There are two basic kinds of pressure washers: gas-powered and electric. Gas-powered models are more powerful and mobile because they don’t require an electrical plug and extension cord. Electric models are typically less expensive and lighter to carry and have trigger-activated engine on/off function.
You want a machine with a pressure level between approximately 1,300 and 1,600 pounds per square inch (PSI) for general cleaning of your home’s exterior surfaces, such as siding, sidewalks, patios and patio furniture. A machine with pressure level between 1,800 and 3,000 (PSI) is for more serious work like stripping paint or stain off of siding and decks. Some jobs could require more power though, so do your research to figure out how much power you think you need. Ask an expert at your local True Value hardware store for advice, if needed.
Check the washer’s cleaning power by looking at its cleaning power units (CPU). This rating assesses cleaning power by multiplying PSI by the gallons per minute (GPM) it uses. You want a pressure washer with the highest CPU, in addition to your other considerations such as cost.