Before we get started please bear in mind that you may not need a very expensive pressure washer to complete jobs around the house. Smaller pressure washers often do a great job on driveways, patios, footpaths and garages etc.
It’s only for tough stains such as oil stains on driveways or garage floors that you may need more powerful, and therefore more expensive, pressure washers.
One final tip, make sure that you choose the right power pressure washer for the job. For example it’s no good blasting your patio tiles with 200 bars of pressure in order to get them sparkling only to find that the grout has all blown out of the tiles leaving your patio tiles wobbly.
The key measurement that separates all pressure washers is the pressure that the unit can achieve. Basic domestic pressure washers such as the Karcher K2 Compact have a bar pressure of 110 bars while the top of the range domestic pressure washer can operate using around 200 bar of pressure.
You may also read about pressure as being measured in Pond-force per Square Inch (PSI). To convert bar pressure to PSI simply multiply the bar figure by 14.5. Obviously to convert from PSI to bar pressure simply divide by 14.5.
Main Point: Bar pressure below 150 is ideal for most domestic jobs. Bar pressure of over 150 is ideal for work concerning heavy stains etc.
Water flow is simply the amount of water that your pressure washer can eject in a certain length of time. Minutes and hourly flow rates are most commonly used. Generally the higher the flow rate the better. However in some instances the higher flow rate may be misleading.
Suppose that we have two 1400w pressure washers, one with 100 bar pressure and 360l p/h flow rate and the other with 110 bar pressure and 340l p/h flow rate. Which would be the better unit to buy?
Pressure washer 1 = 100 x 360 = 36,000
Pressure washer 2 = 110 x 340 = 37,400
Despite pressure washer 2 having a lower flow figure the unit is more powerful overall and so would be our choice when considering a purchase.
Keep an eye on wattage especially when comparing two pressure washers where bar pressure and water flow is the same. generally speaking a higher wattage means better performance but a higher wattage also uses more electricity.
Ensure that you know exactly which accessories come with the pressure washer. Sometimes a host of accessories come with the pressure washer for a price much lower than it would cost to buy the accessories separately. Make sure that you need the accessories and that you will use them.
Large domestic pressure washers can reach up to the 25kg mark. Make sure that you can handle the weight of the pressure washer and if you buy a heavy pressure washer ensure that it has wheels for easy transportation. If your garden has a lot of steps it may make more sense to trade weight for power in order to avoid accidents or body aches.
Typical hose length is around 5 meters however some smaller domestic pressure washer models come with a shorter hose of 3 meters. A 3 meter hose is fine for smaller gardens or driveways. For very large gardens and other areas check to see if you can buy a hose extension but remember that if extending the hose your pressure will drop somewhat.
The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ is true. Lower priced pressure washers contain pump heads made out of plastic. These tend to crack or split more often than pump heads found in more expensive pressure washers which are made out of aluminium or brass.
When buying appliances and machinery it always makes sense to buy a reputable brand name in order to ensure excellent quality and after sales service. Many top pressure washer companies have independent shops around the country which fix your pressure washer if it breaks this saves you shipping your pressure washer which can turn out an expensive endeavour.
The Best Domestic Pressure Washer
There is no doubt that the Karcher K2 Compact is the most popular pressure washer today. The K2 Compact is a basic, inexpensive domestic pressure washer which handles most domestic jobs very well. There is also a multitude of attachments that you can buy so that you can personalise the pressure washer for your own use.
We also really like the Nilfisk 4-5 PC Xtra pressure washer which comes with a patio cleaner. ThePC Xtra’s vital stats are the same as the Karcher K2 models except that water flow is higher at 440l p/h as opposed to 360l p/h.
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