Pressure Washer Buying Guide for Cars: All you need to know

Car pressure washer buyers guide

There is a lot to consider when shopping around for the perfect pressure washer for your car. It can often be overwhelming, especially getting accustomed to new terminology and understanding what makes a good pressure washer.

Never fear though, as we will lay out all the information you need to make your purchase with confidence.

There are several distinguishing things that pressure washers have. For example, different types of nozzles can be used on specific surfaces.

You will also need to consider whether or not you need an electric pressure washer or gas-powered pressure washer before making any purchases so that there are no surprises later on down the road.

Pressure washers contain an engine which powers a water pump and a pressure regulator.

The water pump does what the name suggests and literally pumps water towards the nozzle. The pressure regulator is used to control the amount of pressure that reaches the pressure nozzle.

There are a variety of nozzles available that allow the pressure to be customized for different tasks. Some pressure washers come with a set of nozzle types while others will require you to purchase some separately.

Pressure washers work by using water to remove dirt and debris from a surface. The pressure of the washer will affect how aggressively (or not) the dirt is cleaned off. A high-pressure jet is able to cut through mud, or grime from your car easier than lower pressure.

A low-pressure nozzle will not be as good at removing dirt from all of the paint due to the lack of power behind it.

The highest-pressure nozzles are very powerful and can handle pretty much anything you aim to clean. These tend to require some form of external power to operate effectively, e.g. electricity or gas.

It’s important to be aware that anything stringer than a medium strength nozzle will risk causing damage to you ain’t work and bodywork. 

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Factors to consider when buying a pressure washer

There are some key factors people should consider when buying a pressure washer:

Pressure washer yellow nozzle

Gas Vs Electric Pressure Washers

Pressure washers are available gas or electric

Gas-Powered Pressure Washer

Gas-powered pressure washers are a great option for people who want the power than an electric pressure and are cordless.

A downside of these types of pressure washers is that they tend to be noticeably larger than the electric equivalent, although they may also come with a trolley-like system to help you move this around easier. This is something to look out for if you intend on getting one of these.

The extra power provided by the gas-powered pressure washers means that more PSI and GPM will be provided. This will help you to cover more surface area and clean the car more effectively and in less time.

Gas-powered pressure washers may also have more advanced features such as turbo nozzles, adjustable angle lances, retractable hoses, quick release couplings, and adjustable handles making them quite versatile.

The downsides of gas-powered pressure washers are that they usually cost more to buy than electric models, are louder, and require more maintenance and servicing long-term.

However, they are more heavy-duty making them able to handle very challenging tasks, and a lack of power will not be an issue with these.



Electric Pressure Washers

Electric pressure washers are great for those who need a smaller, quieter machine or want something less expensive but still effective.

They require much less long-term maintenance than gas-powered pressure washers and can be used indoors due to the absence of exhaust fumes.

They are also less powerful than gas pressure washers which means that they will take longer to complete tasks due to the reduced PSI and GPM which equates to less water being generated per minute.

Electric Pressure Washer

However, they are usually much cheaper and are lighter making them easier to move around freely. Also, the reduced need to regularly service electric pressure washers is also attractive for those who prefer not to deal with this.



Pressure Washer Nozzle Types

Pressure washer nozzles are an extremely important part of the apparatus. They dictate the spraying angle and the intensity of the jet. This is important because using the wrong nozzle could cause damage to the surface if it’s a powerful nozzle type.

They are usually supplied in a color-coded system. This is a standard method used by manufacturers to identify the type and power of the nozzle.

The color-coding system works as follows:

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Alternatively, pressure washers may come with an all-in-one nozzle that allows you to change the nozzle type without replacing the actual nozzle.

Advantages of pressure washers

The advantages of pressure washers are as follows:

Disadvantages of pressure washers

The disadvantages of pressure washers are:

What pSI pressure washer do I need to wash car?

For a car wash, you’re going to want somewhere between 1200-2000psi.

Keep in mind that the less pressure produced, the slower dirt will come off. But this is all relative and it also depends on how dirty your car.

Is 2000 psi safe for washing a vehicle?

2000 psi is more than enough pressure to wash your car and is considered on the border of safe. Indeed any more than this could be dangerous to car paint. 

It’s still a good practice to test the pressure of the nozzle and keep an eye on it as you’re washing. Anything more than 2000psi could lead to the removal of things like wax coating and sealant.

Pressure washer black nozzle

To mitigate this risk the high pressure can be managed by using wider angle nozzles types. 

These nozzle types will act to spread out the pressure of the spray stream and thus reduce the chances of damaging our paintwork.

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