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Things to consider before purchasing a pressure washer

Below is a list of things we recommend you consider before purchasing your next pressure washer:

1. Would you prefer an electric or petrol pressure washer?

Most pressure washers used around the house and for domestic applications are electric pressure washers.  Electric pressure washers are fantastic for washing the car or boat, cleaning the driveway or footpath, washing the house or cleaning your outdoor patio or deck. Make sure that you have a power point close to the area where you intend using the pressure washer. We recommend that you only use an extension cord of up to 30m in length. A longer extension cord can lead to a drop in voltage and possible damage to your pressure washer’s electric motor.

Petrol pressure washers are more portable than their electric counterparts and are typically more heavy duty.  Most petrol pressure washers have a higher PSI (pressure) rating and a larger water flow rate, i.e they are spray a larger volume of water at a higher pressure. There is a wide range of petrol high pressure cleaners to chose from, covering domestic and commercial applications. Petrol pressure washers generally cost more than their electric equivalents.

2. What type of pump do you require, plastic, aluminium or brass?

The cheapest type of pressure washer pump available on the market is a plastic pump or a metal pump with plastic components. These pumps are typically fitted onto the cheaper pressure washers at your local hardware store and Bunnings.  Even household brand names like Karcher have plastic components in their pumps on their cheaper models. If you will be using your pressure washer for  an extended period of time, are using tank water, have hard water (water with a high mineral content) or  intended to use your pressure washer for heavy duty cleaning applications, we strongly recommend you consider purchasing a pressure washer with an aluminium or brass pump.

Aluminium pumps are harder wearing than pumps with plastic components. Brass pumps are even more robust than aluminium pumps and are better suited to tank water or hard water. Brass pumps typically will last much longer than pumps with plastic components or aluminium pumps.  As a general rule of thumb, Italian made pumps are considered to be the best pumps for pressure washers and are fitted to the mid range and top end pressure washer models of most reputable brands.

3. What type of pump is better suited to your water quality?

As discussed above, brass bumps are more suited to water drawn from a tank or dam.  Brass pumps are also better suited to hard water (water with a high content of dissolved minerals).  Aluminium pumps are better suited to softer water.

4. What water pressure do you need for your cleaning requirements?

This is a very important consideration to take into account when choosing your high pressure cleaner.  Cleaning of your boat or car requires much less pressure than cleaning mould or dirt off your concrete driveway or house.  We recommend a minimum PSI of 2000 or more for cleaning your driveway or concrete paths.

5. What water flow rate is best suited to your cleaning requirements?

This is the second most important consideration you need to take into account before choosing a pressure washer. While PSI is important, the higher the water flow rate, normally measured in litres per minute, the better your pressure washer will clean.  A larger volume of water at higher pressure results in much more effective cleaning.  Concrete surfaces and house cleaning requires a minimum flow rate of 6 to 7 litres per minute for efficient and effective cleaning.

6. What quality of hose and hose fitting would be best suited for your application?

Many of the cheaper models of pressure washers are only fitted with a very thin hose and plastic couplings from the high pressure hose to the pump and from the hose to the gun. Remember the couplings and hose are used under high pressure.  The weaker the hose and fittings, the more likely the chance of a failure.  We recommend that you purchase a pressure washer with a reinforced hose and steel or brass couplings.  If your high pressure hose kinks easily during use, this will cause the hose to split and result in the costly purchase of a new hose.  Before purchasing the pressure washer test the hose to see how easily to bends or kinks.  Check the pressure rating of the hose and make sure it is substantially higher than the rated pressure of the pressure washer.

7. Does the pressure washer have spare parts backup?

No matter which brand of pressure washer you purchase, it is important to check there is a proper spare parts and service back up for the pressure washer.  Water is very corrosive and if you leave your pressure washer for long periods without use, the water can cause corrosion of your pump’s seals and pistons or corrosion of your hose fittings.  Make sure you can purchase spare hoses, fittings and pump parts or entire pumps for your pressure washer.  Beware, many Chinese brands on the market do not have  proper spare parts or service back up.

8. Are there optional accessories available for your pressure washer?

Many brands of pressure washers have a large range of optional accessories, including different cleaning nozzles, deck or patio brushes, gutter cleaning accessories and drain cleaning accessories.  Make sure the brand of pressure washer you purchase has a range of cleaning accessories available.

9. What length of hose will you need?

This is a very important consideration to take into account when purchasing a pressure washer.  Many of the cheaper models of pressure washers found at your local hardware store and Bunnigs only have a very short hose.  This means that if you are using the pressure washer to wash your car, boat or driveway, you will constantly have to move the pressure washer to ensure you have enough hose to reach the area you want to clean.  A longer hose is much more convenient and means you can leave the unit in one place while you move around your car, boat, footpath etc. to clean. For cleaning your roof, a longer hose is a necessity. Some brands of pressure washers sell hose extensions for this exact purpose. Make sure the pressure washer you purchase can have a hose extension added if required.

10. How easy is the pressure washer to move around.

Most footpaths, driveways, roofs and houses will require you to move the pressure from one place to another during cleaning of larger areas. Pressure washers, even electric models can be quite heavy. Make sure that if you intent to move your pressure washer around it is either easy to carry, or has wheels and can be easily pulled or pushed.

We hope you found this article helpful, if you have any further queries about pressure washers, please don’t hesitate to e-mail or call us.

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