Pressure Washers Buyer's Guide

Pressure Washers

Cheaper than a weekly carwash and more effective than a hosepipe alone, pressure washers are an excellent way of cleaning and maintaining decking, patios, cars and motorbikes. We are one of Britain’s biggest suppliers of pressure washers. Pressure washers take the strain out of your necessary cleaning chores and give you shiny clean surfaces, every time. With so many different pressure washers, power washers and hot power washers available, it can be a little confusing. Our handy buyer's guide is designed to help you understand more about pressure washers and to work out which one is best for you.

How do they work?
Pressure washers are connected to a water supply via a normal garden hose. A powerful motor drives a pump that forces the water through a hose and lance, then through a very small nozzle at a very high power. Pressure washers are extremely efficient because they produce much greater pressure than a normal hose and use far less water. In fact, a typical garden hose uses approx 3500 litres of water per hour and produces just 4 bar of pressure. On the other hand, a standard domestic Pressure Washer (Clarke Jet 9500) uses 420 litres an hour whilst at the same time producing 200 Bar. This provides you with more cleaning power to revitalise even the most neglected outdoor surfaces. 

Which is the best pressure washer to buy?
The best pressure washer for you may vary from your neighbour because each user has different requirements.  When choosing a pressure washer for home or commercial use, it may be better to overestimate your requirements despite the higher cost, than to buy cheaply and end up disappointed with low quality. The vast majority of high-powered machines have variable pressure adjustment facilities that can be easily altered for different tasks, either at the working end of the lance or on the machine via the bypass valve. If you are buying a machine to make your life easier, then investing that little bit extra can make all the difference in cleaning performance.

Pressure washers are great for big or small jobs, in a vast range of environments. When choosing a pressure washer you will need to consider how often the unit will be used and for how long:

  • Domestic use
    Thousands of DIY users have found pressure washers indispensable for cleaning things, such as: patios, decking, walls, fences, cars, bikes, boats, and conservatory roofs.

    There are a variety of attachments that can make specific jobs easier. For example, a patio cleaner that concentrates the cleaning power, but also reduces splashing, so it can be used on walls too. Soft car washing brushes and detergents are available, as well, to help you acquire a professional finish. Furthermore, with the correct attachment, you can keep your drains clear, potentially saving you hundreds of pounds. Machine Mart sells many machines suitable for domestic users, some of which come with a full kit of accessories like these.

  • Commercial use
    A pressure washer may be used for many of the same applications in commercial use as it is in domestic use, but there are other more specific options too, including washing heavy plant and de-greasing mechanical components. However, usage tends to be more intensive and prolonged with commercial applications, therefore machines intended for business use should have a more heavier–duty motor and pump. The hot-wash machines offer even more cleaning power and can penetrate  stubborn grime for the tougher jobs. For applications where there is no mains electricity, Machine Mart also sell petrol and diesel powered machines, which allows you to make use of their ultimate portability.

At Machine Mart we categorise our pressure washers as follows:


Frequently asked Questions

What is the difference between a power washer, pressure washer and a jet washer?
There is no difference. Different people refer to pressure washers as jet washers and power washers but they can all be considered as the same thing.

What is the difference between a pressure washer and a steam cleaner?
The short answer: temperature. Both types of machines work on the same principle but a steam cleaner has a separate, usually diesel-fired, hot burner that heats the water up to above 100°C and is more effective on grease and oil removal. At this temperature, steam not only increases cleaning performance but can sterilise surfaces as well - extremely important for many hygiene dependent applications.

Is flow or pressure more important?
For the vast majority of customers looking to use pressure washers for a variety of tasks, neither is significantly more important. Higher pressure creates a better cleaning performance while higher water flow creates a better rinsing action making something quicker to clean. There is usually a trade off between one or the other and apart from for very specific industrial tasks, the ratio on the majority of machines gives an excellent all-round balance. A good general indication of a machine's performance against another is the motor size, which is measured in kW.

What pressure washer do I need to wash my car and occasionally my patio?
Any of our basic electrical pressure washers will be fine, or our more basic petrol & diesel driven pressure washers will give you the power to clean your car and a medium sized patio if electrical power is not available.

Can I run a domestic electric pressure washer on an extension cable?
We strongly advise against the use of extension cables, as this can affect the performance of the power output, as well as the machine itself and can cause damage to the electrical components.

Can I put hot water through my pressure washer?
The unit produces its water pressure through seals which have a high tolerance. Having hot water pass through a standard pressure washer will make the seals expand, reducing their effectiveness. If you require a hot water pressure washer then we would recommend a hot washer from our range.  Hot water pressure washers generally will increase the temperature of intake by 40C on average. Therefore, if your hot water boiler is set to 40C your output will be 80C. See our hot washers here.

Where and how should I store my pressure washer when it’s not in use?
Whilst it may be tempting to leave pressure washers outside, doing so can radically reduce the lifespan of your machine through exposure to the elements. Ideally your pressure washer should be stored in a frost-free environment and somewhere under cover where it is not exposed to the extremes of temperature or bleaching from the sun. To prevent cracking through frost, always ensure all of the water is drained from your device before storage.

Can I take water from a water butt or other supply?
Yes, pressure washers can 'draw' water through the intake hose as they operate, providing the water supply is above ground level or siphoned. Although this can be difficult on the domestic range. Some industrial pressure washers can draw water from a depth of 2-3 metres provided it has the function. This function can usually be found on our "PLS range".

Care must also be taken to avoid running the machine dry once the supply has run out. Although the flow rate of a machine may be 500 litres an hour, for example, the machine is not usually in continuous use and will often only consume half this volume. Care must always be taken when using an alternative water supply to avoid contaminants entering the pump and that the inlet water temperature is no more than 30 degrees.

What is 'Lifetime Technical Support'?
Even pressure washers don't last forever, but we aim to help you keep your machine in peak performance for many years to come. By doing this we hope you will recommend us to friends, family and colleagues, so that we can continue to grow our business through a satisfied customer base. Our customers are the lifeblood of our business and we take a long-term view of the benefits of supporting them long after their warranty has run out. At any point during the life of your machine you can rely on technical backup and support from Machine Mart.

Useful to Know for Planning Your Jobs
Another way to compare pressure washers is to multiply the PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) by the LPM (litres per minute) and you obtain a "work" value. For example, for a pressure washer operating at 1500 PSI and 10 LPM, the work value is 15000 (1500 x 10). At 1300 PSI and 16 LPM the work value is 20800 (1300 x 16). Flow or LPM affects the time it takes to clean something. The higher the figure, the shorter the length of time it takes to clean - this generally being achieved by having a more powerful (higher rated) motor or larger pistons in the pump. In real terms, pressure (in PSI or Bar) determines how well the water will break the bond of the material from the surface - the higher the pressure, the more force will be applied to an area, giving you greater potential to tackle tougher cohesion.

Water Flow Rate
LPM = Litres per minute. This is the flow rate of the water leaving the washer. The higher this figure is, the faster you will be able to clean a given area. This is probably the most important selection criteria when choosing a commercial unit.


Electrical Power
Horse Power (HP) = Watts or kiloWatts (1kiloWatt = 1000 Watts = 1.3HP) - This is used to indicate the power of the electric motor. Generally if you require a high PSI and flow you will need more Watts or HP to provide it.

Should you only have a domestic power supply I.e. 13A 230V then the maximum kW rating you are capable of running is 2400 Watts or 2.4kW. Should you need a higher kW rated unit for your cleaning requirements, then we advise you contact an electrician to calculate your needs and suitable power supply. This may also include 3 phase, which has the most electrical power and performance available converted into efficient usability.


Pressure Washer Health and Safety

Electrical Safety Checks

Is the mains electrical system in good condition?

Has it been inspected?

Have you ensured ALL electrical equipment - including plugs and any other connections - is in good condition and inspected regularly?

Is there a circuit breaker in the system for use with pressure washers? Visually check portable tools, e.g. pressure washers etc., before use and have them regularly tested by a competent person

NEVER use pressure washers without an RCD or earth monitoring device.


Keep away from the water jet
High pressure jets can force the fluid through the skin and this can be dangerous. No-one should stand in front of the cleaning jet. Also, the spray from your cleaner could drift into other work areas, or over other people, and this could be dangerous too.

Wear suitable clothing
You should always wear suitable eye protection while the machine is working, and you may need special clothing such as wellington boots and waterproofs to protect you.

Contact with cleaning chemicals
Be aware of correct handling and storage instructions for any chemicals or detergents you are using. Read the COSHH sheet for the product, if available.

Slips and trips
Provide non-slip floor surfaces. Repair holes and clear up spillages immediately. DO keep work areas tidy and clean, and avoid trailing leads and hoses.