Garden Hoses & Pressure Washers

Man washing deck

Pressure washers are incredibly useful for most people. They clean, they detail, and they make things look new again. But when a hose breaks, finding a new one can be a pain, and it can be tempting to eye your innocent garden hose. But questions remain – can I use the garden hose with my pressure washer? Do I need a garden hose for a pressure washer? Well, we’ve got answers!

So what’s on the docket today?

Today’s Topics Include:

Now, without further ado, let’s get going.

Pressure Washers W/ Garden Hoses

garden hose

So let’s get some answers – we won’t waste any more time. Onward! To the pressure washer treasure trove of knowledge!

Help! I Can’t Get the Garden Hose Off the Pressure Washer

Water and metal are age-old enemies, it’s no secret. So it’s no surprise that when your (metal) pressure washer meets the water exiting it, bad things can happen. Failure and corrosion, especially on threading and joints, is extremely common. As such, everyone deals with a stuck hose on their pressure washer at some point or another. So how do you fix it?

It’s actually super easy, you’ll be kicking yourself when you realize how simple the solution is.

Here’s what to do:

  1. First things first – turn off and fully disconnect the washer.
    1. This includes releasing all pressure – unless you want to pressure wash your hand.
  2. Find the quick connect fitting ta the end of the hose and push it toward the pump of your pressure washer.
  3. Loosen all of the plugs and sockets nearby – use a wrench. This will make your life drastically easier.
    1. Keep all of the little bits and bobs you remove in a single place (like your pocket or a rag) – you don’t want to lose them.
  4. Begin with the male repair coupling, then the female end, crimping each onto opposite ends of your new hose.
  5. Tighten up any compression rings on the crimped ends (if you have them) and repeat on both ends.
  6. Connect the couplings together, attach them to your washer, and et voila! You’ve removed the old one (thanks to loosening the plugs and sockets) and added in a shiny new functional hose!

What Size Garden Hose to Use for a Pressure Washer?

hose end

First things first – pressure washers have hoses made explicitly for them. Most garden hoses simply can’t handle the pressure of a pressure washer and will fall apart if you try to use them.

If you have to use a garden hose, opt for a hose no smaller than 1 1/4″ in diameter. Anything smaller cannot handle the water flow.

Check out our garden hoses and water pressure article for more information on why it’s a bad idea to use most garden hoses on a pressure washer.

Can You Use Expandable Garden Hoses With a Pressure Washer?

Yes and no.

If you want to use an expandable garden hose with a pressure washer, you can use it to provide water to the device. You cannot, however, use an expandable garden hose to bring water from the pressure washer outlet to its spray gun – your hose will explode.

Running an expandable garden hose from the home or garden faucet to your pressure washer, though, is totally acceptable.

Do I Need a Garden Hose for a Pressure Washer?

Technically, you don’t need a garden hose for a pressure washer. However, you absolutely can use one. The biggest thing to note is that garden hoses are not designed with extreme water pressure in mind, meaning they can’t be used in place of the pressure washer’s hoses.

It’s generally best practice to use items that are suited to a specific task. You wouldn’t use a potato masher to trim a roast, so why would you use a garden hose for something it’s explicitly not designed for?

Can I Turn My Garden Hose Into a Pressure Washer?

deck getting washed

No – you cannot turn a garden hose into a pressure washer.

You can get more pressure out of a hose than the standard ~40 PSI (up to 150 PSI) with the right nozzle, but you can’t get up to a pressure washer’s 1,500 PSI minimum.

If you want to get more force out of a standard garden hose, though, you can find “pressure washer lite” nozzles that simply screw onto the end of your hose. If you’re going to opt for this, keep the following in mind:

  • The smaller the diameter of your hose, the more pressure you’ll get. Get the smallest size hose and nozzle available to maximise pressure.
  • Keep your hose as short as possible. The longer the hose, the more pressure and volume you lose. Anything over 50 ft. (~15 metres) will have a significant dropoff in pressure.
  • Inspect the hose for damage. Leaks, cracks, or kinks will affect the quality of pressure you get and will absolutely frustrate you over time.

Can I Use The Garden Hose With My Pressure Washer?

Yes, you can use a garden hose with your pressure washer.

However, there are hoses made with the explicit purpose of being used with pressure washers. There is no reason (other than budget or time) for the long-term use of a pressure washer with a garden hose.

What Kind of Garden Hose Do I Need for a Pressure Washer?

If you insist on using a garden hose with your washer, you need a hose with the following features:

  • Explicitly-stated high-pressure resistance with a specific number.
    • Anything below 150 PSI simply won’t cut it.
  • As small a diameter as possible.
    • As mentioned above, the smaller diameter of your hose, the higher pressure you’ll get out of it.
  • The shorter the better.
    • Longer hoses lead to pressure dropoff – so short is where it’s at. Aim for hoses between 25-50 ft (~7-15 metres).

How Long of a Hose Can You Run With a Pressure Washer?

The maximum recommended length of hose to use with a pressure washer is 50 feet (roughly 15 meters). Anything longer will give diminishing returns on pressure and volume, and the shorter you go, the better pressure you’ll get.

Can I Use a Pressure Washer Without a Hose?

pressure washer

No, you cannot use a pressure washer without a hose. Pressure washers are designed to be used with two hoses – one to bring water into the device, and another to bring it out (i.e. the actual pressure washing).

Can You Use a Bucket of Water With a Pressure Washer?

You can absolutely use a bucket of water with a pressure washer.

This is a common solution seen in areas where homeowners either don’t have access to running water or simply don’t have an outside tap near where it’s needed.

It’s worth noting that you’ll be constantly filling the bucket, as pressure washers use gallons of water per minute, and most buckets are only 5-10 gallons. To do this, you can do one of two things. First, you could use a suction hose, which is similar to those used by fire services (though obviously on a smaller scale).

The second option would be to install a spigot into the largest bucket you have. If you have a drill and a few minutes to glue it into place securely, you can install a spigot into the bucket and then use the hose as usual.

Conclusion

All in all, while you certainly can use a simple hose with your pressure washer, it’s generally not the best approach. Garden hoses are designed with low-pressure systems in mind, and that’s not what a pressure washer is – it’s kinda in the name, right? So if you’re in a bind, go ahead and use that garden hose – but don’t keep it permanently, trust me.

Now sit back, make a drink, and enjoy yourself – you’ve earned it.