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Using an Air Compressor as a Pressure Washer – How To

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Have you ever wondered whether you could utilize the pressurized air within your air compressor system and somehow turn it into a pressure washer-like device? I assure you, you’re not alone in wondering about this!

Our garages and workshops get pretty cluttered up with all kinds of stuff, wouldn’t it be nice to find a way to combine your existing air compressor with your desire to have a pressure washer? I will provide you with all the relevant information on doing so, and point you in the direction of some readily available products from Amazon.

Table of Contents

Can an Air Compressor Become a Pressure Washer?

The answer to this question is more along the lines of “kind of”. Though you can’t literally turn your air compressor into a pressure washer, you can attach a jet cleaning gun that connects your air compressor and typical garden spray gun.

The results will of course not be the same, mainly due to the pressure difference.

Pressure Difference between Air Compressor with Garden Hose and Pressure Washer

Typical garden hoses produce around 40-70 PSI in comparison to pressure washers which typically start at around 1300 PSI – what a jump right?! So no matter how many attachments or modifications you make you will only really be able to get around 100-200 PSI at your absolute best if you’re lucky!

This can be ideal of course for jobs that don’t need a pressure washer but instead need a little more power than typical garden hoses.

If your job requires a great amount of pressure then you should look to purchase a pressure washer instead of relying on your air compressor.

Can You Use a Garden Hose as a Pressure Washer?

To put it into simple terms, no. It’s impossible to have a garden hose operating at the pressures required or deemed as standard for pressure washers. However, you may be able to get a specific attachment that will claim to turn your garden hose into a pressure washer by producing a more powerful jet stream by making it narrower.

I’m sure you’ve tried the trick where you cover a piece of the opening on the garden hose with your thumb to create a jet of water, this works in a similar fashion. Though, these attachments may not necessarily be any greater than the “jet” setting already implemented in your garden hose.

It’s very unlikely that your garden hose will be able to exceed 100 PSI so if you require greater pressure than that, I will again recommend buying a pressure washer as your better option.

When Can I Use an Air Compressor Instead of a Pressure Washer?

Before going forth and buying the attachments to make your air compressor into a pressure washer, you must consider what you’re actually going to be able to achieve with it.

The results will not be as expected, you will not have the same capabilities as a pressure washer. Your air compressor can be used as a maintenance pressure washer, it won’t be able to completely wash filthy jobs but it will be able to remove some amount of dirt, especially when fresh.

If you plan to fully restore something then a pressure washer is thereby advised, but if you’re just keeping on top of something to stop it from getting in a bad state, an air compressor as a pressure washer could be fit for the job.

Readily Available Products on Amazon

Now let’s take a look at some products that can help you turn your air compressor into a pressure washer ready for your suitable applications.

The first is the Guardair 79WG Syphon Water Jet Cleaning Gun which allows you to connect your air compressor fittings to a garden hose. The air compressor attaches to the handle of this device and then the garden hose attaches to the hose adapter.

A different option, if you’re specifically out for this, is the 40cm Car Water Cleaning Gun attachment for your air compressor allowing you to spray pressure and clean your car with the highest efficiency.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do you spray water with an air compressor?

First of all, you will want to turn on the air compressor and allow it to build up pressure. Then you can connect one end of the garden hose to a water tap on the outside of your garage/workshop. Connect the other end of the garden hose to the water line connection on the pressure washer attachment and then plug the air hose from your air compressor into the airline connector on the attachment and you’re good to go!

Can you pressure wash with an air compressor?

Yes, you won’t be able to achieve anywhere near as much pressure as a pressure washer but you will be able to conduct maintenance pressure washing. To do so, you will need a pressure washer attachment connected to the air hose of your air compressor and a garden hose. This will allow you to increase the pressure when spraying water from your garden hose without buying a separate power washer.

If you have any questions regarding using an air compressor as a pressure washer, please leave a comment below, with a photo if applicable, so that someone can help you!

By Aidan Weeks

A passionate Mechanical Engineer with endless enthusiasm for fluid power - building off the back of over 18 years of high quality contribution and discussion stimulated by Bill Wade here at About Air Compressors. With both practical and theoretical experience in pneumatics and hydraulics, I'm putting my knowledge to work - and working my grey-matter through my research, assistance and publishing work here at About Air Compressors. Feel free to reach out any time! P.S. A HUGE shout out to Doug who really offers such great value to all visitors to About Air Compressors - once again, feeling like I'm standing on the shoulders of GIANTS by getting to work alongside such a great community

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