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How to Buy a Pressure Washer: Clearing up the guesswork before you buy.
How to Buy Pressure Washer

Once you have made the decision to buy a pressure washer, you need to do some research. This article will cover the main features and considerations and answer some of the basic questions you will have about how to buy pressure washer.

The power of a pressure washer is expressed in ‘cleaning units’ (CU). Cleaning units are figured by multiplying how much pressure is applied in one square inch x how many gallons flow from the washer per minute. (PSI x GPM.) Evaluating your power needs is the first step when considering how to buy pressure washer. Too much power will be an unnecessary cost if you never need it, while too little power will not do the job you heard it would do in the time you thought it would.

When wondering how to buy pressure washer, be sure to evaluate the 3 basics of any model. These are the pressure, flow, and what is termed as “work” of the machine.

Pressure, which is always stated in listings and technical writing as units of PSI, is the pressure applied to something in pounds per square inch. With power washers, this pressure breaks the bond of dirt from its surface.

Flow, measured by gallons per minute (gpm) is the amount of water flow out of the power washer every minute. The GPM determines how fast the flow of water will wash away the dirt or substance once the bond from the surface is broken. A higher gpm gives more water to finish the cleaning job faster.

Work power is horsepower. The term has roots in exactly what it sounds like. Well, it was actually a pony that James Watt (1736-1819), was working with when he calculated horsepower. He was using a pony to lift coal buckets with a block and tackle set-up. In the end, after much calculation, he determined a unit of measure of 33,000 foot-pounds to 1 minute of work. With the advent of mechanical engines, we calculate an engine’s power with Watt’s figures and call it horsepower! Basically, the more horsepower (HP) your engine has, the more PSI and GPM it can handle. A greater HP engine also has a longer life expectancy rate.

Investigating how to buy pressure washer also entails determining your personal needs. Are you a homeowner looking for better household cleaning solutions? Are you a cleaning contractor looking to expand your business? Alternatively, are you in an industry where optimum choices and uses for a power washer will be most beneficial?

The homeowner may find the ease and quiet of an electric unit satisfactory. There is less maintenance and no handling of fuel, lubricants, etc. However, the portability and cleaning power of a gas unit would be a consideration when a cleaning contractor or business is looking into how to buy pressure washer. The smallest gas pressure washer is stronger than the largest electric models! Again, determining your needs is the key, the first decision to be made.

Whether or not you will want hot water or cold water capability is another decision. Hot water is needed to cut grease, oil, and fuel substances. It makes the removal of any substance quicker and easier, really. But most pressure washers can be adapted with a hot-water unit afterwards if you don’t purchase a hot-water system right away. Remember though, hot water should not be used in a cold-water system as it can damage the unit. Anyone other than a homeowner planning to use the washer only occasionally should consider a hot-water system to start. In the cleaning business, or industry, it will certainly come in handy by cutting your workload almost in half. It will also be necessary in many cases.

The pump of a system is the heart of the system. Evaluate the pump of the system carefully. The most popular pumps are triplex plunger pumps with ceramic plungers and stainless steel moving parts. The triplex pump puts out a smooth flow and is found on most good power washers. Axial pumps can be found on cheaper models, but they are not even worth fixing when broken and are actually considered disposable. The better quality pumps such as General, Cat, or Comet pumps can be repaired easily and last for many years.

The choices can be daunting, but there is ample information available to help decide the main factors of how to buy pressure washer. From putting your own system together, with available components, to the ease of purchasing a ready, complete unit, the decisions will be yours. A decent complete unit will come with pump, wands, trigger gun, and nozzle (s). From there, the options just keep growing!


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