Pressure washer: experienced users input please


Hi, I have a Craftsman pressure washer, gas powered, 2500 psi and 2.0 gpm. It is new and unused at this point. I purchased it at a closeout price a couple months ago, so it is a good value for me. This week Sears has a gas powered 3100 psi and 2.8 gpm pressure washer on sale for about $50 more than I paid for the smaller washer. I am considering returning my smaller machine and purchasing the bigger washer. My question is: will I actually notice the increase in pressure and flow in the bigger machine? The reason I am considering the larger machine is because I want to be able to wash the second story of our vinyl sided house. I have searched this subject quite a bit, but not found a real comparitive answer. Also I do NOT have the budget for a high powered, high dollar, "industrial" washer, so that idea is out. I was hoping some one might have used one or both these washers (don't care about brand) and could offer some comparison. Thanks for any and all input, Joe B.
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SEARS MAY charge you a restocking fee. Did you open the box?
A good friend handles return merchandise for sears, and they dropped the return anything guarantee. Perhaps more likely on a closeout.
I have a pressure washer, use too much pressure damage things. I think the one you already have will be fine
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.

Since Sears is now owned by K-Mart, they follow K-Mart rules. (I still can't get used to seeing Craftsman & Kenmore products for sale in K-Mart).

Agreed. Buying an oversized unit to spray the second floor from the ground level is kind of "iffy" anyway. I have used my 2500psi unit from a 10' step ladder many times, but it's tricky & I wouldn't recommend others to do it.
-Red
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Joe B. wrote:

Pressure washer manufacturers multiply the PSI X GPM and come up with a number they call "CLEANING UNITS"
Your first unit would be rated at 5,000 units .. .. the second 8,680 .. .. for the small difference in price, I would go with the bigger unit.
You can always throttle it down if you don't need full pressure .. ..
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The bigger machine will be better for heavy-duty jobs, like stripping paint. It won't be any better for light-duty jobs, and it might even be worse, depending on your proficiency. With practice, you can do most of the big jobs with the small machine, they just take a lot longer.
The bigger machine also won't help you any in cleaning the second story. You still have to have the nozzle only a few inches from the surface you want to clean. You can't stand on the ground and wash 10 feet away unless you're a firefighter. They have SERIOUSLY large pressure washers that they can actually drive.
All that said, I'd go for the bigger machine. You'll eventually need the higher power for SOME job, and then you'll kick yourself for saving $50.
Be sure to get an extra hose and some wand extensions. There's no way to clean the top of a 25-foot gable from a 20-foot ladder without some extensions. At least there's no SAFE way.
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A unit with EITHER set of specifications would be MORE than the average home owner would truly need.
If you can make the step up for less than $100, I'd go for it.
[Just returned from the garage to check-out the specs CLAIMED on mine]
I have an older "Ex-Cell" manufactured high-pressure washer. I bought it at Sam's Club almost ten years ago for about $750, IIRC. It's powered by a 6.5hp Honda and claims 3.0 GPM at 2400 psi.
It has been years since I paid attention to those specs. Given your choice of selection between a 2 gpm and a 2.8 gpm pump, now being aware of the gpm rate of MY washer, I'd definitely go with the higher-flow unit. There are regular times when I wish MY washer would deliver a higher VOLUME of water. The pressure has NEVER been an issue - except for its destructive potential.
We used this machine to wash the entire exterior of our house (4x8 sheets of cardboard siding) prior to caulking and painting. Now, almost nine years later, I am crediting the surface prep for the paint job longevity.
This little gem even came in handy following a paint "disaster" where the painter (my middle daughter home from college) dropped a bucket of paint from 12-feet up. I fired-up the pressure washer well after some of the latex had "dried" in places in the sun. The spray took ALL of the spilled paint off. The pressure washer saved the day.
Just remember that I discovered some years ago that, at 2400 psi (and above), detergent is IRRELEVANT! Be careful with such a high pressure unit as it can cause serious damage. Good luck and have fun. Yes, they are FUN to use!
--
:)
JR

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wrote:

Thanks for everyone's input. I ended up getting the bigger unit. No problem returning the unused unit - no restocking fee. I went with the bigger unit for a few reasons. Higher flow rate, it picks up almost a gallon more per minute, ( for me pressure was irrelevant, I believe the 2550 psi would have handled what I needed it to do), horizontal shaft engine (as opposed to vertical shaft) means easier acces to both the engine and pump, including water connections. Don't know if it's true or not but the bigger unit seems more "industrial" - less plastic shrouds etc. compared to the smaller unit. Now I have to start cleaning something. Thanks again, Joe B.
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