Understanding the True Value of Pressure Washers: Separating Hype from Reality

Pressure washers – the neat freak’s Swiss Army knife – have rapidly grown in popularity and availability in recent years due to their ability to quickly, effectively and efficiently clean various surfaces. However, with the plethora of options available on the market, it’s essential to understand the driving forces behind the pressure by separating the hype from reality. In this article, we will delve into the technical aspects of pressure washers, such as performance, materials, and the value-added features that can make your life easier. Before your next purchase or upgrade, let’s break down the following:

  1. Performance  
  2. Reliability
  3. Hype vs. Value-added features

1. Performance

When it comes to the performance of a pressure washer, we need to understand the transformation that is happening. What is creating this transformation and what is the end result? Let’s look at the most critical component inside of your pressure washer – the motor – and why “pure pressure” should not be your only consideration.

1.1 Induction vs. Universal (Brushed) Motors:

The majority of representations on shelves today feature one of two motor types – induction or some variation of a brushed motor (commonly referred to as a universal motor). 

The type of motor used in a pressure washer plays a significant role in its overall performance, output and lifespan of the machine. Induction motors are known for their durability and are commonly found in “heavy-duty” machines. They offer higher efficiency, quieter operation, and can withstand continuous use for extended periods – making them the ideal choice for regular use or larger operations If you have a large property that requires frequent cleaning, we recommend you consider an induction machine. On the other hand, universal motors (brushed motors) are extremely common due to their affordability. They are found in the majority of consumer pressure washers and dominate retail shelves. They can often match the output specifications of induction motors however, using them for prolonged periods is not ideal and could drastically reduce the lifespan of the machine. Washing your car or hosing down some furniture for the summer? Then a universal motor might be all you would need.

1.2 Pressure vs. Flow Rate:

Understanding the relationship between pressure and flow rate is crucial for selecting the right pressure washer for you. Pressure, measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) or BAR, determines the force at which the water is ejected. Higher pressure enables the efficient removal of stubborn dirt and grime. Flow rate on the other hand, often measured in gallons per minute (GPM), determines how much water is ejected at the rated pressure. A higher flow rate allows for faster cleaning of larger surfaces. 

Kranzle pressure washers, for example, offer models with adjustable pressure and flow rate settings, allowing you to tailor the cleaning power based on the task at hand. For instance, if you’re using a Kranzle pressure washer to wash your car, you can adjust the pressure to effectively remove dirt without damaging the vehicle’s paint. Similarly, when cleaning larger surfaces like the roof of your house, a Kranzle pressure washer with a higher flow rate can help speed up the cleaning process while maintaining a safe pressure level.

2. Reliability

2.1 Thermal Protection – Air vs. Water-Cooled Motors:

During prolonged use, pressure washers can generate a significant amount of heat. In pressure washers, similar to a lot of other electrical and mechanical components, this heat can drastically shorten the lifespan of your machine or compromise the integrity of the part.

Again we have to consider the different use scenarios to determine what best suits your needs, and of course – your budget. For short bursts of water, like washing your car, overheating should not be an issue. Washing the paving in your driveway, however is a different story. So what method of cooling should you be looking for?

Air-cooled motors use cooling fans to dissipate the heat. They are the most common method of cooling found in budget or entry-level machines and offer decent thermal protection for occasional use. However, they may struggle to handle continuous heavy-duty cleaning tasks.

Water-cooled motors, on the other hand, circulate water around the motor to maintain a safe operating temperature. These motors offer superior thermal protection, making them more reliable for prolonged use, especially in commercial or heavy-duty applications. If you foresee extended cleaning sessions or heavy use, investing in a pressure washer with a water-cooled motor is for you.

2.2 Plastic vs. Brass/Aluminium Pump:

The pump is the heart of a pressure washer, and its construction material greatly impacts reliability. You may think that this is a part hidden deep within the machine but you may be interacting with it a lot more than you think.

The pump often protrudes from the body of the pressure washer and this is where you would connect your garden hose and/or your machine’s trigger gun. As you would imagine, for most of us this is not a “connect-and-forget” scenario as you would have to disconnect and reconnect the different hoses in between uses and storing your machine. You might also be putting some tension onto this piece, twisting and pulling on the hoses during use.

Plastic pumps are commonly found in entry-level pressure washers and are sufficient for light-duty tasks. Although they are lightweight and cost-effective, the added tension or excessive pressure during use could cause the piece to crack and leak.

Aluminium or brass pumps (another key selling point of the Kranzle brand), on the other hand, are more robust and built to withstand continuous heavy-duty use. They provide excellent durability and are less likely to crack or fail under high pressure or rough use. If you require a pressure washer for frequent and demanding tasks, investing in one with an aluminium pump will ensure greater reliability and a longer lifespan.

3. Hype vs. Value-added features:

Certain features and accessories can significantly enhance the usability and convenience of a pressure washer, but just what is the hype and how does it benefit the user in the real world? Let’s be honest, most end users are not too interested in the internal mechanics of pressure washers but rather trust that investing in a well established brand means they are getting a good quality, solid performing and reliable machine. What often catches the eye are the unique features that brands love to market. After all, a “Dirt Blaster” lance sounds a lot more exciting than an “induction motor” right? We agree and whilst a dirt blaster lance can be a game changer we often get carried away, focusing on the flashy box.

Here are a few features that truly make life easier during use:

  • Hose reel: Hoses WILL get in your way and can be a pain to store away neatly. If your budget allows for it, consider a machine with a built-in hose reel.
  • Swivel connectors: Speaking of hoses, everybody that has used a pressure washer knows how to imitate a helicopter…During use they often get tangled and twisted. Swivel connectors are commonly found on more expensive pressure washers but can also be an easy and low-cost aftermarket upgrade. They allow you to quickly straighten out your hose by applying a little bit of tension and will result in an overall tangle-free experience.
  • Quick-connect couplers: These nifty little devices can save you a significant amount of time and effort when it comes to switching between different nozzles or attachments. Instead of manually screwing and unscrewing connections, quick-connect couplers allow you to effortlessly snap on and detach various accessories with a simple click. This means less downtime and more time spent getting the job done. Not to mention that the aftermarket is filled with accessories and attachments that support the quick-connect platform!
  • Detergent dispensers: Cleaning certain surfaces often requires more than just water pressure. That’s where detergent dispensers come in handy. Many pressure washers come equipped with built-in detergent tanks or dispensers that allow you to easily mix and apply cleaning agents to tackle stubborn dirt, grime, and stains. Whether you’re washing your car, patio, or outdoor furniture, having a detergent dispenser ensures that you can achieve a thorough and effective clean with minimal hassle.

In conclusion, understanding the technical aspects of pressure washers and separating the hype from reality is crucial when making a purchase or upgrade. The performance, reliability, and value-added features we discussed hopefully give you a better understanding of what to look or ask for the next time you have to invest in a machine. As a trusted source of quality tools and equipment, DÜ Paint & Tool is also proud to offer a range of the aforementioned Kranzle brand of pressure washers in South Africa. You can visit the range here or contact us for more information.


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