A Pressure Washer Trailer Buyer’s Guide

  • February 24, 2020
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Efficiency is everything when it comes to professional pressure washing. The pressure washer trailer and other important equipment you choose will be in use all day, every day, so they need to stand up to wear and tear. 

Read on, and we’ll show you the best pressure washer trailers — what you need, what to look for, how much you’ll spend, and how to maintain your investment.

A small pressure washer trailer with a Honda engine

Types of Pressure Washers

When buying pressure washers for commercial use, look for a trailer-mounted, gas-powered model with an industrial engine. Anything less, and the unit simply won’t deliver the pressure you’re looking for. The engine output should be at least 22 horsepower; almost all commercial-grade pressure washers have engines from Honda, Briggs and Stratton, Kohler, or Generac.

If you’re reading this article, you already know that the larger commercial units are trailer-mounted. Truck-mounted or consumer-grade pressure washers might offer some extra mobility, but they aren’t up to the task for professionals. 

A pressure washer trailer can be hitched to different trucks, left at the site and used independently of your vehicle, and is also easier to repair. If you prefer, you can buy a skid-mounted pressure washer. This is an independent unit that can be secured to a trailer or vehicle. If you already have a trailer you prefer to use, a pressure washer skid would be a good choice.

Size, Power, and Capacity 

Your pressure washing unit’s power is determined by PSI (pounds per square inch) and GPM (gallons per minute). Commercial-quality packages will output at least 2800 PSI, if not higher, and 3-4 GPM. The exact power you choose will depend on the type of jobs you’re targeting, but choose carefully. If you cut corners and go too low, the unit will be inefficient. Go too high, and it can actually damage the items you’re trying to clean. Sometimes you want to strip paint and sometimes you don’t.

When it comes to water capacity, the tank should hold enough water for one hour of washing time. For example, a water tank that can hold 200 gallons will provide just under an hour of washing time to a 4 GPM pump. Any less, and you’ll need to keep stopping work to fill up the tank – defeating the purpose of a mobile, portable pressure washer trailer.

You’ll also need a big fuel tank to power that gas-burning commercial engine, and smaller tanks to hold detergent and cleaning chemicals. Properly equipped pressure washer trailers will have all of these built-in.

Pressure washing software with online booking can help your business grow

What Do the Best Pressure Washer Trailers Have in Common?

Not all pressure washer trailers are created equal. First of all, choose a unit with a hot water burner. Using hot water means better results faster, as the added heat breaks down dirt and organic material. This is the only difference between strictly pressure washing and power washing — a power washer uses heat.

The reel is another important component. This is how you wind and unwind the washer hose for use. Most pressure washer reels are hand-cranked, but electrically-reeling and spring-driven models are also available. While hand cranking reels are the most popular, automatic winding is nice to have, especially if your hose is long. 

Don’t forget to look at the features of the trailer itself, as well. The trailer should have lockable storage for your tools and pressure-washing accessories. This will make it possible to leave the trailer at your job site and keep your valuables secure. Also consider what kind of driving you’ll be doing: if you’ll be taking it on the highway, even a little bit, full-size wheels are crucial. And of course, safety features like breakaway brakes and LED taillights are important, too. 

What Are the Best Pressure Washer Trailer Models and Manufacturers? How Much Do They Cost?

Some of the companies behind last year’s top commercial pressure washers are Generac, Yamaha, Honda, and Pressure Pro. When deciding on a model, go in armed with information and have specific sizes, features, and capacities in mind. If you choose a suitable model from a respected manufacturer, you’re making a safe choice. 

Skid-mounted pressure washers will run between $5,000 and $8,000 – and then you need to consider the cost of the trailer. However,  you can start with a smaller all-in-one trailer that may run between $3,500 and $4,500 if you’re on a budget.

While you can buy used, new pressure washer trailers are a good idea when they’re for your business. You’ll get more years of use out of them, and you’re covered by the manufacturer’s warranty should anything go wrong. Similarly, building your own pressure washer isn’t a great idea, as these are complex machines that can be dangerous if not well-made. Building a trailer is not difficult, but piecing together component parts that need to withstand high pressure is a job best left to the manufacturers.

How Long Will It Last? How Much Will It Cost to Maintain or Repair It?

Maintaining your commercial pressure washer is similar to maintaining a car. Wear and tear is inevitable when you’re dealing with a piece of high-powered machinery. A proactive approach to repairs, including cleaning and replacement of parts, will help you get the best possible value from your investment. When you see a leak or you think you are losing pressure, troubleshoot it by referencing your owner’s manual.

If you can find a company in your area to provide regular tune-ups, you can often catch issues before they become too big of a problem – or too expensive to fix.

What Are Some Good Models to Start With?

As an example, here are three units from Simpson. This gas and hot water model has 4,000 PSI, 4 GPM, and is $7,999. By contrast, this model has similar stats, but uses cold water, and is $2,000 cheaper. The budget model is under $4,000, but also uses cold water and is much less powerful. 

As we mentioned, the right option for you will depend on your budget, location, and the type of jobs you take on. Focusing on the power and features you need from a trustworthy manufacturer will help you find a unit you can depend on for years to come. 

Other Tools for Managing Your Pressure Washing Business

Having the right pressure washer trailer is only part of running a successful business. As a business owner, you know that customer service is everything, and smooth and organized operations are paramount to creating positive experiences for your clients.

Along with good quality hardware, purpose-built pressure washing software can help your pressure washing business thrive. Features like online booking can help you differentiate yourself and book more jobs. Read our ebook about online booking, or read about how The Cleaning Company uses Vonigo’s software to manage their commercial pressure washing business.