Are Pressure Washer Surface Cleaners Worth It?

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A pressure washer takes the drudgery out of cleaning, so no surprise a lot of people use it. But will it work better if you use a surface cleaner? A surface cleaner is attached to a pressure washer wand and emits water out of its nozzles. You might recognize it by the flat, circular shape. Is it worth getting one?

If you clean sidewalks, decks or any concrete surface, a pressure washer surface cleaner is essential. You can clean a surface up to 70% faster than a pressure washer wand and it does not leave marks or lines.

Why You Need a Pressure Washer Surface Cleaner

Pressure washer wands are good for cleaning, but a surface cleaner allows you to do much more. Yes there are many instances when a wand is sufficient. But a comparison between the two shows why surface cleaners are better.

  • A pressure washer wand can leave marks on concrete. This can be removed but takes effort. The possibility of etching concrete is reduced with a surface cleaner.
  • Due to the way we hold a pressure washer wand, its distance from the surface will vary. This is what makes it prone to leaving lines and marks. With a surface cleaner, the spray nozzle is always an inch off of the surface.
  • A surface cleaner consumes less water than a pressure washer wand. This can mean significant savings if you use it a lot.
  • Surface cleaners can do more than wash dirt from concrete. It is also effective on mud, mildew, mold and grime in general.
  • Surface cleaners wash larger areas faster. The Mekoh Surface Cleaner is 30 inches and up to 75% faster than a pressure washer wand. You get things done quicker.
  • Bottom line is if you clean concrete surfaces, a surface cleaner is required. If you do a lot of surface cleanup jobs, it is a worthwhile investment.

What Surface Cleaner Size Do I Need?

The surface cleaner size depends on the surface area, the pressure washer GPM and PSI. A pressure washer has to meet these minimum requirements.

A pressure washer surface cleaner requires 2000 PSI minimum to run. Most are rated 3000-5000 PSI. The higher the pressure washer GPM, the bigger the surface cleaner you can use.

As a general guide, here is what you need.

Surface Cleaner SizePressure Washer GPM (Recommended)Pressure Washer GPM (Minimum)
12 to 15 inches44
16-20 inches64
20-24 inches64
24-30 inches85

When it comes to surface cleaners, larger is not always better. The Taozim surface cleaner is on the small size, but 14-16 inch models are faster than a 24-30 inch surface cleaner.

If you need to clean a large area, a bigger surface cleaner is the better option. You can cover a lot of ground.

But if speed is important, use a smaller surface cleaner. A 14-16 inch model moves than a 24 inch (or larger) cleaner.

A 16-20 inch surface cleaner is good for up to 800 square feet. A 14-15 inch model is good for areas less than that. For 1000 square feet or more, get a 24 inch or larger surface cleaner.

Before you buy a surface cleaner, make sure your pressure washer has the appropriate GPM and PSI capacity. Make certain also you have the right pressure washer pump too.

What to Look For in a Pressure Washer Surface Cleaner

Your pressure washer must be at least 2000 PSI. The larger the surface cleaner, the higher the PSI and GPM capacity of a pressure washer has to be.

Size. The larger the surface cleaner, the greater the area it can clean. This will require more water and will be slower to move than a small surface cleaner. Always check the PSI and GPM capabilities of your pressure washer first.

Optimum PSI rating. A lot of surface cleaners need a minimum of 2000 PSI to run. But you need 3000-5000 PSI for optimum performance.

Nozzles. Look for a surface cleaner with 2-4 nozzles. The more nozzles, the faster and more efficient it can clean.

Apply only a surface cleaner that your pressure washer can handle. Use the table given above as a guide. Do not plug a 24 inch surface cleaner onto a 3 GPM pressure washer. The engine does not have the power to run that kind of surface cleaner.

Consumer vs. professional surface cleaners. Consumer level surface cleaners run on M22 connectors,, but Quick Connect adapters are also available.

Professional surface cleaners are meant for every day use. Unless you clean surfaces for a living, you won’t need this. Consumer grade models will be more than enough to get the job done.

Is a Bigger Surface Cleaner Always Better?

Get a large surface cleaner if your pressure washer has the specs for it. Of course it also depends on the area size you are cleaning.

In general, the larger the surface cleaner the better. Here are just some of the benefits:

You save time and money. You can cover a large area with fewer passes. You can finish the job faster and be more productive. The faster you finish, the less water consumed. This also means a lower water bill.

Large surface cleaners are less prone to clogging. You can wash a dirty surface and not worry about dirt, moss or grime blocking the nozzles. A good sized surface cleaner also does a better job of stripping old paint away.

If you clean concrete sidewalks, pavements and other surfaces, a large cleaner makes more sense. It is easier to use and does the job faster.

When Should I Use a Pressure Washer Surface Cleaner?

Use a surface cleaner when a pressure washer is not fast or powerful enough. It is an all-around tool for cleaning concrete surfaces, garage floors, decks and other flat surfaces.

Surface cleaners can be 15 times faster than a regular pressure washer wand. If you have to clean a 1000 sq. ft. or larger area, a surface cleaner makes more sense to use.

Because they come in different sizes you can pick a surface cleaner that matches your pressure washer.. Though best known for washing concrete, surface cleaners also do a good job of removing mold, old paint and other stains without surface damage.

Frequently Asked Questions

How well do pressure washer surface cleaners work?

Surface cleaners are faster than wands. It clears surfaces evenly and does not leave lines. With various sizes to choose from, it is easy to find one that works for you.

What PSI does a surface cleaner need?

The absolute minimum is 2000 PSI. That is enough to run a surface cleaner, but for the best results you need 3000-4000 PSI.

Can you use a surface cleaner on bricks?

No. A surface cleaner will discolor brick and damage it. Do not use powerful surface cleaners on brittle or delicate surfaces either.

Apart from concrete, what other surfaces can you use a surface cleaner on?

Surface cleaners can remove dirt and old paint on wood surfaces, vinyl siding, metal, patio furnishings and others.

Is it safe to use a pressure washer surface cleaner?

Yes. Just hold the pressure washer steady and do not get too near the surface cleaner and the surface it is on.

How do you prevent a surface cleaner from causing damage?

Set the surface cleaner to the lowest setting. Increase it only if necessary. Each time you increase, check if there is any damage done to the surface.

Surface cleaners are designed only for flat surfaces. Do not it on uneven surfaces because it might cause damage.

Should you buy a surface cleaner with wheels?

Surface cleaners with wheels are easier to move around. This might not be an issue if you are cleaning a small area. But for several hundred square feet, wheels are important..