Is there a large scale cleaning job you're dreading?
Is it time to clean the decking out before summer arrives? Have you just had an amazing afternoon off-road mountain biking but now you can't see an inch of your bike under the mud? Has someone graffitied the side of your office?
These were the situations pressure washers were invented for.
A pressure washer can turn hours of back-breaking scrubbing into twenty minutes of simple work.
But what size pressure washer should you get? Are they all the same? Does it even matter what size you get?
In this article, we're going to talk you through everything you need to know before purchasing a pressure washer.
Table of Contents
Right Size For the Job?
Below we've created a helpful breakdown that will guide you through what size pressure washer you need for the job you have in mind:
What Size Pressure Washer Do I Need For 'Small' Jobs?
Under 1500 PSI
These are the lowest power level of pressure washers. These are great levels of power for smaller cleaning jobs like washing down mud covered bikes and grease and ash coated BBQs.
You'll find that pressure washers of this size will struggle with large tasks, however if you're looking for something to help you clean outdoor furniture or bins - this is the perfect size category for you.
What Size Pressure Washer Do I Need For 'medium' Jobs?
These sizes of pressure washers are great for cleaning out swimming pools and hot tubs. They will struggle to remove thicker, or more dried down layers of grime, but do well with slimy and fresh muck.
Pressure washers below 2500 PSI are great tools for cleaning wood without damaging it - this is the perfect option for cleaning sheds and fences. They are also able to dislodge soft blockages well so you may find them useful for cleaning leaves out of gutters and drainpipes or removing build-up from patios.
What Size Pressure Washer Do I Need For 'Big' Jobs?
For more ingrained dirt you will need something more powerful. Decking, large or dirt coated walls, and concrete require large pressure washers of this size. At this size, the pressure washers will be able to tackle pretty much all of the grime they encounter. You may even want to get a petrol run pressure washer to do these bigger jobs. Pressure washers stronger than this will most likely damage your walls or decking, and take the paintwork off.
What Makes A Good Pressure Washer?
There are many different elements that you'll have to consider when purchasing a pressure washer. Below we've broken down the key choices you'll need to make during this process.
Moving around your pressure washer can be difficult enough, they're heavy and often quite large. So the last thing you want to add to that equation is a hose that's too short to let you go anywhere.
It is a good idea to get a hose attachment that is at least 5 meters long. This will offer you enough flexibility without being cumbersome.
Next, you will want to look at the efficiency of the pressure washer. You should be looking for a machine that has a high 'water per hour' usage for bigger jobs as this will result in a higher PSI (see below).
Petrol or Electricity
Most industrial-scale machines come with petrol motors. If you are looking for a machine to remove large amounts of dirt or even paint then you may find it worthwhile to invest in a petrol run pressure washer. These machines will give you high 'water per hour' levels and PSIs.
Machines with lower PSIs tend to be electrically operated, although there are a few exceptions to this rule. If you are looking for a machine to do smaller-scale jobs then we would recommend looking into electric motors.
If you do decide to go for an electric model, look for one that comes with a power cord with a similar length to your hose installation. A short power cord will make your life difficult, and it is not safe to use an extension cable around a pressure washer.
It may seem obvious to talk about the pressure levels of a pressure washer but choosing the wrong level of pressure could be an expensive mistake. When purchasing a pressure washer, check that its PSI (pressure per square inch) is appropriate for the job you have in mind. If the PSI is too high you may cause property damage.
Below 1500 PSI - outdoor furniture, bikes, bins, patios
1500 - 2500 PSI - Swimming pools, gutters, fences
2500+ PSI - dense dirt, large walls, concrete, and decking
Pressure Washer FAQ
Can I remove graffiti with my pressure washer?
Yes, with a strong enough machine. It is possible to get a machine with a high enough PSI to remove graffiti from walls, or road markings from the tarmac.
What does PSI mean?
PSI means pressure per square inch - this is a measure of how hard the water from your pressure washer is hitting the surface of the item you are cleaning. The higher the PSI the more it will remove. Using a PSI that is too high can cause a lot of damage.
Do I need to buy detergent?
This is a big debate in the pressure washing community. Both sides have die-hard supporters. However, from our research, we believe that using detergent will make your job a little easier, and therefore is worth it.
You may find that one detergent works for all the things you want to use your pressure washer for, rather than having an individual detergent for each item (ie. one for your bin, one for your bike). If you want to clean your pool, please get a swimming pool specific cleaner.