There are simply some jobs around where the average garden hose at your house simply does not cut it. This is because it does not give you the water pressure you need to get the job done. That is why it is optimal to go for a pressure washer to get both the power and pressure needed.
Depending on how large or difficult your task is, there are two main aspects that you should consider: pounds per square inch and gallons per minute. Pounds per square inch refers to the amount of cleaning pressure that the washer can produce, while gallons per minute refers to the volume of water that the washer can release.
Another aspect that is often overlooked is the size of the nozzle, it is preferable for your washer to actually have more than one in order to help you in the different washing tasks.
Types of pressure washers
The light-duty pressure washer
A light duty washer will have cleaning pressure of less than 2,000 PSI (pounds per square inch) and release volume of less than 1.5 GPI (gallons per minute). This is usually perfect for any “light” washing tasks like washing dirt directly off your vehicle, as well as, cleaning any minor stains off your driveway or walkway.
Medium-duty pressure washer
This type of washer would usually have a PSI of above 2500 and a GPI between 2 to 2.5. Such machines are often gas-powered. They can be quite useful for cleaning any hard-to-reach surfaces like second-story windows.
Heavy-duty pressure washer and commercial grade
These usually have PSI above 3,500 and a GPI above 2.5. Some of these washers can be so strong that they can completely remove old paint! They usually have very powerful and reliable engines too.
Other things to consider
There are a number of other pointers that should be looked at before you make your final decision.
The type of nozzle
An important thing to consider is whether or not the washer has different types of nozzles with different spray patterns. More nozzles will give you a lot of freedom when deciding on the optimal way for cleaning a certain object or space.
Is it adjustable?
It’s important to understand the degree to which the water pressure can actually be regulated on your pressure washer. Some washers may claim a certain pounds of pressure output. However, if they don’t have a proper knob or mechanism to help you swiftly increase and decrease pressure, then the high pounds per pressure won’t be of much use.
If you can’t lower the pressure, it will probably limit your usage of the washer because some tasks do not need that much pressure.
Does it have a detergent compartment?
Some pressure washers have integrated detergent injection systems, which can make it a lot easier for you when trying to get rid of those stubborn stains. Read here to learn more about using detergent in your pressure washer.
Frequently asked questions about pressure washers
My pressure washer has a number followed by the letters PSI on it. What does that mean?
PSI is an abbreviation that is used when referring to pounds per square inch. This refers to amount of cleaning pressure that a unit can produce. The higher the number you see next to those letters, the more pressure that it is capable of producing.
My pressure washer has a number followed by the letters GPM on it. What does that mean?
GPM is an abbreviation that is used when referring to gallons per minute. Those numbers are in reference to the volume of water that the washer can release. The higher the number you see next to those letters, the more water that it is capable of releasing in a specific period of time.
What is the difference between power washing and pressure washing?
Both pressure washing and power washing rely on the use of intense jets of water in order to remove stains and clean surfaces. However, the main difference is that power washing uses heated water, while pressure washing just uses room-temperature water.
Is it safe to wash my car and brick house with a high duty pressure washer that has a high PSI?
It is usually not advised to use high-duty pressure washers for the purposes of cleaning your vehicle or house. However, pressure does tend to decrease dramatically with distance. That is why you can still use that high-duty pressure washer, but you will just have to stand further away from your vehicle.
Similarly, a brick house could also be severely damaged if the pounds per square inch is too high. Just to give you some perspective, your average home garden hose has a 40 PSI, and that is why it is usually recommended that you use light-duty washers and never let the output go over 1500 PSI.