Pressure washer: Should you rent or buy?

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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. 

About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.