Over the past six months, we spent 125 hours researching 215 brooms, dustpans, and dust mops, and testing 36 of them firsthand. We interviewed cleaning experts, surveyed hundreds of readers, worked with a panel of testers to clean two New York City spaces all winter, and even literally counted the bristles of some of the best brooms we found. After narrowing our search down to 14 brooms (half of which have dustpans), 12 dust mops, 15 different dust mop heads, and 10 dustpans (eight of which have brushes), we’ve found the best sweeping tools you can buy.
The $10 Casabella Wayclean Wide Angle Broom is the best indoor broom we found. It’s the single best sweeper, with a bristle quantity, design, texture, and density that no other broom could match. The broom’s 2,880 bristles (by our count) are packed more densely and distributed more evenly than other brooms we tested. Combined with their flagged (split) tips, which excel at picking up fine, dusty debris, the bristles cleaned spills of cat litter, flour, and rice better than any other broom. Those PVC bristles are also thinner than those on other brooms—at 0.491 millimeter thick, they’re half as fat as some competing bristles, which makes the broom feel soft and pliable. The Casabella also has the best balance and the most comfortable handle of any broom we tested—and it is the least expensive broom in the mix. It doesn’t come with a dustpan, but we have that covered.
The best dustpan to pair with it is the $6 OXO Good Grips Clip-On Dustpan. Its unique red rubber lip tapers to a fine edge and curves up the sides of the dustpan, making it by far the most capable tool for getting dust off the floor—without needing to be scooted back constantly as you sweep. It worked better than the other dustpans when paired with the Casabella broom, with a 10.5-inch opening wide enough for the broom head and a handle that clips securely to the broom handle. A taller-than-average 1.3-centimeter ridge keeps detritus inside the pan, and its rubbery handle was the most comfortable of any dustpan we tested.
If the Casabella broom is unavailable or you don’t want to buy a separate dustpan, you should get the $14 Libman Large Precision Angle Broom with Dustpan instead. Its synthetic bristles are stiffer, thicker, and sparser than the Casabella’s, so it’s not as effective at sweeping, and the Libman doesn’t have a comfy grip like our pick. But it’s a few inches taller than the Casabella, has a wider sweeping surface, and a more severe head angle that’s better at reaching deep into corners. Plus, it comes with a (not so great) dustpan.
If you want a dustpan-and-brush set—to clean small messes, or if you don’t like using a big broom to sweep into a dustpan—we recommend the Target Up & Up Dustpan Set. Going by the set’s dustpan alone, none of our panel members liked it better than the OXO dustpan because it’s narrower, its lip leaves more dust behind, and it isn’t as comfortable to hold. It was, however, part of the best of eight brush-and-dustpan sets we tested, and its brush was the only one with flagged bristles, which really help capture dust.
Even a great broom needs a dust mop to help finish the job, and the $19 O-Cedar Dual-Action Microfiber Flip Mop is the best we tested. It held more dirt than any other dust mop in our test, by picking up the most debris—this was the only one that could grab a full tablespoon of flour—and by cleaning the most surface area before requiring a wash. Its large, double-sided head is big enough to work quickly, yet nimble enough to get dust from corners, with a 17.5- by 5.5-inch footprint that cleans as much area as six Swiffer sheets (and more effectively, too) between each wash. The chenille microfiber surface is the ideal blend of dust mop materials, and it’s held up well over months of cleaning and laundering. After about 100 washings, the head will need replacement, and the O-Cedar’s $7 to $10 refills are cheaper and better than the competition.
When we first dove into broom research, we discovered that no one else reviews brooms, dustpans, or dust mops—individually or as a category. We found a list of best-selling brooms, a slideshow of “the best brooms,” and a Tip of the Day from Consumer Reports that points out that brooms don’t use electricity, but vacuums do. (The more you know!) With so little information out there, the only way to find the best cleaning tools was to get down and dirty with a few dozen of them.
To learn what makes a good broom, dust mop, and dustpan, we interviewed Debra Johnson, a home-cleaning expert who has worked with Merry Maids since 1997. In addition to her firsthand cleaning expertise, she works with the Merry Maids Franchise Cleaning Council to research and improve the cleaning equipment the company uses. We also talked to Green Cleaning Coach Leslie Reichert, a housekeeping expert who teaches people how to clean effectively and in environmentally friendly ways. Then, we surveyed hundreds of Sweethome readers to find out what they love (and hate) about their own brooms.
After that, we applied the criteria to narrow the hundreds of sweeping products into the three dozen we called in for testing, which we’ve outlined below. After using the tools at home for six months, and getting more opinions from friends and Sweethome colleagues, we’ve gotten more intimate with brooms than you’d think was possible. Now I can identify the make and model of any broom I see on the street or TV—a new talent I hope to never lose.
After interviewing experts, surveying readers, and researching what makes a great broom, dust mop, and dustpan, we scoured retailers and manufacturer’s websites and compiled spreadsheets of 95 brooms, 50 dust mops, and 70 dustpans. We also visited physical stores to find out which brooms are widely available from different retailers.
We learned that synthetic bristles are best for brooms because they’re immune to rot and can be cleaned with warm, soapy water. This means corn or horsehair bristles are out. The bristles must have flagged ends—intentionally frayed tips designed to capture dust, dirt, and hair at the broom’s sweeping surface. (In our survey and perusal of user reviews, we learned that many people think this fraying is a sign their broom is wearing out—not so!)
The best broom needs angled bristles that can reach into corners and beneath furniture, as well as a storage loop for hanging it on the wall—because you should never store one resting on its bristles. We eliminated brooms that were too short, came with an awkward upright dustpan, were difficult to find from a reputable retailer, or were too expensive. The best broom we found costs only $10; you don’t need to pay much for something great.
Then came the fun part: test-driving brooms that met our requirements. The easiest way to get a first impression of a broom is by sweeping with it, so we did a preliminary sweep with many brooms in store aisles. Cleaning expert Leslie Reichert told us to pay attention to how the bristles are connected to the head of the broom: “Don’t be afraid to give them a tug. If they pull out in the store, the broom won’t last long in your home.” We pulled and tugged, and if any broom failed this test, we put it back.
Generally, we found more bristles and a denser broom head to be more effective than a sparse-bristled broom. But individual bristle stiffness and length also played a part in the overall texture of the broom—long, soft, floppy bristles fling dust around rather than making a neat pile, whereas thick, stiff bristles can’t reach into cramped corners. We were looking for a Goldilocks broom: as dense as possible, not too soft, and not too stiff. Just right.
We were on the hunt for the perfect dustpan, too. A great dustpan needs a wide enough mouth to match your broom’s head, and a rubber lip on the front edge of the dustpan is crucial. This rubber lip sits flush with the floor and creates a ramp up into the dustpan, which helps you sweep stuff into the dustpan with fewer strokes, instead of having to sweep, scoot the dustpan back, sweep, scoot, sweep … and so on. A good dustpan also needs a ridge on the inside to keep debris inside, or everything swept in can slide right back out. It also needs a decent capacity; you don’t want a shallow dustpan that can’t handle a half cup of spilled rice.
A stand-alone dustpan should clip to your broom for storage, and be sturdy enough not to bend a lot or break under moderate pressure. A comfortable grip is a nice perk, and a good dustpan set should have a hole for hanging on a hook. Dustpans shouldn’t be expensive; our survey told us most people want to spend $6 on a dustpan and up to $12 for a dustpan/brush combo set.
In our survey, we found that most people want a handheld dustpan, not a stand-up dustpan. Sixty percent preferred to use a broom to sweep debris directly into the dustpan—no brush needed. Among those who did want a brush, most like a long, flat brush instead of a whisk brush. Cleaning expert Leslie Reichert agrees, and told us she’d “never had much luck with a whisk brush teamed with a dustpan” and prefers “a very soft, thick brush.” Good brush bristles have a lot in common with brooms: They should be synthetic, flagged, and soft enough to grab dust but not floppy enough to fling it around.
Finally, we searched for the best dust mop, because brooms and dust mops work best as a team. First, the broom sweeps up all the large, heavy particles and gets into tight corners. Then the dust mop makes a second pass to capture all the dirt, dust, and hair the broom couldn’t get. To determine the important features of a dust mop—how well it cleans and how long it lasts—we looked at the material, backing, and style of the cloth, as well as the dust mop’s frame and maneuverability.
The best material for a reusable dust mop head is microfiber, because it’s the most effective at attracting and absorbing dust, and it lasts the longest when cared for properly. Cotton is the worst option because it can rot, it stretches when washed, and it must be treated with chemicals to attract and hold dust. Synthetic microfiber blends have none of those drawbacks. The backing of the dust mop head can also be cotton or synthetic, and you’ll want a synthetic backing for the same reason—cotton stretches when washed and rots as bacteria consume the organic material.
Dust mop cloths come in a few common styles: cut end, looped end, and chenille. Cut ends are prone to fraying, and looped ends are a little better at grabbing dust, but our tests found that chenille microfiber heads—the kind that look like a colorful forest of little worms—are the most effective because their nubs get into cracks and corners better. Chenille heads also hold more dust, which means they can clean more before being washed.
Rather than looking for a specific type of frame, we considered anything easily maneuverable that could reach underneath furniture and into corners, with a sturdy handle and a smooth steering mechanism that’s easy to control. We wanted a dust mop cover that could be removed without getting dust everywhere, one that could hold a lot of debris before needing to be washed, and one that could survive dozens of washings. We also factored in the price of the a new cover, because it will have to be replaced eventually—$10 should be plenty.
After using the above criteria to narrow down dozens of products from our three main categories, we called in and tested 14 brooms (seven of which have dustpans), 12 dust mops, 15 different dust mop heads, and 10 dustpans (eight of which come with a brush). Testing started in the fall of 2014 and, hundreds of hours later, is still ongoing as of spring 2015. We’re ready to pick our favorites, but will continue testing these picks for months to come.
We eliminated nine of our test brooms because they were either poorly designed or just plain bad at sweeping. We had a panel of four regular, non-professional sweepers use the five finalists to sweep up flour, litter, and rice at the Wirecutter/Sweethome office in Manhattan’s Chinatown. I also used each of the finalists for several weeks to clean my Brooklyn apartment. I did a weekly sweep in every room—which includes hardwood flooring and a bathroom with small tiles and lots of grout—and daily spot cleanings by the litter box and scratching board because my two cats love to make messes.
To test dustpans, we tried each one with our broom pick by cleaning half a teaspoon of flour and 1.5 teaspoons of cat litter. This test showed us how well each dustpan worked with our recommended broom and how effective each is at picking up, holding, and not spilling particles of all sizes. Some dustpans came with brushes; we tested those with their own brushes and with our pick for best broom. After eliminating six dustpans that were abysmal at cleaning or way too small for our broom, we filled the remaining four with water to measure their capacity, and our panel used the finalists in the Chinatown test lab to find a winner.
The test material for dust mops was a gently sifted half teaspoon of flour on a hardwood floor, which simulated a reasonable (but challenging) amount of settled dust. Then we washed each of the 15 dirty dust mop heads individually on warm with a small amount of our recommended detergent, and hung them overnight to dry. We tested all 15 a second time with another half teaspoon of sifted flour and a trip through the wash.
We eliminated 12 dust mop heads that failed our flour test or didn’t hold up well in the wash. We tested each of the three finalists again with sifted flour and washed them one more time before long-term testing them all for several months in an apartment with two cats. The long-term tests revealed which dust mop could go the longest between cleanings, which could hold the most dust overall, and which ones held up best over multiple washings.
The Casabella Wayclean Wide Angle Broom is the best broom for most people because it’s the most effective at sweeping particles of all sizes, has the best balance and grip of anything we tested, and at only $10, it’s also the cheapest. The detail that truly makes this broom rise above the rest is its bristles, which have a superior density, quantity, thickness, and stiffness compared to every other broom we tried. Beyond that, it meets all our requirements for a broom—angled, flagged, synthetic bristles and a convenient storage hook—and was universally loved by our testing panel.
We tested the Casabella against 13 other brooms by sweeping a half cup of flour, cat litter, and rice, and our pick was the most effective at sweeping all three types of debris. It left the least residue behind when sweeping up the tiniest particles of flour and litter, and was especially capable at getting dust up out of cracks in the floor. It was, simply put, the best sweeper we tested.
You might expect that the larger a broom’s surface area, the faster it will be at sweeping up messes. However, during our tests, we found that brooms with large heads tend to have stiff bristles that are less effective at sweeping up tiny specks. Our runner-up broom actually has a larger, 12.5-inch-wide head compared with the Casabella’s, which is 11 inches wide. Both heads are similar in thickness; our pick ranges from 1.5 to 2 inches thick and the Libman ranges from 1.25 to 2 inches thick. And yet the Casabella is the superior sweeper.
The Casabella excels, in spite of the Libman’s wider head, because the Casabella’s sweeping surface is exponentially denser, with more even distribution and a higher total bristle count. Plus, each of those 2,880 bristles has a flagged end to help it trap dust and hair. Cleaning expert Leslie Reichert told us flagged bristles are best for indoor cleaning and dry messes because they “pick up small particles much better and don’t tend to leave much behind.” In practice, the Casabella took fewer sweeps than the Libman to gather a mess into a pile and left less residue behind, which balances out the Libman’s advantage of having a wider head.
Our pick’s head doesn’t have as extreme an angle as some brooms we tested, but it’s angled enough to get into corners, around furniture, and into odd kitchen crevices. The Casabella’s fluffy bristles are great at dragging crumbs and dust bunnies out of corners, but our pick isn’t as good as our runner-up at reaching under furniture. (We’ll address this more in the following section.)
Our panel unanimously agreed that the Casabella Wayclean Wide Angle Broom had the most comfortable handle out of all the brooms we tested because of its soft green grip made from foam EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate). The comfy grip can be adjusted up or down to fit your ideal gripping position on the pole—it’s not easy, and requires some firm twisting and tugging. But that means it doesn’t slip or slide easily, so it won’t shift or fall while you’re sweeping.
The 43-inch gray pole is made of powder-coated steel, and it’s topped with a rigid EVA plastic handle. This tapered hard-plastic grip at the top of the pole is a comfortable place to hold. The Casabella has a flexible, 2-inch loop that makes the broom easier to hang and store than the rigid plastic holes built into the center of most broom handles—this loop can fit on a wider range of nails and hooks of different sizes and angles.
In total, the Casabella is 53 inches tall. This may be too short for some, but our tallest panel member—who’s 6-feet, 1-inch tall—had no trouble with our pick’s height. Our runner-up is only an inch taller, but is effectively 3 inches taller because of the Casabella’s 2-inch extended hanging loop.
Our pick feels sturdy and well-made; nothing rattles or moves around during normal cleaning or with violent shaking. Some brooms felt cheap, and they creaked and clattered when shook. Many brooms have screw-on heads, and some came loose when sweeping or shaking debris out of the broom. The Casabella’s head screws on and off via plastic threads, but does not wiggle or come loose unless you’re trying to unscrew it.
The Casabella, at about 1 pound, 1.5 ounces, is about a third of a pound lighter than our runner-up, which weighs about 1 pound, 6 ounces. Our pick’s lighter weight doesn’t make the broom feel cheap or flimsy, but does make sweeping a lower-impact exercise than hefting around the top-heavy Libman.
We were concerned that the Casabella’s denser bristles would make the broom harder to clean out with soap and water, but this wasn’t the case. Our pick was easy to clean out under the bathtub faucet with a little bit of dish soap, and we left it to dry overnight—good as new!
Our pick is well-designed, great at sweeping, and comfortable to use. (It’s pretty cute too, not that anyone is buying a broom for its dashing good looks.) On top of all that, it’s the least expensive broom we tested—only $10, and that’s cheaper even than the other brooms that also lacked a dustpan. Our survey found that most people are willing to pay up to $20 for a great broom. The Casabella costs only half that, and it’s the best of the bunch.
Our panel testers loved the Casabella; three panel members ranked it the best, one panel member ranked it second behind our runner-up, the Libman Large Precision Angle Broom with Dustpan. You can’t get much from the reviews on Amazon, as it has only three (it had zero when we started). One person clearly stored their broom on its bristles and doesn’t like that the ends are frayed, one person thinks it’s too floppy, and another person’s review just says “great broom!”
Flaws but not dealbreakers
There are lots of decent brooms out there, but in our hunt for the best one we discovered that there’s no such thing as a perfect broom. Naturally, our pick has a couple of flaws.
The Casabella Wayclean Wide Angle Broom’s biggest flaw is that it doesn’t come with a dustpan. Our survey found that most people don’t want a dustpan-and-brush set, they want to use their broom with a dustpan. Pairing our pick with the $6 OXO Good Grips Clip-On Dustpan costs only $16 total—that’s still cheaper than many broom and dustpan sets we tested, and a better combo than all the alternatives.
Our pick’s shorter-than-average bristles are crucial in creating a balance between soft, flexible bristles and a firm, effective sweep, but that length makes it difficult to get into deep crevices or far under furniture. The short bristles also make it easier to hit the plastic frame on things like low kitchen cabinets, although that didn’t often occur in our long-term testing. This isn’t a dealbreaker, because our pick’s overall performance far outshines its weakness in tight crevices—and hopefully you can move furniture to thoroughly sweep underneath it.
Several panel members mentioned that the Casabella has a tendency to flick or fling debris, but they were all able to adjust their sweeping technique to account for it almost immediately. One called it “a broom with a learning curve” but said it was the best at picking up dust and by far the most comfortable. Because the bristles are soft, gentle sweeping is more effective than vigorous strokes with our pick.
The best dustpan to pair with the Casabella Wayclean Wide Angle Broom is the $6 OXO Good Grips Clip-On Dustpan. The OXO clips onto our favorite broom’s handle, and its 10.5-inch-wide mouth is big enough to match the Casabella. It also sits flush with the floor to stop dust from slipping past, and its deep ridge keeps stuff from spilling out. Our panel unanimously agreed it was the best dustpan we tested; it took the fewest sweeps and left the least residue behind.
Our pick’s best feature is its contoured rubber lip. The red thermoplastic rubber lip is molded to the polypropylene underside of the dustpan, which makes the edge sit flush with the floor. Most dustpans, like the O-Cedar Anti-Static dustpan, have a flat or wedge-shaped piece of rubber attached to the edge of the dustpan. This type of lip acts as a slope but leaves a hollow space underneath for dirt to get trapped, so the dustpan must be scooted back and the pile re-swept. Several panel members noted the OXO took only one sweep to get an entire pile of cat litter from the floor to the dustpan.
The OXO Good Grips Clip-On Dustpan has a few useful design touches that set it apart from the competition. Most dustpans have an edge-to-edge ridge, but our pick’s ridge tapers near the sides of the large polypropylene body to make it easier to empty the dustpan into the trash. This design foiled our original water capacity test—the liquid flowed out the sides—but solid debris was no problem. Our pick easily held a half cup of rice because of its large capacity and 1.3-centimeter-high ridge, a test some dustpans failed.
Our pick has a comfortable black rubber grip made from the same thermoplastic rubber as the red lip and the rubber fingers that clip onto different-sized broom handles. It was the only dustpan we tested with a comfortable handle, the rest were varying degrees of awkward to hold. The end of the OXO’s handle has a hole to hang the dustpan when it’s not clipped to your broom.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The OXO’s handle did break during our testing, but only after some serious abuse. We clipped the OXO to the Casabella broom and violently shook the broom, and the dustpan flew off and smacked into the floor, where the handle cracked. Luckily, the black rubber grip holds the hard plastic together, and the break is hardly noticeable. Even cracked, the dustpan still securely grips the handle of our Casabella broom, but we’ll keep an eye on it to see if the crack becomes more pronounced over time.
The OXO starts out a little staticky. We witnessed tiny pieces of cat litter jump straight out of the dustpan’s body and cling onto the slope above the red lip. It wasn’t the worst we tested, and by the third use most of the static had dissipated and debris was no longer hurling itself out of the dustpan. (We tried wiping down the most staticky dustpans with a dryer sheet, but didn’t see any improvement. The best solution we found is to keep using the dustpan until the static dissipates.)
Our pick is $6 from Amazon, where it has a 4.3-star rating and 45 user reviews. Most complaints are from people who warped the dustpan’s rubber lip by storing it improperly or who bought the dustpan without making sure it clips to their broom. (We checked many times, and it fits on the Casabella as securely as our runner-up fits with its bundled dustpan.)
If our main pick is unavailable or you want a broom that comes with a dustpan, we recommend the $14 Libman Large Precision Angle Broom with Dustpan. It’s not as effective at sweeping up dust as the Casabella, it’s heavier and its bristles are a bit too stiff, and it doesn’t have our pick’s comfy grip. However, among the brooms we tested the Libman was the second best at sweeping , was well-liked by our panel, and comes with an okay dustpan.
Three of our panel members observed that the Libman Large Precision Angle Broom isn’t as effective at sweeping flour dust as the Casabella, but it’s a close second. (The fourth panel member preferred the Libman over our pick.) In a side-by-side comparison, we found that the Libman left more flour residue behind than the Casabella. It was equally effective as our first pick at sweeping up cat litter and rice.
Compared with the Casabella, the Libman has a steeper angle and longer, 4.25- to 6-inch flagged bristles. (Our pick’s bristles range from 4 to 5 inches long.) The longer, angled bristles make it easier to get into awkward corners, but the Libman’s too-stiff bristles hamper the broom’s ability to reach under furniture and into corners. As a result, the Libman is about as good as our main pick at sweeping in hard-to-reach areas.
The Libman’s 12.5-inch sweeping surface is about an inch and a half wider than the Casabella’s, and both heads have similar depth. Our runner-up has 2,184 bristles—that’s about 25 percent fewer than the Casabella—and those bristles are arranged in 78 diagonal groups with about 28 bristles per group. The Libman’s wider head hastens sweeping, but its lower bristle density and less effective arrangement mean you have to make more sweeps to pick up the same amount of debris as the Casabella. Bottom line: The Casabella is easier to use.
Our runner-up has a 45.5-inch green pole and an 8.5-inch head, which adds up to a 54-inch-tall broom. As mentioned in the section above, the Libman is only an inch taller than the Casabella, but it’s effectively 3 inches taller because the Casabella’s 2-inch storage loop extends off the broom’s end rather than being built into the handle. It’s not a huge difference, but if our pick is a little short for you, the Libman may be a better option. Like the Casabella, the Libman is well-made and doesn’t rattle or flex during ordinary use (or vigorous shaking).
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The Libman weighs about a third of a pound more than our pick, with more weight in the head, so it feels top-heavy in comparison. One of our panel members loved it, saying “I feel like the weight of the broom is assisting, like the broom is doing some of the work for me.” But most panel members didn’t like the Libman’s heavy head and bristles; they preferred the lighter, more evenly distributed Casabella.
The Libman comes with a dustpan—unlike our pick—but the bundled dustpan isn’t nearly as good as the OXO Good Grips Clip-On Dustpan that we recommend. The Libman dustpan is about 2 inches wider than the OXO, but it’s less effective at sweeping because it doesn’t have a rubber lip. The Libman is also shallower, has a shorter ridge, and lacks the OXO’s comfortable handle.
The dustpan’s handle isn’t as comfortable as the soft-touch grip on the OXO, and the Up & Up has a flat edge that juts out and is awkward to grip. The brush’s handle is hollow on the underside, which several panel members disliked.
If you want a dustpan that comes with a brush, we recommend the Up & Up Dustpan Set from Target. No panel members preferred the Up & Up set to the OXO Good Grips Clip-On dustpan—which is better at cleaning and more comfortable—but they unanimously agreed it’s the best dustpan-and-brush set we tested. It’s also the least expensive.
The Up & Up dustpan has a bright green rubber lip that measures 8.5 inches across, two inches less than the OXO. It’s a bit too narrow for the Casabella’s head, but all the dustpan sets we tested had the same problem (except for one, which was expensive and not great at sweeping). Thanks to its stiff, wedge-shaped lip, the Up & Up outperformed all the other sets—even those with wider mouths—in our sweeping tests.
The brush’s sweeping surface is about 5.5 inches wide. We would have liked to see a wider brush to speed up the cleaning process, but the Up & Up’s brush was better at sweeping than the wider brushes we tested. It was the only brush we tested with flagged bristles for capturing dust, and its medium-stiffness bristles were the best at getting debris into the dustpan. Other brushes had floppy, unflagged bristles that flung dust into the air and left lots of residue on the floor.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The dustpan’s handle isn’t as comfortable as the soft-touch grip on the OXO, and the Up & Up has a flat edge that juts out and is awkward to grip. The brush’s handle is hollow on the underside, which several panel members disliked.
Both the dustpan and brush have matching holes to hang the set when it’s not in use, but they’re a little narrow and might not hang on thicker hooks. Without the brush, the Target dustpan can clip to our recommended broom, but it doesn’t fit as securely as the OXO Good Grips Clip-On dustpan and can warp the Casabella’s bristles.
The $13 O-Cedar Dual-Action Microfiber Flip Mop has a wide, microfiber and synthetic blend chenille head that can hold more dirt than any dust mop we tested. It was the only dust mop we tested that could pick up an entire tablespoon of spilled flour, and it could cover more area than any other dust mop before needing a wash—we needed six Swiffer sheets to clean the equivalent square footage (and those weren’t as effective, either). It’s big enough to work quickly, yet nimble enough to get dust from corners, and its refill covers are affordable and durable.
Of the dust mops we tested, the O-Cedar was by far the most effective dust mop at picking up dust. Each side could pick up a teaspoon of flour, a test many dust mops failed. Using both sides, the O-Cedar picked up a whole tablespoon (3 teaspoons) of flour, a feat no other dust mop we tested could match. The O-Cedar cleaned 500 square feet of my Brooklyn apartment at its dirtiest—twice—before finally needing a wash. For comparison, only one other dust mop could go this long between cleanings, and the Swiffer Sweeper needed six disposable sheets to clean the same mess.
What makes our pick so good at cleaning? For starters, there’s its double-sided head. The blue side is covered in chenille nubs made from a microfiber and synthetic blend. These chenille fingers are great at getting into cracks and holding onto lots of dust. The other side has white microfiber strips and alternating blue strips, also made of blended microfiber. In our tests, we found the blue chenille side to be the most effective at picking up the majority of the dust. The white side was useful for making a thorough second pass. Our pick isn’t pure microfiber, but the synthetic yarn doesn’t negatively impact durability and the O-Cedar was better at cleaning than some of the pure microfiber cloths we tested.
The O’Cedar’s head is about twice as wide as a Swiffer’s. The cloth measures 17.5 inches across in the front, widens to 19 inches in the back, and is 5.5 inches deep. The Swiffer measures 10 inches wide by 4.5 inches deep, so it has much less surface area—even without counting our pick’s second side. Our pick’s double-sidedness also makes it better at reaching into corners where dust tends to gather. Some other dust mops we tested struggled to get dust out of tight corners, especially if it was clinging to the wall or above the floor’s surface.
When we researched the O-Cedar Dual-Action Flip Mop, we were concerned that the dust mop’s flipping mechanism would be loose and uncooperative, making the dust mop difficult to steer. But we found that the polypropylene resin frame has two thin, hollow strips that make the head top heavy. This makes the frame easy to flip along its horizontal axis by simply lifting the handle.
With the cover on, the frame measures just under an inch tall, so it will fit under most raised furniture to clean out dust bunnies lurking underneath. (The handle and steering mechanism can also lay completely flat, and are shorter than the frame with the cover on.) Our pick is easy to steer, not loose and rattly or stiff and challenging to turn. It stands about 50 inches tall, and the plastic-coated steel handle doesn’t extend like others we tested. That’s a little short, but not so short that it is uncomfortable to use.
Because our pick’s cloth has a large surface area and deep chenille nubs, it needed to be washed only every two weeks after cleaning 500 square feet of my apartment once per week. Your mileage will vary based on the size of your space and how dirty it is. The O-Cedar holds more dirt than any other dust mop we tested, and as a result needs to be washed less often.
The dust mop heads are durable, aside from some stitching issues on the refills (detailed below). Several other dust mop heads frayed or fell apart in the wash, but the O-Cedar was almost like new after months of use and 5 washes. Our pick’s chenille nubs and microfiber pad never snagged on wooden floors, a problem we encountered with the Swiffer and a few other dust mops.
To test how long the cover’s velcro would last, we attached and detached the velcro more than 100 times. After this test, the soft side of the velcro was fuzzy and didn’t grip the hard velcro teeth as tightly as it once did, but it still made a functional seal. We expect the microfiber to wear out before the velcro does.
The O-Cedar Dual-Action Flip Mop and refills are available from most retailers, and they’re easy to find online, too. Our pick costs $19, and refills are $10 each from Amazon, but we found our pick for $13—and its refills for $7 to $8—in Target, Home Depot, and Walmart. The O-Cedar and its refills are less expensive and much more effective than other dust mops we tested.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The O-Cedar’s refills don’t have the best build quality. There’s a small loop that O-Cedar told us is designed to help pull the head on and off the frame. (We think the loop is also useful for hanging the dust mop head to dry.) The loop worked well to hang the cloth, but when we used it to lightly tug the cover off the frame, the weak stitching on one side of the loop broke. The next time we washed the O-Cedar’s head, the loop came off entirely. This isn’t a dealbreaker because the loop isn’t crucial, but it was annoying to see it break so easily.
The O-Cedar’s cover isn’t the easiest to remove—that honor goes to the Full Circle Mighty Mop and the Scotch-Brite Microfiber Floor Mop, which have convenient folding mechanisms but were worse at cleaning. Use caution when unsticking the O-Cedar’s Velcro—that can send a puff of pollutants into the air. (Other dust mops with full Velcro heads, like the Simplee Cleen and the Bona, had a particularly bad problem with this.) Once the Velcro is gently undone, slip the cover off the frame and throw it straight in the wash.
Last, we found that the pole—which screws into the steering mechanism on the frame—can unscrew if you sharply jerk the handle to the left (counterclockwise) when turning the dust mop. This is annoying, but it’s also avoidable if you use smooth, calm strokes.
After a year of using our broom pick, we’ve found it has held up well, though it’s necessary to clean it out more regularly in the tub the older it gets. The ends have frayed a teensy bit more, so they tend to grab onto pet hair more than they did when the broom was new. It’s not really a problem, since the broom still cleans pet hair and dust as well as the day we got it.
The dustpan is still the best dustpan we’ve used. It hasn’t been staticky at all since that first issue we had with it during testing.
Wirecutter editor Dan Frakes has been using our dust mop pick, and reports that it continues to pick up dust and small junk well, showing little wear after four months.
Tons of people own and love a Swiffer Sweeper, but we don’t think it’s a good option for most. Before we explain, let’s start with a categorization.
What’s so bad about the Swiffer Sweeper? I used three Swiffer sheets to clean 500 square feet of my apartment, while the dust mop handled the same mess twice (and only needed to be washed every two weeks). Keeping my place Swiffer-ed translates to 156 Swiffer sheets every year, or more than three 48-sheet packs, which are $10 apiece on Amazon. That’s $30 per year just in new sheets.
For that same price, around $32, I can get about four years of life out of our reusable dust mop pick. Electricity and water prices vary, as does washer efficiency, but here’s how I calculated my costs: In New York City, a single warm load of laundry costs about 30 cents (7 cents for electricity, 5 cents for water, and 18 cents for our recommended detergent). Washing bi-weekly comes out to $7.80 per year. After four full years, my cost will be about $32, which is what the Swiffer refills totaled after just one year. Of course, I’ll have washed the reusable refill 100 times by then, and that means I’ll need to buy a $10 replacement, which brings my total to $42. If I use Swiffer sheets for the same period of time, I’d need about 624 sheets—that’s $130 total.
Merry Maids told us they don’t use Swiffer—or any other disposable cleaning product—because the costs just don’t add up. “The expense of disposable products is not profitable for home cleaning services and may be a drain for homeowners as constant replacement is necessary. Merry Maids’s preference is microfiber dust cloth pads because you can launder and reuse them.”
Beyond costs, the Swiffer is just not as effective at cleaning as the O-Cedar dust mop. The Swiffer is effective at picking up dust, dirt, and cat hair, but it can’t get into cracks or corners as well as our pick because it uses flat sheets instead of a textured cloth. Plus, the O-Cedar Dual Action Flip Mop’s head is almost twice the width of the Swiffer’s, so the Swiffer takes nearly twice the time and energy to clean the same space.
The Swiffer also feels cheap and poorly made compared with most dust mops we tested. The snap-in pole (you know, the kind with the little buttons you press in) is separated into four segments, and they assemble into a rattly, flimsy handle that flexes under light pressure and is uncomfortable to hold. Our pick, the O-Cedar Dual-Action Flip Mop, has a solid plastic-coated steel pole that doesn’t creak or flex under ordinary pressure.
Finally, the Swiffer’s sheets are non-biodegradeable. A representative for Procter & Gamble told us that the sheets are made of polypropylene and polyester and are coated with wax and mineral oil to help trap dirt and dust. Every sheet used and thrown away ends up in a landfill somewhere, presumably forever.
The Swiffer’s biggest appeal is the convenience of disposable cloths, and Procter & Gamble emphasized this advantage over washable dust mops in our interview. But despite the Swiffer’s ease of use and ubiquitous popularity, the fact that there are more effective cleaning options available—plus the Swiffer’s higher monetary and environmental costs—means that it isn’t the best choice for most people.
Brooms are easy to maintain properly, but most people don’t know the basic rules for doing so. Rule one: Don’t store your broom with its weight on the bristles. Hang it up using the storage loop, or prop it against a wall with the handle facing down. Leaving a broom sitting on its bristles causes them to bend, weaken, and even break, which shortens your trusty broom’s lifespan.
Rule two: Wash your broom once in a while! It seems like common sense that you should wash a tool used to clean up all manner of gross things, but many people never think about it. Once every few months—or whenever your broom gets gunky—take it outside and give it a good shake. Then wash the broom’s head with soap and warm water in a bucket, sink, or even your bathtub, making sure to get deep in all the bristles for a thorough clean. Shake off as much water as you can, then leave the broom to air dry (bristles up!) overnight. Voilà! A clean broom.
Dustpan care is similar. Don’t store one sitting on the rubber, because you can permanently warp that lip and ruin your dustpan. Hang it up. Clean your dustpan (and brush, if it comes with one) with some warm soapy water, then shake each out and air-dry.
Some dustpans are staticky, and this static can make particles jump straight out of your dustpan back onto the floor. Super frustrating! Our advice is to keep using your dustpan—the static will lessen over time the more you use it. We tried wiping down some of the most staticky dustpans we tested with a dryer sheet, but it didn’t make a significant difference.
Proper care and maintenance of microfiber dust mop heads is a little more involved, because microfiber is tricky to wash. Our expert from Merry Maids, Debra Johnson, has some advice on keeping it clean between washings: She takes the cloth outside or places it in a plastic bag, then shakes it to get dust out without releasing it into the air in your home.
When it’s time to wash your dust mop head, make sure you follow these directions. If you don’t, you risk melting, neutralizing, or otherwise destroying your microfiber cloth.
The only exception to the above rules is if you live in a location where you have to pay per load to do your laundry. It’s not cost effective to pay more than 50 cents each time you wash your dust mop, so we recommend hand washing it instead in a bucket (or your sink, or bathtub) with warm water and our recommended detergent. Rinse very thoroughly, then hang to dry.
Now that you know how to take care of your cleaning tools, how do you know when it’s time to replace them with new ones? Both cleaning experts told us that a broom’s condition is visual: “If it looks bad, it is bad.” When the bristles are broken, bent, or falling out and the broom is more of a hindrance than a help, it’s time to get a new one. However, if the ends of the bristles are frayed somewhat uniformly, don’t panic. Those are called flagged bristles, and are frayed intentionally to make the broom better at trapping dust. A great, well-cared for broom should last several years of weekly use.
There’s no universal answer to how long microfiber lasts—that depends on how well it’s cared for, how often it’s washed, how dirty it gets, and how well-made it is to begin with. Manufacturers estimate their microfiber mop heads will survive anywhere from 100 to 500 washes. (How often you need to wash it will vary; once every two weeks worked for us.) Both experts say to pay careful attention to how well your dust mop cleans. When it stops picking up dust—or if it falls apart entirely—it’s time to buy a new cloth.
The $18 O-Cedar Angler Angle Broom with Dust Pan is the best at sweeping cramped corners because of its sharp angle. It’s an effective sweeper and has the best bundled dustpan we tested. But its sharp angle and long, soft bristles fling piles of dust, so our panel eliminated it.
The $15 OXO Good Grips Angled Broom is a good broom and made it into our top four. However, our panel decided that its bristles are too soft, the head is thinner and less dense than our pick, and it flings too much debris to recommend.
Our panel unanimously agreed that the bristles on the $20 OXO Good Grips Any-Angle Broom are too soft, and the mechanism on the head isn’t useful. Its head is also thinner and sparser than the Casabella’s, and its bristles stick out at odd angles, which makes sweeping a neat pile difficult.
The $20 Libman Precision Angle Broom with Dustpan is one of the best-selling indoor brooms on Amazon and a smaller version of our runner-up pick. This broom had an inconsistent number of bristles per clump, which thwarted my plan to count the bristles of every broom we tested. This inconsistency is a drawback, but it’s a bad broom for other reasons: It’s an inch shorter than our runner-up and has a smaller head. The bottom line: Our runner-up is better at sweeping.
The $26 Libman Extra Large Precision Angle Broom is a larger, heavier version of our runner-up, but it has stiffer bristles and a thicker pole, and it doesn’t come with a dustpan.
The $25 Casabella Height Adjustable Broom with Dustpan is the pinnacle of overdesign. Its adjustable pole is awkward and heavy, and the whisk brush that snaps into the broom’s head is loose and falls out. When we unpacked the broom, a ton of bristles fell out. Worst of all, it’s not very good at sweeping.
The $17 Libman Indoor/Outdoor Angle Broom with Dustpan is similar to the Extra Large Precision Angle Broom, but it is heavier and has stiffer bristles that aren’t as good at sweeping.
The $18 O-Cedar Power Corner Large Angle Broom is similar to the Angler Angle Broom, but has a wider head and stiffer bristles. Its angle is great at getting into corners and under furniture, but its stiffer bristles are worse at sweeping up fine debris, and they fling dust.
Home Depot’s $13 HDX 15 in. All Purpose Large Angle Broom with Dust Pan is one of the worst brooms we tested. It isn’t effective at cleaning up flour or cat litter, and its dustpan’s lip is too steep.
The $20 Scotch-Brite Angled broom has a foam insert that’s supposed to make the broom better at sweeping somehow, but it does the opposite. The insert prevents the broom from getting into corners and around oddly shaped things like door jambs, and it is terrible at sweeping up everything.
The $10 Quickie Professional Large All-Purpose Broom has a wide head, but leaves lots of residue behind when sweeping flour and cat litter. Its long, springy bristles fling debris when sweeping piles into the dustpan.
The Black+Decker Angle Broom (261019) is not as good at picking up dust as our top pick or runner-up. According to two of our testers, its bristles aren’t as plentiful or dense, which limits its usefulness. Since it’s more expensive than both of our picks and is prone to flinging rather than picking up dust particles, we don’t recommend it. The sharp angle is great for digging out dirt stuck in corners, however.
The $9 Rubbermaid Comfort Grip Duster and Dustpan Set is the best seller on Amazon, and it’s almost identical to the Professional Plus. The Comfort Grip has a shorter lip that makes it harder to get dust into the pan, its ridge is shallower, and it’s not as wide, so the Professional Plus is the better of the two.
The $10 OXO Good Grips Dustpan and Brush Set is a whisk-style brush set with very soft bristles that fling particles. The dustpan is similar to our pick, with that excellent contoured lip—but it is narrower and lacks the comfortable handle, and it’s paired with a terrible brush that isn’t worth the extra $4. According to our survey, most people don’t want a whisk brush, and this set wasn’t good enough to change our minds.
Lots of people like the $7 OXO Good Grips Compact Dustpan and Brush Set, but it’s way too small to use as your primary dustpan. It also doesn’t have any kind of handle or grip, and the brush is really hard to remove from the dustpan once it’s locked in.
Full Circle’s $15 Clean Team Dustpan and Brush Set is the most expensive set we tested at $15. It doesn’t have much of a ridge to keep debris in the dustpan, and the brush’s soft bristles fling dust.
Casabella’s $9 Dustpan & Brush Set is similar to the Wayclean set mentioned above, but is the absolute worst we tested. It took more than 14 sweeps to get all the cat litter into the pan, when every other pan we tested took six or fewer.
The $8 O-Cedar Anti-Static Premium Dust Pan is a decent dustpan, but its handle is uncomfortable and flour dust can slip underneath its rubber edge and remain trapped there.
The $29 Simplee Cleen Microfiber Household Mop was the second-best dust mop we tested, but it was only at its best when combined with the Legacy Household Chenille Microfiber Refill Pad, which it doesn’t come bundled with. (The two coarse blue pads it comes with are terrible at picking up dust.) The bright green chenille pad is as effective as the blue chenille side of our pick, and the Simplee Cleen has a sturdy, extendable handle and a Velcro frame that can attach to different cloths. But the hard Velcro teeth are built into the frame, so once they wear out—and based on our durability tests they will—you’ll have to buy a whole new dust mop, frame, handle, and all.
The $15 Rubbermaid Flexible Sweeper has an effective cover, but that cloth is too big for the frame. During cleaning it feels like it’s going to fall off. The frame is hollow in the middle, so it doesn’t press the cloth evenly into the floor. Finally, the handle extension mechanism is bulky and makes the Rubbermaid difficult to grip.
The $24 Libman Freedom Floor Duster has a good chenille cloth, but its head is about the size of a Swiffer, so it can’t pick up as much dust as the O-Cedar. And the comb that comes with the Freedom Floor Duster is silly.
The $17 Scotch-Brite Microfiber Hardwood Floor Mop has one of the best frames for easy cloth removal, but it has a terrible cover—the worst we tested.
The $25 Casabella Height Adjustable Butterfly Floor Duster also has a great frame, but its height-adjustable pole is heavy, awkward, and unnecessary. Its cover didn’t hold up well in the wash, either; the fuzzy white edges shed a lot, and it wasn’t as good at picking up dust after being washed.
The $15 Casabella Flip Floor Duster had the same problem as the Rubbermaid Flexible Sweeper: Its hollow frame didn’t evenly press the cloth into the floor for a thorough wipe-down. It was also difficult to steer and didn’t hold up well in the wash.
The $15 Casabella Wayclean Flex Floor Duster has the best non-chenille cloth we tested and a handle and comfy grip similar to our favorite broom. However, it was one of the worst at steering and has a hollow frame like the Flip Floor Duster and the Rubbermaid Flexible Sweeper.
The $28 Libman Wet & Dry Microfiber Mop’s shallow microfiber cloth wasn’t effective at picking up dust.
The $12 Lysol Microfiber Dust Mop has a terrible frame made of flimsy plastic. It doesn’t keep the cloth on the ground and feels like a cheap toy.
Full Circle’s $27 Mighty Mop has a sturdy wooden handle and a well-designed frame that makes cloth removal simple, but its flat cloth wasn’t as good at cleaning as chenille. Plus, it’s expensive.
The $22 Bona Microfiber Floor Mop has an extendable handle like the Simplee Cleen, but it also has the same built-in Velcro that prevents us from recommending the Simplee Cleen. None of the Bona’s cloths were as good at cleaning as our pick, and removing the cloth from the Velcro teeth resulted in a massive dust plume in the air and all down my front. The Simplee Cleen had the same problem, but to a lesser degree.
Brooms are a slow-moving technology. They have been effectively the same—a handle with bristles for sweeping—for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. According to this fascinating broom history by J. Bryan Lowder, synthetic fibers were first invented in the 1940s, and started appearing in brooms in the 1950s and ’60s. We don’t see any crazy new developments like that on the horizon, so you shouldn’t worry about your broom becoming obsolete.
The Casabella Wayclean Wide Angle Broom is the best at sweeping, the most comfortable to hold, and the least expensive broom we tested, and the OXO Good Grips Clip-On Dustpan is the best to pair with it. To round out your cleaning kit, we recommend the O-Cedar Dual-Action Microfiber Dust Mop. Its double-sided head was the most effective at capturing dust and could clean the longest before needing to be washed.
Originally published: April 30, 2015