Five Questions to Ask Before Buying a Pressure Washer

1) Will I need to move the unit frequently?

For applications where mobility is critical, consider machines mounted on wheels or a truck. Also, consider units powered and heated by fuel -- electric-powered units require access to an outlet or portable generator.

Even stationary pressure washers can be made more mobile if you buy a longer hose. Hoses are available in lengths that allow users to work up to hundreds of feet away from the machine.

For more on power and heating options see our Buyer's Guide to Pressure Washers.

2) Do I need steam?

High-temperature steam pressure washing machines are the "greenest" option and top choice for degreasing, sanitizing and cleaning applications where you want to limit the use of cleaning chemicals or water. Steam is also the most efficient pressure washing method for appropriate applications: It cleans faster and more effectively, dramatically reducing water flow, water run-off, and labor costs.

But remember that steam is generated by a heating element or coil that requires either electricity or fuel, depending on the technology. Pressure washers heated with fuel oils generate exhaust, which is fine for outdoor applications. For indoor applications, consider electric-heated or natural gas heated units.

Read more on pressure washers with a new steam technology.

Read about tri-mode pressure washers that offer cold water, hot water and steam in a single machine.

3) How much pressure do I need?

Don't skimp on pressure. Machines offering pressure levels of 750 to 1500 psi are adequate for light jobs and more delicate surfaces. For more demanding jobs and higher productivity, consider pressure washers generating pressure levels of 1500 to 3000 psi. For the toughest jobs, opt for equipment with pressure levels of 3000 psi and above.

4) Do I need multiple guns?

For industrial environments, auto-detailing, and other applications where multiple employees will work in close proximity, consider a machine that supports multiple guns

5) Is water run-off a concern?

Some businesses, such as carwashes, are closely monitored by the EPA for water run-off. If run-off is a concern for your business or customers, consider a low-flow or steam pressure washer. Low water-flow machines have flow rates in the .25 to 2.5 GPM range.

Hard-surface cleaning machines provide another option for reducing run-off. These machines clean and extracts waste simultaneously without the water waste associated with conventional pressure washers.

More Information About Pressure Washers

Custom pressure washers.

The differences between carpet steam cleaners, steam cleaners, and steam pressure washers.

Learn how pressure washers work.

Comparison charts for pressure washers.

Pressure washers for car detailing.

Pressure washers with automatic shutoff features.



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