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Choosing a Hot Water vs. Cold Water Pressure Washer

When you decide you need to get serious about cleaning, you will likely want a pressure washer. Then you will be faced with the choice of a hot water pressure washer vs. cold water pressure washer. Both are useful machines that have many applications in commercial and residential settings.

So how do you decide between a hot and cold pressure washer? Below, we look at both types and break down the typical applications for each.

Differences Between Hot and Cold Pressure Washers

When it’s time to select a pressure washer, hot and cold models will both clean considerably better than a traditional hose. Beyond the obvious differences of water temperature, there are some other important factors to consider when comparing a hot water pressure washer vs cold.

Cold pressure washers clean surfaces with water that is pressurized by internal piston pumps fed by the engine. Machines with more engine power produce higher water pressure, which delivers better, more effective cleaning.

Many cold water pressure washers can be used with specialized nozzles and chemical detergents designed to help break down dirt and other crud stuck to surfaces.

Conversely, a hot water pressure washer uses pistons in the engine to activate the heating coil, which thereby heats the water coming from the nozzle. The temperature of the water, thanks to the coil, helps break down grease and oil compounds.

Steam and pressurized hot water are very effective for cleaning surfaces of grease, oil, dirt, mildew, and more without the need for detergents or chemical cleaners.

When to Use a Hot Water vs. Cold Water Pressure Washer


If you’re attempting to clean an engine, automotive parts, or an industrial floor space with a lot of oil or grease, you want a hot water pressure washing machine. Nothing beats highly pressurized jets of hot water to cut through layers of grease and grime. If extra cleaning power is needed, just add detergent.

Alternatively, if you’re cleaning sand, caked on mud, or stripping paint from a surface, a cold water pressure washer is precisely what you want. Combine cold water with a powerful yet effective and safe detergent, and you have a recipe for a clean surface in no time!

Cost vs. Consumption

When deciding between a hot water pressure washer vs. cold, cost will be a factor. When it comes to acquiring and operating a pressure washer, hot and cold models do differ significantly.

Because they include the water heating technology, hot water pressure washers cost more than their cold water counterparts – about three times more. Heating water also requires more energy, therefore operating (fuel) costs will be higher for a hot water pressure washer vs. cold.


Businesses in certain industries will be best served by a hot water pressure washer, because of the nature of the cleaning tasks they encounter. Companies in food service, automotive, aviation, oil & gas, waste management, and similar industries that frequently deal with greasy messes will find a hot water machine to be the optimal cleaning tools.

Companies in agriculture, manufacturing, construction, remodeling, and the like will probably find cold water pressure washers well suited for their routine cleaning tasks such as stripping paint, cleaning concrete, removing dirt and debris from machinery, and similar tasks.

Frequently Asked Questions on Hot Water vs. Cold Water Pressure Washers

Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about hot and cold pressure washers:

Are Cold Water Pressure Washers or Hot Pressure Washers Better?

Both cold water and hot water pressure washers are fantastic tools when used for the right applications. Cold water pressure washers work extremely well to remove dirt, mud, debris, flaking paint, mold, algae, and the like from brick, stone, concrete, vinyl siding, metal, plastic, and other hard, durable surfaces.

Hot water pressure washers can also be used on the above stains, but are more effective than cold water pressure washers against oily, greasy stains. Hot water pressure washers tend to cost more to purchase and operate than cold water models.

When Should You Use a Hot Pressure Washer?

When Should You Use a Cold Pressure Washer?

Can You Use Hot Water in a Cold Water Pressure Washer?

Summing Up the Pros and Cons

When comparing a hot water vs. cold water pressure washer, just consider what you will use it for, what types of cleaning needs you will likely have in the future, and your budget. A cold water pressure washer will cost less to buy and operate, and may last longer because it is a simpler machine with fewer parts. (This depends on the model you choose.) For many, these are significant plusses.

A hot water pressure washer provides a deeper, more thorough clean for tough, oily and greasy messes that just don’t respond to cold water. The extra investment in a hot water machine will be well worth the money if it saves you time and money in the long run.

Pressure Washer Rentals

If you are thinking about buying one of these high-powered cleaning machines, but aren’t ready to make the investment – or just can’t decide between a hot water vs cold water pressure washer – why not rent one? We offer short- and long-term rentals of both hot and cold pressure washers at our locations in Killeen, Bryan, and Austin, Texas.

Contact Us Today!

For more information about pressure washing units, or for ordering information, contact Hotsy Carlson today. We’d be happy to answer your questions or concerns and help you find the right pressure washer for your application.

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