Are All Pressure Washer Guns The Same?

Approx Reading Time: 13 minutes

Pressure washers are handy cleaning machines that every homesteader needs. For those who have one already, you may be a little worried about keeping it safe from winter frost. Well, there should be no cause for alarm, especially when you have expert winterization guidelines at your fingertips. Moreover, if there is anything else that should worry you regarding taking good care of your power washer, it should be the trigger/spray gun. Pressure washers require regular maintenance to function properly and so, another question that comes to mind is, are all pressure washer guns the same? You may also be wondering if one can replace a Briggs&Stratton spray gun with a Troy Bilt, Honda or Dewalt brand.

The truth is that pressure washer kits/accessories such as spray guns and nozzles come in different shapes, designs, and colors. It always boils down to the manufacturer’s specifications. On answering the big question, are pressure washers guns the same, we can say that they are, save for slight but often insignificant structural variations. While spray guns for power washers can fit any brand, there are factors you must consider when buying a replacement gun for your Dewalt or Simpson power washer. Consider this case scenario. Your washer gun malfunctions in the middle of a cleaning routine. Do you go for any gun model provided it fits your washer or you risk downgrading efficiency of your machine?

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Well, if you are a homesteader or a handyman looking for answers to the above questions, this post is for you. Power washer spray guns are simple yet vital accessories. Without a trigger gun, the machine is useless. Thus, dive in and explore with us, everything about washer guns. While they may appear as one-size-fits-all, emerging designs speak otherwise. Manufacturers are not remaining behind in keeping up with technology in a bid to help cleaners have the best experience with accessories for power washers. Read on to learn more.

Pressure washer guns: Are they universal?

A straight-shooting answer is that pressure washer guns are universal in the sense that you can replace the old one on your machine with a spare kit from a different manufacturer. Moreover, you can turn any spray gun into a universal fitting. It is especially possible if you have the right tools and necessary connections. It lends credence to the fact a replacement trigger gun can be a different brand.

However, there are a few exceptions worth considering. When replacing pressure washer guns you may want to consider the size of your hands but there is more. First off, you should note that some features you will find in Generac spray guns do not exist in Apachemodels. Apache washer guns are arguably the most popular brands in the market today given their impressive features, including their unmatched power of spraying water.

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You can liken universality of pressure washer guns to soda’s bottle tops, most of which are one-size-fits-all. Thus, we would say that a spray gun can work on any pressure washer provided it fits. Sometimes, however, choosing the right fit for your machine depends on your cleaning needs. Cleaning stubborn stains on your outdoor grill, for example, needs a spray gun that blasts water at very high pressure.

While the design of these vital kits is universally the same hence can fit any pressure washer, gasoline-powered pressure washer guns do vary from those you find in electric power washer guns. In this case, we would be looking at a powerful machine versus one that blasts water at relatively high pressure. The argument that using a washer gun meant for electric power washers on your gasoline-powered variants may fail on performance makes sense. In this post, we will also explore factors to consider when shopping for power washer guns. For now, let’s answer the next question many people ask. When is the right time to replace spray guns?

When should you replace a pressure washer gun?

Power washers, just like lawnmowers or any other machine, do wear and tear. Thus, if you are not buying a brand new washer, you are looking at the cost of replacing broken parts such as pump, oil filter, motor, hosepipe or spray gun. If, for example, the gun on your washer has become less efficient after many years of use, replacing it becomes necessary. Another reason for buying a new gun for your washer is when it breaks down completely. Any mishap in your power washer would grind a cleaning routine to a halt. Thus, regular care and maintenance are pivotal. 

Another case scenario is when the gun you are currently using on your power washer is not doing a good job. Thus, replacing it with a spare that delivers water at high pressure should save your day. You should, however, note that clogging in pressure washer guns is not beyond redemption. Cleaning the spray gun should only take a few minutes then everything gets back to normal.

How does a pressure washer spray work?

Before you consider replacing the spray gun on your power washer, here is a question that everyone has been asking. How do trigger guns work? Technically, pressure washer spray guns or trigger guns as some people call them, are a combination of many parts into one. Thus, it is prudent that you understand the anatomy of these gadgets, including how they work before considering a replacement.

The main parts of spray guns include an outer plastic case, a control pin, a ball valve, a trigger, and a lance. Of these all, the main components are the valve and trigger. It is because they have a direct impact on the inner workings of trigger guns.  Now, onto explaining how these kits work, you should take note of the following:

It is all about the trigger and valves

When you pull the trigger, it rotates, pushing a control pin. Hence, water flows into the power washer from a hosepipe through a valve, all the way to the nozzle. Releasing the trigger locks down a ball in the value, something that prevents water from flowing. When pulling or releasing the trigger, it elicits an interaction between the valve and an-unloader valve in the pressure washer pump.

Powering on the washer without pulling the trigger lowers pressure. This is because the un-loader valve moves water from the pump’s inlet to the outlet. The un-loader value is engineered in such a way that it can sense build-up of pressure in the trigger gun hence trigger a change in the direction to which water flows. It is this mechanism that makes the un-loader valve pressure washer pumps particularly helpful whether the machine is in use or not.

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Factors to consider when buying pressure washer guns

When it comes to buying a trigger gun for your power washer, there is little room for mistakes. This is especially because any model can fit in your machine. You may, however, want to be a little cautious by taking note of a few things. For example, if you choose to modify a spray gun so that it becomes universal hence the best fit for your power washer, you will have disregarded warranty terms. Manufacturer warranty policies often state that you can only request for new repair/maintenance/replacement parts if the current ones fail due to manufacturing faults or due to wear and tear within a specified duration.

However, if you decide to replace spray guns with brand new ones, you should consider the following factors.

  • The approach you would want to take when replacing trigger guns is important. In this case, you should ask the question: Do you need the trigger/spray only or a full replacement kit? Well, we will answer this question shortly.
  • The second consideration is, do you need a residential-grade spray gun or an industrial variant?  It is another question that we attempt to answer in the next section.

Mode/replacement style

When you go out shopping for replacement spray guns, you will often notice that there are two offers on display: a spray/trigger only and full kit replacement. Thus, depending on whether you are buying a new one because the old one is damaged or you just want to replace worn-out components, make the right decision beforehand.  A full kit replacement means you are going for nozzles, the gun itself, a lance and even a hosepipe. It would, however, cost more money.  The second option is buying the gun only, in which case, it does not come with any of the said parts and tends to be a cheaper approach.

But if you ask our opinion regarding the two modes of replacement, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a full kit purchase. You would rather take care of everything soon enough before the whole component malfunctions. It saves you future costs on maintenance.

Pressure washer gun types: Industrial grade vs. residential grade spray guns

The purpose for which you need a spray gun is another factor you must consider before you go out shopping. Thus, you should ask the question; do you need an industrial-grade trigger gun or a medium residential variant? Well, industrial options are powerful hence work best with industrial-grade power washers. Moreover, industrial-grade guns for power washers are ideal for cleaning routines that require the use of hot water. You will also need them for high-pressure cleaning services.

On the contrary, home grade medium-sized trigger guns will not work effectively with highly pressurized water. They will either malfunction at the slightest fall or work agonizingly slow. You should always remember that cost is a factor that plays significance when replacing pressure washer guns. Trigger guns with high-end specifications will cost more given the quality of the valves and high-powered performance rate compared to home grade variants.

The following table breaks down the main differences between these two types of power washer guns:

 Industrial spray gunResidential spray gun
Water flow rate12 GPM7 GPM
Pressure5000 psi4000 psi
Water temperature149 degrees Celsius60 degrees Celsius
CostAverage cost $100Cost averages $40

Something you should also note about using pressure washer spray guns is that while you can use an industrial-grade trigger on residential washers, the opposite would be ill-advised. Often, you will encounter problems such as slow work rate if you use residential grade trigger guns on commercial grade power washers. Notably, most, if not all industrial power washers, are gasoline-powered. Electric pressure washers, therefore, make the perfect choice for most home cleaning activities.

Brand considerations

Another factor worth considering when shopping for replacement trigger guns is the brand. The big question everyone asks: Is there anything like the best trigger gun brand? The truth is that brand consideration often plays significance in shopping decisions. It is because some manufacturers do make superior quality trigger guns than competitors. You will also note that price varies from one brand to another depending on features a gadget packs. For someone who would wish to save a few bucks on these accessories, affordable options are a perfect choice. However, if you would rather spend a lot of money on a spray gun than buy cheap ones, go for costly brands and high-powered brands such as The Suttner ST-300. It is resistant to chemicals and allows a high flow rate at 27 GPM.

We also did a quick online search premised on brand consideration and found out the following:

  • Apache manufactures some of the best trigger guns for pressure washers. The company’s model 99023803 is particularly impressive.  Generac spray guns follow closely. They both have ergonomic features, giving you extra comfort when in use.
  • Generac and Apache spray guns are also ideal for your high-pressure washing needs. It means you can use them with industrial-grade/commercial gasoline-powered pressure washers.
  • But while both are flexible options, especially for a homesteader looking for trigger guns worth the money, they have slight variations in specs.
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Design features

Variations in the design of pressure washer guns are something you will spot almost instantly. It also plays significance in making the right choice. For example, the latest models incorporate ergonomic features to give cleaners extra comfort when handling trigger guns.

Often, handling spray guns, especially the latest models that blast water pressurized above 2000psi require a lot of energy. Ergonomic features, therefore, help reduce fatigue when using pressure washers.

What is the main cause of damage to spray guns?

You may have taken precautionary measures to protect your pressure washer trigger gun from damage but that is not enough. Sometimes, even the most careful users end up damaging these vital components of a power washer. The big question, therefore, is what is the main cause of damage?

Often, using pressure washers in dirty places is a leading cause of damage. Think about a situation where the trigger gun falls off your hands and lands on dirt. Chances are high that it picks dirt. When soil particles and other debris enter the gun through its seals, you should anticipate gun failure. The damage can be mild or adverse depending on the extent of damage to the o-rings. The o-ring being the main culprit means you should inspect them for cracks. The question is how do you do it?

Well, when checking o-rings for cracks, run clean water through them. It should make inspection easy. Most importantly, consider replacing damaged rings with new ones at a nearby service center.

Important points to note about spray guns: use and maintenance

Now, when it comes to buying replacement trigger guns for your power washer, always go for the best available. It should be your top priority, especially if you are looking to save money in the long run. But before you take the final step, take note of the following points:

  • Steer clear of cheap trigger guns, even if you want to save money. Cheap is expensive! You may end up spending a lot of money on maintenance costs because statistics show that cheap trigger guns for pressure washers break down easily and often.
  • You should clean the spray nozzle often. It prolongs the life of a trigger gun, saving you from frequent replacement.
  • Spray guns can also leak. Thus, users should check the o-ring for damage. We, however, strongly advise against using your hands to stop water from leaking. You don’t want to end up with bruises because with pressure washers regardless of where the leakage is, water often gushes out at very high pressure.
  • Experts advise that you use pressure washer guns with matching water temperature rating as the unit itself. It takes us to the differences between commercial and residential trigger guns we explored earlier in this post. Most importantly, pay close attention to the nozzle because it plays significance in letting out the pressure. In cases where water temperature exceeds 250 F, go for steam guns.

Final Thoughts

In the end, making the right decision when shopping for replacement power washer guns boils down to understanding how they work. And in echoing our answer to the big question, are all pressure washer guns the same, we say, they are to some extent. You can modify trigger guns to fit any pressure washer. Alternatively, you buy one depending on whether you have a gasoline-powered or electric pressure washer.