Pressure Washer vs. Power Washer

Pressure washer vs. power washer – what’s the difference? A lot of articles tend to use these words interchangeably. Both machines are designed to clean surfaces, but they use different mechanisms to achieve this goal. We will explore the difference between these two types of machines and discuss which one is best for certain cleaning jobs.

What’s the Difference?

The main difference between pressure washers and power washers is the heating element. Pressure washers use a pressurized stream of water to clean surfaces, while power washers use a combination of pressurized water and heat. The heat helps loosen dirt and grime, making it easier for the power washer to remove. Power washers are typically used for tougher cleaning jobs, while pressure washers can be used for a variety of different tasks.

Pressure Washing

Pressure washers use a high-pressure water pump to create a powerful stream of water. This cleaning method uses a stream of water to clean surfaces by removing dirt, grime, and other debris. Pressure washers are best for cleaning jobs that do not require the use of heat.

Some examples of pressure washing tasks include:

  • Cleaning driveways
  • Washing cars
  • Cleaning decks and patios
  • Cleaning house siding
  • Removing dirt and dust


How much pressure you need will vary depending on the job. For example, pressure washers designed for home use typically have pressures between 1000 and 3000 PSI (pounds per square inch). Knowing which PSI you need will ensure you have the best pressure washer for the job at hand.

Power Washing

Power washers use a combination of pressure and heat to clean surfaces. The high pressure of the water stream helps to loosen dirt and grime, while the heated water makes it easier for the power washer to remove.

Power washers are typically used for an effective deep clean on tougher cleaning jobs, such as:

  • Cleaning grease stains and oil stains
  • Removing loose paint
  • Cleaning concrete
  • Cleaning tough dirt stains
  • Removing mold, mildew, and weeds
  • Removing salt


You’ll want to use a power washer on hard surfaces only because the hot water stream can damage softer surfaces like wood.

The benefits of using very hot water when deep cleaning are numerous. The high heat not only cleans better than unheated water, but in many cases it sanitizes as well.

Since most pressure washers use cold water, they will not make a huge difference when trying to clean grease. Grease stains require a higher water temperature provided by the heating elements in a power washer.

Which One Should You Use: Power Washer or Pressure Washer?

Now that you know the difference between power washing vs. pressure washing, you can decide which one is best for your cleaning needs. A power washer is the best option if you need to remove tough stains or paint. For general cleaning jobs, a pressure washer will suffice.

You should remember that many articles will use the terms power washing and pressure washing interchangeably. It should also be noted that power washers are commonly referred to as hot water pressure washers.

No matter which type of machine you choose, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure safe and effective use. Wear gloves and safety glasses to protect yourself from the high-pressure stream of water. And always point the wand away from your body and other people to avoid injury.