Pressure Washing Buying Guide

This Pressure Washing Buying Guide will you through how to select the proper equipment. Over time, hard surfaces such as your vehicle, pool deck, home or patio can become contaminated with pollen, oil, dust, grime, salt, mold and mildew (just to name a few). Selecting the right pressure washer can be difficult, but with the right pressure washer accessories and our experience we will guide you on how to select top performing products from around the world that will raise the bar.   

Helpful Things to Think About

  • Safety First! Always use Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as "PPE" such as safety goggles, ear plugs and steel toed boots. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for operating your pressure washer. 
  • Well water may be incompatible with most washers because of low water flow.
  • Check to see if the pressure washer nozzles and tips match the types of projects you plan to tackle. There are many attachments that are made for specific projects, including rotating nozzles and telescoping wands (lances) for high cleaning.
  • Pressure washers are available in gas or electric power. Check the amps required to power the model you plan to buy and make sure that your outlet can power any spikes upon startup. Look for a pressure washer that has a ground fault interrupter built into the cord. (Note: Some require a 20-amp circuit.)
  • The size of your project should determine which you use.

 Types of Pressure Washers  

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There are two types of pressure washers: Gas or Electric. Sometimes they are also referred to as consumer and professional.

Electric models:

  • ~1,300-1,800 PSI
  • Up to ~1.5 GPM
  • Residential electric grade
  • Ideal for light-duty infrequent jobs
  • Commonly used for car washing, shutter cleaning, spot cleaning, grills, lawn furniture, light mildew/mold removal

Gas engine models:

  • ~2,000-4,000 PSI
  • Up to ~4 GPM
  • Common home uses include deck and pavement cleaning, sidewalks, and siding.
  • Industrial applications may include cleaning concrete, pavement, siding, paint stripping, graffiti removal, stubborn stains, mold and mildew removal

PSI and GPM: What does it mean (to you)?

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 A pressure washer's cleaning power is measured by a PSI (pounds per square inch) and GPM (gallons per minute). 

  • PSI: Pounds per square inch measures the pressure, or cleaning force, of water created through the pressure washer. Use the PSI rating to help you determine how powerful the water stream will be.
  • GPM: Gallons per minute measures the volume of water delivered through the pressure washer. This number will help you determine how fast the pressure washer will clean, and how effectively it will rinse away debris.

Tip: To determine the cleaning power of a pressure washer, multiply the PSI x GPM. The resulting number will help you compare models so you can choose one that will be up to the job. 

Pressure washers use pumps and restriction to amplify water pressure. Pressure washer pumps have two connections. One for a low pressure source e.g. your garden hose (or inlet) and one for the high pressure hose (or outlet).

 

A pressure washer pump is the most important component of your pressure washer.

  • Axial pumps, best used for small jobs around the house, are easy to use and require little maintenance.
  • Triplex pumps, ideal for daily or professional use, need to be maintained but can be repaired to ensure years of quality performance. We carry both engine repair parts as well as pump kits for the worlds most popular brands.

 Spray Guns

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Spray guns (commonly referred to as triggers or handles) come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and capabilities. Despite these various options all spray guns have an inlet (where you connect your water hose) and an outlet (where the water flows out of the spray gun. 

  • Non-Weep Guns: These are the most commonly used spray guns. What's the difference between weep vs. non-weep? Weep guns allow for a small dribble of water to "weep" from the spray gun's orifice. We offer many different styles of non-weep guns including the SG series with EasyHold Technology and the SGS series with a built-in stainless-steel swivel. 
  • Acid Rated Guns: Earned the nickname due to their ability to handle harsh chemicals such as bleach and or acid. They typically feature upgraded seals and a ceramic ball in the seat of a gun. Acid guns may contain stainless steel parts that are "not hardened" SS, thus they can resist strong chemicals. 
  • Inline Guns: Have a horizontal flow style that is ideal for Sewer Cleaning, Trenching, Potholing, and Hydro Excavation applications where the (inline) spray gun is easier to hold perpendicular to the operators hand.  
  • Weep Guns: Typically used in the self-serve car wash industry, Weep guns allow for a small dribble of water to "weep" from the spray gun's orifice. This constant flow of water can help to prevent the water line from freezing in colder weather regions. 
  • Dump Guns: Very similar to a weep gun a dump gun pushes the flow of water to a large orifice at the end of a wand, rather than an orifice on the gun itself (as with a weep gun). The typical dump gun design has one small inner lance for high-pressure inside of a larger lance for low-pressure; you may also see this in a side-by-side lance set up.
  • Front Entry: Consumers grade electric pressure washers typically come with a "front entry spray gun" Front entry spray guns usually feature an M22 male connector to connect your M22 style hose in-front of the trigger and the M22 female threaded connection accepts wands and fittings with M22 Connectors.

 

Degrees of Spray Patterns 

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Spray Tips (commonly referred to as nozzles) come in two types connectivity styles; threaded and in a 1/4" quick connect style stem. While both are interchangeable the quick connect style is by far the most popular due to the speed convenience and control you have the wand’s nozzles and spray pattern(s). Most pressure washers include lances (wands) that use a 1/4" quick connect stem.

Spray tips come in many different sizes and degrees of spray patters. If you are replacing your spray tips please use our Nozzle Size Calculator to find the correct size. Note the length of the stem may vary from manufacturer-to-manufacturer, some maybe longer or shorter. For this reason, it is VERY important to ALWAYS point your spray gun away from the area to be cleaned (and pull the trigger) to make sure that the quick connects are engaged before turning your spray gun onto the surface to be cleaned. 

There are 4 main types (degrees) of spray patterns (0°, 15°, 25°, and 40°). The small the degree, the stronger the spray pattern. Exercise extreme caution when using a 0°, 15° tips as you they are capable of damaging personal property and causing injury. 

 

Hose

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There are 4 main things to consider when it comes to hose (length, material, fittings and diameter).

  • Length: Hose comes in just about any length that you can think of, typically 50’ and 100’ lengths are the most common. It is important to consider what and where you are cleaning. If you have an electric pressure washer and need to stay a power supply a shorter length might be easier to store but may not reach the things you want to clean. Conversely longer lengths get bulky and are stouter.
  • Material: Hose comes in 3 types of material, PVC hose, rubber, and steel braided polyurethane hose.
    • PVC Hose is commonly found in your big box retail stores and is typically included with consumer grade pressure washers. The PVC can be challenging to work with day-to-day because PVC is very stiff and can be frustrating to work with, but is the least expensive of the 3 types.
    • Rubber Hose is more flexible than PVC. As the rubber is constantly sitting in wet environments the rubber tends to leaves marks on brick pavers and concrete. This can be very frustrating if you’re cleaning or prepping your patio or driveway to be sealed.
    • Polyurethane hose is steel braided hose wrapped in bendable casing made of polyurethane. They are flexible, durable, and reduce the risk of marring. The downfall is that they are typically the most expensive but is also our best-selling hose.
  • Fittings: It is important to note what style fittings your hose has. There are two types of fittings M22 and quick connect. Despite there only being two types of fitting there are dozens of ways to connect your hose to things whether it’s your spray gun or pressure washer pump.

M22 fittings are typically installed on PVC hoses and are commonly found in your big box retail stores and installed on consumer grade pressure washers. You can use a Male M22, Female M22, Male QC plug, Female QC plug, and a female 3/8” NPT. Spray guns typically have a female threaded inlet on the spray gun, but there are a few  spray guns on the market that are male. 

  • If your gun has a male threaded M22 inlet, all you need is a hose with two female threaded M22 connectors; install one end into the pump the other into the spray gun.
  • If your gun has a male quick connect plug, you simply buy a hose with a 3/8” female quick connect coupler.

Quick connect fittings are very common due to the ease of use however may differ manufacturer to manufacturer in the length of the stem (specifically the chamfer).

Diameter: Depending on the application you may want or need a specific diameter. 3/8” is the most common type of pressure washing hose on the market. Additionally, 1/8” and ¼” are also available for specific applications such as sewer jetting however you are limited in its applications due to its’ small size limiting flow capacity.  

Foam Cannons

 

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Foam cannons have become a vital tool in the cleaning world. Most commonly seen in the automotive industry foam cannons are using in detailing (cars, trucks, RVs and off-road), marine, aviation, agriculture, concrete & brick cleaning, home cleaning, and restaurant hood cleaning.

The MTM Hydro Foam Cannon is the standard in the foaming industry. Perfect for all skill levels, this tool will save you time and money. Simply attach the foam cannon to your pressure washer using one of the included fittings and you are up and foaming. The PF22.2 offers an all-new standing bottle, adjustable fan blades, and convertible spray patterns (vertical or horizontal), as it throws thick foam onto your vehicles, homes, fences, driveway, roof tops, locker rooms, hog barns, or anything else you want cleaned. The air intake knob on top allows for more or less soap to be drawn through the chamber, increasing or decreasing your foam’s thickness.

Best of all! Our foamers are repairable. Need parts? Give us a call and we can get you replacement parts in no time.