Pressure washers have different areas of applications. They can be used to wash down the car or bike, to clean the walkway, and even some heavy tasks such as stripping paint off walls. The washer machines can be electric or gas powered, able to generate cold or hot water sprays and there some models that only provide cold water. When thinking of what to buy, the general rule of thumb is to think portability and power. What you need is something that allows you to carry around detergents and chemical solvents in designated on-board reservoirs.
However, that is but a relative outlook on what to expect in a pressure washer and is not enough to help you make the right choice when buying a pressure washer machine. The market has residential pressure washers can be used for different purposes ranging from cleaning stainless steel work surfaces in the kitchen or spraying mould off tiles and walls in the basement among other indoor tasks. For the outdoor applications, the machines can be used around the yard to wash up the driveway, cleaning the exterior surface of the house, as well as washing the car among other things.
Every form of use will require its unique approach in the cleaning process, and thus the amount of PSI in the water sprayed during one type of work may not apply to another. It is this disparity among other application requirements that raise the need to understand how a pressure washer works and that means knowing what it is you want in the machine you are planning to buy.
Choosing The Right Pressure Washer
In essence, what you need to buy is a pressure washer that meets your needs. For that, you need to consider the following things so that you can make the right choice:
Which Kind To Get?
The market has different pressure washer for residential, commercial, and industrial applications. Each can produce a significant amount PSI and flow rate based on its areas of use. All these are available as models that are electric or gas powered. Take the time to understand what you need the machine for and overall benefits of opting for one model over the other. To determine this, you will need to understand the finer details of how the machine works.
Quick Tip: Most of the portable versions of the pressures washers made for residential applications are electric with those meant for heavier uses being gas powered.
As such, the electric ones are smaller and designed for light cleaning tasks around the home, especially indoor applications such as cleaning kitchen and bathroom surfaces. As for the petrol powered pressure washers, they are bulkier and more powerful that suffice for the heavier tasks around the house, especially outdoor applications such as washing the car and driveway.
With that mind, what you will focus on is ensuring that you get a machine that will do the job. Therefore, you should check the size of the machine, in which case you will have to contend with the following:
• The Light Duty model – It generates nothing above 100bar/1,500 PSI and will suffice for chores such as cleaning bikes, vehicles, furniture, bins, BBQ grills, and various outdoor equipment.
• The Medium Duty model – It produces around 100 – 200 bar/1,500 – 2800 PSI and is an ideal choice for things such as washing the patio, driveway, fences, roofing, gutters, shed, walls, floors, and heavy gardening equipment such as the lawnmower.
• The Heavy Duty model – It provides over 200 bar/2,800 PSI and is what to get for the demanding jobs such as cleaning or even blasting surfaces like the driveway, tiles floors, and walls.
For the three choices, you have to check the water pressures (PSI) the machine produces so that you get one that generates enough PSI to penetrate and remove dirt and grime. Other than that, you also need to consider the flow rate (GPM) so that the water delivered to the spray gun is enough to break down grim and dirt for an easy wash.
The Features To Know
While you need to pay attention to the power aspects of the pressure washer (the PSI and GPM) to figure out if you need a light, medium, or heavy-duty machine, you also need to take into account the features that constitute its overall function and performance. As such, the following are the vital elements of a pressure washer that would make a difference:
• Engine – Every pressure washer has an engine that does the much of the work, and it should be one that starts with ease, produces little noise, delivers reliable performance, and is durable. The engine can be electric or gas powered and will not overheat.
• Pump – The pump should be a low maintenance type, the best being the maintenance free varieties. It should make starting a smooth and straightforward process. The pump should also be able to deliver hot and cold water as the pressure washer is designed to produce. Also, it should be able to withstand frequent use.
If you are considering a heavy duty pressure washer, then go for one that has a pump with an adjustable pressure regulator so that you can set the PSI you want the pump to generate based on the type of surface you are cleaning or the job at hand.
• Detergent tanks and systems – Knowing which detergent to use with the pressure washer makes the work quicker and easier. The best models in the market have a refillable detergent tank. Other models are designed with systems that have interchangeable detergent bottles thus allowing you to switch between detergents as needed when done with one surface and you move to the next. Ensure that the pressure washer has a control mechanism that allows you to regulate the amount of detergent you need.
• Spray Nozzles – It is advisable to pick a machine with a set of nozzles that have pre-set flow setting and pressure delivery so that you know which is best suited for which task. The types of spray nozzles to get range from the:
- i). Delicate nozzles (which support a PSI for gentle cleaning)
- ii). General nozzles (which deliver medium PSI and flow for multi-purpose cleaning)
- iii). Max nozzles (which support a high-pressure delivery with a low flow rate for cleaning the hard surface or stubborn stains and dirt)
- iv). Cleaning detergent nozzle (which are designed for applying cleaning detergent when washing surfaces)
- v). Pro-Style Spray Tips (which deliver predefined sprays that range from a wide fan of around 40inches to a pinpoint jet of water.
• Pressurized Hose Reel – For some people, this may be an optional requirement. However, with the pressurised hose reel, it reduces the risk of having a damaged hose due to twisting and being kinked. The reel allows you to unwind the length of the hose you need based on the distance and it winds up the pipe with ease when done and ready for storage.
While the above things are considered a standard for having a complete and functional pressure washer, there is a need also to consider speciality attachments that help to enhance the overall performance of the machine so that cleaning can be easier, faster, and more effective. Some of these optional speciality features include:
• Turbo Nozzle – It is a nozzle that produces a whirling, powerful pinpoint jet of water. It is a nozzle that is best suited for cleaning tough surface that is less prone to damage due to the pressurised water. It speeds up the cleaning process by nearly 40%.
• Utility Brush – It is designed to sweep and loose dirt and grime from surfaces before and during washing. Most models are detachable and can be used independently or attached to so that water and detergent flow through thus maximising the cleaning power when working on stubborn stains and dirt.
• Rotating Brush – It spins are the pressurised water flows through it as it applies detergent and runs it over the surface being cleaning. It makes scrubbing less tedious and speeds up the cleaning process.
The Extras Worth Considering
As you take all the things mentioned above into account when buying a pressure washer, there also are a few other essential factors to have in mind that govern your choice. They are:
• Easy setup and manoeuvring
It is to your advantage if you opt for a machine that has a straightforward setup with a large wheel-base that gives it ample ground clearance and storage options for the water hose, trigger, and power cord (for the electric models). The large wheels give the machine a sturdy stand when being moved and when spraying.
• Maintenance requirements you can handle
Electric pressure washers may generate less power compared to the gas models, but they are mostly a maintenance-free choice. With the gas pressure washer, you will have a powerful machine but one that is subject to regular servicing and maintenance.
• Appropriate warranty coverage
Given the kind of work they are meant for, pressure washers are not designed to have long lifespans. However, it is well worth your money to consider buying a machine that will serve you for more than two years. As such, ensure that you purchase a pressure washer – electric or petrol powered – that has a one-year warranty at the very least. Also, give preference to any model that also has warranties that include the machine’s features such as the nozzle, pump, hose, and accessories.
From the above information, it suffices to state that what to buy ultimately will boil down to personal preferences based on your cleaning needs. It will make little sense to go for the pricier models that generate a high power if you are never going to make use of it.