Pressure Washer GPM: What is GPM on Pressure Washer?

what is gpm on pressure washer

Deciding to switch from hand scrubbing and manual cleaning to pressure washing is an excellent decision for any business. However, there’s much to consider in finding the best commercial power washer.

Among the vital decisions you must make is figuring out an ideal pressure washer GPM. This choice will directly impact your ability to tackle the tough stains your business regularly encounters quickly.

So, what is a good GPM for pressure washers, anyway?

From what GPM means to why more isn’t always best, we’ll explore all you need to know about GPM on pressure washers.

What is GPM on Pressure Washer?

Before we discuss the ideal pressure washer GPM for your needs, we must first establish what it means and why it’s so important. Because the GPM on pressure washers directly impacts the flow of water from your machine, finding the right setting is critical for promptly accomplishing your cleaning tasks.

What Does GPM Mean on a Pressure Washer?

Pressure washer GPM stands for gallons per minute. This refers to how much water flows from your pressure washer through the wand or nozzle.

Functionally, the more GPM you have on a pressure washer, the more water you can use to tackle tough stains. This attribute also pairs with another vital rating, PSI, to determine your overall cleaning ability.

Why Does Pressure Washer GPM Matter?

But why is the volume of water in a pressure washer so important?

Higher pressure washer GPM ratings mean you will have a faster flow of water, which has a few crucial effects. 

Adequate water flow is required to remove dirt, grime, and debris. Higher GPM on pressure washers helps your machine flood these problem stains, quickly washing them out. In addition to power, finding a suitable GPM for your machine can also provide an easier cleaning experience. 

More water flow allows you to cover larger surface areas without waiting for your pump to refill. This helps avoid any delays in cleaning and helps your business stay on schedule. Higher GPM ratings are also more suitable for specialized wash tools like wide-angle wands, providing enough volume to rinse away soapy residues adequately.

Okay, so what is a good GPM for a pressure washer? We’ll explore exactly that in the next section.

What is a Good GPM for a Pressure Washer? How Many GPM for Pressure Washer is Ideal For Your Unique Needs

The optimal pressure washer GPM for your business can vary significantly based on your overall needs. For example, the GPM you need for pressure washing commercial buildings is higher than if you are managing a fleet of commercial vehicles.

Why More Isn’t Always Better

While you may be tempted to get the most powerful pressure washer possible to cover all your bases, going overboard could be overkill. Using a pressure washer with an excessively high GPM can lead to oversaturated or damaged surfaces, issues with pressure, and extra wear and tear on your machine.

Because GPM affects the water flow rate, high values will lead to surfaces staying wet for longer. This can lead to streaking or soapy residues, which can be visually unpleasant or harmful to surfaces like vehicles, decks, and walls.

You must also balance GPM with pressure. If your pump devotes too much energy to water flow without sufficient pressure, you will oversaturate your stains without clearing them.

Higher GPM machines also have additional quality-of-life considerations at play. These machines are often larger, requiring larger pumps, extra fuel or electric power, and wear out easier over the long run.

Identifying the Ideal GPM Range for Different Industrial Uses

With many different types of pressure washers available, striking the perfect balance of GPM comes down to the kinds of stains common to your operations. Let’s look at some of the most common use cases companies run into and find an ideal GPM for each one.

  • Cars and Delicate Machinery: Excess water can damage these delicate surfaces, so we recommend aiming for anywhere from 1 to 2 GPM for these tasks.
  • Decks, Fences, Siding: These areas are often made of lighter material but require extra volume to clean quickly. 2 to 3 GPM is a good fit.
  • Concrete and Brick: Debris can get stuck in flooring or walls made of these materials, but 3 to 4 GPM will provide enough oomph to get the job done.
  • Industrial Equipment and Heavy Machinery: If you want to quickly clean industrial equipment and other types of heavy machinery, including large vehicles like semi-trucks, you’ll want anywhere from 4 to 6 GPM.

When in Doubt, Reach Out!

Finding an appropriate GPM setting for your business is best done with the help of a professional. A knowledgeable person in the pressure washer industry can work with you to analyze specific cleaning needs, ranging from biofilm for maritime companies to food debris and grease for food manufacturing plants.

If you need help, contact our team at Hotsy of Houston by phone or email! We’ll listen to your needs and come up with an action plan. This can also be a helpful way to decide between buying vs renting a pressure washer. We can help you determine if you should rent a machine with a specialized GPM for specific debris or opt for a pressure washer for the long term to help with your most common stains.

More Tips on Choosing Your Pressure Washer Beyond GPM

Now that you know how GPM on pressure washers works and what to look for while shopping, there are a few other factors to consider. Everything from what soap to use for pressure washers to which type of motor or what pressure rating will affect how you clean and your maintenance requirements.

The Relationship Between GPM and PSI

GPM and PSI go together like bread and butter. You’ll need to find an ideal setting to manage your cleaning tasks quickly and effectively.

PSI stands for pressure per square inch. This will directly affect how powerful your stream of water is. The higher your pressure washer PSI, the greater your odds of breaking down stubborn stains.

The two qualities have a complementary relationship, where insufficient amounts in either can spell disaster to your cleaning potential. A low PSI machine with a high GPM will lead to excess water flow that doesn’t clear stains. High PSI with low GPM will lead to a powerful stream… with barely enough water to reach a stain, much less wash it away.

Generally, you want to pair PSI and GPM with similar values of each:

  • 1,500-2,000 PSI is suitable for light tasks around 1 to 2 GPM
  • 2,000-2,500 PSI for tasks like decks, siding, and walls up to 3 GPM
  • Over 2,500 PSI for machines over 3 GPM


Considering Other Key Features: Durability, Mobility, and Temperature Control

There are other vital factors to weigh when shopping for a pressure washer.

  • Pressure washer sizing & Mobility: Considering the size of your pressure washer is essential to ensure you can accomplish cleaning tasks smoothly. Look for machines with trailers, lightweight designs, and large tires to effectively maneuver around your commercial and industrial spaces while cleaning.
  • Electric pressure washer vs gas: The type of motor in your machine will affect many factors, including your pressure washer GPM. Gas models are more powerful with higher PSI and GPM on average, making them better for heavy-duty jobs in most cases. Electric models are easier on energy cost and more convenient for smaller tasks.
  • Hot vs cold water pressure washer: The temperature of your water also plays a factor depending on your local climate. Hot water pressure washers have slightly lower GPM and PSI since some of the pump’s energy is diverted to heat water. However, heated models benefit from maintaining effectiveness even during the winter.

The Importance of Accessories and Soap

Outside of your machine, you also want to make sure every box is checked off of your pressure washing equipment list. You’ll want to learn how to use a pressure washer with soap, including finding specialized soaps for various types of stains.

For example, Hotsy Brown detergent is renowned across the industry for defeating tough stains like road film and exhaust, but you may want something lighter like Hotsy Transport for your vehicles.

Be sure to grab a reliable pressure washing pre treatment as well to prepare your surfaces for cleaning.

You’ll also want to invest in specialized accessories like nozzles or wands to reach tough areas, like the Hotsy Surface Cleaner, for getting under machines and cabinets.

And don’t forget safety equipment, like goggles, gloves, and boots for pressure washing to promote a safe workspace while cleaning.

Find the Perfect Commercial Pressure Washing Solution at Hotsy of Houston!

The #1 home for industrial and commercial hot water pressure washers in Houston is Hotsy of Houston. We are proud to be one of the largest Hotsy dealers in the United States while staying true to our hometown roots in Southeast Texas.

But why choose the Hotsy brand in the first place?

As the most storied company in the industry, Hotsy has built a powerful reputation over 50 years thanks to durable and effective machines that easily tackle tough stains. Hotsy is trusted by companies across several industries, from McDonald’s and Sonic to HEB and Bobcat.

Our team of Houston natives has over a hundred years of combined experience working in the pressure-washing industry.  Whether you are looking for hot or cold water pressure washers in Houston, you can shop confidently, knowing our friendly team will guide you toward the perfect fit for your business.

Hotsy also carries soaps and accessories that can help you hone in on specific cleaning tasks unique to your business. You can find the best soap for pressure washers with us, whether it is something like Hotsy Transport for a vehicle fleet or Hotsy Carbochlor for a food manufacturing plant.

You can also find a variety of nozzles for specific tasks, like the Hotsy Surface Cleaner for floors or the Hotsy Foam Cannon for vehicles. 

If you prefer to try before you buy, Hotsy of Houston is also the best place for commercial pressure washer rental in Houston. We will help you find the perfect machine and pressure washer detergent for the job, including offering pressure washer trailers in Houston for large-scale projects.

And while Hotsy machines have a longer lifespan than other models on the market, we still recommend a little TLC to keep them at their peak. To help with your pressure washer maintenance routines, Hotsy of Houston also provides pressure washer repair in Houston and pressure washer parts in Houston.

Whether you are looking to buy, rent, or just want advice on the best pressure washer GPM setting for a specific type of debris, our Hotsy of Houston team is ready to help.

Final Thoughts on Pressure Washer GPM

Before you shop for a Hotsy pressure washer to tackle those pesky stains, let’s briefly recap our discussion. What is GPM on pressure washers, and how many GPM for pressure washers should you look for when shopping?

Pressure washer GPM is a vital quality that directly impacts cleaning ability and speed. The GPM on pressure washers stands for gallons per minute, signifying the water flow rate your machine can produce. Finding an ideal GPM on pressure washers requires you to assess your cleaning needs, as lighter tasks like vehicles and patios will need less GPM than heavy-duty tasks like concrete or machinery.

Check out our blog if you enjoyed learning how many GPM for pressure washers is ideal. Our latest guides include homemade pressure washer trailer setup, do I need a license to start a pressure washing business, the best hoses for pressure washers, ideal pressure washer hose lengths, the cost to rent a pressure washer, and how to store a pressure washer.

Otherwise, now that you understand how GPM on pressure washers works, all that is left is to start shopping! If you’re looking for a commercial or industrial pressure washer in Houston, Hotsy of Houston has your back.

Visit us at our store located off the Pasadena freeway, call us at (832) 968-WASH(9274), or shoot us an email at [email protected] to start the process of buying or renting a pressure washer for your business.