What is the difference between Power and Pressure Washers?

Power and pressure washers have the same function, power ranges, composition, and build. The only distinguishing factor between the two is the additional heating component found in a power washer. With the built-in heater, a power washer is capable of delivering a powerful stream of hot water.

Hot water is very effective for removing a large build up of dirt and grime. It is also effective for cleaning out surfaces laden with oil and grease. Just like a pressure washer, power washers can also be used for every day chores such as cleaning walls, decks, pavements, and patios.

There is really nothing the other can’t do. Power washers are only a little bit more advantageous because of the additional heater. However, it also has its own drawbacks, which will be further discussed in this article.


How does a power washer compare with a pressure washer?

Although there are very minimal differences between the two, there are some distinguishable factors that you should consider before deciding which one is the best to get based on your needs.


Which has more power?

Essentially, power washers are created with more power to complement the additional heat. Otherwise, it would defeat the purpose of adding a heater if the water pressure is not as strong. The cleaning power will become lesser and you’d be better off just investing in a normal pressure washer.

Although there are lightweight psi ranges for power washers, it usually comes with lesser heating temperature. If this is the case, you can just save yourself some cash and buy a pressure washer that has a medium psi power. In the long run, a normal pressure washer is cheaper and more convenient.

There are also a lot more choices for pressure washers compared to power washers. You can pick from a variety of brands and models for lightweight, medium, and heavy duty. In the case of power washers, most of them are in the medium and heavy-duty range, which is not that practical if it is intended for home use.


Do you really need heated water?

Heat is great for breaking down buildup of dirt, mold, and mildew. It is also good for removing chewing gum, sticky stuff on surfaces, grease, and oil. Even a strong current of water might take some time removing all the stuff listed above. If you’re going to deal with these kind of a stuff a lot, considering getting a power washer as the cleaning will be faster and more effective.

Most power washers have a temperature range between 100F to 250F. Keep in mind, that the hotter the water can get, the larger the heating coil installed in your power washer. The larger the heating coil, the bigger and heavier it is and the more fuel it consumes.

If you are looking for a heavy-duty power washer with high enough temperature, check out:


NorthStar Electric Wet Steam & Hot Water Pressure Washer – 2700 PSI, 2.5 GPM

It has a maximum temperature of 250F.


Which is more affordable?

Power washers are also more expensive than pressure washers. Good pressure washers with decent psi power only range from $200 to $400 while heavy-duty power washers range from $1,000 to $2,500. If you compare the two, both can do really strenuous cleaning but without the heated water in the case of pressure washers.


Pressure Washer vs. Power Washer:


Generac 6596 2,800 PSI 2.5 GPM 196cc OHV Gas Powered Residential Pressure Washer

Generac 7019 OneWash 3,100 PSI, 2.4 GPM, Gas Powered Pressure Washer and PowerDial Gun
  • Ergonomic spray gun with integrated Power Dial allows you to easily adjust the pressure needed between four different tasks - car, wood, concrete and soap - at your fingertips
  • Powerful horizontal axial cam pump delivers 3100 PSI for tough cleaning
  • Convenient on-board 1/2 gallon detergent tank for hassle free cleaning


Is a “normal” pressure washer that has a strong power at 2,800 psi. This is considered as a residential pressure washer, but it is quite strong that it can also double as a commercial pressure washer.

The candidate to represent power washers is the:


Simpson Mini-Brute MB1223 1,200 PSI 120 Volt Electric/Diesel Powered Hot Water Heavy Duty Pressure Washer

SIMPSON Cleaning MB1223 1200 PSI at 2.3 GPM Electric Pressure Washer Powered by 120 Volt Heavy Duty Induction Motor with General Pump Triplex Pump
  • Diesel fired burner: creates a temperature rise up to 100-Degree above incoming water source
  • 4 Quick connect nozzles: 15,25,40,soap
  • Downstream injection system


For this power washer, you’ll get only a power of 1,200 psi. However, the water is heated and can go up to 100F temperature.

The Generac is no doubt stronger and it is also cheaper. Simpson mini-brute is more expensive and can deliver less strong current. Ask yourself if opting to have an additional heater is worth the $1,500 difference you have to pay.


Which consumes the least fuel/electricity?

Most power washers require both the need for electric and fuel consumption. For instance, the Simpson Mini-Brute needs electric power for the motor and diesel fuel for the fired burner. Because it has two sources of power, it is more costly. Pressure washers, on the other hand, only need either electric or gas.

Portability: Although some power washers are heavier and bulkier because of the heating coil it houses within, there are still some portable models of power washers such as the:


AR Blue Clean – AR630-Hot – Pressure Washer

AR Blue Clean AR383 1,900 PSI Electric Pressure Washer, Nozzles, Spray Gun, Wand, Detergent Bottle & Hose
  • OUTDOOR CLEANING POWER: Make quick cleaning jobs of decks, patios, siding, driveways, outdoor furniture, cars, trucks, RVs, ATVs and more.
  • ATTACHMENTS INCLUDED: Professional-style pressure washer gun, 2 different pressure washer wands, 20 foot high pressure hose, 14 oz. detergent bottle and 2 high pressure quick change wands with pressure washer turbo and variable nozzles. Hose diameter: 0.25 inch
  • ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY: Conserves water by using 80% less water with 40% more power than a standard garden hose. Quieter than gas engine models.


This one is relatively smaller than the ones listed above, also due to the fact that it doesn’t have a built-in fuel tank for the heater.

When it comes to overall portability, no matter the power, fuel use, or composition, what really wins this round is the pressure washer because it’s more straightforward. It is composed of only the motor, pump, and the spray. These components are usually housed in a metal enclosure with wheels for easier mobility. Because of its lesser components, pressure washers are also lighter.

Key Takeaway: For overall function, portability, price, and consumption, the normal pressure washer wins easily. This is because pressure washers are not only cheaper, but they’re also easier to take anywhere you go and they don’t consume too much fuel/electricity. There are also more brands and models to choose from. If you can live with a pressure washer without heat, then go for it.



There is only one difference when it comes to the cleaning capacity of pressure and power washer. It is the additional heat that power washers can generate because of its built-in coil heaters. The result is a strong stream of heated water that is more effective for cleaning. However, it is more expensive, it is larger, and consumes a lot of electricity. If you have absolutely no need for heat, skip a power washer.

Recommended Reading

How to apply the Pump Saver to your Pressure Washer?   You might be asking yourself what pump saver is, especially if you don’t usually deal with this type of tool or with pressures washers in general. How...
Gas Pressure Washer Reviews: How to buy the right one? Pressure washers are a great tool for cleaning large areas filled with dirt and grime build up because it does the job faster than manual scrubbing. N...
Power Washer Reviews: How to buy the right one? If you are having difficulty looking for power washers or you’re getting confused with the difference of power washers with pressure washers, then you...
How to select the best Pressure Washer? Pressure washer is a tool that connects to a water source, most commonly your garden hose, to give more cleaning power than what you can get normally ...