Cleaning a driveway, vinyl siding, a brick patio or power washing a lawnmower goes a lot faster and is more effective with a power pressure washer. Several grades of power pressure washer are available, including light and heavy-duty consumer and professional models. Depending on the application at home or at the job site, a particular combination of horsepower, pressure and flow rate is needed. Power pressure washers come in numerous sizes, from smaller, vacuum-sized home units to large capacity, trailer-pulled systems with a self-contained water and power supply.
Determining the Best Pressure Washer
Determining the efficiency of a power pressure washer can play a big role in which product is selected. Multiply the PSI rating by the flow rate to calculate the effective cleaning units or ECU possessed by any pressure washer. For example, a pressure washer with a PSI rating of 1500 multiplied by its flow rate of 1.5 GPM equals 2,250. A machine with the same PSI rating but a flow rate of 2.5 has an ECU of 3,750, a more efficient purchase. Other factors weigh in as well, including price and technological capabilities. Pressure washers start as low as $75, but can cost as much as $20,000 for the largest commercial varieties.
Light-duty power pressure washers feature a max PSI of 1000 to 1500 and a flow rate of 2 or less. This makes them useful for light cleaning applications such as barbecues or vehicles. More powerful units hover in the 2000 to 3000 max PSI range. With flow rates between 2 and 3, heavier cleaning of siding, driveways or farm equipment is possible. The most powerful pressure washers have a max PSI of 4000 or higher and a flow rate up to 8 GPM, suitable for job site cleanup.
Power pressure washers may feature adjustable pressure controls, steam capability with hot water units and high-impact components, such as a steel frame and a rugged brass pump manifold. Accessories typically include a 30 to 50-foot wire-braided hose, spray gun or lance and several nozzles.