How much pressure washer do I need?

Old 11-28-16, 08:49 AM
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How much pressure washer do I need?

So I need to buy an electric pressure washer but my lack of experience has me lost.

On one hand I've tried out a few lower powered "home models" which were entirely underwhelming, only marginally better than pinching the end of a garden hose.

So I started looking at used higher end models which is a category that has served me well in a whole bunch of different applications.

The problem is that professional pressure washers go more or less to infinity in power and price.

What I need the pressure washer to do:

Clean decades of grime off brick wall.
Clean incrusted dirt from porous pool deck.
Stripping paint from pool in preparation of repainting.
Quick work of monthly cleaning of patios, walkways and driveways made from brick & slate.
Not massive- nothing that can't be lifted up stairs by a reasonably fit able bodied man.

I don't want to buy something that is totally overkill but I really really really really don't want to buy something that turns out to be useless.

Here are some examples of the types of machines I'm looking it and the prices. Keep in mind I'm not in the US and things are more expensive here so the prices are mainly for relative comparison between the options.

Lower end:
2.5 kw 2300psi 2.1 GPM - $330

Higher end:
4.5kw 2450psi 3.4 GPM - $740

My question, if I bought something like the lower end option would I regret not having paid double for the higher end one or if I bought the higher end one would I have just wasted $400?
Old 11-28-16, 08:59 AM
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I haven't seen an electric one powerful enough to do what you want.

Personally, I'd invest my money in a gas powered pressure washer. I bought one from Home Depot ten or so years ago. It had a 8hp Honda engine and a Cat pump. It has performed flawlessly for me. Cost was around $600.

Maybe others have had better luck with electrics units.
Old 11-28-16, 09:08 AM
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Personally I wouldn't have an electric PWer. I haven't seen any that had a significant amount of pressure. I have a small gas PWer that works well for me, 5hp [if I remember correctly] with a CAT pump. I'd rather apply a detergent first and rinse with the pressure washer than run the risk of damaging the substrate with too much pressure. I think I paid about $400 for mine about 18 yrs ago.
Old 11-28-16, 10:10 AM
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Ok gas models are a bit more expensive it seems.

1) $580 is about as cheap as the come which gets me 6.5hp gas motor, axial pump, 2300 psi & 2.6 GPM

2) $680 gets me 6.5hp, triplex pump 2750psi 3.1 GPM

3) $1080 gets me 14hp, triplex pump 3600psi 4.7 GPM. It's also pushing a bit on the upper limit of how much I want to spend.

So all the gas models seem a fair bit larger than the electric ones.

Based on your responses I get the impression that the lower end $330 electric won't work for me.

Seems like I can get about the same performance for $700 dollars from an electric and gas with electric winning on weight and not having to go to lug a jerrycan to the gas station every once in a while (don't own a car but it's not that far) and gas winning on not having to be plugged in.

Gas example 3) from above is significantly more powerful, is it worth the extra dough?
Old 11-28-16, 10:18 AM
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Personally I think the 14 HP would be a royal pain unless you are routinely cleaning entire driveways with a spinner or other really large jobs. It will be heavy and a pain to store and to move around.

You can rent gas PW of various sizes. I suggest you rent one about the size you are thinking of, and try on your jobs.

I had a medium size electric unit for a year or two. It was fine for cleaning lawn furniture, washing the car, stuff like that. It would have taken me forever to clean a large deck with it. Now I have a 5-6 HP gas unit and its fine for my typical homeowner jobs.
Old 11-28-16, 03:47 PM
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I have an electric pressure washer and it is fine for what I use it for. It has a two horsepower motor and as I recall it is rated for 1500 psi and about 2 gallons per minute. I have had this unit for over twenty years.

I used it at my previous house to wash the vinyl siding and also to clean the green from my deck. The house was a one-story building and I would use a five-gallon bucket with a solution of Simple Green that I would brush on a section of siding, let it set for a few minutes and then brush it again. Then rinse with the power washer and it would look brand new. The house was about 37 feet long and 25 feet wide. It took about four or five hours to do the entire house.

I never used any kind of cleaning product on the deck, just the high pressure water. The deck was 10 feet wide and 16 feet long and it took considerably longer to do it if it hadn't been cleaned for a couple of years, maybe another four or five hours but it again would look brand new. I suppose I could have done it in a lesser amount of time if I had really worked at it or if I did it twice a year rather than once every other year.

At my present house I use it for washing cars and blasting the moss from the sidewalk and driveway. Here in the land of perpetual gloom the moss grows so fast you can almost watch it grow. My sister's kid has been doing a lot of work here and he did the driveway a month or two ago and it did an excellent job BUT it did take several hours. Then again, my driveway is some sixty feet long and sixteen feet wide with some overhanging coniferous trees that contribute greatly to the moss problem.

A few years before he died my friend, Bert, brought out his gasoline engine driven washer and did my driveway. It went a whole lot faster, maybe two hours instead of four or five with the electric but the end result was no better. The electric is far quieter, no stink, starts right up and I don't have to store gasoline. It takes a bit longer to do the work but I need lots of breaks anyway. If I was using a washer commercially I would definitely go with a gasoline powered unit but for just puttering around the house I far prefer electric.

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