When it comes to purchasing a used power washer, some of the considerations that you make when purchasing a new unit, applies to an older or second-hand model. For instance, the type of size of the unit depends on the job you have for it, however, if you can get a good price for the model, then it may pay to buy a bigger model for a smaller job.
CHOOSE FROM GAS PRESSURE OR ELECTRIC PRESSURE MODELS
Gas Pressure Washers. The gas pressure washers are more mobile in that you do not have to drag an electric cord behind you as you work around the job. In addition, the gas models tend to be stronger and of higher power than the electric models. On the downside, gas pressure washers tend to make a lot of noise, can be quite smelly as the exhaust gasoline fumes, and any equipment that is gas powered requires maintenance. In buying a used or second hand gas pressure washer, they can be somewhat of a pain in the neck to start if you do not keep on top of maintenance.
Electric Pressure Washers. The electric pressure washer tend to fill the bill for smaller jobs and jobs that do not require the power commitments of a gas-driven unit. These units are available in from hand-held units to larger cart-style pressure washers. Even the smaller units can pack a wallop and are not like some other pieces of electric equipment that seem to range from nothing but toys to serious equipment. We are thinking right now about some of the $20-and-change leaf blowers available at home centers and some of the string trimmer units on the market that are okay as long as they don’t have to tangle with more than a few blades of grass. As for pros and cons: on the pros side, the units are lightweight, not all that noisy, start instantly (even if they have been ignored in someone’s garage for a long time), are low maintenance and do not stink up the place with exhaust fumes. On the con side: they offer less power than the gas units and you need to be connected to an electrical outlet.
Power Washer Power. A group called PWMA or the Power Washers Manufacturers Association sets the performance standards for the power washer industry and units can range up to 3,000 pounds per square inch (psi) of water pressure or more. What does water pressure mean? These units push a lot of high pressure water out of a nozzle and if this spray were to hit your hand, face or legs, you can be severely hurt. Your garden water hose has about 50 psi, these power washers have 3000 psi or more.
- Light-duty power washers: The PWMA considers units with up to 1,900 psi, which kick out 1.2 to 1.9 gallons per minute (gpm) of water to be light duty equipment. These are excellent for patio furniture, grills, car washing, boat washing, windows and fencing.
- Medium-duty power washers: These are units that begin at 1,900 psi and go up to 3,000 and kick out about 1.9 to 2.6 gpm. These units are great for patio furniture, grills, cars,boats,windows, fencing,decks paint prep, driveways and sidewalks and siding.
- Heavy-duty power washers. These units are 3,000 psi or more and kick out from 2.6 to five gpm and are good for decks, paint prep, driveways and sidewalks, siding and construction equipment.
PRESSURE WASHER FEATURES
Pressure Washer Features. There are many power washer features you can choose from. Here are some of the most important features to look at:
- Ground-fault interrupters: Electric power washers, whether brand new or slightly used, need to come with a ground fault interrupter. In the case of the older unit, it not only needs to come with a gfi, that gfi needs to work. Electricity and water do not mix well and when electricity is used around water, which is the case with power washers, safety and caution are the first order of business.
- Tips and nozzles: The power washer typically comes with different size tips and nozzles for various jobs. Read over the maintenance manual to ensure that you know what nozzle or tip is for what type of job. No maintenance manual with the used power washer unit? Get the model number of the unit and download a user’s manual from the company website.
- Quick-connect coupling system: A quick-connect coupling system will help you switch between different size nozzles and tips and therefore enhance your productivity.
- Soap mixing capabilities: If you will need to use soap or detergent in the power washing unit, look for a unit that has the ability to automatically mix in soap. This is a time saver, not necessary but nice.
- Variable pressure feature: The variable pressure unit can help protect surfaces from damage. This feature is typically available only in higher psi machines. This is nice but not necessary and most around-the-house jobs can be handled with units and push out between 1,300 psi and 2,600 psi.
- Heavy-duty pressure washer: If you are buying a used pressure washer for your business or you need one of industrial scale, you need a unit with strong wheels that is solidly made. Check out the ratings and reviews of a unit before you buy.
- PWMA member company: Make sure you purchase a unit that is sold by a company that is a member of the PWMA. These units are made to industry standards and offer accurate performance ratings.
- Safety considerations: Consider that the power washer is an aggressive so don’t over do it on the power side when buying a used or new unit. Aimed at a window in your house, you can easily break it with the pressure in that machine. Hit human skin or eyes with it, and you have a serious injury to deal with.