A basic question we ask ourselves when we want to acquire a high-pressure cleaner: What is the Right Power for a Pressure Washer?
Indeed, there are several types of high-pressure cleaners, and power is often an essential criterion to differentiate them.
Too little power may not be enough, while too much power may not suit what you want to clean.
Moreover, when we talk about general power, we must not only look at the engine’s power: other factors, such as flow or pressure, also come into play.
Here are some pointers to help you find your way around.
To understand what engine power is, you must first have in mind how a pressure washer works.
First, the water comes into the device via a connection (usually a garden hose).
Then the motor of the device drives a piston pump which compresses the liquid before projecting it.
Thus, a more powerful motor will throw the water at a higher speed.
The power of the motorization can be indicated in amperes (A), but most of the time, it is expressed in watts.
Below 1400 W
This power range can be found in entry-level pressure washers.
These models are to be reserved for the lightest cleaning work.
From 1400 to 1800, W
In this power range, the high-pressure cleaner will be intended for occasional use, for work requiring little power, such as cleaning a small surface (a balcony, for example), garden furniture, or small objects, like a bicycle.
From 1800 to 2100, W
It is the most common category, intended for regular use.
This power range makes it possible to clean your car and your terrace.
Here we reach a level of intensive or professional, even industrial use.
You will need this power in particular to clean tougher exterior surfaces, such as a facade or a roof, for example.
The most high-end models can even go up to 4000 W.
The water pressure provided by the device is inseparable from the engine power.
It is most commonly quoted in bars and sometimes in PSI.
This criterion indicates the force of the jet and its ability to remove dirt.
Under 120 bar
We rarely find high-pressure cleaners that offer pressure below 120 bars.
It must be said; that if the models below this pressure can clean, we cannot speak of “high pressure.”
It is still higher than the pressure provided by a garden hose. Still, a pressure under 120 bars is reserved for the least demanding tasks or cleaning lightly soiled places or objects.
From 120 to 140 bar
This pressure is suitable for occasional use.
It will be suitable for most cleaning tasks and provides an effective result by removing stubborn dirt.
It is the right pressure to clean your car or your garden furniture, or even traces in the tile joints.
Over 140 bar
We will arrive there in the big works.
A pressure of more than 140 bars and a high-power motor is really strong: it is unsuitable for all surfaces.
The maximum pressure can reach 250 bars on the most efficient models.
This criterion indicates how much water is projected during spraying and is expressed in liters per hour.
Here, we are more in the efficiency field in terms of cleanliness.
Indeed, a higher flow rate will better remove stains but also better rinse.
Less than 400 l/h
This flow rate is suitable for small objects or surfaces, such as a motorcycle.
From 400 to 600 l/h
It is a range well suited to most cleanings.
It will therefore be an ideal flow rate for cleaning a car, the roof, the garden path, the terrace, etc.
More than 600 l/h
This flow is to be reserved for work that requires large quantities of water for the result to be effective, such as cleaning a wall, for example.
Power isn’t everything.
Putting all of the above criteria together gives you a good idea of the performance of the device, which is a major criterion when you want to compare different models of pressure washers.
However, work efficiency is not due to power alone.
The products used
Suppose, instead of simply filling your tank with cold water, you use a cleaning product such as detergent or sand (via a sandblasting kit ). In that case, the performance will be much better.
The type of pressure washer
The type of pressure washer plays a significant role in its effectiveness.
For example, a hot water cleaner will tend to clean better than one using cold water.
Don’t neglect the accessories, either.
For example, a rotating nozzle (also called a rotary nozzle) can greatly increase the pressure for the most aggressive jobs.
Conversely, if you use a rotating brush, the jet will only be used to spin the brush bristles; in this case, the power is secondary.
With pressure washers, it’s not always “who can do more can do less”!
Although most models offer adjustable power, the question is whether the loudest and weakest settings suit your needs.
It would still be a shame to end up with an expensive and ultra-powerful device if you can’t adjust its power when you want to use it for less demanding jobs.
Thus, the device’s adaptability is an important criterion to consider: a versatile device, which offers many intensity settings, will be much more useful to you if you want to accomplish a wide variety of tasks.
A good example is the Kärcher Full Control range of pressure washers, which allows the jet to be tailored to different jobs.
The Consequences of High Performance
What is the ideal model of a pressure washer?
It is not necessarily the most efficient, but the one that will best meet your needs.
Indeed, the performance of a pressure washer has an impact on several other characteristics, which must be taken into account when purchasing:
Unsurprisingly, a more efficient pressure washer will often be more expensive.
If you want a powerful model, be prepared to adjust your budget accordingly.
It is noted that thermal pressure washers are often more efficient than electric pressure washers.
So, if you opt for a model of this type, you will need to plan for its fuel supply.
On the other hand, in raw data, the more powerful a pressure washer is, the more energy it will consume.
That said, this last statement is to be moderated because a more efficient pressure washer will get the job done faster… and, in some cases, maybe more profitable!
The comfort of use
Be aware that handling a high-powered pressure washer can be a bit tricky.
It is therefore also necessary to ensure that if you choose a powerful model, it offers good handling for your comfort and safety.
Generally, the more powerful a pressure washer is, the bigger.
If the lack of space concerns you, then it is not only the power but the size/power ratio that you will have to consider.
For example, a device like the Bosch EasyAquatak 1700 pulls out of the game by offering a power that is certainly rather modest but much more compact than other models of equivalent performance.