Whether you're cleaning your patio, driveway, car or something else, a pressure washer is a handy tool to have in your garage. With a whole lot more power than your average garden hose, pressure cleaners can help you blast moss, dirt, mud and grime off a variety of surfaces.
The cost of a pressure cleaner ranges from $50 to over $1,000. This guide will help you understand the different types of pressure washers available, their pros and cons, and how to buy the best pressure cleaner to tackle all your cleaning jobs.
Compare some of the best pressure cleaners
What is a pressure cleaner?
A pressure cleaner is a tool that connects to your garden tap and delivers a powerful, high-pressure stream of water through a cleaning nozzle. Also known as pressure washers and water blasters, these cleaners provide a fast and efficient way to clean driveways, patios, tiles, concrete, cars, bikes and more.
Why should I consider a pressure cleaner?
The main advantage of using a pressure cleaner is that if you need to give a dirty, muddy or mouldy area a deep clean, a pressure cleaner is much quicker and easier than a hose, bucket and scrubbing brush.
You can use a pressure washer for a wide range of cleaning jobs, including the following:
- Removing oil stains and dirt from concrete
- Blasting moss and slime from tiles and patios
- Hosing dried mud off your car
- Cleaning outdoor furniture
- Prepping surfaces for painting
Why shouldn't I consider a pressure cleaner?
If you only really need a pressure washer for a one-off job, you might be better off renting one for a day from an equipment hire service like Kennards Hire. Check the daily rates in your area before deciding whether hiring might be a more sensible option.
Also, you don't always need to spend a lot to get the cleaning power you want. If you only want a pressure cleaner for basic jobs, for example blasting mud off your bicycle and getting your outdoor furniture looking new, an entry-level model for less than $200 should have all the power you need.
What types are available?
You have three main options when choosing a pressure cleaner:
Electric pressure cleaners
- As they're generally easier to use and maintain than petrol-powered washers, electric pressure cleaners are usually a good choice for most homeowners. They're affordable, don't require too much maintenance and have enough power to tackle a wide range of cleaning jobs around the home. However, as they plug into your home power points, you'll need to deal with the hassle of lugging around a power cord (and possibly an extension cord as well).
Petrol-powered pressure cleaners
- If you want extra power to tackle bigger cleaning tasks or you simply don't fancy being tethered to an extension cord, a petrol-powered washer may be worth considering. More portable and more durable than electric washers, they're suitable for heavy-duty work and use in remote areas. However, they're noisier and heavier than electric models, need fuel and require more upkeep.
Battery-powered pressure cleaners
- Though less popular than the first two options, there are a few manufacturers that offer battery-powered models. They can be convenient and easy to use, and the battery which powers your pressure cleaner may also be able to run several other garden tools from the same manufacturer. However, battery-powered models often can't offer the same power as other options.
How to compare pressure cleaners
Cost will always be a major consideration when buying a pressure cleaner. You can pick up an entry-level electric-powered model for around $50, but most units sit within the $100-$600 price range. As a general rule, the more money you spend, the more cleaning power you'll get. Petrol-powered pressure cleaners start at $300 and go up to around $2,000 for an industrial-grade model.
There are many additional factors you should take into account when buying a pressure cleaner. Here's what you need to consider:
Which pressure cleaner is best for me?
To decide on the best pressure cleaner for your needs, you'll need to consider exactly how you plan on using it. What type of cleaning will you be doing? Do you want electric, petrol or battery power? How much are you willing to spend? Once you know what sort of cleaner you want, you can then start comparing your options.
To help simplify the shopping process, we've compared the pros and cons of five popular pressure washers in the table below:
|The good||The bad|
|Bosch AQT 45-14 X|
|Briggs & Stratton BWS020|
|Kärcher K4 Premium|
|Gerni Classic 110.5|
Pressure cleaner tips
There are a couple of important things to remember before using a pressure cleaner:
- Stay safe. Pressure cleaners are seriously powerful machines and should always be used with caution. Getting in the way of a misdirected spray, particularly when the nozzle is on the narrowest setting, could do serious damage and lead to a trip to the emergency room.
- Be careful with paintwork. When using a pressure cleaner on your home or car, be very wary of damaging paintwork. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and always err on the side of caution when setting water pressure.
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