I was pleasantly surprised to receive a power washer for Father’s day this year. I had just replaced by regular hose with an expandable one and was clueless about whether it would be fine to use. So, I did some research and made a couple of calls, and this is what I learned.
In most cases, you can use an expandable water hose with a pressure washer as long as it is from the water inlet to the pressure washer. However, the hose to the sprayer cannot be an expandable hose since it cannot support the necessary PSI of water pressure.
There’s a bit more to the question, so please read on so that you can make an informed decision.
Why It’s (Probably) Okay to Use an Expandable Hose With a Pressure Washer
Expandable hoses or collapsible hoses are only capable of supporting about 120-200 PSI of water pressure. Pressure washer hose, attached to the sprayer, needs to have an extremely high-pressure rating that adjustable hoses do not have.
The outgoing sprayer line needs to be able to support anywhere from 2,700-3,400 PSI of water pressure. An expandable hose will not be able to contain that amount of water pressure. The inside tube would likely burst if that amount of force were unleashed upon it. If this happened, your lightweight garden hose would be rendered useless for any other outdoor tasks.
In contrast, an expandable hose has a high enough rating to handle the water coming from the house into the pressure washer. Most homes pump out water at a rate of 45-55 PSI, and a pressure washer only needs 20 PSI of water pressure to work. Your outside water faucet and your expandable hose should be able to handle this amount of pressure easily.
Just keep in mind that an expandable hose will need to generate a higher rate of water pressure so that it can function correctly. If your hose does not receive enough water pressure, it will not be able to expand fully. So, make sure it’s fully expanded before trying to use the pressure washer.
What Manufacturers Say
Manufacturers of pressure washers do not want you to attach expandable hoses to any part of their equipment. Their main reasoning is that they recommend using a more flexible traditional hose that can withstand the varying pressures required during use.
However, since expandable hoses function pretty much exactly the same as a regular hose once expanded, there’s no reason one can’t be used to connect the water source to the washer. Ultimately, it should function just like a regular plastic hose, if not better.
As you already know, connecting the hose from the pressure washer to the trigger is highly frowned upon. Of course, most people respect their pressure washer enough not to attempt this activity, so that isn’t an issue anyway. I just thought you should be aware, just in case.
Important Disclaimer: Please note that using an expandable hose to connect your water inlet to your pressure washer may be enough to void your warranty. You will want to read the warranty guide before deciding to hook up the expandable hose. It is up to you if you want to risk it.
Best Expandable Hose for a Pressure Washer
In my opinion, this 50′ expandable garden hose (Amazon listing) is the best one to use from your water inlet to your power washer. This model takes up less space than any traditional rubber garden hose and can grow from 17-50 feet when water is flowing.
The best part of this particular hose is that it never kinks or tangles. This means you get to spend countless hours enjoying the day instead of struggling with a hose that seems to have tied itself in knots since the last time you used it.
Can the Hose Burst While Being Used With a Pressure Washer?
Sometimes people worry that their adjustable hose could burst from too much pressure. I guess this could happen if a manufacturer used inferior quality materials, even though it is unlikely. However, with my recommended hose, you can be reasonably confident that it will hold up under normal circumstances. Unless, for some reason, your water inlet pushes in a super high PSI, the hose is rated to handle normal pressure.
The recommended expandable hose uses 3750 D polyester fabric on its exterior. The interior part of the hose is made out of flexible latex. The inside tube features a triple layer of protection. Included with the product are durable brass connectors designed not to leak. The hose also comes with a handy nine function spray nozzle that is great for non-pressure washer chores.
Ideal Hose Diameter for a Pressure Washer
Pressure washers that operate at 2700 PSI or below should use a 1/4″ diameter hose. Most residential washers will use this size. Hoses that have a diameter of 5/16″ work best for washers that can handle up to 3,400 PSI. Commercial pressure washers (up to 5,000 PSI) work best with a 3/8″ hose.
Basically, the more powerful your pressure washer is, the bigger the diameter your hose should be.
How Do Expandable Hoses Actually Work?
Expandable hoses will begin to unravel itself when water from the inlet pours into the hose’s inner tube. The end of the hose that is not hooked up to the faucet has a shut-off valve that has been deactivated. This turned off valve blocks the water from spilling out the other end of the hose.
At this point, water begins to accumulate inside the inner tube. Pressure begins to build. Finally, the hose opens up and expands to the longest length possible. When the hose is at its full size, the shut-off valve is turned on. Now the collapsible tube begins to function like any other regular garden hose.
Expandable hoses can pretty much be used for the same things as a regular hose. As long as you are careful and use solid best practices, there’s no reason you can’t use one with a pressure washer. Let me know how it goes and if you find out anything that might be useful to other readers by commenting below.
Thanks for reading!
Legal Disclaimer: This site nor its owner will be held responsible for any damage to your equipment based on the information provided in this article. The purpose of this article was solely to provide information and not as a recommendation. Use an expandable hose at your own risk.
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