I can still hear the loud rumble of my father’s old, rusty pressure washer. He still uses it today. Now that I think about it, he might have built the thing! An exposed belt cranked the pump and pushed out some dangerous level of PSI. Watch your toes! As a kid, I learned to dread what was in store when I was tasked with pressure washing the driveway or pool deck. Seemingly endless hours, square inch by tedious square inch. An aching neck, back, and shoulders. Where was the Simpson Surface Cleaner back then? It would have freed up a big chunk of my childhood.
It wasn’t until years later that I saw a pressure washer accessory with rotating jets that reduced the work to only a tiny fraction of the time it always took me. I’ve wanted one since I’d seen it, and now that I own a bunch of concrete and pavers, I have one. Let’s take a closer look.
- Rated up to 3600 PSI
- 15-inch diameter
- Powder coated steel shroud and stainless steel nozzles
- Dual high pressure rotating jets
- Designed to fit most gas pressure washers with quick connect spray wands
- Wand not included
- Cold water use only
Hook Me Up
Hooking up the Simpson Surface Cleaner couldn’t be more simple. If your pressure washer’s spray wand has a quick-connect coupler, you simply pull back the wand’s metal sleeve and insert the Simpson’s 1/4-inch quick-connect male end. Release the sleeve and you’re ready to scrub some concrete. It’s a near-universal connection these days, so it’s probable that the surface cleaner will fit your wand. I used the Simpson Megashot MSH3135-S machine for this review, so I wasn’t worried about compatibility.
From the very first couple of passes, you’ll have a where-have-you-been-all-my-life feeling. You get a much wider swath of cleanliness than a spray tip, and you’ll finish the job in a much shorter amount of time. The surface cleaner stays a consistent distance from the concrete so your results are more consistent.
However, you still need to be mindful of your speed. You’ll know you’re going too fast if you leave swirls behind. I had some pretty dirty sidewalks and pavers, and I found that moving 8 – 10 inches per second was optimal.
For as effective as this surface cleaner is, it couldn’t quite conquer the toughest dirt from degraded, porous concrete. It’s hard to fault the surface cleaner for that, but I did have to switch to an aggressive spray tip a couple of times.
Keep in mind, though, that the pressure washer I used was 3,200 PSI and the surface cleaner is rated up to 3,600 PSI. If I’d maxed out the surface cleaner and went a little slower, perhaps it would be a different story.
If you’ve pressure washed, you’ve probably had this experience: You’re working along the edge of the concrete and go a little too far, hitting the mud – and the mud hits back! All over your legs, arms, probably all the way up to your face and in your eyes (wear eye protection…like, always, no matter what you’re doing.) To my great satisfaction, I discovered this doesn’t happen with a surface cleaner. Get up and over the edge of your work and you’ll remain a lot cleaner than the old-fashioned way!
Now, I’m no genius, but I had a brilliant idea halfway through washing my pavers when I saw dirty water draining across the nice, clean section I’d just completed. I suggest that you start your work at the high point and benefit from cleaning a section only once. You’ll still have some dirty, standing water in some low spots that you’ll want to rinse away with a spray tip.
You’ll probably also want to spring for a 12- to 16-inch wand extension to make your work more comfortable. I’m about average height and I had to bend over a bit to use the surface cleaner.
Price & Value
The Simpson’s 3,600 PSI rating is higher by several hundred PSI than nearly all of the top-rated surface cleaners. You’ll find a couple at 3,300, but more often you’ll find sub-3,000. The high rating with the steel shroud and stainless steel nozzles suggests it means business. In fact, those large, industrial surface cleaners start just a stone’s throw away at 4,000 PSI.
I recently heard a sales rep from a major tool manufacturer say that the company employs several social listeners for customer service purposes. These Millennials are tasked with following internet threads that mention the company, responding when necessary. This came to mind when I read the singular, unfavorable review of the Simpson Surface Cleaner on the company’s website and saw that the company had responded immediately to correct the issue. To my mind, this kind of responsiveness gives me confidence in the products, regardless of the malfunction. By the way, the rest of the online reviews you find rate the surface cleaner much higher.
All that to say: for $55 this surface cleaner seems like a steal.
The Bottom Line
With the time it took to pressure wash cut by about eighty percent, I will go out on a limb and say the Simpson Surface Cleaner would be worth the price as a disposable tool. Fortunately, it’s built to last a lot longer than that!
Simpson Surface Cleaner Specifications
- Item Number: 80166
- PSI: 3600
- Max Temperature: 140° F / Cold water
- Hardware/ Fittings: 1/4-inch Quick connect
- Deck Construction: Powder coated steel
- Price: $55
For more information about the Simpson Surface Cleaner, check out the product page on the company website here .