What Hose Should I Use For My Pressure Washer? (Key Facts)

We used to have a terrible old pressure washer that was always playing up so you couldn’t wash the car or the decking. I scrapped it last year and bought a new Karcher which has faired much better.

Although you can use a garden hose to feed into your pressure washer water inlet, the extended hose that attaches to the power sprayer itself needs to handle up to 4000 PSI, so you can’t use a garden hose for this and shouldn’t buy a cheap pressure washer with a substandard hose connection.

pressure washer hoses

Why Do Pressure Washers Need Specialized Hoses?

Pressure washers are really useful but they can become a slight problem when you use just any old hose. You cannot do this for quite a few reasons. First, you have to understand that the pressure and speed that water comes out is going to be much higher for pressure washers.

Garden hoses are not really equipped to deal with this normally. As a result, they could quite literally burst or explode on you if used for pressure washing. We’re totally serious.

Keep in mind, this is a “pressure” washer. Thus, high pressure will mean significantly higher speed when water comes out. We’re talking speeds of 1,000 to 4,000 PSI on average. Your garden hose typically can only handle pressures of less than 100 PSI. That is saying something!

Some pressure washers also use hot temperatures, which normal hoses aren’t cleared to handle. That could, again, result in your garden hose having some huge issues.

The materials of a hose matter, as they will tend to be a good bit different compared to a normal presser washer hose. Hoses are also not a one-size-fits-all type of thing. Therefore, even the size you use for a pressure washer versus a garden hose can be important. 

The Benefits of Power Washer Hoses

There are a ton of benefits honestly. Pressure washers are powerful and thus, they can easily get things off of your home, a sidewalk, even your car that might otherwise remain caked on. In fact, you’ll commonly see hazard crews use them to clean up areas where chemicals have dropped.

A lot of people tend to use them to get things like graffiti off of their homes or other buildings. You might even see some using them to clean their driveway off completely, as things like dirt, dust, and much more can build on this kind of surface.

Pressure washers can get pretty much anything off, making them pretty valuable to have around in times of need. Plus, they are easy enough to use for pretty much anyone. Even kids are capable of using them without a major issue. We’d recommend only letting a responsible child use one, however.

What might take hours or days of cleaning is made simple by pressure washers. As they can clean things off in mere minutes.

The best part might be the fact that they are good for the environment. Deep cleaning often takes the use of chemicals. Most of which are not good for Mother Nature. Pressure washers remove the need for these heavy chemicals. Thus, making them essentially a “green” product.

pressure washer hose

Different Types Of Pressure Washer Hoses

The most important thing to remember here is that you’re going to be utilizing what is known as a “high-pressure hose.” You could be seeing some incredibly high PSI numbers used here, so you’ll want a hose that can hold up well.

It is also important to consider that you have both cold and hot water pressure washers. Thus, all materials need to be able to handle either.

The three main materials used are Rubber, PVC Plastic, & Polyurethane. 


Rubber models are traditionally the heaviest version. They tend to be more flexible compared to others, making them perfect for small jobs or ones that require more mobility. They don’t kink or curl, which is quite useful. Yet they can often leave black streaks behind if you slide them across a concrete surface. 

PVC Plastic

These are the most common type you’ll see. Hard plastic like this can handle pretty much any PSI speed you put them up against. That makes the version very valuable. Yet they are not usually flexible, so they can be a bit of a hassle at times. Either way, the fact that they are cleared for most PSI rates is quite helpful.


The newest in the hose material arena, the Polyurethane hoses are well-liked. They tend to be steel-braided are covered with a bendable plastic casing. They are like having the flexibility rubber hoses provide with the toughness of PVC. All while lasting longer than the others too. Pros tend to like this version the most due to everything we just referenced.

Hose Sizing

However, you should not forget about the size of your hose too. This can be very important, sometimes even beyond the material. The wrong size can result in hoses busting on you, and trust us when we say that this is NOT a good thing. 

These are the main sizes to look for….

Small or ¼ Hoses

These are the most common hoses you’ll see. Usually, they are designed to fit the normal or consumer-grade electric and gas-powered pressure washers. Yet if you need something that is going to be bigger, such as a larger gas-powered version…this model won’t work.

However, most of these smaller models can still handle pretty high speeds. They tend to be capable of handling slightly over 3,000 PSI on average. Which is pretty good.

Medium or 5/16 Hoses

You won’t see these are often, mostly because they are mostly used in gas-powered models. They might be used for your average clean-up crew or even lawn companies. Thereby making them a prosumer-grade version.

As a result, you won’t see these applied to most pressure washers. Yet they can handle some higher speeds. Most of these hoses are cleared for up to 3,600 PSI rates.

Large or ⅜ Hoses

These are specifically used in the top of the line models. You will see these used by major hazard clean-up crews. You know, the type who are cleaning up chemicals in Hazmat suits. Oh yes, these are the strongest hoses on the market.

They are all cleared to work mostly for gas-powered models but some electric models can work for them too. Ultimately, they are cleared for an insane 10,000 PSI rate. These larger models are also a lot thicker, making them capable of handling a higher water volume too. Therefore, not only is water coming out incredibly fast, but you’re also getting A LOT of it.

How To Choose The Right Power Washer Hose

This can be a bit hard for people to do, likely due to the idea that they are not sure what they will need them for. You might have heard about pressure washers in passing or on television, the radio, perhaps even online.

That said, we recommend that you think about your specific needs. This will help you determine the exact type that would be best for you.

The materials are often a matter of perspective for people. PVC hoses tend to be the cheapest and would likely be the best to use for those new to pressure washing. Meanwhile, rubber is well-liked and can be applied to cold and hot water.

However, there are limitations and they leave streaks. If you are not often working on concrete, rubber might be perfect. Yet polyurethane is the best overall, beloved by professional cleaners and random homeowners alike. Of course, it is the most expensive version.

At the end of the day, sizing is likely the easiest to choose. As you simply look at what type of pressure washer you have and pick the size that can handle that specific speed the best.


Ultimately, if you want to be sure you’ve got the right hose for your pressure washer, don’t buy separate components and invest in a high quality brand name model.

Then you can be sure that the hose running from the unit to the spray head is up to the job, and can handle the kind of pressure that a power washer will generate.

Our Karcher has done a great job, but there are plenty of other models available to choose from in the mid to higher price ranges. Just remember that as with all things, if you buy cheap you buy twice.