Learning to use a pressure washer isn’t difficult but there is somewhat of a learning curve involved. If you’re a beginner and you just need a pressure washer to handle basic household chores, it’s easier to find the right one because this is what most of them are made for.
Still, when you’re new to pressure washing, there are some decisions you’ll have to make first before you rush out and purchase one, and it all starts with learning some of the basics. These basics are discussed in the paragraphs below.
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Gas-Powered Versus Electric Pressure Washers
One of the first choices you’ll have to make is whether you want a gas-powered pressure washer or one that is electric. To make the decision a little easier, here are some fact about both types:
Gas-powered pressure washers
- Higher PSI (pounds per square inch) and GPM (gallons used per minute) than electric ones, which makes them a little more powerful.
- Cordless – no electricity needed.
- Fairly heavy and sometimes cumbersome.
- Require more maintenance than electric washers.
- Are louder than electric washers.
Electric pressure washers
- Do not produce any harmful emissions.
- No oil changes or other maintenance required.
- Generally less powerful than a gas-powered pressure washer.
- Not as portable as the gas-powered washers because they need a power source.
As a general rule, you should choose the one that will be the easiest for you to operate, and this will depend on which features are most important to you. Since gas-powered pressure washers are heavy, you may want to start with an electric one. On the other hand, you might prefer to work with a cordless and more portable pressure washer, in which case you’d be better off choosing a gas-powered one.
It is up to you, but you can start by reviewing all of their features so you can decide which ones you can tolerate and which ones you can’t.
Choose the Right Size
Now we come to one of the most important features of any pressure washer – the power and size. The power in a pressure washer is indicated by a pounds-per-square-inch (PSI) number, and the higher the number, the more forceful the water power is. Essentially, there are household and commercial pressure washers, and the ones used for household chores are going to be under 3,000 PSI.
Any pressure washer with a PSI number of 2,000 or less is going to be good for cleaning a small deck or patio or even a small household item. Pressure washers for cleaning siding, driveways, and fences usually require a PSI number of between 2,000 and 3,000.
Anything above 3,000 is going to be considered a commercial pressure washer, so you won’t want to choose these if you’re a beginner.
In fact, if you’ve never before used a pressure washer, you may want to start small and stick with a lightweight washer with a PSI number that is no higher than 3,000.
Don’t worry, even pressure washers with a PSI of under 3,000 will be plenty powerful enough for the chores you’ll need done around your house.
Nozzles for pressure washers are all universally color-coded, and here is a breakdown of the colors:
- Red: the narrowest angle – 0 degrees. The strongest angle.
- Yellow: a 15-degree angle.
- Green: a 25-degree angle.
- White: a 40-degree angle, and one of the most user-friendly angles as well.
- Black: a 65-degree angle. The gentlest angle.
The bigger the angle, the easier it is to use, so you might want to learn on either a black or white tip to make it easy on yourself.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
To familiarize yourself with the different types of pressure washers, here are some frequently asked questions.
Are pressure washers expensive?
The gas-powered washers are a bit more expensive than the electric ones, which tend to be available for under $150. The PowRyte Elite, for example, offers 2,000 PSI and comes with two spray tips and a wand, and you can get it for just under $80.
Can I use a commercial pressure washer for home use?
It is not recommended because pressure above 3,000 PSI is generally too harsh for most household items and can even damage them.
How do I know what I am allowed to clean with the pressure washer I bought?
The user manual that comes with the pressure washer will tell you everything you need to know about what you can and cannot clean with it.
If you’re a beginning pressure-washer user, starting with a washer that is lightweight, under 3,000 PSI, and powered by electricity is going to be easiest for you. You can work your way up to more heavy-duty pressure washers, and it won’t take you long to learn to use these tools. In fact, if you intend to use your pressure washer only for home use, you can stick with the lightweight ones for a very long time.