How Do Pressure Washers Work? (The BEST Answer)

Are you planning to spruce up your property’s outdoor area and give your backyard, driveway, and porch a quick and efficient cleanup?

If your answer is yes, having a pressure washer will help you get the job done in no time! But how do pressure washers work?


In today’s article, we’ll walk you through a brief guide that explains everything you need to know about pressure washers, including how they work as well as their pros and cons, so you can figure out whether they’re ideal for you. Let’s dive right in!

What is a pressure washer?

Pressure washers are great tools to have as a homeowner. They are useful for cleaning grime and dirt off of surfaces that you wouldn’t normally be able to reach with a mop or bucket.

A pressure washer is a device that blasts water under high pressure to clean away caked-on debris such as leaves, dirt, mud, moss, or algae from outdoor surfaces like concrete driveways, brick walls, and wooden fences, or gravel walkways. You will need an outdoor faucet to use it.

There are different types of pressure washers based on the technology used, the type of water delivery, the PSI (or water pressure), and of course, the design and build of the pressure washer. Most pressure washers work on electricity or gasoline.

The main difference between pressure washers is the PSI that they produce. Pressure washers are often measured in PSI (pounds per square inch), which is the amount of pressure the water is under. The higher the PSI, the more powerful the pressure washer will be. It’s important to note that PSI can vary from model to model, so make sure you check the specifications before buying. The upper limit for PSI is generally between 2,500 and 3,000 PSI. If you have a large yard or lots of tough cleaning jobs to tackle, you may want to look for a pressure washer with a higher PSI. You have to be careful though as pressure washers with a high PSI can also cause damage.

Some pressure washers come with various attachments and these can be very useful for cleaning specific parts of your home. When buying a pressure washer, make sure you choose one with a variety of attachments so you can clean your home in the most efficient and effective way possible. These include:

– Deck wash attachments – These attachments are used to blast away dirt, mildew, or moss from wooden decking. – Spray wand attachments – These are great for tackling general cleaning like cleaning the driveway or patio.

– Fence wash attachments – These are used to blast away dirt, mildew, or moss from fences.

– Wall washer attachments These are great for cleaning tough grime from your home’s walls.

Famous brands include Karcher and Westinghouse.

What Are Major Parts of a Pressure Washer?

To understand how a pressure washer works, we first need to have a quick look at the essential parts of this tool and the purpose they serve:

The Motor

The motor is the most critical part of any pressure washer. Together with the pump, they’re the secret behind the tool’s ability to spray water at such high pressure.

The most powerful type of pressure washers are the ones with a gas-powered motor, but they’re also loud and quite pricey.

Electric motors improved significantly in the last few decades, allowing electric power washers to be a viable alternative.

Electric pressure washers can be corded or battery-powered (cordless), although the latter is significantly less powerful and has limited uses.

The Pump

The pump is the part that pulls the water using the power of the engine, accelerates it, and shoots it out of the hose at high pressure.

Depending on the power of the motor, the pressure washer pump is capable of generating a high-pressure water jet with a flow rate of about 1 to 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM) and a pressure of 2,000 to 3,500 pounds per square inch (PSI).

The Inlet

This is the part connected to the main water supply faucet. High-quality inlets will also have filters to prevent small particles from blocking the pressure washer or reducing its efficiency.

High-end pressure washers will have multiple inlets and compartments for detergents for extra cleaning power.

The Pressure Hose

The pressure hose that comes with a washer is different from your regular garden hose. This one is much thicker and fortified with extra layers of plastic and mesh wires.

Ideally, this hose should be capable of handling 3 times the pressure output of the power washer itself for safety.

Extra Attachments

In addition to the primary parts, pressure washers can also come with various washer heads to suit different purposes and features.

A Brief Description of How Pressure Washers Work

Here’s a quick look at the mechanism at which pressure washers function:

The water supply source provides the pressure washer with water through the regular hose. The water passes through filters to be purified from solid particles. Soap and cleaners are usually supplied from separate reservoirs or hoses.

The power washer’s engine powers up the pump, which works as an impeller to compress air at very high pressure.

When the trigger on the power washer’s head is pressed, the water is pushed through small nozzles under extremely high air pressure, which is usually around 75 to 100 times the pressure of a regular garden hose.

Depending on the design of the pressure washer, water can be heated and/or mixed with detergents prior to coming out of the nozzle.

What Are the Benefits of Pressure Washers?

There are plenty of advantages that come with the use of pressure washers. Here are some of the factors that make pressure washers an excellent investment for you.

-Excellent Cleaning Power, as it can provide a level of cleaning that is unmatched by any scrubbing or wiping.

-Spares you the need of using toxic chemicals to deep clean surfaces, which can also kill your weed.

-The powerful jet is capable of reaching extremely tight spots, such as the tiny crevices between curbs.

-Saves a lot of time and effort while cleaning

-Capable of removing graffiti and skid marks off the road

What Are the Drawbacks of Pressure Washers?

Despite all their merits, pressure washers are not suitable for everyone. If you have a problem with the following drawbacks, getting a pressure washer may not be ideal for you:

Pressure washers can be extremely loud, especially gas-powered ones. This can be a problem if you live in a neighborhood with strict noise regulations.

It uses excessive amounts of water, which can be a bit wasteful and requires excellent draining to prevent the pooling of water.

You have to be very careful while using them. Not only do they splash water almost everywhere, but the water jet can cause injuries either directly or indirectly.

What Are the Best Pressure Washers Available on the Market?

Now that you know more about pressure washers and whether they’re a good fit for your needs, you might be interested in buying one.

There are different types of pressure washers on the market. To help you pick the best one for your needs, here’s a quick list of our top recommendations along with their power sources, pressure ratings, and water outputs:

Ryobi RY142300 – Electric Pressure Washer with 2,300 PSI and 1.2 GPM

SIMPSON CM61083 – Gas Pressure washer with 3,400 PSI and 2.5 GPM

DEWALT DWPW2400 – Electric Pressure Washer with 2,400 PSI and 1.1 GPM

CRAFTSMAN CMEPW2100 – Electric Pressure Washer with 2,100 PSI and 1.2 GPM

WORX WG644 Hydroshot – Portable Power Washer with 290 PSI and 0.9 GPM

Wrap Up

There you have it! A brief guide that walks you through the major parts of pressure washers and how they work.

As you can see, power washing can be extremely helpful if you want to maintain your house value by keeping its outdoors clean as new!

However, pressure washing is not for everyone, as it uses a lot of water and generates a lot of noise while working.

If you want a good pressure washer, we recommend the Ryobi RY142300 because it provides excellent performance while staying relatively affordable.