Types of Pressure Washers - A Guide to Understand Ratings and EquipmentBy Allison Hester - PWNA
How do you know if you need a gas or electric pressure washer? Do you need a machine that can handle light, medium, heavy, or extra heavy duty work? If you’re looking to rent or purchase pressure washing equipment for use at home, you should understand the basics before going into a store to purchase the machine. The first step in purchasing a pressure washing machine is to understand your budget, the cleaning projects you may have to tackle, and other tractors that come with the machine, such as: power, maintenance, or noise levels. The next step is to understand the language of water pressure, as the equipment can handle varying levels of cleaning-power.
These pressure washers are great for smaller projects. The average consumer will find these machines pack more than enough power to clean cars, grills, or boats. They will usually have less power than gas pressure washers, but will generally be less expensive and more portable as a result. These machines usually also require less maintenance than their gas counterparts, produce less noise when running (average 78 decibels), and create no exhaust emissions. These machines are usually small enough to be stored indoors without winterizing.
Gas pressure washers typically pack more power than electric machines. The gas-powered models will generally put out 2,000 to 2,800 PSI compared with 1,300 to 1,700 PSI for electric models. Gas pressure washers also produce more noise when running (up to 85 decibels). They have more weight than electric machines, and usually required pull-starting, fuel-mixing, and regular tune-ups. These machines have pumps that must be winterized with anti-freeze in colder areas since gas machines should not be stored indoors.
1. PSI, or Pounds per Square Inch
This number tells you how forceful the water will be during cleaning. The higher the PSI, the greater the cleaning power – and the greater the potential for damaging your property. Most pressure washers offer a range of PSI settings, typically from 1,300 on up to 4,000 or more. (As a point of comparison, a garden hose typically operates at 40 PSI.)
The pressure washer with the highest PSI setting isn’t always best; rather, you should choose a model that offers a range of suitable settings for the tasks you need done. For most homeowners, a high end of 2,250 PSI is sufficient. More than that and you may be wasting your money.
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