Can An Air Compressor Become A Pressure Washer

Why an Air Compressor Can’t Turn Into a Pressure Washer

There are several items and tools you use on a regular basis to help maintain your household, and we tend to collect them in your storage areas in garages.

Everyone who has holiday decorations, bicycles, garden tools, kid’s toys, and more knows that these items can quickly eat up any free space you have and leave no room for your car, so it’s always nice to get a tool that and function as multiple tools in one.

You might know already that the air compressor’s pressure could help you pressure wash items.

But is it possible for your air compressor to be a pressure washer?

The short answer to this question isn’t a straightforward yes or no, and it’s more of a “soft of.”

It isn’t possible to literally take your air compressor and turn it into your pressure washer, but you can connect a jet-style cleaning gun that typically attaches right to your air compressor to your garden hose.

You do want to note that the results won’t be the same as you’d get if you could turn your air compressor into a pressure washer.

However, if you’d like to give this method a try, we’re going to outline it for you. We’ll talk about the pressure differences between a garden hose hooked to a pressure washer and an air compressor, whether or not a garden hose will work as a pressure washer, alternative solutions, and more below.

Garden Hose Hooked to an Air Compressor and Pressure Washer Differences

Your average garden hose will produce between 40 and 70 PSI in comparison to the average pressure washer that typically starts at 1300 PSI for the low end.

So, this shows that no matter how many modifications or attachments you have for your hose, you’ll still only get 100 to 200 PSI on the high end if you’re extremely lucky.

Of course, 100 to 200 PSI can be ideal for jobs that don’t need a pressure washer, but that does need a little more power than your garden hose can give you normally.

If your project does require more pressure, then you’ll want to consider buying a pressure washer instead of relying on your air compressor.

Can a Garden Hose Work as a Pressure Washer?

Simply put, no, it’s not possible to have a garden hose that can put out the same amount of pressure as your pressure washer.

However, you can get specific attachments that claim to take your garden hose and turn it into a pressure washer by giving you a more narrow and powerful stream of water.

When you use the standard garden hose for cleaning, you’ve most likely used the trick where you’ve put your thumb over part of the water stream to create a jet.

Maybe you have a nozzle on your hose that offers several different settings, and one has some power to it.

But is it possible for you to get a specific attachment that will work to pressurize your common garden hose?

The Turbo Jet Power Wash is one item that claims that it can take your garden hose and make it a pressure washer by helping to produce a more powerful stream or jet of water.

It does give you much better pressure than you’d get with a regular hose, but it still won’t be much higher than 100 to 200 PSI at the maximum.

The most important item that you have to note is that if you’re going to try and turn your garden hose and air compressor into a pressure washer, there’s no way to get the same level of results.

However, you could perform maintenance washing in between pressure washing sessions, and it could work well for a more delicate job that won’t stand up to a traditional pressure washer.

For example, if you wanted to clean a powered toy car that your kids love to ride around the yard in, you want something that is powerful enough to gently chip away at any dirt without taking off the stickers.

Using your air compressor as a pressure washer could be perfect for the job.

When You Can Use Your Air Compressor Instead of a Pressure Washer

Before you go out and purchase a host of attachments to try and turn your air compressor into a pressure washer, you have to consider what you want to achieve with this project.

It won’t give you the same cleaning capabilities as a pressure washer, but you can use it more as a maintenance tool.

Don’t expect it to be able to tackle filthy projects, but it can remove a small amount of dirt, especially if the dirt is fresh.

If you want to fully restore an item that can withstand pressure washing, we suggest using a traditional pressure washer.

But, if you’re just keeping on top of an item to prevent layers or dirt from caking onto it, you could get away with using an air compressor like a pressure washer and have it perform well.

Pressure Washer Alternatives

If you want to save your garage floor space from a host of bulky equipment, you could consider buying a combination machine that works as both an air compressor and a pressure washer.

Most of these types of machines usually use electricity to run, but you should know that electric models don’t have the same power levels as gas models.

Even though these models exist, they can be relatively difficult to find, and this includes pooling online resources with local ones.

But, if you don’t have a pressure washer on hand, nor do you have space for one, you have other alternatives available.

Manual Cleaning

While this may not be your favorite alternative, cleaning by hand can be adequate for some projects.

While you may tend to procrastinate doing it, breaking out a scrub brush and soap is one way to tackle dirt and stains.

It’s also much quieter than trying to use a garden hose trick or a traditional pressure washer, so you could wash your driveway at five in the morning without disturbing anyone around you.

The grime and dirt a pressure washer blasts away can come up by hand if you’re willing to scrub at it enough.

For example, an oil stain in your driveway can be a pain to clean, so most people will reach for the pressure washer.

However, you can sprinkle on a layer of kitty litter or sawdust and let it sit for several hours before sweeping it up and getting rid of it. As a final touch, spray your driveway with the hose.

You can also use hot water and dishwashing liquid to clean up dirt or additional stains. To get rid of that stubborn oil stain and fade it, scrub at it with a deck brush dipped in your mixture of hot, soapy water.


Heat is a very big factor when it comes to cleaning power, and this includes when you wash by hand. You should always use hot water for stubborn stains.

If you have a material stuck to a surface, using a scraping tool with a heat gun can help remove it. This could be very labor-intensive and tedious, but it works if you don’t have a pressure washer.

Bottom Line

Even though you can’t turn your air compressor into a pressure washer, there are tricks you can employ to get a slightly more powerful stream of water without actually having a pressure washer on hand.

You do have to lower your expectations if you do this, but it works well for smaller maintenance cleaning projects.

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