A decent pressure washer’s an essential piece of kit at this time of year. There’s loads out there to choose from, but how do you decide which one to buy? Here’s some fast facts to help…
There’s no doubt about it, pressure washers make cleaning your Transporter a far more civilised and efficient business. The long lance puts enough distance between you and the wet stuff so you won’t get soaked and in cold weather, gripping a dry trigger is much more pleasant than grappling with a freezing grimy sponge. Moreover, pressure washers deliver much less water than a traditional hosepipe – they just make it work harder. So your water bill should be less and the benefit of having water at a higher pressure is that it will be far more effective at dislodging muck and grime. In other words, a pressure washer is brilliant at keeping your underside clean, freeing up mudtraps and thus preventing corrosion.
Having said all that, buying the right pressure washer can seem a confusing business, so here’s a summary of what’s important to help make your decision making process a bit simpler.
Generally speaking, motor power (in watts) is the best indication of a pressure washer’s performance. But even on two identically-powered machines, the way the pump is configured can make a difference to how well it works in reality. For any given motor power, there’s always a trade-off between pressure (in bars) and flow rates (litres per hour). Pressure gives the water jet its ‘bite’ or dirt-shifting power.
Kit and caboodle
Lance and hose length is also important when looking at different pressure washers. In each case, the longer the better – especially when it comes to cleaning a Transporter’s roof. A 90cm lance and 5m hose is the absolute minimum requirement.
How many different features and accessories come with the washer may also sway your decision as to which one to buy. Some washers, for example, come with a clip-on detergent bottle which will improve its cleaning ability. More sophisticated machines have an internal detergent tank where you can mix the water and detergent prior to it reaching the lance, and these are even better. Finally, a rotary blaster nozzle is the accessory that has the most use as it effectively boosts the dirt-shifting ability of lower power machines, and it needs to be adjustable so you can vary its intensity. Make sure the washer you buy has one!
Invariably you get what you pay for. You’ll either compromise on effectiveness, or it will break far sooner than expected. And when it does let go, you won’t be able to get any parts (such as replacement hoses, washers or other items) to make it work again.
The sheer weight and build of a pressure washer will give you an idea of how long it will last. If can see a display model, lift it, see how well it wheels along and if there’s hooks etc to keep the hoses tidy when not in use.
In short, we would always recommend going for the known brands. What’s more, there will be a far wider range of accessories available for the better machines.
We rate the Sealey PW2200 which has the feel of a professional washer without the silly pricetag. With its powerful 1800W motor, it delivers an impressive flow rate of 400L/hr and a maxiumum pressure of 140bar. The Rotablast nozzle, however, helps it develop the same effective cleaning power as a 257bar machine. Other features include dual built-in detergent tanks, so you can switch between different cleaning products, heavy-duty composite wheels and a 5m hose. It feels top quality, and the side mounted gun and lance holder, hooks and accessory storage at the back makes it easy to use. It lists at £335.94. Find out more at www.sealey.co.uk