Pressure washer: Should you rent or buy?

SAN ANTONIO – If you didn't get to it in the spring, fall is a great time to clean up the deck, the walkways and patio furniture.   

A pressure washer can make light work of tough jobs.

Question is, should you rent or buy?  

Renting a pressure washer has its perks. You don't have to store it or worry about maintaining it, but it might not be the most economical choice.

"You can rent one at a Home Center for $40 to $100 a day. But you can buy a good electric model for about $150 and a gas model for $350," said John Galeotafiore, of Consumer Reports. "So, if you're going to use it a lot, you may be better off buying one."

Using it three times a year could beat the cost of renting -- depending on whether you need an electric or gas model.

"Electric pressure washers are good for smaller jobs. Say you want to do your patio furniture. Say you have a smaller deck or smaller patio and some small walkways," Galeotafiore said.

Consumer Reports recommends the Greenworks Pressure Washer for $190. 

If you have bigger jobs, you may want to spend more on a gas-powered machine, but there are safety concerns to consider.

"We currently don't recommend any gas-powered pressure washers because they all come with a red, zero degrees pressure nozzle, and that creates a pinpoint stream that we really don't feel is necessary for cleaning, and it can be dangerous," Galeotafiore said.

If you do opt for a gas-pressure washer, Consumer Reports advises throwing away the zero-degree nozzle. Tests found a $35 generic model did an excellent job cleaning. 

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Marilyn Moritz

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