How Far Can a Pressure Washer Spray? (it depends…)

Wondering how far your pressure washer can spray? The average distance a pressure washer can spray water, at full power, is 20ft. or 6m. Homeowner pressure washers will produce 1000 – 4000 PSI. Long-distance pressure washers that were made with industrial-strength can produce 6000 PSI and blast water 40-60ft away.

As homeowners, when we’re looking for a pressure washer we want to make sure it will be effective for the area we want to use it for whether that is a patio with 100sq. Ft. of area, the sidewalk outside the front door, or a wall that is 25ft tall. We need to know that the washer we pick will clean what we need regardless of how high or how wide it is. So how far can a pressure washer typically spray?

Since pressure washers come with different power sources, nozzle tips, PSI, and hose lengths, it would only be fair to you to try to cut down the research you have to do. Below, we’ll talk about how these factors affect the distance pressure washers effectively clean at.

Close up of pressure washer showing how far it can spray

Related Reading: How Much PSI is Needed for Pressure Washers?

Pounds Per Square Inch Matter in How Far a Pressure Washer Can Spray

Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) is the key to the distance pressure washers can reach. As PressureWasher points out, Newton had a law that applies very well to pressure washers, specifically his first law, “A body continues in its state of rest, or in uniform motion in a straight line, unless acted upon by a force.”

In other words, this law of inertia states the water your pressure washer is firing will keep going at the same speed, distance, and direction until a force greater than itself is applied to it. In other, other words, the more force the water in your pressure washer uses against the water it’s using, the further it’s going to go. Pressure washer listings usually list each washer’s power in Gallons Per Minute (GPM).

Everything else listed by the subheads on this article only serves to affect the PSI or GPM of the pressure washer. According to contractors, if it’s concrete you are looking to deep clean, you should be looking for pressure washers that have a pressure range between 2000 and 3000 PSI with about 2.5 GPM. Notice they don’t say how much spray you really need. Since the effectiveness of the washer decreases exponentially the further away the target is. So long as you can reach what you want to wash, it’s how much power the washer has that will get the job done.

Power Sources

If anything affects the power capacity of a machine, it’s their power source. Pressure washers come as either electrically powered or powered by gasoline. 

Electric power washers just aren’t going to be able to produce the same amount of power that gas-powered pressure washers can, but for homeowners, most of them will still provide enough force to get things like housing walls and patios clean.

Electric pressure washers will usually have a pressure range between 1300 – 2000 PSI, with 1300 PSI being too low to be any good for concrete, but still plenty of pressure for wooden decks and fences.

Gas-powered pressure washers, on the other hand, can produce pressure spanning between 2700 – 3600 PSI for homeowners and 4000 – 6000 PSI for industrial-sized jobs. To put that into perspective, concrete needs 3000 PSI to be deeply cleaned. No homeowner needs a pressure washer with more power than that, especially since the industrial pressure washers require steel-reinforced hoses. Not necessary for you or me unless we want to create a tic-tac-toe board in the fence.

Nozzle Tips

Of all the factors for a pressure washer’s effectiveness, it has to be its available nozzle tips that make the most difference.

Nozzle tips add greater force to the water by shrinking the opening the water pushes through, forcing the same volume of water to rush through a smaller space, adding pressure, and increasing distance.

Pressure washers will usually come with 4 different tips: 0, 15, 25, and 40-degrees, which represent how wide the sheet of water it’s firing is. A nozzle that leaves the tip open by 0 degrees will fire a jetstream of water and will have the greatest pressure and therefore distance, whereas the 40-degree tip will have a larger fan and less pressure, giving it a shorter range.

Some manufacturers are merciful enough to let you know what each nozzle was intended for, such as really stubborn dirt on sturdy walls or the dirt that’s on wooden chairs or balconies. That way, you’ll know just how much pressure you need.

When using your own pressure washer, if you’re unsure how much pressure you need, and therefore which nozzle to use, always start with the 40-degree tip, which has the largest fan, so that you’re more certain you won’t damage your siding, fencing, or pavers.

Hose Width

While the hose length will allow you to more easily cover large areas without having to constantly move the engine around with you, it’s the diameter of the hose we need to pay attention to.

Just like the other factors in this article, the smaller the diameter of the hose the more pressure the water will have.

There are three hose sizes homeowners need to know: ¼ inch, ⅜ inch, and 5/16 inch with ¼ inch hoses being the most common. ⅜ is the largest size but the differences in their sizes are so minimal that the PSI won’t be affected very much. Nevertheless, a smaller hose means you’ll be able to use spray more water and get a greater GPM, which is why UltimateWasher’s long-distance nozzle has a ¼” connection size (which is what attaches to the hose) and can reach the sides of walls 40-60ft. high in the air.

Continue Reading: Can You Use Wet and Forget In A Pressure Washer?

Conclusion

So now you know that anything that adds to the amount of pressure your pressure washer fires with will increase the distance that it effectively cleans. However, before you buy a pressure washer with the greatest amount of PSI and GPM and use the tightest nozzle it has, keep in mind that your project probably doesn’t need that much power.

Overdoing it will just damage what you’re trying to clean. You could even remove the mortar in between pavers and bricks if you’re not careful!