Buying Guide and Advice
When you see ugly motor oil stains in the driveway, slippery mildew on the deck, or carbonized cookout debris on the grill, it immediately triggers a weary and frustrated reaction, as it means hours of scrubbing and cleanup. However, electric pressure washers can effectively wash off the dirt and grime in a fraction of the time it takes using a brush and bucket of water. It transforms your humble garden hose into a dirt-demolishing, deep-cleaning machine.
What are electric pressure washers?
These gadgets generally start with the flip of a switch and are quieter and more lightweight than their gas powered counterparts. While less powerful and less mobile than gas-powered models, these washers are ideal for light-duty jobs, such as cleaning patio furniture, grills and vehicles. They don’t require much upkeep nor do they create exhaust emissions. These washers don’t need winterizing if brought indoors, and their small size makes them easy to store.
Who can buy these?
If you are looking to buy a conveniently sized pressure washer that is lightweight and can be easily carried around, then electric powered units are the safe bet. Not only are they portable, but storage is also a cinch due to their compact structure. They are available at pocket-friendly rates and can be used to wash small decks and patios, outdoor furniture, and other small jobs that require mainly cleaning instead of stain removal.
What surfaces are safe to clean with an electric pressure washer?
While this category is addressing light to medium usage, these products does reach a high pressure that could cause damage to different surfaces. To be on the safe side, we listed those that are safe to use on.
Concrete and asphalt are safe and for the most part can withstand the high pressure of a washer.
Most wooden decks are made from a variety of hard woods – Tigerwood, Ipe, etc. – that can easily hold up to the force a pressure washer applies. Softer woods are to be treated with some care as they can mark. Use your discretion and try using a low pressure nozzle on a hidden spot.
Roof tiles should not be cleaned with anything as powerful as an electric washer as they can break and fail, and shingles could strip.
Car, while tempting, shouldn't be cleaned with a washer as it could damage the paint – would later lead to rust.
How are they rated?
Before buying an electric pressure washer, you need to consider these parameters and also ensure the unit is under a reliable brand:
These pressure washers use an electric motor to power a pump, which forces water at high pressure through a concentrating nozzle to quickly blast away accumulated grime on surfaces such as decks, driveways, and patios. They also let you clean outdoor chairs, siding, and other items in the time it would take to fill a bucket of soapy water and find a scrub brush. Performance is measured using a couple of parameters – take a look:
- PSI: Pounds per square inch measures the pressure or cleaning force, of water created through the pressure washer. It lets you find out the power of the water stream
- GPM: Gallons per minute measures the volume of water delivered through the pressure washer. This figure tells you how fast the gadget will clean and the efficiency with which it rinses away debris and dirt
Higher pressure results in better cleaning of a given surface, so when it is coupled with a higher flow, the job will be completed quickly.
As mentioned, these electric pressure washers are lightweight and typically suited for small to medium jobs around the home. They are portable so you can take them indoors or outdoors without huffing and puffing. Use them for cleaning patio furniture, grills, vehicles, as well as small decks and patios. Some models are sturdier with slightly more power, which can be used for washing everything from exterior siding and fences to walkways and driveways. Most of the units are between 15 and 35 pounds. Take note if a unit is 35 pounds but doesn’t come with wheels for easy maneuverability.
Although there are a multitude of features to look out for, you should keep in mind that the better performers have multiple spray patterns that can cover various cleaning chores, from light, superficial cleaning to deep cleaning of concrete, decking, and other hard-to-clean surfaces. You will surely need different nozzles for various surfaces. It is a bonus if there is a storage option onboard for the nozzles.
A downstream detergent system is a handy feature as it lets you use the chemical more effectively while cleaning. Don’t forget about the hose and electric cord length – most models come with -foot hoses and 30-foot electric cords.
Total Stop Systems are incorporated with most units – this technology automatically shuts off a pump when the gun is not in use, thus helping to save power and regulate efficient usage of energy.
Since you will have to use the washers on all kinds of areas, even those that are hard to reach, a power hose with an extension cord is a must. Different nozzles required are provided with the package. Turbo wand, spray gun, needle clean-out tool etc. are some of the other accessories included, depending upon the model you choose.
Warranty & Service
You will come across the term “limited warranty” quite often when it comes to an electric pressure washer. It means the customer is covered against substantial defect on material and workmanship which occur within the warranty period. The following conditions fall under that category:
- If you use the pressure washer as per the User Manual and the pump or motor fails within a year they will fix it or replace the whole unit
- If any of the structural components break like the handle or frame it will be fixed or replaced so long as you haven’t dropped it from a height or run it over with your car
1 year limited warranty is the most common, but some brands offer up to 2 years as well. At times you can extend the warranty period by paying a fee.
You need to be extremely careful with electric pressure washers as their nozzles shoot water at 30 to 80 times more pressure and have surprisingly strong cutting capabilities no matter which spray setting you use. When the adjustable wand tip is set at its narrowest spray setting or you are using the narrowest tip, a misplaced jet of water could land you or a bystander in the emergency room.
Always follow the manufacturer's instructions. Some electric pressure washers must be plugged directly into an outlet using the machine's built-in cord while others allow the use of an extension cord. Consider this when buying a pressure washer, as it will determine how much area you'll be able to clean. If your pressure washer works with an extension cord, use the type suggested by the manufacturer.