What is a power washer?
A power washer is an outdoor power tool that makes cleaning easier by using a high-pressure spray of water to clean a surface. A gasoline engine or electric motor drives a pump, which is supplied by your home’s water supply. The water enters the pump at about 50 PSI, is compressed (and thus pressurized) inside the pump, and exits the pump at as much as several thousand PSI, depending upon the unit. This high-pressure water travels through a hose to a spray gun. The nozzle at the end of the spray gun directs the high-pressure spray as you clean.
The force of the high-pressure spray loosens dirt and flushes it away. On more professional-grade models, the spray is even powerful enough to strip paint, which is useful in paint preparation. You can use many detergents with a power washer, too, for even more effective cleaning. And there are accessories you can buy that make cleaning even easier.
What is “PSI” and “GPM,” and why are they important?
PSI is short for “pounds per square inch.” It is a measure of the water pressure coming out of the power washer. A typical garden hose dispenses water at about 50 PSI, and a coin-operated car wash provides about 700 PSI. A power washer, by contrast, typically dispenses water at several thousand PSI, depending upon the model.
GPM stands for “gallons per minute,” and describes how much water is flowing through the power washer.
You’ll find both of these ratings on a power washer, because they’re both important. Together, they provide your power washer’s cleaning power. PSI provides the “oomph” you need to lift dirt and grime, and GPM provides the necessary quantity of water to wash it away.
The real measure of a power washer’s cleaning power can be found by multiplying PSI by GPM. The higher the number, the greater the cleaning power. For example, a garden hose delivering water at 50 PSI and 5 GPM has a cleaning power of only 250. A power washer, however, delivering water at 2500 PSI and 2.3 GPM has a cleaning power of 5750.
How do I select the right power washer?
The first question you should ask yourself is where you intend to use the power washer—at home or at work. A power washer used primarily at home probably doesn’t need to be as powerful as one that is used on a job site. Around the house, for example, you shouldn’t need more than 3000 PSI. To be fully productive on the job site, though, you probably need at least 3000 PSI.
Next, ask what you want to clean. If you’re looking to simply take the dirt and grime off the driveway or patio furniture, you can use a unit with a relatively low pressure—perhaps 2500 PSI. If, however, you plan on scrubbing mold and mildew off concrete, or prepping a house for painting, you should consider a unit with a higher pressure.
Finally, think about how much cleaning you will be doing. If you’re cleaning a number of items, or if you need to clean a large area, you might want to consider a unit with a higher GPM. More water means more cleaning power, and a higher GPM will make the job go faster.
Why Generac power washers? Isn’t Generac a generator company?
You’re right—Generac’s primary focus has been designing and manufacturing generators for residential, commercial and industrial applications.
Nonetheless, back in the early 1990s, we applied our knowledge of air-cooled engines and portable product design to power washers—it was a natural evolution. And for the first time power washers were readily available to consumers at a price they could afford. Along the way, we were granted several patents that have since changed the industry. We also managed to capture about half the US market for power washers.
About ten years ago, we sold our portable products business—which included power washers—so we could focus our resources on developing Generac home standby generators. It was a strategic decision that yielded fantastic results; we’ve grown to be the world’s largest provider of home standby generators. It’s an achievement we earned in no small measure by addressing the needs of our customers. Now we’ve applied those same listening skills to an entirely redesigned family of power washers—products specifically designed to meet your needs.
Generac conducted research with consumers. They told us they needed cleaning power, reliability and—above all—ease of use. It’s why the pump we use is up high and easy for anyone to access. Why we use only Generac horizontal-shaft engines with low-oil shutdown. And why both the engine and pump are properly balanced over the axle, for almost effortless maneuverability. We think you will be impressed.