You are here: Home > How To Decide Between a Professional and Residential Pressure Washer

How To Decide Between a Professional and Residential Pressure Washer

Taking care of your property is a constant necessity and a task you take pride in. Maybe you've had pressure washing companies come to your home or business to clean the exterior in the past. Now you're ready to invest in a quality professional pressure washer machine to stay on top of the assignment regularly and save yourself some money.
With various manufacturers, models, and styles, you may struggle to determine which unit is best for you. Take a moment to learn the differences between commercial-grade and residential equipment to decide.

When Do You Need a Professional Pressure Washer?

To get the ultimate clean, opt for a pressure washer. You might see manufacturers and retailers refer to these devices as commercial or industrial pressure washers. Industrial-strength washers live up to their name, with pressure reaching up to 8000 PSI, and some models go beyond that.

Many professional pressure washers offer varying temperature modes for increased cleaning versatility. Consider the purpose of each:
  • Cold water cleaning works best for light-duty jobs. Machines that only supply cold water are often more portable and compact.
  • Hot water modes help you clean off grime and grease. The heat breaks down oil-based stains, and these units are necessary for food processing or manufacturing.
  • Tri-mode washers let you adjust between hot and cold but add the power of wet steam. Steam brings outstanding cleaning power and can dissolve dirt and stains at temperatures over 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The mist is more gentle on surfaces.
Another expectation of industrial machines is excellent durability. Commercial equipment typically comes in a steel casing. The quality of the steel may vary between brands and models. For a long-lasting washer, select powder-coated steel that's resistant to chipping, heat, and corrosion. While the cost of a high-quality machine may be more upfront, you won't have to fix parts or replace the device quickly.

A professional pressure washer lets you get the work done more quickly. Higher water pressure and temperatures mean you clean faster. Though the machine is larger and less portable, commercial units often have longer hoses and more variety in extensions. Some equipment even allows you to attach two or three wands and hoses so multiple operators can complete a task.

Many professional machines offer the ability to mount the washer on a vehicle, which is excellent for farms or other onsite cleaning jobs. A commercial device is a must-have for cleaning construction sites, stripping paint, prepping surfaces, and cleaning sizable vehicle fleets.

When Will a Residential Pressure Washer Suffice?

Residential pressure washers may be for sale in local stores, and sellers sometimes call these domestic pressure washers. Some models are referred to as semi-professional washers because they offer more power than smaller residential models.

While not as strong as a professional pressure washer, a residential unit can clean much better than a garden hose with a high-pressure nozzle. However, don't expect to get everyday use out of a residential washer. These units are best for periodic cleaning and maintenance around the home or office.

Smaller residential washers are typically electric-powered and do not exceed 2000 PSI. Units are lighter, less expensive and more portable for use on your siding, patio, roof, and vehicle.

Lower available power on a residential machine makes it so that you are less likely to damage something when using your residential washer. The higher PSI of a commercial-grade unit can shoot off dirt and debris but leave scratches in windows or paint. Of course, you can adjust higher-powered machines to a lower setting to avoid damage.

With less power, a job can take longer with a residential machine. You may have to go over an area multiple times for a thorough cleaning. A large property may require multiple days to complete a full cleaning. Smaller domestic units work best for homes of modest size.

Smaller units usually have fewer available attachments and extensions to help with a job. Residential washers generally have lightweight plastic components, making them excellent for portability but less resistant to bumps, bangs, and scrapes. Of course, how long the machine lasts depends on your care and maintenance. Still, residential units typically only endure for a few years, compared to the decade a professional pressure washer tends to survive.

A fledgling business that does sporadic pressure washing jobs may be able to use a semi-professional unit. For example, a window cleaner might offer pressure washing services for a few clients, so a semi-pro machine may cover their needs without breaking the bank. Accessories and attachments are more accessible for semi-pro devices than small residential washers. Once a business moves into daily use of a pressure washer, a professional washer is a requirement.

What Are the Advantages of a Gas Pressure Washer?

Professional machines tend to be gas-pressure washers. This option is great because you don't have to worry about finding power, which may be a concern if you are cleaning an area away from a building with outlets. You can ensure you have enough fuel by carrying a tank for refilling your gas pressure washer. Gas is also still a very efficient way to provide lots of power to a machine. You will rarely find gas-powered residential washers since electricity is often abundant in homes.

What Are the Benefits of an Electric Pressure Washer?

An electric pressure washer is most common for residential applications. Electric washers tend to be more affordable, lighter, smaller, and require lower maintenance. The units are also quieter and eco-friendly, with no fumes, so you can even use them indoors.

Many companies that need a high-powered washer for indoor use opt for a wall-mounted electric unit. You find these in factories, shops, plants, and car washes since power is no concern.

If you prefer using electricity as an eco-friendly option and need to do a pressure washing job away from electrical outlets, you can use a portable battery or solar generator. Of course, you need to know the power demands of your electric pressure washer and the capacity of your battery and solar recharging system.

Is a Professional Pressure Washer Right for You?

Pressure washing equipment comes in many forms to fit different uses. Selecting a professional pressure washer or a residential unit depends on your needs. Review your portability, durability, and power requirements to find the perfect pressure washer.