Apex Unlimited.com: Blog Posts
Deciding which pressure washer to buy can mean the difference between confidently tackling the work you need to do and being frustrated by not having the right machine for your job. But there are many variables such as PSI vs. GPM vs. CU, Electric vs. Gas, that can complicate your decision. How do you decide? Match your needs to the equipment, which will keep your projects running smooth, and keep your overhead costs low. By following these simple guidelines, you can have a much clearer idea of which pressure washer you need.
What will you be using your pressure washer for?
If you are using a pressure washer for residential use, a machine rated at 1300-2200 PSI can be used for light, occasional chores such as cleaning a small area, lawn equipment, cars, trucks, mud or dirt. Models rated at 2200-3000 PSI are designed for more frequent users and for larger jobs such as cleaning vinyl and wood siding easier, whether the surface is being prepared for painting or to remove dirt and grime. Units rated at PSI 2200-4000 are for professional use on heavy-duty projects.
Should I buy an Electric or a Gas model?
Pressure washers are either electric or gasoline powered. Electric pressure washers are low maintenance and quiet. These generally are for light duty. They are handy where you need to work on small confined area, however you need to run power to them and have a pressurized water source. Also the National Electrical Code and Underwriters Laboratories now require ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) be use when operating an electric pressure washer. Another advantage to electric is if you use your pressure washer only occasionally ( every few months), you don’t have to worry about stale gas (like in lawnmowers after sitting all winter). You simply plug it in and turn it on.
Gas models are recommended for tasks that require more power, such as paint prep, heavy vehicle cleaning, or cleaning heavily soiled concrete. Gas models start with PSI of 1750 and go as high as 4000. They also offer more portability, as they are not limited by electric cords. Also some gas models can draw water from a source other than the garden hose, which allows you to work away from a water line. All gas models have 4-cycle engines and run on regular unleaded gas.
What is PSI, GPM AND CU?
When you are shopping for a pressure washer, one way to compare units is by the cleaning power of the water. PSI (pounds per square inch) refers to the amount of cleaning pressure the unit is capable of developing. GPM (gallons per minute) refers to the actual flow of water through the unit or rate a which the unit sprays water. Some manufacturers have started to use CU (cleaning units) which is simply PSI X GPM. The real challenge is to match these to your applications. Knowing what these three variables stand for will help you to answer your next question:
How fast do you need to clean?
While its true that higher pressure (PSI) helps you to clean faster, this isn’t the only factor. The other more important part of cleaning quickly is the volume of water or Gallons per Minute (GPM) the pressure washer puts out. Let’s take an example: Say you have one pressure washer that cleans at 3.5 GPM and 4000 PSI and one that cleans at 4.0 GPM and 3500 PSI. The one with the higher pressure cleans faster, right? Nope, they actually clean about the same. How do we know? To see the true speed of cleaning you simply multiply the Gallons per minute (GPM) and the Pound Per Square Inch (PSI) and you get the total cleaning units (CU) cleaned by the particular pressure washer. So, back to our example: 3.5 GPM X 4000 PSI= 14,000 CU and 4.0GPM X 3500 PSI=14,000 CU.
Is there really any difference between a store bought pressure washer and one of yours?
By visiting a quality website, it will often educate you in what you are buying- and its no different with pressure washers. Even the homeowner will benefit by knowing why a certain pump, engine or other component is a high-quality item.
It would be a tremendous understatement to say that all pressure washers are not created equally. There is a vast difference between a high-quality pressure washer and a store bought one- it all comes down to the quality of the components such as the pump, hoses engine, relief valves and other parts. A pressure washer with very high quality components will both outperform and outlast a cheaper discount priced model many times over in the end actually saving you money.
That’s why Apex Unlimited, LLC sells pressure washer’s with super high quality pumps like Cat, General, Comet, and AR North America, and engines like Honda and Vanguard. These are the same brand-name components that professional contractors use in their pressure washers. In fact, they are all members of the cleaning equipment trade association (CETA), the pressure washing industry’s official trade association. Click on this link to see a that the makers of our components are proud members of this organization: CETA members list. Or click on our Manufacturer’s links to see just how high quality these components are. Frankly, you will not usually find these high quality parts on store-bought pressure washers.
Congratulations! You’ve just learned the basics of selecting a pressure washer.