10 Things Everyone Ought To Know About Northstar Pressure Washers Before Buying At Northern Tool + Equipment

By: Grady Galvez ∣ Updated: August 29, 2020

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You will find the best 4 NorthStar pressure washers which are sold at Northern Tool and Equipment.

But First-

Did you know the largest distributor of Honda small engines in the United States is Northern Tool and Equipment through their sister company Great Northern Equipment Distributing (GNED).

It is true and they (GNED) do it with only 125 employees. They sell an efficient machine just like the Honda engines and pressure washers, generators, log splitters etc.

From the beginning efficiency has been there- the founder:Don Kotula, started Northern tool as Northern hydraulics in 1980 from his garage, selling how to manuals for logs splitters. Then it quickly grew for other tools and equipment.

Then Northern tool in 1991 started manufacturing their own brand under the name North Star. Northstar branded products such as northstar pressure washers now account for 20% of sales.

There are 10 interesting facts for you to know before purchasing a Northern Tool pressure washer.

northern tools catalog

How Northern Tool Became A Billion-Dollar Company.

Everything Started With The Catalogue.

  • When Don Katula began Northern hydraulics from his garage in Minnesota, he sold hydraulic cylinders, valves and a how-to manual for log splitter, all by mail order.

  • As the product line included air compressors, pressure washers and more so did the catalogue.

  • At the mid of 2000s the Northern tool catalogues reached 80 million copies per year, one of the most printed books. For comparison : each Harry Potter book did 65 to 75 million copies.

  • The northern tool catalogue was a cool tool with son and dad going through it often together, like Guinness Book of World Records. It was the growth foundation for Northern hydraulics and northern tool and equipment.

Retail Stores

  • Kotula moved out of the garage quickly and opened a Northern hydraulics retail store and warehouse in 1981.

  • By 1990 it had 8 Northern hydraulics retail stores and two warehouses.

  • As the catalogue and retail stores both became more popular, the company started making its own brand NorthStar in 1991.

  • The name changes to Northern tool and equipment in 1998.

  • By 1999 there were 31 retail stores.

  • The Northern Tool.com is opened for E-Commerce business in the height of the.com Boom.

Website

The Northern tool.com domain today gets over 4 million visits per month and is ranked at the top 14000 websites in the world by traffic (top 2500 in the USA). There are around 12500 websites linking to it which include the likes of NYTimes.com Cnet.com, Bloomberg.com, and Wired.com.

great northern tools

Northern Tool Today: A Website + Catalogs + Over 100 Retail Stores + Multiple Subsidiary Brands

  • There were 61 Northern Tool retail stores by 2007 and they were outperforming the catalogues and website.

  • There are over a hundred stores today with 29 in Texas alone and they outsell, by a fair margin, the website/catalogs.

  • In terms of per store revenue, they are still well behind The Home Depot and Lowe’s. This may be due to many factors – average customer value, average floor space, and average equipment cost.

1. The Home Depot

  • Total Revenue = $108 Billion. Total Stores ~2,000.

  • Revenue Per Store = $ 54 million.

2.Lowe’s Home Improvement.

  • Total revenue = $ 69 billion. Total stores ~2,000.

  • Revenue per store = $ 34.5 million.

3.Northern Tool + Equipment.

  • Total revenue = $ 1.1 billion. Total stores ~100.

  • Revenue per store = $ 11 million.

Northern Tool and Equipment, Inc. has acquired companies and brands along the way including but not limited to :

  • The sportsman’s guide

  • The Golf warehouse

2. The Company Is Still Privately Owned By The Kotula Family.

Northern tool and equipment company, Inc. is a private company we can check the key people involved in the cooperation. It is not possible to find the exact ratios of shares owned but it is safe to assume the directors of the company as the majority shareholders.

100% of Northern tool and equipment company,Inc. is owned by Donald Kotula and his two sons. Donald’s brother Alan, President of Great Northern Equipment Distributing, Inc. which is the distributing arm of Northern Tools. He is also a minority shareholder.

northern tool reviews

3. What Northern Tool Power Washers Can Be Used To Clean.

They can clean anything-house siding, your car, fence , BBQ grill, lawn mower, BACK patio, boat, driveway…

Only your imagination limits you.

There Are Guidelines –

The more sensitive the surface-shingle roof, Windows etc – the lower PSI (pressure in Pounds per square inch) to be used. The more stubborn and tough the surface-graffiti or gum on concrete-the PSI used is the higher.

Northstar manufactures pressure cleaners from 1700 PSI to 5000 PSI.

Along with PSI, GPM (flow rate in gallons per minute) is also important to know how fast you can clean a surface. Northern tool sells power washers with GPM of the range 2.5 GPM up to 5 GPM.

northstar gas cold water pressure washer 3000 psi

What’s More Important PSI or GPM?

Power washing professionals focus on high GPM because they can complete more jobs per day and earn more money. Weekend Warriors focus on Cost / value meaning a good balance of GPM and PSI.

4. Exactly What Types/Styles Of Northstar Pressure Washers Are On Offer At Northern Tool.

The Northern tool provides the full range of power washers: gas and electric powered cold water machines and gas and electric hot water machines.

They are ranked from most affordable to most expensive:

  • Electric cold water: $589 to $ 1400. Lowest average cost.

  • Gas cold water: $549 up to $3600. The average is higher than the electric cold water.

  • Electric hot water: $1600 to $2500.

  • Gas hot water: $ 2500 up to $15000 + for trailer and skid mounted ones.

north star proven performance

5.The Quality Of Engines And Motors Used

Northstar pressure washers are more expensive than the average brand as they use high-quality pumps and electric motors. They use the same Honda GX and GC engines like others.

Gas engines

Honda GC and GX engines – GC are residential use and GX is commercial use. GX engine power washers cost at least $ 700.

Briggs and Stratton Vanguard engines – Vanguard is B and S’s answer to GX and is the commercial engine of it.

Many NorthStar machines are high quality Honda GX. You find only 1 GC and 1 vanguard . This is nice for you as the GX is durable and reliable with a long usage life.

Electric motors

northstar pressure washer

Leeson induction motor – All the electrics used Leeson brand induction motor. There are no worries, as it is an industrial motor of high quality.

6. The Quality of Pumps Used

Northern tool manufactures 3 brands of pumps in 2 styles for NorthStar pressure washers:

Brands

  • Cat pumps – 5 star pumps famous in the industry as one of, if not the best.

  • Comet pumps – they are similar to CAT with a five-star reputation in the industry.

  • NorthStar pumps – Northern tools have a brand of pump. Not well known in the industry.

power washer pump

Styles

  • Triplex – High quality with a long lifespan due to lower operating speed.

  • Axial – hard to maintain. Operate at high speed/temperature. The fraction of the life span as a triplex.

7.How The Northern Tool Power Washer Shopping Experience Compares To Home Depot, Lowes And Harbour Freight.

Retail Locations

Maybe an Isle or two dedicated to chainsaws, lawnmowers, Hedgers, weed wacker, trimmers and few pressure washers when they are in season. Over each of the 2000 locations in North America, the retail floor space of a typical home depot or lowes is a hundred thousand square feet. But very little is given to these washers.

The home improvement warehouses are Home Depot and Lowe’s. They offer paint products, kitchen remodels, lighting solutions, building supplies and they have some Power equipment isles.

  • Harbour Freight and Northern tool retail locations are 20000-30000 square feet. They specialize in tools and equipment so it is plenty of space.

  • Even with this decreased floor space Northern tool has easily triple the retail space for pressure washers compared to other brands.

  • The focus of the Northern tool store is equipment and tools. Along with compressors, log splitters, generators, and snow blowers-pressure washers are the main power equipment needs.

Online

The Northern tool.com is comparable shopping experience to Lowes. com and HomeDepot.com. All the websites offer a good selection with specs and information for all the pressure washers.

8.The Three Best Northstar Gas Pressure Washers

Premium Choice

northern tool electric pressure washer

Best For Around The Home On Weekends

1. NorthStar 3000 PSI 2.5 GPM (model #15775440)

The best NorthStar – around your home on weekends is 3000 PSI, 2.5 GPM pressure cleaner with comet axial pump and Honda GC engine.

For less than $ 900 the NorthStar offers three gas powered machines. This is their most affordable one. Using it around home on weekends you need no commercial Honda engine and triplex pump for an extra $400.

All Time Great

northern tool hot water pressure washer

Best For Consistent Daily Use

2. Northstar 4000 PSI, 3.5 GPM (model #15782020)

This is the best gas pressure washer for consistent daily use from NorthStar.

5 Reasons Why –

  • Best engine- commercial-duty Honda GX engine with superior parts and performance to the GC engines.

  • Best pump – CAT brand direct drive triplex pump. You want belt driven for consistent daily use but you have to take value for money into account and belt drives are more expensive. This CAT triplex pump is as good.

  • High PSI and decent GPM – the GPM of 3.5 is something to be desired but it is a medium of affordable and cleaning Speed. The PSI is higher than you ever need. 4000 PSI is very powerful.

  • Long warranty – the warranty between two and four years is offered depending on whether you use it consumer (around home ) or commercial (to make money ) . The engine and pump have 3 year warranty.

  • Rugged and thoughtful design setup – the frame design is well thought and good. The big tires help get over steps and bumps. The high pushdown handle makes leverage to make moving it around easy even if you are lazy. The lack of hose reel is a non- issue as create more problems than they solve.

This is top first buy for pressure washing or painting business and an upgrade buy for a weekend Warrior.

Best Hot Water Northstar For Construction Sites And Commercial Use

3. NorthStar wet steam/hot water 3000 PSI, 4 GPM (model #157310)

This is the best NorthStar hot water power washer on wheels or the skid-mounted version you lay in trailer or back of your truck. Even it is 550 lbs it is quite easy to move around with one person so long as it is relatively flat ground.

The cylinder on the back is schedule – 80 heating coil. At the bottom is a diesel or kerosene burner you can adjust the temperature up to 250 F (121 C).

It has a Honda GX390 engine and CAT triplex pump on the pressure cleaning side. This is a high quality commercial duty pressure washer.

9. The Best Northstar Electric Pressure Washer

Best For Most People's Needs

1. NorthStar 1700 PSI, 1.5 GPM (model #1573001)

Northstar offers three electric pressure washers.

  • 5HP, 230 volts, 30 Amps

  • 2HP,120 Volts, 20 Amps

  • 1.5Hp,120 volts, 15 Amps

All three are commercial quality with triplex pumps and induction motors.

The 5HP one required to hire an electrician to create a dedicated high-voltage plugin for the pressure washer only.

The 2HP one is 120 volts like many houses in North America but still requires 20 Amps. Many home wall outlets will be connected with the 15A breaker circuit. This adds hassle since this is the best for most.

The Winner:

As you don’t need any modifications with your home electrical system the winner for the best North Star electric is the 1700 PSI and 1.5 GPM.

Although the specs may look too low for your needs, it is sufficient for most jobs around your home. The jobs take longer but since you don’t need any maintenance compared to a gas engine you will have the extra time.

10. The Best Accessories And Replacement Parts To Increase Cleaning Speed And Make Your Life Easier.

NorthStar provides high quality accessories to give you better pressure washing.

Surface Cleaner

If you are doing large flat surfaces a surface cleaner is a must. A large driveway taking one hour with turbo nozzle will take 10 minutes with the 20-inch surface cleaner. To clean a large surface at once it works by rotating nozzles in a circle.

You have to attach the high-pressure hose at the right handle and then walk forward to clean the flat surface.

northern tool Pressure Washer Surface Cleaners

Hose Reel

Hose reels attached to pressure washers are cheap and cause more trouble than they solve, but a high-quality reel attached to your workbench, pressure washing truck, or trailer is a must.

The key is to go for high quality. Northstar hose reel has a hand crank to make rolling up the hose a cinch.

Hose Reel

Hose

The most powerful power washer comes under $ 300 with a crappy hose. If you want to upgrade, the NorthStar upgrade hose is about $80 for the 50 foot or $150 for the 100 foot. It has quick-connect fittings and is Steel wire braided construction to resist kinks.

Nozzles

If you require to replace lost nozzles then the Northern tool offers a replacement 5 pack for $ 30.

extension hose for power washer

Wand

You can get a variety of telescoping and different length wands or lenses on Northern tool.com

Spray Gun, Fittings And Filters

Sources

  • Northern tool + equipment. www.scw-mag.com

  • Northern Tool. en.wikipedia.org.

  • Leeson Brand. www.regalbeloit.com

  • History. www.gnedi.com.

  • Benjamin Cruz v. Great Northern Equipment Distributing, Inc., et al. – 16CV297872.Trellis.law.

  • Northern Tool shifting focus from the catalog to retail stores.

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