Before your rush out to buy a pressure washer, decide first what you will use it for. Will you use it once a year or will you be using it several hours over the course of a year? The amount of use per year should be the ultimate decision. The GPM (gallons per minute), and PSI (pressure per square inch) will help you to decide the right model.
The lower end model will work for spring-cleaning, but may not do the job when you try to clean the oil and grease off your garage or driveway. The cheaper or residential models will not hold up under long hard hours of work and fail miserably when used for industrial washing.
What would you use the pressure washer for? There are many possibilities around your home that make the pressure washer earn its keep. Things like driveways, patios, walkways, gutters, downspouts, siding, outdoor furniture, dog runs & kennels, garage floors, lawn mowers, garden equipment, trashcans, and even cars. You can probably think of a few more too.
Many of the industrial uses such as preparing a surface for paint, equipment, grease and oil buildups and for those uses it is a cost-effective maintenance solution.
You’ll also have to decide whether you want a gas or electric power washer. Of course if you’ll be using the power washer where no electricity is available, you’ll have to settle for the gas model. The gas model is also well worth the money when you need a portable unit.
Remember though the pressure washers, even the smaller units, pack a punch, and they can be tricky for a novice to learn the procedures. If you’re not careful as you’re stripping the paint off of a building, you’ll punch right through the wood itself. That alone will cost much more than the pressure washer.
If you’re still not convinced that purchasing a pressure washer is the right way to go, you still have options, and one that will pay for itself in the long run. Rent a unit from an equipment rental company. They should be able to tell you the power necessary to get the job done.
The other option would be to hire a general contractor to do the job for you. You won’t have any trouble finding a competent contractor who will be happy to do the work. He makes any job look easy, but it still boils down to experience, and that’s what you will be paying him for.