Outdoor Cleaning Equipment

Power (Pressure) Washers

When shopping for a power (pressure) washer here are some helpful tips. Probably the biggest thing you'll want to look for is whether or not to get an electric or gas powered one. The two big differences in these are power and noise. The gas powered power washer has more psi (pounds per square inch) and thus makes washing things quicker but along with this power comes added noise. With a drop in almost 1000 psi between the two types is made up in not having to wear ear protection. The gas powered washer runs at a constant sound level that will increase as you actually begin washing things while the electric washer will actually "turn off" when you are not actually washing anything.

These three websites will help people in making the purchase of a power washer because they are all fairly objective with their information and are not controlled by one single company.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Consumer Search
  2. Consumer Report
  3. Pressure Washers Direct

Power Blowers

When looking to buy a power blower, it may be helpful to keep a few things in mind. Consider how much maintenance you are willing to put into the tool. Gas powered blowers require more maintenance than electric blowers and tend to be heavier. Backpack blowers distribute the weight of the blower differently, and may be a better choice for you than a handheld blower. Also consider the area you will need to use the blower on and whether electric outlets are accessible there. The types of blower attachments should also be considered. A flat attachment is used more to move debris, while a round attachment is used better to break up debris. Also, not all blowers vacuum up as well as blow. Be sure to look for this feature if you want it before you buy a blower. Additionally, consider the level of noise you and your neighbors can handle while you use your power blower. There are four types of power blowers: electric handheld, gas handheld, gas backpack and gas wheeled.

Electric handheld blowers are best for small to medium sized areas where work takes place near an outlet. These blowers are least noisy for neighbors and are good for users who need a tool that doesn’t require a lot of arm strength. The motor’s cord can be a hassle to maneuver and typically limits a user to working near an outlet. These blowers range in price from 30 to 100 dollars.

A gas handheld blower is best for small to medium sized areas with obstacles or where some of the work takes place far from an outlet. This type of blower is pricier, ranging from 80 to 220 dollars. It is also noisier, heavier and requires pull-starting and maintenance.

A gas backpack blower is best for areas one-half acre or larger with obstacles. This type of blower is also great for those that need a tool that doesn’t require much arm strength. These blowers have added air power, but are also noisier, require pull-starting and maintenance. This type of blower doesn’t have a vacuum mode. Gas backpack blowers range from 200 to 450 dollars.

Gas wheeled blowers are best for areas one-half acre and larger where great blowing power is needed. This type of blower is pricey, heavy, difficult to maneuver, and noisy. Most require about 8 square feet of storage space. Gas wheeled blowers don’t have a vacuum mode and range from 650 to 1,300 dollars.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Consumerreports.org, Blower Types
  2. mySimon Consumer Reports Leaf Blowers
  3. Leaf Blowers-Power Blowers?

Snow Blowers

Some of the newest snow blowers are larger and more capable, yet easier to control. Many also cost less, thanks to price pressure from major retailers such as Home Depot, Lowe's, and Sears.

Two-stage models are the largest of these machines. Unlike smaller, single-stage models, which rely solely on a rubber-edged auger to move and disperse snow, as well as to provide some pulling power, two-stage models add drive wheels and a fanlike impeller to help disperse what they pick up. But you don’t need the biggest snow blower to get good clearing. Some advances include easier steering and chute controls. You'll also find easy-handling electric models for smaller driveways.

Major brands include Ariens, Craftsman (Sears), Honda, Husqvarna, John Deere, Simplicity, Toro, Troy-Bilt, Yard Machines, and Yard-Man. While two-stage snow throwers all have a gas engine, single-stage models are sold in both gas and electric versions.

There are many things to consider when looking for a snow blower. Don’t be fooled by thinking that the more horsepower the better and always try the controls to see what you like.

Top Online Resources:

  1. Snow blowers Direct – Your online snow blower superstore
  2. Consumerreports.org – snow blowers
  3. Snow throwers – shop at mysimon.com