Find the right type of pressure washer to keep your exterior walls, patio, shed, driveway, or any other surface free of dirt and grime.
The concept of pressure washers was discovered by accident during the glory days of prohibition in 1926. Frank W. Ofeldt II was in his garage designing a portable whiskey when he discovered the strange phenomenon of his design’s steam. He realized that a cleaning contraption could be made out of it. Ofeldt collaborated with the Homestead Valve Company for a pump casting.
Together with Frederick E. Schuchman Sr., they developed the contraption and named it the “Hypressure Vapor Spray Generator.” It was a man named Mr. Eltinge — also the brother of Julian Eltinge, one of the world’s greatest female impersonators of the 20th century — who suggested they name the apparatus “High-Pressure Jenny.” He received $20 for rights to the name. The name stuck even today as pressure washers are still sometimes known as “high-pressure Jennys” or “steam Jennys.”
Table of Contents
- A. Types
- B. Styles
- C. Features
1. Cold Water Pressure Washers
Cold water pressure washers are the most commonly used type of pressure washer. This is due to the fact that they are more affordable to produce and easier to use overall. When you purchase one of these cold water pressure washers, you can expect that it will work perfectly for pressure washing anything that you need to at your home. Many people use these types of pressure washers to wash their siding in order to make it look vibrant again.
These pressure washers have become a very popular item among homeowners. It is very convenient to have access to a pressure washer to perform many household tasks. They’re great for cleaning your siding off but they can also be used to effectively clean your deck and other structures around your property. Pressure washers are very portable as well, making it easy to transport one wherever you need it to be.
You will find that cold water pressure washers are used mostly by everyday people. Businesses and contractors usually stick to something more powerful but this doesn’t mean that a cold water commercial pressure washer isn’t powerful in its own right. These pressure washers will be perfect for pretty much any purpose you would have for them. Some people even use these pressure washers to help clear old paint off of decks and barns so you know that they are quite powerful.
Buying a cold water pressure washer isn’t too expensive either. You will be able to purchase a cold water pressure washer at a very reasonable price. This will allow you to make use of it at home and keep your property looking very clean. You won’t have to put up with dingy-looking siding when you have your own pressure washer at the ready to clean things up.
2. Hot Water Pressure Washer
There are a number of different reasons why businesses like to make use of hot water pressure washers. Firstly, you should understand that these hot water pressure washers have several advantages over their cold water cousins. The most apparent is that these hot water pressure washers can reach temperatures of up to 311 degrees Fahrenheit. You can clean things much more easily when you have access to water that is this hot.
To give you something to compare it to, your average cold water pressure washer is only capable of reaching temperatures of up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This is very close to the temperature that the average water faucet in a home can reach. Using a cold water pressure washer is much safer for this reason but there are situations where you will want to have the incredibly hot water in order to clean something more easily. You just need to be careful with how you are handling this hot water pressure washer.
When you have access to using really hot water, it is going to be much easier to clean things that are caked with oil and grease. You won’t have to worry about not being able to clean these items effectively because the hot water pressure washer is going to cut right through that grime. You won’t even need to use as much detergent when the water is this hot so it can be very convenient to use.
You will also be able to feel confident knowing that the hot water is killing germs and bacteria. If you want to pressure wash your deck to get some mold off of it, then having access to a hot water pressure washer is going to be the most effective thing. It will kill off the mold and can leave you with a nice clean deck to enjoy. People who want to be as cleanly as possible will enjoy the idea of being able to kill off bacteria with the extremely hot water.
Drying times are also significantly faster when you use a hot water pressure washer. The water is so hot that it evaporates more quickly and you won’t have to wait around for things to dry very long. There are many benefits to owning one of these hot water pressure washers but they are a little dangerous to use if you don’t know what you’re doing. You will want to be very careful about how you are using this powerful tool so be mindful of your surroundings and make sure that you’re using it properly.
3. Electric Pressure Washers
Electric pressure washers are probably the most common type of pressure washer that you will see being used at someone’s home. These pressure washers are really convenient to use and are generally pretty lightweight. You will be able to use these pressure washers effectively to take care of any normal home pressure washing needs. If you want to be able to clean off certain things on your property, then this is going to be the most affordable way to do that in many cases.
The average electric pressure washer will cost a little less than a gas-powered unit. This is really appealing to those who want to be able to have access to a pressure washer but don’t want to have to pay out a lot of money for it. Some models can be a little more powerful than others and you may find electric pressure washers with certain desirable features. Regardless, these pressure washers are limited in their power output by the electrical outlet that they are getting their energy from.
Most electrical outlets only allow a certain amount of power to be outputted. In North America, you will find that most outlets are capped out at being able to output 120V. You will typically be outputting this voltage at between 15 and 20 amps. This amount of power will be enough to handle many tasks but it will not be able to hold a candle to the overall power of a gas-powered unit.
Despite this, many people choose to buy electric pressure washers because they see them as the more convenient option. Slightly lower price points combined with not having to deal with the fumes that come from using a gas-powered option are certainly good reasons. You will also be able to enjoy pressure washing your home in a much quieter fashion. Electric pressure washers don’t make much noise at all, making them a lot more pleasant to use than the gas-powered ones.
4. Gas-Powered Pressure Washers
If you are seeking a powerful pressure washer to use for important work, then you will likely want to purchase a gas-powered pressure washer. These pressure washers are going to be significantly more powerful than the electric pressure washers that are more commonly used. If you have a big job that needs to get done in an effective way, then you will have an easier time with a gas-powered unit. There are several other aspects of using a gas-powered pressure washer that will appeal to you as well.
Gas-powered pressure washers are much more portable than their electric cousins. Electric pressure washers need to be plugged into a power outlet in order to function. Gas-powered units are not tethered to a cord of any kind so you can freely roam your property and use then wherever it is that you see fit. This can be a lot more convenient than having to run an extension cord out to your barn or some other part of your property that might not have an electrical outlet.
You will also be able to get things washed in a quicker fashion while using this type of pressure washer. The increased power really does work wonders here. You will be able to make short work of even large jobs when you have a really powerful pressure washer to rely on. This means that you can move on to other tasks more quickly and have your chores done in far less time than you would by using other means.
The problems with gas-powered pressure washers rear their head when you consider the noise and the fumes. All gas-powered machines and devices are going to emit noxious fumes so you won’t be able to use them indoors. Most people use pressure washers for outdoor projects anyways but it is possible to use an electric pressure washer inside of your home. This can be useful for pressure washing your walls but that simply isn’t going to be an option with a gas-powered pressure washer.
Aside from this, the noise can really bother some people. The most powerful gas-powered pressure washers can produce a significant amount of noise and it may bother you if your ears are sensitive. This can really make the act of pressure washing much less enjoyable so you may want to take precautions such as purchasing noise-canceling earmuffs. Regardless of the negatives, owning a gas-powered pressure washer is going to be great for you as it will allow you to effectively clean so many parts of your property in a timely fashion.
1. With Wheels
Most of the pressure washers that you will find on the market will come with wheels for convenient use. This makes it so that you can move your pressure washer to and from wherever it is needed without it being a hassle. There are some models that have two wheels and others that have four. You will usually find that the models that have four wheels are the heavier gas-powered types.
Models that features two wheels are easy to move around. You transport a pressure washer of this style in a similar fashion to moving a dolly. You lean the pressure washer backward and simply pull it wherever it needs to go. No matter what type of wheeled pressure washer it is that you purchase, it should be relatively easy to get it wherever it is that you need it.
2. Standing Unit
Certain pressure washers are going to come without wheels. You might think that this is less convenient at first but these models are actually really easy to tote around. The pressure washers that come as standing units often feature handles that you can grab onto so that you can easily pick them up and carry them. These types of pressure washers don’t weigh very much and are ideal for taking with you.
A lot of times, these pressure washers feature a more compact design as well. You will be able to enjoy fitting these pressure washers inside of your car more easily, making it no problem to transport this unit to a new location. If you need to get a job done for someone else, then having this convenient and portable pressure washer is going to be quite helpful. Many people prefer these models because they are easier to store too.
1. Soap Dispenser
Many of the most popular pressure washers will come with convenient features such as an automatic soap dispenser. This is useful as you will not have to manually dispense the soap yourself. If you want to be able to make your pressure washing job go as quickly as possible, it will be to your benefit to purchase a pressure washer that has this feature. It streamlines the process significantly and allows you to focus on the job.
2. Automatic Shut-Off
It can be very smart to purchase a pressure washer that has an automatic shut-off feature. Some pressure washers do not shut off when you are no longer holding down the handle or the trigger. This can be bad as it will cause you to waste energy and will unnecessarily wear down your pump. Finding a pressure washer that has the automatic shut-off feature will prevent this from happening.
You will want to treat your pressure washer right in order to prolong its life. A convenient feature such as this is going to help you to ensure that your investment will be a good one. Your pressure washer will be able to be used for many years to come and you won’t be wasting any unnecessary energy. It’s a simple feature but you will be happy to prolong the life of your pump.
3. Interchangeable Nozzles
Being able to find a pressure washer that is good for doing multiple things is really nice. Sometimes you aren’t going to want to pressure wash something at full power. You might need to use a nozzle that will work better for a lighter workload. Luckily, it is possible to purchase a pressure washer that has interchangeable nozzles.
Having many different nozzles to choose from is going to be really nice. You will be able to choose the appropriate nozzle for a given situation. You can use the high-powered nozzle for bigger jobs and switch to one of the lighter ones for smaller jobs. It’s a simple solution that will save you a lot of headaches down the line.
4. Adjustable Spray Nozzles
Some people are going to prefer being able to adjust the nozzle itself rather than having to change it out. The interchangeable nozzles will sometimes offer you more options for exactly how much pressure you want the unit to put out. Regardless, these adjustable nozzles can be quite a bit more convenient. You don’t really have to stop what you’re doing as you can simply adjust the nozzle quickly and return to your task.
Most of these adjustable nozzles have two to three stages of adjustment but there is some variance between different brands. Adjusting the nozzle is very simple to do and it won’t take you hardly any time at all. People who want things to be done as quickly as possible will enjoy being able to make use of this feature. It will save you a bit of time and keep you on the path towards finishing your pressure washing job.
5. Pressure Selection Technology
As noted above, being able to adjust the pressure on your pressure washer can be even easier to use than interchangeable nozzles. It is possible to purchase a pressure washer that has two different pressure selections that you can select. You can set it on low for a lighter workload or you can set it on high for heavy-duty jobs. This is a really easy way to make sure that you aren’t using too much power when you need a lighter touch.
This is distinct from the adjustable nozzles as you don’t have to fiddle with the nozzle itself to change the power options. You will be able to make use of this innovative technology to quickly and effectively change between modes. You won’t have to stop what you are doing and the transition will feel seamless.
In some ways, this may not have as much nuance as the interchangeable nozzles. It is a lot simpler, though, because you don’t have to stop what you are doing to change out a nozzle. You will simply be able to push a button and set the pressure washer to either high or low. This works swimmingly for most jobs and you will be happy to have such a good feature on your pressure washer.
6. Dual Detergent Tanks
Having access to a pressure washer with dual detergent tanks is going to make things a little more convenient for you. When you are able to carry more detergent with you at once, it allows you to work towards completing your job more quickly. Two tanks will also allow you to store two different types of detergent at once so that can be really useful. You will be able to take care of several different cleaning projects without having to change things out and this will save you a whole lot of time.
7. On-Board Storage
Being able to store the power cord for your pressure washer in the unit itself is going to be beneficial. There are some pressure washers that don’t come with convenient power cord storage options. This can create a mess when you are putting it up for the day. No one wants to have to deal with tangled cords and you shouldn’t have to leave your cord looking sloppy every time you go to store it.
Buying the right pressure washer will allow you to store the power cord, the wand, your nozzles, and your detergent bottle right in the pressure washer itself. This makes storing it a whole lot simpler and everything will look nice and clean. When you are ready to use the pressure washer again, you will know that everything is right where you left it the last time. This is a small feature that makes a huge difference in your overall enjoyment of the product.
8. High PSI
If you want to be able to handle the most difficult jobs with your pressure washer, then you should seek out one that has a high PSI rating. If you purchase a gas-powered pressure water with a PSI rating that is greater than 4,000, then you can rest assured that it will be able to handle the toughest jobs. These pressure washers are regularly used for industrial purposes but they can be quite useful for residential use as well.
Depending on the situation, you may not have a need to buy a pressure washer that is this powerful. People use these pressure washers to handle the really tough jobs such as agricultural cleaning. You can remove paint with this pressure washer and you will be able to easily clean your driveway as well. It can be a handy tool to own but you will want to be careful with such a powerful tool.
Buying pressure washers that have high PSI such as this will be more expensive than other options. When you want to have the best possible power out of your pressure washer, it is going to be necessary to pay a little more money. If you have large jobs that need to be taken care of, then this pressure washer is going to prove to be up to the challenge. You will always have a really easy time getting your jobs finished when you use this powerful tool.
Home Stratosphere is an award-winning home and garden online publication that’s a result of our talented researchers and writers who work directly with hundreds of professional interior designers, furniture designers, landscape designers and architects from around the world to create helpful, informative, entertaining and inspiring articles and design galleries.