What You Need To Know Before Buying A Pressure Washer

UpdatedPressure Washer Buying Guide 2015 Cover in 2015, this guide covers pumps, engines, drives, accessories, detergents and both hot and cold water pressure washers—everything you need to know to buy the right pressure washer for your application.

Download this extensive PDF here and when you’re ready to buy, check out our great selection of pressure washers and accessories.

If you’re interested in reading more about accessories, have a look at our Top 5 Pressure Washer Accessories post.


16 Replies to “What You Need To Know Before Buying A Pressure Washer”

  1. I purchased an entry level gas model from Canadian Tire a few years ago. We don’t use it very much, only to wash the driveway, the car/truck and the vinyl siding on our house. It is very hard for my wife to start, it is loud, it vibrates so bad it “travels” constantly even tho it has rubber feet and the worst part is that it does not seem to have a “bleeder” valve (this is my own description). When I take my finger off the trigger, the gas motor wants to stall because of the increased pressure build up. Is this a common “problem” with some machines or do I have a faulty machine? Although the gas motor gives you the ability to move around without an electric expention cord, for our purposes an electric would have been much easier and pleasant to use (noise, vibration, ease of starting, etc.). I am tempted to “garage sale” this one and purchase another.

    Your article contained some good info, thanks for supplying that, but did not make any mention of the “bleeder valve” issue that I have. I must either have a poorly made machine or a faulty one.

  2. Hi Wayne,

    I’ll break up your questions so it’s a bit easier for you to follow.

    Q: Why is it hard to start?
    A: If you hold down the trigger when starting, that will alleviate the pressure, making it much easier to start.

    Q: Why does it vibrate badly?
    A: Usually a pressure washer will vibrate badly because of a cheaper engine that’s not balanced properly. Also, most single or two cylinder engine are rough because there are not enough cylinders to balance out the firing of the cylinders. It’s like when you’re driving in a car with an inline-4 cylinder opposed to a V8. V8’s are much smoother because of the extra cylinders firing closer together.

    Q: Why does the pressure washer want to stall when letting go of the trigger.
    A: This can a few things, all of which point to the unloader. When you are refering to a bleeder valve, I think what you’re talking about is what’s called an unloader. Most decent pressure washers have one, but they can have a fixed unloader on more economical models. If your unloader (usually a large knob attached just off the manifold by where you hook up the hose) is tightened all the way down, there will be a large build up of pressure in the manifold which will cause this stalling problem. It could also just be a clogged or stuck unloader. Either way, you can bring it into our service shop and have them look at it.

    We have a couple different models in stock that might suit you, both of which are made by a company in Abbotsford(support local) by the name of BE Pressure Washers.

    The BE P317RX which is a great little machine that’s on sale for $399.95 this month, regular $459.99. It features their very popular and reliable 7HP Powerease motor which produces 3100 PSI @ 2.1 GPM

    We also have an electric pressure washer by BE that puts most others to shame. It has a Baldor motor (best you can buy) and a high-quality Comet pump. This would solve all of your problems with noise, vibration and starting (your wife would love an on/off switch opposed to pulling that start cord). This one is more expensive because it’s build industrially, but is totally worth it for $749.95 (Regular $829.99)

    How’s that for a convoluted answer?

    If you have any other questions, I’m here to answer.


  3. Good Day,
    Is the BE P317RX the same as the PE-3170RWX on the BE website? I just want to check the stats as you have clearly defined for us. Does the unit at KMS come with any accessories such as hose nozzels etc. The KMS website is pretty sparse on the description. Great Write up on pressure washers.

    thank you,

  4. What is the life expectancy of P317RX
    Does it have a Rotary cleaner like Briggs and Stratten.
    Is this a Honda motor
    Thank you

    • The live expectancy of the BE-P317RX is 500-600 hours. I’m not sure what you are talking about with the rotary cleaner. Are you talking about a dirt blaster or a Flat Surface Cleaner?

      Briggs and Stratton just builds low grade motors, they don’t build pressure washers. Generally speaking, if it has a Briggs and Stratton motor, it’s not a very good pressure washer.

      This pressure washer comes with a Power Ease motor which is essentially a Honda Knock-Off. It’s actually a great little motor that we’ve been selling on pressure washers for years. BE Pressure out of Abbotsford have designed and build this motor for quite a few years now. I think you’d be very happy with this pressure washer.

  5. I have the above power washer BE317 with the Power Ease engine for several years now and I’m totally satisfied with this unit. I would not hesitate to recommend it.

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