Buying Guide

Powermate pressure washers have been used commercially for years to clean buildings, strip paint and remove graffiti. They offer a portable, powerful and efficient way to clean almost any surface providing an effective way to get the job done faster, easier and cheaper than previous methods.

In addition to our commercial grade pressure washers, Powermate has residential pressure washers that offer homeowners the same benefits for cleaning tasks around the house. Additionally compared to the average garden hose, a pressure washers help conserve water.

An average garden hose allows water to flow at a rate of 5 - 10 GPM (gallon per minute) at a pressure of 30 - 50 PSI (pounds per square inch). A light duty residential pressure washer uses 1.6 GPM at a pressure of 1750 PSI. This gives the pressure washer between 5 - 18 times more cleaning power, using 68% less water.

Common uses for a residential pressure washer are cleaning your wooden deck, washing your car, cleaning your driveway/sidewalks, or cleaning your house siding/windows. Garden hoses do not generate the power necessary to clean effectively. A pressure washer makes cleaning a variety of areas around the house faster and easier and using a pressure washer is often the best method for cleaning hard to reach areas.

How does a Powermate pressure washer work?

When using a pressure washer you are breaking the bond between two things, the surface you are cleaning and the dirt/contaminates you are trying to remove. There are three primary components that make a pressure washer work:

  1. The pressure of the water, which is measured in Pounds per Square Inch (PSI).
    The PSI is the amount of force the water has at the pressure washer tip; the higher the number the greater the force.

  2. The flow rate of the water, which is measured in Gallons per Minute (GPM).
    This is the amount of water the pressure washer is capable of using when running and the trigger is depressed. The higher the number the more water the pressure washer will use to dislodge dirt. The combination of water and flow is what makes a pressure washer effective at cleaning. The term 'Cleaning Unit' has been developed to help you understand the power of flow (gpm) and pressure (psi) combined. A pressure washer with 2000 psi and 2 gpm of flow produces 4000 cleaning units (2000 x 2 + 4000).Use cleaning units to compare different models (see the chart below).

  3. The cleaning solution mixed with the water.
    Cleaning solutions assist in removing the dirt/contaminate from the surface you are trying to clean. There are several different types of cleaning solutions, depending on the task you want to accomplish. While they are not always required, using a chemical injection attachment to add a cleaning solution will increase the efficiency and reduce the amount of time required to complete the task. The cleaning solution is applied at low pressure, allowed to work for several minutes, and then pressure washed off at high pressure. Several Powermate pressure washers come equipped with a cleaning injector attachment, for models not equipped one may be available as an accessory, refer to product details for specific information.

All three are important and affect your purchasing decision. As you review the types of pressure washers and the power considerations in the sections below you will see how these components interact.

What Types of Pressure Washers are there?

The two main types of pressure washers are electric powered and gas powered.

Electric pressure washers are typically less expensive and have less cleaning power. These units are usually available in lower pressure ranges like 1,400 - 1,750 PSI. Also it is important to remember that electric pressure washers require electricity to operate. You will need an extension cord and a power source. If you plan to use your electric pressure washer in areas without electric power you will need to consider a gas powered pressure washer. Electric pressure washers are good for light duty, smaller cleaning jobs, see chart below.

Gas pressure washers typically have a stronger cleaning capacity, 1,800 - 4,000 PSI's, which allows the use of a wider spray pattern making the cleaning job go faster. Because they use a typical engine they cannot be used indoors or in areas with limited ventilation. Gas powered units are good for medium to large cleaning jobs or when doing any job where electrical power is not available, see chart below.

Which Powermate pressure washer one is right for you will depend on where you plan to use it and what tasks you plan on doing.

How much power do I need?

The amount of power you need depends on the job. A light duty pressure washer (1,400 - 2,200 PSI) has approximately 30 times more power than a garden hose. Heavy duty pressure washers (2,600 - 4,000 PSI) can be used for stripping paint and cleaning large areas.

Type PSI GPM Cleaning Units Application
Light Duty smaller jobs 1,400 - 1,750 PSI 1.4 - 1.6 1,960 - 2,800 Washing Vehicles, smaller cleaning jobs
Light Duty larger jobs 1,800 - 2,200 PSI 2.0 3,600 - 4,400 Cleaning Siding, decks, most residential jobs
Medium Duty 2,300 - 2,500 PSI 2.2 - 2.3 5,060 - 7,130 Cleaning most residential jobs and driveways.
Commercial Medium Duty 2,600 - 3,100 PSI 2.5 6,500 - 7,750 Prepping Wood, Cleaning Concrete
Commercial Heavy Duty 3,200 - 4,000 PSI 3.0 - 4.0 9,600 - 14,000 Stripping paint, larger cleaning jobs

What Features and Accessories do I need?

Most pressure washer come with a standard hose and wand. Additional accessories like a rotating car washing brush, chemical injection tip, extended wands, chemical solutions for specific cleaning tasks and additional tips may also be available depending on the model you purchased.


Can I use water from a lake or holding tank?

No. The pump is designed to operate at specific gallons per minuteof input pressure. If that minimum amount of water is not supplied to the pump, the pump can be damaged. Also, water that is drawn from a lake or holding tank may contain debris that could damage the pump.

Can I use hot water with my pressure washer?

No. Hot water can cause damage to the o-rings and pump.

How far should I stand from where I'm cleaning?

Start 3-4 feet away and slowly move closer. This will give you the ability to judge which distance is appropriate for the job at hand. Always wear protective eyewear and boots as splashback can occur. Boots protect your feet as water at high pressure can cut skin very easily. Pressure washers are serious tools that should only be used by responsible adults. Read the owner's manual and obey all warnings and instructions.

How long can the hoses be extended?

The maximum recommended length is 100 feet. The unit will operate at lengths beyond this, but performance will suffer and the chemical injection process may not operate satisfactorily.

What are Cleaning Units?

As you compare pressure washers you may see something called "cleaning units". Cleaning units are a measure of power that is the results of multiplying the pressure washers' rated PSI X GPM. Some people use the cleaning units to determine what size pressure washer they will need.

Example: A light duty pressure washer rated at 1,750 PSI and 1.6 GPM would equal 2,800 Cleaning Unit (CU) rating, compared to a garden hose with 30 PSI and 5 GPM would equal 150 Cleaning Unit (CU) rating.

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