Have you always assumed that power washing and pressure washing are the exact same things? If not, you aren’t alone. Most people use these terms interchangeably. You might be surprised to find that these, however, aren’t the same type of cleaning services. They are actually quite different. This blog focuses on the differences between pressure washing and power washing, when you might use power washing and how to look for a quality contractor offering Power Washing in Indianapolis, IN. Let’s get to it.

Is Water Pressure Different?

One area where pressure washing and power washing are the same is the water pressure. They use similar amounts, but it will depend on the machinery your pressure washing company uses. Pressure washing and power washing equipment come available in a wide range of PSIs. This is the amount of pressure that the water can flow through the nozzle. The higher the water pressure, the more effective at removing dirt, flaking paint, and contaminants it can be.


The primary difference between pressure washing and power washing is the heat factor. Pressure washing equipment solely relies on water pressure to remove gunk. With power washing, heat can be added to lift tough stains. This is a wonderful choice for things like stained concrete. Heating elements are also good at killing mold and mildew. However, heat isn’t always great for certain surfaces. That is why it’s important to have multiple options for exterior cleaning. It may seem like a minor thing to have heat versus not having heat, but you might be surprised at how effective this one feature can be.

Power Washing

Power washers are available in two different types of units. What power is used to operate the machinery can make a difference. Power washers are available in gas and electric. Generally speaking, professional exterior cleaning companies will opt for a gas power washer. Why? Having to plug into their customer’s electrical or have a generator on their trailer can be quite cumbersome, not to mention expensive for the generator. But that isn’t the only reason that gas reigns supreme in terms of go-to power.

Gas power washers can deliver upwards of 3100 PSI, sometimes more. In fact, high-end units can feature up to 6000 PSI of pressure. When you compare this to electric models that have between 1300 and 1700 PSI, it’s clear which one may have a better advantage at cleaning tough stains and areas. Different surfaces can benefit from different PSI values for cleaning. For example, asphalt driveways really need a more powerful spray to get rid of tough stains. A 4,000 PSI unit would more than do the job. Electric power washers have come a long way since they first hit the market, but they still lack the abilities of gas-powered units.

Pressure Washers

Pressure washers can be great for many different applications, both commercial and residential. Using a high-pressure water blast, technicians are able to remove tough stains, mold, mildew, and some concrete stains. The water flow can be adjusted with different types of nozzles creating different spray patterns. Like power washers, pressure washers are available in a wide range of PSI values. Most commercial grades do start at $3,000 and have a GPM rating as high as 4.

What Can Power Washers Do?

We have reviewed the equipment and power differences for the units, but what exactly does a power washer do? What surfaces can it clean? What applications would be best suited for this equipment? Considering power washing is harsher than pressure washing due to the heat factor, you may want to hold off on using it on areas like decks or patios. Commercial jobs like large driveways, parking lots, patios, and power washing are the way to go. The heated water can be more effective at removing stains, making it faster to cover larger surfaces. However, because of the hot water and high water pressure, they stick to surfaces like concrete and stone. Water can do damage to softer surfaces. That is why you wouldn’t want to use power washing or even pressure washing on siding or roofs.

What Can Pressure Washing Do?

Pressure washing is a universal choice for removing tough stains outside homes and businesses. It can remove grime, oil, flaking paint, bird droppings, rust, and more. Pressure washing is also ideal for wooden surfaces like decks and patios. Many use this type of exterior cleaning to prep surfaces. For example, if you have an older deck that has paint flaking, you may want to repaint it. But if you were to apply paint to paint that is cracking or flaking, it wouldn’t look as good. The best way to prepare for painting or staining is by cleaning. Pressure washing can remove oils, stains, dirt, etc., from your deck or patio, leaving behind a fresh surface that will accept paint more easily.

Soft Wash

You can’t mention pressure washing and power washing without at least mentioning soft washing. Soft washing is one of the latest technologies available for exterior cleaning. This message uses a biodegradable detergent and softer water streams to remove dirt and stains from less durable materials. This is perfect for roofs and siding. House washing services almost exclusively use soft washing. Suppose they don’t avoid the service. Using pressure washing or power washing on surfaces like siding or the roof can cause significant damage.

How To Find The Perfect Power Washing Company?

Now that you know a little bit about what each of these cleaning services does, how do you find the perfect contractor? We recommend choosing a power washing company that has been in business for a few years, at least. Experience makes all the difference in what the results will look like. It also is important to have the right equipment. Commercial-grade power washers do an excellent job of removing most stains effectively. Make sure that whatever contractor you’re working with is properly insured as well. Power washers, and for that matter, pressure washers, can both do damage to certain materials. Lastly, look for a company that is willing to offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. This will go a long way. We are all humans, and sometimes things are missed. With a satisfaction guarantee, the contractor will come back and make it right.

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