What should I look for when buying a pressure washer?

Pressure washers are invaluable tools that can easily clean away even the most stubborn dirt and grime from just about any surface. But like all products, there are many different types of pressure washers, and some are better suited for certain tasks than others. Some pressure washers are extremely powerful, but that may be more than you need. That said, there are many things to consider when choosing a pressure washer ideal for your situation, and we’re going to discuss them here.

Use at home or commercial type?

First and foremost, you need to determine what category of buyer you fall into. If you’re buying a pressure washer to use at home, you don’t really need one of the extra powerful commercial types that really big corporations would use. The same can be said even if you are a small business owner.

Knowing what you are buying the pressure washer for is the first step to finding the right one. Of course, there are several differences in pressure washers built for different uses. Consumer washers are meant to be used on a less than daily basis, while professional pressure washers could be used for several hours every day and never burn out. So consider how frequently you would use your pressure washer as well.

Gas vs Electric Pressure Washer What is Better?

And of course, there is the obvious question of gas versus electric. (see comparison chart here).

Pressure Washers – Corded electric powered:

★ Typically cheaper to buy
★ Smaller and easier to storage, because an electric engine is smaller.
★ No need to refuel. You always have enough electricity!
★ Comes in all power sizes
★ Makes less noise

Pressure Washers – Gasoline powered

★ More mobile due to lack of cord and need for electricity
★ More power. Heavy duty pressure washers are often gasoline powered
★ Professional / industrial use

The difference in these two types of engines is in speed and power. Generally speaking, gas powered pressure washers are more powerful than electric, but that does not necessarily mean they are superior. Electric motors run much more quietly than their gas counterparts, require very little maintenance, and don’t require you to buy more gas to fuel it. It is also plenty powerful enough to serve most domestic needs.

On the other hand, gas powered pressure washers do have more power behind them, but they are more expensive. That said, knowing what kind of things you will be cleaning with your washer is important. For small surfaces, like a car or boat, and electric one will do just fine. For decks and driveways, you may want to consider a gas one. The general rule of thumb is that electric is for smaller jobs and gas for the larger ones.

How does a pressure washer work?

A pressure washer has two main components

  • A water pump and
  • A motor (the motor can be electric or gasoline powered)

The pressure washer works in the following way

  • The washer takes in water from a faucet
  • The pump in the pressure washer will accelerate the water to high pressure (the motor makes this process work)
  • The pump squirts the water from a socalled “trigger gun”
  • Various attachments can be fitted to the end of the gun for cleaning different things.

The inside parts of a pressure washer

The inside parts of a pressure washer are the following

  • Water inlet
  • Electric motor or gas engine
  • Water pump
  • High pressure hose
  • Cleaning attachment
  • Some pressure washers have additional
  • Detergent compartment
  • Rollup functions (hose, cord)
  • Frame with wheels for rolling
  • Controls on top of unit

Inner parts of the engine and pump

The figure below shows the inner parts of the engine and pump:

  • Outer plastic casing
  • electric motor
  • foil to protect motor from water
  • motor shaft connecting to the pump
  • pump unit
  • piston (where water is pumped to high pressure)
  • water pipe (where water is pumped in and sucked out)

Conclusion – which pressure washer to choose

In the end, picking the ideal pressure washer comes down to how much money you want to spend, and what projects you will be using them for. Consumer pressure washers are great for infrequent use, while professional washers can be used every single day for long periods of time. Electric motors are not as powerful as gas motors, but they are also much less expensive. So knowing the level of the project you’re tackling is important. You can use your average electric washer for the small stuff, but you’ll need a decent gas powered pressure washer for the tougher or larger jobs. Naturally the latter is more expensive, so in the end it all comes down to how much money you’re willing to spend and what projects you plan on taking care of.

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