Choosing a Pressure Washer: How to Compare Models 

Choosing a pressure washer that's perfect for YOU can be a challenge. There are dozens of manufacturers making hundreds of pressure washer models suited for the DIY'er/homeowner market. So how do you compare models in order to make the right choice? 

Follow this quick and invaluable 5-point checklist which will help you choose your PERFECT pressure washer from among all the others:

#1 - CHOOSE YOUR POWER SUPPLY: Electric or Gas-Powered Engine? 

The pressure washers best suited for homeowners are powered by either an Electric or Gas Powered engine.

ELECTRIC pressure washers are generally lightweight and very inexpensive & well-suited for small cleaning jobs like washing a car, etc.

GAS-POWERED pressure washers are many times more powerful than electric models, don't require an electrical outlet, are more durable and they take less effort & time to clean projects.

But they are noisier, and because of their fumes, gas-powered pressure washers must be used outdoors.

For more technical information about making the choice between electric or gas-powered engines, click on the pressure washer engine page. 


#2 - CHOOSE A WATER SUPPLY: Hot or Cold? 

Pressure washers that use a HOT WATER supply are truly great for extremely heavy-duty industrial or farm applications. 

Pressure washers that use a COLD WATER supply - which is a garden hose & outdoor faucet - offer excellent cleaning power for the homeowner, are easy to move, use and are economically priced. 

For the average homeowner/DIY'er, choosing a cold water supply is a no-brainer.


Take a moment to think about what engine you'd want to power your pressure washer.

I recommend that you choose a pressure washer with a brand name engine! There are a few major pressure washer engine brands available. My best advice is to NOT to choose a pressure washer with a no-name engine. Or an engine that says it's built "just like a Honda"!

In my experience, you're just asking for problems with performance, warranty coverage and repair/replacement part problems by going with a pressure washer using a no-name engine.


Remember, the quality of the pump is just as important as the quality of your engine. The pump puts the pressure into the water, which gives you most of your cleaning force and power.

The best type of pump for a homeowners pressure washer is an axial-cam pump. Some brands of quality axial cam pump brands include: Comet, CAT, General, AR and Briggs and Stratton.  


Ok, you've chosen your power supply, a hot or cold water source, your engine brand and your axial pump brand. Now what?

Now you can begin comparing pressure washer models using the three basic pressure washer ratings:


PSI or Pounds Per Square Inch is the force that the washer is able to produce. I recommend choosing a pressure washer with a minimum of 2,250 PSI.


GPM or Gallons per Minute is the rate of the water flow.


CPU or Cleaning Power Units is calculated by multiplying the PSI by GPM and it defines a pressure washer's total cleaning power. The higher the CPU rating, the better.

That's it! Good luck with your pressure washer hunting!



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