If you ever watched one of those viral videos of someone washing a tile floor with steam, you know how rewarding it is to watch everything in seconds go from messy to pristine. And there’s nothing quite like a pressure washer in your own room to give you the same feeling of satisfaction.
‘A pressure washer is a very cool piece of machinery,’ says Dan DiClerico, Home Advisor’s home specialist. “It’s one of homeowners’ most useful power vehicles.” Why? Why? The machine safely strips unsightly dirt and debris from a multitude of surfaces in just a few minutes, leaving only an amazing like-new finish, mildewed decks, gates, outdoor furniture, and siding; oil-stained driveways; and even dirty cars and boats.
To ensure that you have your hands on the right pressure washer for your project, on a wide variety of surfaces, from patio tiles to windows and vehicles, the experts at the Good Housekeeping Institute measure pressure washers of all sorts to determine ease of use, protection and effectiveness. To make the following choices, we weighed top-tested brands, professional advice, and thousands of online feedbacks.
What you need to know about pressure washers
You can’t just pluck some pressure washer off the shelf: these devices are extremely powerful (particularly gas pressure washers). That’s what makes them so successful, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, it also means there’s a higher chance of accident and surface harm. DiClerico states, “You just ought to value the strength of these computers.” What to bear in mind here is:
Electric vs. gas:
This is “the first and most meaningful choice to make” while shopping, says DiClerico. He states why all pressure washers operate the same way: a motor drives water through a concentrated nozzle. How the engine is powered is where things vary: by energy or by fuel.
For the vast majority of homes, an electric machine is usually appropriate and can address tasks such as car washing, sweeping lawn furniture, and surfaces for spot care, says DiClerico. They are more convenient, smaller, louder, and simpler to store and manage (think $300 and below).
On the other side, gas machines are more widely used by professionals, since they are a lot more efficient, DiClerico says. Using them for items such as decks and roads, they can blast virtually all soil and debris, but they are much more costly (think $300 and above), plus they are larger, bigger, noisier, and more difficult to maintain.
PSI, or pounds per square inch, means the water pressure that the system delivers, says Adrienne Hunt, Home Depot ‘s associate retailer. Pressure washers with a high PSI can more reliably disinfect deep stains than devices with a lower PSI.
Usually, electric pressure washers range from 1.600 PSI to 2.300 PSI
The pressure washers for gas pressure range from 2,700 PSI to 4,400 PSI.
Although PSI is crucial, you can’t count on it alone. Rachel Rothman, chief technologist and director of innovation at the Good Housekeeping Institute, says, “PSI and GPM, or gallons per minute, are super critical in tandem.” “The correct combo would not result from one without the other.” GPM calculates the amount of water provided by the pressure washer, an indication of how easily your unit will clean. Higher GPM pressure washers, Hunt claims, can clean quicker than those with lower GPM.
When using pressure washers, particularly more strong gas ones, if you are not vigilant, you can easily cause bodily harm and surface damage, such as splintering, says Rothman. When running the pressure washer, wear closed-toe boots and safety goggles at all times. And if your unit comes with adjustable nozzles, first use the least effective one; if you need to, you can still advance to a stronger nozzle and position yourself about four feet from anything you vacuum. If in question, spot search an unremarkable area first.
Buy only what you need
Bear these in mind when looking at all the numbers in the specs:
PSI-pressure (how heavy the spray is) per square inch
(how much water is used) GPM-gallons per minute
CU-power units for cleaning = PSI x GPM. 3200 PSI x 2.5 GPM, for example, = 8000 CUU
For whatever surfaces you have to scrub, aim for the unit that can get the job done most effectively. They all have different characteristics that, in one way or another, can benefit you. For example:
If you are tall, look for washers with fold-down handles that can stretch far enough so that any time you move the pump, you don’t have to lean over. Also, folding handles make storing simple.
Look for a lightweight laptop if you have back issues. Note that the weight mentioned would increase by adding coal, water , and oil.
Look for devices with many different nozzles, adjustable friction, and accessories used, if you have several kinds of surfaces to scrub.
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