How To Choose A Pressure Washer
Here are a few important things to consider when choosing a pressure washer.
Light-Duty, Medium-Duty or Heavy-Duty?
Performance – There are three classes of pressure washers: light-duty, medium-duty and heavy-duty. Here are some brief descriptions to help you decide which is right for you.
Light-Duty:Mostly electric pressure washers and light weight gas pressure washers. For a do-it-yourselfer with limited space and/or budget. Good for washing vehicles, cleaning patio furniture, spraying off fences and other small household jobs.
Medium-Duty:Gas pressure washers offer more power which means quicker and more efficient cleaning. The larger engine provides a steadier pump cycle and longer machine life. For intense do-it-yourselfers with tough cleaning jobs. Good for driveways and sidewalks, decks, gutters and any light-duty job.
Heavy-Duty:Gas pressure washers for professional or do-it-yourselfers with a lot of surface area that needs constant cleaning. Provides the quickest and cleanest results for extremely large areas and heavily soiled areas. These units will do all of the medium or light-duty jobs PLUS remove oil stains, wash the siding on your house and even remove graffiti!
Electric vs. Gas
The biggest difference between electric and gas is the strength and speed in which they spray, which ultimately determines how quickly and efficiently you get the job done.
Electric Pressure Washers are popular for household applications and are great for cleaning smaller surface areas like cars and boats. They are easy to operate, lightweight, portable and are also very affordable. Electric pressure washers are best for smaller jobs.
Gas Pressure Washers are more powerful than electric pressure washers. The smallest gas pressure washer is more powerful than the largest electric pressure washer. Gas pressure washers are more suitable for large jobs, like driveways, decks or even entire houses or buildings. They’re also better for tough jobs like stripping paint.
Important Pressure Washer Specifications
Water Pressure (PSI)
The water pressure, or strength, of a pressure washer is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), and is the amount of force that is applied on the surface to break the bond of the dirt or grime. The stronger the bond, the more pressure you will need to break it.
As a comparison, a typical garden hose emits 40 PSI of water pressure, while electric pressure washers range from 1,200 PSI to 1,850 PSI, and gas pressure washers range from 2,000 PSI to 4,000 PSI.
Water Volume (GPM)
The water volume, or speed, is measured in gallons per minute (GPM), and is the amount of water that flows through the system and affects how fast the job can be done. As a general rule, the larger the GPM, the more surface area a pressure washer can clean.
A useful and reliable measurement for evaluating pressure washers is Cleaning Power. Cleaning Power is calculated by multiplying PSI times GPM.
PSI x GPM = Cleaning Power
Cleaning Power Examples
2,600 PSI x 2.3 GPM = 5,980 Cleaning Power
2,600 PSI x 2.5 GPM = 6,500 Cleaning Power