scrubber
Shoppers will want to keep in mind some key considerations when shopping for the best bathroom power scrubber, including brush attachments, bristle hardness, power source, runtime, rotation speed, and water resistance.
Corded vs. Cordless
Electric spin scrubbers are either corded or cordless. Cordless power scrubbers let the user clean surfaces in areas that don’t have a nearby electrical outlet. In the past, corded power scrubbers were more common, but most products aimed at today’s consumers are cordless and run on batteries. Most of the corded power scrubbers manufactured today are heavy-duty models used in the commercial cleaning industry to clean and polish large floors in schools and retail outlets.
The batteries of cordless scrubbers need to be recharged or swapped out occasionally, and their runtime depends on the power capacity of the batteries. Some have built-in lithium-ion batteries, and others accept standard batteries that must be replaced once they’re depleted.
Most power scrubbers have brush attachments made of materials of varying stiffness, each of which has its own application.
- Poly brushes, which are made from durable plastic material, are universally handy, and they work well when cleaning tile floors and other uneven surfaces. They can be used safely on vinyl, concrete, ceramic, and linoleum surfaces.
- Nylon brushes, which can be used on any type of surface, are strong enough to withstand abrasive surfaces such as concrete.
- Scrub grit brushes are softer and less aggressive, and they’re ideal for terrazzo, marble, and nonslip epoxy.
- Strip grit brushes are abrasive enough to remove serious grease stains from concrete, ceramic, and tile floors.
The best power scrubbers come with a varied selection of attachments and replaceable brush heads. While large brush heads can clean large flat surfaces like floors, windows, and bathtubs, smaller heads are necessary for grout and detail work.
- Corner brushes work well to clean windowsill nooks and along tub edges.
- Flat brushes are useful when cleaning tiles and flooring.
- Round brushes are ideal for textured surfaces or tiles with deep grout.
Long battery life ensures that a power scrubber won’t quit halfway through the cleaning process. Look for a model that runs on a single charge for at least 30 minutes, which is often enough time to tackle a typical household cleaning chore. Some models have especially powerful batteries that run for as long as 3 hours before needing a recharge. Note that continual use will shorten battery runtime. Users can extend the runtime by turning the tool off while rinsing or wiping down surfaces.
Power scrubbers’ rotating speed is measured in rotations per minute (rpm). As a general rule, look for a scrubber that runs at a minimum of 200 rpm to ensure it’s powerful enough to handle most household tasks. Unfortunately, not all scrubbers list the rpm. In those cases, shoppers will want to read previous buyer reviews to help determine how powerful or effective the tool will be in practical use.
Many power scrubbers are used in damp environments, so water resistance is a crucial consideration. Most power scrubbers aren’t entirely waterproof, so they can’t be submerged in water for long periods. They are, however, likely to be splash-proof, so they can come into contact with water.
Some products may have an IP (ingress protection) rating. A rating of IPX7 means that the device can be submerged in up to 3 feet of water for up to 30 minutes. A rating of IPX4, IPX5, or IPX6 means the product is both splash-proof and offers a degree of water resistance. Though some manufacturers will list the IP ratings, others won’t.
Along with the specs detailed above, some power scrubbers include additional features that are useful.
- Extension handles/poles allow easier access to hard-to-reach areas. They’re particularly useful for users with mobility issues.
- Oscillating scrub heads spin at the same time the head moves in an elliptical pattern, which increases scrubbing power.
- Scouring pads feature a roughly textured surface designed for removing tough stains.
- Hanging hooks for storage allow power scrubbers to drip-dry, helping prevent the development of bacteria.
If shoppers still want more information about buying and using a power scrubber for deep cleaning, the answers to some frequently asked questions about these tools might just fill them in.
Q. How is a power scrubber used?
Apply a power scrubber to the same surfaces and use the same cleaners as with a manual scrub brush or sponge. The powered scrubber spins, which lets the user hold it steady against the surface until a stain is gone, rather than employing the effort of elbow grease.
Q. How often should the brushes on a power scrubber be replaced?
Brushes should be replaced when they wear down. Because they’re made of synthetic materials, most attachment brushes should last for several years, though some may need to be replaced after a few months, especially with heavy use.
Q. How is a power scrubber cleaned?
The brush attachments on a power scrubber can get pretty dirty. Try rinsing with clear water after use or soak the brush in soapy water and then rinse. Some scrubber heads may be dishwasher-safe, but read the owner’s manual before going that route.
Why Trust Bob Vila
Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.
Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.