Power Washer vs. Pressure Washer: What’s the Difference?

power washer vs. pressure washer

We all want to help our home stay valuable, whether we’re selling it or not. And curb appeal—the exterior condition and attractiveness of your property—adds up to 7 percent to the value of a property.

A straightforward way to give the outside of your home an instant boost is to get it deep cleaned by a professional cleaning company. But which method should they employ: power washer vs. pressure washer?

Pressure washers and power washers may seem like interchangeable terms. However, when it comes to cleaning surfaces, they are distinct machines with unique capabilities.

Below, we look at both methods to help you decide where to put your money.

When Do You Need a Power Washer?

Heavy-duty house washing requires an experienced cleaning team. And, of course, these professionals need to use the right tools and tactics—in this case, power washing comes to the rescue!


A power washer, also known as a hot water pressure washer or steam cleaner, is a machine that uses high-pressure water and heat to clean surfaces.

Unlike pressure washers, power washers have a heating element that heats the water. This heated water is forced through a high-pressure nozzle, creating the powerful jet they’re known for. Some power washers also have a detergent tank, meaning they expel water and soap simultaneously for the ultimate cleaning experience.

Power washers quite literally dissolve dirt and grime. The heated water they produce also helps sanitize the surface being cleaned. They’re ideal for heavy-duty cleaning jobs like:

  • Removing oil stains from driveways
  • Cleaning greasy machinery or grills
  • Stripping paint from surfaces

They’re also great for cleaning perpetually dirty places like garages, parking areas, sidewalks, and storage sheds. You can get gas or electric-powered models.


There’s no denying the powerful cleaning ability of power washers.

These machines are top-of-the-line when it comes to blasting away stubborn dirt, grime, mildew, and challenging stains. They’re considered high-pressure washing tools, typically with a pressure of 5,000 to 10,000 PSI.

Power washers are defined by their heating element. This heats the water as it flows through the machine, adding to its grime-busting power. Because of this heated water, they can easily clean up everything from slimy decks to oil-stained driveways.

In short, you’ll get much more done by hiring a team with a power washer than tackling surfaces with a scrubbing brush and bucket of soapy water.

While you may be a homeowner, if you’re dealing with a lot of tough stains, sometimes it’s nice to know you’re getting a service suitable for commercial properties.


Power washers are typically more expensive than pressure washers since they’re slightly more complex machines. They cost more to purchase upfront and are more challenging to maintain. They need to be drained and cleaned after each use and stored correctly.

This may mean the service quote you receive is pricier for power washing than pressure washing since it costs the company more to buy and maintain power washers.

Power washers are larger, heavier, and less portable than pressure washers. Ensure you hire washing professionals well-equipped to deal with their bulk—for example, they have trucks for equipment transportation.

If you’re in a heritage home or have expensive or soft exterior surfaces, a power washing service might not be suitable. These are extremely powerful machines, and they can damage delicate surfaces if not used correctly.

Ask the company you’re hiring what precautions they take to avoid damage, from using the appropriate nozzles and pressure levels to having liability insurance.

When Do You Need a Pressure Washer?

If power washing isn’t suitable for your home, ask the company you’re consulting with what they recommend. Most power washing companies offer other services, like pressure washing and soft washing.


Like power washers, pressure washers use high-pressure water spray to clean surfaces. Inside the machine is a motor that pressurizes water from a garden hose or water tank, forcing it through a spray wand or nozzle to create a jet.

Typically, you can adjust the pressure depending on the cleaning task or surface. Again, similar to power washers, some pressure washers feature a detergent tank.

Pressure washers are ideal for various outdoor cleaning tasks, from washing cars and cleaning patios to removing mold from a building.


Pressure washers aren’t as sophisticated a machine as power washers, so they tend to be a little cheaper to buy and easier to maintain. This means pressure washing services may be more affordable than their power washing equivalent.

Using just water under pressure (as opposed to hot water like power washers) makes pressure washers great for smaller cleaning jobs. They are lightweight and easy to move around, meaning the service provider can do the job efficiently.

Finally, they’re safe for delicate surfaces like aged timber or unglazed ceramic tile.


Since pressure washers are less powerful than power washers and don’t heat the water, they might not remove stubborn stains or years of accumulated dirt. They also might not be suitable for all surfaces or large areas.

So sometimes, homeowners book a pressure cleaning job when they actually need power cleaning.

Trust your service provider if they tell you you’ll need a power washer to get the job done. If you want to stick with using a pressure washer, they may have to use additional cleaning solutions or need more time to get the job done.

Deciding Between Power Washer vs. Pressure Washer

If you want to get your home really clean, the right tool for the job makes all the difference.

When it comes to the power washer vs. pressure washer debate, each machine offers unique benefits, depending on the task at hand. Pressure washers are affordable and easy to use, whereas power washers provide heat and heavy-duty cleaning power.

For homeowners in Stratford and Milford, CT, there’s no better company to clean your home than Spartan Power Washing and Home Services. Our highly-rated team has been helping the community with cleaning, building, and washing for over five years.

So what are you waiting for? Get a fast quote today!

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