Considering pressure washer purchase

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Old 04-07-13, 07:25 AM
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Considering pressure washer purchase

So, despite my lengthy history of complaining about how these things are dangerous in the wrong hands, and can do more damage than good... I'm considering buying one at some point this spring. I'm hoping that i will heed my own advice and not do stupid things with it like destroying what I'm trying to clean or spray water inside my house by cleaning my vinyl siding, etc.

I'm not sure what direction to go in, gas or electric. Also the range in pressure goes from 1500psi all the way to 2700psi from what I can see.

There's a range of brands to go with, some of which have names I trust and some I've never heard of before.

Anyone have any suggestions/experiences as to which direction to go?

Basically I plan on using it to clean off the deck, possibly use it in exterior painting to help stripping paint/stain off surfaces, and whatever else comes up that would appear appropriate.

Price ranges I've seen around here in Canada range from very cheap no name electric ones for around $175, to Briggs & Stratton gas 2700psi for around $400.
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Old 04-07-13, 09:21 AM
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Hello wildbill7145,

Electric is not the way to go period, To easily strip paint/stain you need 3500 + psi.... Then your getting in the $700 + price range.

If you wouldn't be using this machine often check this thread out, This is the type machines your looking at;

Since I work for a equipment dealership/contractor equipment rental store, I'd suggest not getting into one of these cheap homeowner machines (for maintenance reasons). Just rent one when you need it, That way you can get the size machine needed for the project at hand.


Good Luck
Old 04-07-13, 10:07 AM
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My folks have an electric one and it's fine for cleaning. Not so powerful that you have to worry about stripping paint or etching wood but good enough to remove dirt, pollen and most mold. If you want to do serious cleaning gas is the way to go. I think something that can do 3'000 to 3'500 and about 2 or 2.5 gallons per minute is a good general size. Up close it can remove loose paint and further away or with a wider tip you can do a good job cleaning siding or concrete walkways.
Old 04-07-13, 10:07 AM
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Hmm, interesting 31Ytech. Yeah, I was pretty much convinced that I wouldn't want to go with electric in this situation. Most of the electric ones I've seen look pretty cheaply put together.

I live in a small town in Canada, so the only place that rents out equipment generally has junk that's been rented out so many times it barely works period. I do know what you mean though about using the right tool for the job.

I'm not 100% convinced I'd be using it a lot for paint stripping, etc. although that could come into play. I've been a painter for 10 years now and have always pretty much followed the teachings of the first guy who trained me. He'd been painting for 25 years and had never used a pressure washer once. Keep surfaces to be painted dry unless absolutely necessary.

Mostly I'd likely be using the thing regularly around the house I guess for blasting sand, etc. off the deck. I actually thought about using it in for pressure washing laneways before people tar seal them. I see lots of people around here doing that every couple of years and talking about the need to pressure wash prior to sealing.

Anyhoo, thanks for the comments. I'll take them into consideration.
Old 04-07-13, 10:19 AM
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One I'm considering has these features:

Gas pressure washer produces 2500 PSI at 2.3 GPM (5750 CU) for medium-duty tasks

Quick-connect Project Pro nozzles offer predefined spray patterns for precise control and optimal cleaning effect

Detergent injection tube enables you to apply detergent during low-pressure spraying. Just drop the siphon tube into the detergent container

Briggs & Stratton 675 Series: 6.75 ft-lbs gross torque and 190 cc engine. World-leading engine manufacturers recognized for their reliability and performance; maintenance-free axial cam pump with Easy Start technology

ReadyStart technology allows you to start at full power, no priming required

Fold-down handle for compact and convenient storage with built-in accessory compartments

Up to 50 times more powerful than an ordinary garden hose, assuming a 50PSI garden hose

Best suited for cleaning patio furniture, stairs, lawn equipment, vehicles, fencing, deck or patio, garage floor and your driveway

Includes 30' (9 m) ultra-flexible high-pressure hose, 4 quick-connect Project Pro nozzles, stainless steel wand, metal spray gun with safety lock, and starter oil bottle

And these specs:

Brand Name - Briggs & Stratton

Engine - 190 cc

GPM - 2.3 GPM

Cleaning Units - 5750 CU

Motor - Briggs & StrattonŠ 675 Series with ready start technology

Engine Output - 6.75 ft-lbs gross torque

Pump - Maintenance-free axial cam with Easy Start technology

Hose - 30' (9 m)

Spray Nozzle - Quick-connect Project ProŠ nozzles

Wand - Chrome-plated steel wand

Detergent System - Detergent injection tube

Accessories - Deluxe handle is foldable and holds hose and Project ProŠ nozzles for easy access

It's selling for $350 this week on sale.
Old 04-07-13, 12:15 PM
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I don't think you'll find anyone other than the sales folks who will recommend those type units. If you want something you can count on and have last any decent amount of time, you're going to have to stop looking at the cheap junk. I don't know how many of those I have yanked the engine off of and tossed the rest in the trash because the pump never lasts nearly as long as the engine. I have 5 or so more at the shop right now in the same situation. The only pressure washers worth having have an AR, Comet, or CAT pump on them in my opinion. You didn't mention what washer you're looking at, so the rest of the info isn't much help. All I can go by is the %350 price and the mention of an axial cam pump, which says it's "one of those" that we mechanics see broken all the time.
Old 04-07-13, 01:04 PM
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Sounds similar to the Troy Bilt I have. Owned it for a little over 3 years and during that period it worked perfect for doing my decks and driveway. That is until I forgot the most important thing, proper maintenance.

The link 31YTech referred you to was mine. Because of poor maintenance habits I've just had to order a new pump for it that's costing me $140 from amazon. Whether the pump will last 4 or more years with proper maintenance is probably debatable!

But, if cost comes into play with making your decision, go with your wallet and try to remember to read the owners manual fully and remember to do proper maintenance on it every year and I think you'll be happy.
Old 04-07-13, 07:35 PM
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My two bits...

I have owned three electric washers and should have learned after the first one that they just aren't worth a d__n. I finally spent a few bucks and bought a Troy-Built, gasoline engine power washer. It's 2500 psi. It works great for deck or driveway cleaning prior to sealing. Comes with 3 or 4 quick release tips. Has detergent siphon.... I wish it had a bit larger gas tank on it but other than that I love it. If you store it in an unheated area in the winter be sure to winterize the pump...
Old 04-08-13, 05:12 AM
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I don't like the electric ones either, mainly because water and electricity don't play well together
I bought my PWer at Northern Hyrdraulics about 15 yrs ago. It's not a large unit and only puts out about 1500 psi. It has a Honda engine and a Comet pump. The only repairs it's needed [not counting spark plugs, oil change] is some pump work caused by a sudden drop in water pressure. The only thing I don't like about it is the handle is too short for an old man with a bad back

I prefer the smaller or lower pressure units because it's so easy to force water where it doesn't belong. I would never use a PWer to strip paint! It can be used to make scraping/stripping easier. I've seen a lot of wood chewed up by a nimrod using too much pressure

Bill, a PWer is good tool for most any painter to own, especially if he has his own business.
Old 04-08-13, 02:38 PM
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I DO prefer electric over gasoline for several reasons. I bought a pressure washer from Surplus Center some fifteen or twenty years ago and they had assembled it from a two-horsepower electric motor, a Hypro twin piston pump, a steel frame with two wheels and a handle along with 25 feet of high pressure hose and a trigger handle spray wand. I added a pressure gauge, different spray nozzle and some more hose and that unit worked well for everything I wanted or needed.

Last year my sister wanted to borrow it to blast the moss off of her driveway. I dug it out to test and while it worked on the first pull of the trigger it refused to work thereafter unless I shut it down and let the pressure drop to almost zero. I ended up replacing the pump valve and the unloader valve (after thoroughly examining both and seeing no problem) and the darn thing was the same as before. I finally found the trouble to be in the trigger handle, that once it had shut under pressure it wouldn't open again. I swapped the handle and everything is back to normal. Most likely I did NOT need to replace either the pump valve or the unloader.

Of course it DOES require a dedicated 20 ampere circuit and a large gauge (#10) extension cord but I already have both so for me it is far easier than having to store gasoline and also perform maintenance on an engine. Also, the Hypro pump IS a high-quality unit, the unloader valve is the same as used on engine powered units as is the handle/wand/nozzle unit and hose. I forget the cost but it was far more than the $99 to $199 I see advertised for the electric models at the mega-mart homecenters. The biggest downside for me is that my unit is limited to about 1200 psi and less than two gallons per minute.
Old 04-17-13, 08:05 AM
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Take a look at Water Cannon. They have all kinds of pressure washers, electric, gasoline, diesel, hot or cold water. I bought a 4200 PSI 13 HP Briggs with a General pump, wand, hose, overheat protection on the pump, pressure regulator, and soap injection many years ago. I have no idea how many hours are on this machine, it has more than paid for itself. It can and will strip paint if you want it to. Add a turbo tip and it will clean anything.

Old 04-17-13, 10:24 AM
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It can and will strip paint if you want it to.
It's rarely a good idea to use a PWer to strip paint/stain off of wood because it will damage the wood in the process. PWers can be used to strip coatings off of harder substrates. You always want to use care to make sure you never force water somewhere it shouldn't be.
Old 12-02-14, 03:59 AM
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pressure washer

Hi everyone! I am looking for pressure washer.. and I need some tips. Good thing I bumped into this forum. Thanks for the tips guys!
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