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Blast Outdoor Dirt With Our Pressure Washer Buying Guide for 2021
It’s fair to say that a pressure washer removes the burden of carrying out arduous exterior cleaning. It allows you to clean everything from garden furniture, vans, trucks, cars to bikes.
The benefit of a pressure washer lies within its adaptability to clean areas such as driveways, patios, decking and paving. Although it might appear that a power washer uses more water than a regular garden hose it actually doesn’t! It uses a fraction of the water compared to a garden hose when carrying out a similar job, therefore, is kinder to the environment.
The choice of pressure washers currently on the market is vast, therefore, it can be daunting to figure out the best jet washer for your outdoor cleaning requirements. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the available options to help you pinpoint the best choice.
The first thing we need to draw our attention to is the power of the pressure washer. The power can be measured in 3 different ways-
- The water flow rate is calculated in Litres Per Hour.
- The pressure at which the water is expelled, calculated in Bars.
- How powerful is the pressure washer? This is calculated in Watts (W) for electric or Horsepower (Hp) for petrol-powered washers.
If you’ve set your sights on buying a pressure washer or jet washer you’ve come to the right place. It will speed up the rate of cleaning difficult areas that would normally take considerably longer to clean manually.
Before rushing out to go buy a pressure washer you need to know a few important features that will save you a lot of hassle and frustration later on. Reading through this guide will arm you with the knowledge of the type of functionality to expect from a pressure washer and provide you with a good idea of how to use one. I’ll demystify any of the questions you might have so that you can buy with confidence.
At the very least, you will require liquid soap, an adapter to connect the machine to a hose, and a hosepipe to operate the pressure washer effectively. To get the most from your pressure washer, it will need to come with accessories and attachments to ensure that it can carry out various tasks on different types of surfaces. For instance, there are foam cannons, that can be attached to a pressure washer to help with car cleaning.
If your new pressure washer is supplied with brushes then you are going to find the whole cleaning process much easier. Brushes will improve the removal of residue, stains and stubborn dirt. You can even use an angled wand attachment to clean hard to reach areas such as gutters.
An extension wand is one of the most important accessories to help with extending your reach and speed up cleaning time. My advice would be- the more accessories and attachments the better! It will save you the cost of buying different machines for different jobs.
The two vital calculations to look out for are water flow and water pressure. A powerful pressure washer will be equipped with a higher bar. Focus on finding an appliance with a good balance between the two to help you get the most out of your beloved jet washer.
Water Pressure. What Is The Flow Rate?
Before you decide on the amount of water pressure and flow required you should think about the types of tasks your pressure washer is intended for, how frequently you want to clean and the amount of dirt you need it to clean. An appliance with good pressure and flow will ultimately reward you with great cleaning and rinsing results.
Higher water pressure will tackle tough dirt more effectively and challenging terrains such as concrete slabs or pavements. A good water flow rate will ensure that a thorough rinse is delivered to complete the job. If you’re after a pressure washer to clean your car quickly, you want one with a high water flow rate.
As a general rule, the higher the pressure, the more suitable the tool is for cleaning stubborn dirt and harder surfaces – such as paving and concrete. The water flow rate reflects its performance when rinsing. So, if you’re looking to speed up tasks like car cleaning, a higher water flow rate can be helpful.
Most modern pressure washers come with the convenience of adjustable pressure for different tasks. A high-pressure unit can usually be adjusted to work at lower pressures for less demanding tasks.
It’s advised not to use pressure washers to clean glass or brickwork as the water pressure is too high and can potentially degrade or destroy them. I would recommend using a window vacuum as an alternative.
PRESSURE WASHERS HAVE MANY USES BESIDES CAR CLEANING
When deciding to buy a pressure washer or jet washer you should remember that this nifty device can be used for a lot more things besides just car cleaning. Why not clean your driveway or courtyard whilst you’re at it! Always check that your potential appliance is robust enough to carry out the tasks you intend it to do.
I’ve summarised a list of some of the tasks that you can expect to carry out according to the different pressure levels:
100 Bar- Occasional usage
- Cleaning garden or outdoor furniture.
- Cleaning your rubbish bin.
- Washing your bicycle.
- Rinsing mud from garden tools.
- Washing your motorbike.
110 to 130 Bar- Moderate usage
- Washing your car, truck or van.
- Clearing the gutter.
- Cleaning a lawnmower.
- Cleaning your swimming pools or jacuzzi.
- Washing a boat or yacht.
- Cleaning a fence.
130+ Bar- Intensive usage
- Cleaning concrete slabs on driveway and paving.
- Washing the patio
- Cleaning your decking.
If you’re considering a pressure washer mainly for car cleaning then a midrange appliance is more than adequate. You don’t want to use a unit that is too powerful as you could risk damaging your car’s paintwork with the high pressure.
If you intend on focusing mostly on tougher jobs such as washing away years of dirt that has accumulated on your patio or paving then a device with high pressure is best. You want a pressure washer that can achieve more than 130 Bar of pressure for tougher tasks.
Should You Buy an Electric or Petrol Pressure Washer?
Did you know that pressure washers can either be powered by electric or petrol?
Electric Pressure Washers
Generally, if you’re looking for a pressure washer for domestic use it will be electrically powered. Household brands such as Sun Joe, Karcher or GreenWorks supply different electric variants ranging from light to intensive usage. Simply connect your new pressure washer into an exterior power supply that is protected with an RCD (residual current device) and you’re good to go.
It’s also a good idea to have an outdoor extension lead readily available so that you can extend the range of the cleaning area and speed things up.
What about Petrol-Powered Pressure Washers?
Petrol powered pressure washers are not as popular as electric models but are extremely handy for larger spaces. They are useful for areas with limited power supplies and if you need to clean areas that are further than your domestic space.
The advantage of a petrol pressure washer is that you’re not limited to a power supply, which makes it an ideal appliance for commercial usage plus you don’t need to worry about cables tangling up.
It’s also worth noting that petrol pressure washers are equipped with a higher range of power, thus, making them the ideal accessory for difficult jobs. Bear in mind that you will need to purchase enough fuel whenever you need to use it. Always check that you buy the correct fuel, and as an extra precaution, you should invest in a robust container to store the fuel.
Pressure Washer Motors
Did you know that not all motors in a pressure washer are the same? In fact, there are three different types that you can find but it’s not something that you need to worry about. Below is a summary of the different motors-
- Universal motor: This is a basic portable motor that works at a high speed, however, it is louder than the alternatives and often has a shorter shelf life.
- Brush motor: This motor contains brushes that constantly connect with the revolving section of the motor. The drawback is that over time the resulting friction minimises efficiency and wears it out.
- Induction motor – This is one of the best types of motors found on a pressure washer. It is a sophisticated motor built to operate at a lower noise level and to last longer than other motors.
Pressure Washer Features
Before settling on which pressure washer to buy, there are some handy features that you should be aware of that will vastly improve the performance of your washer.
How Long is the Hose?
The length of the hose is usually measured in metres and is the middle man between the primary unit and trigger gun. Always check that the hose length coincides with the size of the area that you intend to clean. Don’t get caught out with a short hose.
Pressure Washer Lance
The lance is connected to the trigger gun to give better control of the flow of water. Some models will allow you to lower or increase water pressure whilst maintaining the same rate of water usage. Clever huh? The benefit of using a lance is that it improves the precision in which you clean, therefore, targeting the exact areas that you need the water to go.
Handling Your Pressure Washer
For bigger jobs like cleaning the patio or driveway, it’s best to buy a pressure washer with wheels and a handle so that you can move it easily from one area to the next. Wheels are also handy if you are going to be storing the unit in an area that’s separate to where you’ll be cleaning. A model that’s easier to wheel around will speed up the job and avoid unnecessary delays.
Automatic Pressure Washers
Modern pressure washers now have the ability to automatically start and stop to conserve water. The start/stop mechanism uses the trigger on the spray gun to control the water flow instead of manual switching it on the primary unit. You can easily position yourself to the exact area before spraying water and as a result, you’ll use up less water and soap.
Pressure Washer Accessories
When it comes to using a pressure washer effectively, accessories are invaluable. You can get a lot more done with a good set of accessories and tackle a variety of chores.
At the very least, all pressure washers are supplied with a generic spray head for regular cleaning tasks, however, a machine with a generous set of attachments will improve your cleaning experience and effectiveness. Don’t forget to use a good detergent.
Pressure Washing brushes
Pressure washers can be connected to special brushes adapted for car cleaning. A good set of brushes will efficiently remove dirt from motorbikes, vans, trucks and ease the burden of cleaning difficult areas such as wheel arches, rims or hub caps.
Cleaning Patios and Larger Areas
Clearing dirt from pathways, concrete slabs and the pavements is not easy. For this, you need a patio cleaning accessory to remove mess without causing more mess!
The attachment focuses the water pressure and water flow onto a specific area to remove layers of dirt that have built up over many months or years. The tool is adapted for large spaces and helps you to cover more ground in less time.
Onboard Accessory Storage
Some pressure washers are cleverly fitted with onboard storage so that you can keep all your tools in one place. It means that your new machine and its attachments will take up less space, accessories won’t get lost and are always within easy reach during a job.
What is a Suction hose?
Rather than using water from a tap, a suction hose lets you draw water from a static body of water such as a bucket. A suction hose is handy for households fitted with a rainwater collector or for situations where you want to clean an area without a tap that’s closeby.
Another benefit of using a suction hose to draw its water supply from rainwater is that you can use your pressure washer even when a hosepipe ban is in place.
Let’s Talk About Detergent
A good detergent goes a long way! Choosing the right one will ensure that cleaning is faster and more effective. Your efforts will last much longer too. Depending on the model you go for, your pressure washer will usually be equipped with a detergent tank that can be filled up with your soap of choice.
Other models are designed with advanced cleaning mechanisms with swappable detergent tanks that let you change an empty canister for a fresh one during cleaning. This means there are no interruptions whether you’re working on a small or big job.
Whatever you decide to do, you should ensure that your new unit can use various detergents and can work with any detergents that you might already have. The unit should also be fitted with a system to regulate the quantity of the detergent.
Detergents are hugely beneficial and make light work of challenging tasks. You will get better results and be armed with a thorough cleaning system that effectively removes stubborn dirt such as grease, mud or oil.
Pressure Washer: Frequently Asked Questions
Water Flow, What is It?
The water flow measures the rate at which water is expelled. A stronger water flow means that a higher amount of water is utilised. How do you measure water flow? It’s calculated in Litres Per Hour and can go from about 290 to 600 litres per hour on premium units. A stronger water flow will wash away dirt more effectively.
What does Bar Pressure mean?
The Bar pressure is the rate of force that water is expelled. A stronger bar pressure will cut through dirt easier. Smaller tasks such as cleaning outdoor furniture or washing your car won’t need the level of pressure required to clean a dirty driveway or decking. A higher pressure should be reserved for challenging tasks.
Is it Better to Prioritise Bar Pressure or Water Flow?
Both features are important and complement each other to deliver an effective cleaning machine. Areas such as patios are harder to clean, therefore, will require higher pressure to remove layers of dirt, however, a high water flow will speed up the task and wash away dirt quicker.
A good pressure washer will come with the perfect balance between bar pressure and water flow. I would recommend using the link below to find a high-performance machine with an adjustable bar pressure and/or water flow.
Where Should You Store Your Pressure Washer?
Always keep you jet washer in a dry area with good ventilation. During the colder months, it’s advisable to keep the unit in a warmer room, instead of the shed or garage, to avoid damage to the pump caused by frozen water that might be left inside the machine.
Is a Pressure Washer Worth Buying?
Deciding whether to buy a pressure washer or not depends on the tasks that you intend to do. If you’re looking for an easier way to clean outdoors then you won’t find a better appliance. It’s incredible to see just how much dirt a pressure washer removes from bikes, cars, caravans, trucks, pavements, patios, rubbish bins, gutters, garage doors, and so much more. The list of things you can do with a jet washer is virtually endless, therefore, making it one of the best appliances you can buy for your home.
What is the Best Detergent To Use?
There are plenty of detergents to choose from specifically made for pressure washers. In most cases, your new model should be compatible with any type of detergent. Many manufacturers supply their own detergents to use with their pressure washers, therefore, it’s worth checking out the different types that are available for specific tasks and how much they cost.
Is the Power Cable Long Enough?
Brands such as Karcher provide their machines with a generous cable length which is typically about 5 metres long. You should check the cable length for your chosen model to make sure that it provides a decent cleaning range. It’s also worth investing in an outdoor extension lead to reach areas that are further out or when you need to clean bigger vehicles.
How Do I Turn On Electric Pressure Washer?
- For starters, you should connect your garden hose to the pressure washer and ensure that it’s securely fastened.
- Connect one end of the high-pressure hose to the main unit and then attach the other end to the spray lance.
- Proceed with turning on the water tap.
- Squeeze the lance’s trigger to remove any remnants of water or air from the machine.
- Switch on the pressure washer to commence cleaning. Easy peasy!
That concludes our pressure washer buying guide for 2021. Are you considering buying a pressure washer or do you already own one? Please leave your comments in the section below. I’d love to hear from you.
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