It depends on your specific needs and what you need the machine for. Any reputable brand should be fine if you want a cold water pressure washer to clean surfaces like vehicles or concrete structures. However, it’s best to go with one that comes with an extended manufacturer warranty (2–3 years) for added peace of mind.
When it comes to pressure washers for surfaces, people often think of the gas-guzzling monster that destroys all your belongings and leaves you with both a bill and a headache. However, modern electric pressure washers are more user-friendly and still pack enough punch to get the job done correctly. Most models come equipped with multiple nozzles, so you can choose which one works best for your needs.
If you’re looking for a hot water pressure washer, which requires distilled water instead of tap water, pay close attention to the product specification sheet before making your purchase. This is because some brands require you to buy the machine first to see if you need a separate water softening system, while others will ship it with one. You should also check the psi rating of the pressure washer to ensure it offers sufficient power for your needs.
When it comes to power washing and its related equipment, you will find some differences between cold water and hot water pressure washers. Before we get into the specifics of the difference between these two types of pressure washers, let’s first look at what a pressure washer is in general.
The following are some of the key differences between hot water and cold water pressure washers:
Coldwater pressure washers use cooler water to clean surfaces, typically around 77°F or 25°C at full pressure. Depending on who manufactured them, hot water pressure washers can reach temperatures as high as 140°F or 60°C, depending on who manufactured them. This means you need to wear protective gear when using a hot water power washer to avoid burns. The main reason for this difference between cold and hot water pressure washers boils down to safety reasons.
Cold water pressure washers are compatible with most cleaning chemicals, including chlorine bleach. Hot-water pressure washers should not be used with highly acidic or basic chemicals, which can damage the machine.
Water Softener Required
Hot water is often hard water, which means it is rich in minerals like calcium and magnesium. Coldwater pressure washer machines do not require a softening system to prevent lime-scale build-up. A hot water pressure washer machine will typically come with its water softener system to reduce the level of scale build-up inside the pump and high-pressure generator. This will make maintaining your hot water pressure washer between uses easier, prolonging its life expectancy.
Distilled Water vs Tap Water
Most cold water pressure washers are designed to use tap water instead of distilled water because it is cheaper and readily available. Hot water pressure washers are generally intended to use distilled water because it doesn’t contain the minerals found in tap water, which can cause damage over time.
Coldwater pressure washer machines operate at lower pressures than hot-water pressure washers. However, they are still powerful enough to remove dirt and grime from surfaces like vehicles, buildings, and concrete structures. Hot-water pressure washers typically offer between 2000–3500 psi of power, while cold-water models usually produce between 750–2000 psi or more (the higher the psi level, the more influential the machine).
Detergent Tank Compartment
Most cold water pressure washer machines come with a separate compartment for storing your cleaning chemicals. Otherwise, the chemicals could damage the pump and high-pressure generator. Some hot water pressure washers come with a separate compartment for storing your cleaning chemicals; however, it is not typically required because they tend to use distilled water instead.
Hot-water pressure washer machines tend to have more extended warranties than cold water models. This is because hot-water systems are more complex and expensive, meaning you’re more likely to experience problems over time. Coldwater pressure washers may also include rustproofing as part of their manufacturer warranty because they operate in humid conditions (e.g., when there’s dew on the ground). However, even if a product comes with an extended warranty period, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will give you more extended service. The product may contain parts that fail over time, such as the pump and high-pressure generator.
Hot water pressure washers tend to be more expensive than cold water units since they’re more complex and use distilled water instead of tap water. They may also require a water softener system that further drives up the price tag. You usually get what you pay for when it comes to power washing equipment, so hot-water machines are better for larger cleaning applications (e.g., driveways) where speed is essential.
Coldwater systems are typically only used by professionals on smaller surfaces such as cars and concrete walkways because they can’t match the power or speed of their hot-water counterparts.