What Is A Good PSI For A Pressure Washer? – How To Choose Right One

Last updated on December 30th, 2021 | By: Grady Galvez

Generally this question is asked by many of the pressure washer shoppers as to how much pressure is expected out of a pressure washer.

The pressure released by a power washer is measured in pounds per square inch – PSI. The PSI requirements vary from machine to machine based on what cleaning type they are designed to focus at.

Understanding it better with an example here:

Cleaning and removing dust and dirt from your vehicles will take less time than cleaning those tough oil stains on your driveway.

Yet another aspect that holds an equal position is the gallons per minute rating – GPM.

The measurement of the amount of pressure put out every minute by your pressure washer is determined by this. Certainly more water leads to faster and effective cleaning.

psi pressure washer

Pressure Washer VS Power Washer

We often make use of these two terms interchangeably. But is pressure washer different than a power washer.

Let me make it clear, as there is no harm in using both these terms comparably but according to Hydrotek (pressure washer manufacturer) these two terms are slightly different. According to Hydrotek – pressure washer is a heavy-duty version whereas the power washer is a lighter-duty version.

Now you must be thinking what is a light-duty or a heavy-duty pressure washer. This could be something subjective but what matters here is the PSI rating.

A general breakdown of the PSI rating:

1,000 – 1,900 PSI

This is a low end PSI and is often considered for residential units. For an average homeowner this will work great to handle most of the automotive cleaning jobs and household tasks (usually a hand carry electric model).
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2,000 – 2,900 PSI

These moderate strength units are designed for heavier residential tasks. Generally, they are sold as gas pressure washers or electric models.
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3,000 – 6,900 PSI

These are extremely high pressure washer models preferred by contractors or professional pressure washers. Industrial or commercial settings tend to use this and they are made to run either on diesel or gas.
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7,000 – 50,000 PSI

These pressure washers have incredible power and calling them ‘water blasters’ is nothing much. These are used to clean buildings, large equipment, and structures like bridges, and more. Generally, the industrial and engineering settings use this for accomplishing various tasks.

How much pressure does your pressure washer take?

You will need to determine beforehand to assess exactly how much pressure will be needed to clean varied surfaces, objects, or materials. After this you should decide which pressure washer you should choose.

As we have discussed above also about the PSI, if you will not be exceeding a 2500 PSI then in no case you should choose a pressure washer over 2600 PSI. This way you will save your money too. In the above case if you opt for a power washer of 3,000 or 4,000 PSI then you may feel like a stud but, why one should pay so much extra when you know it is of no use.

Selecting the right one will keep you confident about your choice and will lead to optimal and effective cleaning.

What Is The Requirement Of PSI chart for Diff Applications?

PSI Requirment Per Application 1500 PSI 2600 PSI 3000 PSI 4000 PSI
BBQ Grill
Bikes & Scooters
Decks And Docks
Cedar Fence
Boats & ATVs
Home siding
Asphalt Driveway
Industrial Equipment
Graffiti & Paint Stripping

What Is The Water Flow Taken By Your Pressure Washer?

The water pressure always helps in offering power to break-up the stains and settled dirt but the volume of water works to flush away this broken-up filth.

Inherently, the more the amount of water which passes through your nozzle in a minute, the quicker you will be in a position to do your cleaning jobs.

With a high GPM (gallons per minute rate) the water will flow faster and will lift and carry away the dirt with ease.

Just think of shooting a squirt gun at the dirt tuft on your sidewalk or driveway. You will find that the clump of dirt has loosened and broken but is still sitting there. Now if you pour a 6 gallon bucket on it then it will wash away. Now you can yourself think that the pressure of the gun + the bucket volume together will make a great cleaning tool.

Illustrating The Concept of PSI And GPM

By now you are clear about the PSI and GPM individually, but we also have a spec known as CU- Cleaning Units.

The CU is derived by multiplying together the GPM and PSI of a machine. This calculation basically represents the amount of time that is taken by a pressure washer for cleaning the surface.

Hence, a high CU means lesser time is involved for cleaning, thereby saving your time and money both.

For example: A machine that comes with a rating of 2,000 PSI and a GPM of 4 will deliver a CU of 8,000 (2,000 x 4 = 8,000).

On the other hand a machine that has a PSI of 2,500 running at a GPM of 2 will produce a CU of just 5,000. So, a higher CU will result in less time involvement. The machine with a low PSI will get the job done quicker in the above case. But the GPM needs to be high.

A required amount of PSI with GPM will always be needed for any particular job. But do not get confused as a 500 PSI cannot be used to clean a house and similarly a 1,200 PSI cannot be used to clean a parking lot. +

It is pretty clear, when it is about pressure washers you need to consider many factors overall. You need to be aware of the eventual output for selecting the right machine that will suit your preferences and budget alike.

GPM Relation To Cleaning Time 2 GPM 2.5 GPM 3 GPM 3.5 GPM 4 GPM
14 Min
10 Min
8 Min
6 Min
4 Min

Bottom line:

Pressure washers or power washers both these allow you to clean the surfaces with adequate perfection. The right combination of high pressure + high volume enables you to clean the surfaces in record time. Do not forget the GPM too as it plays an equally important role like the PSI.