How to Choose the Best Outdoor Broom
An outdoor broom is a must-have for anyone who loves having a neat and tidy space. Whether it’s a patio, driveway or balcony, sweeping up leaves, dirt and debris can make a real difference to how the area looks.
Whilst most brooms follow the same basic principles, there are a few things to bear in mind that will help you choose the best outdoor broom for your particular space.
Broom Handle Length and Material
Broom handles can differ more than you might think, so it’s worth looking out for something that you’ll find genuinely comfortable to use. Finding something that you can use without stooping is ideal, as is having a comfortable grip.
Ideally, the handle of a broom should reach to just under your chin when it’s stood vertically upright. Therefore, it can help to get the tape measure out when reading broom specs in order to see how tall it will actually be. A little bit of variation is fine, but using this as a guide you’ll be able to tell if a broom is way too short or tall.
Another consideration is the handle material. Plastic is by far the cheapest material, and it’s also very lightweight. Plastic is weatherproof and won’t rust, but it’s not the sturdiest. It’s not uncommon for a broom with a plastic shaft to break after a while.
Wood and metal are both more durable than plastic, but they lack the weather resistance. Wood can rot over time, and metal may begin to rust. Provided you store your broom in a dry area, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Some metals are coated to make them more rust resistant, and some woods are pressure treated to make them less susceptible to rust.
Fibreglass is the final option for handle material. It’s lightweight yet extremely strong. The only downside is the cost – it’s expensive.
Some handles come with rubber grips on them, or you can add your own. This can help anyone who struggles with grip, and also make cold metal handles more pleasant to hold in the winter.
Selecting the Right Size Broom Head
Broom heads can vary in width.
If you have a large balcony or patio, you may wish to buy a brush head that is 45 cm +. This will make it easy to clear a wider area in a shorter space of time, although wider brush heads are difficult to get into smaller spaces or around obstacles.
For smaller areas such as pathways between flower beds or small balconies, a narrower brush head (of around 30 cm) will be easier to use.
The head and handle are usually joined together at the base of the handle. Screw-in models tend to last a lot longer, and are better suited for heavy duty sweeping.
Bristle Material and Stiffness
The bristles can make a huge difference when it comes to how easy your broom is to use.
Most brooms use either synthetic PVC bristles, or bristles made from bassine. Bassine is a natural material, derived from dried palm leaves.
Whilst both types of bristle can be used when it’s wet, bassine bristles are more likely to get damaged if they are exposed to a lot of moisture. PVC bristles won’t be affected, so this may be a better choice if you want to use the broom for scrubbing with water.
Bristles can also vary in stiffness; stiff bristles are best for heavy-duty sweeping and they can be used to remove stubborn bits of debris.
For a quick surface sweep and lighter tasks, softer bristles tend to be best.
Also, bear in mind that stiff bristles can damage softer surfaces.
Outdoor Broom FAQs
Should you push or pull a broom?
Certain brooms are designed for pushing, whilst others are designed for pulling. So, the short answer is – it depends on the broom! Very long-handled brooms are generally intended for pushing – pushing dirt across large spaces without having to stop and collect it. Standard household brooms are generally designed for pulling – pulling the dirt towards you from further away. However, more often than not, they can be used in either way.
How should you hold a broom when sweeping?
To hold a broom properly, place your dominant hand about a quarter of the way down the length of the handle. Hold the top of the broom with your weaker hand. When using the broom, your arms should be moving, with your back straight and stable. This is why it’s important to have a broom that is suitable for your height, to avoid too much stooping or uncomfortable sweeping.
Is it better to buy a broom with bassine bristles?
Bassine bristles are stiff and coarse which can make them useful for shifting ingrained dirt. If this is the primary aim for your broom, bassine bristles will probably be a good choice. However, there are situations where you might not want a bassine brush. If you’re trying to sweep up smaller particles like dust, or you’re sweeping on a softer surface, nylon or PVC bristles may be more appropriate.