If you’ve got a cleaning routine down using your garden hose there’s probably been times when you finish and wonder if it could have been done faster.
With this in mind maybe you’ve considered buying a pressure washer. But there’s just so much to know about pressure washers before buying one to suit your needs that it can be difficult to know whether it’s worth it!
Pressure washers are a much more efficient and powerful cleaning method than using a garden hose (and a lot better than bucket and sponge).
Pressure washers are worth it, they can be used to clean a variety of different surfaces and objects due to the number of different nozzles and attachments usually available. This means that a pressure washer can definitely be a worthy purchase that will save you time and keep your home and outdoor areas sparkling.
What can you use a pressure washer for?
Pressure washers are effective at cleaning a huge number of surfaces and other things around your home.
They usually come with a whole bunch of different nozzles that allow you to clean pretty much anything.
For regular light cleaning, there are nozzles which give you a wider spray of water with lower force which can quickly cover many surfaces in detergent, ready for you to swap to a slightly higher pressure nozzle to blast off most dirt and grime.
Concrete driveways, garden sheds and patios are all prime candidates for this kind of cleaning.
Although you’d be able to cover the area with a garden hose (maybe by holding your thumb over the end), the convenience of pressure and wide spray coverage makes the pressure washer far superior. You would also end up saving water since the washer is that much faster, which is a huge plus.
As well as light-duty cleaning, there are nozzles that give you a more concentrated blast of water, giving a higher force on the surface, allowing you to lift much more stubborn dirt and grime.
Some of these nozzles are even strong enough to blast off rust! This makes them great for cleaning metal shed walls and rooves too. Make sure that the metal you’re going to clean isn’t too thin, however, as some washers are actually able to cut through metal!
If you need a lighter touch, though, say for something more delicate like your car or windows, some washers are actually capable of cleaning these without causing damage.
The lower pressure nozzles will let you clean your car in much the same way as you would with a hose, but faster. You can even swap out your nozzles depending on which part of the car you’re washing!
Another use for pressure washers is to prepare a surface for repainting. The higher pressure but still wide nozzles will strip old paint off surfaces in no time. Using the same washer, you can then clean the surface and have a perfect start to repaint.
Now that you’ve seen the many uses of a pressure washer, let’s see which one you might need.
What kind of pressure washer do you need?
There are two main kinds of washer to consider buying: petrol/diesel (gas if you’re American) washers and electric washers.
Which one you buy depends entirely on what you want to be cleaning. I did also write an entire article about the differences between the two types of washer and their various pros and cons.
If you’ve read up to here, you probably already have a good idea of what characteristics you want you washer to have to suit your needs. A summary of the differences between the two kinds of washers will definitely help you make a quicker decision though.
For light-duty cleaning (such as driveways, patios, cars) an electric washer is probably going to be what you need.
Electric washers usually are on the lower side of maximum pressure output, so if you don’t need to get rid of really caked in dirt or stains, they will be able to handle most tasks you want to do.
Due to their lower output, they are also the cheaper option, so if you’re on a tighter budget, these will be a good choice.
Their biggest advantage is their weight, though. Being much lighter than their fuel counterparts means you can carry them around and not put much strain on your back or joints.
They can be limited in range, however, as they’ll need to remain plugged into a power source in order to use them.
On the other hand, the fuel powered washers, while being a lot heavier, are also a lot more powerful in general.
If you have tougher cleaning to be done, especially something like a rusty metal surface or rust stains on concrete, then these washers will be your go to.
Despite their weight, they actually can be a bit more mobile too, since they don’t need a power cord attached and they can sometimes be on wheels, mitigating the weight issue a touch.
Based on these differences and knowing what pressure washers are capable of, you’ll be able to make a decision about which one would best suit your needs.
There are a few extra things you might want to consider though before actually buying.
Things to know before buying your pressure washer
As with any kind of appliance or tool, a pressure washer needs regular care and maintenance to keep it working at maximum capability.
To know better what to look for, I have an article about storing and maintaining your washer, as well as one for troubleshooting.
In general, though, regular checks of joints, filters, essentially giving the appliance a visual once over will help you keep on top of most issues that can come up.
Electric washers don’t need as much care as fuel powered washers, which can need regular oil changes much like other engines.
Pressure washers are reasonable powerful pieces of kit, so using them safely is really important.
Perhaps most important is to check the surface before spraying water at it. If you don’t want to cause damage to whatever you’re washing, then making sure it doesn’t already have chips or holes in it will save you a lot of money.
As well as damage to the surface, chips can be lifted away by the water and pose a risk to you as the user. Eye protection is basically an essential item when using a pressure washer!
And lastly, I’m sure if you’ve been reading about washers already you know this one, but never point them at bare skin!
Hopefully by reading this, you’ve seen that pressure washers are extremely useful pieces of equipment and are generally worth the purchase, especially if you happen to have a large outdoor space that needs cleaned.
There’s a washer that will suit basically any situation and allow you to clean much more effectively.
A decent washer will save you a lot of time, money and water so they’re definitely a worthy investment!