Power washer buying tips ?

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332
Location
Northern NJ
Thread starter
Does anyone have experience or buying tips on a home-grade unit putting out at least 2800psi? My main application is cleaning my paver driveway and secondarily my stucco sided house. I was attracted to the Honda powered Simpson units but the Amazon review comments have be sufficiently unsatisfied that would be a sound way to go. I'm thinking of Generac. Budget in the wide range of $300-$700. I prefer an American made or at least American branded engine.
 
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9,912
Location
Jupiter, Florida
Pressure washers are one of those subjects where you get what you pay for. There are no units that are cheap, powerful, long-lasting and reliable. It's also a subject where more power is always better. The difference in time can be remarkable between a larger unit and a homeowner grade unit. My cheap unit took 8 hours to clean my fence. My 4000PSI unit can do it in an hour and a half. With that in mind, Axial pumps tend not to last long, and can be finicky when they have a little time on them. (the kind with the valves on the end) A "Cat" brand triplex pump is probably the first thing you should look for when considering a pressure washer. (blue color pump body) Here is a very good quality unit that would be about the minimum size to do the job you want and hold up for years: https://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200594737_200594737
 
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Messages
661
Location
South Carolina
As Cujet said, you get what you pay for. My advice is to get the best brand you want to pay for, and get at least one step higher pressure/volume than you think you will need. Also you mentioned American engine...I personally prefer Honda due to efficiency and sound level, but I respect others' opinions on other brands.
 
Messages
9,912
Location
Jupiter, Florida
I also wanted to add that the pressure rating won't reflect what a pressure gauge says while in use. The pressure rating is always a "maximum" pressure. The 3000 PSI rating is likely to be 2200 "operating pressure" or so in real world use on a homeowner grade unit, and about 2500-2600 PSI on a commercial grade unit. Of course, that depends on nozzle size and so on. As with all things "small engine", strongly consider displacement of the engine and pump quality (homeowner/professional) to assess cleaning power.
 
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Messages
1,334
Location
texas
i have a simpson unit i got from lowes for about $400. United airlines had a deal with their creditcard (chase) where you get $250 off you first purchase, there was a loophole the the first purchase does not need to be a airline ticket. i used mine to get the pressure washer for $150. smile. it came with the surface cleaner. i've done my driveway and back patio. twice and it was a piece of cake. really efficienct compared to the cheap $99one i had, the only complaint is the gas tank is small and runs out quick. might be a way to allow the unit to cool itself after a long use. Ill go with that thought and let it cool when it runs out of gas before refilling. still goes a long way but not long enough to do the whole driveway. Im satisfied
 
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24,807
Location
Upstate NY
I am not sure you need a super lot of PSI. You can probably damage stucco with too much PSI. For the pavers I would get one of the round cleaner heads that rolls on top of the pavers or driveway that is attached to the hose to clean vs using the wand. Borrow one and see how much you like its power. Renting is an option. For the stucco I would use a chemical to help loosen the dirt. Not just pressure. Avoid any vertical shaft pressure washer.
 
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2,033
Location
Wisconsin
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6,639
Location
South Florida
Harbour Freight and Northern tool sell a 212cc unit for a little more than $300. These are the best units in their price range. The cheaper units that have Honda GC190 engines are GARBAGE. You think your getting quality with the Honda engine. What you are getting is a plastic camshaft that grenades at 50 hours when used on a demanding pressure washer . I had at least 20 of these in my junk pile at my small engine shop. AVOID any pressure washer with a Honda GC engine! These engines are fine on mowers, not in pressure washers. Your best bet will ALWAYS be a Honda GX200 engine. The clones, that usually have 196cc to 212cc are very good engines and last a long time. On the $300-$400 units, they come with a Chinese made axial pump that will last a really long time and give you decent service. Just change the oil on them every year or two. I actually don't recommend spending big bucks on the CAT pump unless you make money commercially using your equipment. If you are a homeowner the Chinese pumps will last 5 to 10 years just fine. And if (when) it dies in ten years, you can chuck the pump in the trash and replace it with another $100 pump and get another ten years out of your pressure washer. Or even a $250 CAT pump if you want to splurge. It's only 4 bolts to swap pumps and you can do it in 3 minutes if your old pump dies and your engine is still in good condition. American engine? No. Honda or Honda clone. Always! Period. The Honda GX is the best engine in the world. Plus you can get any part for it super cheap to fix. Need a carburetor? $10. Need a coil? $10. Parts are cheap, they are easy to maintain, ultra durable. Never buy a vertical shaft engine. The pumps are not durable. And as a home owner I don't recommend the 4000 PSI units that have a big 9-13hp engine. They are overkill for most homeowners and drink 200% more fuel than a GX200.
 
Messages
24,807
Location
Upstate NY
Originally Posted by bubbatime
Harbour Freight and Northern tool sell a 212cc unit for a little more than $300. These are the best units in their price range. The cheaper units that have Honda GC190 engines are GARBAGE. You think your getting quality with the Honda engine. What you are getting is a plastic camshaft that grenades at 50 hours when used on a demanding pressure washer . I had at least 20 of these in my junk pile at my small engine shop. AVOID anything with a Honda GC engine! Your best bet will ALWAYS be a Honda GC200 engine. The clones, that usually have 196cc to 212cc are very good engines and last a long time. On the $300-$400 units, they come with a Chinese made axial pump that will last a really long time and give you decent service. Just change the oil on them every year or two. I actually don't recommend spending big bucks on the CAT pump unless you make money commercially using your equipment. If you are a homeowner the Chinese pumps will last 5 to 10 years just fine. And if (when) it dies in ten years, you can chuck the pump in the trash and replace it with another $100 pump and get another ten years out of your pressure washer. Or even a $250 CAT pump if you want to splurge. American engine? No. Honda or Honda clone. Always! Period. The Honda GX is the best engine in the world. Plus you can get any part for it super cheap to fix. Need a carburetor? $10. Need a coil? $10. Parts are cheap, they are easy to maintain, ultra durable. Never buy a vertical shaft engine. The pumps are not durable. And as a home owner I don't recommend the 4000 PSI units that have a big 9-13hp engine. They are overkill for most homeowners and drink 200% more fuel than a GX200.
You say avoid any Honda GC engine. Then go on to say your best bet will be a Honda GC200.
 
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6,639
Location
South Florida
Spelling check got me. I fixed it to say GX200 engine. And the GC engines are fine on lawn mowers and last a long time on them. On pressure washers they grenade.
 
Messages
332
Location
Northern NJ
Thread starter
Originally Posted by dave123
Honda GX CAT pumps You can shop now.
Sounds like a consensus. Thank you all for the input. Sounds like a great idea on the round rolling head for the pavers... I was dreading holding a wand in the open air for many hours. I had at one point thought about the hot water types.. but I think that really pushes the price envelope too far. Thanks again to all for the input.
 
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2,526
Location
wv
I went a different route. Better Chemicals and Electric 2000psi Ryobi. If i was going to do it for a living i would probably go the gas powered route but my electric does all that i ask of it with ZEP chemicals.
 
Messages
60
Location
Cape Coral Fl.
Remember a garden hose only lets a small amount of water to the pump. The larger units have to use a holding tank for more gallons per minute. The Home depot units have problems with the pressure pumps lasting due to lack of use. A unit with a oil holding pump will last a long time.Also prior to pressure cleaning the proper chemicals applied to the cleaning area is very important to get better results. jz.
 
Messages
218
Location
VA
I havent read all responses but Ive had a power washing business for 18 years. Ill try to answer any questions yall have. If speed is of no consequence to you, you can get by with a homeowner machine. Keep in mind, you will be only rinsing with your machine. Ive never really seen a homeowner machine capable of properly applying chems unless you have an xjet. My choices are Honda engines and General pumps. Cats are good obviously, but Ive never seen the payoff in the higher price.
 
Messages
6,037
Location
Florida
Originally Posted by jackz
Remember a garden hose only lets a small amount of water to the pump. The larger units have to use a holding tank for more gallons per minute. The Home depot units have problems with the pressure pumps lasting due to lack of use. A unit with a oil holding pump will last a long time.Also prior to pressure cleaning the proper chemicals applied to the cleaning area is very important to get better results. jz.
A properly functioning garden hose connection with good pressure has plenty of water for homeowner level pressure washers. My commercial belt drive is around 5 gallons a minute and also does fine.
 
Messages
794
Location
NJ
I have 4 5hp, 1 8hp, 1 12hp. Never get a 5hp, impressive? Yes, until you get an 8hp. I like the 8, the 12 is huge, the pump is huge, however I love the speed of the 12. Get Honda GX or Chinese, never American; never a vertical pump, always a horizontal, preferably with belts; emphasize gpm more than psi.
 
Messages
112
Location
KansasCity
I have two. A 7.5HP Honda GX with a CAT triplex pump, I think it's around 2800PSI and 3 GPM. It my car/truck/boat washing rig. It's big, heavy, noisy and takes up a lot of room in the garage. It was $800.00 ten years ago. I also have a cheap electric one I bought at Lowes a couple of years ago. It's around 1700 PSI and cost about $100.00. I bought it to wash things that the gas powered washer will damage due to too much pressure (wood siding and decks for example). This is now my go to machine. It is so convenient and will wash just about everything I want to clean. It even does a pretty good job on cars. And I can use it indoors... basement floors and walls for example. I have put hours and hours of continuous use on this machine and it still works like new. If I had purchased this first, I probably would never have bought the gas one. Oh, and my wife can use it too.
 
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14,974
Location
NE,Ohio
I had a troy bilt with axial cam pump and honda GC lasted 13 years and I sold it running but it was slowly falling apart.. starter rope/mechanism broke, unloader would stick cold.. etc. sold it for $80 and got another 225$ clearance model.. expect another 10 years of service
 
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Messages
24,807
Location
Upstate NY
Hot water is more for greasy dirt on heavy machinery. You are at $2500 to start for a hot water pressure washer. Buy an electric at Home Depot. You can bring it back within 90 (??) days I think. You can say you are not satisfied, not enough pressure. Check on return policy.
 
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