Things to Know Before Buying a Portable Pressure Washer
Portable pressure washers can really help make life a lot easier (and cleaner!).
They’re great for taking with you in the car: hosing down muddy wellies and bikes before loading them into the boot after a day in the country.
Not only that, by they can work wonders on jobs around the home too. Car cleaning, patio furniture washing, and patio clearing can all be done much more effectively with a pressure washer.
There are a few things to bear in mind if you’re looking at buying a portable pressure washer. Here are a few things to consider, to help you make an informed purchase:
Intended Purpose in Your Household
This is something important to consider when it comes to portable pressure washers – what do you want to use it for?
There’s no point spending big money on a pricey machine with bells and whistles if you just want to hose off your dog. That said, if you want to wash your car on the street then you’ll need something bigger with more oomph.
Once you’ve figured out what the purpose of your pressure washer will be, consider the number of times you’ll use it. (Although, bear in mind, it’ll probably be more often than you think! They’re so handy without mains cables that you’ll be whipping it out every time a bird poos on the fence!)
Once-a-month use means you can go with a slightly cheaper option. You may not mind if it’s not quite as ergonomic or practical. However, if you plan to use it regularly, say every week, you need to make a bit of investment in quality.
Overall, choose the best cordless portable pressure washer you can afford and follow the care instructions because these will extend its life. Pay particular attention to the advice about charging – overheating a battery does it no favours, and it may benefit from being charged before it has 100% run down.
Ease of Use
The great thing about portable cordless pressure washers is that they are easy to use. There are no cables to worry about, or that nagging feeling that mixing water with electricity isn’t safe.
It’s their size that makes them simple to use. Standard mains power pressure washers are often heavy and cumbersome, but little handhelds like the Worx Hydroshot or the Karcher KHB are lightweight and simple to bring out in an instant.
Think about your needs before buying. If you need to clean the car but have no outside plug or tap then the Bosch Fontus is a great option – it holds loads of water and will last long enough to complete the job.
If you want to take your pressure washer in the car, and hose down your mountain bike or dog after a day of fun in the great outdoors, consider a smaller model which can be transported easily.
Remember, if it isn’t quick and simple – you won’t use it. Ease of use is really important.
You should also look for a portable pressure washer that has a simple gun and various attachments. This will make it more versatile and mean you can clean different things easily. A fine mist, pulsating jet and pencil jet are really helpful.
Consider the Battery Life
Battery life is something you must consider with portable pressure washers. There’s no way they can compete with petrol or mains powered models when it comes to run-time and power. However, they can push out a fair amount of strength and come into their own in certain situations.
Of course, the biggest problem is going to be how long the power will last. Portable pressure washers are battery powered by design and this does mean you’ll have a finite amount of cleaning time.
That said, a re-chargeable lithium battery will last for years if you look after it. They also have much more power than they did a few years ago.
Consider interchangeable batteries too. WORX products work on a range of compatible batteries, so you can use the same one in your drill and your pressure washer. If you have any products from a particular brand already, it’s worth checking if their batteries are interchangeable. You can charge one whilst using the other. This is a handy feature because often battery life is short with portable pressure washers.
That said, the Bosch Fontus cordless pressure washer runs for an hour on an 18 V battery with 15 bars of pressure. It’s the longest running battery powered pressure washer I’ve found.
Choosing the Right Water Pressure
Too little pressure and the job takes hours, too much pressure and you can damage paintwork and pointing. Pressure is all-important when you’re trying to choose the best portable pressure washer.
By nature, cordless pressure washers have lower bar pressure than electric and petrol ones. A battery just can’t compete with mains power, but ‘low’ bar pressure isn’t useless. By no means!
Consider the WORX model for example. It has a maximum of 22 bars which WORX says is equivalent to 10 times that of garden hose. Considering garden hoses aren’t drips, the resulting power from this portable pressure washer is still very impressive and useful!
The lower bar pressure you get from cordless portable pressure washers is best for lighter jobs like washing cars, glass, bikes and pets. Save high-pressure electric models for patios and concrete.
Another thing to consider is that low pressure just means it takes longer to get the job done, not that it can’t do the job at all!
Ease of Transportation
Dragging a pressure washer around is a pain. When you’re in the market for cordless pressure washers the best ones are light and compact. Even better if all their accessories, nozzles, water tanks store ‘on board’ the unit.
For example, the Bosch Fontus is bulkier than some models, but stores all its necessities, including the water, onboard. As a result, there’s nothing else to think about when using it, apart from bringing that one unit with you. However, being bulkier, it may not seem quite as easy just to chuck it in the car and bring on the road.
The Karcher OC3 neatly stores the pipe under the water tank so it’s also pretty compact.
Smaller handheld cordless pressure washers can’t store everything in one unit, so you need to factor in a water source and how to transport the hosepipe and accessories.
It’s not a big deal but if you’re pushed for space have a think about it. You can buy a jerrycan for a few pounds to store water in, and a clip box can keep the accessories from rolling around in the car boot. So there are solutions!
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