If you’ve ever seen a video of a person pressure washing a dirty driveway or a car and thought how great it looked, you’re in luck. Pressure washers are not (necessarily) expensive or bulky. And they can be pretty easy to use for smaller-scale projects.

The good people at Arrow Commercial Pressure Washer shared their simple guide to buying a pressure washer suited to your needs. You can learn what you need to have, which features are not really important and how to gauge the power of a pressure washer that you need.

How Do Pressure Washers Work?

Pressure washers are fairly simple. They typically have two parts – the hose with a nozzle which cleans and the body which houses the mechanism. Within the body is a pressure pump which forces water through the hose through the nozzle.

Power Source

The pump can be powered by gas or electricity, depending on the size and the power requirements of the washer. Just like with leaf blowers, lawn mowers and chainsaws, gas powered pressure washers tend to be bigger and more robust, suited for commercial applications. These washers can pressurize water so that it can peel chewing gum from pavement.

On the other hand, electric powered pressure washers tend to be smaller in both size and power output. This makes them more suitable for individuals to own for personal use, but can also be scaled up for some lighter commercial use. These tend to be a lot quieter than gas powered ones and can start and stop fairly quickly and easily.

Finally, there is a sub-group of electric powered pressure washers, which are battery powered. Instead of having a large external body housing the pump, these devices tend to be much more portable, storing the pump and the battery in the hose part itself. As you may have surmised, these devices don’t create a lot of pressure and are typically used for smaller tasks which require more finesse than brute force approach, like washing a car.

Nozzle Variety

Apart from the source of power for the pump, there is one more thing that you need to know when buying a pressure washer – and that is the nozzle itself.

If you’re looking to use the pressure washer for you own need, to clean your backyard, or wash your car occasionally, the nozzles that come with your smaller form factor pressure cleaner should be enough. You may even get just one nozzle which can be adjusted depending on the task at hand.

But, if you really want to learn more about pressure washing, there are different nozzles for different types of cleaning. The key difference is the angle at which the water leaves the nozzle, as well as the pressure. Pressure is set on the device itself, but for optimal performance, you will need the optimal nozzle.

The more sensitive surfaces should be washed with a nozzle set at around 40°. This slows the water down considerably, while still retaining some pressure power. The majority of tasks can be done with a 25° nozzle, but more extreme situations may require a 10° nozzle, or even a 0° one. However, the last two are really recommended only for professionals because they can lead to injuries.

Safety Concerns

Perhaps the most important thing about using a pressure washer is the safety. As a power tool, pressure washer has the ability to injure if not handled with care.

Commercial pressure washer companies always recommend wearing protective gear and not using the settings which are above those set by the manufacturer, so make sure you read the manual and adhere to the rules strictly.