What to look for when buying a Pressure Washer & Surface Cleaner

What to look for when buying a Pressure Washer & Surface Cleaner

Your Guide to Buying a Pressure Washer & Surface Cleaner

We understand that when it comes to buying a pressure washer - sometimes known as a jet washer, power washer or surface cleaner – that the choice of models and features available can be a little bewildering.  From engine type through to bar rating, PSI and litres per minute water flow.  What really matters when it comes to pressure washing, block paving cleaning, patio cleaning, driveway cleaning, car parks, and decking? 

At Spinaclean we specialise in commercial medium to heavyweight powered pressure washers and surface cleaners, ideal for everyday professional use.  So whether you are a starting a pressure washing business, are already a professional exterior cleaning specialist looking for a faster more reliable machine, or a facilities manager, responsible for the upkeep of large car parking areas; then we have the ideal system for you!

Our exclusive slipStream™ pressure washer and surface cleaner packages deliver fast and effective results whilst their quality build ensures reliable performance day after day and year after year.


Here are some of the common questions we cover in this article: 


Pressure washer specifications explained


What is better, electric or petrol driven pressure washers? 

Electric Pressure Washers are typically better suited for light to medium-duty cleaning projects, such as domestic driveways and patios.  Ideal for the homeowner or new business start-up, these machines tend to be lighter, quieter and easy to manoeuvre.  Whilst easy to maintain, awkward trailing cables and the need for safe access to power sockets makes them less suited to larger commercial projects.

Petrol driven Pressure Washers are ideally suited for medium to heavy-duty domestic and commercial cleaning projects.  Packing more of a punch than electric models, they are faster and more effective at powering through stubborn dirt, algae and stains across a range of surfaces such as block paving and concrete.  With no trailing power cables, and a more robust, heavy-duty build, petrol pressure washers are better suited for everyday professional use and large scale commercial projects such as car parks and public walkways.  Whilst the onboard petrol engine gives the system the freedom to operate anywhere, it does make it heavier, noisier and will require ongoing maintenance (Oil change, spark plugs, filter and draining).


Why are some petrol engines more expensive than others?  

Well, this all boils down to the build quality!  At Slipstream™ our pressure washer systems are engineered for efficiency and built to last.  All our heavy-duty systems have a gearbox as standard to prevent wear and tear on the pump and to save fuel, along with a low oil shut down function to avoid unnecessary damage.  We only use quality components from world-renowned specialists such as Honda, for long-lasting reliable petrol engines, and Interpump, the Italian high-pressure pump and hydraulic component specialists.  When pressure washing is your business it pays to invest in quality equipment!


What does Bar, PSI and LPM mean in pressure washers?  

  • Bar is the energy or force with which water is projected against a surface.  The higher the Bar, the greater the force and consequently the ability to remove stubborn dirt from outdoor surfaces. 
  • PSI or “pounds per square inch” is another measurement used to gauge the energy with which water is propelled from the system.  As with Bar, the higher the number, the greater the cleaning capability.  
  • Finally, LPM, or “litres per minute” refers to the flow rate of water leaving the system, and as before, the higher the flow rate the greater the quantity of water-driven against the area being cleaned.   

In essence, high Bar & PSI ratings mean more pressure and ability to cut through stubborn dirt.  High LPM means more water flow to wash the dirt.


Is there an easy way to compare Pressure Washers?  

Unfortunately comparing pressure washers on like for like basis using Bar and LPM isn’t that straight forward. 

Bar, PSI and LPM can vary from model to model and for a number of different reasons but there is an industry-standard equation used to help level the playing field.  It’s LPM x Bar /600.  The higher the end number, the more powerful the machine.  To illustrate this, we’ve applied the calculation to our best-selling slipStream™ Pro 20s and 20 X.

  • Honda slipStream™ Pro 20 with 20” Surface Cleaner: 15LPM x 250 Bar /600 = 6.25
  • Honda slipStream™ Pro 20 X with 22” Surface Cleaner: 18LPM x 210 Bar /600 = 6.3

Generally speaking, a medium-duty system delivers around 12LPM, a heavy-duty range 15LPM and an extra heavy-duty 18LPM.  


What is a Rotary Flat Surface Cleaner?

A Rotary flat surface cleaner is a pressure washer attachment, used to thoroughly deep clean large surface areas, such as driveways and patios, using high powered rotating water jets.  Thanks to its circular domed and skirted design, the surface cleaner head delivers exceptionally fast, effective and uniform cleaning results with minimal mess.  It really is as simple as walking in a straight line!

We have paired our pressure washer systems with the perfect sized surface cleaner, for their power and water output, however other sized rotary surface cleaners are available.  Always check before purchasing that your pressure washer system is powerful enough to support a larger surface cleaner.


Does a pressure washer run off a mains tap? 

No, not a professional high-powered system.  Operating at a significantly higher LPM output than the standard mains tap which is 4-6LPM, the pressure water needs immediate access to a larger volume of water.  We recommend filling a large container such as a wheelie bin.


What's the Right Pressure Washer for me? 

As specialist suppliers to exterior cleaning professionals and facilities managers, our Slipstream range caters towards Medium to Extra Heavy Duty use.  


Medium Duty Pressure Washers: 

  • Ideal machines to start-up a pressure washing business on a tight budget or those looking to add additional services (such as window cleaners, gutters cleaners, patio cleaners and handymen). Ideal for residential and smaller commercial properties to clear through moss, dirt and grime across a range of surfaces such as block paving, Indian sandstone, concrete and tarmac.
  • A homeowner looking for commercial grade equipment, for quick and professional results.
  • Efficient and reliable, with the capacity for approx. 250sqm of block paving cleaning per day.

slipStream™ Systems Available:


Heavy Duty Pressure Washers:

  • Ideal for professional exterior cleaners and specialist pressure and jet washing service providers. Fast, effective and reliable performance time after time after time…
  • For residential and commercial properties for patios, driveways, car parks and public walkways across a range of surfaces such as block paving, Indian sandstone, concrete and tarmac.
  • Fast, efficient and reliable. Capable of cleaning upwards of 300sqm of block paving per day.

slipStream™ Systems Available:


Extra Heavy Duty Pressure Washers:

  • Ideal for large scale commercial and industrial projects such as shopping centres, large factories and warehouses, airports and train stations etc
  • Quickly and efficiently covering large surface areas for the effective concrete, tarmac, and block paving cleaning.
  • Incredibly fast, efficient and reliable. Capable of cleaning upwards of 400sqm of block paving per day.

slipStream™ Systems Available:

slipstream Pressure Washer Comparison chart

Originally Published on 18th May 2020