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Choosing the Right Pressure Washer for Commercial Use: Interview with an Expert

Starting a cleaning or pressure washing business can be daunting. Even for seasoned pressure washing veterans and those who’ve already gotten their business off the ground, choosing the right pressure washer for commercial use is difficult. Yet, getting the best machine for the job is absolutely critical!

At CleanFreak, we pride ourselves in not only providing you with the best tools for any cleaning job but also in partnering with you to navigate the world of running a business. So, we brought in an expert! Frank Smith is the general manager at Washing Equipment of Tennessee and a partner of ours here at CleanFreak. We asked him about the most important things to know when choosing a commercial-use pressure washer, and he had a ton of great wisdom to share with us. Whether you’re a brand-new entrepreneur just now getting into the cleaning business or you’re a pressure washing pro, Frank is going to take us through the basics and into the nitty-gritty details about what makes a great pressure washer and how to find it!

The Basics

For the folks who might be completely new to pressure washing, or new to pressure washing for commercial use, we’re going to start off easy with some of the basics. We asked Frank what the primary or most common terms associated with pressure washers are and what they mean. Not surprisingly, he told us that the first thing to know when looking at pressure washers is… pressure! PSI and GPM are the two most common acronyms that you’ll notice while shopping for pressure washers. PSI stands for Pounds per Square Inch (pressure) and GPM stands for Gallons Per Minute.

First Things First for Entrepreneurs

So, when it comes down to it, it’s simple: the bigger and more difficult the job, the higher the PSI/GPM you’ll want to take on that job.

PSI and GPM are two of the most essential terminologies to know for pressure washers, but what about pressure washing as it relates to commercial use? What should small business owners who are just getting started in the cleaning business know when choosing a pressure washer? Frank says that it’s all about getting the right equipment for the job.

“They need a commercial grade pump and motor assembly that can give long life during extended-use jobs that you commonly see on commercial applications,” Frank said. “There are a lot of lower quality assemblies found in big box store type machines that do NOT hold up well under regular use.” Portability is also undeniably essential, according to Frank. “Ergonomic, lightweight frame design makes it so easy to move machines around from job to job. That’s not really the case with big box store machines,” like those you find at your local home improvement store.

These two things are really what set apart a commercial-use pressure washer from one you might use for yourself at home. Frank emphasized that it’s all about getting a machine that can stick with it for the long haul and handle that daily wear-and-tear. “Machines used by homeowners are typically designed for much less use (maybe a few hours a month),” he said. “So, it’s important to focus on commercial grade pump and motor assemblies that are designed for daily and weekly use.”

Why PSI and GPM Matter

Now that we’ve established what the basics of commercial pressure washing are, let’s dig a little deeper. Specifically, we asked Frank to explain the different levels of power/pressure in pressure washers, and why PSI and GPM matter. Again, he said it’s about the needs of the job that you’re looking to take on: “Pressure washers are all labor-saving devices. The bigger the machine, the faster it does the job. So, if you have smaller areas to clean, a medium-duty pressure washer should be fine. The CleanFreak CF2730 is a perfect example of a medium-duty machine.” But he added: “If you have larger cleaning jobs, like building exteriors and sidewalks, then you need to get a heavy-duty pressure washer, such as the CleanFreak’s CF4240."

Electric vs. Gas-Powered Washers

So far, we’ve covered ideas that apply to any pressure washer, but what about the different types of pressure washers that you’ll come across? We asked Frank to break down the types of pressure washing machines and what the advantages of each are. In the world of pressure washing, you’ll see two different power sources for pressure washers: electric or gas. The main difference here is obvious! But what does an electric-powered machine bring to the table compared to what gas-powered washers bring? According to our expert, gas engine models are going to bring you the most horsepower and output. “Electric pressure washers are limited in horsepower output by the 120 volts usually available in these models,” Frank said. “So, while they are effective, they will not be as fast as most gas engine models.”

Fine Details to Look For

When making important purchases, we often tend to focus on the big picture questions. But the finer details can be just as significant! We asked Frank what some smaller details related to pressure washers are; things that we might not think about but are hugely important.“Be sure to get enough hose for the job with your machine!” Frank answered. “The models we’ve discussed, the CF2730 and the CF4240, come with 50 feet of non-marking steel braid hose,” which are typically enough for most jobs. “But extra sections are available, and it never hurts to have a spare!”

Final Words of Advice

We asked Frank if he had any final words of advice for business owners like you: “A pressure washer is not a magic wand,” he said. “You have to cover every square inch of the surfaces you are cleaning. So, if you have a large or tough cleaning job, make sure you get a big enough machine for it.” But ultimately, he says if you still don’t know what size machine to get, “choose the CF4240.” It’s big enough to handle all commercial jobs and you will NOT regret it!”

For all pressure washer options, be sure to check out our pressure washers area. If you need help deciding which pressure washer, or other piece of equipment, is right for your application, please contact our specialists via phone at 888-722-5508 or via email at

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