Which pressure washer is right for you?
Pressure washers (power washers) make little work of any outdoor cleaning, from plant machinery to cars, patios to drive ways. A very handy piece of kit making that stubborn oil or grime wash away in a fraction of the time it takes using a brush and bucket of water. Also often referred to as jet washers, steam cleaners or power washer they use somewhat less water that an ordinary garden hose to complete the same task, helping you save water.
All pressure washers work in the basis. Water enters the pump at low pressure at is pumped out at a high pressure through a nozzle to concentrate the flow on a small area, the pump is either driven by an electric motor or a petrol or diesel engine.
Engine Powered Pressure Washer
- No Power supply needed, this allows it to be much more mobile.
- Higher pressure and flow rate than most electrics.
- Covers large areas such as decks, walls, and driveways very fast without the need for chemicals.
- More pressure and flow means a nozzle set on a wider angle will clean just as well as electric washers run at a narrower setting thus speeding up your cleaning time.
- Relatively noisy and heavy.
- Need to keep a fuel supply close by.
- Shorter service intervals than electric models.
- Idling for more than 5 minutes can overheat the pump, possibly ruining the pump.
- More power also means an increased risk of injury or damage goods like inadvertently chipping paint.
- Emits exhaust fumes.
Electric-Powered Pressure Washer
- Mainly for small decks and patios, outdoor furniture, and other small jobs that require mainly cleaning where there is an electric source close by.
- Electric washers are relatively light and quiet, service intervals are very long, they create no exhaust fumes.
- They start and stop automatically. Easily stored indoors if you do not have a garage.
- Lower water pressure and flow makes for longer cleaning time.
- Lances and pipes are usually but not always made of less industrial material.
- Your cleaning area is limited to the length of your unit’s cord and hose.
Pressure & Flow Rate
Pressure washers are categorised according to the max pressure they produce, this is measured in PSI (pounds per square inch) or BAR. The greater number the higher the pressure, the better the cleaning capacity of the washer. There is often too must emphasis put on the pressure of a washer and not enough attention given to the flow rate, the flow rate is also a very important aspect to take into consideration. Without a good flow of water the grime and dirt will not rinse off after it is shifted. The flow rate is measured in litres per minute (l/m) or litres per hour (l/m). If you're looking to rinse at a fast pace a decent flow rate can be helpful.
When buying a pressure washer you need to take into account your water source, do you have a water source where you will be cleaning? Is the water on tap or is it in a barrel? Some pressure washers require to be fed from a tap, some can only suck from a water butt and some washers can do both. Some larger washers can only suck water from a butt as a tap would not a sufficient flow rate to supply the need of the washer.