Brush Hour: The World's 7 Neatest & Sweetest Street Sweepers

Street sweepers might not have the celebrity clout of other motorized vehicles but you'll appreciate them every time one of those “cool” cars doesn't leave you in its dust.

Clean At Any Speed

The Global M4 hydrostatic drive street sweeper from Global Environmental Products can hustle down the highway at up to 65 mph... but don't get TOO excited, that's just the travel speed. This sharp-looking machine is limited to only 14 mph when in sweeping mode. (street sweeper image via Global Environmental Products   

Brushin' Russians

“Invasion of the Retrofuturistic Street Sweepers” sounds like a low budget sci-fi flick worthy of the MST3K treatment but in this case, truth is stranger than friction. Kudos to English Russia for resurrecting the above image of a trio of model PU-7 (we kid you not) Soviet street sweepers polishing off a Moscow boulevard back in 1938. Doubtless they haven't changed much since then. (street sweeper image via English Russia)

Clean It With Fire!!

The hydrogen-powered CityCat H2 has been quietly going about its business cleaning the streets of Basel, Switzerland, since 2009 – we'd bet those stoic Baselians would be surprised to know that. Powered by a fuel cell charged with hydrogen, the CityCat is at the cutting edge in street sweeper design. Then again, the Hindenburg was the cutting edge in zeppelin design... just sayin'. (street sweeper image via Hydrog(E)nics)

New Technology From Mongolia

You say your job sucks? Spend a few minutes on this rolling monstrosity from Mongolia and you'll be whistling while you work in no time flat! On the bright side, it's eco-friendly and requires “no fuel, no electricity”... just the blood, sweat and tears of a human operator. (street sweeper image via Ryan McFarland)   

The Street Sweeper Of Tomorrow

If you thought street sweepers were trundling, utilitarian and anti-stylish (and admit it, we all did), the X-Cav Street Sweeper concept is about to blow your mind... and clean up the mess afterwards. This space-age street sweeper designed by Carlos Schreib has got what it takes to clean up today's mean streets, not to mention tomorrow's. (street sweeper image via Tuvie  

A Roomba For The Road

Designer Olga Kalugina brings us the Scarab, a robotic street sweeper that takes the human factor out of the equation entirely. Bigger than a vacuum cleaner and equipped with grabber arms to deal with larger articles of trash, the Scarab cleans everything in its programmed path and it's toilet-trained to boot, automatically seeking out receptacle bins when it's time to empty its load. You wish your dog was so talented. (street sweeper image via Robot Reviews)

No Broom To Pass

I think we can all agree street sweepers are engineering marvels, and we'll include the Chinese spinning wheel of brooms above with no hesitation. It may be low-tech but you've gotta admit it gets the job done... OK, it gets the job done by redistributing roadside dust, dirt and debris a couple of meters or either side but hey, at least it's (mainly) off the road. Mission accomplished!      
All hail the mighty street sweeper, unsung patron saint of dust-free roads and asphalt so clean you could eat off it – thought that's not recommended, unless you've got a thing for roadkill. (street sweeper image at top via iCollector, above via Kevin Koski)