Thinking of buying a pressure washer for your home or business? Get the lowdown on how to choose the right pressure washer for sale.
Whether you want your driveway and decking to look pristine or need to give the gutters and fence a good clean-up, a pressure washer can be a true time saver, making a whole experience of cleaning much faster and easier, and even – dare we say it – fun.
But before you open your wallet and choose the first good-looking pressure washer for sale you see, there are a few things you need to think about. Not all pressure washers are made equal, so take the time to work out which is the right one for you.
Domestic or Commercial Use?
There are two main categories of pressure washer – commercial and domestic. Some pressure washers can be used for both and fall into the “semi-pro” or “all-rounder” category. Use the water pressure (measured in PSI) and water flow rate (measured in litres per minute) to determine the cleaning power. Perhaps the simplest way to illustrate what types of pressure washer to choose for your intended application is to refer to the below Selection Guide Table:
So really, when looking at Commercial and Domestic pressure washer models for sale, each have two main types (small/medium tasks and medium/large tasks):
- Domestic Light to Medium duties (1500 to 2000 PSI, 5 – 8 Litres/Minute flow): Best for occasional use around the home; cleaning cars, boats, driveways, furniture, decks and sections of your house. Very popular for the typical home. Electric powered, quiet, lightweight and portable. May not be enough pressure for some heavy paint stripping or serious stain removal tasks or enough water flow for larger areas.
- Domestic Medium to Large duties (2000 to 3000 PSI, 6 – 9 Litres/Minute flow ): Generally suitable for all domestic tasks. Great for cleaning larger sections of your home or property, such as complete house siding, or larger outdoor areas including big decks, patios or driveways with significant surface area. Also good for stain/mold removal, brickwork and decent sized retaining walls. Available in electric or petrol powered options.
- Commercial Small to Medium duties (1700 to 2400 PSI, 8 – 11 Litres/Minute flow): Commonly found in businesses requiring various routine cleaning tasks such as property maintenance, hardstand & equipment wash down, cleaning commercial vehicle fleets, garage & workshop floor stain removal, farm/agricultural jobs etc. Available in both electric (including three phase options) and petrol models, recommended for up to 5 hours of daily use.
- Medium to Extra Heavy Duty Commercial duties (2400 to 4000PSI, 10 – 20 Litres/Minute flow): Designed for intensive commercial tasks, big business or industry specific heavy cleaning requirements such as mining sites, marine, manufacturing, large construction jobs, rental & hire industry, and especially large surface areas. These types of professional washers come in electric (including three phase options), petrol and diesel powered options. Can handle more than 5 hours daily use and built to withstand harsh environments.
IMPORTANT TIP: In respect to the above, one of the key things to remember when choosing a pressure washer for sale, is that you can actually clean just about anything with a pressure washer over time…for example, you could use a small, entry-level 1500PSI domestic pressure washer to clean a large semi-trailer truck, but it would take a very, very long time! So one of the key things you are buying is time; generally speaking, the larger the task, the larger the required pressure washer.
Electric, Petrol, or Diesel Powered?
The most common electric pressure washers are characteristically between 1500 to 2500PSI and are most popular for all range of domestic tasks and light trade/commercial requirements. They tend to be quieter and lighter than petrol models, but their mobility is restricted by the length of the power cord. Easy to use, convenient and perfect for occasional use at home or for small/medium general business cleaning.
Then there are Three Phase electric pressure washers that produce in the order of 2500 to 4000PSI that are designed for commercial use and can produce water flow volumes of around 20 litres per minute. Popular for indoor business cleaning requirements in the agriculture, automotive and food industries where mains power is easily accessible.
Petrol powered pressure washers are excellent for heavier duty, outdoor tasks. Models are available for medium to large tasks around the home, and for all range of commercial requirements. Although they tend to be noisier than their electric counterparts, the total power output is often larger which means they can get the job done faster in many cases. And because you don’t need to be near a power outlet, you have more freedom to move around. Slightly more maintenance required with petrol models including oil top ups and fuel draining after leaving the washer inactive for some time – no different to other petrol powered equipment. You’ll see petrol pressure washers on larger properties, farms, construction sites, within rental and hire industries and industrial work yards.
Diesel pressure washers are designed for intensive heavy duty use in mining, agricultural, marine, rural and commercial industries. Diesel engines are known for their fuel efficiency and you often get a lower overall cost of ownership than petrol engines because diesel engines don’t have to work as hard to get the same power output. Diesel pressure washers are therefore the obvious choice for businesses that rely on diesel to run some of their other equipment such as generators, tractors, pumps, excavators etc. They are usually larger, heavier machines and built tough to handle tough conditions and constant use.
Attachments & Accessories
Pressure washers come with different attachments and accessories. For example, you might like a handy three-in-one nozzle for low pressure soap setting, rotary jet and fan options. Or perhaps a detergent bottle, brush and extension wand for things such as vehicle washing etc. And if those mean nothing to you, they soon will when you get going with your new machine! If the pressure washer for sale you are considering doesn’t come with handy attachments included, you can usually buy them as add-ons.
Here are some features to look for when shopping for a pressure washer for sale:
- Interchangeable nozzle tips let you alter the pressure and flow settings for the task at hand. Tips with wider sprays are preset for a lower pressure and more coverage, while narrow sprays provide less coverage but at a higher pressure. You can also choose low-pressure tips especially for applying detergent.
- Pressure washer detergents are available for different types of cleaning. Some manufacturers have specific chemicals approved for use in their equipment, e.g. Car/Vehicle wash detergent, External Housewash, Concrete degreaser wash etc
- Interchangeable wands are designed for different cleaning types, such as specially designed patio cleaner heads. But because you change the wand, there’s no need to change or adjust the nozzle tip.
- Adjustable wands let you to change the spray pattern (and therefore, pressure) without swapping nozzle tips.
- Rotating nozzles (also known as a turbo nozzle / turbohammer / powerspeed nozzle) provide a high-powered spray in a circular motion. These nozzles can cut cleaning time drastically. Excellent for larger concrete areas and for particularly tough to clean surfaces.
- Detergent injection applies cleaners and other chemicals from an onboard tank or a special attachment.
- Onboard detergent tanks mean you can carry the chemical on the pressure washer rather than separately.
- Rotary/Auto Brushes these are designed for washing cars, boats, trucks and caravans to ensure the paint and surface on the vehicles are properly and safely cleaned without any damage.
- Patio Head Cleaners hard and soft head fittings that clean surface settings for concrete, patios, pavers and walls much faster than just a nozzle.
- Sandblasting sets tubes and custom connectors that you can use with sand to help remove rust from metal surfaces.
- Commercial Customization in many of the commercial pressure washer models, you can opt for extras such as safety features, fire extinguisher attachments and mine specifications that may need to be added to suit certain work site requirements.
Maneuvering and Portability
The trick is to look for a machine that you can easily move around with. Some pressure washers are designed to be lightweight, while others are heavier but have wheels to make them more mobile. For smaller domestic cleaning and light business use, you can get pressure cleaners that are easy enough to pick up and carry when required, along with small wheels for simple rolling and pivoting. At the other end of the scale, you’ll likely need tough pneumatic wheels, roll cage and sturdy push handles for the professional portable pressure washer models required for heavy commercial jobs.
Another consideration for mobility is the length of pressure hose and length of the power cable for electric pressure washers.
Last Words of Advice?
Simple: opt for a quality brand with a solid warranty and national service support network. Its not worth going down the path of finding the cheapest pressure washer for sale on eBay that has no brand recognition and no legitimate company standing behind it.
Not only will a quality brand have superior performance in areas such as design, ease of use, reliability and output, but you’ll experience a much longer life with a reputable washer as opposed to a cheap no name product. You’ll also get the extra peace of mind that should anything go wrong, you have the backing of a national brand with comprehensive servicing and repair facilities…if you have a cheap no name washer that stops working, the chances are you’ve just lost the money you spent on it.
Need some more help choosing a pressure washer for sale? Check out www.mygenerator.com.au or give our experts a call on 1300 400 122.
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If you’re look for pressure washer advice outside of Australia, then we’d recommend you check this site here: Ideal Pressure Washer.