There are many different types of beach cleaners in the marketplace, which can be categorized into five major groups:
- Manual beach cleaners
- Walk-behind beach cleaners
- Tractor-towed beach cleaners
- Self-propelled (ride-on) beach cleaners
- Robot beach cleaners
If you want to find out more about the pros and cons of each class and learn which are the best brands, you’ve come to the right place.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled the best beach cleaner machines under one roof!
Which Machine is Used to Clean Beaches?
Beach cleaner machines are close relatives of snow groomers and Zamboni ice resurfacers.
Each of these machines is intended to clean and smooth out the surface but they work differently.
The machines used for cleaning beaches are known by many names including beach cleaners, beach groomers, sand cleaners, or “Sandbonis”. The three most common types of beach cleaners are the walk-behind, tractor-towed, and self-propelled (ride-on) machines. However, more and more manual and robot beach cleaners are appearing in the marketplace.
At first glance, these machines resemble agricultural equipment rather than special sand cleaning devices.
Despite this, under the hood they always house innovative machinery designed to professionally clean and groom the sand. How do beach cleaners work?
In a nutshell, each beach cleaner features a special sifting or raking cleaning device intended to collect debris and trash from the sand. As a first step, they smooth the top of the sand giving it a smooth, uniform appearance.
5 Best Beach Cleaner Machines and Equipment
The five most popular beach cleaner machines and equipment are as follows:
- Manual beach cleaner equipment
- Walk-behind beach cleaner machines
- Tractor-towed beach cleaner machines
- Self-propelled (ride-on) beach cleaner machines
- Robot beach cleaners
Selecting the right sand cleaner machine depends on various factors, ranging from the budget to the size of the beach.
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and talk about these machines in detail!
1. Manual Beach Cleaner Equipment
The simplest and cheapest type of beach cleaner equipment is arguably manual sand cleaning tools. These devices typically feature two large beach wheels and a metal basket that collects the debris. They are designed to be pulled by hand, so they don’t feature any machinery.
With some creativity, you can easily build one of these even at home.
The key advantages of manual sand cleaner tools are as follows:
- Eco-friendly (zero-emissions)
- Silent operation
- Easy to use
- Requires no fuel or maintenance
Due to their simple but innovative design, manual beach cleaners can be used by anyone. And, they are much more convenient and effective than raking by hand with a simple rake.
On the other hand, the major drawback of this device is its very limited capacity.
While it’s a great choice for volleyball courts and smaller sandpits or playgrounds, it’s not recommended for larger beaches.
One of the most well-known manual sand cleaner tools is the Sandragin, which is manufactured by CleanSands Inc.
2. Walk-Behind Beach Cleaner Machines
As the name suggests, walk-behind beach cleaners are self-propelled machines that assist you with forward motion. They reduce fatigue and can clean much larger areas than their manual counterparts.
At first glance, they look like oversized garden rototillers, which they resemble in many ways.
Most walk-behind beach cleaners are powered by internal combustion engines but some of the latest models are being designed with electric engines.
They are propelled by either tires or tracks depending on the model.
One of the most popular machines in this category is the half-tracked Barracuda.
Unlike regular beach cleaners, this machine is propelled by tracks and has a “reverse” design. The latter means that the tracks are mounted on the front of the machine.
This way, the Barracuda drives over the sand before cleaning and grooming it. In contrast, conventional machines clean and smooth the sand first, then drive over the finished surface, resulting in a worse outcome.
Other main advantages of this track beach cleaner are its great maneuverability and low pounds-per- square-inch footprint, which ensures minimal sand compaction.
These types of beach cleaner machines are recommended for private beaches, beach volleyball courts, and smaller sandy areas.
3. Tractor-Towed Beach Cleaners
If you want to clear and groom large beaches, tow-behind beach cleaner machines would be for you. These machines can clean and groom large beaches effectively but they do require an appropriate tow vehicle.
Entry-level models can be towed by ATVs and smaller farm tractors, while their bigger brothers require a heavy-duty tractor or a tracked vehicle to tow them.
Towable beach cleaner machines are usually pulled behind a larger tractor by one or more rigid tow bars. They are typically powered by the tractor’s engine through the hydraulic PTO shaft.
The key advantage of these machines is their large capacity, which allows them to be used to clean large beaches and horse arenas.
They not only clean the sand from debris but also groom the surface very effectively.
So, it’s no surprise that these are the most commonly used beach cleaners wordwide.
All the weight of the tractor and the cleaning equipment is on the wheels, which puts a lot of pressure on the sand.
At the same time, the cleaner digs very deeply, removing a significant amount of sand on the surface. All of these circumstances contribute to faster beach erosion.
These machines come with hefty price tags and require a skilled operator and regular maintenance.
However, tow-behind beach cleaners are often marketed with a tow tractor in one package. This configuration is still cheaper than a self-propelled machine and offers more flexibility since the tractor can be used for many other purposes.
4. Self-Propelled (Ride-on) Beach Cleaner Machines
Self-propelled beach cleaner machines represent the flagship models in each manufacturer’s fleet. These large machines are powered by their engines and feature seats for the operator.
Due to their design, they are often referred to as ride-on beach cleaners, or “sandbonies”. The latter name is derived from Zamboni ice-surfacing machines.
Self-propelled beach cleaner machines come in all shapes and sizes, with entry-level models being surprisingly small and very maneuverable.
At the other end of the spectrum, you have the largest beach cleaners with high-performance turbo diesel engines and huge cleaning devices.
Thanks to their great capacities, they can be used on the largest of beaches.
The cons of these vehicles are their high initial and running costs and limited maneuverability.
5. Robot Beach Cleaners
One of the biggest drawbacks of conventional beach cleaners is that they need a skilled operator.
This is why robot beach cleaners are gaining in popularity.
These innovative machines rely on similar technologies as robot vacuums and lawn mowers.
Some of them are controlled by utilizing artificial intelligence while other models are RC-controlled.
Thanks to their low weight and track propulsion they don’t cause beach erosion. What’s more, the operator doesn’t leave any footprints on the groomed sand, which ensures a more professional finish.
On top of that, they are 100% emission-free since their electric engines are charged by solar panels.
The most advanced robot beach groomers can analyze and quantify the trash collected for further analysis.
Potential buyers for robot beach cleaners could be resorts, hotels, and even municipalities.
Best Beach Cleaner Manufacturers
Based on our research, the best beach cleaner machine manufacturers are as follows:
- H. Barber & Sons
- Beach Tech
- PFG Srl.
- Tuareg Srl
- Flozaga Guterh SL
- Scam Srl
- Rockland Manufacturing
- Rio Environmental Technology CO
- Tirrenia Srl
If you want to find out more about these companies and their latest lineup, don’t hesitate to follow the links above.
As a takeaway, we’ve answered the most common questions about beach cleaners!
Why do They Rake the Sand on Beaches?
The main idea behind cleaning and raking the sand on beaches is to remove trash like plastic bottles and fishing gear. These items can be harmful to marine life in many ways, so removing them is absolutely necessary.
Besides trash, a beach cleaner removes debris like wooden sticks, seagrass, shells, and rocks. Finally, the machine grooms the surface of the sand, making the beach more appealing for visitors.
Beaches attract many tourists around the world, so keeping them clean is always a great idea. A dirty beach covered by trash and debris can scare most people away.
Therefore, shoreline businesses like bars, hotels, restaurants as well as municipalities try to keep their beaches clean year-round.
What Equipment Do You Need for a Clean Beach?
You can clean a beach with a conventional rake, but cleaning larger areas of sand in this way is nearly impossible.
This is where beach cleaners come into play. These advanced machines clean and groom the sand, and at the same time they produce a nice smooth surface.
Regarding design, you can choose from a manual, walk-behind, towable, or ride-on beach cleaner based on your needs and budget.
What are Beach Cleaners Called?
Beach cleaners are known by many different names, but the most common ones are as follows:
- Beach cleaner machine
- Sand cleaner
- Beach cleaner equipment
- Sand groomer
- Beach groomer
How Much Does a Beach Cleaning Machine Cost?
As a rule of thumb, the cost of beach cleaner machines start at $10,000 and go up to a whopping $100,000+.
The prices vary widely depending on the machines’ size, features, and propulsion.
The most affordable beach cleaning machines are the small towable and walk-behind cleaners, which cost anywhere from $10,000-$30,000.
You can find medium-sized and large towable devices in the medium price range, while the most expensive beach cleaners are the high-capacity ride-on machines.
The price tag on these vehicles can even exceed an eye-popping $100,000!
How Much Does a Beach Cleaning Machine Weigh?
The net weight of beach cleaning machines varies between 250 and 10,000 pounds.
The lightest sand cleaner machines are the sifting walk-behind models that weigh anywhere from 250-750 pounds. They only store the debris since the sand falls off these machines through the screen.
The net weight of tow-behind and ride-on beach cleaners varies between 500-10,000 pounds while the gross weight of the largest models can reach a massive 13,000 pounds.
What is the Working Width of a Beach Cleaning Machine?
The working width of walk-behind beach cleaners is about 30-40 inches, which translates to a cleaning performance of 0.5-2 acres per hour.
Tow-behind cleaners come with significantly larger dimensions since their working width falls into a range of 60-100 inches. These machines can clean from 5-8 acres per hour.
The exact cleaning speed of these machines depends on many factors like the speed of the tow vehicle, the terrain, and sand conditions.
What is the Working Depth of a Beach Cleaning Machine?
The working depth of beach cleaner machines is about 4-10 inches depending on the make and model.
How Does a Beach Cleaning Machine Work?
As a rule of thumb, a beach cleaner machine can be equipped with a mechanical raking or sifting device depending on the model. However, some machines utilize a combination of these technologies.
Let’s talk about each in detail!
Raking Beach Cleaner
A raking beach cleaner features hundreds of offset tines planted into a rotating conveyor belt. These tines comb the sand, removing debris and trash, which is then placed into a container.
Surprisingly, this technology can even pick up the smallest types of trash like cigarette butts, shards of glass, and gravel.
The biggest advantage of raking beach cleaners is that they only collect the undesired elements while leaving the sand on the beach. Hence, they can travel at higher speeds and even work on wet sand faster and easier.
Sifting Beach Cleaners
Sifting beach cleaners feature a pick-up blade that gathers and delivers the waste and some sand onto a vibrating screening belt.
This belt sifts the sand out and leaves it behind while placing the waste in a storage tray mounted at the rear of the machine.
One drawback of this design is that the size of the removed waste is determined by the size of the holes in the screen.
Also, the blade scoops some sand onto the belt along with the waste. This sand takes time to be sifted through the screen, which results in a significantly slower cleaning process.
This can be particularly bad in a wet environment as dense sand needs more time to separate and find its way back onto the beach.
Combined Raking and Sifting Machinery
Combined beach cleaning machines effectively mix the two technologies. They are equipped with a vibrating screen but they pick up the waste with rotating tines instead of a conventional blade.
Once the debris is on the vibrating screen, combined beach cleaners work like any other sift cleaners to get rid of the sand deposits.
On the most advanced models, the tines can be adjusted based on the sizes of the waste.
Beach cleaners produce the best result when the sand is completely dry, regardless of their type.
How Deep Can a Beach Cleaner Penetrate and Clean?
As a rule of thumb, raking beach cleaner machines penetrate about 4-8 inches into the sand, while the largest shifting cleaners can get down to 8-10 inches.
It’s also good to know that this depth requires a very powerful tow vehicle to avoid getting stuck in the sand.
Also, the deeper the cleaner machine goes into the sand the slower the towing machine can travel.
Therefore, the depth of cleaning depends on many factors, such as the design of the cleaning device, its power, and the type of tow vehicle, along with beach conditions.
How Fast Can a Tractor-Towed Beach Cleaner Work?
Tractor-towed beach cleaners can go up to 5-15 mph depending on the model. Sifter cleaning machines are significantly slower, with the optimum speed usually falling into a range of 5-10 mph.
However, wet sand and great cleaning depth may cause extremely low speeds (<1mph!) on these machines.
Thanks to their design, raking sand cleaners are much faster, as they can reach a whopping 15 mph under ideal beach conditions with a skilled operator.
Wet sand makes both types of machines significantly slower as high speeds would collect too much sand along with the debris.
How Much Maintenance is Needed to Keep a Beach Cleaner Running?
Contrary to popular belief, beach cleaner machines are not maintenance-free. Instead, they require periodical maintenance and inspections, which is described in their operator’s manual.
As reported by BeachCleaners.com, the tines of mechanical raking beach cleaners have to be replaced every 4-5 years. However, the tines can be replaced individually without any further repairs to the belt.
If used properly, conveyor belts don’t have to be replaced for several years.
When it comes to sifting sand cleaners, their metal screens wear out much faster, so they often need to be replaced annually.
These screens tend to stretch during use, so they usually have to be adjusted a couple of times throughout the season.
The adjusting procedure is quite cumbersome and time-consuming as it requires taking the entire vibrating screen apart.
How Long will a Beach Cleaner Last?
With proper use and maintenance, beach cleaners last several years, but it heavily depends on their quality and how they’re being used.
The worn items of these machines have to be replaced on demand, but the rugged metal frame lasts for a long time if it’s cleaned and stored properly. A heavily rusted frame could be a sign that it has reached the end of its life!