Best Gas Pressure Washer

best gas pressure washerA pressure washer is the kind of tool that can make your life a whole lot easier, whether you are looking for something you can use for cleanups on the job site or just around the house. These machines have the kind of high powered water sprays that are able to blast dirt and grime away from a wide number of surfaces in mere minutes, and when you have one of them in your garage or work truck, you will be surprised at how often you wind up turning to it for heavy duty jobs that could take hours otherwise.

While electric pressure washers are great for a variety of different cleanup jobs, a gas pressure washer is going to be able to provide a lot more cleaning power and a great deal of versatility. These machines have what it takes to take care of big, heavy duty cleanup jobs quickly and efficiently.

There are a number of advantages that gas pressure washers have over electric pressure washers. While electric pressure washers certainly deliver high powered water sprays, only gas powered pressure washers are able to routinely boast pressures of over 2500 pounds per square inch along with flow rates in excess of 1.5 gallons per minute. The extra PSI and GPM can make a big difference not only in terms of what kind of tough stains a gas pressure washer can deal with easily but also affect how quickly you will be able to clean off a surface.

Whether you are looking for a pressure washer to use around the home or on a job site, time is always an important concern – the point of buying one of these machines is that they can deal with heavy duty cleanups quickly – and so it is generally better to find a machine that can deal with stains more quickly. Gas pressure washers can produce high pressure sprays with wide diameters that can cover more surface area in the same amount of time that a pressure washer with a lower PSI and flow rate would need to cover a much smaller area.

Gas pressure washers are not just superior in terms of PSI and flow rate, however. Unlike electric pressure washers, many gas powered models are able to provide hot as well as cold water sprays, and can often produce sprays that reach a scalding 180 degrees Fahrenheit or more. This allows you to literally dissolve tough dirt and grime in mere seconds, where a cold water spray would have to remove it with pressure alone, which could take considerably longer.

When you are buying a new gas pressure washer, you want the best model you can find in your price range, and the variety of different styles and sizes can be confusing at first. Which one is best for you? Well, fortunately there are a few basic characteristics that separate the best gas pressure washers from ones that are just average. By looking for these characteristics, you will soon find the best gas pressure washer for you.

1a. Cleaning Power

best gas pressure washer cleaning powerIn any pressure washer, the single most important characteristic is the model’s cleaning power rating. By comparing the different cleaning power ratings on various gas pressure washers, you can quickly and accurately narrow down your list to several of the most powerful and efficient models available in your price range. The cleaning power of a gas pressure washer – or any pressure washer, for that matter – will be the characteristic that has the biggest influence on how well it is able to perform on a variety of cleanup jobs.

But what is the cleaning power rating? It is the product of multiplying a gas pressure washer’s Pounds per Square Inch – or PSI – by its Gallons per Minute – or GPM. PSI is the measure of how much force the gas pressure washer hits a surface with when it is cranked up to its most powerful setting. And GPM, also called the flow rate, is the measure of how much water is flowing through the machine at any given time. While it may seem as though the PSI is the only metric that matters in terms of the cleaning power of a gas pressure washer – after all, a higher PSI means a stronger spray of water – this is in fact not the case.

The flow rate on a gas pressure washer is just as important in terms of its cleaning power rating as the PSI. That is because a pressure washer that has a very high PSI but a rather low flow rate will be able to produce a spray that is very powerful but also very thin. Conversely, a gas pressure washer that has both a high PSI and a high flow rate will be able to produce a spray of water that not only has the same intensity but is also much wider. This allows you to clean a surface area much more quickly, because the spray is hitting more of it at once.

One of the things gas pressure washers are superior at is providing a high cleaning power rating. To calculate it, multiply the PSI by the GPM of each pressure washer you are looking at. I recommend opting for the one with the highest overall cleaning power rather than simply buying the model that has the highest PSI only. That way, you are sure that you are getting the best gas pressure washer overall, not just one with a strong spray.

1b. Under the Hood

best gas pressure washer under hoodWhenever you are looking for a new appliance that runs on gas, the inner workings of the machine are going to be very important considerations as well. In order to make sure you are getting the very best gas pressure washer for your price range, you want to get a model that has a high quality engine that is made by a trusted manufacturer, has an excellent design, and can provide the kind of power and performance over the long term that you will be able to rely on.

This is especially true if you are buying a gas pressure washer to use on landscaping or subcontracting jobs, where it will see a lot more hours of use add up more quickly than they would if you were just using it around the house. But in either case, you want to make sure the gas pressure washer has an engine you can depend on.

If the engine is made in-house by the manufacturer of the gas pressure washer, then that is great: it means that the engine is engineered specifically to run that machine, and it will in all likelihood be well integrated into the pressure washer’s overall design. But if it is made by another manufacturer, you want to make sure that it is one of the more trusted leaders in small engine design and fabrication, such as Briggs & Stratton, Kawasaki, or Honda. There are other outstanding small engine designers than these three: if you see a name you do not recognize, do some research to make sure they have a good track record and reputation.

Gas pressure washers provide a major advantage over electric powered ones, and that is power. So to make sure you are getting the best gas pressure washer, take a look at its engine specs. Make sure that you are getting one with a high displacement – measured in cubic centimeters – and a solid horsepower rating as well. Higher displacement and more HP is a good sign that other aspects of the pressure washer, such as PSI and flow rate, will be up there as well. If you live in a state that enforces California Air Resources Board emissions standards, make sure you are getting a model that is compliant. And if you can, try to find a gas pressure washer that has good fuel efficiency – especially if you plan to use it a lot.

1c. Durable Parts

best gas pressure washer durable partsWhen you are narrowing down your list of the best gas pressure washers, you want to make sure you are getting a machine that not only can provide a lot of cleaning power and has a powerful, well designed engine that can back that up; you also want to make sure it is made from the kind of high quality parts that will stand up to a lot of rough and tough use. This is true whether you are looking for a gas pressure washer for residential use or to take with you to job sites, but it is doubly true in the latter case.

Construction and renovation work sites are busy and potentially dangerous places and you want to be sure that your gas pressure washer will be able to hold up to accidental dings and dents. Even around the house, you are never 100% safe from accidents, so you want to be sure that your gas pressure washer will hold up to tough conditions.

For that reason, you want to avoid any gas pressure washers that have a body made of plastic, regardless of how durable it claims to be. Instead, you want a machine that is made almost entirely of steel. Whether or not it is stamped steel or welded steel does not matter that much, although welded steel is definitely going to be a lot more heavy duty. Steel is able to absorb the shock of accidentally tipping over or getting knocked around much better than plastic can. In addition to a steel body, though, you also want a machine with a roll cage that is made of a durable metal to further protect the gas pressure washer.

The connection fittings on the gas pressure washer should be made of brass, without exception. Plastic fittings are going to eventually develop leaks, and when you are paying the kind of premium prices gas pressure washers demand, you certainly do not want that. The hose on the pressure washer should be made of a durable material as well. PVC plastic is just fine, although it is rather stiff and can be hard to wind up. Carbon hoses are much better – they combine a lot of strength and durability but are also much easier to work with. The wheels on the gas pressure washer should be big and wide for greater traction on wet, slippery floors, and they should have pneumatic rubber tires.

1d. The Small Details

best gas pressure washer small detailsOnce you have the big considerations out of the way – you have found the gas pressure washers with the highest PSI and flow rates, the most powerful and well designed engines and the toughest materials and design – it is time to start looking at the little details. These finer points are going to be what separates good machines from really great ones, and if you are truly looking for the best gas pressure washer, this is where it really starts to count. There are plenty of machines that offer a lot in terms of cleaning power ratings, but there are not so many that have manufacturers who have taken the time to make sure their products are as convenient to use as possible.

Gas pressure washers that provide hot as well as cold water sprays are available, and if you can find one in your price range, I recommend getting this option. A hot water alternative can come in handy more often than you might think – when you are cleaning an area that you do not want to use detergent or chemical solvents on, but still need to get a tough stain out of, a hot water spray can help remove it much more quickly than a cold water spray can.

Speaking of detergent, you should try to find a gas pressure washer that has at least one, and preferably two, onboard reservoirs for soap. There are plenty of models available that have siphoning tubes for drawing detergent directly from its own bottle, but these are inefficient. It is much more convenient to simply fill up the reservoir and get to work. Even better are models that allow you to adjust the flow of soap that is being added to the water spray.

The hose on your gas pressure washer should be at least 20-25 feet long. While gas pressure washers are highly maneuverable, since they are not tethered to a power supply, you still want to have a good range of motion and not have to be moving the machine every few minutes. The spray wand on the hose should have a range of attachments that give you as many options for different PSIs as possible. This allows you to tackle a much greater variety of cleanup jobs, from tough ones that need high PSI to delicate ones, like washing windows, which require a more gentle touch to prevent damage to surfaces.

1e. Bang for Your Buck

best gas pressure washer bang buckNow that you have a fairly short list of gas pressure washers, all of which should have comparable cleaning power ratings, solid, powerful engines, durable parts and convenient accessories, it’s time to figure out how much you are willing to spend. This can be a tricky decision, and it is a very important one, because the amount of money you spend up front on your gas pressure washer will go a long way to making a difference between whether it is going to truly be the best value for your money.

You obviously want to avoid buying a cheap piece of junk that is going to break down and need repairs after only a handful of uses, but you also do not want to spend top dollar on what will turn out to be an overpriced, overrated gas pressure washer that is more or less average. So what should you look for?

Well, for starters you can probably cross anything that looks like a too good to be true bargain off of your list. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Hopefully by searching for gas pressure washers that meet the first four characteristics, you have already eliminated anything that is poorly made and cheap, but you never know – a model may meet those characteristics but still be too good to be true, so as a general rule it is a safe bet to avoid the cheapo models. Of course, there are occasional exceptions to this rule – occasionally a pressure washer could be on sale, so be on the lookout for those as well.

You also want to eliminate any gas pressure washers that seem to be way too expensive, because they probably are. The fact is that there is a limit to how high PSI and flow rate can get on a standalone gas pressure washer, and engines can only get so powerful and materials so durable before pressure washers start getting really similar. As a result, most of the gas pressure washers that are in or slightly above the middle of the price range will be very comparable in terms of power and quality of design as those at the top of the price range are. So if you stick to that range – that is, the middle – you should protect yourself both from getting a lemon and from spending too much on an overpriced model.

Brute Power 20554 11110

Brute Power 20554

Brute Power 20554 has a high quality engine that is driving an axial cam pump that can deliver a cleaning power rating that certainly lives up to this pressure washer’s name. It has a powerful spray along with plenty of options to make sure you are always prepared for any job you might come across […]

Pros: Solid cleaning power rating.

Cons: Only four nozzles.

PowerStroke PS80946 11110.5

PowerStroke PS80946

The PowerStroke PS80946 is almost in a class all by itself – it is really a one of a kind residential pressure washer that blows a lot of the competition right out of the water. The PowerStroke PS80946 has an engine manufactured by one of the top German engineering companies, which means you are going […]

Pros: Very user-friendly.

Cons: Cold water spray only.

Simpson PS3228-S 11110.5

Simpson PS3228-S

The Simpson PS3228-S is nicknamed the “Power Shot” for a very good reason. This pressure washer packs a lot of power into a relatively small space, and as soon as you unload it you can see why. This pressure washer is not the kind of huge, bulky commercial pressure washer that you will have trouble […]

Pros: Powerful Honda engine.

Cons: Cold water spray only.