Steam Cleaner Vs Pressure Washer: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to cleaning your house or large areas like an office, there are many cleaning options available. Among them, steam cleaner and pressure washer are the most popular ones to clean in a short time.

People often get confused about what are the differences between them because it seems like they work similarly.

Even though they both use pressure to clean, there is a huge difference between their cleaning methods. Therefore, in this steam cleaner vs pressure washer article, we’ll let you know in detail.

Steam Cleaner Vs Pressure Washer: What’s The Difference?

The basic difference between steam cleaner vs pressure washer is, a steam unit produces steam to clean any surface or floor. On the other hand, a pressure power washer only throws high-pressured water to clean tough buildup. And it doesn’t heat or evaporate water to clean.

Steam Cleaner Vs Pressure Washer: What’s The Difference?

They both use regular tap water without any chemical compound. So, what stand them apart? Let’s drive deep to know the differences between both steam and pressure washer.

1. Working Method

  • Steam cleaner: A steam cleaner has a boiler, hot water pressure, and a water tank inside. When you want to clean using a steam cleaner, it starts producing heated water. The boiler produces and throw the pressure steam forcefully. When hot water, steam, and high-pressure hit together, no dirt or stain can withstand it, whether it’s carpet, floor, or wall.
Steam cleaner
  • Pressure washer: A cold water pressure washer works differently but simply than a steam cleaner. The pressure washer has a pump that runs either electricity or with gas. The pump creates pressure inside the cylinder, and this pressure pushes the water with full force out a nozzle. Most pressure washers produce between 1,000 and 3,000 PSI pressure to clean dirt from anywhere.
ressure washer

2. Application areas

  • Steam cleaner: Steam cleaner is a versatile cleaning tool that is mostly used for cleaning indoor surfaces, floors, or any household. The steam cleaner is available for consumer and commercial purposes. The commercial-grade steam cleaner has a large capacity to clean any large spaces like businesses and shopping malls. The steam cleaner is also used to sanitize and disinfect any areas because hot steam and pressurized flow can eliminate any viruses.
  • Pressure washer: A pressure washer is used for cleaning the walkway, patio, parking, or driveway; almost anything. Anyone can use a pressure washer to spray off the dirt, dust from the wooden surfaces, siding, or other concrete surfaces. Also, many professional cleaning companies use pressure washers for cleaning whole buildings. It provides effective cleaning against any hard-to-deal grease, tar, wax, or even rust.
Pressure washer

3. Drying time required

  • Steam cleaner: Drying time is a very important factor while cleaning a place or equipment you frequently use. Fortunately, steam cleaners need a minimum drying time. Also, a microfiber cloth can sweep while you are cleaning with a steam cleaner. That’s why it needs only 2-4 hours to dry your cleaned large surfaces which means no damage to wooden floor as a good benefit of steamer.
  • Pressure washer: A pressure washer needs much drying time than steam cleaners. While a steam cleaner only uses steam to clean, a pressure washer uses running water, taking 10X drying time more than a steam cleaner. When you are cleaning a large surface under sunlight, it may take 48 hours to dry your surface and deck completely. It takes a huge drying time than any other cleaning method.

4. Maintenance

  • Steam cleaner: Industrial steam cleaner or regular steam cleaner both need minimum maintenance. To keep your steam cleaner running, you should keep your water tank dry after every use. You should wipe your steam cleaner after and before using the steam cleaning method. Descale and drain the water tank after every use if you want to increase your steam cleaner’s lifespan.
Steam cleaner
  • Pressure washer: Proper maintenance is important for a pressure washer as other equipment is required. After using a pressure washer, rinse detergent from the pressure washer. Remove the siphoning tube and spray out water at low pressure. Relieve the pressure in the machines by shutting off the pressure washer and the connection of water. And lastly, make sure your pressure washer’s engine is completely shut-off. Because it could be dangerous if you are cleaning your pressure washer while the engine is running.

5. Operation Risks

  • Steam cleaner: Every piece of equipment is associated with some risks. If you carefully handle a steam cleaner, there is almost 0% of the risk. A possible risk associated with a steam cleaner is: accidental high-temperature water fall could burn body parts. Also, Improper electricity outlets could cause shock that may lead to death.
  • Pressure washer: A pressure washer is high-risk equipment. Its high-pressure flow could cut through limbs, causing disability, or amputation. Also, while using a pressure washer, any object or person could strike and injure its high-pressure water. So, don’t fall for the slick surface it gives, the high volume of water from that tiny nozzle can cause serious issues.
Pressure washer

6. Water Wastage

  • steam cleaner: The steam cleaning system uses very little water; that’s why it takes a little while to dry your surface or floors. A steam cleaner requires about 1.5 quarts of water per hour. Which is a pretty small amount of water for deep cleaning. That’s why people choose a steam cleaner for keeping their house and other equipment clean.
  • Pressure washer: A pressure washer needs a huge amount of water for cleaning. It requires about 8 gallons of water per minute which is a huge amount of water. Therefore, a pressure washer is not suitable for any household cleaning, and it is mostly used for industrial purposes.

Bottom Line

The steam cleaner vs pressure washer methods are both powerful and widely used cleaning tools worldwide.

Whether you choose a steamer or a pressure washer, they both have their perks. A pressure washer needs detergents or any other chemical to clean effectively. In addition, a steam cleaner is less expensive than any pressure washer.

Steam cleaning is an effective and effortless cleaning method that is mostly used for household cleaning. On the other hand, if you want to clean any high-intensity outdoor areas, you should consider pressure washing.

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