Flow Rate is Key When Choosing A Pressure Washer

As a valuable public service, we at Just Venting are proud to take this opportunity to debunk a commonly held myth – namely that the more pressure your pressure washer washes with the better it will wash. (How’s that for a tongue twister?). The fact is, according to the technical experts at Goodway Technologies, that pressure will only get you so far, and that water flow rate plays a greater role in determining how well a pressure washer performs.

Every combination of material and contaminants has a particular pressure that is required to separate the two. Grease on stainless steel will require a different pressure than grease on aluminum, cast iron or Teflon. Similarly, paint will require a different pressure to remove it from stainless steel than will ink, chewing gum or tar.

Once your pressure washer has reached the pressure required for a given combination of material and contaminant, more pressure won’t make the job go faster. Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor’s exhortations to use “More Power” won’t help here. But what may key to the job going faster is the use of a pressure washer capable of a higher flow rate.

Measured in Gallons Per Minute (GPM), the flow rate is really the key to determining how long a job will take. So to determine what pressure washer would be best for a given application, we proudly offer this little tip: multiply the pressure at which a system operates (measured in pounds per square inch – or PSI) by the flow rate in gallons. The resulting number will be a guide to how one system will work compared to others.

So let’s take, for example, two different pressure washers — the Goodway HPW-2000-E electric pressure washer and the HPW-2600-G gas-powered unit. The first has a flow rate of 3.5 gallons per minute at a pressure of 2,000 PSI, giving it a rating of 7,000.  In comparison,  the 2600G has a flow rate of 2.3 gallons per minute at 2,600 PSI, giving it a rating of 5,980.

For any cleaning job requiring 2,000 PSI or less, both pressure washers will do a good job getting the material clean, but the 2000E will actually get the job done faster, despite the fact that it has less power than the other system.

When you are considering what size pressure washer to buy, keep in mind that the name “pressure washer” might actually be a misnomer, since it is both pressure and flow rate you need to consider. Look at the kinds of work you need to do and how much pressure will be needed to remove the stains you want to address.

Rich Silverman
Goodway Blogging Team

3 comments


  • […] is the cheapest of the all the models offered by Dewalt. It delivers a pressure of 3200 PSI and a flow rate of 2.8 gallons per minute. The price of this model is about $800. Even though this is at the lower […]

    December 25, 2013
  • Richard Beyer

    Great advice also for purchasing a pressure washer. Many thanks!

    May 29, 2015
  • Ravi

    Great advice on buying pressure washer. I was thinking that just the PSI is more important.

    June 29, 2016

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