Gasoline | Electric | Oil | Diesel
Deciding which pressure washer to purchase can be an overwhelming task. If you buy a unit that is not powerful enough for the cleaning job you are performing it will not be useful. On the other hand, if you buy a washer that is too powerful for your needs, it may damage the object that you are trying to clean and you will end up spending more money than necessary trying to repair it. Here is a general guideline on how to make a wise choice for your investment:
First, you have to determine what are the jobs you will be performing with your pressure washer. Your work may range anywhere from washing a car, patio, barbecue grill, boat, your home to commercial, agricultural and industrial needs. In order to identify whether you need a light, medium or heavy duty pressure washer for your particular job, please refer to the table below.
Second, you will have to make a decision whether you want to use an electric, gasoline, diesel or oil powered pressure washer. The electric pressure washers can be used where electricity is a must. The other three types have tanks that can store diesel or gasoline fuel, consequently offering more flexibility and mobility. However, diesel and gasoline powered units are not intended to be used indoors.
In case you do use them indoors the cleaning areas must be properly vented.
Third, you will have to determine if you need a cold or hot water pressure washer. Generally hot water pressure washers are heavier than cold water pressure washers. There are two reasons for that:
first they have a burner capacity. In other words, they carry an engine that uses fuel or kerosene to achieve a 140 ° Fahrenheit rise in water temperature. For that reason, they have a tank that can hold 5 to 8 gallons of fuel.
Second, these high power machines have additional quality features, including adjustable thermostat and pressure pop-off, totally enclosed motors, powder coated frames, electronic ignitions, roto-molded tanks with automatic shut-off if machine runs dry, etc. When deciding between a cold and hot water pressure washer keep in mind that some jobs cannot be completed without the characteristic that differentiates these two from each other. The hot water pressure washers have an additional feature - they generate hot water. The pressure, volume, horsepower relationship are equally important for both cold and hot water pressure washers. Detergents also play their part in dissolving the dirt; however, grime such as oil stains, grease and fuel cannot be removed without the hot water. Please, keep that in mind when purchasing your next high power pressure washer.
One can assume that pressure washers consume a lot of water, but this is not the true at all. On an average garden hose uses between seven to nine gallons of water per minute, where as average pressure washer uses between three to five gallons of water per minute. Pressure washers are typically easier to use and they complete the job faster, better and at the same time - save water. There are two major factors to consider when selecting a power washer - the pressure and flow (water volume). These two factors determine the actual ability of the unit to perform a certain task. When choosing a power washer, most people only consider pressure and disregard the equally important flow of the machine. Both pressure and water flows are necessary to get your job done properly and efficiently:
Pressure (PSI) The unit for pressure is PSI (pounds per square inch), which actually determines how much pressure is directly applied on the surface being cleaned . The pressure that is delivered by the machine is directly responsible for breaking the bond between the debris and the object being cleaned . Pressure washers typically have a pressure range from 1000 to 5000 PSI.
Water Flow (GPM) The unit for water flow is GPM (gallons per minute), which is actually the amount/quantity of water us ed in a one-minute period. The volume of water determines how fast the dirt can be remov ed from the surface once the bond between the debris and the surface has been broken. A pressure washer with higher GPM level will require less time to clean; consequently, a washer with the lower GPM level will entail more time for the same job performed.
Work (HP) There is one more factor, sometimes equally important as pressure and water flow, to consider when purchasing the pressure cleaner. That's work. The unit for work is HP (horsepower), which actually determines how much power the machine has to clean the surface. Typically the more horsepower a machine has will allow for higher pressures or volumes or a combination of both. Larger engines are more powerful and therefore more capable of finishing the job quickly. The life expectancy is also bigger on large engines with more horsepower. The pressure, volume, horsepower relationship holds true for both cold and hot water pressure washers. However, the hot water pressure washers have an additional feature - they generate hot water.
Light-duty 1000-2000 PSI - cars, boats, patio furniture, etc ...
Medium-duty 2100-2800 PSI - blasting grease and grime, etc ...
Heavy-duty (professional) 2900-5000 PSI - Stripping paint, stubborn concrete stains, etc...