“What kind of pressure washer do I need?”
We see this question all too frequently. And today, we’re going to answer it once and for all.
You know you need a powerful cleaning solution, but you’re not sure what kind of pressure washer you need. These machines can be a sizable investment for your business, and you want to get it right the first time. After all, choosing the wrong type of machine can result in inefficiency or overkill – neither of which is ideal.
Your business has unique cleaning needs – and you need the perfect solution for the job. And by the time you finish reading our commercial pressure washer buying guide, you’ll be just a few clicks away from your ideal machine. We’re going to explain exactly how to choose a pressure washer.
In this in-depth buying guide, you’ll gain a better understanding of why choosing the right machine is so important. You’ll also learn about the different types of machines available on the market – gas, electric, hot water units, cold water units, etc. More importantly, we’ll help you plan out your next steps to actually getting your perfect match. Stick around to the end as we’ll provide you with a recommendation on where to start your journey to secure the most efficient, effective machine for your unique needs! First things first – why is choosing the right machine so important?
Why Learning How To Choose A Pressure Washer Is So Important
Before we can answer the question “what kind of pressure washer do I need?” we have to explain why this isn’t something you should take lightly. Your business has unique needs – and not all pressure washers are created equal. Choosing the right machine is vital to getting the job done quickly, efficiently, and without any problems.
For example, if you’re looking for a machine to clean delicate surfaces – like vehicles – you’ll want something with less power. On the other hand, if you need to remove thick layers of grease and grime – like in a commercial kitchen – you’ll need a machine with more power, or PSI as it is referred to in this industry.
Not sure what PSI or GPM mean? Don’t worry, we’ll explain all of that in just a bit. For now, just understand that choosing the right machine is vital to your business’ success. Now that we’ve established why finding the perfect pressure washer is so important, let’s move on to discussing the different types of machines available.
What Are The Different Types Of Pressure Washers?
Part of the problem with choosing your ideal pressure washer is that there are so many different types out there. From gas to electric models and commercial to residential styles, and even hot water vs cold water machines. All this variety can get overwhelming – at least if you don’t know the differences. Once we break it all down for you, you’ll feel far more confident in choosing the right machine for your needs. Let’s start by breaking down the commercial vs residential differences.
Commercial Units vs Residential Units
Commercial pressure washers are built for more intense, regular use than their residential counterparts. They’re also generally more expensive as a result.
If you only need to clean surfaces occasionally – like around the house – a residential machine will likely suffice. Say you want to make your Sunday car wash sessions more simple and effective – a small residential machine will be perfect. Or, maybe you want to clean your house siding every year – choose a residential machine.
On the other hand, if you need to regularly clean thick layers of grease and grime – like in a commercial kitchen – you’ll need a machine that can handle that level of intensity. And those are what we call commercial pressure washers.
This is the first major distinction you need to make when learning how to choose a pressure washer. If you’re still here reading this guide, we’ll assume you’re after a commercial pressure washer. You can learn more in our breakdown of commercial vs residential pressure washers. With that out of the way, let’s move on to discussing gas units vs electric units.
Gas Units vs Electric Units
The next major distinction you need to make is between gas and electric units. Both have their pros and cons, which we’ll outline for you now.
Gas units are more expensive up front – but they’re also more powerful. If you need a machine that can handle heavy-duty jobs quickly, a gas unit will be your best bet. They’re also more mobile than electric units since you’re not tethered to an outlet.
Electric units are less expensive upfront and slightly less powerful. But, they’re also much easier to maintain and operate. If you don’t need a machine with a ton of power, an electric unit will likely suffice – especially if you don’t plan on moving it around much. If you want to learn more about the distinction between these styles, our article on gas vs electric pressure washers is a great resource.
Now that we’ve discussed the major distinctions between different types of pressure washers, let’s move on to discussing PSI and GPM.
Hot Water Units vs Cold Water Units
Finally, you must consider the difference between hot water vs cold water pressure washers. This is perhaps one of the most important considerations, too.
Hot water units are more expensive and require more maintenance. But, they’re also much better at removing tough grease and grime. If you need a machine that can handle the toughest jobs quickly and easily, a hot water unit is your best bet.
Cold water units are less expensive and require less maintenance. But, they’re not as effective at removing tough grease and grime. If you need a machine that can handle light-duty jobs quickly and easily, a cold water unit is your best bet.
Now that we’ve gone over the major types of pressure washers, let’s move on to what you came here today – to find an answer to the question, “what kind of pressure washer do I need?”.
How To Choose A Pressure Washer For Your Business
Ready to learn how to choose a pressure washer? We’ve covered the various machines, but which is right for you? And moreover, how do you choose the right specific model? In this section, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know to make the right decision. To kick things off, we’re going to discuss PSI – one of the most important factors in determining which kind of pressure washer you need.
What Is PSI And How Does It Affect My Pressure Washer?
PSI stands for “pounds per square inch” – and it’s a measure of the water pressure coming out of your machine. The higher the PSI, the more powerful the machine.
If you need a machine that can handle light-duty jobs quickly and easily, you’ll want a machine with a lower PSI. If you need a machine that can handle heavy-duty jobs quickly and easily, you’ll want a machine with a higher PSI.
You may be under the impression that the more PSI your unit has, the better. After all, why not choose the most powerful machine possible? Well, if you don’t need that extra PSI, it could end up doing more harm than good. For example, if you’re shopping for your detailing service and want to go about washing a car with a pressure washer, too much PSI can damage windows or even strip paint.
That’s why we encourage you to carefully consider your specific use case, and then read our guide on what PSI pressure washer do I need? Now that you know the basics of PSI, let’s move on to GPM.
What Is GPM And How Does It Affect My Pressure Washer?
GPM stands for “gallons per minute” – and it’s a measure of the water flow coming out of your machine. The higher the GPM, the more water your machine is capable of flowing.
If you need a machine that can handle light-duty jobs quickly and easily, you’ll want a machine with a lower GPM. If you need a machine that can handle heavy-duty jobs quickly and easily, you’ll want a machine with a higher GPM.
You may be under the impression that the more GPM your unit has, the better – just like PSI. But similar to what we said in the previous section, you’ll just end up wasting water – and thus, money – if you get more GPM than you need. So, how do you choose your ideal GPM?
As a general rule of thumb, we recommend choosing a machine with a GPM that’s at least double the PSI. So, if you’re looking for a machine with 2000 PSI, you’ll want a unit with at least 4000 GPM.
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of PSI and GPM, let’s move on to one more important factor – duty cycle.
What Is Duty Cycle And How Does It Affect My Pressure Washer?
Duty cycle is a measure of how long your machine can run before it needs to take a break. The higher the duty cycle, the longer your machine can run without needing a break.
If you need a machine that can handle light-duty jobs quickly and easily, you’ll want a machine with a higher duty cycle. If you need a machine that can handle heavy-duty jobs quickly and easily, you’ll want a machine with a lower duty cycle. Simple enough, right?
As with PSI and GPM, there’s no need to get a machine with a higher duty cycle than you need – it’ll just be wasted money. How do you choose the right duty cycle for your needs?
It really depends on how you’re going to be using your machine. If you only need to use it for quick cleanup of light-duty jobs, then you can get away with a lower duty cycle. However, if your cleaning tasks can last hours upon hours – all that downtime from a lower duty cycle will start to lead to inefficiency and wasted manpower. Downtime is your enemy – and finding a machine that can run longer without breaks will lead to higher efficiency, and thus, profitability. Our guide on how long can you run a pressure washer is a great resource on this topic.
Now that we’ve gone over the basics of PSI, GPM, and duty cycle – let’s move on to our next topic. How do you choose between a gas and electric pressure washer?
Do You Need Mobile Cleaning Capabilities?
Another factor that some business owners don’t consider until it’s too late is where your cleaning jobs will take you. If you are constantly near a water and power source, then this is not as concerning. But what if you have a remote cleaning job? How will you get water and power out there? That’s where a pressure washer trailer comes in. These have a water source and power source on board, and make it easy to bring cleaning power anywhere you need it.
These are definitely geared towards the most high-level, commercial cleaning jobs out there – but they’re a great option to know about. You can even rent a pressure washer trailer for the weekend if you only need it every so often – at least, at Hotsy you can!
Consider Whether You Need A Pressure Washer That Can Incorporate Soap
If you’re in the market for a pressure washer, chances are good that you’ve considered whether or not you need a machine that can handle pressure washer detergent. We’re here to tell you that, yes – soap can be a gamechanger when it comes to pressure washing.
Adding soap to your pressure washing routine can help loosen tough grime and dirt, making your job easier. Not to mention, it can also help protect surfaces from being damaged by the high pressure of the water.
If you’re not sure whether or not you need a machine that can handle soap, think about what kind of jobs you’ll be using it for. If you’re mostly going to be cleaning surfaces that are just lightly dirty, then you probably don’t need soap. However, if you’re going to be cleaning surfaces that are caked with dirt and grime, then soap can be a lifesaver. Learn more about how to use soap with a pressure washer in our blog.
Wrapping Up Our Pressure Washer Buying Guide
We hope this guide has been helpful in getting you started on the right foot. You now know how to choose a pressure washer. In summary, consider your unique cleaning needs – what type of jobs will you be doing? How frequently will you do them? The type of cleaning you need will dictate whether you should go with a gas or electric model, or hot water vs cold water unit. It will also determine your ideal PSI, GPM, duty cycle, and detergent capabilities.
We didn’t touch on it much, but your budget will also dictate your ideal choice. And if you want to stretch your budget as far as possible, there is only one place to shop – our pressure washer store San Antonio. Those who have used our machines say nothing cleans like a Hotsy, and it’s true – we have the best commercial pressure washers on the market! With so much variety, you’ll have no problem choosing the right machine at Hotsy. We’ve got both hot water pressure washers for sale and cold water pressure washers too. If you’re not quite ready to invest in your own machine, we offer pressure washer rental.
So, what are you waiting for? Reach out and let’s get started choosing the right pressure washer for your unique needs!