Best Parts Washer

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Best Parts Washer

A parts washer is there to help you complete the job that no one likes to do – cleaning parts! In fact, the best parts washers won’t just help you complete the jobs….they’ll do it for you. Cleaning parts for any kind of mechanical or DIY job is not only time consuming and labour intensive, but it is almost impossible to achieve that perfect finish – making it frustrating and unsatisfying! 

Anyone who has parts to clean to actually be able to get on with the main task will know how annoying it is when you are having to spend upwards of two hours using different wire brushes, solutions and cloths to get a part clean enough to use! If this sounds familiar – then you have come to the right place! Our article will show you all the best parts washers available on the market at the moment, and also explain what you need to look for when purchasing a parts washer, so that you can find the best parts washer for you! 

Best Pick – SwitZer 20 Gallon 75 Litre Parts Washer

SwitZer 20 Gallon 75 Litre Parts Washer Cleaner with Large Tank and Pump Unit
21 Reviews
SwitZer 20 Gallon 75 Litre Parts Washer Cleaner with Large Tank and Pump Unit
  • Rugged welded steel, Convenient removable work shelf.
  • Parts basket for snaking small parts in solvent. Self-latching fuses linked fine cover.
  • Tank capacity: 20Gallons, Solvent capacity: 12Gallon
  • Max pump output through spigot: Recirculates 2.7~3.3 litre / min of solvent.
  • electric requirement: 240V/50Hz solvent pump.

Last update on 2021-04-08 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Which Type of Parts Washer Is Best? 

There are two main types of parts washers – solvent-based and aqueous-based. Both have their benefits, so it really depends on the jobs that you are planning on completing and what you are looking for, to decide what is going to be best for you. 

Solvent-based part washers rely on a solvent being filled and stored at the base of the washer, this is then “sucked up” by the liquid pump which then sprays the solution out of a nozzle (controlled by you) onto the parts of metalwork that you are cleaning. This allows the dirt, grease and grime to fall to the bottom of the tank. Often the solution itself will fall back into the base of the tank to be used again. 

Aqueous-based parts washers work slightly differently in the way that they remove the dirt clinging onto your precious parts! These parts washer will combine water, a solution, heat and energy to “pressure wash” the dirt away! These models rely more on a high quality pump and heating system to work correctly, so it is important not to scrimp on these when making your purchase, however you do have the benefit of not having to work with more corrosive solutions! 

Only Got 5 Minutes? 

If you are sick of wasting time hand washing parts, or maybe just the thought of doing that puts you off completing the job in the first place – then this part of the article is for you! A whistle-stop tour of the best parts washers, and the features that we think you need to consider. 

Parts Washer Features

Here are some of the main features and product designs that you need to consider when purchasing a parts washer. 

Size 

There are a number of factors to consider when looking at the size of different parts washers. Firstly, you need to consider the space that you have available to work in – if you are limited to a small workshop or garage the moment then chances are a portable, smaller model (such as one that can be used on a worktop) will be better for what you need. However, larger models often means a larger washboard, which means less spillages and also the ability to clean bigger parts! Equally, larger models will tend to come on their own legs and stand, which is much more practical in terms of portability and storage! 

TOP TIP: Along with the size of your parts washer will come the weight of the machine – as they are not the lightest pieces of equipment! Check that your parts washer comes with good quality castors which will make it easier to move around. 

Build Material 

Although almost all manufacturers and models have this already in mind – we still thought it was important to mention….We would always recommend purchasing a parts washer that is made out of coated steel or Triloy, as these materials will be able to resist the rust and corrosion that many other materials wouldn’t! This will make your parts washer easier to maintain and clean, safer, but also better value for money as the machine will last considerably longer than other models made from cheaper materials! 

Pump Rate (Gallons per minute)

The pump rate is basically the rate at which the solution will be pumped onto the parts that you are working with. This is measured in gallons per minute and will largely be affected by the voltage that is on offer with the parts washer that you purchase. Some can work at a pump rate upwards of 6 gallons per minute (although this does tend to be on larger more commercial sized models), so you can be sure that the grease and dirt will be removed from your parts in no time. Some models have voltages upwards of 110, which will allow for considerably more speed and also pressure out of the pump, cleaning your parts quickly and effectively. 

Capacity 

One of the most important things that you need to check for when making your purchase is the size of the tank and the capacity that it can hold. This ranges massively and will greatly impact on the size of parts that you can work with so it is important to consider exactly what type of jobs you plan on completing. 

The models that we have found range from as little as 3 gallons all the way up to 30 gallons (and sometimes more) for the bigger, more commercial models. Obviously a smaller capacity will mean easier storage, portability and the flexibility in the places that you can work, but it will also greatly reduce the size of parts that you can work with! 

Warm-Up Time 

All parts washers will need a certain amount of time to “warm up” and get ready to work at their best performance capacity. We would recommend looking for a machine that works at around 170 degrees, as this will reduce the amount of time you have to wait for your washer to heat up. Equally, it is important to look for models that can reach this temperature quickly, as the quicker they are ready to work – the quicker you will get the job completed! 

Solution Compatibility 

There are various solvents and solutions that you will find used in different parts washers. The one most often used is a petroleum solvent which is combined with an electric liquid to produce the high quality clean that you are looking for. However, it is worth considering that petroleum solvents are higher flammable and also very difficult to dispose of, which means you need to carefully consider the safety features of the parts washer that you purchase, and if you have local options for disposing of the solution – otherwise you could find your parts washer more hassle than it is worth! 

There are a wide range of aqueous cleaners available on the market if you think that these will be a better option for you. They use alkaline, water-based solutions so are much safer than petroleum solvents, but for these models you will need to ensure that your parts washer can work at a high enough quality to combine with the solution to complete the clean.

We would recommend considering first what solution is going to be best for you – petroleum for very dirty, greasy parts or aqueous-based for safer, easier cleaning – and use this information to then determine what parts washer you should be purchasing! 

Best Budget – Clarke CW2D Bench Mounted Parts Washer

Clarke CW2D Bench Mounted Parts Washer
7 Reviews
Clarke CW2D Bench Mounted Parts Washer
  • Easily transported bench top model - ideal for smaller components
  • Accepts many commonly used cleaning agents
  • Fluid capacity 10 litres, Requires 230V power supply
  • Pump flow rate 1000 litres per hour, Integral, replaceable filter
  • Dimensions (LWH) 440x360x260mm

Last update on 2021-04-08 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Additional Parts Washer Features 

There are always going to be some additional features that you find on machines that make them stand out from the rest. We have listed some of these features to help you find the best parts washer available on the market. 

  • Self-draining – Any parts washer that is self draining will greatly reduce the amount of clean up work that you have to complete after you have finished the job – leaving you time to get on with the important aspect of the job – fitting the part! 
  • Removable trays – Models with removable trays in the main cleaning tank will make it easier to check your parts mid clean to see how the job is progressing, but also makes for quicker drying times and tidying up times after the job is completed…and who wouldn’t want that? 
  • Wall nozzles – These will reduce the amount of work that you have to do even more! Simply switch on the machine and the pump sends water through the wall nozzles onto the part. 

Safety Features to Look Out For! 

Cleaning parts using a parts washer is no doubt safer than attempting to complete the job in a sink or similar! If you are using corrosive liquids then there is always going to be that added risk, but there are some features that you can look out for, to ensure that the job is completed as safely as possible! 

  • Fusible link lid – Perfect for fire safety because these lids will automatically fuse shut in the event of a fire. 
  • Leak and rust resistant – Helps to ensure that no dangerous chemicals end up anywhere other than in the washboard! 
  • Deep washboards – The deeper the washboard, the less chance of spillages pouring over the top and onto your floor! 
  • Switch water shield – Helps to protect those electrical parts from any spillages or splashes! 
  • Easy to remove parts – Some parts washers require more assembly and set up than others….we understand that initially this can seem like hard work, but this also means that the machine will be easier to take apart in between jobs so that it can be cleaned and maintained effectively. 

Ultra Portable Parts Washers

If you know that you only have small, relatively easy parts to clean then you may be in the fortunate position of being able to opt for a more portable, smaller parts washer. There are two main ways in which manufacturers have achieved this – first with “toolbox” or “bucket” style parts washers and secondly with pumps that can be placed into the sink or your own bucket or storage container. The toolbox size options are exactly what they sound like….a small, toolbox sized tub with a pump fitted into the base of the box. This allows the solution to be lifted into the nozzle for cleaning and the solution to be stored safely. Whereas the pump models will be even smaller to transport but do require you coming up with your own “washtub”. 

The main benefit of these parts washers is that they can be used anywhere, and they are a lot cheaper than the bigger models we have discussed above. However, they won’t be as powerful so you could find yourself having to work alongside the washer with some elbow grease to get the job done. You also need to consider that working in your kitchen sink – although easier – will potentially leave the house smelling of cleaner, and can cause damage to the pipes and area around your sink if you are not careful in the solution that you choose to work with! 

SAFETY TIP: Many (if not all) of these more portable parts washers should not be used with more corrosive liquids, so you will need to opt for non-corrosive or water based solutions to clean your parts. 

Best of the Rest

Draper 22494 Portable Parts Washer, 230V, 610mm x 420mm x 260mm
12 Reviews
Draper 22494 Portable Parts Washer, 230V, 610mm x 420mm x 260mm
  • Removable Stainless Steel Filter Mesh
  • Flexible Fluid Delivery Pipes With Inline Cleaning Brush
  • Fully Enclosed Electric Pump And Fully Screened Pump Housing
  • Draining Shelf Shelf Keeps Parts Out Of Cleaning Solution During Inspection And Drying During Inspection
  • Not Suitable For Use With Solvent Based Cleaning Fluids

Last update on 2021-04-08 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Frequently Asked Questions 

What warranty comes with a parts washer? 

The warranties found with parts washers vary considerably depending on the design type that you purchase. Smaller, more portable models (such as the pump or toolbox model discussed above) will have warranties around 1 year, whereas bigger more commercial models have warranties upwards of 3 years. Some even offer lifetime guarantees on the main structure of the machine, to show the quality and safety that is offered by the steel. 

Is a parts washer easy to use?

Yes! Whether you are opting for a smaller or a larger model, parts washer could not be easier to use! Simply put the part in the machine, add the detergent and switch it on. Then control the nozzle to clean the part. The hardest part is making sure that the machine is set up correctly so that it is safe to use! 

  • Performance
  • Features
  • Ergonomics
  • Value
About Mike Jones 191 Articles
I started doing DIY around the house and it soon developed into a hobby. I look for tools and products that are genuinely useful and get the job done. I enjoy writing product reviews, researching my buyers guides and putting tools through their paces. In my downtime, I like to run and I am a bit of a Netflix documentary geek.

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