Hot Water Pressure Washer vs Steam Cleaner - Which Is Better?

If you are weighing your options when it comes to high-intensity cleaning solutions, you’ll have two main options: hot water pressure washers and steam cleaners. While steam was the best way to clean back in the day, there is evidence suggesting high-pressure hot water washers are actually more efficient.

Wondering which of these two options is better for you? You’ve come to the right place. Because today, we’re going to break down the key differences between these two types of cleaning solutions.

We’ll then take a look at what the experts consider to be the best of the two, so you can arm yourself with the right equipment for even the toughest cleaning jobs. Let’s dive right in!

A Brief History Of Steam Cleaners and Hot Water Pressure Washers

These two cleaning solutions share a lot of similarities, but we want to start by examining their history along with some of the differences they have on a technical level. This will help you understand which one is really better than the other.

When they originally came on the market over 50 years ago, steam cleaners operated at 2-4 GPM (gallons per minute) and 100-150 PSI. They were either diesel or LP fired. These used a heating coil to heat the to 320-360°. At the time, this offers unprecedented levels of cleaning. As pumps got better, so too did these steam cleaners.

As time went on, though, it became evident that heating the water to these higher temperatures but keeping it in a liquid state offered even better cleaning capabilities. Thus, the birth of the hot water high-pressure washer. These new cleaning solutions blew the steam cleaner out of the water in terms of efficiency and effectiveness.

Because of this, many people consider the hot water high-pressure washer to be the better option for tough cleaning jobs. But is this actually true? Let’s move on, and look at some of the advantages each cleaning solution offers.

Steam Cleaner Advantages

Steam cleaning was actually the #1 way to clean tough jobs back in the 1900s. These steamers will heat water past the boiling point to the point it vaporizes, emitting the “steam” you see these produce.

When using these, you’ll focus the jet of steam on the surface you’re trying to clean. Not only will steam remove the mess itself, but it also does a great job of sanitizing in the process! This means it will help kill bacteria, organic waste, and other undesirable microbes. Because of this, you’ll commonly see this type of cleaning used on children’s playgrounds or animal enclosures.

A huge advantage of steam cleaning is its cost-effectiveness. These cleaners are known for using far less water than hot water pressure washers, which might factor into your decision. Plus, you don’t usually need to use any sort of detergent when using a steam cleaner There is also no runoff to concern yourself with, as there is with a pressure washer.

Hot Water Pressure Washer Advantages

Now, let’s discuss the hot water pressure washer – and its unique advantages. You can think of a pressure washer as more of a brute force approach to cleaning. The powerful jet will blast away grime and oil – cutting through even the toughest stains and messes.

When you add the hot water when pressure washing, that’s when you get the most intense, efficient form of cleaning possible. Whether you’re dealing with caked-on mud, oil, grease, chemical stains – you name it, a hot water pressure washer can handle it.

When using a pressure washer, you also have the advantage of a more concentrated stream. This helps you get into tougher, hard-to-reach areas and pinpoint your cleaning for greater efficiency.

Speaking of hard-to-reach areas – most pressure washers come with a wand and ultra-long hose that expands your reach. This means you’re able to clean up high without having to climb on a ladder.

This makes pressure washers the ideal choice for cleaning roofs, undersides of vehicles and machinery, or tall pieces of equipment that would otherwise require you to climb and endanger your wellbeing while cleaning. If you want to learn more about how hot water pressure washers work, check out our complete guide.

Incorporating Detergent With Your Hot Water Pressure Washer Unlocks Even Greater Cleaning

With a hot water pressure washer, you are able to fill it up with detergent. These specialized cleaning formulas make a great piece of cleaning equipment even better. This will come into play when cleaning very specific types of jobs.

For example, there are detergents formulated specifically as degreasers, asphalt removers, paint removers, or sanitizing solutions. With this type of specificity, you are able to unlock the best cleaning possible.

These Days, You Can Even Add A Steam Kit To Get The Best Of Both Worlds!

Another really cool thing about pressure washers is that these days, you’re able to add on your own steam kit. This will allow you to use your pressure washer as a type of steam cleaner. This is a great approach if you’re cleaning gas and fuel tanks before welding, for example.

What About Cold Water Pressure Washers?

Maybe you’ve heard of cold water pressure washers, and you’re wondering where they fit into this topic. What are the differences between hot and cold water pressure washers?

Cold water pressure washers are great in their own regard, but the colder water makes them a bit less effective at removing grime and muck. With that said, they are a bit more efficient than their hotter counterpart. But if you’ve got an exceptionally tough job, you’ll want to stick with the hot water high-pressure washer!

Are Hot Water Pressure Washers Really Better Than Steam Cleaners?

Now comes the big question you wanted to find the answer to today: which is better, a hot water pressure washer or a steam cleaner? Is one necessarily better than the other? The answer, which you may have been able to guess by now, is that it depends entirely on your specific cleaning job.

There are tons of scenarios where choosing a pressure washer will be the right choice. On the other hand, there may be instances where a steam cleaner is the correct approach.

If you have a job where water access is limited, or you’re trying to keep runoff to a minimum, you’ll want to go with the steam cleaner. These use as little as .08 gallons of water per minute! The steam cleaner is also probably the right approach if you want to avoid the use of chemicals, and the job doesn’t require any special detergents.

Conversely, a pressure washer is the best choice if you have a tough job with all sorts of caked-on grease, grime, etc. You’ll want the cleaning power and efficiency only a hot water pressure washer can provide. When it comes to industrial types of cleaning – you’ll almost always want to pick the hot water pressure washer. There are so many different things a hot water pressure washer can be used for.

We want to summarize this section by reiterating that there are some instances when steam cleaning will be the better option. On the other hand, certain circumstances will require a hot water pressure washer.

But, when it comes to tough cleaning jobs and efficiency – yes, hot water pressure washers are truly the best option. Let’s look at some examples of why that is.

The Verdict: Hot Water High-Pressure Washing Systems Are More Efficient & Effective

When it comes to efficiency, you really can’t beat a hot water pressure washer. These are capable of cleaning tough messes as much as 7-10 times faster than a steam cleaner! That’s a huge chunk of time you’ll save by investing in a hot water pressure washer over a steam cleaner.

But, you’ll really only be able to enjoy all the benefits of a pressure washer if you go with the very best of the best. And, that’s what we offer here at Hotsy.

Find The Best Hot Water Pressure Washers and Cleaning Essentials At Hotsy!

Now you know that for most tough cleaning jobs, hot water pressure washers are the answer. And there is no better place to buy or rent pressure washers than here at Hotsy!

We have a reputation for offering the best pressure washer store out there, whether you’re a business or an individual. We’ve got over 35 cold water pressure washers to choose from along with 80+ hot water high-pressure washer models, so you’re sure to find something that fits your needs.

Not sure which one is right for you? Don’t hesitate to reach out! With over 40 years of experience in this industry, we’re here to help you find the perfect pressure washers for your unique needs.

From cold water pressure washers to hot water pressure washers, and even pressure washer trailers – we’ve got it all! In our stores and on our website, you’ll also find our line of premium detergents to help maximize the cleaning power that Hotsy pressure washers provide.

So what are you waiting for? We serve all of south Texas, so stop by a Hotsy dealer today or give us a call – we’re happy to help you get set up with efficient, affordable cleaning solutions for any job.