How to Use an Air Compressor As a Pressure Washer – The Ultimate Guide!

Using An Air Compressor As A Pressure Washer

In recent times, air compressors have become a favorite tool among many homeowners. They can be used for a wide range of jobs, such as inflating tires, blowing off dirt/snow from driveways, or unclogging a sink.

You can create simple cleaning solutions by combining an air compressor with a bunch of stuff that you may already have at home.

In this article, I’ll walk you through a step-by-step guide on how to use an air compressor as a pressure washer.

We’ll also explore why an air compressor can’t be a permanent alternative to pressure washers, what kind of garden hose you’ll need for pressure washers, and more. Let’s get started!


Can Air Compressor Be Used as Pressure Washer?

There isn’t an exact answer to this question; as mentioned earlier, air compressors can’t be used as a permanent alternative to pressure washers.

However, air compressors can still be used for regular cleaning purposes with pressure washer attachments, such as a pneumatic spray gun.

Most conventional air compressors can produce up to 150 PSI of pressure. By pairing it with attachments and nozzles, you would still get about 250 PSI.

On the other hand, most pressure washers start at about 1200 PSI.

This huge difference in pressure indicates that an air compressor cannot replicate the performance of pressure washers.

Therefore, an air compressor can be used for cleaning jobs that don’t require the immense power of a pressure washer, e.g., washing a cycle, toy car, soiled objects, etc.

But when it comes to heavy-duty cleaning jobs, such as washing your car after an off-road adventure, air compressors will fall short significantly.

You’ll have to spend extra time and work harder to clean off stubborn dirt and debris. With a pressure washer, all you’ll have to do is point the spray gun’s nozzle at the dirt!

If you have tough cleaning jobs beyond regular day-to-day cleaning, you should consider using a pressure washer instead of an air compressor.

But if you don’t need all that power, an air compressor will work just fine.

Step-by-Step Guide – How to Use Air Compressor as Pressure Washer

The procedure for using an air compressor as a pressure washer isn’t complicated at all! Before getting started, make sure to have the following tools/items –

  1. Air compressor
  2. Pressure washer attachment for air compressor
  3. Faucet/Water outlet
  4. Garden hose

Once you’ve got everything ready, follow this step-by-step guide –

1. Switch on Air Compressor and Build Up Pressure

The first step is to turn on the air compressor and let it build up pressure. It is recommended to wait until the compressor achieves around 30 PSI of pressure for effective results.

You can regulate the pressure later, once all the steps are complete.

2. Attach Garden Hose to Your Preferred Pressure Washer Attachment

You can use any pressure washer attachment of your choice. But, try sticking to a pneumatic spray gun or a siphon water jet cleaning gun for a hassle-free experience.

Attach the spray gun to one end of the garden hose, while its other end is attached to the water outlet.

3. Connect Air Compressor to the Pressure Washer Attachment

Lastly, you’ll have to connect the pipe coming from the air compressor to the designated hole/inlet on your spray gun.

Once you’re done, turn on the water outlet and operate the spray gun to check if everything is working properly.

At this stage, you can adjust the water pressure to your requirements and start cleaning!

Tips on Using an Air Compressor as a Pressure Washer

Although it isn’t difficult to set up an air compressor as a pressure washer, there’s still a lot of room for mistakes. You can easily avoid them by keeping the following tips in mind –

  • Position the air compressor on a flat surface, preferably away from all the water. Check the oil level and drain valve before switching on its power.
  • Tighten all the pipe/hose connections, so they won’t come off when you’re operating the machine.
  • Do not be tempted to test the air compressor’s airflow on your hands, or anywhere on your body. The enormous pressure could prove to be fatal!
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Can You Use a Garden Hose on a Pressure Washer?

Garden hoses are suitable for most cleaning jobs around the house. However, you cannot use regular hoses with a pressure washer.

Most generic garden hoses can handle between 70 PSI to 250 PSI of pressure. But a typical pressure washer comes with an output pressure greater than 1,400 PSI!

That being said, there are specific types of hoses that can be used for gardening, as well as with pressure washers!

Types of Garden Hoses

We can classify garden hoses into two types –

1. Low-Pressure Hose

Most regular hoses fall under this category. They can withstand anywhere between 50 PSI to 150 PSI. Some heavy-duty hoses can take it up a notch and withstand up to 500 PSI of pressure.

However, they’re still not suitable to be used with pressure washers. As you may have guessed, low-pressure hoses are significantly cheaper.

You’ll need one of these to connect the water outlet to the pressure washer.

2. High-Pressure Hose

If you need something that can be used with pressure washers, you’re looking for high-pressure hoses.

These hoses’ durability depends on their price, but even the cheapest ones can withstand around 2000 PSI of pressure!

Keep in mind that they’re not intended for ‘gardening’ purposes. They’re special hoses that should be connected to the outlet of a pressure washer.

Things to Consider When Buying a Garden Hose

If you’re planning to buy a garden hose, you should consider a few things. Some of them are –

1. Maximum Pressure

Generic garden hoses won’t withstand the high pressure generated from pressure washers. Therefore, you’ll have to keep in mind the maximum pressure required from a hose.

2. Length & Diameter

Another crucial factor is the length and diameter of the hose. The length roughly determines the area you can cover around your house, away from the water outlet.

3. Nozzles and Connection Options

If you’ll be using your hose for various purposes, having multiple nozzles/connectors will allow you to adjust the water flow and pressure quickly.


What can I use instead of a pressure washer?

If a pressure washer is inaccessible, you can use a hose pipe for your cleaning jobs. You can also buy pressure washer attachments that direct water into a more concentrated stream.

Can air compressor hose be used for water?

If you’ll only be passing clean water, you can use an air compressor hose. Keep in mind that muddy/dirty water will leave sediments in the hose, which could potentially damage the air compressor.

Can you use a 100 ft garden hose on a pressure washer?

Although the water pressure decreases as the length of the hose increases, the change should be insignificant on a pressure washer. Therefore, yes, you can use a 100 ft. garden hose on a pressure washer.

Final Thoughts

With all of that being said, you should now know how to use an air compressor as pressure washer.

Keep in mind that the results won’t be comparable with a pressure washer. With an air compressor, you can get most cleaning jobs done, but it won’t be as effective as a pressure washer.

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