Pressure Washing vs Power Washing: The Ultimate Guide

by City Wide
by City Wide

Both pressure washing and power washing use water to clean surfaces. Power washing and pressure washing are both great for cleaning off dirt, dust, mud, and other debris from surfaces. However, there are some differences between the two that you’ll want to know before choosing which machine fits your needs.

What is a power washer?

A power washer is a machine that takes in water from a hose and pumps it out at very high pressure. Power washing uses hot water, which can be great for breaking down tough stains and grime. They use a detergent tank that you fill with your desired cleaning solution. The cleaning solution is mixed with the water and pumped out of the nozzle at high pressure. The nozzle has several different settings, so you can adjust the pressure and spray pattern to fit your needs.

What is a pressure washer?

A pressure washer is very similar to a power washer. It also takes in water from a hose and pumps it out at high pressure. The main difference between a power washer and a pressure washer uses is that pressure washers do not have a detergent tank. This means that you can’t use cleaning solutions with a pressure washer. The water that is dispensed through the pressure washer’s hose is not heated.

Machine options 

There are several options when it comes to choosing a power washing or pressure washing machine. You can choose from electric or gas models. You can also choose different machine sizes and PSI (pounds per square inch) levels.

Gas powered

Gas-powered washers are a great option if you need a lot of power. Both power washers and pressure washers are available in gas-powered models. Gas models tend to be more powerful than electric models. When using a gas-powered pressure or power washer, you will need to make sure that you have enough gasoline to last through your project.

Electric powered

Electric pressure washers are a great option for people who have easy access to an outlet. They are much quieter than the gas models and they don’t produce any exhaust fumes. Electric pressure washers are also generally lighter than gas models, making them easier to carry. They are a great option for people who need to use their pressure washers indoors or in confined spaces.

Battery powered

Battery-powered pressure washers are great if you need a cordless machine. They are very convenient because you don’t have to worry about being near an outlet. Battery-powered pressure washers typically have a shorter run time than electric or gas models so they are better suited for a smaller project.

Different sizes and PSI levels

When choosing a power washer or pressure washer, you will need to decide what size and PSI level you need. The size of the machine is important if you need to move it around a lot. The PSI level is important because it determines how much pressure the machine can generate. A larger machine will typically have higher PSI levels. Higher PSI levels can strip paint and damage some surfaces, so be sure to choose the right PSI level for your project.

Commercial power washer 

If you need a power washer for a commercial project, you will need a machine that can generate a lot of pressure. Commercial power washers can generate up to 4,000 PSI of pressure, which is more than enough for any commercial project. They are also larger than residential power washers, so they can handle larger projects. You do not need to be qualified to use a commercial power washer. However, it is always important to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before using any type of power washer.


The nozzle is one of the most important parts of a power washer or pressure washer. The nozzle determines the spray pattern and pressure of the water. There are several different types of nozzles, each with its own unique benefits.

The nozzles are colour coded so you can easily identify the different types. The different colours indicate what angle the nozzle sprays at.

  • Red: 0 degrees
  • Yellow: 15 degrees
  • Green: 25 degrees
  • White: 40 degrees
  • Black: 65 degrees

Nozzles also come with special attachments to help you with specific projects.

  • The standard nozzle is the most common type of nozzle. It produces a high-pressure stream of water that is great for general cleaning.
  • The turbo nozzle produces a rotating stream of water that is great for breaking up stubborn dirt and grime.
  • The fan nozzle produces a wide, flat stream of water that is perfect for cleaning large surfaces.
  • The foam nozzle attaches a soap dispenser to the power washer. This allows you to dispense soap or cleaners while you are washing.

Cleaning solutions

If you are using a power washer, you can add cleaning solutions to the detergent tank. This will make your power washer more effective at removing stubborn dirt and grime. There are several different types of cleaning solutions available, so be sure to choose the right one for your project.

Power washing vs pressure washing surfaces

It is important to know which machine to use for which surface because each machine has different strengths and weaknesses.

Power washing is great for removing large amounts of dirt and grime from a surface. It is also perfect for stripping paint and removing graffiti. However, it can be too powerful for some surfaces and cause damage.

Surfaces to power wash:

  • Concrete
  • Asphalt
  • Brick
  • Stone
  • Stucco
  • Graffiti

Pressure washing is perfect for cleaning delicate surfaces. It is also great for removing mold and mildew. However, it can’t remove large amounts of dirt and grime like a power washer can.

Surfaces to pressure wash:

  • Wood
  • Composite materials
  • Vinyl
  • Aluminum
  • Glass
  • Mold and mildew

Power washing or pressure washer to clean cars?

Cars can be cleaned with either a power washer or a pressure washer. However, you need to be careful when using a power washer because the high-pressure stream of water can damage the paint. If you use a pressure washer, make sure to use a low-pressure nozzle. The white and black coloured nozzles will have the least amount of pressure. You should also avoid using cleaning solutions because they can damage the paint.

How to use power and pressure washers 

Now that you know more about the machines and the best surfaces to clean with them, it’s time to learn how to use them. Follow these steps in addition to reading the manufacturer’s instructions, and you’ll be a power washing pro in no time.

  1. Set up the machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Choose a nozzle that’s right for the job.
  3. Connect the hose to the machine and turn on the water supply.
  4. Turn on the power washer and hold down the trigger.
  5. Start with the nozzle pointing away from the surface you’re cleaning.
  6. Slowly move the nozzle closer to the surface and sweep it back and forth.
  7.  Be careful not to hold the trigger in one spot for too long because this can damage the surface.
  8. When you’re finished, turn off the power washer and disconnect the hose.

Be sure to use the proper safety equipment when handling the machine. This will prevent any injuries that might occur while cleaning.

Safety equipment to use when power washing or pressure washing

  • Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Ear protection
  • Boots
  • Long pants
  • Dust mask

If you’re using a power washer, make sure to drain any remaining water from the hose and detergent tank. Store the power washer in a safe, dry place so it’s ready to use next time.

Why your power washer has no pressure

If your power washer has no pressure, there are several possible causes. First, check the hose to see if it is kinked. If it is, straighten it out. Next, check the nozzle to see if it is clogged. If it is, clean it out. Finally, check the pump to see if it is working properly. If it isn’t, you may need to replace it. If you still can’t get your power washer to work, take it to a repair shop near you.

The cost of power and pressure washing services

You can hire a professional to power or pressure wash your surfaces. The cost of power and pressure washing services will vary depending on the size of the job and the type of surface being cleaned. Expect to pay between $25 and $100 per hour or $.50 – $1.00 per sq. ft.

Power washing and pressure washing are both great methods to deep clean dirt, grime, mold, and even old paint from surfaces. Power washing is a more powerful option while pressure washing is less powerful but perfect for delicate surfaces. It’s important to know which machine to use for each surface in order to get the best results. You can either do the job yourself with the proper safety equipment or hire a professional to do it for you. If you’re looking for power or pressure washing professionals, contact City Wide Maintenance for the best service in the Vancouver area.

About the author

City Wide
City Wide Environmental Cleaning, a trusted name in the Greater Vancouver area, is a leading authority in commercial and industrial cleaning services. With a solid reputation built on an established local presence, City Wide is known for its experienced team, dependable service, and unwavering commitment to quality. Specializing in complete parkade maintenance, City Wide caters to a diverse range of clients, including commercial plazas, hospitals, strata buildings, institutions, hotels, airports, and retail stores.

Schedule parking lot cleaning and maintenance today with Greater Vancouver’s #1 Parking Lot Cleaners, City Wide.

Read similar topics
What is Hydro-Jetting? Everything You Need To Know
What is Hydro-Jetting? Everything You Need To Know

If you're unfamiliar with hydro-jetting, it is a process that uses high-pressure water to clean sewer lines and drains. It is often used as an alternative to traditional snaking or chemical drain cleaners. While hydro-jetting is a proven method for cleaning drains,...