Pressure Washers Buying Guide
Whether it's a weather-worn deck or some not so shiny siding on your house, pressure washers can work wonders for nearly all of your outdoor cleaning needs. They can be up to fifty times more powerful than your average garden hose and can use up to 80% less water, proving both effective and energy efficient. But before you run out to buy the ultimate pressure washer, it's important to assess your needs. Some washers are suited for certain smaller jobs, while others are so powerful they could blow the tar right off of your driveway! So check out some of the basics on pressure washers below to avoid any disastrous home improvement projects .
The water pressure exerted by pressure washers is measured in "psi." The smaller the number, the smaller the job the washer is suited for. Here's the breakdown:
- 1200 psi — 1350 psi: This level is best suited for cleaning deck and lawn furniture or washing your car.
- 1500 psi — 2200 psi: This is the right amount of pressure needed for a thorough deck cleaning.
- 2200 psi — 3500 psi: If you want to clean your house siding or get stains off a concrete porch, bump your pressure up to this level.
Pressure washers are available with different pump drive methods including direct drive, plunger pump and belt-driven. Heavy-duty belt-driven pumps are often more efficient and durable than their direct drive counterparts, and plunger pumps offer a smoother flow of water in a more compact package. The type of pump you purchase often depends on the type of work you plan to do. Pressure washers also come in electric and gasoline powered varieties as seen below:
Electric Pressure Washers
Pressure washers with electric motors are measured in amperage (amps). The more amps, the more powerful the machine.
Gas Pressure Washers
Pressure washers with gasoline engines are measured in horsepower (HP). The more horsepower, the more powerful the machine.
Some Important Questions
- What are you planning to clean? Things that can withstand and benefit from pressure washing include driveways, animal crates and kennels , decks and patios, outdoor furniture , cars and home siding.
- Are you trying to beat the clock? Heavy-duty pressure washers can cut your cleaning time in half.
- Some like it cold or hot? Cold water pressure washers are less expensive because they are not as effective when cleaning extremely oily or greasy spots. But if you only plan on using them occasionally for small jobs, they are a wise investment.
- What about portability? Electric washers are best used indoors--they are restrained by a cord. Gas-powered pressure washers are more portable and therefore better used outside. Plus, gas washers produce carbon monoxide and other potentially lethal substances that should not be released in a confined space that does not allow for ventilation.
- Storage space? The more heavy duty the washer, the bigger it is. So make sure you've cleared out room in the garage or shed .