An explanation of the many types of pressure washers and jet washers available in the UK & the differences between them
This pressure washer buying guide looks at the pros and cons of different machines for domestic use at home. In the UK the terms pressure washing, jet washing and power washing are often used interchangably to mean what is basically the same thing. That is using high pressure water to clean and remove dirt, mud, moss, algae, paint and other staining from objects or hard surfaces. The sort of objects that can be cleaned are cars, trucks and garden furniture or exterior hard surfaces. They are perfect for cleaning patios, driveways, block paving and decking.
However, to exterior cleaning specialists like Gleam Team who use this equipment on a daily basis there is a clear distinction between jet washing and pressure washing. Jet washers are machines powered by an electric motor for residential and domestic use whereas our professional pressure washing services in Kent require much more powerful petrol engine machines. In the UK power washing and pressure washing are taken to mean the same thing but technically power washing can mean the use of heated water but pressure washers use cold water.
How is the power of a pressure washer measured?
Petrol pressure washers are usually measured by their horse power (HP) or pounds per square inch (PSI). They can also be given a bar rating.
Electric jet washers are measured in watts (W) and bar rating.
Water flow rate
It is also important to bear in mind that the other critical metric to consider is the water flow rate. This is the volume of water a machine can process and is usually measured in litres per minute. Higher water flow gives a machine more cleaning power and cleans faster and more effectively.
Many electric jet washers bought in department stores and DIY shops have a flow rate of between 5 to 7 litres per minute but a petrol engine pressure washer for commercial use may have a flow rate of 15 – 20 litres per minute or even more than that.
Types of electric jet washer
There are numerous makes and models available in the shops or online with power levels ranging from 1400W to 2500W. Karcher are probably the best known brand in the UK but there are many other quality brands including:
- Spear & Jackson
These are just a few of the makes of domestic jet washer available as well as all the own brand models.
They are often categorised as light duty, medium duty and heavy duty.
Light duty – these are the lightweight, cheaper machines up to about 1600W, suitable for cars and garden furniture.
Medium duty – up to 2000W and suitable for decking and smaller patios, paths and paving with only light staining / dirt
Heavy duty – 2000W – 2500W with a water flow rate approx 7 litres per minute suitable for tougher cleaning and larger areas like driveways
Accesories & Features
Electric jet washers for domestic use can have a wide range of features and accessories including:
- rotary / flat surface cleaner (often called patio cleaner)
- different nozzles
- turbo nozzle (for added power)
- extension lance
- foam nozzle
- varying hose lengths
Electric machines are ideal for DIY jet washing smaller areas that are not heavily stained with dirt or algae. But expect it to take you a long time to do.
A professional pressure washing company like Maidstone Gleam Team use petrol engine machines which are significantly more powerful and effective at cleaning drives, patios, paving, commercial yards and other large commercial venues. We operate in Maidstone, Chatham, Rochester, Medway Towns, Tunbrdge Wells and throughout Kent and London.
Petrol pressure washing equipment
Petrol and diesel powered machines have a range of nozzles for various cleaning tasks that can even be used to strip paint from metal surfaces like old garage doors. They are also able to power large flat surface cleaners which are circular in shape and cover a wider area for faster cleaning.
Commercial grade machines may also have the facility to draw ther own water and suck water from a static source which can be very handy if no outside tap is available.
This post is not intended as a definitive pressure washer buying guide on petrol machines for commercial users. In my opinion the amateur DIY enthusiast is better off using electric machines. This is because they are simple to set up and use and adequate for most domestic purposes. Petrol pressure washers are heavy, expensive and more suited to professional users who operate them on a daily basis. They can also be prone to breakdown and need servicing which is another complicaton for domestic users.
In conclusion, it’s fair to say that an electric jet washer is good enough for use around the home for light cleaning. But badly stained patios and driveways need more power and petrol pressure washer is what’s needed. Please see the driveway and patio hub for more information.