Buyer's Guide to Pressure Washers

pressure washers, pressure washers buyers guide
Featured Pressure Washers


Typically, pressure washers use an electric, gas, or propane powered motor to force water through a small diameter nozzle connected to a wand. The result is water pressure levels that can range up to 8000 pounds per square inch (psi), or up to 800 times the pressure of a standard garden hose. These machines are ideal for tough jobs like removing grease, oil, graffiti and paint from surfaces, such as house exteriors, walkways, driveways, parking lots, buildings, tools, manufacturing equipment, fences, vehicles, and virtually unlimited surfaces. The type of surface and targeted substance for removal will dictate the required temperature, pressure, and water flow levels.

Key Features


Expressed in pounds per square inch (PSI), low-pressure cold water power washers usually start at 750 to 1500 psi and are ideal for light jobs, such as cleaning decks, fences and patio furniture. Lighter pressure is also recommended to prevent scratching delicate surfaces. Mid-range products generate pressures in the 1500 to 3000 psi range. Higher-pressure products above 3000 psi are ideal for cleaning concrete, brick, industrial equipment, stripping paint, and eliminating grease as well as most stains.

Water Flow:

Expressed in gallons per minute (GPM), lower-flow models in the .25 to 2.5 GPM range are popular with customers concerned about the impact of water on the surface, drainage considerations, and water usage -- the lower the flow, the less water is used. On the other hand, higher flow pressure washers of 2.5+ GPM to 5+ GPM range expel more water and can clean more surface area in less time.

Water Temperature:

Pressure washers offer a variety of water temperatures, ranging from those that use mainly cold water to machines that include their own heating units, which include boilers for some all-electric machines or heating coils for most other systems. Most hot water pressure washers range in temperature up to 210 ºF while the highest steam temperature levels for wet steam generation are up to 330ºF. Tri-mode pressure washers clean with cold water, hot water temperatures of 180ºF-210ºF or steam of up to 330ºF.

Steam pressure washers are the best, most effective power washing machines for degreasing, disinfecting/sanitizing, decontaminating, and more much, typically without the need for chemicals.

The higher the temperatures, the "greener" the pressure washing machine. Wet steam offers a dramatically higher level of cleaning power, allows for much faster cleaning, lower water usage, energy, and labor costs. Seek steam pressure washers with the highest temperatures possible for the most productive and fastest cleaning results.

Cold water power washer equipment is best used with approved cleaning agents and detergents. Green pressure washing chemicals are the most popular nowadays.

Power Source:

The motors that generate the water pressure are usually powered by electricity, propane, or gasoline. Electric pressure washers are ideal for indoor use because they generate no exhaust. Keep in mind 120 volt as well as 230 volt, single phase electric motors are typically configured with pressure washers up to 1000 psi, while those above 1500 psi require 230 volts up to 600 volts, depending upon the combination of pressure, pressure, and flow rate levels.

Portable pressure washers are often gasoline, propane, or diesel powered since users can operate the machines when it is impractical or impossible to connect to a power outlet. Certainly, portable generators are available and popularly used for those who desire electricity to power and electric power washer even when cleaning in a remote area.

Heating Source:

For heating water and steam, pressure washers generally use a burner-coil system that can be fueled by kerosene, diesel, heating oil, or propane. Coil quality is a key consideration when shopping for a heated machine. For less-expensive machines, choose long-lasting stainless steel heating coils. Some, low priced products use more fragile aluminum coils, which are prone to holes and eventual failure. Higher priced pressure washers should have heavy duty schedule 80 heating coils.

For those seeking an electrically heated unit and powered machine, Daimer offers the Vapor-Flo® 8800.

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