For most people ,once they have made the decision that they never want to relive the torment of using a regular garden hose and brush to clean their driveway ever again they see the light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a Pressure Washer.Today I will be talking about Electric Pressure Washer Reviews in particular
When buying you have the option of buying an electric pressure washer or a gas driven pressure washer.Each one has their own pro’s and con’s depending on what you plan on cleaning .
They both work off the same principal, water comes from a garden hose to a pump inside the unit, the pump is driven by a motor or engine ,this in-turn forces the water under pressure through the hose and then out the nozzel.
Electric Pressure washer Cleans dirt and grime like no other.Photo courtesy of EP Property Services.
I have wrote these questions to help guide in what to look for when reviewing an electric pressure washer.
#1: Do you want a Gas or Electric Pressure Washer ?
Electric Pressure washers have the major advantage in being the simplest to use with very few steps involved when setting them up and then taking them apart for storage.Electric far out sells gas for this reason alone.However with that comes a reduction in power.This is where Gas excels .
Scroll down under the table to Read Here about the advantages and disadvantages of each type.
#2: How much power do you need ?
The easiest way of determining the power and how quickly you can clean is to take at look at the P.S.I. and the G.P.M.
Generally ,you should be aiming at a minimum of 1,500 P.S.I. and 1.4 G.P.M. ,Many manufacturers will show a chart (like this one here) claiming you need a pressure washer closer to 2,000 PSI to do even the lightest of jobs.I feel this is often done to scare people into buying a more expensive machine because its in their best interest to do so.
In this review for the AR 118 ,quite a few people have mentioned being able to gouge marks into wood decking with the pencil thin stream of water at 1,500 P.S.I .
In general the higher the P.S.I. and G.P.M. the less time it takes to clean.It’s a good idea to have too much pressure available since its very easy to just spread the water stream out so its hitting the surface at a lower pressure or move the wand further from the target area to reduce the pressure therefore limiting the chance of any damage on the surface your cleaning. Were as if you bought an underpowered machine nothing can be done to increase the P.S.I. or G.P.M.
Having too much power is better than not enough.
#3: What motor should you choose ?
A cheap pressure washer will preform just as good as an expensive one if they both have the same P.S.I. and G.P.M. but what sets them apart is how long they last for.
Durability is the main concern here as its common for cheaper brands to just promote high power but give little regard to the brains of the machine.
Most times the motor on an electric pressure washer will take up 2/3 of the cost of the unit.Trying to save money in the area is not a good idea.
The most common type to find is the Universal motor since they are cheaper to make and lighter but then this presents its own problems.Universal motors are not really designed for long continuous use ,they are more intended for short bursts.
This does not bode well for your pressure washer since very often under powered machines are partnered with a universal motor.This means it takes longer to clean and puts more strain on the motor that was never designed to be used like this.
Some of these motors may only last 10 to 30 hours ,giving these pressure washers the nickname “one season wonders”. Once they break its as good as gone since the repairs will cost just as much as a new machine.Of course ,its never printed how long the motor is expected to last on the low end models as most likely you wouldn’t dream of buying it if you knew the truth.
You should always assume unless other wise stated clearly on the description of the machine that a given pressure washer has a universal motor.Another way to tell is by the price since universal motors are cheaper and also the weight of the unit.Induction motors are heavier than their little brothers the universal.
An induction motor is king .The main benefit of these is they work best at a constant speed which is good since this is exactly what you need.
These are intended to last from maybe 60 to 100 hours.This doesn’t sound a whole lot but when you think about how many times in a year you may plan on using it then it doesn’t seem so bad .If you think your going to be using your pressure washer for a few hours in a single day you should be looking at high end electric pressure washer that will be designed to cope with continuous use.
The latest line of Karcher X Series even have water cooled induction motors.This helps to lower operating temperatures and they claim it makes the pump last 5 times more than a regular air cooled induction motor. Currently this is the only brand that includes this.They are more expensive but they really are built to last.
The sound of this video isn’t perfect but it’s the best video I could find that explains what exactly an electric pressure is doing when its turned on.
#4: Should you pick a Triplex pump or an Axial pump ?
Well first things first, Triplex are better but they are much more expensive.In general these are to be found on high end gas pressure washer but that doesn’t mean Axial pumps are bad.
You basically have two types of Axial pump. The one that is made by a trusted brand and the other kind that doesn’t even have a name stamped on it otherwise know as the bad kind.
Again for these,one way to identify the pump is by simply reading the parts description list.Another you can tell the quality by looking at the weight.Many generic axial pumps will be made from hard plastic that won’t last very long.
A good pump from a trusted brand can still be made from plastic though.AR also known as Annovi Reverberi, Karcher and Simpson have very satisfied reviews regarding their pumps.
For the pumps especially you really get what you pay for .Normally the reason for a pressure washer breaking down is either the pump or the motor.Once these break the costs to repair are comparable to a new pressure washer.So it really is best to spend a little extra for a reliable brand.
Another point to be aware of is some manufactures have been know to use brass on one or two areas of a pump to make it seem the whole pump is brass.This is something to know as usually brass pumps are reserved for professional level pressure washers and cost $200 to $400 just by themselves.
#5: What Accessories do you need ?
The right Accessories can make a difficult and messy job massively simple.
Probably the most popular in the last few years is a Surface Cleaner.
This has spinning spray nozzles underneath to clean much quicker on flat surfaces and also it helps to reduce the amount of splash back and debris that gets shot around.They also have an added benefit in that they are always set at a fixed distance from the surface so you are less likely to have streaks of light and dark patches.Some pressure washers even come with these included like the AR Blue Clean AR 142-P .
When buying make sure the one you choose is compatible with your brand of Pressure Washer.
Extensions are another popular choice especially if you are tall and want to reach closer to the ground without bending over constantly .Also ,they can come in very useful for cleaning anything high like a 2 story house.
You can always Read Here for my review about a 18 foot long extension for Gas Driven Pressure Washers.
Many people also like to use brushes.With cleaning cars, a lot of the time you need a little bit extra elbow grease to help remove road dirt that is stuck on the paint work.Quality varies widely on these,some will stop rotating with the slightest hint of pressure when pressed against your car turning them into an expensive sponge.
When choosing an accessory always be sure it will fit the pressure washer you own.One brands brush may not fit another brand for example. Karcher tend to have the biggest selection of accessories on the market. From Pipe Cleaning Kitsto Long Handled Power Scrubbers.
#6: How portable do you want it to be ?
Some pressure washers are so small and light they can be held in one hand while operating like the AR118.
Depending on where you plan on using it, for example if its flat you should look into getting one with wheel and a tall handle.Some machine come with a handle but they can be too low to be functional for taller people.Many times if you are over 6 foot its unlikely you’ll reach the handle to wheel it around.
Again a sign of quality though will be the weight of the machine and the heavier the better so this is why the wheels come in useful. Perhaps the manufacturer thought if your so tall you cant reach the handle you’re probably strong enough to lift it and carry it where ever you need and if your small that you cant lift it then the wheels and handle will help you out.
#7: Where do you plan on using it ?
I ask this because of course you need an electric outlet close by to be able to hook it up. Most pressure washer have around 25 feet of hose and 25 feet of power cord.I believe you should be aiming for these lengths at a minimum.
Some have longer hoses and cords which is a real benefit since extension cord and pressure washers don’t mix.
Very often people use these without realizing they are doing damage to the machine since the motor uses a certain amount of power and when an extension cord is used the voltage will drop which then causes the amps to spike.
So best to plan out ahead of time where you plan on plugging it on.Maybe you’ll need to add a new wall outlet to your house.
#8: What safety precautions do you need ?
I believe at the very least you need to have a ground fault circuit interrupter GFCI also known as a ground fault interrupter GFI.
These are used to reduce the chance of an electric shock when ever it senses an in balance in the electric signal.Wikipedia explains it much better than I can.
Since water and electricity don’t mix very well this is quite important.
#8: Do you plan on using a detergent ?
Detergents can be used to make quick work for dirty jobs.
Some pressure washers have either an applicator that connects to the wand or some even have reservoirs built into the casing of the machine.
Whenever using a detergent its best to try using something like Krud Krutter Green since its safe for the environment and it does a really awesome job at loosening dirt and grime.
In general when applying the detergent you will be doing it at a low pressure.Some people think its broken at first since the detergent bottles operates a much lower speed to help spread the soap evenly.
Don’t let the soap sit for too long since this in itself can causing further staining and streaking.
#9: Should you buy a machine that has an automatic stop/start ?
Absolutely ,Some electric pressure washers have that when you release the trigger the pump and motor switch off straight away.
This saves any unnecessary wear and tear on the internals.
However some cheaper machine have a by-pass valve that recycles the high pressure washer back into the pump.For a very few short minutes this is fine but any longer than that and you risk over heating the pump causing permanent damage.
I hope this has shed some light on what your looking for when reading electric pressure washer reviews.With this it should really help you make a great decision so you don’t spend hours some weekend using a crappy machine when you could be doing it in half the time with a top quality Machine.