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Help Me Understand How to Use a Rotary Sweeper

We want to help you understand everything you need to know about rotary sweepers.

Rotary sweepers have been around for a long time.


As of this writing, many types of sweepers and brooms are on the market. There are street sweepers, walk-behind sidewalk sweepers, and those that are powered by an ATV, UTV, or a tractor.

We are going to focus on rotary sweepers used with tractors.


Rotary sweepers, used with tractors, can be powered in many ways.

They can be powered by the tractor engine/transmission using a belt-driven or chain-driven gearbox --- a hydraulic mower powered off the tractor hydraulic system --- a driveshaft from the transaxle/transmission --- or from a separate pump, powered by the tractor power take-off (PTO).

Most rotary sweepers, when observed from the right side, will rotate clockwise (counterclockwise when viewed from the left). Debris is propelled forward. Some rotary sweepers have a reverse broom rotation, which makes it easy to use against a building, while the tractor backs up and “pulls.”


You can mount a rotary sweeper to a three-point hitch (3PH), tractor loader boom, and/or tractor-specific, specialty mounts or quick hitches.

Proper ballasting is key.

Many tractors will require suitcase weights, a ballast box, or an appropriate rear implement to maintain friction and keep adverse loads off the tractor.


Angling a rotary sweeper adds versatility. It allows the operator to direct the debris to the sides.

On a smaller lawn tractor, changing the angle might be accomplished by the operator simply getting off the tractor, pulling a pin, and manually changing the angle.

Some setups use a manual crank to change the angle. Others, such as found on subcompact and compact tractors, may have hydraulic angling systems. On larger tractors, water dispensing systems might be part of the package to hold down dust.


Storage stands are a must.

Without a stand, the rotary sweeper would rest on the soft bristles. This would make them prone to tipping over and flattening the bristles.

Rotary sweepers are heavy, weighing a few hundred pounds or more. A storage stand makes reattaching much easier. Many rotary sweepers have gauge wheels which also help to reattach.


What can a tractor-driven rotary sweeper be used for?

For starters --- “Sweeping.”

If your drive is near a slope, and debris gathers after a rain, a rotary sweeper is an effective and effortless way to clean it up.

If leaves collect on your drive, a rotary sweeper can gather them for later pickup by a pull/tow-behind collection system.

Pine needles can create problems. Collection systems struggle to pick them up. A rotary broom brushes the needles into a pile. This makes it easier for the collection system to gather them up.

Do you do plug aerating? Those little plugs can take weeks to dissipate. A rotary sweeper can speed up the process. They can even push the plugs into a pile where the turf can be reclaimed later.

A rotary sweeper can be used to thin out a lawn thatch.

Rotary sweepers are great for collecting leaves. They can push the leaves into a pile. At the same time, they can clear your lawn of sticks, stones, pebbles, and even acorns.

There are also commercial uses.

A rotary sweeper can be used to backfill the cut trench.

The same goes for any digging project. Backfilling a hole is simpler with a rotary sweeper.

For properties with gravel drives, winter plowing/snow blowing provides another challenge once spring rolls around. Cleaning the lawn from the pushed/blown gravel is a slow, high effort process with a rake. If the ground is still frozen, a landscape rake can be used. Often it creates more turf damage. A rotary sweeper excels at this task and is far easier on the turf.

Snow removal is easier with a rotary sweeper.

For snowfalls of 2” or less, a rotary sweeper is effective at cleaning/clearing to the bare surface. If the snowfall is heavier, rotary sweepers lose their effectiveness. During heavy snowfall, it is best if the operator just keeps up with the snowfall by making a few passes.

There is another nuance --- when a person or animal walks on the snow before it is swept. This causes the footprint to freeze. When the rotary sweeper goes over the print, it will polish it, and it becomes slippery. When that happens, you can go over the slippery footprints with sand, salt, or a chemical such as magnesium chloride. If you have a tractor with a front-mounted rotary sweeper, having a rear PTO-driven spreader can be a highly productive and efficient complement.

Keep in mind that many surfaces are fragile or easily damaged. When a rotary sweeper’s bristles are set at the proper height, the cleaning action can be very gentle. Gentle enough to be used on wood decks, tennis courts, and even artificial turf.

Gauge wheels are available for most rotary sweepers. They can be pricey. Do not skimp on this option. Gauge wheels help keep the weight off the tractor frame. They also help maintain the right amount of pressure on the turf, increasing the rotary sweeper's effectiveness, while decreasing the wear on the pricey bristles. Gauge wheels also help with storage and implement reattachment.

Here are some of the drawbacks to Rotary Sweepers:

  • Expensive replacement brushes --- (You can check the aftermarket for less expensive parts) Polishes footprints/tire tracks to a slippery shine

  • Added tractor length can cause maneuverability issues

  • Require additional storage space

  • Service and maintenance time and expense

  • Expensive implement

Here are the benefits to Rotary Sweepers:

  • Cleans right down to the set height

  • Cleans down to the surface

  • Works well on fragile surfaces

  • Can be used on a variety of materials (dirt, leaves, gravel, mulch, thatch, snow)

  • Can be sized and used on virtually any tractor

  • Beats using a hand broom

If you need any further help or have any questions about rotary sweepers, tractors, or anything else, please contact your dealer, local mechanic, or call us at 602-734-9944. Please ask about our current new and used tractor supply.

Team Tractor and Equipment - #1 Tractor Dealer in Arizona. We sell and service most major brands of tractors including Yanmar, Kubota, John Deere, TYM, Mahindra, Kioti, Case, New Holland, Massey Ferguson, Ford, Deutz, Case IH, Farmall, International Harvester, Branson Tractors, LS, Shibura, Claas Tractor, McCormick Tractors, Valtra, Solis, YTO, Montana, and Nortrac.

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