For cleaning driveways, sidewalks, exterior walls, RVs, and any number of other outdoor structures and equipment, a good pressure washer is a great investment. The pressurized stream of water is much more effective than even the best garden hose and can eliminate the need to use soap or other chemicals that can damage some surfaces and aren’t usually great for your lawn, either. With decent residential models starting at a couple hundred bucks, you should be able to find your perfect pressure washer without breaking the bank. The money you spend can definitely be recouped by being able to tackle jobs yourself instead of hiring others.
When looking at pressure washers, you’ll find both electric and gas-powered models. Electric washers are typically the least expensive, but also the least powerful. Unless you opt for a top-end model, you might find that electric power washers have a hard time with the toughest jobs or jobs that require a great deal of time. Electric versions tend to have a less powerful water stream, which means that years of ground-in gunk on your driveway will take more time to get clean. Also, electric motors tend to run hot enough that they have to have some cool-down time every now and then. How often they need to rest depends largely on the motor itself; lower-end motors will generally have shorter run times than higher-end motors. The weaker pressure is a plus when it comes to painted surfaces or easily-marred wood like you might find on a hot tub surround or bordering a flower bed. Electric washers work for many homeowners looking to use them regularly (before dirt buildup gets too out of hand) and don’t have exceedingly large areas to cover (or who are willing to break those areas up into multiple smaller jobs). One drawback to electric washers, regardless of overall quality, power or durability, is the fact that cord length can make it difficult to get to outlying areas. Make sure you know how long your cord needs to be in order to do the jobs you need to do, or make sure that it’s okay to plug the washer into an extension cord. Visit best electric power washer for reviews, including pros and cons, of a number of top-rated compact pressure washers for home use.
When it comes to gasoline-powered washers, you will pay more, but you’ll also get more bang for your buck. They offer a more powerful water stream, which can make even the grimiest sidewalks easy to clean. They will also make quicker work of larger areas without needing the cooldown cycle you’ll find with most electric models. If you opt for a gasoline-powered model, make sure you allow enough room for ventilation. Since the more powerful stream could strip paint or gouge softer woods, start as far away from these surfaces as you can and work your way closer as needed to get the job done. Another thing to note about gasoline engines is that they will require more maintenance and attention that their electric cousins, so make sure you understand the added steps you’ll need to follow if you go with one of these models.
When comparing models, you’ll notice PSI and GPM ratings. PSI (pounds per square inch) measures the power of the water stream; a higher PSI means a stronger stream. GPM (gallons per minute) measures the amount of water the machine uses. A higher PSI with a lower GPM will be more water efficient, but should still have enough kick to get the job done. For cleaning multiple objects in the residential or commercial setting, check out this buying guide for different types of pressure washers, including electric and gas-powered. You’ll also get additional information to consider when looking for your best match.
In a nutshell, electric pressure washers are usually less expensive, but perfectly appropriate for light-duty and some medium-duty projects. The more expensive gas-powered units are generally necessary for the toughest jobs. Since most models produce a strong enough water stream to actually slice bare feet and legs, always wear long pants and shoes while using your washer.