Pressure Washer Terminology Explained

December 14, 2023 @ 12:40 am

Pressure Washer Terminology

Sick of the mess in the garden, the grunge and green mold creeping its way across the decking and those ridiculous oil stains on the drive? Do something about it then. 

You’ve taken the plunge, done your financial research, read the best buy guides and just taken delivery of your brand-new pressure washer! 


But what on earth is the manual talking about? 

On the whole, manuals are great. But some of the terminologies can be both intimidating and confusing. Especially if they refer to a piece of equipment you have never used before.

Whether electric or petrol powered, pressure washers can be dangerous when not used properly.

Industries relying on staff to use pressure washers have created mountains of safety guides, hours and hours of safety videos and spent hours hosting safety training seminars for their employees.

Without a doubt, pressure washers, and especially highly powered industrial versions can cause severe danger to life, serious injury or illness if not used properly. 

You owe it to yourself, before even attempting to use your new pressure washer, to familiarise yourself as much as possible, not only with your machine but the language used to describe it in the manual.

Bar pressure

‘Bar’ describes the strength of power with which the pressurised water blasts onto the surface of the item you wish to clean.

When it comes to difficult stains and stubborn marks, high pressure will be best for getting your surfaces clean. Less pressure from your water, a lower ‘bar’, is resultingly better for easier to clean jobs.

Around 100 bar cleans bikes, garden tools, and furniture and rubbish bins. Bar 110-130 is best suited for fencing, guttering, cars, lawnmowers and hot-tubs. Any rating above should work well with brickwork, concrete, driveways, and patios.

Water flow

This term explains the number of litres of water your pressure washer expels over a specific period of measured time, usually an hour. 

If your flow rate is high, then it will be much easier for you to get a good cleaning job done quicker. In other words, the flow is fast enough to be powerful enough to complete its cleaning in a suitably swift time.

In contrast, a standard bathroom shower floret will restrict the flow to between 6 and 10 litres a minute, while a typical ‘power shower’ might like to boast up to 15 litres per minute.

Detergent Intake

It goes without saying that when adding detergent to your pressure washer for the first time, carefully follow instructions provided by both your machine manufacturer and your detergent provider. 

Firstly, ensure that you have purchased a registered detergent that meets the demands of safety regulations. After that, make sure you have the right kind of detergent for your pressure washer. Is it appropriate for petrol or an electric pressure washer?

Never be tempted to insert anything other than recommended detergents into the intake, and never household cleaning fluids, and certainly never bleach which could quite possibly inflict severe damage.

High Pressure Hose

Average domestic pressure washers are fuelled by a petrol engine or an electric motor used to power the water pump.

 Fed by water from a garden hose, the water is dramatically increased by the pump and high pressure is produced as a result. The high pressure-rated hose is connected to the pressure washer and a trigger gun and lance is connected at the other end.

When the trigger is squeezed by the user, the pressurised water is released from the lance nozzle in either powerful blasts or gentle sprays. Which one you choose to use is entirely up to you!


Hose Length 

In theory, the length of the hose could affect the performance of your domestic pressure washer. Putting it quite simply, the longer your hose, the less water pressure is going to come out the other end.

However, experts agree that it takes a 100 feet of water hose to lose around five pounds per inch of pressure.

Water Inlet

The term ‘water inlet’ isn’t as technical as it sounds. It is simply the expression used to describe the hose that feeds water into your pressure washer.

Technically, you can use water from your kitchen tap to feed your pressure washer. However, most domestic taps do not fit easily onto garden hoses – special connectors must often be used.

However, outside taps are usually more easily connected to typical inlet hoses for pressure washers. If you are unsure, run your hose from the indoor tap and look out for clues as to whether it is a snug enough fit or not.

High Pressure outlet

On the whole, the high-pressure outlet is, quite simply, the point at which the water that has been fed in through the water inlet (possibly your hosepipe connected to your water tap) that has been forced through the high-pressure pump in your pressure washer.

As it travels through the pump, it is compressed and forced through to the high-pressure outlet, which is connected to the high-pressure hose and on through to the lance and trigger. 

And that is the point at which you control the highly pressurised stream of water that will blast out of your hose.

High pressure pump

This is the beating heart of your pressure washer; the high-pressure pump is where all the action happens.

It is the point at which the water coming into your pressure washer, via the inlet pipe, is transformed into a mighty Jetstream simply waiting to be blasted out at the touch of your trigger.

The average household water pressure is around 50 PSI (pounds of pressure per square inch) while water emerging from the pressure washer will be anything from 1,000 to 1,900 PSI for electric pressure washers. It can get as high as 9,000 PSI in petrol pressure washers.

Waspper FGH205


The terminology used for pressure washers can be a little foreign but overall once you have read about them, they are easy enough to understand. They help you understand how a pressure washer works and therefore make your using of a pressure washer safer and easier.

Second to that if you have an issue with your unit and you need to call one of the UK helplines it can be handy to know what it is you are talking about with them as they aren’t physically there.

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