Posted by Victoria Donovan ● 2/26/19 2:50 PM

Commercial Vs Home Pressure Washers - Spot The Difference

Take a look at these two pressure washers from Kärcher. Notice anything remarkably different about them?


They look pretty similar, don't they? Except they're actually very different. The one on the left is a gas engine cold water pressure washer designed for industrial use. The one on the right is a gas pressure washer designed for home use. This means that they greatly differ in price, power, and longevity. It's not uncommon for people to mistakenly purchase the home unit thinking they're getting the commercial one at a deal because they may not be aware there is more than one kind, and this could lead to warranty issues. This post will explain the biggest differences between commercial and home/garden models so you're aware when you're looking for the right machine for your cleaning challenge.

1. The Pump

A pressure washer's pump is a vital part of the equipment as it is what gets the water flowing, so having one that matches your needs is key. Pumps come in three different types of material: plastic or aluminum on home/garden models and brass on commercial models. On home/garden models, the valves are aluminum, and on commercial the valves are stainless steel. The valves control the pressure and flow of the water, and like the pump, there is a plastic type for home models and a stainless steel type for the commercial ones. And a good valve doesn't just mean a working pressure washer, it also means a safe one.

2. The Hoses

Vinyl is great in terms of records, but it's not durable for industrial use on a pressure washer hose. Since a hose deals with a lot of movement (pulling, dragging, winding, kinking, accidentally stepping on...) as well as the forceful water rushing through, it makes sense that they need to last. The commercial pressure washers have stronger hoses that are double-braided and wire-reinforced with brass couplings, while home models use thinner vinyl or rubber for the hose and plastic or steel couplings.

pressure washer man.

3. The Runtime

A pressure washer's runtime is perhaps the most important factor differentiating home models from commercial models. A home/garden model is not built to run for extended periods of time; they're built to handle smaller jobs like quickly cleaning a driveway for about twenty minutes to one hour at a time. Commercial pressure washers can run for a lot longer, though, as they're meant for big, industrial cleaning, so you can use them for up to eight straight hours. Knowing the extent of your cleaning job definitely aids in your choice of pressure washer purchase.


The point of this post is not to trash home models—because they are still great, powerful pieces of equipment that certainly serve their users well in the right setting (home)—but to enlighten you as to why some pressure washers are more expensive than others even though they look similar. If you're purchasing a pressure washer for a business, you need to know this so you end up getting a machine that will be able to meet your facility's needs.

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Topics: Pressure Washers, Cleaning Equipment, Commercial Pressure Washers, Equipment, home pressure washer