Best Commercial Pressure Washer
When you have really big cleanup jobs staring you down, you do not want to be caught without the right equipment for the job. It is almost impossible to clean serious messes with just a hose and sponge and your own elbow grease. In any case, trying to do so would take hours longer than you have in the day, and by the time you are finished, you will be worn out and filthy from all of the effort.
And if you own a professional landscaping or contracting company, you know all too well that time is money and every minute counts. You do not want to be trying to tackle big jobs like this with employees on the clock and other contracts piling up behind schedule – you will wind up losing money if you do. So what is the solution? Well, it’s really very simple – you need a commercial pressure washer.
The best commercial pressure washers will have the kind of flow rates and pressure that you need to quickly and efficiently blast dirt and grime from walls, vinyl siding, sidewalks, driveways and more. They have the ability to provide hot water sprays of 180 degrees F or more, which will be able to dissolve tough stains quickly. And if you are dealing with stains that are not water soluble, you can add detergent in handy onboard reservoirs and set the levels at which detergent or other chemical solvents are applied to stains.
Prepping work areas for painting and construction, or cleaning up job sites after demolition and other jobs is a lot easier and goes by much more quickly when you have one of the best commercial pressure washers in your arsenal. Instead of paying a crew of multiple laborers to get the job done over the course of an afternoon, you can blast concrete dust, loose paint, and sheetrock and plaster dust away in a matter of minutes.
A commercial pressure washer is a great investment whether you have a small business, big contracting operation, or even if you just want a machine for your own residential use that will be able to handle any job, big or small. These can have plenty of applications around the house as well. But this is a fairly big investment, and you want to make sure that you are getting the best commercial pressure washer for your dollar.
It can be difficult to know exactly what to look for in order to find the best commercial pressure washer, but it does not really have to be. There are a few characteristics that only the very best models are going to be able to lay claim to, and if you apply these characteristics to your search, you should be able to quickly and precisely determine whether or not a particular model deserves to be included in a short list of the best commercial pressure washers. Stick to these characteristics, and you will soon be a complete expert in the field of pressure washers.
1. Best Commercial Pressure Washer Characteristics
1a. Highest Cleaning Power
When you are in the market for the best commercial pressure washer available, there is one simple rule to keep in mind, and that is: go big or go home. When you are searching for a new pressure washer in the kind of high levels of commercial ability, you might as well find one with the highest cleaning power for your price range. If you are content to settle for a commercial pressure washer with a low cleaning power level, you may as well go back to looking at residential pressure washers.
The cleaning power of a commercial pressure washer is a function of two other product specs: the pressure and flow rate of the machine. The pressure is measured in pounds per square inch, and it describes the amount of force the pressure washer’s spray is going to be hitting a surface with. On commercial pressure washers, the pressure starts at about 2500 PSI and can go well above 3000.
The flow rate on commercial pressure washers is measured in gallons per minute. A pressure washer with a flow rate of higher gallons per minute is going to be able to provide a high pressure spray that has a wider diameter. Machines with high PSI and low flow rate can provide high pressure sprays, but they will be pencil-thin and not very effective for washing big areas. You want a commercial pressure washer that can provide a very high PSI, but do so with a diameter that allows for efficient cleaning.
Very heavy-duty commercial pressure washers – the kind mounted on a truck bed or trailer – will have pressures that are much, much higher than 3000 PSI and flow rates above 4 gallons per minute. But these are intended for only the biggest of jobs – clearing railroad engines, grain silos and heavy-duty construction vehicles.
For the typical small business contractor, this level of commercial pressure washer is not necessary and also does not make financial sense. But within the range of pressures available on standalone commercial pressure washers, I recommend finding one with the highest PSI available and flow rates available. The same advice applies if you are looking for the best commercial pressure washer for home use. While you may not always need to use the highest pressure and flow rate settings, it is always better to have a range of options in the event that you have a tough job to do.
1b. The Best Power Source
Commercial pressure washers run off of a variety of power sources, depending on how large or heavy duty they are, and it is important to make sure you are finding the best one for your needs. Since most small contractors and residential applications do not need the kind of commercial pressure washers that run on serious power (such as diesel or hydraulics), we will look at the best commercial pressure washers that run on electricity or regular gasoline. Each one has slightly different advantages, and whether or not a gas or electric model is the best commercial pressure washer for your needs depends on what you will be using it for.
The best commercial pressure washers for use on most job sites are going to be gas powered. Gas powered commercial pressure washers are able to support higher pressures and flow rates as compared to electric commercial pressure washers, which can be very useful when you are using them to strip loose paint from walls or deal with other tough jobs.
And unlike electric models, the best gas powered commercial pressure washers can provide hot water sprays of up to 200 degrees F. There is also the fact that gas powered commercial pressure washers can be used on job sites that do not yet have power hookups; in addition there is virtually no limit to their range, since they are not tethered to an extension cord.
But gas powered commercial pressure washers are not ideal for every job. These machines tend to have fairly high emissions outputs, and if you are using them in an enclosed space they can quickly fill it with harmful, dangerous fumes. This can present a serious safety hazard. Electric commercial pressure washers produce zero emissions at the point of use, so you could practically run one in a broom closet and never have to worry about inhaling any fumes or exhaust.
So as you can see, the best commercial pressure washer for your particular situation could be gas powered or run on electricity. It is important to figure out exactly what kind of situations you will be using it for – for most jobs, gas is definitely going to be the best option. But if you are using it for indoor cleaning jobs – for example, cleaning a commercial kitchen or an auto body shop – you are probably going to be safer opting for an electric model instead.
1c. Optimal Design
By now, you should have narrowed down your short list of the best commercial pressure washers to the ones that have the highest pressures and flow rates and can run on the kind of power source that is best for your needs. But just because a particular model has the kind of high cleaning power that will be able to deal with tough jobs does not make it the best commercial pressure washer out there. It should not only be powerful, it should also be designed in a manner that makes it fairly easy to use and maneuver around the job site.
There is no use having a commercial pressure washer if it is so big and bulky that you have a lot of trouble handling it – especially if you are using it for a contracting or landscaping business, where you will have to be taking it from one job to the next or moving it around your clients’ yards or work sites. The same is true if you are looking for the best commercial pressure washer for use around the home. So at this point, narrow down your short list even further based on how bulky and heavy each commercial pressure washer is.
Next, you are going to have to look at whether the design is such that the commercial pressure washer takes up a lot of room or not. There is no point buying a huge, heavy duty model if there is a perfectly powerful similar model that has a smaller footprint. Whether you are transporting the commercial pressure washer between job sites in your work truck or simply tucking it away in your garage until you need to use it, it is best if it does not take up a lot of room.
The best commercial pressure washers will be designed in a manner that makes them very easy to maneuver and even easier to find adequate storage space for them. Poorly designed pressure washers will not maximize the amount of space they take up, and so they will wind up being much bulkier and heavier than they need to be.
A more compact commercial pressure washer may cost a bit more than one that is not engineered to be as sleek and lightweight, but when you are getting it in and out of your work truck, you will realize that the extra cost is definitely worth it.
1d. Quality Parts
The best commercial pressure washers are designed to be used primarily on job sites. Whether these are demolition or construction jobs, cleanup jobs, or landscaping jobs, they all have one thing in common – they are tough environments that call for tough machines. You do not want to take a tool or machine onto a work site that is not designed to hold up to the rigors of serious labor.
Not only that, but if you are running a successful contracting or landscaping business, you will have a pretty full schedule during the work season, which means your commercial pressure washer is going to be seeing a lot of action. The number of work hours it is being used for are going to pile up fairly quickly. You do not want to have a commercial pressure washer on your hands that is going to break down and need maintenance after only a year or two of use.
So in order to make sure you are definitely getting the best commercial pressure washer you can find in your price range, pay close attention to the materials used to make it. Do not settle for a commercial pressure washer that is not made out of the highest quality parts.
The fittings should all be metal – and preferably brass. Cross off any commercial pressure washers that have low-quality plastic fittings at the points where the hose connects to them: these will almost definitely be leaky, and eventually the threading will be worn down and all but useless.
The rest of the commercial pressure washer should have steel, brass, or aluminum parts for the body, engine housing, and handle. The support cage should be made of powder coated steel. The wheels should be big and sturdy, and they should have pneumatic rubber tires with deep treads for improved traction on wet, slippery surfaces.
The engine on your commercial pressure washer should be made by a quality manufacturer such as Briggs & Stratton, Kawasaki or Honda. It should have high displacement – at least 200 cubic centimeters – and horsepower of at least 3 and preferably 5.
The hose should be made of high pressure woven carbon, or at the very least PVC plastic. These hoses need to be strong enough to handle the kind of high flow rates and PSI that the best commercial pressure washers provide. Make sure the pressure washers on your list have all of the highest quality parts.
1e. Thoughtful Details
At this point, you should have a very short list indeed – one that has only the most powerful, best designed and highest quality machines with the perfect power source for your intended use. Within a given price range, there are only going to be a few commercial pressure washers that can truly be called the best ones. Once you have it narrowed down to these, you can be fairly certain that all of them will be able to stand up to the rigors of tough use at commercial job sites or even around the home.
But how do you figure out which one is really the best? It comes down to the small details. The best commercial pressure washers will have convenient accessories and thoughtful design notes that help make the experience of using them easy, pleasant, and expedient.
The best commercial pressure washers will have an onboard detergent reservoir – and some models even have two. There are plenty of great pressure washers that simply provide an intake hose for siphoning detergent into the machine, and this is fine, but having onboard reservoirs is clearly better. Excellent models also have a dial that you can use to change the flow rate of the detergent to match the difficulty level of the job.
Multiple pressure nozzles are also a big plus. You want as many options as possible on your commercial pressure washer, and you should be able to start at a low pressure level and work your way up to the perfect one for a given job.
There should be a convenient means of winding up the commercial pressure washer’s hose. The best models will have some form of onboard crank that allows you to wind the hose up into the body of the pressure washer.
You should have plenty of indicators as to the fuel level, the temperature of the water, and the flow rate and PSI. Information is extremely valuable when you are on a tough job, and the more you have, the better.
The hose should be long – 20 feet at the very least – to ensure you have a good range of motion around the machine. If it is an electric model, the power cord should be long as well.
If you apply all of these characteristics to your product search, you should have no trouble quickly and easily determining which machines really are the very best commercial pressure washers.
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