NorthStar Pressure Washer Surface Cleaner - 16in. Dia. Size, Model# FCL400BEM22MFNS
The unit performs exactly as advertised.
Best results were obtained with use of:
1) a surface detergent (Concrete and Driveway Krud Kutter is what I used, and I followed the manufacturer's instructions); and,
2) slow, steady movement at a pace appropriate to the task.
The unit is lightweight enough that it can lift up slightly and "float" on the surface. Simply apply a little downward pressure to maintain caster wheel contact and appropriate distance-to-surface for best cleaning effectiveness.
The unit sounds a lot like a small airplane engine and propeller - wear earplugs.
Debris splatter is reduced with the unit, but if your surface has a lot of muck, old coatings, or concrete - wear goggles anyway. My goggles were coated with sandy residue when the job was done. That stuff would have been in my eyes without goggles.
I read all the reviews prior to using the unit, and I had their problems in mind while I used the unit the first time. Here's what I think about the problems described by other reviewers:
Three Wheel Design
Other reviewers mentioned the unit tends to tip unevenly due to the three-wheel design. Appropriate forward-backward technique prevents this. Also, the three wheel design makes it possible to clean very closely to edges, curb corners, and walls. A fourth wheel would make that impossible.
Other reviewers mentioned frequently clogged nozzles. I did not experience this problem, despite churning up plenty of debris during usage. I suspect that if you carefully rinse connectors and your gloves/hands, and flush your equipment before connecting it to the surface cleaner, your nozzles will not clog either. If they do, the nozzle tips remove easily for rinsing. I happened to have a threaded plastic cap which I used to close the wand opening when switching to other tools. I recommend the manufacturer provide such a cap with the unit - it kept the threads clean, and debris out.
Large Washers/Plastic Cracking
Other users mentioned the need for larger washers to prevent the plastic shell from cracking. The unit I bought already had sufficiently large washers under each bolt. It appears the manufacturer has addressed this problem.
Improved Wand/Handle Design
Also, the unit is different than pictured online. Instead of a fixed connection point for the wand, it has a built-in handle connected to the swivel and a bracket that can swing 180 degrees, and is shaped in a triangle at the swivel. This serves as both handle and pw connection point. It is an improvement in design.
The quality is sufficiently durable for extensive use.
I recommend the NorthStar 16" Surface Washer to anyone with large, flat surfaces to pressure wash.
November 13, 2013
Love this cleaning attachment
I have a very wide and long driveway and also a pretty big patio slab. With even a 3700 plus pw the task was omnious because the section it hit was so small. With this cleaner I finished the driveway in a day and the patio in an hour.
My only small complaint was that I didn't realize that I could attach the cleaner to the wand directly and not to a section of tubing wand. It would not fit the tubing fittings so I was packing it to send back when I realized I could attached it directly.
I recommend it for the compactness and cleaning capacity even with a lesser pw of 2500 which I used for the patio.
After seeing it used, several people have asked to borrow it.
October 11, 2011
Pressure Washer Surface Cleaner
I observed my 80 year old neighbor pressure washing his driveway. He was using his wand and taking forever to get anywhere. I took my surface cleaner over to him and did a demo for him. He was amazed how easy it was to use and the large area that it cleaned with each pass over the driveway. He borrowed it to clean all his concrete surfaces and offered to pay half of the purchase price that I paid. I declined his offer and told him that it was available to him when ever he needed it. The surface cleaner is an amazing machine and well worth the purchase price. It attaches easily to the end of your pressure wand. It cleans an 18 inch path with ease. I definitely would recommend it for the regular household.
November 16, 2010
This unit is a really good product for small areas. I cleaned a padio and around a pool and it works great. I would recommend this product for somebody that needs a small area to clean. The only thing I would do to the product is put 15 degree nozzles in it instead of the 0 degree for finished concrete.
August 24, 2010
I use this on my concrete patio and it did a good job. The reason I give it 3 star is it shold have a 4th castor and the bearing where it swivels under neath has some play and therefore it vibrates sometimes.
I only have about 3 hrs use on it. I think the bearing is cheap bearing.
If you plan on using it for general home owner use it would be ok. For industrail use it would not hold up to the wear and tear.
May 27, 2010
16" Pressure washer surface cleaner
This product is awesome,I am always a sceptic,this does a great job in a short amount of time,sorry my pressure washer went on the blink HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS PRODUCT ****** ( FIVE STARS) Good job Northern
November 2, 2009
16 inch Surface Cleaner
Bought this to help speed cleaning of driveways. It works well but you have to move slow and sometimes go back over stubborn areas.
One possible problem is the 90 degree fittings are starting to crack. May cause problems later but still performs great now. You could always buy and install new elbows yourself, considering the extremely low cost of this machine compared to bigger and heavier units.
Also, if you don't order the recomended gun, you should know that mine came with a male M-22 threaded fitting. Be prepared to purchase and install new fittings if need be.
July 24, 2009
If someone has just a small amount of cleaning to do, this may be fine. The unit performed well and did a great cleaning job, but after two solid days of cleaning concrete the rotor went from spinning rapidly (as it is designed to do) to barely turning, therefore poor cleaning.
July 20, 2009
16 inch Surface Cleaner
For the money, this little surface cleaner does it's job. I found that it is much faster than a wand alone, and can give similar results as a turbo nozzle. I had to adjust the angle of my nozzles a little, and it made a difference in the way it performed. I would have given the cleaner a five star rating, only I find the housing it a little on the thin side (plastic), and mine began to crack a little by one of the bolts that attach through the top, but a little industrial glue got it back together. I have since replaced all washers with larger diameter ones, and have had no further issues. Please note, I use this cleaner for much more than it's intended purpose, home use, I clean driveways for profit with it. If it ever breaks, I will purchase the stainless steel equivalent for it's better durability. I use a 2800psi, 3.0 gpm commercial pressure washer, FYI and it works great with the cleaner.
March 23, 2009
pressure washer surface cleaner
I purchased this washer along with the recommended gun. This is undoubtedly the most efficient and usable tool that I think I have purchased. It has cut my cleaning time by 50-60 percent. I would recommend it to any one who has concrete surfaces to clean with no reservations. Thanks for a great tool that does a great job!!!!!
November 17, 2008