does a pressure washer need water pressure
Kristina Davis

You’re likely wondering; “does a pressure washer need water pressure to operate?” if you just got a pressure washer for the first time.

Don’t worry, it’s not a trick question. Pressure washers can clean your home quickly and efficiently.  

A pressure washer needs water pressure in order to work properly.

However, not all power washers are built with the same amount of water flow capacity (also known as “pump power”).

Read along to know more!

The answer is yes! It depends on the model of your pressure washer and how much water pressure it requires for optimal performance.

So, Does A Pressure Washer Need Water Pressure To Operate?

pressure washer water pressure

When you purchase a pressure washer, you might be wondering if it needs water pressure to operate. The short answer is Yes!

A pressure washer needs water pressure in order to work properly. 

However, not all power washers are built with the same amount of water flow capacity.

This means that some models might not be able to handle high levels of cleaning chemicals without running out of energy faster than other models. 

It all depends on the model of your pressure washer and how much water pressure it requires for optimal performance.

model of pressure washer

Like most tools, a pressure washer needs water pressure to work properly.

The engine and pump are both powered by the same source, that is, the power of your garden hose or faucet spigot.

Using an ENERGY STAR-certified cold-water spray gun makes sense if you want to save energy.

You’d be saving energy while maintaining results at high levels of performance and productivity.

Tip: The more powerful your water supply is, the more effectively you can use your power tool.

How Much Water Pressure Does A Pressure Washer Need?

water pressure needed

The amount of pressure needed to operate a pressure washer varies. But it’s important to note that many different factors influence how much water pressure you will need:

  • The type of surface being cleaned
  • How thick your material is (for example, bricks have a lot more friction than plastic)
  • If you have any other objects, such as plants or trees in the area

Water pressure is measured in gallons per minute (GPM). The higher the number, the more powerful your machine will be.

Most models require between 1.5 to 5 gallons of water per minute at 30 psi or less.

Tip: If you have low water pressure, check your garden hose and make sure it's not kinked or crimped anywhere along its length before continuing with this guide. 

Does A Pressure Washer Need Water Pressure To Start?

water pressure need water pressure

If you’re looking for a simple answer to this question, yes, a pressure washer needs water to work. 

If a pressure washer requires water to start, it’s likely due to the fact that the pump needs air.

It’s true that many electric-powered machines can be started without using any water and some do not need any at all.

A regular reciprocating piston pump (gas or electric) has no chance of starting without any water running through it. This is because compression is necessary for operation. 

This means that if your unit doesn’t have an engine and you start it up with just the pressure from your hose, then there will be no action at all.

The only way this can happen is if you were able to get enough air into the system somehow.

Pressure Washer Starting Based On Model

pressure washer model

Some models use an axial piston pump design. While some have feature compressors that add air into the water stream before entering their cylinder heads.

Others simply use pressurized oil as their lubricant instead of compressed air. This could also work but won’t last as long in most cases!

However, if you’re buying an industrial-strength machine with a large capacity tank, then it’ll likely require a lubrication system.

This is necessary so that everything runs smoothly when turned on the first time after assembly (or even after being shipped).

Tip: The power of the motor will usually get them going in just one or two strokes. 

Why Does A Pressure Washer Need Water Pressure?

why does pressure washer need pressure

Reason #1: A Pressure Washer Needs Water Pressure To Work Properly

If the machine doesn’t have enough pressure, it will not be able to spray as well and may even stall out completely.

You can check your water pressure by putting a hose from the spigot of your faucet into another hose.

This hose must have been connected to a stopcock valve. Then turn on your power washer and see how long it takes before it starts working properly.

Reason #2: A Pressure Washer Needs Water Pressure To Provide Its Cleaning Power. 

Pressure washers use a high-pressure jet of water to clean surfaces.

If you don’t have enough water pressure, then the power of the machine will be reduced. Then it won’t be able to clean effectively.

cleaning power of washer

Reason #3: A Pressure Washer Needs Water Pressure To Clean Gutters Or High-Up Areas

If you’re using your pressure washer to clean gutters or high-up areas of your home, you will need water pressure.

You can use an extension wand or telescoping wand to get to higher places.

Reason #4: A Pressure Washer Uses A Motor And An Electric Starter

The purpose of this system is convenience. If you want to start your machine, all you have to do is press the power button on your control panel. 

Then wait for it to warm up before pressing again once it has reached operating temperature (usually around 160 degrees).

Tip: The amount of water required depends on your model and how much material you are trying to remove from your surface.

What Kind Of Pressure Washer Do I Need?

what kind do i need

You will need a pressure washer to clean your home, car, or business.

There are many different types of pressure washers on the market and they all vary in their uses and features. 

The following is a general guide to help you decide what kind of pressure washer would be best for your needs:

Gas-Powered Pressure Washers 

These work with gas-powered engines that generate high amounts of heat for effective cleaning. They’re also easy on the environment.

Because they don’t require electricity or oil needed for other types of power tools (like an electrician will use). 

Tip: Some models come with an attachment kit that allows users to use it as an oscillating tool too!

Electric Powered Pressure Washers 

These feature lighter weights than gas units. But still, produce enough force when used correctly, however, these aren’t always portable. 

So check out how much weight capacity each model offers before buying one yourself.

How To Choose A Pressure Washer

choosing pressure washer

If you want to buy a pressure washer, then I would recommend that you choose a high-quality one that has great features and benefits.

There are some tips and tricks on how to choose and buy the best pressure washer for your needs.

Before you decide on a pressure washer, it’s important to consider the type of work you’ll be doing.

The size and engine type can both have an impact on your final results.

For example,  you may be looking for something that can power through thick grease or paint with ease. Then a low-pressure model might be best for your needs.


We hope we’ve been able to answer your question – does a pressure washer need water pressure to operate?

Now that you know what pressure your pressure washer needs, it’s time to start making sure that you have enough water pressure. 

If you don’t have enough water pressure, the machine will not perform at its best. This can cause issues with the quality of your cleaning and even damage it! 

So make sure that you’re always keeping an eye on the amount of water coming from where your hose connects to your house or business.