Electric power washer?

ben94122

Burning Hunk
Sep 4, 2017
103
California
Any good ones out there? Suggestions on what to look for? I want to get a power washer for cleaning up the garage, porch, and driveway, but I would rather not have one more gas motor to maintain. There are some threads from the 2000's on hearth.com suggesting Karcher as a brand, and some suggesting PSI times gallons per minute as the thing to try to maximize, but I was wondering if anyone here had any more recent advice?
 

ABMax24

Feeling the Heat
IMO standard 110volt plug in models aren't worth the time or money. You just simply can't get enough energy from a 110 volt 15amp outlet to provide the power a pressure washer should have, that's the reason most people go gas. A standard 50 amp 240volt welder plug would get enough power to run a good sized washer but not many manufacturers make them and prices get quite high.

I think 3000psi and 2.5gpm is the minimum to shoot for, especially when washing in only cold water.
 

semipro

Minister of Fire
Jan 12, 2009
3,816
SW Virginia
PSI times gallons per minute as the thing to try to maximize
This the calculation for power and is the number that matters. Don't be fooled by high PSI marketing. You can have a very high pressure rating with unacceptable cleaning power if the flow rate is low.
And, as @ABMax24 said, you won't get much power out of a standard outlet when compared to a gas unit.
I share your avoidance of more FF powered engines to maintain but I gave upon electric power washers years ago and bought a gas powered unit.
 

Seasoned Oak

Minister of Fire
Oct 17, 2008
7,071
Eastern Central PA
After owning gas powered ones, electric ones,good ones ,cheap ones over the years i bought a ryobi electric last spring. Unless your sandblasting a bridge i never need the super high pressure. I still have the gas powered washer but rarely ever need it or use it. The ryobi works great and got a super deal on an open box model. All depends what you need it for. Gas model for super high pressure or electric for everything else
 

zrock

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2017
852
bc
I went the the opposite way.. I had a good electric washer and got tired of always having to drag out the hose and cord to plug it in, then finding the cord was to short and needing another. You also need a good quality cord or their will be loss over the length of the cord. Now i just pop on the hose and fire it up don't matter where i am i don't run out of cord... I did put a good long hose on for the wand. Have had 0 issues with it run it out of gas at the end of the season and put it in the shop.. fires up every time
 

heat seeker

Minister of Fire
Feb 25, 2011
3,139
Northern CT
I have the top electric Kärcher, and while it can't compete with the gas models, it does an excellent job around here, cleaning sidewalks, deck, and everything else I need to do. Zero maintenance, I bring it indoors over the winter. Getting the electric cord unreeled beats maintaining yet another gas engine, and it's a lot quieter to run.
Each to his own.
 

PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
658
MA
Thanks for starting this. I need to do my deck to restain and want to finally buy a power washer this spring. Also want elecrtric. Won't see a lot of use and last thing I want is another small gas engine to take care of. :)
 

zrock

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2017
852
bc
Have your tried wetnforget on your deck? reviews are good and its a spray on cleaner where you spray it on and walk away and nature takes its course... Gong to use it on my deck this year. Ever since i took all the trees out of my yard and my deck has full sun in now gets a algi build up and gets frigging slippery. I hate pressure washing a wood deck as it does slight damage every time..
 
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PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
658
MA
I haven't. A small section in the shade on the deck is algae from no sun. The rest is dirty with some peeling. Also peeling on the railing that I think (hope) power washing will take the place of scraping.

What I don't understand is why the covered screened-in porch that is alongside the deck and most of it doesn't get sun has no algae. But the section of the uncovered deck right next to the porch that is shaded by the porch is the section that is greenish. :confused:

I've use bleach and water in a 5-gallon pail and a brush on long handle in the past. Want to try the lazy powerwashing route this time. :)
 

zrock

Minister of Fire
Dec 2, 2017
852
bc
HAHA i know that feeling.. never had a issue when my whole deck was shaded. Now that it has total sun its like a skating rink. I slipped this winter and the bad shoulder that just took 6 months to heal i ripped it all back apart
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
One thing with any PW is don't store it in the unheated garage or it will freeze and that is the end of the pump. They sell pump anti-freeze solutions but RV anti-freeze works well and is cheap. I don't with mine, it stays in the heated shop so all is good. 9 years on my Harbor Freight 2100 psi gas unit. Good buy.
 
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MTASH

Member
Dec 24, 2018
105
Montana
I bought a Sun Joe about a year ago and have been really happy with it. I also got a turbo head nozzle that works really well. I too didn't want another small engine, and it works great for general cleaning use that I do. But agree it will not match a high-pressure gas unit if that's what you really need.

 
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Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,147
Northern Maine
You can turn down the power on a gas model but the electric units are limited unless you spend real money. Even the Karcher my former boss bought 30 years ago didn't stand up very well so after he was fired I bought a gas model.
The gas PW gets infrequent use and has never hiccuped once. Honda engine going on 25 years. I just shut the fuel off and let it run out.
 
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ben94122

Burning Hunk
Sep 4, 2017
103
California
I sure appreciate all the suggestions and replies. I'll get a good electric one for starters, and see how that goes.
Thanks again!
 

lml999

Minister of Fire
Oct 25, 2013
503
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
I sure appreciate all the suggestions and replies. I'll get a good electric one for starters, and see how that goes.
Thanks again!
Good move. Given your use mentioned above, an electric one will serve your needs.

That having been said, if you need a more powerful one, you can rent from Home Depot by the half day. Under $50, I don't remember the exact number. At the time I needed one, they were out of rental units, so we just bought an electric one...
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
You can actually buy a high pressure, high volume (volume is important) electric pressure with a conventional triplex (3 ceramic piston) crankshaft driven inline pump (CAT, IR) but it will be a 220 single phase motor.

No matter what you get, you always want an inline pump or a axial with brass head because they are rebuildable. I have an IR on mine and I've replaced the pistons and seals several times. Much cheaper than buying a new unit when it quits developing pressure (and they all will eventually).
 
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fbelec

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2005
2,706
Massachusetts
i've picked up the cheapest thing i could find at harbor freight on sale for 79 dollars. if it goes wrong i'm not out much it's payed for itself in car washes and more. it's powerful enough to take the black of the walkway, cleaned the deck and if you keep it in one spot to long it will drill a hole in the wood. if your not careful it takes paint off the truck. the nozzle is adjustable to compensate for pressure. take it into my basement for the winter so it won't freeze. so far it's done everything i thru at it. it's 2 years old. i know guys that buy 350 dollar gas machines and have problems by 2 years so i figure that i am ahead of the game
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,243
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
I don’t understand the problem with “maintaining” yet another small engine. There’s nothing to maintain, this isn’t 1970. Change the oil once after break in and that’s more than most people. Then just use the same stabilizes fuel as your other engines or run it out when done. It will outlast the pressure pump.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,728
South Puget Sound, WA
Have your tried wetnforget on your deck? reviews are good and its a spray on cleaner where you spray it on and walk away and nature takes its course... Gong to use it on my deck this year. Ever since i took all the trees out of my yard and my deck has full sun in now gets a algi build up and gets frigging slippery. I hate pressure washing a wood deck as it does slight damage every time..
I have been using this for a few years now. Things get slimy, mossy and moldy quickly in damp PNW winters. This has been a godsend at keeping decking, steps and siding free of the green slime.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,728
South Puget Sound, WA
The main issue I have come across on these units is that the piston body and some parts are cast out of cheap pot metal. The pot metal body pits if the unit stands for an extended period of time without some sort of lube run through it. I've repaired a couple of nice Karcher units that were given to me because they sat and the pressure pump stopped working. When you pull the pistons it's obvious why they are sticking.

I've done enough of these repairs to say "basta" and am getting rid of gasoline motors as well. The pressure washer has a new home and the splitter will be next this year. We now have a tool library where I can borrow an electric pressure washer for free when I need it and I started buying wood when my chiropractor said to stop acting like a 30 yr old.

Pressure washer pump lube
Amazon product
 
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ben94122

Burning Hunk
Sep 4, 2017
103
California
I don’t understand the problem with “maintaining” yet another small engine. There’s nothing to maintain, this isn’t 1970. Change the oil once after break in and that’s more than most people. Then just use the same stabilizes fuel as your other engines or run it out when done. It will outlast the pressure pump.
That is a very good point, and I hadn't thought of it that way. I certainly don't have to maintain my saw or KombiSystem powerhead. I was thinking of the races my brother and I used to have with my dad--he'd try to fix the snowblower faster than we could shovel the driveway...times have changed, and carbs don't have to be tuned anymore.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,243
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
That is a very good point, and I hadn't thought of it that way. I certainly don't have to maintain my saw or KombiSystem powerhead. I was thinking of the races my brother and I used to have with my dad--he'd try to fix the snowblower faster than we could shovel the driveway...times have changed, and carbs don't have to be tuned anymore.
The modern engine can break of course. Between better technology and just a couple of basic good operational habits, the modern little equipment engines are very dependable.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
82,728
South Puget Sound, WA
We have a Honda motor on our splitter. It starts easily, but if one uses gas with 10% ethanol, a darn tiny o-ring swells and the carb bowl doesn't fill quick enough when the motor is put under load. Idles fine. Leaf blower leaks a trickle of gas now with over a 1/2 full tank. Chain saw has become ornery to start. I'm tired of this crap.
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
I'll never have another Honda engine. Had one on my roto tiller and it lasted one season and put a hole in the crankcase. Took it to the local Honda power equipment dealer and they wouldn't stand behind it, said I abused it. I changed the oil at least once that summer and it still puked. Went to Harbor Freight and got a Predator for 99 bucks and put that on. Been going strong for 5 years now. No more Honda's for me. Same thing with the pressure washer. It's an HF pressure washer with a Pred motor. One pull starts, been that way for at least 7 years. Original plug, oil gets changed yearly, pump oil too. Zero issues.
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
17,243
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Even the Chinese predator “junk” is at least as good as the golden standard Honda. Everybody is making pretty dang good stuff these days.