So if you want to extend the life of your top power washer – by protecting it from rust, dust, the sun and small animals – you’re in the right place.
Here’s what we’ll look at:
- Why you need a pressure washer cover
- What material and size/fit it should be
- When and how to use it; and,
- Which is the best one on the market and where to get it at the best price.
Why Cover Your Pressure Washer?
Even if you keep your pressure cleaner in a storage cabinet in your garage, it still makes sense to cover it with a protective storage cover.
Because for $15 – $20 it is cheap protection from moisture/rust, dust and small animals getting into it chewing the wires. You probably cover your BBQ, so why not your power washer engine/pump and electrics?
The iron in steel can rust causing weakness in the metal and increasing risk of failure while in use.
All pressure cleaners contain steel in some form: the frame, screws, engine parts, wand etc. Steel is mostly iron and small amounts of carbon (and sometimes chromium, molybdenum and others). When you leave the pressure washer out in the rain, for example, it speeds up the rusting because it is exposed to lots of moisture, which combined with oxygen is all rust needs. Since you can’t protect it from oxygen your best bet is to keep it dry when not in use.
Here’s why dust sucks:
- Electric Motors
- Get into electric motor and cause overheating and inefficiency
- Dust is conductive and can interfere with electric current supplying motor
- Small Gas Engines
- Get into your gas engine air filter messing up air-fuel ratios
- Get inside engine cause extra wear and decrease life
The best power washer cover is a quick and easy way to protect it from dust that it makes no sense not to.
If you store your pressure washer outside the sun can pose a serious threat. Your power washer should definitely be covered if stored outside…
…The heat and UV rays will start to breakdown the paint not only changing the color but also exposing metal to moisture and risk of rust. Also if a bird poops on it and it is left for a while it could take you a lot of time and effort to clean it off, which is a hassle.
A few months back, I went into my shed to grab one of my older pressure washers. When I started to pull it out of the corner I saw 4 mice jump out from under and run for the edge of the shed. To be honest, I hadn’t ever thought of mice hanging out in and around my pressure cleaner, but they do…
…And they can be a menace. Chewing on wires, cables, hoses and other essential components causing you to make annoying replacements and repairs.
With a correct fitting cover this is not a problem.
What Material Should the Cover Be?
Getting a cover made from the wrong material is a big no-no.
Because it could trap moisture causing your pressure washer to rust faster. We want to keep moisture out, not in.
But this can be a difficult thing to achieve as waterproof clothing brands have realized. Just like with rain jackets we want to keep rain out, yes, but we also want to have a breathability factor to allow trapped moisture to escape.
With that said, let’s compare the common materials you’ll find storage covers made from:
Textile/Fabric/Cloth vs. Plastic
The gist of this section: you’ll want a cloth cover with some form of water resistant coating (usually polyethylene). This combination allows for breathing properties while still maintaining water resistance.
Power washer cover manufacturers will often not state the exact material of their cover because it will be a combination of materials they have trademarked for their use only.
For example, one of the covers I recently bought to test is made from a trademarked material called “Weather-X”.
In most cases it will be canvas or polyester fabric with some form of polyethylene or vinyl plastic coating. Each material having their beneficial properties. Fabric breathes and plastic is waterproofing.
Product descriptions of covers will tell you there cover is:
- Water repelling: Designed so water runs off the cover quickly, before it can seep through
- Water resistant: Designed so water can’t get through – it resists the water as long as possible. So unless water pools on the cover or it’s heavy rain, the pressure washer will be safe
- Waterproof: No water can get in or out. A waterproof cover will need several layers if made from fabric and one of those layers will be either mixed, coated or entirely vinyl or polyethylene.
So here’s the recommendation:
- Indoor storage – Use fabric cover to protect from dust, small animals and allow it to breathe and not trap in moisture
- Outdoor storage – Use a fabric cover around the pressure washer and also loosely cover overtop with a more waterproof tarp… This will keep it properly protected from dust and small animals while being 100% safe in any rainstorm.
So all this begs the question – can you just use a tarp and BBQ cover, which you already own?
Can You Use a BBQ Cover or Tarp to Protect Your Power Washer?
If you have a spare BBQ cover or tarp that is a good fit and right material, you sure can use it to cover your power washer. Just keep these 3 things in mind:
Does the BBQ cover fit snug around your pressure cleaner?
Most BBQ covers will be big enough to fully cover 2 or 3 pressure cleaners. So if you want a snug fit it won’t be ideal.
What’s your BBQ cover material and cost?
Since BBQs are often stored outdoors year round the cover needs to be waterproof and rugged to protect the BBQ from rain and sun. The material used is often tougher/thicker than a power washer cover and this makes it cost lots more. A good BBQ cover will be $200 while covers for pressure cleaners are $25 or so.
Tarp material and size?
Just like the BBQ cover won’t fit properly a tarp will be far to big and will be a hassle to get it to snug fit around a power washer. Yes, you could just chuck it over the top and leave it but if you’re storing it for a few months it won’t be very useful. As long as the tarp isn’t a full on plastic material it should be fine.
Types of Covers for the Different Power Washer Styles
Pressure cleaner covers are one-size-fits-all despite the two styles of power washer: upright and wheelbarrow stances.
Check out the pictures below of how well the one-size-fits-all fits a couple of the ones in my shed.
Wheelbarrow/Horizontal stance – Simpson Megashot
When Should You Cover Your Pressure Cleaner?
Storing for Winter
After winterizing your power washer and putting it aside for the winter season be sure to cover it.
If you leave yours outdoors cover it to protect from sun
After Each Use (but wait for the engine to cool down)
It takes seconds to put the cover on so why not protect it after each use? Just be sure to wait for the engine to cool down before putting it on.
Best Pressure Washer Cover
Classic Accessories – The cover in all the pics above (and video below)
The Classic Accessories cover is the best for most people.
It is affordable, waterproof and a good material to protect your investment.
It has a buckle/strap to tighten and secure the cover around the handles of the machine and it comes in carry bag like a sleeping bag.
If you want to be able to put your machine in the garage and cover it to protect it in under a minute then this cover is a great buy.
How Waterproof is the Best Cover from Classic Accessories?
Check this 1-minute video I made to see how waterproof the cover is:
Check it out on Amazon here…
- “Classic Accessories Pressure Washer Cover” from ClassicAccessories.com
- “Textile” & “Tarpaulin” & “Polyehtylene” from Wikipedia.org to learn more about the materials commonly used in storage covers.
Jamey has been testing and reviewing top pressure washers for 7 years. He worked as a commercial pressure washer at a rendering plant for 3 years and all up has been using commercial and residential pressure washers for 15+ years. He is also a mechanical engineer and while working in the mining industry designed several turn-key light industrial vehicle wash pads.