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Pressure Washers: Types + How to Use

There’s little more satisfying than pressure washing your patio, front porch, deck, house siding–anything really! Pollen, dirt, mold, bird poop, and debris can not only make outdoor surfaces look bad–this built up grime can also start to degrade the actual building materials. Let’s discuss the types of pressure washers and when to use them.

How Do Pressure Washers Work?

A pump in the washer helps amplify the pressure–the pump is what makes the pressure washer so powerful. 

There are 2 connection points in every pressure washer pump–IN and OUT.

The IN connection point is for standard garden hoses–a low pressure connection.

The OUT connection point is for specialized pressure washer hoses–a high pressure connection.

Electric vs Gas Pressure Washers


Pros: Easy to use, low maintenance, affordable, lightweight, run quietly 

Cons: Not as powerful as gas pressure washers

Note: most electric washers have cords, but some battery powered versions are cordless and super lightweight–perfect for simple, small jobs


Pros: Incredibly powerful, durable, hard-working, loud

Cons: Expensive, require more maintenance


PSI is Pounds Per Square Inch while GPM is Gallons Per Minute. To calculate the holistic cleaning power of a specific model, multiply its PSI by its GPM. The number you get can help you compare the cleaning power of different power washers.

The PSI tells you the force of the pressure, or how powerful the stream will be. The GPM tells you the volume of water delivered, or how fast the water will come out.

These two numbers give you a good idea how effective the power washer will be and how powerfully it will clean. The higher the PSI and GPM, the more powerful the washer will be. Lower PSI numbers are best for infrequent, low intensity residential jobs like cleaning deck furniture, grills, shutters, and cars. The highest PSI/GPM numbers are best for frequent commercial grade jobs like graffiti removal, paint stripping, concrete cleaning, and other industrial tasks.


There are 5 main nozzle sizes, ranging from 0 degrees to 65 degrees. Each power washer either has a variable spray wand you can switch or has interchangeable nozzles you can take on and off.

0 DegreesThe most powerful nozzle; it’s super concentrated.
15 DegreesThe best for industrial cleaning.
25 DegreesMostly used for general purpose cleaning.
40 DegreesOften used for cars, patios, decks, and more big cleaning jobs.
60 DegreesThe most gentle.


Step 1

Always put the pressure washer on stable, flat ground. Do not try to hoist onto a table or other elevated surface

Step 2

Wear safety goggles and earplugs

Step 3

Do not point towards people, pets, or plants. Or anything other than the exact surface you’re trying to clean!

Step 4

Do not use around electrical boxes, power lines or other sources of electrical power

Step 5

Do not leave the machine running while not in use or unattended

*Important: always follow manufacturer instructions for your specific model.

*Also important: before you start, be sure you know how to turn off the pressure washer and how to decrease the pressure quickly.

Tips + Tricks

Research Compatibility

Before you buy or rent a pressure washer, make sure your water supply is compatible with the model. 

Choose a Correct Cleaner

Only use detergents or soaps made specifically for power washers


Apply a protector to your pump after each use to ensure it remains lubricated and without buildup

Consider attachments

Most models offer a variety of hoses and nozzles to customize your cleaning experience, like longer nozzles to clean high up, hard-to-reach spots. 

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