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Power washer buying tips ? #5340025 02/03/20 01:18 PM
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deanm11 Offline OP
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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.


2012 Subie Impr 2.0 142k M1EP 0w20 7.5k
2002 Tahoe 5.3 171k 5w30 syn 7.5k
Re: Power washer buying tips ? [Re: deanm11] #5340050 02/03/20 02:15 PM
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Cujet Offline
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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

Last edited by Cujet; 02/03/20 02:17 PM.

People who count on their fingers should maintain a discreet silence.
Re: Power washer buying tips ? [Re: deanm11] #5340053 02/03/20 02:23 PM
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RyanY Online Content
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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.


2007 Cadillac CTS 3.6L >128k miles (Castrol Magnatec 5W-30 + ACDelco PF2129G)

2012 Honda Odyssey EX-L >105k miles (STP (Amalie) 0W20 + ACDelco PF2057)
Re: Power washer buying tips ? [Re: deanm11] #5340054 02/03/20 02:24 PM
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Cujet Offline
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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.


Last edited by Cujet; 02/03/20 02:26 PM.

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Re: Power washer buying tips ? [Re: deanm11] #5340056 02/03/20 02:29 PM
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danez_yoda Online Content
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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

Re: Power washer buying tips ? [Re: deanm11] #5340065 02/03/20 02:44 PM
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Donald Online Content
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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.

Last edited by Donald; 02/03/20 02:44 PM.

2015 Ford F-250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
Re: Power washer buying tips ? [Re: deanm11] #5340068 02/03/20 02:54 PM
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I got this one last year as a left-over 2018. The 2019 increased in price $50, and I got 15% off the '18 from my local dealer. It has an axial pump. But for the money I think it is good. Works well. I bought it largely for the unloader valve.

http://www.bearcatproducts.com/Products/PressureWashers/PW3000

If you want a triplex pump you're on the upper end of your price range: http://www.bearcatproducts.com/Products/PressureWashers/PW4000

Re: Power washer buying tips ? [Re: deanm11] #5340070 02/03/20 02:58 PM
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bubbatime Offline
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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.


2019 Honda CRV 1.5T dealer bulk
2017 Chrysler Pacifica SuperTech synthetic 5W20
2013 Yamaha XT250 Valvoline motorcycle 10W40
2006 GMC Sierra SuperTech high mileage 5W30

Re: Power washer buying tips ? [Re: bubbatime] #5340071 02/03/20 03:03 PM
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Donald Online Content
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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.


2015 Ford F-250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
Re: Power washer buying tips ? [Re: deanm11] #5340072 02/03/20 03:08 PM
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bubbatime Offline
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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.


2019 Honda CRV 1.5T dealer bulk
2017 Chrysler Pacifica SuperTech synthetic 5W20
2013 Yamaha XT250 Valvoline motorcycle 10W40
2006 GMC Sierra SuperTech high mileage 5W30

Re: Power washer buying tips ? [Re: deanm11] #5340092 02/03/20 03:39 PM
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dave123 Offline
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Honda GX
CAT pumps
You can shop now.

Re: Power washer buying tips ? [Re: dave123] #5340099 02/03/20 03:45 PM
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deanm11 Offline OP
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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.


2012 Subie Impr 2.0 142k M1EP 0w20 7.5k
2002 Tahoe 5.3 171k 5w30 syn 7.5k
Re: Power washer buying tips ? [Re: deanm11] #5340125 02/03/20 04:26 PM
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krismoriah72 Offline
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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.

Re: Power washer buying tips ? [Re: deanm11] #5340129 02/03/20 04:30 PM
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jackz Offline
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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.

Re: Power washer buying tips ? [Re: deanm11] #5340139 02/03/20 04:47 PM
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N Heat Offline
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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.

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