Pressure Washer Buying Guide
Gas-Powered Pressure Washers
Prioritize power, mobility and price with gas-powered pressure washers. These power washers typically cost less and generate more power than electric units. Smaller washers are highly mobile too, but they cannot be used indoors due to their exhaust. Of their few downsides, gas power washers are much louder than electric washers and reserve fuel is often necessary.
Electric Pressure Washers
Clean surfaces effectively and safely and never run out of fuel with electric pressure washers. These power washers can be used indoors and in enclosed spaces because there is no dangerous exhaust, though power cords can limit mobility. Typically, electric washers cost more than comparable gas-powered models, but they require less maintenance over lifetime.
Cold-Water Pressure Washers
Clean with cold water. Cold-water power washers are perfect for most applications, from stripping paint to cleaning sidewalks and refreshing surfaces. They are effective at removing dirt and mildew, making them ideal for cleaning boats, walls, windows and vehicles where grease and oils are not a concern.
Hot-Water Pressure Washers
Clean more with hot water. Hot-water power washers specialize in blasting away grease and oils. Applications include cleaning everything from industrial equipment to washing freight cars and engine parts. They are also ideal for disinfecting surfaces, de-icing vehicles and sanitizing equipment.
Commercial Pressure Washer GPM & PSI Guide
Pounds per square inch (PSI) is the main metric used to gauge pressure washer power, but it isn’t the only metric that a pro needs to know. Gallons per minute (GPM) greatly contributes to a power washer’s output. We recommend you evaluate both GPM and PSI as total cleaning units (CU) when choosing your professional-grade pressure washer. To find CU, multiply the GPM by PSI.
|2.0 - 2.5||2,000||4,000 - 5,000||Light jobs|
|2.5 - 3.0||3,000||7,500 - 9,000||Medium jobs|
|3.0 - 4.0||4,000||12,000 - 16,000||Heavy jobs|
|4.0 - 5.0||5,000||20,000 - 25,000||Heaviest jobs|
These CU, GPM and psi statistics are examples. They represent a range of pressure washers and job demands.
More Features to Consider
Run cleaner and greener. These pressure washers are compliant with safer emission standards set by the California Air Resource Board (CARB). For California residents, all new pressure washers must be CARB compliant.
Be ready to increase your pressure washer’s cleaning power. Onboard detergent tanks allow for the easy addition of cleaning agents, including soaps, shampoos and other chemicals. Most include a detergent tank on/off switch.
Larger fuel tanks run larger pressure washers longer. Smaller fuel tanks are more mobile but may need to be refilled more frequently. Balance these two factors against your work environments to choose the best power washer for your needs.
Match existing equipment to your next machine. If you want to use hoses you already have, be sure their sizes match your prospective power washer’s connections. Take note of pressure and temperature ratings. These too must match.
Belt Drive vs. Direct Drive
Choose the right drive for your industry. Both deliver quality cleaning results, but belt drive pumps are quieter, run longer and require less maintenance over their lifetime. Direct drive pumps typically boast more efficiency and power.
Portable vs. Vehicle-Mounted
Power clean where you need it. Most pressure washers are relatively mobile, but they are not as powerful as vehicle-mounted washers. Vehicle-mounted pressure washers are by far the most powerful, but require special transportation.