Getting rid of the dirt, grime, dust, ugly marks, streaks, and stains on hard exterior surfaces can be challenging, and introducing a pressure washer into your home cleaning project can be an efficient and convenient investment.


And in your process of deciding whether to buy one or not, you might’ve come across questions such as needing a pump between your tank and pressure washer.

In this guide, we’re going to share with you the answer to this questions along with all the fundamental information about pressure washers to help you get started.

What is a Pressure Washer?

A pressure washer is a machine that expels a strong stream of high-pressure water through a narrow nozzle, which is used for removing dirt, mold, dust, grime, and other materials from hard surfaces and is used for cleaning exterior surfaces, such as vehicles, concrete, and buildings. 

It is measured by two main specifications: pounds per square inch (PSI) and gallons per minute (GPM) ratings. PSI is the measured intensity of the water pressure at the output, which tells you the power of the spray to lift and remove dirt from the surface. This key factor varies, depending on the model.

The GPM of the pressure washer refers to the flow rate or the volume of water delivered to the spray gun or wand, which is measured in gallons per minute. It is the pressure washer’s key factor in providing the necessary amount of water to wash the dirt away. It also determines how long the job will take. 

These two specifications are the key factors in your pressure washer’s overall performance and cleaning efficiency, and the power can be measured by multiplying PSI by GPM. The higher the number, the tougher the cleaning power your pressure washer has.

Different Components of a Pressure Washer 

A pressure washer consists of five main components: power source, water inlet, high-pressure hose, water pump, and cleaning attachment.

Power Source

The power source of a pressure washer is designed to power up the pump, which comes in two varieties, including a gasoline engine motor and an electric motor.

A gasoline engine motor runs on fuel and is normally measured in horsepower (HP). This type of power source usually has a PSI range of about 3000 to 4000 and sometimes with a minimum of about 2500, making it an ideal pressure washer for heavy-duty professional cleaning work as it delivers higher-pressure water.

An electric motor is run on a battery or powered by an electric source like an outlet and is normally measured in kilowatts (kW). This type of power source usually has a PSI source ranging between 500 and 2000 PSI, which makes it an ideal choice for home use or light-duty cleaning works.

Water inlet

A water inlet is a hose that connects the pressure washer to the main supply of water and has a filter that inhibits dirt, debris, and other external particles from entering and clogging the washer, helping avoid damages to the machine and accidents or harms as the pressure could blast out the debris out.

High-Pressure Hose

It is the tube composed of multiple layers of high-density plastic and a wire mesh that connects the pressure washer and the cleaning attachment you’re using. The standard safety margin in using this type of hose ranges about 30% to ensure that it will survive the intensity of the high-pressure water flowing through it.

If, for example, your pressure washer has a PSI rating of 2000, your high-pressure hose must be able to withstand a pressure of at least 6000 PSI.

Water Pump

The water pump, also known as the heart of the pressure washer, sucks the water from the water supply and squirts the water in a high-pressure stream from the hose through a trigger gun.

Cleaning Attachment

A cleaning attachment is a valve that lets the water flow through by squeezing the handle. It could be a simple trigger gun, spinning wand spray, or a rotating brush.

When to Use a Pump Between a Tank and Pressure Washer

In general, most pressure washers can draw water from any source like a water tank with a minimum of PSI of 20 to work properly. Some pressure washers can also work fine even with lower pressure since most have built-in pumps that push the water out of the nozzle with high pressure.

You will only need an additional pump between your tank and pressure washer if the current water pressure is insufficient. Also, you will need a pump if you have a direct-drive pressure washer as the pump is situated near the engine and is spinning fast, which makes it harder to feed water from the tank to the washer efficiently.

Always ensure that the pump you’re going to use is compatible with your pressure washer.

If you’re going to use a submersible pump, make sure that it’s able to go inside the water tank with ease to draw the water from your tank and feed it into your pressure washer. 

You only need to submerge the pump inside the tank and connect its plug to a generator. After that, connect your water hose that is attached to your submersible pump to your pressure washer. 

For a diaphragm pump, you will need clamps and tubing to connect the pump to the water tank and pressure washer. You can buy a quick connect set/kit to set up your connection without the hassle of screwing and unscrewing the hoses connected to your pressure washer.

When not to Use a Pump Between a Tank and Pressure Washer

Since most pressure washers have a built-in pump, or if you will use a gas pressure washer, a pump between your water tank and pressure washer won’t be necessary since it already has a motor strong enough and inlet hoses and valves to draw the water from the tank and feed to the pressure washer. 

Using a belt-driven pressure washer or a gravity-fed system will also make the process of feeding water to the pressure washer efficient without the need for an additional pump. 

If you’re going to use a gravity-fed system, you will only rely on the force of gravity to push the water out from the water tank to the pressure washer. The amount of pressure will be determined mainly by the variation in elevation between the tank and the pressure washer.

The components you will need for your gravity-fed system include a water spigot or a valve, a filter (to trap all contaminants and dirt), and a high-pressure/short-heated hose.

In general, you have to ensure that there is enough water and suitable pressure for the gravity-fed system to work efficiently. It’s best if you can use a tall tank and hold it at a higher elevation, and add more height if your water tank is not elevated enough to allow the pressure to build.

Final Thoughts

A pressure washer is a great maintenance machine to remove dirt, mold, grime, dust, or any other contaminants and refurbish all kinds of hard surfaces not only around the exterior of your home but also to commercial buildings.

In general, an additional pump won’t be necessary between your water tank and pressure washer if there’s enough pressure and water but if the current water pressure is insufficient, then an additional pump will be needed.

Also, keep in mind to always use a compatible pump with your pressure washer and hire a professional to set it up if you have no prior experience to avoid damaging the machine and prevent mishaps.

Editorial Contributors
Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

Learn More