SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) --Pressure washers can cause serious injuries including lacerations, punctures, and eye damage. Based on the latest data, it's estimated they send more than 6,000 people a year to emergency rooms.
Ben Skidell knows all too well the dangers of pressure washers. He got a deep cut on his hand that required seven stitches. "I know tools, I'm very careful with them. I do my research before I use them. Any little slip up can lead to injury," he said.
Consumer Reports tested pressure washers and said they're typically sold with a set of interchangeable colored nozzles or a wand tip that adjusts to different settings.
Depending on the job, you can choose a spray at various angles. "We're particularly concerned about the zero-degree nozzle because it concentrates all of that power and pressure into a single pinpoint blast," Consumer Reports spokesperson Doris Sullivan said.
It's typically a red nozzle and a zero-degree setting is powerful enough that it could create a hole in a work boot if pointed in its direction.
Consumer Reports is no longer recommending any pressure washers that come with nozzles or adjustable wand tips that produce sprays of less than 15 degrees. "If you already own a pressure washer, we recommend that you get rid of the red zero-degree nozzle and if you have a spray tip with a zero-degree setting, don't use it," Sullivan said.
If you're looking to buy a pressure washer, Consumer Reports recommends a $190 electric one from Greenworks.
No matter which type of spray nozzle you are using, wear safety goggles and protective shoes. Also, never point it at a person or your pet.
Consumer Reports is published by Consumers Union. Both Consumer Reports and Consumers Union are not-for-profit organizations that accept no advertising. Neither has any commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site.
(All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2014. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)