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gjm

Pressure washers

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Been thinking of acquiring one for a while, but thought I'd let the initial excitement die down before revisiting the idea.

It'd be used for washing the car, and for things like cleaning the deck, concrete, windows... So, something general purpose.

Having got a pressure washer I can see I'd probably want to get a foam lance too.

So - any tips as to what to look for? Power, psi... Are there capacity considerations of any sort?

I doubt I'll need one that's petrol-powered (plug-in leccy should suffice) unless there's good reason for going down that route?

Does anyone have a pressure washer that they consider the absolute business?

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Pressure AND flow rate are important, my home made petrol one is 3000 psi, 11 L/M and it does the job. Beware of cheapy ones that sacrifice flow rate for pressure, it will take forever to get anything clean! Also pay attention to the gun, if its too short you will end up crippled. Have fun :)

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Sounds like I may be looking for a small water blaster rather than a domestic pressure washer?

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As Andrew said above - check the flow specs. Cheapy water blasters boast on their pressure output, look at their flow specs & it is minimal.

From memory our old Karcher water blaster is about 9 or 11 (can't recall) L/M. It is years old & was expensive at the time & bought on it's spec.

Pressure is nothing without flow.

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Don't buy a karcher.

They used to be excellent, I used to own one, but in the last few years did massive cost cutting and move manufacturing to China. The impellers are now plastic and constantly fail, usually just  after your 12 month warranty expires.

For the same price you can buy a Nilfisk. Not amazing but better than the Karcher.

I have a Nilfisk - you can come over and test it out to see what kind of power you need.

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Have a Alto before they became Nilfisk. Was a high end consumer model. First on went back on warranty. Second one has done  two pressure regulators.

Would recommend if using one for any length f time flow plenty of water through flow through them post blasting session. And don't leave them sitting for any length of under full pressure. Been 6 years now on same pressure regulator but I certainly won't buy this brand again.

 

 

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I have a Nilfisk 120.7 , its very average, not enuff puff but the filters in it help with rinsing off soap and avoided watermarks haha. 130 is apparently better. 

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Have had a Nilfisk for the last 5 years, use it regularly to de-slime decks - never use it on the car ( bad for car) 

What you need to look at is the sustained pressure and  flow rates - sometimes referred to as a  Q rating - not the peak values often quoted. 

100 bar and  8 l/m  should be the lower limit for a decent unit -  generally translates to peaks of 120bar and 12l /min which tallies with hotwires' comment. 

Toys break tools shouldn't 

 

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27 minutes ago, Jacko said:

I have a Nilfisk 120.7 , its very average, not enuff puff but the filters in it help with rinsing off soap and avoided watermarks haha. 130 is apparently better. 

SCA have the C130.2-8 for about $400. Not anywhere near Andrew's homemade spec, but potentially 'adequate'.

 

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Yeah, also about one third of what I spent on mine! ;)

Also, i use mine on the car every time i wash it, hasn't hurt it yet, just need a bit of common sense. 

Edited by aja540i

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C130.2 is  105 bar but only 5.8 litre sustained flow 

The 130.4 is 105bar at 8litres - this would be the minimum I would settle for 

the 140's are better again 

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14 minutes ago, aja540i said:

Also, i use mine on the car every time i wash it, hasn't hurt it yet, just need a bit of common sense

Nowt as uncommon as common sense!

But yes - this is vitally important. I'd probably be using it for foaming rather than actual washing - a hose will get the car wet and while it'll not have filters, it'll rinse off.

It's a case of trying to find a solution that will fulfill all requirements; the car is just one.

The Nilfisk 140 is up over $700... More than I was planning to spend, but as said - toys break, tools don't.

Still, the main purpose of asking here was recommendations, and a guide as to what spec is appropriate. :thumbs-up:
It could be the budget needs a review.

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I have a cheap Karcher. Has worked sweet for 3+ years. However it is low power, and only really good for car cleaning. Get something better if you want to use it for paths etc. 

Low power is perfect for cars though. I use an ebay foam cannon - works sweet. Its more 'fun' than anything. Although I just got some of this stuff - going to try now to see if it is better than the 5 other soaps i have tried 

 

Edit; so tried the foam below. Is it the best foam I have tried? Yes, without doubt. Can it deliver the fantasy of a touchless wash? Not quite. 

 

Edited by m325i
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Yeah, imo nothing beats the old fashioned way of washing a car, but using some methods to avoid swirls and other paint damage is important. I have a middle range Karcher and it's adequate for deck and house cleaning but I don't tend to use it on the car because it's only good for loosening mud or grass clippings and it's a bit of a hassle to get it all set up.

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I finally gave in to getting a small(ish) water blaster and went for a Karcher as it was on offer at Bunnings and seemed to be the only make that had loads of accessories and parts and stuff available on the shelf.

Works well enough so far, not overly fast at cleaning larger areas as it's a smaller model, but adequate for me.

Plenty of power to destroy plants and take paint off things if you are not paying attention / stroke can't be arsed moving things out the way.

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I have a Dynamic VIP I bought at The Toolshed about 14 years ago.  It was pricey - around $900 - and it's compact but weighs a ton.  Was said to be good for painting contractors or cleaning trucks, paths etc.  It's good for paths - I have a dirt-blaster attachment that spins a needle jet.  If I'd had the coin at the time, I'd have bought a Stihl.  I've had to repair this a few times over the years.  I'd like to get a snowfoam lance for it.  It's a grunt machine.

I've used a couple of Bosch green blasters that are pretty good.  My friends that own them have been getting good service from them.

I've two basic approaches to suggest:

- spend up and get a serious quality unit.  You don't get much in this zone for under $750.  Nobody regretted buying quality tools.  Should have a long warranty - a rare thing with a domestic water blaster.

- buy a cheapie - something like a $200 house-brand unit from Bunnings (or similar) with a 2 year warranty.  Get it replaced when it blows up.  After two years it's free, buy another next time it breaks.

Whichever route you take, do use safety gear when you're using a water blaster.  Boots, gloves, safety glasses.  I use steel capped gumboots, work gloves, safety glasses, and ear muffs (hate the high frequency whistle of the dirt-blaster on concrete.

 

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My Karcher is about the same age as your Dynamic & probably the same spec. It too cost $900 from memory. About the same weight too...

I also got one of those dirt blaster attachment nozzles - transforms the machine & hasn't had the original lance on it since.

I have also had it to bits a couple of times over the years, new pump housing at one stage. Has been a great machine though.

Graham - I do recommend you up your budget if you can.

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Intermittent further investigation is suggesting a secondhand petrol-engined, instead of (new or used) mains electric, unit may be a better bet. I think I can get something suitable - 2500-3000psi, 12-14L/min - for around $500.

I've also found that more than a few people have bought older petrol-engined pressure washers to remove the engines and use them in go-karts... :)

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