Is it worth your while to rent a pressure washer instead of buying one? If you do rent a pressure washer, what will it cost? Seeing as most pressure washers are rented out hourly, how do you maximize your time with the equipment? We’ll explain the pros and cons of renting and give you our tips on how to make your rental work for you, if that’s what you choose.
Should I Buy or Rent a Pressure Washer?
If you want to use a pressure washer you have a choice between buying one, renting one, or hiring a professional. Each option has advantages and disadvantages. Which is best for you will depend on your priorities. Here’s a quick rundown on the advantages and disadvantages of each option.
Reasons to Rent a Pressure Washer
Generally, renting is best for those who are starting out or who use a pressure washer once or twice a year.
- Short-Term Lower Cost: In the short term, renting a pressure washer is less expensive. We break the cost down later in this article, but in general, you can expect renting to cost somewhere between a fifth and a third of the price of buying. So, you can rent three times the cost of buying.
- No Maintenance: When renting you don’t have to worry about maintaining or winterizing the pressure washer. You also don’t need to worry about the costs of repairs. That being said, many rental places do expect you to clean up the pressure washer before you bring it back in, so there is some maintenance.
- Try it Out: Many people rent pressure washers before buying so that they can try out the type or model they’re considering. This is especially valuable if you don’t know how much pressure you need to complete the project you have in mind. If a rental isn’t powerful enough, you can swap it out for a stronger pressure washer.
- Update Your Model: If a new pressure washer has come out, you don’t have to sell your old one and buy the new one to try it out. That is, assuming your rental place is carrying it.
- No Storage: One of the hassles of owning a pressure washer, especially a large gas model, that it needs to be stored. It’ll take up a lot of space, so if you’re in an apartment or you’re low on storage, a rental may be your best bet.
Disadvantages of Renting
Renting isn’t as convenient as owning, here are the downsides:
- Availability: People tend to do most of their pressure washing in the spring and fall when they’re preparing for summer entertaining or preparing for winter. As a result, pressure washer rentals tend to be busy at this time. You may not be able to get the washer model you want or the accessories you need if you rely on renting.
- Long-term Higher Cost: Pressure washing is addictive, at least to us. The cost of renting will quickly stack up, even if you only use it two or three times a year.
- Extensive Planning: Pressure washer rentals are typically by the hour. If you’re doing a big project, such as pressure washing a pool or your back deck, you may need to plan carefully to avoid racking up charges. The best course of action is typically to do all of your prep work before you go pick up the pressure washer.
- Learn Quickly: It may take you some time to learn how to use your pressure washer. When you’re renting, you’re paying for that time. If you own your pressure washer, you have all of the time you want.
Reasons to Buy a Pressure Washer
Buying a pressure washer may be a better bet for you if you are pressure washing frequently.
- Low Costs Long-Term: While buying a pressure washer is expensive upfront, if you use it frequently it is less expensive than renting.
- Flexibility: You don’t have to wait for the rental place to open, worry about how long you’ll be pressure washing for, or wait for someone else to return the pressure washer when you own it.
- Model: Choose the exact model you want and know that no one else has made it less effective by mishandling it. There are a wide variety of pressure washer models out there. From beginner, intermediate, and professional systems and setups.
- Accessories: Also, when you buy your pressure washer, you’ll add on the accessories you need, and only the accessories you need.
Disadvantages of Buying
Buying your pressure washer isn’t all upsides. Here are a few disadvantages:
- Maintenance: Pressure washers need maintenance, including winterization, in order to stay in working condition. If you buy, that’ll be your responsibility.
- Repairs: If you break the pressure washer, you won’t be covered by insurance, as you might when renting, so you’ll need to pay for that.
- Replacement: Need a more powerful pressure washer? You could sell your current pressure washer and buy a new one, but that’s a lot of time and likely, wasted money.
Reasons to Hire a Pressure Washer Pro
The third option is to hire a pressure washer professional who brings their own equipment and does your project for you. This is simpler than either buying or renting, as you don’t have to lift a finger or even learn how to operate the pressure washer. This saves you time, energy, and storage space for the pressure washer.
On the other hand, there are disadvantages to hiring someone. It’s more costly, in the long run, to hire someone. If they don’t have insurance, you may end up paying for any damage they cause.
To make your decision between hiring, buying and renting, it is a wise idea to consider which projects you’ll be doing and how often, as that is a major factor in your decision.
How Much Does it Cost to Rent?
What’s the cost of renting a pressure washer? It depends. There may be pressure washer rental places near you that charge as little as $40 for a four-hour rental or as much as $100. It will depend on their equipment and policies. Generally, as the cost of a low-end pressure washer is $300, you can get six or more rental periods (of four hours) for the price of the machine. High-end pressure washers are typically much more expensive to rent, reflecting their higher price point, but you can still expect six or more rental periods for the cost. The problem is typically that you’ll need more than four hours to complete your project, so you should base your estimation on the daily rate.
The Cost of Renting a Pressure Washer from Home Depot
Home Depot is a major renter of pressure washers. Their prices range slightly across the country, but they’re typically within a few dollars of this cost:
Cheapest electrical model:
- $27 for four hours
- $39 per day
- $156 per week
- $468 per month
Most expensive gas model:
- $68 for four hours
- $97 per day
- $388 per week
- $1,164 per month
Other major home improvement retailers, including Lowes, also offer pressure washer rentals, but they don’t list their prices. We suggest you compare all of the companies near you to find the best deal.
Your Pressure Washer Projects
Here are some pressure washer projects you might be interested in and our recommendation on whether the projects merit a rental or purchase. By the way, if you suspect that you’ll want to do three or more of these projects, you’ll probably want to buy in order to save money.
- Washing your car: Washing your car is a simple pressure washer project. It doesn’t even take much pressure, which means you can get away with buying a cheaper pressure washer. That being said, if you only wash your car once a year, renting is a wiser option. The lower PSI pressure washers are cheaper to wash too.
- Cleaning your siding: If you have vinyl siding, it only needs to be cleaned every two years, which makes it an obvious case for a rental. That being said, you may end up cleaning it more regularly if you are coastal and get a lot of humidity, it increases mold growth.
- Washing your gutters: Pressure washing gutters is a job you’ll have to do on any home you own, but infrequently. If you have a lot of mature trees nearby you may have to do it twice or more times a year, but the typical home only needs it once. That being said, gutters don’t need a lot of PSI, so the pressure washer will be cheap. If you plan to be in your home for a while, buying I likely best.
- Cleaning interlocking: Those who have interlocking know that it’s hard to keep the weeds at bay unless you have a pressure washer. Regular pressure washing will also help keep the stones clean. You should expect to pressure wash your interlocking every three months in the summer, which means buying a pressure washer for this task is wisest.
- Washing your wooden deck: Wooden decks don’t need as much maintenance as interlocking. You’ll find yourself washing a deck once or twice a year. However, it does take skill to be gentle enough on wood. If this is your only pressure washer project, you might consider hiring someone.
- Cleaning your garage floor: A pressure washer sure makes fast work of a messy garage or workspace. Mechanics, woodworkers, and furniture refinishers will all appreciate a pressure wash on their floor. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional, you likely clean your garage floor frequently, and don’t find it worthwhile to drive out to get equipment just to clean, so owning the pressure washer is best.
- Washing your pool or spa: Washing out a pool or spa is a lot of work, but you do it infrequently. Unless you have a problem with algae, you might pressure wash your pool once a year. Still, it’s a big job when you do, maybe taking two days. Depending on what you can get a rental pressure washer for, it might be wiser to buy it.
Thinking of another project we don’t have listed. Follow the general rule that if you think you’ll do it more than twice a year, buying is probably better. If you’re taking on temporary projects, like cleaning your outdoor space before you sell your home, it’s wiser to rent out a pressure washer.
Everything You Need to Get A Rental
Have you decided to rent a pressure washer? Make the most of your time and your money with these tips.
1. Shop Around
Don’t just rent from the first retailer you find that offers pressure washers, especially not if that place charges significantly more than what we’ve listed below. While you are comparison shopping, be sure to look into the company’s other policies. What happens if you damage the pressure washer? What happens if you return it late? Are there any other hidden fees? Does it come with soap or accessories?
2. Choose the Right PSI, Accessories, and Soaps
Don’t take the sale person’s word for how powerful a pressure washer you need. Do some quick research on the kind of projects you’re doing and how your material, be it car paint, concrete, or siding, responds to different pressures. We have guides that explain the right PSI, accessories, and soaps you need for your project.
3. Reserve the Pressure Washer
If you’re doing a spring-cleaning project, pressure washer rental demand will be high. The sooner you can reserve the pressure washer the better. This is even more important if you’re doing time-sensitive work, like cleaning your siding before selling your home.
4. Do Your Prep Work
Most pressure washer rentals are by the hour, so you want to minimize the time you have with the equipment. We suggest you do your prep work the day before, so you can get to work the moment you get the pressure washer. For example, when pressure washing your pool, drain it and let it dry the day before. Apply the soap or release agent before you go get the washer.
Ready to Buy a Pressure Washer Do you want to buy a pressure washer instead? Check out our list on the best pressure washers for DIYers. If you are only in need of a washer for a few projects a year then something easy and affordable like a SunJoe system might be a good fit for you.