Pressure washers are wonderfully tools that quickly handle tasks that would take hours of backache-inducing work if done by hand. It's amazing what you can clean with a well-directed, pressurized stream of water. Here is what you need to know before you head to the store.
Types of Pressure Washers
Pressure washers come in two basic categories based on how they're powered: electric and gasoline. The electric units are more for home use, such as washing cars, boats and patio furniture, and generally generate 1,000 to 2,000 pounds per square inch (PSI) of pressure, although the high-end models can be quite powerful. They start at about $100 and require virtually no maintenance. Professional cleaners and painters use gas-powered units that generate 2,500 to 5,000 PSI of pressure. They're ideal for big jobs, like scraping loose paint from the house before re-painting. They start at about $300-and can into the thousands-and need to be maintained like other lawn equipment.
Jeff Wilson, a regular host on HGTV and the DIY Network and a consultant for Thompson's Water Seal, is sold on electric models for at-home use. "If you need a gasoline-powered one, you can rent one," he says. "They're dirty, they're messy, they're loud and they're dangerous.