It’s a tough world out there. Things get dirty, messy and stained. Sometimes a garden hose, soap and elbow grease just aren’t enough for things to come clean.

Enter the pressure washer.

Pressure Washers 101: Here's How They Work:

Pressure washers can aggressively blast things clean with water jets pressurized at about 75 times the pressure of a garden hose. Or, they can gently spray with lower pressures for delicate cleaning. Pressure washers are commonly rated by PSI* and GPM* ratings.

What's the difference between gas & electric models?

Some light-duty pressure washers run off your home's electricity supply. These electric units are compact, quiet and easy to move around. More powerful, medium and heavy-duty models are powered by gasoline engines. Gas engine models are great if you're working outside in places where an electric supply is hard to find or where stringing extension cords together would be dangerous or inconvenient.

Pressure washers are part garden hose and part air compressor. A typical pressure washer has either a gas-fueled engine or electrical powered motor that powers a water pump. The pump accelerates the water, supplied from a garden hose, to produce high pressure. The washer is hooked to a high pressure-rated hose. At the end of the hose is a water gun that looks similar to the pressure guns used at car washes. When the trigger is pulled, the water mixes with the air and comes out of the nozzle.

Pressure Washer Terminology: PSI & GPM Defined

When choosing the best pressure washer for your needs, there are two general cleaning terms to understand. Overall cleaning performance is determined by how these work together. The higher the numbers, the faster you can clean.

  • PSI (Pounds per square inch): Water pressure measured at output, measured in pounds per square inch. It is what gives you the power to penetrate the dirt and grime.
  • GPM (Gallons per minute): Water flow delivered to the spray gun, measured in gallons per minute. It gives you the power to break down dirt and wash it away.

Pressure Washer Parts

Briggs and Stratton Pressure Washer

A typical pressure washer contains the following primary components assembled together onto a metal frame in a single unit:

  1. Electric motor or gas engine
  2. Water pump
  3. Water inlet
  4. High-pressure hose
  5. Wand and nozzle attachments

Nozzles: Control the Spray

A wide range of tips (from pinpoint, to wide fan, to turbo) and nozzles allow you to change the angle and force of the spray for more versatile cleaning. And for deeper cleaning projects, adding a detergent to the water stream is an option.

Engines Matter: The Power Behind Your Washer

The engine that powers your pressure washer plays a pivotal role in product performance, reliability and user experience. You can rest assured that your engine is:

  • Easy to start
  • Powerful
  • Durable
  • Reliable
  • Rated to meet or exceed environmental standards
  • Backed by experienced service engine dealers worldwide