Pressure Washers Buyer's Guide

Pressure Washers

We are one of Britain’s biggest suppliers of pressure washers. Pressure washers have been available for some years now and are something that once you have, you will wonder how you ever managed without it. There are some many things you can keep clean with a pressure washer, their use can become almost addictive, you clean one part of your property and the rest starts to look dirty too! 

How do they work?
Pressure washers are connected to a water supply via a normal garden hose. A powerful motor drives a pump which 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 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 is clearly going to have more power to clean. 

Which is the best pressure washer to buy?
This is a tricky question to answer because different customers have different requirements; however, as with any piece of equipment for home or commercial use it is always better to overestimate your requirements rather than to buy a machine that may be overworked. Most high powered machines have variable pressure adjustment which can be easily adjusted for different tasks either at the business end on the lance or on the machine via the bypass valve. If you are buying a machine to make your life easier then the extra few pounds can make all the difference in cleaning performance.

Pressure washers are great for big or small jobs, in both domestic and commercial environments. When choosing a pressure washer you will need to consider how often the pressure washer 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 which can make specific jobs easier, such as a patio cleaner which concentrates the cleaning power, but also reduces splashing and can be used on walls too. Soft car washing brushes and detergent are also available. Also, 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.

  • Commercial use
    A pressure washer may be used in many of the same applications in commercial use as in domestic use but there are other options too, including washing heavy plant and de-greasing. However, usage tends to be more intensive and prolonged, therefore machines intended for business use should have a more heavy–duty motor and pump. The hot-wash machines offer even more cleaning power and can penetrate the grime for the more stubborn jobs. For applications where there is no mains electricity, Machine Mart also sell petrol and diesel powered machines, which allows for 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?
Temperature! Both types of machines work on the same principal but a steam cleaner has a separate, usually diesel fired, hot burner which 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 machines 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?
No, as this can affect the performance of the power output and 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 them will make them expand which will reduce these tolerances. If you require a hot water pressure washer then we would recommend a hot washer from our range.  See https://www.machinemart.co.uk/c/hot-washers-steam-cleaners/

Where and how should I store my pressure washer when it’s not in use?
Ideally in a frost free environment and somewhere away from the elements ensuring all the water is drained from it 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 meters provided it has the function. This function can usually 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 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 we can continue to grow our business through satisfied customers. 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.

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) determines the ability of the force (penetration) of the water needed to break the bond of the material from the surface.

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.

THE FLOW (LPM) OUTPUT MUST NOT EXCEED THE INPUT FLOW e.g. YOU CANT GET MORE WATER OUT THAN YOU PUT IN

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?

Are all plugs, extension leads and portable electric hand-held tools in good condition and regularly inspected?

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.

TEST YOUR RCD REGULARLY

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.

 

SHOP OUR FULL RANGE OF PRESSURE WASHERS HERE!