What Type of Pressure Washer Do I Need? [Ask The Experts]

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Pressure washers come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and power levels, ranging from smaller machines designed for home use, to larger machines suited for commercial purposes and large-scale cleans. 

Before deciding on which pressure washer to purchase, you’re best off taking some time to consider several points, including:

  • What you’ll be cleaning
  • How much dirt and grime there is to tackle
  • How often you’ll be repeating the job or using the washer
  • Whether you have access to mains power in the area

This is not by any means an exhaustive list, but answering these questions will help to narrow down the choice of pressure washers that are best suited to your needs.

Choosing the Most Suitable Pressure Washer

Choosing the best pressure washer

Pressure washers can be broken down into categories in several ways. Firstly, you could identify the machines by their power source; categories include electric-powered, gas-powered or gasoline-powered units.

Alternately, you could break them down into commercial and non-commercial washers, though the distinction here is slightly vaguer.

Instead, we’ll look at one of the more common ways of differentiating between the most commonly used pressure washers in the home, which is to break them down into three groups based on your budget.

When buying a pressure washer, there is a direct correlation between the amount that you spend and the range of functionality you get, the size of the machine and the tasks to which it is suited.

Budget Pressure Washers

What we call a budget pressure washer is the cheapest of the three, with a price tag that can range from the double-digits or a little higher.

The built-in motor is typically low in power and electric-powered in nearly every case.

Pumps are usually manufactured out of relatively inexpensive plastic that can be easily damaged by the elements if not taken care of. 

The water pressure generated by these machines’ motors is normally low, as is the flow rate, so the CU (cleaning units, or speed at which the machine can clean) is also usually low

budget option

None of these points mean that they are bad machines; what this means is that they are only suited to smaller tasks, such as cleaning lawn furniture, small cars, bicycles and motorbikes, or walkways.

Mid-range pressure washers

Stepping up to the mid-range pressure washer, we see an increase in motor power up to around 2,000 watts. If you shop second-hand or manage to find a very good deal, you might get a gas-powered machine at this price range, though gasoline is unlikely.

The power afforded by these machines means that they can handle larger cars and SUVs, or outdoor flooring with a greater surface area.

At this price range, you’re also more likely to see a bigger range of included accessories like nozzles, as well as other features that might include detergent tanks.

Premium pressure washers

The premium range of pressure washers are more likely to be manufactured by the brand leaders of the market, like Karcher and Bosch.

In addition to the electric-powered units found in the lower budget ranges, you’re also able to pick up gasoline-powered pressure washers in this price range. Most gasoline-powered machines of this type use Honda engines.

Premium pressure washers have higher water pressure, typically around 130-150-bar, as well as high flow rates.

premiun pessure washer

They’re suited to cleaning all the above items, as well as larger surfaces that may include RVs or exterior house walls.

Others points to consider

Once you’ve decided how much you’re willing to spend and the type of task that you are going to tackle, there are some other considerations to consider. 

Do you have the room for storage?

place to store your pressure washer

Though your decision is going to be influenced by the amount of money you want to spend, you’ll need to ensure that the pressure washer you buy is suited to the task at hand.

First, assess the size of the area that requires cleaning and whether it’s going to be a regular task. Afterwards, you’ll know whether it’s a budget, mid-range or premium pressure washer that you need.

Once you know this, it’s simply a case of shopping around the available models.