Two Variations on a Pressure Washer Theme

Worx Hydroshot, Model WG629 / Credit: WorxSome cleaning jobs require more water and thrust than you’ll get from your garden hose—but less than a pressure washer would deliver. Others need a pressure washer’s power but in a broad fashion that won’t leave streaks or blotches. Both situations call for special equipment, and both Worx and Briggs & Stratton showed such specialty products at last week’s Green Industry and Equipment Expo.

WORX Hydroshot Portable Power Cleaner
Between your home’s 80-pound-per-square-inch (psi) flow and a pressure washer’s starting point of about 1,500 psi is a range that’s sometimes more appropriate for cleaning your car, boat, deck and patio furniture. The Worx Hydroshot Portable Power Cleaner , Model WG629 (above), has two speeds: one that tops off a bit higher than hose pressure, 58 to 94 psi, for watering shrubs and a beefier speed, 200 to 320 psi, for power cleaning. But these pressure ranges aren’t achieved with tapered nozzles like those you’ll see in some third-party accessories on HSN. This 3.7-pound product uses the same 20-volt MaxLithium battery used in several other Worx products for as much oomph as you need.

While you can connect a garden hose to the Hydroshot, the product can also take and filter water from a bucket or other source—if, for instance, you’re too far from a hose connection. Whatever setting, the product uses up about a half-gallon a minute. You can adjust the spray head to multiple patterns and widen or narrow it to 0-, 15-, 25- or 40-degree sprays. As those figures suggest, you could also attach a standard pressure-washer nozzle to the universal quick-connect.

The Hydroshot should be available next April for about $120 at Menard’s, Amazon and worx.com. That price includes the 20-foot siphoning hose, lance, nozzle adapter, battery and five-hour charger. A brush and soap bottle will be extra-cost options.

Briggs & Stratton Rotating Surface Cleaners
Cleaning a wide surface with a pressure washer’s typical spray can sometimes leave streaks or various ugly blotches of less-clean surface area. Briggs & Stratton, which makes several residential and commercial pressure washers, first showed its Rotating Surface Cleaners at this year’s National Hardware Show, but the latest versions were on display last week at GIE+Expo.

Briggs & Stratton Rotating Surface Cleaners / Credit: Briggs & Stratton

The cleaner, in a 14-inch version for electric washers and a 16-inch for gas, attaches to the end of your pressure washer’s wand and looks like a deep frying pan, sans handle, upside down. Rather than going to the spray nozzle, the pressurized water goes to dual rotating spray arms inside the pan—like a dishwasher’s but pointed downward. These rapidly oscillate to clean a wide circular section at a time.

Should you be washing near flowers or anything else you’re worried about destroying, not to worry; the cleaner directs the water straight down, not outward. The latest models also come with an integrated detergent tank, which sits on top and drips cleaning agent to the high-pressure spray.

Briggs & Stratton recommends its Rotating Surface Cleaner for garage floors, driveways, decks and other horizontal surfaces you’d like to have a uniformly clean look. The 14-inch Model 6337, $40, is compatible with electric-powered pressure washers up to 2,000 psi. The 16-inch Model 6338, $75, is for gas-powered washers up to 3,200 psi. Both are on sale at Amazon.

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‘Pink Out’ Ethanol Charity a Mixed Brew

gas cap with warningNext Monday marks the end of Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), during which many companies have pledged to donate a portion of profits for breast-cancer research. Among these organizations is Growth Energy, the advocacy group behind the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2011 decision to allow more ethanol into fuel sold at pumps across America. Growth Energy has partnered with Sheetz, Minnoco, Protec and Murphy USA for its annual Pink Out campaign, which covers nozzles for E15, gasoline with 15% ethanol, in pink to indicate they would donate 2 cents for every gallon sold.

The BCAM campaign generates billions overall for this vital cause. And if you’re fueling up a car of the year 2001 or later, Growth Energy’s program sounds reasonable. You might already be fueling up with E15 now and then, and you probably won’t notice the slight reduction in mileage from using a higher percentage of biofuel. But in its pitch for the Pink Out program, Growth Energy isn’t giving you the whole story. The organization claims that burning gasoline harms the environment and releases harmful gases, though the main selling point for ethanol, reduced carbon-dioxide emissions, has not stood up to scrutiny.

Outdoor gear at risk
Gassing up your vehicle is one thing; the latest fuel systems should be able to handle it. For anyone filling up a gas can for use in outdoor power equipment, however, it’s another matter. Gasoline in general can cause engine trouble if left sitting for long periods. Yet the ethanol mixed in makes engines run hotter, stiffens rubber and plastic parts, and attracts water, which at the very least hinders starting.

Manufacturers accept that their customers will use gas with 10% ethanol, E10, which is found across the country. If you use E15 in outdoor power equipment and hit trouble, though, any repairs won’t be covered by your products’ warranties—which is why you’ll see plentiful warnings to use gasoline with no more than 10% ethanol. (You’ll need them; the EPA’s pump label is not prominent.) Turning a gas nozzle pink doesn’t make it a win-win on your end, but you won’t hear that from Growth Energy or other groups running similar campaigns.

Purchases that truly help cancer research are unassailable. But if you’re going to fuel up outdoor gear, your boat or anything else with an engine smaller than an car’s, steer clear of E15 fuel. Use a list like this one from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to “shop pink” every October. Or donate year-round, no strings attached.

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