ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Choose the Right Pressure Washer

Updated on September 20, 2018
Sidewalk cleaning with gas powered pressure washer.
Sidewalk cleaning with gas powered pressure washer.

The Basics on Pressure Washers

There are two types of pressure washers; gas powered and electric. Depending on your cleaning needs, you may want to ensure your investment is worth the time and money spent on your pressure washer.

Pressure washers power a pump that forces water through a nozzle or wand tip. Using the right nozzle or wand tip will depend on the cleaning you may require.

Power and Efficiency

The power output is measured in PSI, or pounds per square inch. Most cleaning jobs around the home or property do not require over 3,500 PSI. Residential cleaning typically does not require over 2,000 PSI. Industrial pressure washers may have an output of over 5,000 PSI and also measure power in GPM, or gallons per minute. The higher GPM, the faster the pressure washer will perform the cleaning desired.

Combining the values of PSI and GPM are measured in cleaning units (CU). To obtain the CU of a pressure washer, multiply the PSI by GPM. A pressure washer with 3,000 PSI and a 3 GPM will have a CU of 9,000. A washer with 3,500 PSI and a 2 GPM will only have a CU of 7,000. Understanding what CU you might need for your cleaning job could save you money on the more expensive pressure washers if you do not require a higher rated CU.


Nozzles give the option of more angles that wand tips provide, and are interchangeable, from 65 degrees to 0 degrees. The smaller the range of spray, the more powerful stream produced by the pressure washer. It is not recommended to use the 0 degree nozzle as the pressure produced is highly dangerous and can lead to visits to the emergency room.

It is recommended to use a nozzle of 15 degrees or more for safety. Wide spray nozzles are great for general cleaning purposes, particularly clearing debris like leaves, twigs, and grass clippings.

Wand Tips

Wand tips are more convenient than nozzles as they are adjustable rather than having to remove one nozzle to replace it with another.

Gas Powered Pressure Washers

Gas powered pressure washers are more powerful than electric motor pressure washers but they are also more expensive, heavier, and louder. They are recommended for cleaning harder surfaces, such as concrete or stubborn stains. It is recommended that if you choose to purchase a gas powered pressure washer that you ensure they are equipped with wheels for ease of mobility.

The price range for a gas powered pressure washer intended for residential purposes is between about $250 to $500 and can produce between 2,500 PSI to 3,500 PSI. The convenience of mobility of a gas powered pressure washer may outweigh the undesired noise of the motor and the carbon monoxide but must never be stored in the home.

Electric Powered Pressure Washers

Electric powered pressures washers are lighter than gas powered pressures, less expensive, can be stored indoors, and can handle most jobs around the house. Most electric pressure washers are priced between $90 and $180. They are capable of handling most of the cleaning abilities of the gas powered pressure washers, they just take more time to finish the same job. The frugal spender will want to consider this before choosing the electric powered pressure washer as the time and effort of cleaning more difficult tasks may not be worth the savings.

Cord storage for an electric pressure washer is highly recommended. For safety purposes, never use an extension cord with an electric pressure washer. This may limit you to cleaning within 50 feet of the power source and should be considered when deciding between gas or electric pressure washers.

Which Pressure Washer Is Best For You

This, of course, depends on your needs for cleaning. If you do not have adequate outdoor storage, an electric pressure washer should be your only consideration. For those that are considering commercial applications, a gas powered pressure washer is a must and should be over 4,000 PSI and over 3 GPM for most efficient cleaning.

Gas vs Electric

Which type of pressure washer do you believe would be best for you?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      20 months ago from USA

      I bought my husband a gas pressure washer years ago so he could clean the side of the house, the concrete, the deck, etc. without hiring someone. It's still working like a charm. Very noisy but it's earned back its cost and more by ensuring I don't have to hire someone to do a chore he can do.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)