Sweepers can vary significantly in build and purpose, from large machines that clean streets to small devices that clean carpet. The carpet sweeper was invented in the late 1800s and has largely been replaced with the vacuum cleaner. A street sweeper is either a large machine designed to quickly clean streets or a person with the same occupation. Another kind of sweeper is the Swiffer® Sweeper and similar products, which are designed to clean kitchen or hardwood floors. Lastly, lawn sweepers are devices built to do away with manually raking leaves and grass.
A carpet sweeper resembles a small vacuum cleaner, but it does not have electronic parts. It removes relatively large pieces of debris from carpet and is widely used in restaurants during business hours. These sweepers are useful when a person wants to clean but does not want to disturb the people around him or her with a noisy vacuum cleaner. The rollers and brushes work together to collect dirt in a small container, which should be dumped every so often. While these devices are primarily meant for carpeted areas, some can be adjusted for use on floors without carpet.
The term street sweeper can refer to either a machine or job occupation. Sweet sweepers as machines are typically large, bulky, and driven like a car but more slowly. As an occupation, these types of sweepers still exist but rarely use brooms anymore. Now, if not equipped with a sweeping machine, a street sweeper has water tanks and sprayers to blast debris off the road and into a storm drain.
A Swiffer® Sweeper resembles a less bulky carpet sweeper, but it does not use rollers or brushes to pick up dirt. Instead, this device uses either a disposable wet or dry pad to collect dirt. This device is designed not to work on carpeted floors, but to clean floors that are made of materials such as linoleum. The use of this device with a dry disposable pad is sometimes touted as a more effective way of cleaning a flat surface than sweeping, as all of the dirt sticks to the pad and cannot be lost during cleaning. Swiffer® Sweepers that use wet mopping cloths are often considered a mop substitute.
Lawn sweepers are like their carpet counterparts in some ways. A lawn sweeper's mechanics rotate and sweep leaves and grass into a container to be dumped later. These machines can either be powered or just attached to a lawn mower to collect debris as the mower makes it.