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My experience with Pressure Washers
For at least the last 17 years I have been using pressure washers for various cleaning jobs. For instance, I’ve used pressure washers in food processing facilities, to wash Semi trucks and trailers, to clean the exterior siding on my house and to clean my concrete driveway. There are a multitude of purposes for a pressure washer and basically I’ve just about explored them all. Now, to save you the headache of overwhelming research, I will share what I’ve learned in my search for the best pressure washers.
The Different Types and Grades of Pressure Washers and how they compare
So there are several different types of pressure washers out on the market these days; Commercial grade, Residential grade, Gas Powered units, and Electric Powered units. So what’s the difference? Commercial pressure washers typically have high powered motors (electric or gas powered), they have heavy duty hardware such as the spray wands, steel braided hoses, high powered pumps and they typically pump out a lot more gallons of water per minute (GPM) than residential pressure washers. Commercial grade pressure washers typically put out around 3000psi and 6 to 8 GPM (gallons of water per minute). Residential grade pressure washers typically put out around 1500 to 2800PSI and 1.3 to 3 GPM. Residential grade pressure washers typically don’t have the heavy duty hardware that the commercial units are fitted with but most of the nicer residential units come with good quality hardware that will hold up to just about any residential job as long as they are not abused.
Gas Powered Pressure Washers and Their Typical Uses
Most of the gas powered pressure washers that you will buy for household use have a rating of around 2.5 to 3 GPM (Gallons Per Minute) and about 2700 to 3000 psi. This is actually pretty powerful and is very effective for just about anything that you want to clean/pressure wash such as your siding, concrete, sidewalk, cars, trucks, decks, the exterior of your house, etc.
How do Electric Powered Pressure Washers Measure up Against Gas Powered Units?
The biggest difference is going to be in the GPM/gallon flow per minute rating. The gasoline powered units are likely to have a rating of around 2.5 to 3 GPM and the electrical powered units are going to have a rating of about 1 to 2 GPM. The PSI of the units will vary as well but it’s the GPM that really makes the difference when it comes to the machines ability to remove tough soil. If you are wanting to pressure wash your driveway, wash your truck, strip your deck or any other slightly heavy duty task then I would suggest the gas powered units as they provide more power and will get the job done nicely. If you simply want to do light cleaning jobs such as wash your car, rinse debris off of your sidewalk or remove light soil from surfaces then an electric unit may be more practical for you.
Hours of Online Research and Compiling my Top Picks
So after hours and hours of searching through the seemingly endless list of pressure washers that are available online I have come up with a list of what I think are the 5 Best Gas Powered Pressure Washers and a list of what I think are the 5 Best Electric Powered Pressure washers. I looked at the motors, the pump designs, the quality of the hose and wand and other features that some have and some do not. Gallons Per Minute was always a big concern as GPM really tells the tale of how powerful the machine is. PSI is important also but if a machine has a higher GPM it will also have a higher PSI rating.
#1. The Dewalt 4200PSI 4GPM Gasoline Pressure Washer
If Tim The Tool Man Taylor was going to purchase a pressure washer, I’m pretty sure that it would be this one. This thing is one of the most powerful residential pressure washers that I’ve seen. If you have a heavy duty cleaning task to tackle like removing layers of paint from a structure, stripping heavy residue off of surfaces, removing spray paint from a building, look no further. This is the machine for the job.
This thing features a Honda GX390 commercial series OHV gasoline engine with oil alert, a TX general pump withTriplex pump design and ceramic pistons, It has adjustable unloaded and thermal relief valve, all of the typical nozzles 0, 15, 25, 40 degree. Also has a detergent siphoning hose, On-board gun, hose and nozzle storage, welded framework with 1.25'' tubular steel handles, and a heavy duty steel frame.
After shopping around, researching and looking at all of the different options out there, I found an extremely nice and capable Simpson brand pressure washer. The Simpson MSH3125-S Mega Shot. It provides 3200 psi and 2.5 GPM. It comes with a Heavy Duty Kink & Abrasion Resistant 25 foot hose, all of the appropriate spray nozzles, a professional spray wand, detergent/soap pickup hose and the most important detail is that it comes with a Honda engine. In my opinion Honda makes the most reliable gas powered engines period. If you want to build a quality gas powered machine you power it with a Honda engine. That is what Simpson did with this model and to be honest that was probably the biggest selling point for me. We actually have this unit at the food plant where I work, we use it for outdoor tasks and it is very nice. It starts up with no problem, it runs quite compared to most gas pressure washers and it flat out gets the job done.
With a 3200PSI and 2.4GPM ratings powered by the 224cc single cylinder OHV engine this thing is a brut and it will get the toughest of jobs done.
Comes with a quick connect wand, and all of the typical nozzles (0˚, 15˚, 25˚,40˚, soap), a 50-foot quick-connect hose and a 4-foot detergent hose for jobs that require the use of detergent/chemicals
The Ergonomically designed wand reduces fatigue during use and the onboard storage for the high pressure hose and spray wand makes life easy when you are moving this thing around
The heavy-duty axial cam pump provides steady nozzle pressure for consistent cleaning and reliability.
This is a really nice unit. It comes with a Powerful 208 cc gasoline engine and it pumps out an impressive 2.5 gallons per minute. It includes all of the typical nozzles: 0°, 15°, 25°, 40°, and soap. The axial cam pump provides a reliable/consistant spray while maximizing the lifespan of the machine. The unit includes a 30-foot reinforced hose, a soap tank and a quick-connect spray wand.
Overall it is a nice middle of the road option that is still a very high quality machine.
Just because it came in as #5 on the list doesn’t mean that it’s not a very nice machine. It has plenty of power to do just about any cleaning task around the exterior of the house, it would work nicely for washing cars and motorcycles without having to worry about damaging surfaces or components, it would easily clean up your sidewalk, driveway or deck. Also this compact gas pressure washer is lightweight, it’s easy to store and it provides plenty of power to get the job done. It features a direct driven axial cam pump, thermal relief valve that provides protection against overheating. The frame features heavy duty steel tubing and a steel base plate. The framework is powder coated for enhanced durability and corrosion resistance. The fold down frame is great for quick and convenient storage. This unit only weighs 38 pounds thus allowing easy maneuverability to remote areas or second story decks.
#1. Sun Joe SPX3000 Pressure Joe 2030PSI 1.76GPM 14.5-Amp Electric Power Washer
The Pressure Joe SPX3000 delivers it all to tackle a multitude of cleaning tasks; Homes, buildings, cars, trucks, boats, decks, driveways, patios, etc. This unit is very well equipped with its 1800 Watt/14.5 amp motor. It generates up to 2030 PSI of pressure and 1.76GPM of flow for excellent cleaning power. The SPX3000 comes with a 34 inch extension spray wand to access higher areas such as tall buildings, second story decks and patios. As you would expect it comes with all of the standard spray nozzles; 0º, 15º, 25º, 40º and the black soap nozzle. Other features on the Sun Joe SPX3000 include a 20 foot pressure hose, a 35 foot power cord, a garden hose adaptor, and a TSS (Total Stop System) trigger that automatically stops the pump when the trigger is not engaged to save wear and tear on the unit and to prolong the life of the pump. Click on the link to read through the over 5000 reviews written on this unit
#2. Sun Joe SPX4000 2030 PSI 1.76 GPM 14.5-Amp Electric Pressure Washer w/ Pressure-Select Technology
Equipped with 1800 watts of pure power, the 14.5 amp motor generates up to 2030PSI to remove every last bit of dirt, grease, gunk, soil and grime.The 5 Easy to Connect nozzles allow you to go from an intense 0 degree jet to gentle 40 degree spray pattern to suit the cleaning task. The onboard detergent tank lets you dial in just the right amount of detergent to help with breaking down tough soils. The TSS (Total Stop System) automatically stops the pump when the trigger is not engaged to save wear and tear on the unit and to prolong the life of the pump. The coolest feature on this machine is the Sun Joe’s exclusive Pressure Select Technology. The SPX4000 lets you adjust to the perfect pressure to combat soil and grime with optimal results. You get the ability to choose from two powerful cleaning options; Low Pressure is 1450 PSI for everyday dirt, grease and grime, and High Pressure is 2030 PSI to tackle your toughest cleaning tasks.
#3. Schafter Electric 2600PSI 1.6GPM High Pressure Power Washer
This Machine features 2600 PSI, compact upright design with axle mounted wheels that make for easy roll away mobility. Pistol style spray wand included for ergonomic and efficient pressure washing. The 6m high pressure hose allows you to reach your cleaning area with ease.
Equipped with the Total Stop System (TSS) which automatically stops the pump when the trigger is not engaged. This TSS System will save energy and prolong pump life. The 33 ft power cord is equipped with an inline GFCI for use on all exterior outlets.
Nozzles included; 0º, 15º, 25º, 40º and Soap nozzle help to tackle light, medium and heavy duty cleaning tasks.
With the force of 2000PSI and 1.6GPM this high pressure washer can be used to clean a multitude of surfaces. It is terrific for cleaning garden, patio, cars, boats, RVs, driveways, decks and even more. Easily removes Dirt ,Grime ,Gunk ,Oil ,Rust and Mildew.
#4. The PowRyte Elite 3200PSI 2.0GPM Electric Power Washer
This powerful electric unit is equipping with an Induction motor with thermal protector which dramatically increases the life of the unit. It has a max PSI of 3200 and it flows 2.0 GPM which makes it very well equipped to tackle some heavy-duty cleaning jobs. It comes with the typical spray nozzles; 0°, 15°, 25°, 40° and a soap nozzle. This unit has an onboard detergent tank , 26 foot high pressure hose, 35 foot power cord with GFCI plug, TSS (Total Stop System) trigger that automatically stops the pump when the trigger is not engaged and a hose reel for convenient storage of the hose.
#5. The GreenWorks 1500PSI 1.2GPM Electric Power Washer - Turbo Nozzle (Purchase Together or Separate)
This machine delivers 1500 PSI at 1.2 GPM which will blast through grime and dirt to restore your surfaces to a like new finish, Includes a 25° and 40° quick connect nozzle for a variety of cleaning tasks, 20 ft. pressure hose for good reach, M22 Universal Threaded Twist-On Hose & Wand, detergent applicator to apply chemicals that will help to break down stubborn soils and grime and a 35 ft power cord with inline GFCI for use on most exterior outlets
Greenworks 3100PSI Brass Turbo Pressure Washer Nozzle Part # 5201802
Delivers a powerful circular rotating stream that is very effective at removing tough stains and soils
Ideal when cleaning concrete, brick and siding
1/4 inch Quick Connect fitting
This turbo nozzle is compatible with all GreenWorks Pressure Washers
Overall I think we have looked over some really nice options for gas and electric pressure washers. I mean really, I spent about 4 hours digging through the internet, looking up specifications and reading reviews trying to come up with this list of the 10 best machines. Whether you're a contractor who needs a powerful machine to remove the heaviest of soils and grime or you're just a regular guy who needs something to clean the siding on your house or to wash your car, I think one of the above machine will suite your needs. Click on the Amazon product links, read the customer reviews and check out current pricing. I’m confident that after reviewing the above options you will find the machine that best suits your needs.
What I call pressure nozzles or tips are the color coded fittings or attachments that you plug into the end of your pressure washer to create the desired spray pattern for the job. They are usually red, green, yellow and sometimes black.
The Red Nozzle
This is usually gives a zero degree spray pattern which is a focused or pinpoint spray. This is good for spraying something from a distance or spraying something that requires a high powered force to clean. This tip will easily damage a lot of surfaces such as decks or wood. Be extremely careful with this pressure tip.
The White Nozzle
This nozzle will give you a 40 degree spray pattern. This is typically the widest spray pattern and it is effective for cleaning large paths but you will need a pretty powerful pressure washer for the cleaning to be effective over this wide path.
The Green Nozzle
This nozzle gives a 25 degree spray pattern. It provides a slightly narrower cleaning pattern in comparison to the white nozzle. Due to this the power of the pressure washer is a little more focused and you will get a more effective cleaning with this nozzle.
The Yellow Nozzle
This nozzle provides a 15 degree spray pattern. I like to think that the yellow nozzle or tip is the most widely used of the nozzles. It will provide a nice the most focused and useable spray pattern. It is not completely focused to one area like the zero degree nozzle. It gives you a little bit of spread and plenty of power to get the job done. Even if your pressure washer is a little on the weak side the yellow nozzle will typically allow you to remove the desired amount of soil from the surface that you are attempting to clean.
The Black Nozzle
What is this nozzle for? It has a large opening and it doesn’t give you any power for cleaning. This nozzle is for applying soap or detergent. Most pressure washers that you can buy today have a clear plastic or rubber hose coming from the pump area or they will have small tanks attached to them. This is for the use of soaps or detergents.
In order to use the soap or detergent feature of a pressure washer you must be using the black nozzle or tip. This allows just the right amount of water flow to occur so to that the pump on your pressure washer will pull soap or detergent from the hose or tank. This is a pretty nice option to have! You can buy specific chemicals for all of the different cleaning jobs that you plant to use your pressure washer for and you can apply them through your machine/pressure washer.
The Nozzle Detail that will Make or Break The Performance of Your Machine
Ok, so now that you understand the pressure nozzle color code system we can move on to the nozzle selection details that will really make or break you in terms of the performance of your machine/pressure washer. You don’t know how many times I’ve been using a pressure washer at work and said to myself “this isn’t working like it did a few weeks ago”. What I didn’t realize is that a few weeks ago I had the correct nozzle for the machine and now I didn’t. I had no idea that if you change the nozzle you better make sure that it has the same GPM (gallons of water flow per minute) rating that your pressure washer has.
Matching Your Pressure Washer With the Correctly Rated Nozzle set
If your pressure washer has a PSI of 2700 and a gallons per minute rating of 3, your nozzle should also have a gallons per minute rating of 3. In essence, you have to make sure your nozzle matches the rating on the machine. Residential pressure washer range from 1.0 GPM all the way up to 4.0 GPM and there are nozzle sets that match just about all machines. If you buy a new pressure washer nozzle set, check the GMP rating on your machine and make sure that you get the correctly rated nozzles.
Pressure washer nozzles change the direction of flow and velocity of the pressurized water. Nozzles give users addition spray options to reach a greater distance or apply more pressure to a difficult to clean area of surface, however, some nozzles can be dangerous. Nozzles are color coded for easy identification, with the white nozzle creating a 40° spray pattern and the red nozzles covering the least (0°). Great care should be taken when using a 0° nozzle as it can cause injury to the user and damage to surfaces.