When Spring arrives, and you start to spend more time outside, you may come to realise that your driveway and outer walls are looking a little worse for wear after the harsh winter months. Keeping your outdoor spaces clean and looking their best requires a specific brand of pressure cleaning which can either be done yourself or with the help of a professional – usually using either a power washer or a pressure washer.
From moss and algae growth to stains, dirt and black mould, both of these cleaning tools can do the job – but what is the difference, and is one better than the other?

Heat vs Power

The primary difference between power washers and pressure washers is how they clean. While power washing generates heat into the water used to melt away moss and algae, stains and dirt, pressure washing adds extra pressure to the cold water; blasting away the dirt and debris. The force used will depend on the machine, with many professional tools – such as the famous Poseidon Briggs & Stratton model reaching up to 230 bar.
Let’s look at this a little closer.

How does a power washer work?

The science behind the power washer is simple enough, but its effectiveness in the face of tough oil stains and stubborn algae, lichen cannot lessen. Equipt with a diesel-powered hotbox, power washers is mostly a high-powered hose attached to a box which can heat the water to 150 degrees. One of the best brands out there, and the one used by cleaning companies such as Stardust Cleaning-is Mazzoni; using Italian design and promising:

– High Performance
– Low power consumption
– Easy to use electrical panel
– An in-built safety valve on all models

With popular models now built to be safe and easy to use, and available online for anyone to purchase, does that mean the work of professional cleaners is no longer required?
In a simple word, no. Using a power washer effectively requires an understanding of both the ideal temperature for cleaning certain materials and the best practice use of a machine that utilises high-pressure water flow. Various surfaces, including paintwork, block paving and driveways, can all be irreversibly damaged if a high-pressure jet is misused; and can result in high bills to fix the damage.

It is worth noting, as well, that heated power washers can add thousands on to the cost if you were to buy one for your use.
With hot boxes costing upwards of £1,600 and the average cost of hiring in a professional rising due to the new machinery and the diesel fuel required to power it.

How does a pressure washer work?

The pressure washer meanwhile, relies on a high-pressure stream of cold water to blast away dirt, moss and algae and is particularly useful on outdoor driveways, patios and even outside walls. The pressurised liquid is often enough to break down dirt on a surface and wash it away, though it may struggle in comparison with the power washer when it comes to oil stains or greasy marks.
Though pressure washers are undoubtedly the cheaper option on the market when compared with the power washers which use heat, they can be just as hazardous to some exterior surfaces.
Including paintwork and the cracks between block paving which can easily be displaced if the jet is too powerful. Arguably an expensive mistake can make and can leave your driveway or paving unsteady and dangerous to walk on.

Which type of washer is better?

Whether you seek the services of a professional or opt instead for buying or renting your washer, the type you choose should depend primarily on the surfaces you are going to clean. Oily and greasy surfaces are with a power washer which uses heat to melt away these stubborn stains; while dirt and debris, including moss and algae, can be cleaned away using the high-pressure jet of a pressure washer.