The Best Outdoor Brooms

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After more than 25 hours researching and testing 14 outdoor brooms (and giving a long look at dozens more), we have three picks that can satisfyingly sweep up all the little bits and pieces of crud on your driveway, decking, patio or garage floor. All of these did fine work sweeping on multiple surfaces around New England over several months. First, we worked with a property manager and a troop of Boy Scouts out to clean up fall debris at an Audubon Society sanctuary, and later, we tried each at home over the course of the winter. If you need to keep the outdoors clean, these are the tools for you.

Last Updated: Three years ago
We tested 14 outdoor brooms with a troop of Boy Scouts to find that the O’Cedar 24” Multi-Surface Push Broom is the best option for your driveway, decking, patio, or garage floor. Its blend of stiff and soft bristles can handle fine particles and heavier debris, wet or dry. A unique fastener you won’t find on any of the competition means the head won’t detach from the handle while you’re sweeping.
O-Cedar Professional 24" Multi-Surface Push Broom
This wide, well-balanced broom has a blend of stiff and soft synthetic bristles that can handle fine particles and heavier debris, wet or dry—and its handle connects with a unique fastener that you won’t see in the competition and won’t come loose.

The O’Cedar 24″ Multi-Surface Push Broom ($22) is the best all-around outdoor broom for the price. Its head has a mix of an inner core stiff bristles and an outer ring of soft bristles with two different types of tips, which can handle sand, leaves, gravel and pine needles on a variety of smooth and rough surfaces. All the bristles are synthetic and can get wet without rotting. The metal handle is well-balanced for controlled, smooth sweeping.

But the head’s attachment to the handle is what really sets this broom apart—it’s a unique, beefy fastener that won’t spin out of its socket or break off mid-sweep—a complaint you often see in competitor’s brooms. The 24” head is wide enough to clear great swaths of driveway, but the broom easily pivots to pursue errant leaves and candy wrappers. Its main drawback? You can’t replace the handle, so if that tough connection does fail, you’ll have to toss the whole thing out. We didn’t find a perfect broom, but this one came as close as any we tested.

Also Great

*At the time of publishing, the price was $21.

Quickie 00528 18-Inch Bulldozer
Smaller and lighter than our O’Cedar pick, this is one of the more capable sweepers out there, and for a good price. On fine sand, wet leaves, and stray pine needles, it was the best sweeper in our test, but there one too many reports of broken handles for us to make it our top pick.

If you want to spend a little less, the Quickie 00528 18-Inch Bulldozer Push Broom Indoor/Outdoor ($14 + $10 shipping, or $10 at Home Depot) is one of the more capable tools out there—in fact, on fine sand, wet leaves, and stray pine needles, it was the best sweeper in our test. It’s on the narrow side, so it’s light and maneuverable, but it’s a little slower than the O’Cedar when covering a lot of ground. Both tools have a combination of stiff and soft synthetic bristles with two types of tips, which make them equally great for fine particles and bigger debris, wet or dry. The Quickie was almost our top choice for this guide, but there are a few too many users reporting its handle breaking for us to stand behind it as the main pick.

Also Great
Garrett Wade Heavy-Duty Garden & Garage Broom
This natural-bristle 12-inch-wide broom can reach deeper than a push broom into tight corners to clean every speck from uneven surfaces. Just don’t use it on wet materials.

If you prefer a swinging sweeping motion or a rustic, traditional look, we like the Garrett Wade Heavy Duty Garden & Garage Broom ($30 + $10.50 for US shipping), a natural (not synthetic) broom made of piassava bristles. It’s tough, stiff, and can remove every bit of dust from rough concrete, decking crevices, or any tight corners, but just make sure those areas are dry first. Its bristles can rot when used on wet debris, which gives our synthetic push brooms a huge advantage.

Table of contents

Who’s this for? (Why an outdoor broom?)

Yes, you can use whatever broom you’re already using on your floors to sweep outside, but you will be discontented.

If you have a garage, a deck, a patio, or a driveway, sooner or later, you’ll want a broom specifically made for outdoor use. Yes, you can use whatever broom you’re already using on your floors to sweep outside, but you will be discontented.

Indoor brooms are designed to move small quantities of dust and fine particles, but their bristles and bindings generally aren’t strong enough to push heavier materials. Outdoor brooms are designed to move large-scale effluvia such as acorns, wet leaves, sand, and gravel, and their heads are wide enough to clear a wide swath quickly. Our top outdoor broom picks have a mix of fine bristles for dust and coarse bristles for big debris. You can use just one broom to sweep away sand, spent fire-crackers, bottle caps, durian rinds, band-aids, and all the other evidence of your block party aftermath.

From top to bottom: Rubbermaid, Libman 18″, Quickie Weiler, Libman 24″, Weiler, O’Cedar, Supersweep

The other reason to choose an outdoor broom is water. Many indoor brooms are “corn brooms” made of straw, which will moulder and rot if they exposed to water for too long. If you live in a climate where it rains regularly, sooner or later you will sweep something damp…or something icky that you’ll want to wash out of your broom (“Look what the dog left under that pile of leaves!”) Life is easier if you start with artificial fibers, which is what our top outdoor broom picks are made of.

Our pick

O-Cedar Professional 24" Multi-Surface Push Broom
This wide, well-balanced broom has a blend of stiff and soft synthetic bristles that can handle fine particles and heavier debris, wet or dry—and its handle connects with a unique fastener that you won’t see in the competition and won’t come loose.

The O’Cedar 24″ Multi-Surface Push Broom ($23) is not totally perfect, but it is the best outdoor broom for most people. Out of all the brooms sampled, it was the closest to flawless. It has a lot going for it: a sturdy handle, excellent balance for its three-pound weight and 62” length, and an ability to easily move all kinds of materials with its 24-inch-long, 3.5-inch wide head. The head and bristles are synthetic, so you can sweep up wet or dry debris. In the head, an outer row of fine fibers combines with an inner core of coarse fibers. The mix makes it flexible enough to catch bits of dust, but it still has the stiffness and strength to move piles of sand, leaves stuck in the deck, or flighty pine needles. The black metal handle has a hook-hole at the end for storage, and the handle is secured to the head with a unique anti-rotation socket that prevents it from working its way loose (a common source of irritation with these tools). In a product category where a lot of items share a similar set of features, an unusually solid socket really sets this tool apart.

It was not the single best sweeper in the bunch, but it moved everything effortlessly and respectably, without any of the problems we saw in the other brooms. This one never left behind trails of sand, for example, an ability we think results from the mix of stiff and soft fibers, as well as a detail that we only saw on three brooms: a mix of flagged and unflagged bristle tips. Plus, its proprietary head fastener really does work (and is the standout feature of this broom)—the broom’s handle stayed securely fastened to the sweeping head throughout our tests, which can’t always be said of the competition.

In our test with Boy Scouts and gardeners at the Massachusetts Audubon Society, everyone who tried the O’Cedar liked its weight, maneuverability, and speed. It can easily change directions while you push it, which is important when you’re moving such a big broom. Audubon Society property manager Sandy Vorce called this broom “really good!”, saying, “it moves even the wet pine needles…it gets the job done quickly.” Vorce and the Scouts found that it was the best-feeling tool out of all the sample brooms, and repeatedly praised it for its balance.

Amazon reviewers say the O’Cedar push broom feels “solid,” “strong,” and “well-built,” and they like its performance on concrete, garage floors, driveways, decks—pretty much everything. Several reviewers like how it clears light snow; another reviewer says it’s comfortable for use by a 6’4” man. In my testing, I found that sweeping felt light, effortless, and soft, unlike the Quickie broom, our budget pick, which feels bouncy and stiff.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The O’Cedar Push Broom’s head doesn’t have a pair conventional screw-in holes. Instead, it has what the manufacturer calls a “Maxi-Lok® technology and anti-rotation socket”—a star-shaped socket with a nut on top. The good thing about the Maxi-Lok is that the handle doesn’t come unscrewed during sweeping, and users don’t complain about the handle breaking. But here’s the catch: If the connection does fail, you have to buy a whole new broom—it’s not possible to buy a replacement Maxi-Lok handle, and replacing it with any other handle isn’t going to happen, either.

A smaller budget pick

Also Great

*At the time of publishing, the price was $21.

Quickie 00528 18-Inch Bulldozer
Smaller and lighter than our O’Cedar pick, this is one of the more capable sweepers out there, and for a good price. On fine sand, wet leaves, and stray pine needles, it was the best sweeper in our test, but there one too many reports of broken handles for us to make it our top pick.
This was the only push broom that managed to move both pine needles and their dust from the driveway in one sweep.

Honestly, the Quickie 00528 18-Inch Bulldozer Push Broom Indoor/Outdoor ($14 + $10 shipping) came close to being our top pick. It feels light, but it’s stiff and sturdy enough to push trapped leaves and piles of heavy sand with ease—without leaving huge streaks or lines of sand on the smooth concrete floor. Its combination of stiff, coarse inner fibers and finer outer fibers make it easy to move large debris and dust. In fact, it was the best overall performer in our tests, beating out all other synthetic-bristle brooms at moving a variety of materials. This was the only push broom that managed to move both pine needles and their dust from the driveway in one sweep. It was as capable as the others in moving leaves on and off a deck, and it handled sand on a concrete floor as well as all the other synthetic brooms.

The Quickie’s head is made of resin and its fibers are various sorts of polypropylene, so it can be used on wet material without fear of rot. At $14, it was also the second-cheapest broom in our sample—shipping costs from Amazon can throw that off, but it’s sometimes priced as low as $10 at Home Depot. It’s lighter than the O’Cedar (2 lbs. vs. 3 lbs.), although it’s about the same 64” overall length, depending on exactly how you measure the height of a broom with an angled handle. Online user reviews of the Quickie are usually satisfied—that is, as long as the handles remain intact.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The biggest flaw is a complaint you see popping up in roughly 10 percent of the Amazon reviews (and a few at Home Depot, too): the 60” steel handle snaps off at the head. That may be because the screw-end of the handle isn’t made of steel; it’s plastic—a lighter plastic than the “resin” plastic head. This particular break makes it difficult to replace the handle because you can’t unscrew the portion of the handle that’s still stuck in the broom head. You could probably use pliers to twist it out, as Sweethome editor Harry Sawyers suggested to me, but you really shouldn’t have to do that to a broom, even if it is cheap. The steel handle has plastic threads, and you could potentially replace this handle with a new one that uses metal threads, and still come out at a lower price than the O’Cedar. Or you could get lucky and buy one that doesn’t unexpectedly break.

Some fibers bent on the Quickie's broom head, but not many.

Some fibers bent on the Quickie’s broom head, but not many.

Beyond that, this 18-inch broom is smaller than the 24-inch O’Cedar, so it will take more time to sweep large areas. Audubon testers felt that it didn’t penetrate cracked, uneven pavement very well. Compared to the O’Cedar, the Quickie feels light and stiff and bouncy. It’s not a tool you’d want to use for extended sweeping jobs, but hey, it’s called Quickie for a reason.

A tough broom for dry Areas

Also Great
Garrett Wade Heavy-Duty Garden & Garage Broom
This natural-bristle 12-inch-wide broom can reach deeper than a push broom into tight corners to clean every speck from uneven surfaces. Just don’t use it on wet materials.

The Garrett Wade Heavy Duty Garden & Garage Broom ($30 + $10.50 shipping) looks like a bundle of sticks, but it is a bundle of sticks with POWER. The lightweight piassava bristles (that’s a kind of palm) are stiff and strong and make fast work of dislodging leaves from deck crevices, and they shift sand with the best of the push brooms. However, the natural bristles shouldn’t be used on anything wet, which gives the synthetic push brooms a huge advantage.

This one also can’t move dry leaves as efficiently as the push brooms, because of its small 12-inch head—this is a broom you sweep in a sideways motion, not one that you push along. It weighs just two pounds, but it’s also only 57” long overall, which may make it awkward for tall sweepers. But that small size means it’s not too hard just to pick the broom up and rotate it when necessary. You’ll need to rotate it often—with such stiff bristles, Vorce said that it’s harder to change direction when you’re pushing it than it is with other, more flexible brooms.

Audubon tester Sandy Vorce called it “a sweet little broom” that’s good for getting into corners, edges, and angles.

It’s the right tool to remove every particle of dust from a small, covered patio; it excelled at moving sand off a concrete floor and leaves out of a deck’s crevices, and did a respectable job sweeping pine needles off a driveway. Audubon tester Sandy Vorce called it “a sweet little broom” that’s good for getting into corners, edges, and angles. Bonus: If you don’t even want to sweep with it, it’s a rustic and stylish enough to be a decoration in certain types of homes.

Reviewers on Garrett Wade praise the broom as “stiff” and “heavy duty,” using it to sweep wet leaves, snow, grass clippings and lawn debris of decks, floors, and brick walkways. It isn’t ideal for all heavy substances, one reviewer notes, “This is not ideal for pushing loads, as the metal clamps tend to break the bristles.” One reviewer was perturbed by the unfinished-wood handle, writing “Be prepared to wear gloves if your hands are damp or sweaty, or you’ll end up with splinters.”

Flaws but not dealbreakers

The Garrett Wade Heavy Duty Garden & Garage Broom is made of natural fibers, so you really shouldn’t use it on wet debris, and you’ll need to keep it as dry as possible to keep it from getting moldy or rotting apart. At $30 plus GW’s shipping costs, it’s also more expensive than the O’Cedar and the Quickie.

The head is small—just 12 inches—which means it will take longer to sweep large garage floors and decks than it would with the O’Cedar broom. But some users consider that small footprint a benefit. According to one a Garrett Wade reviewer, it’s “much easier to handle than a push broom.” If you’d prefer an easy-handling, good-looking natural-fiber broom over the efficient-but-astroturf-green bristles of the O’Cedar, this is your pick.

How we picked

An outdoor broom is a broom you use to clean your sidewalk, driveway, stairs, or deck. The bristles are heavier and stiffer than the bristles on indoor brooms so that they can move small amounts of heavy materials like sand and gravel, not just household dust. Some people also use them for sweeping dry snow off decks and porches, wet leaves from a patio, and any mix of urban debris from a city sidewalk.

An excellent broom can move large debris like leaves or small gravel, but also sweep up fine particles and sand. It should be light enough to move easily (the brooms in our sample all weighed 5 lbs. or less), and have a sturdy handle that stays attached without coming unscrewed mid-sweep. Ideally, the handle can be replaced when necessary (because no handle lives forever).

There are two main types of heavy-duty brooms: corn brooms and push brooms.

From left to right: Lehman's, Garret Wade Patio, Weiler, Rubbermaid, Garret Wade Angle, O'Cedar

From left to right: Lehman’s, Garret Wade Patio, Weiler, Rubbermaid, Garret Wade Angle, O’Cedar

A corn broom is what you’d expect a witch to ride on, with a bundle of fibers called a head tied to the end of a handle, which is generally made of wood. Corn broom heads, generally made of some kind of plant fibers, are attached directly to their handles. You can’t replace corn broom handles without taking the entire head apart; the bristles are glued and clamped to the handle and sewn together further down the head. The advantage of corn brooms is that they look and and feel like larger, stiffer indoor brooms, and are easy to use for small areas, light debris, and when sweeping out tight corners.

Push broom heads are wider and flatter than corn broom heads, and the bristles are set into a wooden or plastic block that can be separated from the handle. You can sweep a larger area more quickly with a push broom than a corn broom, but there are trade-offs. They’re great for wide open areas, but getting a push broom into a corner is a challenge. The bristles on push brooms tend to be stiffer, thicker, and placed farther apart, so they can be less efficient at sweeping dust and fine particles (and some common dust particles are as fine as .1 microns across.) Some brooms, like the O’Cedar 24” Multi-Surface Push Broom and the Quickie Bulldozer—two of our picks—combine an outer ring of soft, fine bristles with an inner core of thick bristles, which helps the broom catch everything with some firm pushing.

Push brooms have rectangular heads with bristles attached in rows. The bristles may be glued in, which means that the bristles will eventually fall out when the glue fails, or they may be tacked in with metal staples, which leave you at the mercy of the tack-tician. For example, three bundles of tacked-in bristles on the Garrett Wade Angled-Bristle Outdoor Patio Broom (no longer available) fell out in 15 minutes of use, making up about 10% of the brooms bristles. A broom that increases the amount of debris on your floor is definitely not doing its job.

Push broom handles are commonly made of wood or aluminum; plastic isn’t strong enough for pushing sand around. Unlike rake makers, push broom manufacturers acknowledge that broom handles commonly break. Most push broom makers sell replacement handles for their brooms that usually have threaded ends that screw into the broom head. One exception is the Rubbermaid Palmyra Hardwood Block Street Broom, which simply has a conical hole. As you might expect, it doesn’t stay together very well.

Push brooms’ handles usually screw into an angled hole in the head, and there are often two holes on either side of the head so that the handle can be switched when one side of the broom’s bristles begin to wear out. The problem with screw-in brooms is that their heads tend to come loose and need to be tightened frequently for smooth sweeping. Manufacturers have tried to improve on this design. O’Cedar brooms substitute an adjustable plastic nut for the screw-in handle—and we found this works pretty well—while other manufacturers add a brace to keep the head from rotating. Contractor-grade brooms typically have a metal brace, while the Libman 24” broom has a plastic brace. (If you’d like to add a metal brace to your favorite push broom, you can buy a broom brace for $5.)

Also Great
Rubbermaid FG9B7100 Wide Angle Brace
Commercial push brooms have hardware like this Rubbermaid Wide Angle Brace ($5), a metal bracket that mounts to the broom head to and handle. Add one to your broom to keep it from breaking during heavy-duty sweeping.

Both corn brooms and push brooms are made with a confusing variety of fibers. For most homeowners, the key issue is whether the broom is made of natural fibers—corn, tampico, piassava, or palmyra—or synthetic fibers. (Be aware that while “tampico” is made of plant fibers, “black tampico” is plastic. ) Corn, palmyra, and piassava fibers are made of plants, and if you get them wet, they can rot to pieces. Synthetic fibers won’t rot if they get wet, but they can get mold and mildew and stink up your broom closet. If you’re going to be sweeping wet debris regularly, get a synthetic-bristle broom. Most synthetic fiber brooms available to consumers are made of polypropylene.

Broom bristle fibers can also be flagged or unflagged—flagged broom fibers have split ends like frizzy hair. Their fine tips are very good for sweeping up dust, but terrible for thicker, heavier materials—aka, the larger debris you need an outdoor broom to be able to move. The best outdoor brooms at least have unflagged fibers, and ideally, a combination of flagged and unflagged. Out of our sample, only three brooms—the O’Cedar 24” push broom (our top pick), the Quickie (budget pick), and the Libman 24″ Multi-Surface Heavy Duty Push Broom—had this mix of flagged fibers and unflagged fibers, which can grab fine particles and manage coarse pushing as well.

When selecting brooms to test, I looked at articles by broom manufacturers, reviews by users on Amazon, Home Depot, and Lowe’s. I came up with a list of top-rated brooms and eliminated models that cost more than $35 (with one exception), models with plastic handles that users said were likely to break, push broom models with handles that could not be replaced, and models with fewer than five reviews of their performance. I also eliminated brooms that had only flagged fibers. I ended up testing a total of four corn brooms and ten push brooms.

I also tried to get opinions from experts on the best outdoor brooms. Unfortunately, outdoor brooms are the liverwurst sandwich of landscape tools. Plenty of people have them, but they’re not trendy or fashionable, and you’re not going to watch an hour-long special on push brooms tonight on HGTV.

No one wanted to talk about brooms. Even the staff of Broom, Brush and Mop magazine didn’t get back to me.

When I set out to find reviews of outdoor brooms, I found… nothing. None of the major “shelter” sites or blogs, or Consumer Reports, or Popular Mechanics, or This Old House has ever published a piece on outdoor brooms. I tried to find experts and called up organizations that specialize in clean outdoor spaces: New York’s Central Park Conservancy, the City of Philadelphia, Disney World, The Church of Latter Day Saints’ Temple Square maintenance staff, the winners of the Brooklyn’s Greenest Block contest, the Boy Scouts of America, Miami’s Townhouse Center sponsor of the “Best Urban Block” contest… no one wanted to talk about brooms. Even the staff of Broom, Brush and Mop magazine didn’t get back to me. The professionals all use leaf blowers or power sweepers, and the amateurs don’t buy a large enough variety of brooms to see any difference. It was immensely frustrating, and I was left with the brooms I’d selected via a process of elimination.

How we tested

To get expert opinions on those brooms, I took the lot over to the Massachusetts Audubon Habitat Sanctuary where Habitat’s property manager, Sandy Vorce, and Boy Scout Troop 304—all teens, including a few Eagle Scout candidates—were embarking on a fall cleanup. Sandy and the scouts used the brooms for forty-five minutes on pine needles and leaves along Habitat’s ragged, cracked asphalt driveway.

We also tested the brooms at home to see how they’d perform in three situations most homeowners would encounter. We worked on three types of outdoor surfaces, smooth, rough, and decking with crevices, and three common types of debris—leaves, pine needles, and sand. I swept leaves on a deck, a mix of pine needles and leaves on an asphalt driveway, and mixed sand and gravel on a garage floor. On a deck, leaves tend to stick in cracks between the boards, and need a stiff broom to move them. The pine needles leave a trail of dust, testing the brooms’ ability to penetrate shallow cracks in pavement and to move fine particles. The sand and gravel tested the brooms’ performance on heavy, dense debris. Many reviewers mentioned sweeping snow in their comments, so, before winter set in, the sand stood in for heavy, wet snow. The best brooms swept through all these tests with flying colors, dislodging leaves, pushing dust out of craggy pavement, and forcing sand to the far edges of the garage.

Later in the winter, I also tested brooms on dry snow on decking. I discovered that the brooms’ performance on snow was identical to how well they did sweeping sand on a garage floor, which wasn’t surprising. In both cases, you’re sweeping fine particles. I did not test the brooms on wet, heavy snow—in several reviews of many of the brooms we tested, users report success on light snow dustings of up to 2 inches or so, and after that, the weight can break the brooms’ handles and heads.

I found that a broom’s performance isn’t related to its price, or even its brand. The Garrett Wade Heavy Duty Garden and Garage Broom was a top performer among corn brooms, while the Garrett Wade Angled Bristle Outdoor Patio Broom crumbled almost as soon as a tester touched it, losing three bundles of bristles in 15 minutes. The $14 Quickie Bulldozer performed better than the $45 Weiler Palmyra Fiber Garage Brush. A broom that cost less than $20 performed better than a $45 model, and one of our top picks is sold by the same firm that offers a broom that shed bundles of bristles as soon as it touched the ground.

The competition

In addition to our winners, we tested three corn brooms and eight push brooms.

The Lehmans Authentic Corn Barn Broom ($33) feels like the cashmere of brooms. It sweeps smoothly and softly, cleaning craggy pavement and shifting sand with finesse. It’s slightly too soft and flexible to yank leaves out of deck crevices, but it was the best broom in my sample for cleaning fine debris, bar none. Its handle is noticeably thicker than other brooms’ handles, with a circumference of approximately 3.75”, vs. 3.5” for the Weiler broom and 3” for Garrett Wade, though it still felt comfortable in our testers’ hands. It was also slightly shorter than average; its overall length is 54”, vs. 57” for the Garrett Wade Heavy Duty broom. Buy this broom for an exquisite pavement sweeping experience on fairly smooth surfaces—just remember to get a stiffer broom for your butler to clean the deck.

The Weiler 44008 Corn Fiber Heavy-Duty Wire Banded Warehouse Broom with Wood Handle ($23) is a middle-of-the-road corn broom. Like the Lehman’s broom, it wasn’t quite stiff enough to get the leaves out of the deck crevices, but it was firm enough to do an excellent job of sweeping pine needle debris and sand, and made short work of fine particles of all sorts. It doesn’t have the sumptuous feel of the Lehman, but its handle is the standard size (57” total length), and it costs $10 less.

The Rubbermaid FG638100 Red 1-Inch Handle Standard Corn Broom ($12) is “designed for rugged outdoor cleaning,” according to the manufacturer’s description, but it was smaller, lighter, and much less stiff than the other corn brooms in my sample. It simply was too soft and bendy to sweep pine needle debris or sand effectively, and it wasn’t terribly good at dislodging leaves from cracks in the deck, either. That said, it’s certainly cheap, so it’s a fine alternative if you’d actually like to buy a broom to sweep your kitchen.

The Libman 18” Push Broom ($27) is a decent choice. Light and “bouncy,” it’s easy to push, with noticeably stiff bristles. However, it left enough fine pine-needle debris on the driveway that clearing the mess took three passes, and when I swept up sand, it left a line of sand on the floor every time I put the broom down. You can do better.

03outdoorbroom

This Libman broom left streaks of sand across the floor.

The Libman Commercial 825 Rough Surface Heavy Duty Push Broom ($35) has a brace to keep the handle from twisting out of its socket, which is nice. However, between the heavy plastic block, the brace, and the metal handle, it carries a lot of weight towards the head of the broom, which can make it hard to move. Vorce commented, “The weighting is off… It takes four swipes in one area to get the leaves. It holds on to them like crazy.” On the garage floor test, its coarse bristles left streaks of sand across the floor. For the money, you could get a broom that performs better on a wider variety of conditions. Note: We intended to test the well-reviewed Libman 24″ Multi-Surface Heavy Duty Push Broom, but we acquired a very similar alternate by mistake; we will be testing the more popular item as well and will update the story with our findings.

The O’Cedar Outdoor Power Angler Angle Broom ($16) garnered praise for its ability to get into corners and cracks. That said, it’s light-weight and small, at 1.6 pounds and 60” overall length. Its head is only 10” and light, which makes it hard to push heavier debris or clear large surfaces quickly. It’s fine if you want to clean that little spot on the patio where your no-good-son-in-law throws his cigarette butts when you make him smoke outside, but if you ever want to sweep anything heavier, you’ll be wishing that your bought something else.

The Rubbermaid Commercial Palmyra Hardwood Block Street Broom looks promising, with strong, sturdy, firmly-attached bristles—but it’s just a broom head. The broom does have a hole for inserting a handle, but that hole doesn’t have threads. It’s just a conical hole, designed to match the Rubbermaid Commercial Sanded Wood Handle with Tapered Tip—that is, a pointy stick. What happens when you sweep with a broom pushed onto the end of a pointy stick? The head falls off, over and over and over again. Neither I nor my testers could manage to make the Rubbermaid Palmyra broom stay on its handle.  If you have patience, glue, a strong arm, and a mallet, you could probably make this broom head work for you.

Catching pine needles

Catching pine needles.

The Supersweep 24-inch Maroon Poly Broom ($40) performed better than any other broom at sweeping up leaves on a deck—but its bristles snagged dozens of pine needles without shifting smaller debris (much to the Scouts’ annoyance). And in the garage-floor test, it left sand streaks on every stroke. If all you want to do is sweep leaves, this is your broom, but an outdoor broom needs to be able to do more than sweep leaves.

The WOLF-Garten Outdoor Broom B40M ($23) is small for an outdoor push broom—it’s just 16” wide—and you’ll need to buy a $22 handle to go with it if you don’t already have a suite of WOLF-Garten tools. That brings the total cost to $45…plus the glue you’ll need to keep the handle from constantly shifting and clicking while you use the broom. Many Amazon reviewers are very happy with WOLF-Garten’s aluminum “Multi-Star” handle system, where a single pole with a push-button locking system attaches to a variety of different tool heads. But I found with the broom (as well as the WOLF-Garten rake I reviewed) that the handle attachment is loose and tends to rotate, wobble, and shift during use. It’s hard to work efficiently when it feels like the tool you’re using is going to fall apart at any moment. Eschew the Multi-Star for the galaxy of firm-handled brooms.

The Weiler Palmyra Fiber Garage Brush with Wet Or Dry Sweeping ($17) is, as you might suspect, just a brush head. You’ll need to buy a handle ($5) to go with it. You might want to get a tube of glue, too. Vorce observed, “After eight pushes, you have to retighten the handle,” although she liked it because of its “good coverage.” In testing, it did a decent job on every task, although it wasn’t the best in any category. It required two pases to clear the pine needle residue, but just two; it left sandy streaks in the garage, but not terrible ones, and didn’t shed lines of sand at the beginning of new strokes. If you can get the handle to stay attached, this is a good overall broom.

Care and maintenance / setup

There are just two rules for broom care:

  • Don’t put your broom away wet. Corn brooms will mildew or rot, and they shouldn’t be used to sweep wet debris in the first place. Synthetic brooms won’t rot, but they can end up smelling… peculiar. Dry out your broom before you put it back in the closet.
  • Keep the bristles from getting crushed. It’s very easy to bend any kind of broom bristles out of shape if there’s any weight on them, as I remembered slightly too late for my Quickie sample. Do not let your broom sit on its bristles. Hang the broom by its handle, or lean it so that the bristles aren’t touching anything.

Old brooms can be revived if you trim off the broken, split ends of the bristles, but those broken, split ends may be better at picking up small particles, like flagged broom bristles, so think carefully about your priorities before you break out the scissors.

If dusty cleaning implements offend you, you can clean plastic brooms with hot water and bleach. Cleaning corn brooms is trickier because if they stay too wet for too long, they’ll mildew. The Martha Stewart juggernaut suggests that you “Clean the bristles by running them over a stiff edge, such as a deck stair or a front stoop,”… that is, put the dirt back on the places you were trying to clean with your outdoor broom in the first place. You can’t win.

Wrapping it up

The O’Cedar 24″ Multi-Surface Push Broom ($22) is the best outdoor broom because it’s easily maneuverable, the handle stays put, it clears a lot of ground quickly, and it can tackle the most common substances you find on outdoor surfaces—all for a reasonable price. For a smaller, cheaper alternative (that doesn’t work quite as fast), we liked the Quickie 00528 18-Inch Bulldozer Push Broom Indoor/Outdoor ($14). Then, for a stiff, tough broom to sweep dry outdoor areas, the best performer after months of testing was the Garrett Wade Heavy Duty Garden & Garage Broom ($28). Scout’s honor!

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