A pressure washer with settings for cars and siding

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Pressure washers come in handy for cleaning decks, walks, and driveways, but their high-pressure sprays could make short work of your car’s glossy paint job if you’re not very careful. Until recently, that is. Generac’s $450 OneWash, announced at last year’s GIE Expo, has a dial on the console that lets you switch easily between typical pressure-washing settings and a low-pressure one for cars, painted siding, and other delicate surfaces. And this year, Briggs & Stratton has announced a similar approach but with a dial at the end of the cleaning wand—negating the need for nozzle tips.

The Briggs & Stratton 3,000-psi gas pressure washer with POWERflow+ Technology, $400, can deliver up to five gallons a minute for the toughest stains, and it’s powered by the company’s 190-cc Professional Series overhead-valve engine. But key to the product’s attraction is a dial (shown below) that attaches to the end of the wand in place of nozzle tips, which can get lost. In all, it has seven settings for a variety of needs, as opposed to the Generac’s four. But what we'd like to see, standard on the Generac, are low-oil and water indicators and, especially, a low-oil shutdown that protects the engine from overheating.

In a demo we saw at last week’s GIE Expo, we liked the product’s extended reach for cleaning shutters and trim on the second floor of a home. Other pressure washers can reach up to higher floors, but they typically can’t keep the stream from fanning out so much that it has little pressure for removing stains.

Of large home centers and big box stores, the product will sell exclusively at Lowe’s, shipping in early 2014. But it will also sell at a number of smaller retailers and dealerships.

Looking for a pressure washer? See our latest coverage on the subject, which includes our buying guide. Also see how to use it safely; the accompanying video is also shown below.

—Ed Perratore

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