How To Choose Your Next Pressure Washer
How To Choose a Pressure Washer
- Why should I buy a pressure washer?
- How do they work?
- What are the main differences between each model?
- Which is the best pressure washer to buy?
- What is the difference between a domestic pressure washer and an industrial one?
- What is the difference between a pressure washer and a steam cleaner?
- Is machine flow or machine pressure more important?
- Can I increase the pressure or 'PSI' of my pressure washer
- What is an induction motor?
- What accessories do I need to buy?
- Can I use cleaning chemicals with my pressure washer?
- What does my 'water pressure' need to be?
- Can I take water from a water butt or other supply?
- If I buy a really powerful pressure washer could it damage my car?
- Why should I buy a Karcher model from Express Cleaning Supplies?
- Can I buy these machines cheaper elsewhere?
- What is 'Lifetime technical support'?
- What if I'm not entirely satisfied once I've bought it?
- Do you sell reconditioned pressure washers?
- Do you sell any other specialist machines?
- What should I know before I use my pressure washer
- What if I want more advice or would like to order by phone?
Pressure washers are one of those things that once you've got one you wonder how you ever managed without. High pressure cleaning is an easy and efficient way for cleaning vehicles, boats, garden furniture and equipment, patios, etc. - and there are a wide range of accessories designed for specific uses such as moss removal, drain cleaning, shot-blasting and tank cleaning. As well as for domestic home use, pressure washers are found in almost all industrial and commercial trades. Whoever you are, or whatever you do, there is a cleaning task that can be made easier with a high quality pressure washer.
Pressure washers are connected to a water supply via a normal garden hose. A powerful motor drives a pump which forces the water through a hose and lance assembly at very high pressure. Pressure washers are extremely efficient because they produce much greater pressure than a normal hose and use far less water. In fact, a typical garden hose uses approx 3500 litres of water per hour and produces just 4 bar pressure, and Karcher pressure washers use as little as 400 litres per hour at 100 bar. Not only can you save money but you also help protect the environment by saving our most valuable natural resource - water!
Electric models plug into a normal electric socket but there are petrol and diesel engined machines available where portability and electric supply are an issue.
Karcher produce one of the largest ranges of pressure washers in the world. The key differences between them are motor size together with water flow and pump pressure. Other features to look for are the quality and length of hose, and inclusive accessories such as brushes, nozzles, trolleys and detergents etc.
This is a difficult question to answer because different people have different requirements, however, as with any capital purchase you should buy the best you can afford. The extra money spent on a superior model is soon forgotten while the benefits will be appreciated for years to come. Generally speaking, but bearing in mind portability, the more powerful the machine the better. It is always better to over estimate your requirements than buy a machine that may be overworked. Most higher specification machines have variable pressure which can be easily adjusted for different tasks. If you are buying a machine to make your life easier the extra few pounds can make all the difference.
In terms of cleaning performance, there is often very little between the best of the domestic range and the industrial models. However, better quality components such as brass cylinder heads, stainless steel pistons and heavier duty hoses and trigger assemblies increase the life expectancy of industrial machines and enable longer and more frequent use. As a general rule of thumb, if you plan to use a pressure washer for more than 100 hours per year (i.e. 2 hours a week) you should consider an industrial machine. It is often better to buy a basic industrial model that perhaps doesn't have as many accessories than one which has the accessories but is not designed for many hours of continuous use.
Temperature. Both types of machines work on the same principal but a steam cleaner has a separate, usually diesel fired, burner which heats the water up to 140 degrees C and is more effective on grease and oil removal. At this temperature steam not only increases cleaning performance but sterilises surfaces as well - extremely important for many hygiene dependent applications. For domestic applications cold water machines are perfectly adequate.
Some confusion does exist regarding 'dry' steam cleaners which operate on an entirely different principal and don't have a permanent water feed. More information on 'dry' steam cleaners can be found here.
For the vast majority of customers looking to use a pressure washer for a variety of tasks such as car washing, patio cleaning and general household use neither is significantly more important. Higher pressure creates a better cleaning performance while higher water flow creates a better rinsing action. There is usually a trade off between one or the another and other than for very specific industrial tasks the ratio on standard machines gives an excellent all-round balance. A good general indication of one machines performance against another is the motor size (measured in KW). Another way to compare pressure washers in is to multiply the PSI (pounds per square inch) by the LPM (litres per minute) and you obtain a "work" value. For example, for a pressure washer operating at 1500 PSI and 10 LPM, the work value is 15000 (1500 x 10). At 1300 PSI and 16 LPM the work value is 20800 (1300 x 16).
Flow or LPM affects the time it takes to clean something. The higher the flow, the shorter the length of time it takes to clean - this generally being achieved by having a more powerful (higher rated) motor. Pressure (in PSI) determines the ability of the force of the water needed to break the bond of the material from the surface.
You cant actually change the 'PSI' because this is a measure of power in 'pounds per square inch' or the total force of the water over 1 square inch. However, if you reduce the water to a very fine 'pencil' jet you are then increasing the 'effective' pressure (because you are then using the same power over a smaller area). This is how a 'Dirtblaster' nozzle works - it produces a very fine pencil jet which also rotates at high speed to increase the coverage.
An induction motor is a brush-less motor used in better domestic and industrial pressure washers. It is more reliable than brush type motors and has a longer service life. Normal brush type motors found in other makes of pressure washers aren't as durable and therefore have a shorter life expectancy - all our pressure washers have induction motors.
You don't have to buy any accessories as all Karcher machines are supplied ready to use. There are accessories, however, that make certain tasks faster or easier. A car wash brush for example can help remove the very fine traffic film as well as heavily encrusted areas such as around wheel arches and alloy wheels. The 'Dirtblaster' nozzle is another popular accessory particularly useful for faster cleaning of patios and brickwork. Other accessories are available for drain cleaning and sand blasting but these can all be supplied separately at any time. Many models come with these types of accessories as standard but all can be purchased separately at the time of ordering or at a later date.
Yes. There is a wide range of proprietary chemicals that can be used with Karcher pressure washers to increase cleaning performance. Pressure washers use one of two ways of adding detergent. On basic machines there is usually a detergent bottle which can be attached to the lance which uses the 'venturi' effect to draw detergent from the bottle as the water flows across it. Other models have an integral detergent tank. Caustic traffic film remover can only be used through industrial machines which have brass pumps and are resistant to corrosion. General wash and wax type products can be used with all models. Extremely soiled surfaces can be pre-sprayed and allowed to penetrate before rinsing with pressure washers.
Because pressure washers are so efficient low water pressure is rarely a problem. As a general rule of thumb, if a pressure washer has a flow rate of, say, 500 litres per hour you need to add 10% to work out the minimum flow rate needed (i.e. in this case 550). If you are concerned about low water pressure from your tap check to see if you can fill a 10 litre bucket within a minute (10 litres per minute x 60 = 600 litres an hour). In the unlikely event that you can't, you'll need to consider a lower rated machine or an alternative water supply such as a water butt with a float system. If a machine starts to 'hunt' it is an indication that the water flow is insufficient or there is a blockage in the supply hose.
Yes. Pressure washers 'draw' water through the intake hose as they operate providing the water supply is above ground level. Although some industrial pressure washers can draw water from a depth of 1 metre it is not recommended for long periods of use because of the extra strain on the motor. Care must also be taken to avoid running the machine dry once the supply has run out. Although, the flow rate of a machine may be 500 litres an hour for example, the machine is not usually in continuous use and will often only consume half this volume. Care must always be taken when using an alternative water supply to avoid contaminants entering the pump. There are a number of filters options available to avoid this.
No - providing you use common sense! Although older cars with flaking paintwork could be at risk if you used the lance at very close proximity, normal pressure washers don't have such a concentrated jet that they can easily cause damage.
Karcher are the largest manufacturer of pressure washers in the world. Quality German engineering and a proven track record in design and practicality in use make them the obvious choice. As authorised UK distributors we specialize in supplying cleaning equipment - and that's all we do! Established in 1991 we have a customer support team with over 50 years experience of supplying this type of equipment to both domestic and corporate customers worldwide. Although there are many suppliers of pressure washers there are very few that have anything more than a general knowledge of them. High Street electrical retailers for example, sell all manner of electrical appliances and generally have a good basic understanding of all the equipment they sell but lack the experience of hands-on use and in-depth knowledge of individual models. As one of Karcher's top 10 national dealers we offer good machines, good prices and good service.
No, we don't believe you can! We check dozens of competitors prices regularly to ensure you get the very best value for money from Express Cleaning Supplies. However, in the unlikely event of you buying a pressure washer from us and finding the same model cheaper anywhere else within 7 days, we'll refund the difference.
We are fortunate to have established ourselves as a leading UK supplier and can negotiate keen prices from our suppliers. Large volume sales means we can pass on savings to our customers and give good customer support. Unlike many of our competitors we supply the vast majority of our range from our own stock holding rather than having them supplied to you by the manufacturer. This means we can control the cost and reliability of our delivery service and pass the benefits on. We are also authorised service agents for Karcher equipment with our own on-site service department and have the the widest range of domestic and commercial machines in stock in the UK.
Even pressure washers don't last forever but we aim to help you keep your machine in peak performance for many years to come. By doing this we hope you will recommend us to friends family and colleagues and we can continue to grow our business through satisfied customers. Our customers are the lifeblood of our business and we take a long term view of the benefits of taking care them by supporting them long after their warranty has run out. At any point during the life of your machine you can rely on technical backup and support.
We've chosen to supply genuine Karcher pressure washers because of their proven reliability and track record within the market. However, there is a national network of service dealers and Karcher spares are readily available. Domestic machines can be returned to ourselves or any other Authorised repair centre and we offer an on-site service for industrial models. All machines are covered by a 12 month warranty and free telephone support is offered at all times.
We don't believe any other distributor or retailer offers this level of support.
Express Cleaning Supplies offer a unique 7-day money back guarantee on all domestic pressure washers. If you are not entirely satisfied with a pressure washer supplied by us you can return the machine in it's original packaging for a full refund.
Yes. We often have a range of reconditioned and/or ex-display machines which represent generous savings on new prices. These machines have been displayed in our showroom or have been returned for one of several reasons - some may have been returned due to minor faults, which have now been fixed, or were unwanted gifts that haven't even been used. All of them have been tested and inspected and are in good condition with 3 months warranty. Some models are limited special offers that may also include accessories not listed but, to avoid disappointment, you need to assume that they only include the basic machine with hose and lance unless otherwise stated.As with all our domestic equipment, we also offer a 7-day money back guarantee on our reconditioned pressure washers.
Yes we have access to a very wide range of specialist equipment including self-contained trailer mounted systems, static and zone 10 units for explosive risks. Please contact us for more information.
Always read the manual before use
- Before use, always check the inlet filter for dirt or debris. Connect the water supply hose and, without the lance attached, squeeze the trigger to run water through your pressure washer before connecting the power.
- Unless drawing water from an open water source such as a water butt, always have a minimum of 25 feet (minimum half inch diameter) of uncoiled rigid hose between the water tap and your machine. Only use a one-way valve at the tap end of your water supply hose to reduce the pressure on the pump when the unit 'auto-stops'. Do not use 'layflat' hose which can collapse in use and restrict the water supply.
- After switching off your machine squeeze the trigger to release residual pressure.
- When storing your machine PROTECT FROM FROST and ensure that the hose is coiled without kinks.
- If using an electrical extension lead, it must be rated at a minimum of 13 amps. The longer the extension lead, the thicker the cable needs to be so ensure that your extension lead will be adequate for the job. If you are in any doubt seek advice from a qualified electrician. Always uncoil an extension lead used with your pressure washer.
- Use only chemicals recommended by Express Cleaning Supplies through your machine. Use of aggressive or corrosive chemicals may invalidate the warranty.
- After using chemicals, always run fresh water through your machine.
No problem. Our experienced customer care team is available to answer queries or accept telephone orders on Freephone 0800 9154154 between 9.00am - 5.30pm Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays) Furthermore, you can call in to our showroom at Unit Capital Cleaning Supplies (Kent) Ltd, Paragon House, St Michaels Close, Aylesford, Kent. ME20 7BU.