Pros: rubber blades, easy empty dirt traps
Cons: not durable, not good for fine dirt
I'm so glad this has finally been added to the Epinions database. I've waited a long time to write a review of it. I have had the 3M Sweeper for about a year now. I got it for 50 dollars at Wal-mart. It is a good bit more expensive than a typical sweeper (say the traditional Bissell with the regular bristled roller brushes), which can usually be had for around 30 dollars. Wal-mart has since discontinued carrying these, and they only had them for a few months, so they mustn't have sold well. This sweeper appealed to me because, instead of typical bristled roller brushes like most sweepers have, it uses rubber blades on the rollers. This is the kind of sweeper that is used in many restaurants, and for good reason. The blades on these sweepers do a good job at picking up large and damp messes.
Part of the reason I wanted a manual sweeper is because it is quiet and I live in an apartment. I didn't want to disturb neighbors if I needed to pick up a mess in the late hours that I stay up after work while normal people sleep. I have lots of vacuums (I collect vacuums and floorcare products as a hobby), but they aren't always convenient to pull out after a hard day of work. It's easier to have something light weight and cordless for a quick pick up.
In the box, the machine comes with just the machine. There are no accessories, and everything you need to know about it is written on the box. All you have to do is snap the handle sections to the base and you're good to go. Just push the device back and forth over the dirt and it's whisked into one of the two collection bins.
The rubber blades do a GREAT job picking up many things. I have rolled it over damp penne pasta noodles, paper shreddings from the paper shredder (which have clogged some of my expensive vacuums), cat litter, dirt and leaves tracked in from outside, and chunks of paper towels. I'm ashamed to admit, I've even run it over chunks of my cats puke that I was too lazy to bend over and pick up with great success. I haven't done it much as my cat doesn't make a mess often, but it's nice to have the ability!
The handle is one of the best I've seen on a sweeper like this. Most handles on typical sweepers are straight and not very comfortable. This one while plastic, is very comfortable, because it bends back and has a gentle curve made to fit the users hand. I believe the word is ergonomic. The handle is held together with locking snaps. Most sweepers like this have handles that screw together and they come unscrewed during use. The snaps on this one stay in place always!
Another great design is the dual dirt traps. Most manual sweepers have hinged doors on the bottom. They require the user to lift the entire contraption over the garbage pail and hold the door open while shaking the thing to dislodge the dirt. This one has easily removable dirt traps that come off from the top and can be taken right to the garbage for easy disposal. I like the fact that the dirt traps are transparent so the dirt level can be easily monitored.
This sweeper has a rubber furniture bumper around it to avoid it marring fine furniture.
One more great thing about this sweeper is that the roller blades can be removed and rinsed off, which is great considering the messy tasks this thing was designed for.
There are a few things that I don't like about this sweeper... after all, nothing is perfect. The first thing is that it doesn't have a hole in the handle that would enable it to be hung up like most do. Also, it isn't very durable. One of the rubber blades actually FELL OUT of the roller while I was using it. I'd only had it a month when that happened. I did find it and after I figured out what it was 3 months later, reinstalled it successfully. Also, one of the blades is torn... I don't know how that happened, I haven't been picking up razor blades with it. This sweeper will spit dirt back out every now and then, even when the bins aren't full. I can't think of any reason why, unless it's just bulimic.
While it does a decent job picking up chunky things from thin carpets and bare floors, it is not a miracle machine. Really small/fine dirt and pet hair seem immune to this sweeper. There is some pet hair in the bin whenever I empty it, but that isn't something it does well. Chasing down an elusive hairball with this thing is something done in vain. For me it's ok since that's not what I bought it for, but it may be an issue for some people. It doesn't clean edges at all, so don't expect that. Another bad thing about this sweeper that also happens in many other sweepers is that dirt, lint, and fuzz get collected around the ends of the rolling mechanism and require removal for smooth operation. Like almost everything else in the world, this thing is comprised almost entirely of plastic save the rubber blades on roller and aluminum handle (kudos for not going plastic there too, 3M). It would be nice to see metal creep its way back into some of our modern products.
All in all, it's a good sweeper as long as your expectations are appropriate. It has unique features, and many other rubber bladed sweepers cost twice as much (Oreck, Hoky, Rubbermaid (usually made by Bissell) just to name a few). I always recommend to buy from a place that has a return policy so that if it doesn't work for you, you can get a refund. Floor care product reviews are pretty subjective because everyone has different types of floors and different types dirt. Add to the mix the fact that many people write inaccurate reviews of floor care products because they don't know how to properly use them or don't care enough to properly maintain them, and you've got a mess. The only way to be sure is to try them in your own home with your own dirt and see what happens.
I'll update this review if my experience with this sweeper changes in any way.