Pressure Washers: Buying versus Renting

Pressure washer recommendations and safety tips

If you didn’t get to it in the spring, fall is also a great time of year to clean your deck, walkways, and patio furniture. If you’re considering using a pressure washer but you’re not sure you want to shell out the money, the experts at Consumer Reports can help you decide whether renting or buying is the right answer. Plus, CR has pressure washer recommendations and safety tips.

Consumer Reports says that renting a pressure washer has its perks: You don’t need the space to store it and you don’t have to worry about taking care of it. But it might not be the most economical choice.

You can rent a pressure washer at a home center for about $40 to $100 per day. You can buy a good electric model for about $150 and a gas model for about $350. So if you’re going use it a lot, you may be better off buying one. Using it at least three times per year could be less expensive than the cost of a rental, depending on what kind of pressure washer you get.

Electric pressure washers are good for smaller jobs like patio furniture, a small deck, or walkways. Consumer Reports recommends the Greenworks pressure washer for $190.

If you’ve got bigger areas to clean, like a large deck, you might want to spend more money for a gasoline powered pressure washer. But there’s an important safety concern to think about. CR currently doesn’t recommend any gasoline powered pressure washers because they come with a red zero-degree pressure nozzle that creates a pinpoint stream. It’s not necessary for cleaning and can be dangerous.

But if you do opt for a gasoline pressure washer, CR advises throwing out the zero-degree nozzle immediately to be sure no one in your household uses it.

In Consumer Reports’ tests, the Generac rated Excellent for cleaning a range of different surfaces and offered very good pressure. It costs about $350.

Consumer Reports says whether you rent or buy a pressure washer, it’s important to be safe. Be sure to wear closed-toe shoes, safety goggles, and hearing protection whenever you’re using it. And never use a pressure washer to clean a roof. It’s dangerous to operate a pressure washer on a ladder, and it can damage the roof.

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