What exactly is a pressure washer and what do you use it for?
“Pressure washers, also known as power washers or jet washers, are one of the most invaluable garden power tools you can own. They are essentially more powerful versions of a garden hose, normally powered by an electric motor. However, unlike the garden hose, they use considerably less water, helping you reduce your water usage as well as the amount of time you spend on outdoor cleaning tasks. A pressure washer can be used for cleaning anything from cars to bikes and garden furniture to garden tools. They can also be used to keep paving, decking and garden patios in good condition too.” – Christopher Ray, B&Q
Are there different types?
“Yes. Look at the water pressure and the water flow of the potential pressure washers you are considering – these are the two most important factors to consider. The pressure of the water, measured in bar, determines whether you are buying a light, medium or heavy-duty pressure washer – the higher the bar the more powerful the washer.
Light-Duty Pressure Washer: Any model up to 100 bar would be considered light duty, and is suitable for very basic light cleaning jobs, such as soiled paving stones, bicycles, BBQ grills, outdoor furniture such as tables and chairs, and other small jobs that do not require intense pressure to remove dirt or grime build-up.
Medium-Duty Pressure Washer: Any model around 110-130 bar would be considered medium duty, and suits slightly more intensive, longer-usage work such as cleaning your entire driveway, patio, decking or fencing panels.
Heavy-Duty Pressure Washer: Any model that is 130+ bar is considered heavy duty and suited to cleaning pretty much anything around your home that is very grimy. These are the ones to use to tackle intense dirt, such as driveways or your garage floor. Heavy-duty pressure washers are also best used against large vehicles such as vans, lorries or caravans, as well as being handy for cars that have seen all types of weather and are extremely filthy.
Of course, it is worth noting that almost all pressure washers will allow you to choose the level of water pressure you want to use, so even if you do buy a heavy-duty pressure washer, you can choose to have it set at the lowest pressure it allows for.” – Christopher
Any important differences between petrol and electric pressure washers?
“Electric pressure washers are ideal for use around the home and garden and are very easy to use: simply plug it into the mains and you’re set. With petrol pressure washers, you have the freedom of not having to be connected to a mains supply, but have to deal with a heavier and noisier device.” – Clair Albone, Wickes
What accessories do you need to look out for?
“All pressure washers come with a standard spray head, but specialist attachments and accessories will make all the difference to how you clean. Some of the most popular and helpful accessories include:
Wash Brushes: Most suitable for washing bikes and cars, they make light work of wheels, arches, hubcaps and more.
Patio Cleaners: These can reduce mess when washing extremely dirty patios. Patio cleaner attachments concentrate the power and water flow, reducing time taken and mess made when cleaning your patio.
Suction Hoses: This accessory is ideal for reducing your home water usage, as it allows you to draw water from a water butt rather than a tap. Having this accessory to hand means you can continue to use your pressure washer during a hosepipe ban.
Detergents: Water detergents ensure more efficient cleaning, and are invaluable when cleaning substances such as oil and grease from cars, bicycles or driveways.” – Christopher
How do you care for a pressure washer?
“Along with wiping it down after use, I’d suggest that before storing your pressure washer away, always make sure you drain it down and that it is stored in an area that will not be affected by frost. If you can raise the pressure washer off the ground, that is advisable. Be particularly wary of this in winter: if water freezes in the pump, it will expand and the machine can break.” – Clair
Finally, anything to avoid?
“Pressure washers are not designed to clean brickwork or glass due to the likelihood that the water pressure could cause long-lasting damage.” – Christopher