How to choose a Pressure Washer
CHOOSING A PRESSURE WASHER
Saber pressure washers are designed and manufactured for professional and commercial users. This guide will step by step take you through the basic key concepts to help you choose the right machine for your application with the grunt and durability to work as hard as you do. We recommend answering 3 main questions based on your intended application:
1. What PSI do I need?
2. What flow rate do I need?
3. How many hours per week?
The last step is to check out the SABER range selection chart where you can view all the available pressure washers listed by their specifications.
•PSI (Pounds per square inch)
Every job requires a certain pressure to shift whatever it is that needs shifting.
•Under 1,000 PSI: Very low power pressure washers, are considered residential grade. These are ok for occasional use around the home and when time isn’t a major factor.
•1000-2000 PSI: Good for light cleaning jobs or where the surface to be cleaned is soft and easily damaged. This pressure range is good for cleaning decks and paths and for light duty auto cleaning.
•2,000 to 3,000 PSI: The most common range for commercial pressure washers. Good for cleaning concrete surfaces with light to moderate oil stains, most automotive cleaning, pools and many industrial applications.
•3,000 to 6,000 PSI: Heavy industrial machinery and agricultural uses. Heavy grease and oil stains. These machines have the power to strip paint from metal surfaces.
2. Flow Rate
Flow Rate is the volume of water leaving the nozzle, measured in litres per minute. It is the key factor for professional and commercial cleaning. The water is doing the cleaning so more of it at the right pressure will determine how fast you can complete your job.
3. Hours Use Per Week
How many hours a week you will use the machine is another key consideration to choose the right washer. Different design pumps are available that can achieve the same PSI and flow rates, inherent in the design are tradeoffs that affect cost and durability and this means pumps vary greatly in their lifetime. Make your decision on PSI and Flow Rate alone and you may choose a machine that can do the job but may be taken through its design life far quicker than you expected.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
Once you’ve answered these three main questions, we recommend that you consider the following concepts, features and accessories.
An easy way to estimate and compare one pressure washer’s effectiveness with another is to multiply the PSI by the flow rate.
Entry level pump that uses a wobble plate connected to the drive shaft to push pistons back and forth creating suction before pushing the water out. The pumps drive shaft is coupled directly to the engines drive shaft and runs at the same RPM as the engine. With some care and maintenance their life span is around 200 – 400 hours (3 hours/week for 2-3 years).
Used in: Some pressure washers below 2500- 3200 PSI and low flow rate (less than 11L/m).
Pros: No seals moving back and forth with piston, self-priming, can produce high pressures.
Cons: Many moving parts add complexity, low flow. Fully sealed. High RPM means they run hotter. Not as efficient as triplex pump.
Triplex Pump (3 pistons) - Drive Shaft Driven Piston Pump
Professional level pumps that are similar in design to your car engine (crankshaft, connecting rods) to drive positive action pistons to suck in water and then push out water with each stroke. They are nearly 90% efficient and run cooler as they work at less RPM than the engine. Their life span is basically limited only by how well you maintain them. The easy to access pump head and easy to replace valves make repair and maintenance economical. (6-10 x lifespan of axial).
Used in: Most pressure washers above 3000 PSI.
Pros: Very efficient. Stationary seal means increased life, less prone to leaks and much higher pressures and flow rates. Lower operating speed allows it to run cool and this again increases operating life.
Cons: Higher acquisition cost.
ELECTRIC VS. PETROL
Electric are user friendly and cost effective. The main drawback is you are restricted by length of the power cord, lower pressure and flow. Petrol machines will go anywhere and offer higher pressure, flow and durability.
COLD VS. HOT
Cold water washers are great for most applications. In some circumstances where grease, oil, food waste or tough dirt need a little more persuasion, hot water washers can be the answer. They are hybrid machines normally with diesel heater boiler that bring the already pressurised water up to the desired temperature (Max 90º).
AUTOMATIC THROTTLE CONTROL
When you release the trigger the throttle control reduces the engine RPM to idle. This reduces engine wear and conserves fuel. At the same time the pump is in by-pass with water being redirected within the pump head. With lower RPM the heat and pressure in the head are reduced also limiting wear, increasing life and reducing the risk of the thermal pressure relief valve releasing.
Puncture Proof Solid Treaded Tyres
Great for professionals, gives you all the grip you need in all terrain, wet and muddy areas. No pneumatic tube and cannot be punctured or deflated.
Integrated Detergent / Chemical Tank
Some models feature a detergent tank that is attached to the frame with a convenient tube to connect the siphon barb on the pump.
Lance / Gun
Can be either one or two-piece, Saber guns are tough, ergonomic and paired to the machine. When replacing the gun be sure to get a gun with the right pressure rating to suit your machine.
Steel Braided Hose
As the name suggests, these hoses have steel wire integrated in to the tube for reinforcement. This improves the burst pressure and increases durability and reduces the possibly of kinks. Professionals should not use all poly pressure rated hoses.
This choice depends on your application and site requirements. Portable zero gravity steel frames are very tough and great for maneuverability while still being light enough to pick up and throw on a ute. For commercial and industrial or some specific sites a full roll cage with 4 wheels may be required.
The pressure and cleaning actions produced by the washer is dependent on the nozzle orifice and fan size. Fan nozzles are available in 40°, 25°, 15°, 0° and Chemical/Soap to suit your specific model.
Rotary Nozzles and Turbo Nozzles
Rotary nozzles produce a rotating and pulsating conical spray, which increases the cleaning efficiency of your water blaster. This nozzle is ideal for the heavy duty cleaning of wide, flat areas like driveways, flooring, roof tops, brickwork and stripping paint.
Check out SABER petrol and electric pressure washer comparison chart from HERE