Industrial, Commercial or Consumer Pressure Washer?

Posted by on June 17, 2014 .

So, you have decided to buy a pressure washer. You are probably looking at and comparing all those different types and models, their features and accessories. Stop! You don't really need just a machine, all you need is your cleaning job to get done. The pressure washer should fit exactly the intensity and type of cleaning you are going to do. You should not overspend and buy too powerful pressure washer if you won't utilize its power. Nor should you cut down the initial investment and later lose much more time for each job. Read on this quick and handy guide will help you understand the different pressure washer grades.

Based on its durability, we can distinguish between three types of cleaners: light-duty pressure washers (for home use), medium-duty power cleaners (for commercial tasks) and heavy-duty pressure washers (for industrial cleaning).

Consumer pressure washer

Homeowners averagely use their pressure washer not more than 20-30 hours per annum. Usually, the cleaning applications are not difficult ones. Some of them are: pressure cleaning cars, trucks, boats, reviving wooden decks or fences, cleaning garage floor, walkways and driveways. The consumer pressure washer is usually not as durable and or expensive as the industrial and commercial models. If your plan is to use the power washer for less than a hundred hours yearly, then it is a good idea to purchase a small gas washer up to 2000 PSI or a compact electric model less than 1500 PSI.

We refer to cleaning units (abbreviated as CU) when comparing residential pressure washers. The cleaning units are calculated by multiplying GPM by the PSI of the machine. The bigger the CU, the more powerful is the pressure washer and faster you will do the job.

The calculation is simple: if the power washer has 2 GPM and 1500 PSI, then you have 3000 cleaning units. If the GPM is 3 and PSI is 2000, the total is 6000 CU.


Commercial power cleaner

commercial pressure washerIf you intend to use your pressure washer more frequently, between 100 and 1000 hours each year, then you should consider a commercial unit. Not only, the machine will serve you longer, but also the increased power insures faster and better cleaning. Those units are middle class - they do not have the durability and supreme performance of the industrial models, but are more robust and perform better than the consumer units.

The effective cleaning units' formula above is not a good point of comparing industrial and commercial pressure washer models. In those applications, GPM is more important than PSI. GPM means Gallons Per Minute; it refers to how much time it will take to clean the loosened dirt from a surface. The higher GPM is crucial in commercial and business fields, where Time Is Money and contractors are paid per hour. It will be best if you discuss the best options with your pressure washer dealer. This will ensure you will receive professional advice on what are the best GPM and PSI for your specific needs.

Industrial pressure washer

industrial pressure washerThe most reliable, robust and powerful units, industrial pressure washers, are meant for heavy-duty jobs and frequent use. They are built to last and perform well even after years of intensive use. Industrial cleaners wear the most expensive price tags on the market due to the top-notch parts inside them. Only finest elements with highest quality possible are used - these include stainless steel valves, brass-head pumps and high-quality engines. Gear or belt-driven pressure washers have much longer life than direct-driven ones because they don't spin at the same speed as the engine. Lower speed means less wear and prolonged life. 

Increased power of the unit also ensures that the work will be done more easily and in less time. If you are in the power washing business faster cleaning means more money.



Spending more initially for the purchase of a pressure washer usually results in a more reliable machine with better quality. All you should do is consider well the future applications, the intense of use and what amount of money you are inclined to spend. Just do your research before you buy, don't overspend or undersize the pressure washer you will need.

Last update: August 10, 2014