How to Choose the Right PSI for Your Pressure Washer


Pressure washers can be used to clean everything from your car, walls, and concrete driveway using water pressure. They work well on different outdoor surfaces to get rid of grime, dirt, oil and paint stains, and even graffiti. Different tasks require different amount of pressure. So how do you know what your pressure washer settings should be? Read on for our cheat sheet to choosing the right PSI for your pressure washer.

How does a pressure washer work?

Pressure washers use pumps to regulate the water pressure you use for your cleaning project. These pumps are usually powered by gas or electricity. Pressure washers also typically have two connections – a low pressure point for a regular garden hose and a high-pressure point for a hose that is designed to withstand these high pressures.

What is PSI?

Water pressure is measured in terms of PSI (Pressure per Square Inch). The amount of pressure you choose to use will depend on your project at hand. For example, cleaning your car requires less water pressure than stripping paint. Most homeowners who want a pressure washer for regular cleaning jobs like washing cars and patios can typically get away with pressure washers with a lower PSI handling capacity.

Another factor that affects the cleaning power of your pressure washer is the gallons per minute rating (GPM). The more gallons of water your pressure washer can handle, the stronger its cleaning power.

How do you know what PSI capacity to choose?

Since pressure washers come with different cleaning capacities purchasing one that is most suitable for your needs can get difficult. For example, the pressure you need to clean your car is much less than the PSI needed to clean oil stains off a garage floor. It can be a good idea to get a pressure washer that has a slightly higher PSI than you think you’ll need to avoid disappointment later.

 What PSI do you need for different projects?

The PSI you need is dependent on the kind of work at hand.

    • 1,300-1,800 PSI Pressure Washers with up to 1.5 GPM: Ideal for cleaning cars, BBQ grills, outdoor furniture, shutters, and removing mild mold and mildew.
    • 2,000-3,000 PSI Pressure Washers with up to 2.8 GPM: Great for cleaning decks and docks, fences, sidings, and light driveway cleaning.
    • 3,000-4,000+ PSI Pressure Washers with up to 4.0 GPM: Professional grade pressure washers for industrial level cleaning of concrete, driveways, sidings, fences, stubborn stains, graffiti, and stubborn stains.

Pressure washer accessories:

Various accessories can help you manipulate the angle of the spray. The angle you choose can affect how hard the water impacts the surface you are cleaning – so an angle of 0 degrees concentrates the water into one thin powerful stream while greater angles spread the water more so it the impact of the pressure is spread out. You need to be careful while choosing a nozzle as the incorrect tip can not only affect cleaning power but can also damage the surface you are trying to clean.

It’s also important to use the right protective gear like protective goggles while using a pressure washer.

As you can see there is a lot more than simply choosing the right PSI for your pressure washer. While having a pressure washer at home can definitely make routine cleaning easier, it can be a good idea to leave the larger and/or tougher areas to professional services.

Canadian Restorations GTA provides commercial grade power washing/pressure washing and graffiti removal services. Our technicians are fully licensed and have all the requisite safety training to use the equipment needed to clean your property to the highest possible standards.

Get in touch with the team to learn more!

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