If you’re considering getting a commercial pressure washer you’re probably wanting the top of the line quality that comes with such a price tag and don’t want to be wasting your time and money on buying something that may only last a few months. So its a good idea to read over these Commercial Pressure Washer Reviews.
What is a Commercial Pressure Washer ?
This is not just one of those cheap machines you get for $50 that only last a few weekends.
What really sets a commercial pressure washer apart from a regular pressure washer is all that power it has. If you are going to use the washer for commercial purposes you will be glad to have all that extra strength.
In my old job we used one of these to wash the semi trucks and cement mixers that had just finished their regular servicing. This power was very useful on the hardened cement and road dirt that had built up from being around so many building sites, sometimes we would even wash them before the servicing if the dirt had built up so much it was hard to locate certain parts of the trucks.
This should give you an idea of what applications you can use a commercial washer on since it would be far too over powerful for simple jobs around the home like cleaning driveways or sidings.
Another important point that separates a commercial pressure washer from a regular household machine is the internal parts particularly the pump and motor that drives it. These are built to take a lot of punishment over consecutive hours and then days.
How Strong should a Commercial Grade Pressure Washer be ?
I believe to be able to handle any type of dirt in the shortest amount of time possible you should be choosing a washer with around 4,000 P.S.I and 4 G.P.M . Give or take a few hundred P.S.I isn’t going to make a huge difference on the performance as once you go into the area of 4,000 P.S.I or so there is very little that can with stand that sort of power.
At 4,000 Pounds Per Square Inch you really are in the territory of causing damage to either yourself or the area you are spraying on if used incorrectly. So when cleaning a new area you need to be very careful about testing a small innocuous area in a corner maybe to see how much P.S.I the surface can take.
When actually cleaning its a simple case of switching wand tips (picture) to reduce or increase the cleaning pressure or in some cases there is an adjustable valve on the machine itself to change the pressure.
The other major factor in deciding how quickly you can clean is the Gallons per minute (G.P.M.) ,This is what professionals consider to be the most important element for cleaning since this decides how quickly you can clean and then move onto the next task.
Think of it this way, if you charge $100 to clean two equal sized areas, one machine cleaning site A with a 2 G.P.M machine and site B being cleaned by a machine at 4 G.P.M and both pressure washers have the same P.S.I .
Now, lets say it takes site A two hours to be cleaned then that means site B is cleaned in 1 hour.
This means you are working at $50 an hour at site A with the 2 G.P.M and at site B with the 4 G.P.M machine you are working at $100 an hour…… Which would you prefer ?
What Pump should you choose ?
For the money you spend on a machine like this its a given that you get a Triplex Pump, these pumps are the most efficient at handling these high water pressures and since they are made of ceramic pistons this helps to deal with the higher heats that happen when using the pump for hours at a time .For you the user ,this means that they last much longer and should they break are easily rebuilt.
But you need to consider how that pump will be driven and you have two options.
Belt Drive or Direct Drive ?
Belt drives are what the name suggests……. the engine turns the belt which is connected to a pump. You have probably seen this already under the hood of a car where a belt turns a fan to cool down the engine.
Direct drive is similar to how the engine in a car turns the wheels. A shaft connects the engine to the device that needs to be turned.
But which one is better ?
The most desirable for a few reasons but or course also have a few negatives.
- The biggest advantage of a belt drive commercial pressure washer is the lower heat .Whats happening here is the engine is still running at the same speed but the belt is turning the pump at a slower R.P.M meaning this reduces friction on the pump.This is a massive benefit as high heat and friction kills pumps over time and pumps do not come cheap. The problem lies in the fact that heat damages the seals and once this happens it’s back to using a garden hose.
- With a belt drive also comes less vibration and this helps the machine as a whole. Serious vibration can cause accelerated wear and premature failure. The belt allows the vibration between the engine and pump to be greatly reduced.
- Since there is not a direct drive connection to the engine you should be able to replace the pump a whole lot easier if it breaks and not need to worry so much about compatibility since your main focus is the belt length. This means you can choose another brand of pump ,also sometimes even a smaller or larger pump.
- As a result of operating at a slower speed ,belt driven pumps are able to syphon water from a standing source like a rainwater collector ,This is needed when working far away from a piped water source.
- Belt drives are heavier than the direct drive pumps. From around 40 to 50 lbs heavier in fact, So you need to make sure the machine your buying has air filled tyres to help move that weight around. Also consider if you plan on moving from one premises to another as some of the heavier washers weigh over 200 lbs.
- They cost more ,sometimes they cost up to $400 to $500 more than direct drive pumps. However you could argue you will make that money back through the lifetime of the machine since a cared for belt drive should last longer than a direct drive pump.
- They need more maintenance. Since the belt can slip and degrade over time you need to keep a watchful eye on this. Sometime you will notice particles of the rubber belt falling off and covering over parts of the pressure washer. Direct Drive Pressure Washers are still a viable option though and still have a place in many commercial tasks despite some drawbacks.
A direct drive pump from a commercial pressure washer.
- Well a big positive is the price. Usually these are featured in the entry range of commercial pressure washers, so you’re looking at around the $1,000 price range. This makes 4,000 P.S.I and 4 G.P.M much more accessible option than the direct drive option.
- As mentioned earlier they are the lighter of the two pumps,this is useful if you need a more portable washer. They still are heavy though since they are designed to be robust so you need a good set of tyres to move it around.
- The size, since direct drive pumps can fit directly onto the engine they don’t need as much room to operate like the belt driven pumps so you get a smaller more compact pressure washer. This is useful if you intend to transport it by vehicle.
- Well to put it simply, they just don’t live as long as a belt driven pump. The extra heat and vibration is to blame for this.
- If you plan on using this somewhere that doesn’t have a water outlet then you are out of luck. Since these pumps run at a very high speed it stops them being able to draw water from a standing source like a rain water collector or even a water tank. This means you always need a faucet nearby.
So as you can see each one has good and bad points. It all depends how you plan on using the machine. If you are going to be using it in a professional sense then get the belt drive….. or maybe you just don’t mind spending the extra cash for peace of mind of a machine that will take a lot of abuse.
But if you don’t see yourself using it for hours at a time then get the direct drive. Its important to remember that these are very powerful machines that fly through most jobs anyways so its not like you will be spending a large amount of time cleaning.
Although ,If you think your going to be cleaning large areas like whole parking lots, best to get a belt driven pump.
Which Brand of Pump should you choose ?
As you’ve probably noticed already there is so many options to choose from.
Cat Pump is viewed as the highest quality and usually seen on the really high end professional machines and for a good reason. They are renowned for making top quality pumps. Some people after using another brands will upgrade to one of these pumps
AR is another top brand,for over 50 years they have been making pumps for all types of applications big and small. AR are also notable for the very long guarantee they give on their pumps, you can be sure this is a good sign of the quality of pump you are getting. These tend to be seen on the mid range machines.
Quite a few of the AR pump rods are made from brass and this takes much more of a beating compared to aluminium rods seen on other brands.
is a brand that is usually seen on the lower scale of commercial units but is still a good brand to come across since they offer a lower price. Just because they are cheap does not mean they behave cheaply. Another advantage they have is that spares and rebuilds are commonly available since these pumps are very common.
It also seems that General Pumps have very few moving parts inside them so they are easy to fix and to diagnose problems.
If you want a pump built to last and be confident that it will last a long time better to stick to Cat Pumps but a lot of it comes down to how well you take care of the pump,regular servicing will go a long way in helping this.
What are the Best Brands to pick from ?
On the lower end of the price range you will see some brands that you may already be familiar with like Generac ,DeWalt and there is also a line of Karcher commercial pressure washer.
Then on the higher end there are many smaller companies building these machines but the whole focus of the company is on high end ,robust commercial pressure washers so you can be sure you’re getting a top quality machine. So companies like Pressure Pro , Simpson Blaster and Simpson are some of the best I recommend.
What Engine Should you choose ?
Almost universally all commercial grade pressure washers have Honda Engines. Honda have really cornered this small engine market and on the larger machines like these commercials grades its very rare to see anything other than a Honda engine.
Most people would say these are the most durable and quiet available and they usually start on the first pull of the cord. Honda engines also come with a 3 year warranty.
Like all big pressure washers though its always a good idea to hold down the wand trigger when starting to allow the pressure inside the pump to escape.
If you live in California its very important when buying any gas powered pressure washers that you make sure the engine is Carb Compliant. Generac pressure washers use their own engines and most of them are not Carb Compliant so if you live in California this won’t be for you.
How about a Commercial Electric Pressure Washer ?
These super tough electric pressure washers are defiantly not for people needing mobility, the reason for this is usually the electricity supply needs to be a higher amperage so a regular wall outlet won’t do. This means you need a special dedicated electrical wall outlet to handle this.
A big benefit with these machines is you don’t need to deal with the extra work that a gas engine gives you like the loud noise ,fumes and maintenance. You can also use these washers indoors.
Although for these type of washers the term “commercial” refers more to their durability than their power. Its difficult for electric pressure washers to get anywhere close to the G.p.m or P.s.i that a gas powered commercial pressure washer has.
So for this reason the major benefit is the ease of use and durability.
Some popular brands are Kranzle USA , Shark and Campbell Hausfeld .
What about a Hot Water Pressure Washer ?
The hot water helps to break down dirt even quicker on these machines. More often than not the water is heated by a propane tank that fits along side the pressure washer.
Since these commercial cold water commercial pressure washers are so powerful there isn’t much dirt than can with stand 4,000 P.s.i, so hot water is mostly beneficial at very specific tasks like removing mould or removing grease. Also consider that there is degreasing cleaning agents available which can take care of most of the smaller stains at a fraction of the costs.
Since most Hot Water Commercial Pressure Washers come in at a hefty price tag of close to $5,000 you would want to be pretty sure that you need one. Also consider the cost of the propane to power the hot water heater on top of that. Having said that some can be found for much cheaper than that but are lower powered like this Simpson Mini-Brute
Commercial pressure washer price
These don’t come cheap but at least you can be rest a sure that you’re getting a machine built to last.
Typically there is 3 price ranges for a commercial pressure washers for sale.
- A unit with 4 G.p.m at 4,000 P.s.i with a direct drive pump will typically cost you around $1,000 give or take a few hundred Dollars.
- A belt driven machine with the same G.p.m and P.s.i will usually set you back in the region of $1,500 and from there the prices go up and up. Some top of the range professional machines built to be used on a trailer can cost 5 figures and more.
- And if you decide you need a hot water commercial pressure washer with similar G.p.m and P.s.i output, you will be looking at around $4,000 to $5,000.Now you can certainly get cheaper hot water pressure washers but they won’t have the same G.p.m or P.s.i
Some machines come with a chemical or detergent spraying system if you need to get extra help in removing those really stubborn stains. However, there is some were this option is not included, this usually means you need to buy an extra item from the manufacturer.
Depending on what brand you buy, you may get 3 to 5 possible wand tips. Most of the time the most common tips are included in the 3 that you get with machine and most people don’t need any extra past these 3.
Also you want to take a look at the rubber hose you’re getting, since they are rubber they are fairly heavy and take a lot of punishment from getting dragged around and push and pulled. Once a hose gets the slightest of cracks or holes you will need to change it soon as further using it really risks a blow out.
Remember when thinking about spending this sort of money ,its a good idea to read over a few commercial pressure washer reviews like this so you don’t find yourself spending your hard earned cash on something you either don’t need or a machine not strong enough for the job you want.
If you’re thinking about getting a Commercial Pressure Washer then I suggest you take a look at the Generac 5997 , this has a lot of features at an unbeatable price in this category.
If you want a machine thats CARB Compliant and has a better quality CAT pump then take a look at the Pressure Pro E4040HC. Yes it is a few hundred Dollars more but the Cat pump is worth it for peace of mind.