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Dave Schreib
04-10-2010, 7:44 AM
I am in the market for my first pressure washer. I need one to prep my deck for stain, prep my garage floor for a finish, gently wash the siding on my house and maybe wash the cars.

My preference would be to get an electric one to avoid having to maintain yet another gas engine. Looks like the electric ones max out in the 2000 PSI range.

Do people think that's enough power to do what I want to do? Thanks

Chris Damm
04-10-2010, 8:12 AM
I have an old electric that puts out 1100psi and with the variable nozzle adjusted to a pencil point I can cut wood with it. With the nozzle set to a 6" fan it will clean anything you need to clean. Just be sure to drain it or store inside in the winter.

Bob Lloyd
04-10-2010, 8:34 AM
I have a gas one but I used an electric one to power wash a stucco house prior to painting, worked great.

Mike Archambeau
04-10-2010, 8:34 AM
Dave;

I wrestled with this same decision. If you are only going to use the machine occassionaly, perhaps you should rent one. The electric units are limited in hp because they run on 110 volts. 220 volts would give you more hp, but 220 volts and water is a deadly combination:eek:.

I initially bought an electric unit, but ended up buying a gas unit after wearing out the electric one. My gas unit is from Northern Tool: http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200350617_200350617.
It has a 50 foot hose and a professional wand. This machine really works great. It is very light in weight, so it is easy to move around. I take mine into the basement during winter, so no need to worry about freezing. I highly reccommend this unit.

Btw: bought mine to clean a deck, but also powerwash my house about 4 times every year. The gas unit is robust enough to handle the chore. The Honda engine starts easily and runs quiet. Change the oil and use fresh gas and it will last a long time.

Mitchell Andrus
04-10-2010, 8:40 AM
Btw: bought mine to clean a deck, but also powerwash my house about 4 times every year.

4 times a year? Really? You've got an astounding mold problem in CT or something?
.

Larry Browning
04-10-2010, 9:06 AM
Dave,
One brand to avoid is Karcher. They have a propitiatory pump that is a piece of junk. I made the mistake of getting one of these, and have had nothing but trouble with it. It has a really nice Honda engine, but the pump is horrible. It broke after running for 15 minutes. Every repair shop I took it to said the same thing. "We don't work on Karcher because, they really can't be fixed, you would be better off getting a real pressure washer" I looked into getting a new non-Karcher pump, but could not find one that would mount to the engine. So now I have a really nice Honda engine that does nothing. My experience is that you really need to avoid the ones you will find at Wal-Mart, Home Depot and other large retail stores. I know they have better prices, and they are tempting when they offer prices that are sometimes $200 less than the ones you will find at places like Northern Tool. But, the saying " you get what you pay for" really does apply here. You are going to need to spend a minimum of about $500 to get one that will work and last more that one season.

Plus, I really can't understand how anyone would say those low end electric units worked well. About the only thing those are good for is washing your car. And even than it does a pretty poor job of that. The literature even says they are not suitable to wash a house. I started out with one of those and soon discovered that it would take me a week working 10 hours a day to wash the siding on my house.

I know this is not what you want to hear, but it is the truth. It's higher price only hurts for a few days, but your will not be sorry.
Here is a link to the thread about my problems with my PW http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=112245

Mike Archambeau
04-10-2010, 1:52 PM
:p
4 times a year? Really? You've got an astounding mold problem in CT or something?
.

We live in the middle of old growth forrest. The air is really clean, so the mold, mildew, and moss have the perfect environment to grow. I try to stay on top of it so that all that good wood that the house is made from lasts. The upside is we have 1000 acres of forrest with 30 miles of trails right in our back yard.

btw the mildew even grows on the aluminum gutters and down spouts. White gutters turn black with mildew growth....:mad:

Mitchell Andrus
04-10-2010, 2:09 PM
:p

We live in the middle of old growth forrest. The air is really clean, so the mold, mildew, and moss have the perfect environment to grow. I try to stay on top of it so that all that good wood that the house is made from lasts. The upside is we have 1000 acres of forrest with 30 miles of trails right in our back yard.

btw the mildew even grows on the aluminum gutters and down spouts. White gutters turn black with mildew growth....:mad:

Wow. Perhaps an additive in the water or a clear resistant coating (if not painted surface)....?
.

Kent A Bathurst
04-10-2010, 2:31 PM
Wow. Perhaps an additive in the water...

Like goat urine?

Mitchell Andrus
04-10-2010, 4:12 PM
Like goat urine?

As my grandmother would say.... Couldn't hurt.
.

Matt Meiser
04-10-2010, 4:45 PM
I'd go for gas. Keep Stabil in it and no maintenance. We've got run-of-the-mill Briggs and Straton powered one from Home Depot. I've replaced the hoses and the gun but the pressure washer still looks like new. I've also converted everything over to the quick-connects. When I'm done with it I either put Stabil in it or run it out of gas. It starts easy every time I go to use it. I do the same with our generator and get the same result. In the fall after use I use the pump antifreeze/lube made for that purpose after each use just in case I forget before it gets cold.

My dad has a Karcher electric I found in someone's trash down the street. I figured something was wrong with it but thought I might be able to use the hose for mine so I grabbed it. Turns out I couldn't use the hose but nothing was wrong with it either--but no gun or accessories. Not one week later we were out and someone else had an identical one in the trash with all the accessories so I grabbed it too. They apparently had let it freeze because water poured out the bottom. Its OK, but pretty underpowered compared to mine. Plus the whole ideal of water and electric...

Dave Lehnert
04-10-2010, 5:43 PM
The low cost gas units you get at Lowe's or home depot for less than $400-$500 works well but I found out later that the pumps are only rated for 40 hours of use. Yes, 40 hours. 40 hours is a long time for home use but had I known that I would have purchased a better unit with a CAT pump but they are like $800

Like others have said If you go that route don' fool with a Honda engine because a Briggs will last longer than the pump.

I purchased my TroyBulit from Lowe's 3 years ago and it still works well. I use it about 5 hours a year. Cost me $289

Cary Falk
04-10-2010, 10:09 PM
I have had a Karcher electric since about '03. nI think it is 1100 psi.I have cleaned the house before I painted it, cleaned the deck about once a year, cleaned driveways, washed cars, cleaned a horse trailer, loaned it to my neighbor many a times to do the same. It keeps on ticking. I never have had a problem with it. I have put well over 40 hrs on it. Maybe I got a abnormal one. I more than got my $100 out of it.

Glen Butler
04-10-2010, 10:19 PM
Whether you go with gas or electric there is still storage maintanence that must be performed because they both have a pump. In 6 years I have not done a thing to store my honda/excell 2600PSI from the BORG. It is the pump that has crapped out not the gas engine.

Harry Hagan
04-12-2010, 10:14 PM
Check out your local Costo and see what they have to offer. My experience with electric pressure washers are that theyíre low-quality junk made in china.:mad: Karscher, Snap-On, etc. = junk. They last a few sessions and then break down. After two electric washers I upgraded to a more expensive gas model and have yet to experience any problems.:rolleyes:

I highly recommend Costco for a problem-prone item like a pressure washer because most of their merchandise is guaranteed forever. The only things Iíve ever had to take back to Costco were two junk pressure washers. Return the piece of junk and buy another one. You donít have to hope any problems will surface before the warranty expires or take it to a service centerójust take it back and buy whatever is currently in stock.

Bryan Morgan
04-13-2010, 1:37 AM
I am in the market for my first pressure washer. I need one to prep my deck for stain, prep my garage floor for a finish, gently wash the siding on my house and maybe wash the cars.

My preference would be to get an electric one to avoid having to maintain yet another gas engine. Looks like the electric ones max out in the 2000 PSI range.

Do people think that's enough power to do what I want to do? Thanks


I got one of those electric Husky ones from Home Depot 6 or 8 years ago and use it quite often. Its 1500 psi or so. I think its plenty of power... used it to strip the paint from the eves on the house. At my old house, I accidentally had it on full power and a fine spray and cut a curved line straight through the stucco on the side of the house... Also chopped a line through the screen over the kitchen window. Used it to blast the oil stains out of the garage. Any more power and I think I could be dangerous with that sucker. :)

The only thing with it is you cannot use your normal orange extension cords. You have to use the heavy gauge ones or the motor continuously oscillates.

Jason Roehl
04-13-2010, 8:09 AM
There are two kinds of pressure washers: belt drive, and the kind that don't last. The life on belt drive units is measured in hundreds, if not, thousands of hours plus they are generally repairable. Anything direct drive, be it gas or electric, will likely have a service life measured in tens of hours, though electric units seem to last a little longer due to better balance in the motor. Gas direct-drive machines simply eat pumps due to the vibrations from the gas engine through the drive shaft.

Belt drive units are quite expensive--unless you rent them.

Filters on your pump inlet help, too.

Dave Schreib
04-13-2010, 8:26 AM
I think you guys have convinced me that I should just rent one for the once a year that I will use it. Unless ... HD or Lowes will allow me to return a broken one should it crap out within a year or so. Anybody know what their return policy is for broken tools?

Dont have a Costco around here or else I would try them.

Pat Germain
04-13-2010, 1:02 PM
I think you guys have convinced me that I should just rent one for the once a year that I will use it. Unless ... HD or Lowes will allow me to return a broken one should it crap out within a year or so. Anybody know what their return policy is for broken tools?

Dont have a Costco around here or else I would try them.

As I understand it, the BORG won't allow you to return a power tool for a refund after more than a few days. After the manucturer warranty is up, you can't exchange it.

Renting is a good idea. I do with a lawn edger. I rent a very nice gas-powered edger for $14. I do this a few times a year. It makes no sense to pay hundreds for my own and then have to store it.

It might be worth a drive to your nearest Costco if you really want to buy a pressure washer. I've seen many models there to include the Briggs & Stratton powered machines.