Street Sweeping Broom: Tube Broom

Since the early 1900s tube brooms have been the gold standard for street sweeping. Today most OEM sweeper manufacturers use the tube broom as the default option on their new sweepers.

The tube broom is made by wrapping bristle around a steel tube. The broom is then mounted to the sweeper and rotates to either kick debris up into a hopper or to push it off to the side of the road. There are a few different styles of tube brooms designed for various types of sweepers and different sweeping applications.

Mechanical Tube Broom

Mechanical sweepers are used to clean the roads we drive on every day; municipal roads and highways. The mechanical tube broom or pick-up broom is generally in the center of the sweeper and rotates to kicks the debris up into the hopper of the sweeper.
These brooms typically have an 8 3/8” core ID and can be open-ended or have endplates depending on how the broom assembly is configured. Open-ended tubes slide over an expansion shaft which grabs the tube to drive the broom.
Tube brooms with end plates have holes that are drilled and tapped so they can bolt up to the sweeper. These bolt patterns differ by sweeper models.
The OD of the mechanical tube broom is generally 36”. The most common lengths of the brooms are 56.5″, 58″, 60″ and 66″.

Road Contractor Brooms

Road construction sweepers use large tube brooms that push the debris and millings off the road. The size of the contractor broom varies from 77” up to 96” in length depending upon the sweeper.
There are two ID’s for contractor brooms, 8 5/8” and 10″. The standard OD’s are 32” and 36”. A typical spec for one of these brooms would be 10” x 32” x 89” (ID x OD x Length).
The broom cores can be open-ended or have an end plate welded on the tube. The endplate allows the broom to be directly mounted to the sweeper.
The open-ended brooms typically have keyways welded inside the tube. The keyway allows the sweeper to lock into the tube broom and spin it using the keyway to drive the broom. The placement of the keyway varies with the make and model of the sweeper.

The Assist Brooms

The assist broom is the smallest tube broom in diameter and is used, on-air sweepers. Air sweepers have a vacuum system that sucks the debris up from the road. The assist broom sits under the sweeper and helps aid the vacuum process by directing the debris towards the vacuum system. Not all air sweepers are built with assist brooms.
Some have endplates and others are open-end. Each make and model air sweeper is different, and the brooms cannot be interchanged like some of the mechanical and contractor brooms, so it is important to know the model sweeper when ordering a replacement broom.

Bristle Type

The bristle used for tube brooms is made from polypropylene. The poly bristle has excellent durability and strong flicking action for high production sweeping. Tube brooms can have different poly diameters and different weights or density. Adding more material creates a heavier-duty tube broom that generally lasts longer and is designed for heavy sweeping applications.
Most tube brooms are available in a poly/wire mix for the sweeping jobs that require a more aggressive sweep. In this case, crimped wire is combined with the standard polypropylene bristle to make a combo tube broom. The wire adds a cutting action to help scrub debris off the surface of the road. Wire also adds more material to the broom making it heavier and extending the life of the broom.


Tube brooms can be challenging to package and ship due to the size of the brooms. Most of these brooms are placed on a skid inside a corrugated box to protect them. If a full truck of brooms is being purchased, the brooms can be shipped without boxes. No boxes means no skids so that means more brooms can fit on a truck.

As you can see, there are different options for different needs when it comes to tube brooms. Contact us at Keystone anytime to learn more about these different styles of tube brooms.

Mike Santos, Sales and Marketing Manager at Keystone Plastics, Inc.

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