If you’ve had the time to read some of the other informational pages I have on my website, I thank you because I know I spend a lot of time endlessly rambling on about how awesome pressure washers are. And they are! All those cleaning jobs you had to do manually before can now be done in no time.
It’s not just a matter of speed either. They will do the job much better than any human being, no matter how hard they scrub or how much detergent they use. Every surface cleaned with a pressure washer will be left spotless.
However no matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t able to come across an article that explains what they are like to live with every day in terms of usability? 3000 PSI and 2.5 GPM sounds pretty nice, but what if that particular pressure washer is a nightmare to use? What about the downsides of using a pressure washer?
OK maybe downside is too strong a word, but there are some things you need to look out for when using a pressure washer.
A lot of people point out that gas-powered units’ (unlike their electric cousins) are not limited by power cords and wires. That’s true, but both of these are limited by hose length. Usually pressure washers come with a 25-foot hose which is enough in most cases.
There are some pressure washers that come with a 50-foot hose, or it is possible to buy an extension if that makes life easier for you. However, if the hose is too long more pressure is needed to get water to the spray wand, so it’s not just a matter of longer being better. Also, the longer the hose the bigger the chance is of getting it twisted or tangled up. This little issue can easily be sorted out if you opt for a model that has a hose reel (or you attach one yourself).
When it comes to material, rubber hoses are better because they are more resistant to kinks and abrasions than their plastic counterparts. Keep in mind that you cannot attach just any kind of hose to a pressure washer.
Units that produce high PSI numbers need a heavy-duty steel-threaded hose. The more powerful the unit, the stronger the hose has to be. As you may have noticed, it’s good to have durable components made out of strong materials, and that brings me to the next section of this article: Weight. Yes, plastic is not as durable but it is light!
If you have decided to buy an electric pressure washer, weight is pretty much a non-issue since they are relatively light. But if you’re going for a gas powered washer then weight is an important factor, especially if you are using it on a daily basis or at least a few times a week.
Gas-powered units tend to be a lot heavier and bulkier, and lugging them around is not really something I would look forward to. This is why you need to decide very early on what kind of pressure washer you need. Obviously if you are going to do some heavy-duty cleaning, a gas-powered unit is better since they are more powerful.
But as I’ve just pointed out, they tend to be heavy. In which case always go for a unit that has transport wheels which allow you to move it from one location to another with relative ease. There are even some units out there that come with another set of wheels which effectively turn your pressure washer into a four-wheel unit.
If you have to move your pressure washer upstairs those wheels won’t do you much good, but a carrying handle might. The frame on some heavy-duty units usually doubles as a carrying handle, but some models also have a practical fold-down handle as well.
You will not hear about this a lot, but pressure washers are environmentally friendly. Well, as much as something that uses gasoline or electricity can be. How come? Well, pressure washers use a lot less water than a garden hose. So if you are worried about the environment a pressure washer is something that should be OK in your book.
Lastly, having some safety features is a necessity since pressure washers are extremely powerful. Things like pressure unloaders, thermal relief valves and others are something you should also look for in a pressure washer.
All of these things are secondary, cleaning power should always come first when buying a pressure washer. That is why you are buying it, but it doesn’t hurt to look a bit beyond performance figures.