Getting rid of stubborn dirt and grime can be a pain. Think motor oil stains and mud in the driveway. Without the proper tools, it can take hours of backbreaking labor, and lots of water. Luckily, pressure washers make the hard tasks look so easy. It even makes it fun to clean the driveway, car, walls, patio, garden furniture, and more. In the end, you use less energy and time to deep clean all your property and equipment. The thing is, not all pressure washers are reliable. You need to select the right one to suit your needs. That’s what this pressure washer buying guide is all about. We help you choose wisely by telling you everything you need to know before buying a pressure washer.
Electric Vs. Gas Pressure Washers
Electric pressure washers are powerful, with some capable of up to 2000 PSI. They are quiet, portable, and lightweight. They are also low maintenance since you don’t need to change the oil or refuel it to work. Plus, you don’t need to replace major parts after every few uses.
However, they can limit the area you want to wash due to their reliance on a power cable. It's not advisable to use extension cables. So, if you have a short cable, it won't serve you well if you want to clean areas like your fence due to a lack of power supply nearby.
Gas pressure washers, on the other hand, can work anywhere since you don’t need a power supply. While they are heavy, most of them have wheels to make them easy to move around. Unlike electric pressure washers, gas-powered pressure washers require regular upkeep.
These machines can be quite powerful as well, with some offering up to 4,000 PSI. But, the more power you need, the higher the price tag. Not forgetting, you'll have to foot the expense of stocking up on oil, gas, and detergents.
When deciding which one to choose, think about how you intend to use the machine. If you plan to be handling larger tasks that require plenty of power, a gas model might be more appropriate. If you plan to be washing areas around your house, including furniture and equipment, an electric-powered pressure washer would be more ideal.
Overall, electric pressure washers are suitable for light cleaning and weekend use. Gas pressure washers are great for daily use, heavy-duty tasks, and anywhere use.
Pressure and flow rate
Before you settle for a machine, you need to know what you’ll be cleaning, how often, and how dirty the area will be. With such details, you can pick the pressure washer with the best pressure and flow. Usually, the dirtier the area is, the higher the pressure it will need. This will also depend on the surface. Hard surfaces like concrete will require more pressure to clean stubborn dirt.
Likewise, the water flow rate indicates the machine’s performance when rinsing. So, to clean your surfaces faster, you’ll need a pressure washer with a higher water flow rate.
A machine with low water pressure (less than 100 bar) is ideal for light-duty cleaning tasks.
For medium-duty cleaning tasks, look for a machine with medium water pressure (110 - 130 bar) and medium flow rates.
For heavy-duty cleaning, go for a machine that can output high water pressure (130+ bar) and high water flow rates.
The nozzle controls the intensity and focus of the water being sprayed. The nozzle is usually located at the tip of the pressure washer wand. Depending on the brand you buy, the nozzles will vary.
A machine can be fitted with an all-in-one adjustable nozzle that allows you to adjust its water pressure with a single twist. Or, it can be sold with a set of color-coded swappable nozzles. A machine with interchangeable nozzles is more convenient since all you need to do is twist the nozzle to change the spray intensity and pattern.
Other features to consider:
Portability is crucial when buying a pressure washer. If you plan to be cleaning a large area, a pressure washer with wheels is more convenient. You should also factor in the weight of the machine. So, before you make your pick, try out the different machines in the store to make sure you'll be comfortable wheeling it around.
The hose length will, depending on how far you want to reach. A shorter hose may limit you and slow down your cleaning. To cover large areas fast, be sure to buy a unit with the maximum hose length.
Additionally, you’ll make your work easier if you get a machine with multiple accessories. For instance, a unit with a patio cleaner will make the work less messy and reduce the time you'd take to clean paving, concrete, and paths. Likewise, some machines come with wash brushes, suction hoses, detergent systems, etc.
When buying any equipment or appliance, be sure to read the fine print. Don’t just take their word for it. Plus, get to know the details of what the warranty covers. Some warranties cover only the frame and engine. You want to get a warranty that covers the engine, pump, and anything else that’s necessary.
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