What Is a Good PSI for a Pressure Washer?


PSI or pounds per square inch is a unit of pressure that anyone using a pressure washer should pay attention to. Choosing the right PSI means referring to the strength of the chemical bond between the stain and the surface. The stronger these bonds are, the more water pressure is needed to get rid of the stain.

Since we’ve established that chemical bonds are what determine whether a PSI is good or not, let’s learn more about the different pressure washer PSIs and the activities they’re ideal for. In this way, it should be easier for you to accomplish what you set out to do with your pressure washer.

Choosing the Right PSI

If you’re still getting the hang of using a pressure washer, selecting the right PSI can be a bit confusing. That is because there’s a lot of washing activities a pressure washer can be good for.

A pressure washer has applications ranging from light to extra heavy duty. You can use it to wash away dirt and stains from your sidewalks, driveways, garage floors, patio furniture, and other surfaces. Removing loose to stuck-on dirt in these areas would usually require applying low- to mid-range PSI, while getting rid of stains may need PSIs ranging from 2800 to 4000.

A Good PSI for Your Pressure Washer

Sometimes, it’s easy enough to determine what PSI is needed for a particular activity. However, once you get into stain removal on surfaces you don’t usually encounter, things can be trickier. In many instances, dialing up the pressure too high doesn’t just remove the stain, it also removes part of the surface, effectively ruining whatever item or area you were cleaning.

That said, you’ll want to be aware that gas-powered washers typically deliver between the 2000 and 2800 PSI range, while the electric-powered units generally carry out between 1300 to 1700 PSI applications.

PSIs That Are Best for Certain Projects

Given that you’re home more often than not these days, you’re probably trying to find ways to keep sane and busy. Cleaning using your pressure washer is certainly a great way to accomplish that.

The following is a guide on the best PSIs to use for certain cleaning or washing projects:

  • Bicycles or Scooters: 1500 PSI
  • Vinyl: 1300 to 1600 PSI
  • Cars: 1200 to 1900 PSI
  • Docks and Decks: 2600 to 4000 PSI
  • Concrete Driveways: 3000 PSI
  • Boats and ATVs: 3000 to 4000 PSI
  • Asphalt Driveways: 3000 to 4000 PSI
  • Paint Stripping: 4000 PSI

This list should give you a better understanding of which PSI to use for particular projects. Before you get started with any project, though, you might want to acquaint yourself with other pressure-related units that can help in your activity.

Other Pressure-Washer Related Units

Aside from PSI, there are two other units to familiarize yourself with when using pressure washers. They are the cleaning power units or CPU and the gallons per minute or GPM.

Gallons Per Minute

GPM is used to measure the volume of water delivered every minute by the pressure washer. It is an important unit to be aware of if you want to know how fast a pressure washer can rinse dirt and debris away.

It is common for initial searchers to consider pressure washers with lower GPMs more effective. However, it has been proven, time and time again, that higher GPMs deliver better results. That is because the higher the volume of water coming out per minute, the quicker you can complete the pressure washing job.

Cleaning Power Units

The CPU is the product of multiplying the PSI and GPM figures. It is otherwise known as effective cleaning units. According to craftedgarage.com, the higher this figure is, the better your pressure washer is likely to perform.

Which Pressure Washer Should You Get?

In addition to learning about PSI and other pressure-related units needed to take on a project, you might also want to know about the different pressure washers in the market. As discussed briefly, there are gas-powered and electric-powered washers.

For both types of pressure washers, you will need a steady supply of water or GPM. Generally, users also find that pressure washers between the 1300 and 2400 PSI range deliver the best results.

What Is the Right PSI for Your Pressure Washer?

Before anything else, you must make sure you have a good-quality, properly-functioning pressure washer. Otherwise, it’s not going to matter whether you find the right PSI or not for a particular task; the results still won’t go your way.

When you’re sure you have a good gas-powered or electric-powered pressure washer, pay attention to the cleaning task or project you’re looking to accomplish. Consider how strong the chemical bond is between the stain or dirt and the surface of the item or area you wish to clean.

Once you have a good idea of this, use the PSI that best addresses that particular stain or dirt. In this way, you can wash away dirt, debris, or stains most efficiently using your pressure washer.