Deconstructing The Modern Broom
From Handles to Head Shapes What’s it All About?
In today’s world of robotic vacuums and microstatic floor sweepers it's easy to overlook that trusty housekeeping staple, the broom. However, peek inside even the most modern and high-tech of homes and you are still likely to find a broom or two tucked away behind a pantry door, inside an entryway closet or leaning in a corner of the garage. It may be a centuries-old stand-by of a household tool, but to most the broom and dustpan is still an essential part of keeping things tidy.
Brooms today come in a variety of shapes, sizes, materials and designs
While it is great to have choices how do you choose? What kind of broom do you need? What features are useful and how do those different head shapes and materials work? When deconstructing the modern broom three main parts, the handle, the broom head and the bristles all have a role to play.
While there are multiple names and descriptions for different broom heads really a few staples meet most needs.
Standard Broom Head
This is the classic broom head. Bristles are tightly placed in a narrow line and all of the bristles are cut to a uniform length. This is the most common broom head type found just about everywhere. Perfect for quick indoor sweep ups it handles dust, spills and most daily sweeping needs.
Angle Broom Head
Another popular household broom is the angled broom. Often pairs of angle headed and standard headed brooms are sold together as a set. Angle broom heads have bristles that are cut on an angle leaving a sharp point at the front end perfect for sweeping around corners along baseboards and under kitchen cabinets.
Push Broom Heads
Push broom heads are larger in both length and width than most other brooms. They may have tight clusters of bristles lined into an overall line of bristles and they are hearty and strong. Push brooms are used for large spaces like basements, garages, sidewalks and open commercial spaces such as warehouses and restaurants.
With a hand broom, the name says it all. The broom head on a hand broom is really the entire broom with a small handle attached. Perfect for small jobs and picking up minor spills hand brooms are quick to use and easy to store. Many come as a set clipping into a small dustpan.
Broom Bristle Types
Believe it or not broom bristles are not a one size fits all offering. Broom bristles vary in material, bristle form and placement pattern.
Flagged or Unflagged
Bristles come either flagged or unflagged.
Flagged bristles are slightly frayed or roughed up at the ends. This helps them to excel at sweeping up dust, grit and fine particle spills. Found mostly on indoor brooms they are easy on your floors.
Unflagged bristles are stiffer than flagged bristles. This makes them more suitable when you need a broom for larger debris or are working on a rougher or more uneven surface. Unflagged bristles are also better for potentially wet/dry conditions.
Tufted or Untufted
Tufted bristles have tightly bound tufts of bristles lined up in rows along the broom head. Bristles are usually shorter and the tufting makes these bristles stronger and stiffer. Most common in push brush heads they are perfect for heavy-duty sweeping.
Untufted bristles have an unbroken line of tightly bound bristles and are best for indoor household brooms used in smaller spaces. These bristles are softer and more flexible.
Animal, Vegetable or Mineral
Broom bristles are designed using a variety of materials but most fit into one of these three categories.
Horsehair bristles are made from sustainable materials and offer a softer bristle. They won’t scratch surfaces and are easy on your floors while great at picking up dust and even the tiniest bits of dirt.
Natural Corn Fibers
Corn fibers found in the common corn broom are another sustainable broom bristle material. Sturdy and durable corn fiber bristles are perfect for heavy-duty sweeping. These brooms are great for patios, porches, mudrooms and basements. A little water won’t hurt them which makes them great for slightly soggy leaves but over time too much water exposure may shorten their lifespan.
Synthetic Bristle Materials
Plastic, Nylon, and Polypropylene are all examples of synthetic bristle materials. Synthetic bristles are resistant to fungus and bacteria growth. They will not stain or discolor and do not absorb odors. Synthetic bristles are a versatile option suitable for indoor or outdoor use in wet or dry conditions. Many synthetic bristle materials are safe for use with various solvents, chemicals and oils.
Broom handles are found constructed out of several different materials. The most common types are hardwood, metal like aluminum or steel, and plastic or fiberglass.
While a broom handle seems like a pretty basic part there are a few features that you might want to pay attention to.
Replaceable handles are fitted with a threaded tip at the base and allow you to replace the broom head or handle individually.
Built-in Hanging Feature
A hanging hole or hook is a useful feature at the top of some broom handles assisting with easy storage.
Adjustable or Telescopic Handle
Adjustable or telescopic handles allow you to adjust the length of the handle at your convenience. These kinds of handles are useful to extend the reach of a standard broom when needed. Other adjustable handles allow you to collapse or shorten the handle. This allows for easier maneuvering or storage.
The classic broom has evolved. Today's broom offers many options to suit personal cleaning needs.