What makes a good pressure cleaner? Part 1/2

Testing out a petrol pressure cleaner at PPNQ in Cairns

When it comes to pressure cleaners, there are a few key factors to consider. When it comes to keeping your outdoor spaces clean, you don’t want to skimp on investing in the right equipment.

In short, the best pressure cleaner is one that combines power, efficiency, and versatility. Don’t settle for anything less than the perfect combination.. Below is part 1 of our 2 part series to help inform potential buyers.

It is crucial to look for the right pump when choosing a pressure cleaner

Pumps are the hardest working of all pressure cleaner components, so naturally they are the first consideration when purchasing a machine.

Not all pumps are created equal, and while different brands spruik similar features of brass head, ceramic pistons and stainless steel valves, this merely scratches the surface.

A lot of pressure cleaner marketing is designed to mislead, where the same can theoretically be said about the pump on a $4,000 machine compared with that on a $2,500 machine.

A prime example is ceramic coated pistons marketed as ceramic pistons; two completely different things.

Ceramic coated pistons have a thin ceramic layer coating the plunger rod – a price-point design which damages both the piston and water seals easier due to thinner material and higher friction coefficient than true ceramic pistons.

Brass heads can be machined with different levels of precision and material densities, and advertising “stainless steel valves” does not describe the valve cage’s quality of casting and reinforcement, which is what determines a valve’s quality.

More expensive pumps almost always provide lesser after-sales cost due to inherent price-point design of pump componentry. In our opinion, the best pumps on the market are Jetwave branded Udor and Hawk pumps.

On the industrial side, almost all pumps are made with the exact same primary features.

Differences lie in the subtleties of seal packing design and seal material weaving, valve cage design and reinforcement, piston guide machining tolerances in the backend, connecting rod and gudgeon pin robustness, brass density (high density improves cylinder and valve seat wear resistance, along with structural warping prevention), and protection against ingress of exterior contaminant.

Investing in a new asset is a huge decision. Not only is it a significant financial investment, but it’s also an investment of your time and energy.

You want to be sure that you’re choosing an asset that will meet your needs and last for years to come.

That’s why it’s so important to do your homework before making a purchase. You don’t want to be swayed by flashy marketing or persuasive salespeople.

Instead, you want to get the facts about different models and features. Once you’ve done your research, you can feel confident that you’re choosing the right asset for you.

Our mission is to help assist, not mislead, the buyer.

Choosing the right petrol engine option for your pressure cleaning requirements

In the Australian market there are four mainstream petrol engine brands: Honda, Robin, Kohler and Briggs and Stratton (Vanguard). If you see anything else, you are dealing with an unknown.

When you shop around and see a pressure cleaner with a price tag too good to be true, there will be a reason. If the reason is not the pump, it will be the engine.

A more expensive engine is generally more fuel efficient, will have longer duty cycle ratings, and will generally feature better protection against operator misuse.

Good engines use quality materials and precise engineering practices during manufacture. This is what comes with mainstream brands – assurance of a reliable product.

A commonly overlooked point is spare parts availability. If you treat your engine properly, you will have gone through many consumable spare parts such as air filters, spark plugs etc. over its life, so look for a brand with readily available and reasonably priced spare parts.

This is where, in our opinion, Robin and Honda separate themselves in the Australian market.

Most engines look the same externally, but if you’re buying something cheap you are putting at risk the high stress points of engines, such as pistons, con rods, crankshaft, cam shaft, cam followers, valves.

These are the hardest working components of an engine where you typically have failures, and are things you do not see from the outside.

Diesel engines and bigger engines in general are often worth pulling apart, here is a link to our blog speaking about bigger engines in more detail.

Don't forget, when choosing a pressure cleaner, the right unloader valve is essential

While pumps are the hardest working pressure cleaner component, unloader valves are not far behind.

There are two types of unloader valves – pressure sensitive and flow sensitive, aka zero line pressure valves.

We recommend, wherever possible, flow sensitive unloaders due to their soft-acting nature.

When operators pull the trigger, power is applied gradually over the course of 1-2 seconds, instead of an immediate jolt of power due to the line being charged with pressure as a result of having a pressure sensitive unloader.

This offers many benefits including: operator safety (no aggressive recoil), better accessory life, easier starting of engine due to zero pump load.

The only application we recommend pressure sensitive unloaders is for plumbers’ drain jetters, which often feature 120 metres of hose across two separate reels.

This often generates too much backpressure for flow sensitive unloaders to activate properly.

Please get in touch with us for more helpful advice

Pressure Pumps NQ is dedicated to providing a high level of professional, friendly customer service. Combined with our vast product knowledge and ready access to top brands of small engine equipment, we provide unparalleled guaranteed levels of customer satisfaction.

We are here to assist with your pressure washing needs, including the latest innovations in petrol, diesel, and electric machines. Feel free to contact us for more information; we are happy to help.