DIY- Buying a power washer

  • DIY- Buying a power washer


    You may recall Back in February my first article for The Dollar was on Power Washing (click here to read the original article)

    With the summer months here, I'd like to follow up with some pointers on buying your first (or a new) power washer.


    First rule:

    A bargain is not always a bargain...

    Buying a no name name power washer may save you a few dollars at the time of purchase. But it can cost you a lot more in the long run.

    Cheaper no name power washers have a tenency to break by the fittings or be hard to get parts for should repairs be needed.


    By staying with a brand name, you'll always be able to get replacement parts and have much fewer repairs.


    Gas or Electric?

    Gas power washers have much more power and if used properly, can get the job done much faster. The negative side is that with more pressure t is a lot easier to cause damage when cleaning.


    Electric power washers though less power and more time consuming, are much better for the first time user. You'll still save a lot by doing it yourself and have it as a back up when you upgrade to a gas power washer. It can also save you a lot of money by not damaging your deck, siding, etc when your new to it.


    This is what a pice of deck board looks like when too much pressure is used.



    Personally I like Ryobi, the price is right and their tools are reliable. But Black & Decker, Dewalt and all the name brands put out a good quality power washer in both gas and electric.



    Electric power washers range between 1400 and 1700 PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) on the average. I would recommend not buying an electric one below 1650 PSI. And at 1700 PSI your not going to do much damage if you pay attention.


    Gas power washers range between 2000 to 2800 PSI (on residential units). Even if you don't understand the mathematics of it, you can see the numbers are much greater which means much more power. You could see how that could do damage.



    Most electric power washers have adjustable tips.


    Most gas power washers have changeable tips. 


    The instruction booklet that comes with your power washer will tell you what tip/adjustment to use for each application. 


    With my work, I generally use a 30 degree spray for tough jobs and a 45 degree spray for general power washing.


    The picture below shows about a 30 degree spray.




    When using your new power washer, keep in mind that the key word is "Power".


    At 1400 PSI the water pressure can hurt someone, at 2800 PSI it can cause a trip to an emergency room. So safety is a must.


    Always wear shoes (no sandals or flip flops), long pants, long sleeve shirts and safety glasses when power washing. Never point the wand at anyone even when there is no pressure on it. 



    For recommended materials/supplies, visit my links page below.


    Don’t forget to follow “TDS DIYer” for weekly projects for everyday people.

    For a list of recommended products from this and past articles, click here or visit our links page at


    With over 30 years experience in the home improvement field, Artie Wallace (owner of Rockaways Handyman) can help you with most of your DIY questions. For more information about Artie Wallace or Rockaways Handyman, visit his website at,  like him on Facebook at, or email your questions to


    If you found this article helpful, please take a moment and let me know in the comment area below.




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