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Pressure Washer or Power Washer? What professional’s say

Pressure washers and power washers are two terms that are often used interchangeably. Both of these tools are used for cleaning the outdoor areas of a house or business place. The functionalities are identical, the objective being to clean surfaces with highly pressurized water. However, there is a small difference between the washers that determines where each can be used.

Pressure Washer or Power Washer:

Pressure washers use highly pressurized cold water to remove dust, dirt, stains, grease marks on various surfaces. A power washer also uses pressurized water for cleaning but uses hot water. This makes a power washer more effective and efficient for specific cleaning jobs. Like concrete or other hard surfaces, but hot water can damage softer surfaces. Pressure washers are an excellent choice for regular household cleaning.

This article will give you information about the difference between a pressure washer and a power washer. It will discuss the scenarios in which each of the washers is best suited. The article will also list tips to clean your property safely and effectively without causing any damage.

Which is better? A power washer or pressure washer?

I got a lot of questions from people about what they should use. Which one of the two is better, and should I use it for my house or business? To answer this question, you should have a look at the various scenarios.

A pressure washer and a power washer help you achieve the same goal, cleaning around your house or business. Which one is better will greatly depend on your use case. The difference between a pressure washer and a power washer is the temperature of the water used for cleaning. A power washer uses hot water. Like doing your dishes, hot water improves the cleaning of certain tough stains. For most household use, a pressure washer is an excellent choice. It will clean most surfaces and items fine. A power washer is more expensive and is more costly to use.

● What does a power washer do?

Although both pressure and power washers help you achieve the same goal. Power washers use hot water for cleaning and are recommended for large jobs. For example, if you want to wash a commercial area or a big driveway and patio. For those scenarios, a power washer is much faster and often results in a better cleaning experience. Heated water used in the power washer helps it to remove stains, tire marks, and mold buildup quickly.

The heated water enhances the cleaning ability of the washer. However, power washers may prove a double-edged sword if not used carefully. Using power washers over soft surfaces may cause the hot water to damage the surfaces. Therefore, always ensure that the surface being cleaned can bear the effects of cleaning with hot water.

● What does a pressure washer do?

Pressure washers use high-pressure water to remove mold, dirt, grime, mud, and loose paint from surfaces. A pressure washer uses cold water and high pressure to clean the surface. Using cold water is needed for some surfaces. It may not be as quick as a power washer, but you will hardly notice a difference for normal household use. While working on large areas or some hard surfaces, the difference in washing speed becomes apparent.

● How much does a pressure washer cost?

There are two types of pressure washers, electric and gas models. Electric pressure washers start from $100 to $300. Models that can deliver a higher pressure (3000 psi and up) will be more expensive (up to $1000). A gas pressure washer is more expensive and will start at $300 to $600. But a gas pressure washer will deliver a higher psi and water flow rate. For small jobs around the house, an electric pressure washer will mostly do. The advantage is that they need a lot less maintenance than gas models.

● How much does a power washer cost?

Cheaper electric power washers start from around $250 and up. Cheaper models will deliver a pressure of around 2000 psi and need an external hot water source. Keep in mind that you need to supply enough hot water at the needed flow rate. There are also models from around $300 with a built-in water tank that can be heated up to 104 Fahrenheit. But this takes some time, and they have a limited use time due to the 8-gallon water tank.

Bigger, more heavy-duty models start from around $2000. Some models use diesel to heat the water and electricity for the water pressure. Water will be heated instantaneously so that you can use the power washer continuously. Models that use both gas for heating and the water pressure will start from around $3000 and up.

Power washer type
Water supply
Hot water pressure washer
Hot water
From $250
Electric model with own water tank
Own water tank (uses cold water)
From $300
Semi-professional models
Cold water
Electric and Gas
From $2000
Professional models
Cold water
From $3000

What’s the difference between a pressure washer and a power washer?

The terms power washer and pressure washer are often used interchangeably. However, there is a difference between a power washer and a pressure washer. Both washers use high-pressure water to remove stains, dirt, and other materials from the surfaces. The main difference between the two is the water temperature. Power washers heat up the water and use it to clean the surfaces. The pressure washer only uses high pressure and cold water for cleaning.

The power washer and pressure washer have the same basic function. Both use high pressured water to help remove the dust and dirt from the surfaces. This pressure can be delivered by both an electric motor or a gas engine. Gas engines mostly result in higher water pressure.

● Type of power washers

The hot water that a power washer uses can be supplied in two ways. A few models have a built-in water tank that is electrically heated. The con is that this often takes quite some time, and the supply is limited. The pro is that those models are relatively cheap and can be used in areas with no external water source. The most affordable power washers are hot water pressure washers. Those models use an external hot water supply. The only problem is that you need a hot water source for them. That means you can not use a normal hose that you use to water your plants. The supplied water also needs to have a big enough flow rate.

The more expensive power washers have their own heating element that can heat the supplied cold water fast enough. This means you can use a normal hose to supply the water, and you can continue as long as there is enough gas.

● What should I choose, a pressure washer or a power washer?

If you plan to use a pressure washer for regular day-to-day cleaning, a pressure washer is the best option. Electric models require way less maintenance are affordable. If you need more pressure, you can opt for a gas model. If you need to clean large areas quickly or deal with really challenging stains, a power washer is a good option. Power washers are often the best choice for commercial applications, where time is money. You can do all a pressure washer can do, but you can use hot water when needed. The downside is that they are less affordable.

What is a power washer used for?

Power washing is a heavy-duty machine. It uses high-pressure hot water to remove dirt and mold effectively. It is generally used to clean vinyl or wood siding, remove mildew and mold, kill weeds and moss, clean driveways and walkways, clean gum off sidewalks, and clean patios and decks.

● Clean sidings with a power washer

Textured vinyl sidings are more prone to dust. Sidings with light colors show more dirt than those with dark colors. Homes located in dusty roads, subtropical climates, and construction also receive a lot of dirt. Sidings that give a brown or green shade require good washing. For exterior cleaning, including vinyl siding, you need a power washer with a 1300 to 1600 psi setting. Always check that the siding can cope with the water temperature.

● Clean patios and walkways with a power washer

Cleaning patios and walkways with a power washer make the brick and concrete look brand new. A power washer with 3GPM and 3000 psi is ideal for these surfaces. Use the tip with the widest angle to prevent the surface of the hardscape from degrading.

● Clean Pavers, Flagstones and more with a power washer set to a lower pressure

Set the power washer to a lower setting, so it is safe for cleaning pavers, mortared flagstones, slate patios, and walls. The mortar between the joints can crack and wash away if the power washer is used with a high psi setting. Using 1000 to 1500 psi is recommended to clean the pavers efficiently and prevent any damage to the pavers and paving stones.

● Clean concrete with a power washer

A power washer with a pressure rating of at least 3000 psi and a flow rate of 4 GPM (Gallons Per Minute) is ideal for cleaning concrete. Although an even higher pressure can be used to remove contaminants such as paint and tire marks. Most experts recommend at least 3000 psi for all cleaning jobs over concrete.

Concrete driveways, sidewalks, and patios that have stains and are very dirty can be cleaned effectively with the power washer. The hot water with a 3000 psi rating is ideal for tough stains. Usually, gas power washers give these high psi ratings. Apply a degreaser or concrete cleaner to remove stubborn stains. Start at the highest point and work your way down for the best results.

● Clean a deck with a power washer

For cleaning a deck with a power washer, a low-pressure should be used. Softwoods like pine and cedar require a 500 to 600 psi power washer for effective cleaning and 1200 to 1500 psi for harder woods. Cleaning pine and cedar with a power washer above 500 to 600 psi may cause damage to the wood. However, hardwoods like cambara or cumaru can be cleaned with a power washer at higher settings from 1200 to 1500 psi.

● Clean a driveway with a power washer

A power washer is very well suited to clean a driveway. Most experts agree that hot water and a psi of around 3000 psi will clean it thoroughly. The recommended flow rate for cleaning your driveway is around 3 Gallons Per Minute. This ensures that the broken filth is flushed away. Using a lower GPM rate will increase the cleaning time. 

Tips for safe and effective cleaning

Power washers and pressure washers both do a great job. But due to the high water pressure, they can hurt you and damage equipment or surfaces. Here are some tips that will help you to clean safely and effectively.

  • Read the instructions carefully: Before using the equipment, read the instructions carefully and familiarize yourself with the machine.
  • Check before using: Check for any potential problems before you start using the machine. Such as a rusty nozzle or leaky seals before using the washer.
  • Choose the proper nozzle: Different nozzles are used for different cleaning jobs. Read the manual carefully to choose the right one.
  • Wear old clothes: Your clothes will probably get wet and dirty while operating the washer. Always wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting wet and dirty.
  • Cover electrical wires and outlets: Always cover the electric wires, outlets, or any other electrical equipment in the area that will be cleaned.
  • Start with the lowest pressure: Do not start with the highest pressure settings to quickly get rid of stains and dirt. Always start with the lowest pressure and adjust the pressure to the appropriate value.
  • Look out for windows: Always be careful while cleaning the sidings. Glass in windows might shatter if highly pressured water is directed on it.
  • Avoid cleaning roof shingles: A pressure washer may void any roof shingle. Avoid using it to clean the roofs.
  • Keep the height of the nozzle constant: Always keep your nozzle at a fair and constant distance from the surface, especially when cleaning soft surfaces like deck and bricks.
  • Angle: Use the nozzle at the correct angle. Try to clean surfaces and objects at such an angle that you minimize the chance that water will enter parts where it should not.