What are the benefits of buying a pressure washer instead of renting one?
A pressure washer is a great tool to have around your house; in makes any sort of outdoor cleaning project a breeze. If you’re looking for a pressure washer to do one big job and then don’t plan on using it again, consider the cost of renting a pressure washer for two days; you could pay as much as $50 per day, and if it’s a big project it could even last longer for two days. Comparably, you can buy your own power washer for as little as $100 and you’ll have a great addition to your garage that you can use any time you need to. Once you have a pressure washer, you’ll probably find yourself discovering many, many projects that you can use it for.
Which is better, a gas or electric power washer?
Gas and electric powers have their own benefits depending on how you plan on using them. A gas pressure washer will generally be much more powerful and suited for professional or industrial work; you also have more room to move around because you don’t need to plug it in to anything. Electric pressure washers are more suited for light work around your home or business and are quieter as well as being lighter and easier to handle. However, they do need to be plugged in to an outlet, limiting your mobility.
What is PSI?
PSI stands for “pounds per square inch”, and it measures how much water pressure you’ll get from a power washer. This helps you determine the cleaning power; a very low PSI would be between 1500 and 1900, while a very high PSI would be 3300 and up. Some power washers offer adjustable PSIs ranging from 500 to 3000.
What PSI will I need for my pressure washer?
The PSI you should look for will depend on the types of projects you’re planning on doing. For example, if you mainly want to be able to wash your car or patio furniture, you won’t need a heavy duty power washer with a high PSI, and anything between 1000 and 2500 will work fine. If you’re looking to pressure wash sidewalks, siding, stairs, or fencing, a high PSI is preferable between 2000 and 3000. Your best bet if you plan on doing a variety of projects is to get a multi-duty power washer that ranges from 500 to 3000.
What is GPM?
GPM is short for “gallons per minute” and is a measure of how much water is released. It’s used in conjunction with PSI to get a good measure of a power washer’s overall cleaning power. Most home-use pressure washers have a GPM of up to 2.8.
How are the motors of pressure washers measured in terms of power?
For gas engines, power is measured by HP or horsepower; for electric pressure washers, power is measured in amps.
Should I get a hot or cold water pressure washer?
While hot water power washers tend to be more effective and clean faster while requiring less soap, they are more complicated and bulkier than cold water pressure washers. Unless you are using your pressure washer for industrial or farming purposes, a cold water pressure washer should work fine for your home without being too complicated or take up too much space.
What features should I look for in a power washer?
Some good features to keep an eye out for include adjustable and interchangeable wands or interchangeable nozzle tips, a rotating nozzle, and an easy-to-pull starter.
What are the benefits of having adjustable and interchangeable wands?
Adjustable wands give you control over how much pressure you want to use; for a high pressure, you need a narrow stream, while a wide stream will give you lower pressure. This allows you to wash your car or your stairs with the same pressure washer. Interchangeable wands work in a similar way, but give you greater range of spray options.
What is the difference between interchangeable wands and an interchangeable nozzle tip?
An interchangeable nozzle tip will give you the most control over the pressure and spray released by your power washer. You pick whichever tip you want for your project and you can choose by degrees instead of just low/high. For example, you can get a very powerful spray from a zero-degree tip, moderate power but wider range with a 15- to 25-degree tip, and a light spray for light-duty projects with a 40-degree tip.
How would a rotating nozzle help me?
A rotating nozzle allows you to wash while rotating the stream, giving the stream a circular effect that can be very good for heavy-duty cleaning.
What is an easy-to-pull starter?
If you choose to get a gasoline pressure washer, it probably has a pull-style ignition like on a lawnmower. Some very, very high quality gas pressure washers have electric ignition, but most have a lever you need to pull. Getting a pressure washer with an easy-to-pull starter, available in many Generac motors, reduces the risk of fatigue and makes starting the washer easy and frustration-free.
What is the difference between a spray wand and a spray gun?
Spray wands are generally smaller and thinner and may or may not have an independent control to stop or start water flow; spray guns are generally larger and have a trigger that controls water flow. Many pressure washers come with one or both of these; obviously, having the choice between the two is ideal, so washers with both are the best choice, but in general a spray gun will be more helpful than a spray wand.
Can I use detergents or cleaning agents in my power washer?
Yes; most pressure washers offer either a detergent tank or a siphoning hose that will allow you to use detergents or cleaning agents to clean faster and more thoroughly. Some models, like many in the Sun Joe line, offer two detergent tanks and a detergent activator switch so you can easily switch between detergents while using the pressure washer.
How loud is a pressure washer?
Electric pressure washers operate at about 78 decibels, while gasoline powered pressure washers operate at about 85 decibels; at 85 decibels, hearing protection is recommended. These are average noise levels, so individual models may differ.
Are there any safety tips I should know before using my pressure washer?
As with any sort of large machinery, your safety is important when using a pressure washer. Wear protective clothing, including goggles and a helmet, when using a power washer. If you’re using a gas pressure washer, use hearing protection. Practice using the power washer in a secluded area before using it on your home or vehicle. Always stand far from the surface you are planning to wash when you first begin the cleaning process; you can move closer when you need to, but don’t get less than half a foot from the surface. Always use just as much pressure as is needed to remove the dirt or stain. Always point away from other people and animals, as well as any sort of electric devices.
What can I clean with a pressure washer?
You can clean just about any outdoor surface with a pressure washer. You can use in on your home’s siding, on your ATV, your grill or mountain bike, or your roof. You can also use it to help strip paint and remove graffiti. You can use a power washer on a motorcycle or golf cart, patio furniture or floor mats, or even for cleaning an airplane or boat. They’re great for cleaning out kennels, dumpsters, statues, and just about anything that needs to be cleaned quickly.
Reliable motor power
Gas and electric motors use different measurements for power. Electric engines use typically use amps. Induction and universal motors are both good choices, because they are durable and offer 10-15 amps. Electric motors are known for being lightweight. For gas motors, OHC or OHV (overhead cam or overhead valve) engines are reliable and very efficient. They come in either 2-stroke or 4-stroke, with 4-stroke being the better choice. Gas motors are measured by the size of the engine – cubic centimeters – so any engine close to 200cc’s or higher provides good power. Features like low-oil shutdown help keep a gas engine running smoothly.
With pressure washers, it is very important to look at the PSI and GPM specs. PSI stands for “pounds per square inch,” and measures the water pressure coming out of the washer. For comparison, a normal garden hose has 30-40 PSI, while a lower-powered pressure washer gives at least 1700 PSI. GPM stands for “gallons per minute,” which gives you an idea about the amount of water your pressure washer uses. Usually, the higher the PSI, the higher the GPM. If your washing chores include patios, decks, cars, and other non-commercial jobs, you don’t need an extremely high PSI or GPM. 1700-1900 PSI with around 1.5 GPM should be more than sufficient. Really difficult chores found at commercial spaces like industrial kitchens, construction sites, or livestock stables need at least 3000 PSI with 2 GPM. Don’t be tempted to get a really powerful pressure washer for home use, because the water pressure can actually damage your cars or house siding.
Having a durable pump is very important for the effectiveness and lifespan of your pressure washer. Triplex 3 axial-piston wobble plate pumps are some of the best because of their tempered stainless steel plungers, ability to handle very high water pressure, and convenient location on the pressure washer. Other good materials include brass and non-corrosive polymer. PowerBoost technology is another great feature because it provides extra high pressure right at the pressure washer’s nozzle, ensuring a powerful stream of water that speeds up your cleaning tasks. To protect your pump from overheating, safety features like thermal relief and instant start/stop can keep your pump performing at its best for a long time.
Versatile hose tips
Pressure washer hoses come with multiple hose tips so you can clean different objects and spaces effectively. At minimum, nearly all pressure washers include adjustable spray lances, so you can switch up the power of the water stream. Hose tips can include a variety of stream degrees, like 25, 40, 15, and 0-degree. For cleaning smaller areas, the smaller degree tips are best (0-degree is the most narrow tip), while tips like the 40-degree send out a fan of water. Quick-connect tips are the most convenient hose tip you could get, because they easily switch out and can usually be stored right on the pressure washer. For the actual hose, swivel adaptors allow you to fit the hose right unto the garden hose for a water source, while hoses that don’t kink up allow you to work faster.
Pressure washers can be heavy and are often used in areas with uneven or rough terrain, like stables or construction sites. Having wheels and even a trolley is very important for your pressure washer’s stability. Large wheels are best, because they provide better balance. 10-inches is ideal, and pneumatic and agricultural wheels are able to handle nearly every type of terrain. Rear wheels are also very convenient, because they roll very smoothly. There is only one pressure washer available with four wheels: Karcher’s Follow Me pressure washer.
Wide washing radius
For gas-powered pressure washers, you are not limited by a cord, but the length of the hose factors into how wide your cleaning radius is. Hoses are typically at least 20 feet long, though the really long ones can reach 30 feet. This gives you a lot of range where you do not have to move the pressure washer at all. For electric pressure washers, long power cords make up for the fact the washer needs to be connected to both a water and power source. 30-feet is a good length, and then long hoses (20-30 feet) also help extend your range.
Adding soap to the powerful stream of water from the pressure washer is an extremely effective way to clean. Most pressure washers include some kind of on-board detergent tank, or at least an attachable foamer/soap bottle. The tanks can hold between 1.5 liters to ¾ gallon. Some even have two soap tanks so you can switch between cleaners using a detergent selection dial. When choosing a soap solution, make sure that it was intended for use with high-pressure water. Many brands include detergent recommendations with their pressure washers, so you can be sure about which soaps are best.
Pressure washers usually have a welded steel frame construction. The rest of the machine parts (pistons, plungers, etc) should be made of very durable materials like brass or stainless steel, because exposure to such high water pressure can quickly wear down crucial pieces of the machine. In terms of weight, lighter pressure washers range from 15-20 pounds, while the heavier-duty ones intended for big cleaning chores can reach 30-70 pounds. With trolleys, pressure washers can weigh even more.
Our Recommended Brands
For over 175 years, Campbell Hausfeld has been a leader in manufacturing agricultural equipment. Began by the three Campbell brothers in 1838, the company was originally a blacksmith workshop that manufactured plows, wagons, and other farm equipment. In 1920, the Campbells merged with a crucible furnace owned by Joseph Hausfeld, and the company became Campbell Hausfeld. In 1981, the company produced the first consumer high-pressure pressure washer. Their products over the years have included furnaces, pesticide sprayers, nailers, paint sprayers, and pressure washers. They sell equipment for both homeowners and commercial business owners, so you can choose essentially any kind of power you want.
Generac (full name Generac Power Systems) made its name in home generators. Founded in 1959, they were the first company to offer homeowners generators, and later, the first to introduce homeowners to pressure washers. Their pressure washers include machines ideal for lighter jobs as well as very difficult, large cleaning tasks. Their gas-powered pressure washers are equipped with features like low-oil protection, easy-access pumps, and overhead valve engines. They also sell replacements parts such as washer guns, hoses, and anything else that might break down over the course of pressure washer ownership.
In the 1960’s, company founder Jack Simpson began making pressure washers for paint contractors who needed a lot of power to strip paint. As one of the hardest cleaning jobs you could undertake, the paint-striping power of Simpson pressure washers continues to this day. Simpson also sells pressure washers better suited to lighter tasks, like washing decks and patios. They make both gas-powered and electric pressure washers. They also sell a variety of accessories to enhance your cleaning experience, like armored hoses that can withstand temperatures up to 250-degrees Fahrenheit, high-pressure chemical injectors, and winterizing kits.
AR Blue Clean
The Italian AR (Annovi Reverberi) is the largest privately-owned company of Triplex Plunger pumps, which many pressure washers are equipped with. The North American branch of AR was founded in 1989, and began releasing pressure washers for all sorts of cleaning jobs like washing cars, sewers, and so on. The AR Blue Clean cleaners represent AR’s move towards electric-powered equipment and reducing their carbon footprint.