Before you buy that pressure washer you’ve been eyeing for some time, it’s important to do the research to make sure it has the right PSI. However, you may be asking yourself, “What exactly is the right size for me?” There are a few things to consider so you can determine what PSI size will actually benefit your personal needs.
What Does PSI Mean?
If you don’t know, PSI stands for “pounds per square inch”. It is the measurement of the pressure, or the amount of cleaning force, of water that comes from the pressure washer. Whatever the stated PSI is on the pressure washer indicates just how powerful the water stream will be.
A pressure washer with a high PSI will obviously have greater power. Lower PSI ratings don’t offer that much pressure output, but they can still get light-duty jobs done with ease.
How Much Pressure is Needed?
The amount of pressure (or PSI) you need is dependent on what tasks you bought the pressure washer for. These numbers also separate consumer pressure washers from the lower-end to the more high-end types:
Low-End Pressure: Electric Models
At this level, the types of pressure washers will have sizes ranging from around 1,000-1,900 PSI. These sizes are on the low-end tier, and they can often be found in consumer or residential pressure washer models. Generally, they are electric in design and function.
Although they are small and offer the lowest amount of pressure, they are good for infrequent, easy clean-up jobs around the home. If you need to wash your car, clean the shutters, brighten up that grill or take the dirt off of lawn furniture, these sizes will be more than enough.
Middle-End Pressure: Electric and Gas Models
If you seek something that is more moderate in strength, then you can benefit from pressure washers with sizes around 2,000-2,900 PSI. These can be either gas or electric powered, and they are consumer-rated for residential use.
They are capable of handling everything that low-end pressure models can handle with the added bonus of taking things that one step further. You can use them for more common clean-up tasks around your home. This includes cleaning off the deck, certain fences like cedar fences, and more medium and heavy-duty tasks.
Do be aware though that if you want to use this for tasks that low-end models can handle like automotive cleaning, you may run the risk of chipping the paint due to the increase in pressure.
High-End Pressure: Gas Models
Once you start to scale 3,000-6,000+ PSI sizes, then you know you’re shopping for something that is professional-grade and intended for tough, large-scale jobs. With the amount of pressure they push out, they need to be powered by gas to handle such power.
You wouldn’t want to use these for the light or medium jobs around your home as they can cause damage if used inappropriately. These PSI sizes can handle paint and graffiti stripping, scrubbing away mold and mildew, cleaning off boats, and handling the likes of asphalt driveways.
Differences Between Electric and Gas Models
As you shop for a pressure washer, it is always wise to stick to the size that you need rather than going for something larger simply because you want something powerful or feel you’ll do better with a gas model over an electric model and vice versa.
In general, the higher the PSI rating, the higher the price tag will be. Much of this has to do with the fact that light-duty pressure washers with small PSI ratings are made with electric motors. Electric pressure washers are more cost-friendly in the first place since they are light in weight, operate quietly, and are user-friendly. You can find our reviews of some of today’s best models using our extensive buying guide located here: https://www.thiselectrichome.com/best-pressure-washer-reviews/.
These models are not mobile, however. This makes them perfect though for those simple jobs you may not do very often and don’t need to move the pressure washer around to complete the task liking cleaning off a grill.
Meanwhile, those with higher size PSI run off of gas to power it up. Gas models provide you with better mobility so you can take it around with you to handle those tougher jobs. For instance, if you need to clean the exterior of your home or handle the driveway and sidewalks, you need a machine that moves with you, and gas models do just that.
Even still, the price tag will go up with these models, as will the overall maintenance. That is why it’s important to keep in mind the job at hand before you buy any pressure washer machine. This way, you won’t wind up spending more or less than what you need.
Getting the Job Done Right
As you’re looking at PSI size to determine which pressure washer is right for you, you should also consider the GPM.
GPM, or “gallons per minute”, work hand-in-hand with the PSI. It’s the process of measuring the volume of water that’s going through the pressure washer. While the PSI handles the cleaning part of the job, the GPM comes in to clean it faster, thus forcing the two to work together to give you the best cleaning job possible.
If you want to find out the total cleaning power a pressure washer has, multiply the PSI to the GPM. This number will be labeled CU, or “cleaning units”, on pressure washer models.
For instance, a pressure washer that’s rated with 1,500 PSI and 3GPM will have a total CU of 4,500. In another case, a pressure washer may be rated with 2,200 PSI and 1.8GPM. This only gives it 3,960 CU. So, the pressure washer with the lower PSI rating actually cleans faster than the larger one.
Always keep both the size of the GPM and the size of the PSI in mind to help you figure out what pressure washer will work best to accomplish your personal cleaning tasks.