In so many ways, the invention of the pressure washer is a gift from the cleaning gods. Before the advent of this powerful cleaning machine, the only way to rid the house of dirt, grime, and whatnot was through soap and a bucket of water. That’s not too bad in the beginning, but as people got busier and busier, they realized that allocating the whole day for cleaning just won’t cut it.
That is why it’s no exaggeration to say that electric pressure washers are lifesavers. If you never run out of light to medium-duty cleaning chores around the house, you should consider buying yourself one. Whether there’s mildew building up on your concrete deck, gunk accumulating in your grill, or just everyday mud and dirt stuck in your car, an electric pressure washer demolishes them all, no issues.
But with all that being said, it is still recommended to weigh your options carefully before buying this deep-cleaning machine. After all, they say only fools rush in.
In this article, we will look at some features to look for in a pressure washer and briefly review some of the best-selling electric pressure washers in the market.
How Pressure Washers Work
Pressure washers, sometimes called power washers, are basically water pumps that pull in water to your hose and burst it off through a wand. The wands, or nozzles, of pressure washers, have varying degree pattern that essentially dictate how powerful the stream of water that comes out of it.
The power coming from these machines is no joke. The nozzles can blast water up to 80 times the pressure of the typical garden hose. Therefore, you should handle it with care because it can easily earn someone a trip to the emergency room.
Pressure washers may also be electric or gas-powered. This article focuses on electric pressure washers as they are proven to be more practical for domestic use than their gas-powered counterparts. Still, let us examine more about the advantages of electric power washers over the gas pressure washers.
Advantages of Electric Pressure Washers
- They are generally cheaper, more compact, and more handy.
- They are better designed for home use than the bulkier gas-powered models.
- They are easy to maintain and more environment-friendly than the gas pressure washers. The latter is also prone to harmful oil spills and leaks.
- Electric pressure washers are plug and go machines. A gas power washer needs a trained individual to operate it.
- When not in use, you can easily store an electric pressure washer away without any fuss.
As a general rule of thumb, as long as the cleaning project involves household chores such as cleaning brick driveways or vinyl sidings, the power of an electric washer is adequate. For commercial cleaning needs, the gas-powered machines trump the electric ones any time of the day.
What You Need to Know About Electric Power Washers
When we talk about the “power” of an electric power washer, it does not refer to the engine’s horsepower. We are talking about the cleaning power or cleaning units (CU). It is determined by multiplying the pressure (expressed in PSI or pounds per square inch) and flow rate (expressed in GPM or gallons per minute).
Simply put, the PSI tells you how big the pressure at which the water leaves the nozzle. The higher that number, the stronger the pressure. For general house cleaning purposes, you’ll be good with a pressure washer that can deliver at least 1,500 PSI.
For GPM or gallons per minute, it refers to the volume of water that the washer can spray in a minute. Multiply these two, and you get the machine’s Cleaning Unit rating or CU. Both PSI and GPM are important. A high PSI indicates how hard the washer breaks down the dirt and a high GPM is an indication of the rinsing power of the washer.
Electric pressure washers can deliver up to 2,300 PSI at 1.7 GPM at most and around 1,500 PSI and 1.5 GPM on average. If you can come across units able to give that much power, those are usually good electric power washers for home use.
Many models come with five types of nozzles expressed in degrees — 0, 15, 25, 40, and 65. The higher the degree of the nozzle, the lower the water’s pressure blast.
More often than not, you are going to need the 0-degree nozzle for seriously stubborn dirt. The 40 and 65-degree nozzle is usually for soaking the area that needs to be cleaned, while the 15 and 25-degree nozzles could lift light dirt and stains such as old paint or moss. This is best if you’re cleaning outdoor furniture, concrete slats, and similar structures.
3. Water Temperature
Most models only allow cold water, and it usually does the trick on most home cleaning jobs. However, if you ever encounter a project that requires deeper cleaning, it never hurts choosing a model that allows hot water.
4. Length of the Hose
The longer the hose of the unit is, the more versatile it could be. Longer hoses allow you to reach and clean second-floor windows with ease without requiring a ladder. And as a word of caution, never use any hose other than the one provided by the manufacturer. Ordinary garden hoses could break down when constantly run with 1,500 PSI of pressure.
5. Other Features
Like in any other appliance or machine, the materials always matter. If you can go down and see the unit for yourself, then do it. Otherwise, carefully check the reviews and the product specifications.
Most electric pressure washers are made of plastic and PVC. These materials make the units handy and portable. But then again, plastics are not made equal, and depending on the model, the quality and thickness of the material are different.
Another thing that you should carefully look at is the fittings for the hose. Most of them are made of plastic, and they are notorious for easily breaking and causing leakages. Leaks start out small and harmless, but they will leave a stream of water in places where you don’t want them. If possible, look for units that are fitted with brass/metal fittings as a standard or ones that can be replaced.
Best Electric Pressure Washers in the Market
1. Sun Joe SPX3000
The SPX3000 is not the most powerful unit out there, but it gets the job done at a bargain price. And while it’s power is not at the top of the food chain, it’s not too shabby either– 2,030 PSI and 1.76 GPM.
However, the best feature of the Sun Joe is the dual detergent tanks that allows you to secure two types of detergent and switch depending on the cleaning needs. And as an add-on, you can also put hot water in its tanks as long as it does not exceed 100 degrees.
2. Highsell 3800 PSI
Not all of us have medium-duty cleaning needs. If yours borders at super medium and heavy-duty, then the Highsell 3800 PSI is for you. The name says it all: 3,800 PSI of power at 2.8 GPM. That’s more than enough to get rid of old paint or the most stubborn gunk lodged in the darkest corners.
It does not have the dual-tank feature of the SPX3000, but it does come with a reel, so you manage the hose better. It is also reasonably priced and comes with an easy pressure switch system that allows you to shift from high to low pressure (and vice versa) if the need arises.
3. Generac 6602 OneWash
The Generac 6602 may not be as powerful as the Highsell 3800, but it’s right up there. It can generate a spraying power of 3,100 PSI at 2.8 GPM. The best thing about the OneWash is its innovative PowerDial that provides intensity adjustment in a simple turn of the control.
4. Briggs & Stratton S2000
The Briggs & Stratton is just average in terms of cleaning power at 2000 PSI and 1.2 GPM, but it ups the ante in other ways. For example, unlike most models, it boasts a steel frame instead of plastic, making the unit undeniably more durable. It is something that you should consider for light cleaning projects.
5. Karcher K5 Premium
Where do I begin? OK, let’s start with the power. It is capable of producing 2,000 PSI and a flow rate of 1.4 GPM. Nothing special, right? But like we already said, while power is a factor in your final choice, you should also consider its other features. Fortunately, the Karcher K5 Premium has a plethora of valuable characteristics.
For instance, its water-cooled induction motor lowers the machine’s temperature as it operates, extending its life span by up to five times! It also comes with two pressure wands– the DirtBlaster for intense cleaning and the Vario Power Spray for less intensive projects.
It’s not hard to pick an electric pressure washer that fits your needs, especially if you have done your due diligence beforehand. The electric power washers above are among the best-sellers for good reasons — they offer the best features and get the job done. Of course, the budget still matters, so it’s all up to you and what you can afford. Regardless, I hope we gave you enough information for you to make a cognizant choice. Power on!