Combining the power of pressurized water with accessories designed to control the flow and angle of the spray, a high pressure washer is a do-it-yourselfer's best friend when hosing down a driveway, removing moss from a brick wall, cleaning gutters or countless other tasks. High pressure washers also enjoy commercial and industrial use. Graffiti removal, bus stop hose-downs, concrete and sidewalk cleaning and engine block grease removal are just a few possible commercial uses. Both gas-powered and electric models are used. Cold water washers are most common in homes, but hot water systems increase the tool's deep cleaning ability and are thus used professionally.
What gives a pressure washer its power are its maximum PSI rating and water flow rate. Pressure washers are built with powerful positive displacement reciprocating pumps that commonly feature ceramic plungers, steel valves and brass manifolds. An electric or gas-fueled motor powers the pump. Gas-fueled pressure washer frames are usually constructed out of 10-gauge steel or greater and feature rugged, 10- to 12-inch tires. Home electric models may feature some steel components, but are often housed in a durable plastic shell with a built-in handle and casters.
Important for professionals and homeowners alike is the efficiency of a pressure washer. The water flow rate, anywhere from 1.5 to 8.0 gallons per minute on most models, is the best indicator of efficiency. Pressure is vital as well, but given two models with an equal max PSI rating, the tool with the greater flow rate cleans faster and more effectively. Light- and heavy-duty residential models produce between 1000 and 3000 PSI. Professional pressure washers may exceed 4000 PSI.
Features and Accessories
Hot water electric pressure washers can heat water above the boiling point for the deepest cleaning. Common features of a wide variety of models include adjustable pressure valve, chemical injection compatibility and low oil shut-down on some gas washers. Accessories include a wire-wrapped hose, extension lance and trigger gun with quick-connect couplers and a selection of nozzles for a wide variety of applications.