So you’re thinking of getting a pressure washer, huhWell, why wouldn’t youThese are fantastic tools that not only make washing cars a breeze, but they also help remove fallen leaves from your lawns, clear paved pathways, and can even be used to blast outdoor furniture pieces clean of debris.
Electric vs. Gas – Which do I need?
Pressure washers fall into two different categories – electric and gas-powered. They both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, so make sure you know what each has to offer before committing to a single type.
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Electric pressure washers are corded models that draw power from an electrical outlet. This means most of your outdoor cleaning with employ the use of an extension cord which can become a tripping hazard or even a zapping hazard. With care, you shouldn’t ever encounter any of these problems.
Electric pressure washers are also much more environmentally friendly than their gas-guzzling counterparts. There aren’t any toxic fumes bursting out of a combustion engine, so storing one of these in a shed or garage does not pose any issues.
The one thing to note is that electric pressure washers are typically much weaker than gas models, though they can deliver upwards of 2,000 PSI. This is more than enough power for cleaning vehicles, driveways, gutters, patios, and outdoor furniture.
Gas models, on the other hand, produce a ton of pressure for maximum cleaning power. Getting rid of decades-old graffiti from brick walls is only possible with a 10,000-plus-PSI pressure washer.
These units come with a gas-powered combustion engine, eliminating the need for power cords. Without cords in the way, you can take a gas pressure washer anywhere on the face of the Earth. Just make sure that there’s enough gasoline in the tank to start her up.
The biggest disadvantage of a gas pressure washer is its size. They’re considerably larger than electric models and must be placed outdoors to prevent toxic fumes from infiltrating your home. The only way to store these units safely is by keeping it chained up outdoors. That’ll prevent thieves and environmentalists from taking and destroying the unit at night.
Since gas-powered pressure washers are usually used by businesses, we’ll focus on electric pressure washers for the remainder of this article. Besides, electricity, in most places on the planet, is a lot cheaper than gasoline and much more widely accessible.
How much PSI do I really need?
Good question. How much pressure do you need and how much is too much?
A simple 2,000-PSI electric pressure washer will be enough for most cleaning jobs and even some of the more challenging ones like cleaning driveways. However, you may want to go larger if you’d like the tool to do more than just clean. For instance, stripping old paint off of patios and outdoor furniture can only be done by a 3,000-plus-PSI model.
If this is the case, then what about the beefiest 4,000-PSI electric pressure washers for sale on the marketDo they have no purposeNot exactly. If you’d like to start your outdoor-cleaning and/or car washing business, a bigger pressure washer is always ideal. You can always adjust the pressure exerted from the spray lance depending on what surface you’re cleaning.
Electric Pressure Washer Guide
Finding the right pressure washer isn’t all that difficult a task, provided that you know what you’re looking for. Now, a bigger pressure washer may seem ideal for every scenario, but this isn’t the case. In this guide, we’ll talk about three electric pressure washer PSI ratings – 2000, 3000, and 4000 – and in what areas they excel in. We’ll also include a brief guide on how to find the best pressure washer for each of pressure caps.
Best 2,000-PSI Electric Pressure Washer
2,000-PSI electric pressure washers are some of the least powerful models available. However, 2,000 PSI is still enough pressure to tear your face off if you’re not careful. For most outdoor cleaning tasks around the home, you won’t need anything larger than a 2,000-plus-PSI unit. In this section, we’ll go over what sort of things make for a high-quality 2,000-PSI pressure washer.
Compact Size and Maneuverability
2,000-PSI electric pressure washers are not nearly as large as 3,000- or 4,000-PSI models. This gives them the advantage of moving around with the greatest of ease. Some models come with two or four wheels which let you tow the unit as you work.
If you’ve ever used a dishwasher, you know the awesome cleaning advantage of warm or hot water over the cold. The hotter the water, the greater the chance it has at dissolving dried mud splotches and removing greasy stains. Many 2,000-PSI electric pressure washers let you use warm water (up to 104°F).
A water-cooled pressure washer uses the cold water gushing from a spout to keep the temperature of the motor down. The water is then pressurized and shot out of the spray lance. A water-cooled pressure washer can be operated longer than air-cooled models, but this also means it can’t use warm water.
The amount of water used by a pressure washer is measured in gallons per minute (GPM). One of the remarkable things about pressure washers is the amount of force exerted from the spray lance while using very little water in the process. A 2,000-PSI unit typically uses between 1 and 1.7 GPM. More water usage translates into better cleaning power, so if you’re working with particularly nasty driveways and gutters, opt for something closer to 1.7 GPM.
A hose reel does nothing to enhance the performance of a pressure washer, but it does make storing one extra convenient. Pressure hoses are prone to tearing and cracking if not coiled properly. A hose reel eliminates the need to manually coil the hose, keeping the hose’s material as flexible as possible.
Quick-Connect Nozzle Tips
Although there are two different systems to change the pressure shot out of the spray lance, 2,000-PSI pressure washers typically use quick-connect nozzle tips. A pressure dial is found in larger models due to the greater risk of causing damage, even when paired with a wide-fan nozzle. The most common nozzle tips are 0°, 15°, 25°, 40°, and soap.
Best 3,000-PSI Electric Pressure Washer
The biggest difference between a 2,000-PSI and a 3,000-PSI electric pressure washer is the latter’s ability to strip paint. This’ll come in handy if you’d like to add a fresh coat of paint on outdoor furniture and decks. In every other cleaning task – gutters, cars, driveways, lawns – the two are practically identical. Let’s see what sort of features to be on the lookout for when shopping for a 3,000-PSI electric pressure washer.
Many 3,000-PSI electric pressure washer models on the market are rated at 3,000 but operate at a much lower level. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since, if we’re honest, most outdoor cleaning tasks won’t need anywhere near 3,000 PSI of pressure.
As a pressure washer that can tear through soft materials, such as flesh, it’s important that you adjust the pressure of the tool depending on what you’re working with. Quick-connect nozzles are not the most foolproof way to control 3,000 PSI of raw pressure. Instead, we recommend finding a model that comes with a pressure dial. That way you can use the tool safely on vehicles, wood, plastic, and lawns without leaving trails of destruction.
Wall-Mounted vs. Portable
Powerful electric pressure washers can either be wall-mounted units or portable ones. Wall-mounted pressure washers are hung outdoors near a power outlet, and they also come with extra-long pressure hoses (50 feet, give or take) to solve the problem of immobility. They’re also quite costly and may not be the best solution for those with huge driveways and lawns.
Portable units rest on two or four wheels. They come with a long power cord which lets you tug the unit to wherever you’re cleaning outdoors. You may need to get an outdoor-safe extension cord to get the most out of this type of pressure washer.
Some pressure washers let you use warm and hot water (beyond 104°F), so it’s extremely important that the unit is given enough time to rest between cleaning and even during cleaning sessions. To eliminate some of the guesswork, certain pressure washers feature a thermal relief system which shuts the unit down when the motor has reached a certain temperature.
Various cleaning attachments are designed to help quicken the process of cleaning certain surfaces. With 3,000 PSI, you can use most attachments, such as a wide surface cleaner for removing dirt and grime from driveways.
Best 4,000-PSI Pressure Washer
We’ve gone over 2,000- and 3,000-PSI electric pressure washers. Now it’s time to talk about tank-like 4,000 PSI models that supply enough pressure to destroy windows and misshapen wooden objects. However, with proper care, these pressure washers can extremely handy at blasting away paint and cleaning wide areas in no time at all.
Like 3,000-PSI pressure washers, these beasts can come as either portable models or wall-mounted units. You already know about wall-mounted units, so let’s discuss portable 4,000-PSI pressure washers for now.
Portable units are considerably larger and heavier than the others due to the weight and size of their much more powerful motors. Most portable units sit atop a cart and require heavy-duty pneumatic tires to move around. The construction and size of the tires will help in determining how well the unit will move.
Cold or Hot
Even though most pressure washers can use cold water, warm or hot water is much better at lifting oil and dissolving dirt particles. The problem is that the motors that power 4,000-PSI pressure washers work much harder at providing a ton of pressure and are much more prone to experiencing heat damage. For this reason, we’d advise that you stick to a cold-water unit or find a hot-water one that comes with a thermal relief system.
Auto-Start and –Stop
A heavy-duty 4,000-PSI pressure washer needs all the safety features it can get to ensure optimal performance for many, many years. The motor, as the most sensitive component of the pressure washer, should have an auto-start and auto-stop feature. Depending on the position of the spray wand’s trigger, the unit will start and stop automatically, preventing over-pressurization, which could cause the premature death of the motor.
Although pressure washers are pretty durable, a 4,000-PSI pressure washer needs to be built like a tank. Many of these have aluminum casings which protect the inner workings of the unit, but it’s prone to corrosion and dents. Many manufacturers place lifetime warranties on aluminum frames, so be sure to make use of it when (not if) the frame becomes damaged in any way.
The last feature that you need to be aware of is the built-in water filter. It may seem odd for a pressure washer to come with a filter, but when it can shoot streams of water at up to 4,000 PSI, the tiniest pebble or contaminant can lead to some pretty disastrous results on sensitive surfaces.Related Pressure Washer Articles
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What is a Good PSI for a Pressure Washer?
Pressure washers are one of the best investments you can make to maintain a clean yard, house, deck, and vehicle. They are quite dangerous. Do not treat these things like toys, especially the more powerful 3,000-PSI and 4,000-PSI models.
We’ve spoken a bit on how electric pressure washers are preferable to gas-guzzlers – environmentalism, storage, fuel availability and costs. Gas-powered pressure washers are typically used in business settings, but a large 4,000-PSI electric pressure washer can easily take its place.
In this article, we’ve provided a quick guide on what sort of features make for a good 2,000-, 3,000-, and 4,000-PSI electric pressure washer. The main thing to know about each of these is that 2,000-PSI models are used mainly for light-duty outdoor cleaning, 3,000-PSI models can do anything their lighter counterparts can do in addition to stripping paint, and 4,000-PSI models are the tanks of all-electric pressure washers. Choose which of the three you need based on what you plan on doing. For the most part, a simple 2,000-PSI electric pressure washer will work beautifully at most outdoor cleaning tasks.