What to Look for in a Pressure Washer: Buying Guide

what to look for in a pressure washer

Pressure washing is the most effective way to handle cleaning tasks in your business. Whether you and your staff are seasoned pros looking to add a new model to your existing setup or just switching from manual scrubbing, you’ll need to know what to look for in a pressure washer.

Choosing a reliable and high-quality pressure washer isn’t just about style points or getting the best deal–it’s a crucial decision determining your ability to handle cleaning tasks efficiently.

With our pressure washer buying guide, you’ll learn everything you need to quickly and efficiently meet your business’s cleaning needs. 

We’ll teach you what to look for in a good pressure washer, whether you run a pressure washing business, need to clear oil-stained floors from your warehouse or factory, or want to bolster the curb appeal of your storefront.

As the best commercial pressure washer retailer in Southeast Texas, our team at Hotsy of Houston has decades of experience to help you get off on the right foot. Contact us at any point during this article if you have additional questions!

Why Invest in a Commercial Pressure Washer?

If you haven’t experienced the fantastic cleaning power of pressure washers for yourself, you may have some questions. After spending enough time on slow manual cleaning tasks, you might feel stuck allocating hours of time and money spent on labor. 

So, is pressure washing commercial buildings really any quicker?

The great news is that hope is just around the corner for your business. The best commercial pressure washers will cut down your cleaning tasks to a tiny fraction of the time manual scrubbing takes. As long as you know what to look for in a pressure washer, you’ll handle even the toughest stains without breaking much of a sweat.

Of course, this is all dependent on your finding a high-quality model. You can’t simply waltz into a local hardware store and randomly pick a machine. You’ll need to learn exactly what to look for in a good pressure washer.

The best models are created with industrial-quality components and designed by experts, ensuring you will achieve lightning-fast results that save you time, energy, and money. 

By following our pressure washer buying guide and getting your hands on a high-quality model, you’ll have a machine that stands the test of time, freeing you from worrying about breakdowns or maintenance hassles.

All of the fantastic results a pressure washer will bring add up in the eyes of customers, vendors, and potential investors, helping you grow your brand reputation and curb appeal.

What to Look for in a Pressure Washer: Buying Guide

Now that you know the benefits of switching to these powerful machines, let’s dive into our pressure washer buying guide.

With so many different types of pressure washers out there, figuring out precisely what every specification means can be overwhelming at first.

Let’s individually break down what to look for in a pressure washer, from sizing and temperature to advanced features.

PSI Guidelines

One of the very first specifications you will see on any pressure washer model is a PSI range. As one-half of the factors determining a model’s size, pressure washer PSI stands for pounds per square inch. This refers to the amount of force behind your water stream.

Finding the right sweet spot PSI for your needs is critical. Too little pressure, and you’ll be running on fumes, barely able to clear a single stain. Conversely, pressure could damage delicate surfaces if you use an excessively high PSI.

PSI for pressure washers generally ranges from 1,000 PSI to well above 4,000 PSI. For a light-duty task like vehicle fleet pressure washing, a value of 1,500 is an excellent spot to avoid any underlying damage. For heavy-duty stains like oil and grease in industrial sites, you’ll want something around 3,000 or higher PSI to provide the necessary power.

GPM Guidelines

The other half of pressure washer sizing is pressure washer GPM. GPM, which stands for gallons per minute, denotes how much water flows from your machine at any moment. If there’s one thing to take away from while learning what to look for in a pressure washer, it is the relationship between PSI and GPM.

The two specifications are intricately linked. Without enough water, you can have all the power in the world and still not achieve an ideal result. The more water from your stream, the faster you can wash away stubborn stains.

GPM values start around 1.0 and scale up above 8.0. For most general-purpose washing, like pressure washing parking lots or storefronts, you’ll want values between 2 and 4 GPM.

For larger-scale jobs, a higher GPM capacity of around 5 or 6 will help you tackle large cleaning areas quickly.

Water Temperature

The next stop in our pressure washer buying guide is water temperature. There are different use cases for hot water vs cold water pressure washers, depending on the type of stains you deal with and your local climate.

Hot water is far more effective at breaking down tough and sticky stains like oil or grease. The extra heat allows the water to penetrate deeply into your underlying surfaces. These temperatures will range from 140 to 200°F, depending on your specific stain.

While hot water is an excellent choice for heavy-duty jobs like pressure washing concrete, there are some cases where cold water is preferred. Cold water models are less expensive, offering a budget-friendly option for smaller-scale projects. 

Additionally, cold water machines are cheaper to maintain and upkeep during the winter, as you don’t need to worry as much about oil changes or heating component replacements.

Gas or Electric Operation

The engine is another critical decision when determining what to look for in a pressure washer.

The electric vs gas pressure washer debate is a close call, as you’ll need to assess your cleaning needs.

Gas-powered machines are the industry’s stalwart workhorses. They provide access to high PSI and GPM cleaning forces, essential for handling tough stains in industrial settings like oil rig pressure washing. Their high-quality builds have plenty of staying power to ensure your stream keeps pushing forward, day after day, and you won’t even have to plug them into a wall!

Where gas models struggle is in their emissions and noise levels. Electric machines pick up the slack for gas models, offering a quiet and fume-free clean ideal for smaller indoor job sites, like warehouse power washing or restaurant pressure washing.

Of course, electric models still have plenty of power, so consider how much PSI and GPM you need while shopping for the best results.

Mobility for Remote Jobs

Mobility is another factor to consider when buying a pressure washer. Many of your cleaning tasks aren’t going to be conveniently located near a power outlet or right next to your storage.

Pressure washers with built-in mobility, including lightweight designs that can be carried by hand, built-in wheels for rolling, or trailer-mounted units can be vital in these spots. These mobility tools will allow you to quickly move your machine around your commercial properties, avoiding unnecessary hassle and ensuring minimal downtime.

Build Quality and Durability

One quality often overlooked by businesses shopping for a pressure washer is the machine’s build quality. Your pressure washing equipment will naturally take a beating as part of the process, and you want to ensure it can handle being pushed to its limits.

Look for high-quality materials, like corrosion-resistant steel and sturdy pumps and valves. You should also aim for commercial-specific features, like frames that can handle excessive vibration and reinforced hoses.

After all, pressure washer repair costs and parts aren’t cheap. Don’t settle for build quality, which will cost your business money in the long run.


Advanced Features

A machine that can blast through any stain is an excellent start, but there are some extra quality-of-life features to aim for that will make the job even easier.

Look for machines with attachable detergent tanks to save you time lugging around tubs of soap, adjustable PSI and GPM control to handle a wider variety of tasks, and adjustable nozzles for greater surface coverage.

By investing in a machine with innovative features, you’ll be accomplishing your cleaning tasks faster than any other business around you, ensuring you can spend more time focusing on your productivity.

Detergent Compatibility

Learning how to add soap to a pressure washer is an essential part of your business’s learning curve. Some machines aren’t compatible with certain detergents, which will hamper your ability to manage specific stains.

There are plenty of specifically formulated soaps for various tasks. From vehicle-friendly soaps that are safe for delicate exteriors to heavy, paint-stripping degreasers for industrial tasks, that flexibility ensures you can handle all the cleaning tasks in your business with one machine.

But if your machine isn’t compatible, you could experience clogged hoses or reduced cleaning power if you use the wrong soap.

Pairing With Tips and Accessories

While the standard nozzles that come with pressure washers are excellent in their own right, they aren’t the only tool for the job. Finding a machine that pairs well with the best pressure washer accessories is crucial to speeding up the process.

For example, a quality floor cleaner like the Hotsy Surface Cleaner will be far more effective at pressure washing factory floors than a standard nozzle. Similarly, an extension wand will help you reach high places without lugging your machine from floor to floor in a large commercial building.

Of course, don’t forget personal protective equipment, like non-slip pressure washing boots, while washing to maximize safety.

Our pressure washer buying guide has covered everything you need to know about shopping for a machine, so the only thing left to determine is where to shop!

Thankfully for business owners in Southeast Texas, the #1 home for commercial cold water pressure washers in Houston is at Hotsy of Houston.

Hotsy of Houston Has the Perfect Commercial Pressure Washer to Elevate Your Business!

As a business owner or operator in Southeast Texas, you know that going above and beyond is crucial to succeeding in this busy market.

That’s where Hotsy of Houston has your back. As the #1 home for commercial pressure washers in Houston, we have provided premium solutions for business owners across the area for years.

Our dedicated team of Southeast Texas natives has the know-how necessary to work with your business and get you set up with the right products. We’re proud to be the region’s authorized Hotsy dealer, working with the industry leader with half a century of a storied reputation.

From leases, sales, and commercial pressure washer rental in Houston, we’ll work with you to find the perfect solution for your business. We even offer pressure washer trailers in Houston, including assistance with custom pressure washer trailer setup for large-scale jobs.

We’re also an authorized Hotsy warranty repair center, making us the go-to place for commercial pressure washer repair in Houston.

You’ll even be able to find a fantastic selection of pressure washer detergent and accessories to pair with your new machine. With Hotsy’s line of soaps, you’ll have the best detergent for pressure washers by your side to eradicate tough stains.

Plus, you’ll have access to our friendly customer support team, who will help answer all of your burning questions, including how to use a pressure washer, how to rent a pressure washer, and what soap to put in a pressure washer, ensuring you are always on track for success.

Closing Thoughts on What to Look for in a Good Pressure Washer

Overall, investing in a commercial pressure washer is a fantastic decision. You’ll be able to eradicate tough stains without breaking a sweat, but only if you know what you’re looking for.

That’s where our team is here to help. We’ll work with you to find the perfect machine, ranging from your PSI and GPM settings to the advanced features you need to do the job.

If you enjoyed our pressure washer buying guide, check out our blog for additional insights!

Our recent favorite articles include pressure washing construction equipment, can a pressure washer remove rust, pressure washing pre treatments, how much does it cost to start a power washing business, how to store a pressure washer, and can a pressure washer remove paint.

Otherwise, the best place to find a commercial hot water pressure washer in Houston is right before you. Call us today or visit our Pasadena storefront to learn more about how we can help you streamline your cleaning ability!