If you have a pressure washer, you need a pressure washer pump. There are three main types on the market: wobble pump, triplex pump, and axial cam pumps.
We’ll walk you through these pressure washer pump types, calling out what makes them unique as well as the main pros and cons.
By the end, you’ll be familiar with the different types and what they have to offer.
- There are three main types of pressure washer pumps: wobble, axial cam, and triplex pumps.
- Wobble pumps are entry-level, 70% efficient, and last around 2-3 years with a PSI below 2500.
- Axial cam pumps are intermediate-level, have a PSI below 3500, and last around 5-8 years with 70-90% efficiency.
- Triplex pumps are professional-level, 90% efficient, have a PSI of at least 3000, and last up to 10 years.
Are Pressure Washer Pumps Universal?
No — they are not. Some state that they’re universal, but the reality is that they only work with the majority.
You should always check the dimensions of the pump against your pressure washer to make sure they’re compatible. You must also check the PSI and GPM as matching up varying specs will give you poor results.
Types of Pressure Washer Pumps
There are three main types of pressure washer pumps: wobble pumps, triplex pumps, and axial cam pumps. We’ll walk you through what each one is, the pros and cons, and a handy chart with additional specs.
A wobble pump is an entry-level option that uses a wobble plate. The wobble plate is connected to a drive shaft to push pistons back and forth. This creates suction to push the water out with great force. However, the pump is only around 70 percent efficient since it has to push the water and the springs.
Normally, these pumps are sealed shut when they leave the factory due to their intricate parts. This also makes them not widely available for repair since they have small parts in tough-to-reach places.
Similar to axial cam pumps, they have a lifespan of around two to three years if used around three hours a week.
- They can run dry.
- They use high pressure and push out water with a lot of force.
- They can prime themselves.
- No seals to move back and forward.
- Only about 70 percent efficient.
- They can’t be repaired.
- Low water flow.
|Maximum Pressure (PSI)||Below 2500|
|Maximum Flow Rate (GPM)||Below 2.0|
|Pump Efficiency||70 percent|
|Compatible Pressure Washer Type||Low flow electric pressure washers|
|Lifespan||2-3 years when used 3 hours per week|
These are designed for professional-level pumps. They emit super high pressure and last for thousands of hours between maintenance or need for repairs.
Triplex pumps are similar to a car engine in that they have a crankshaft and connecting rods to drive position action pistons. These suck in and push out water with each stroke.
These are nearly 90 percent efficient, so they’re very high quality. They run cooler, since they use less RPM than the engine, so they are more eco-friendly and cost-effective.
In a triplex plunger pump, the pistons stroke 120 degrees apart which offers smoother flow over the revolution of the crankshaft.
When you do need to make repairs, it’s easy since the replacement valves are easily accessible. Overall, these have around a 10-year lifespan.
- Nearly 90 percent efficient.
- They have a long lifespan.
- They use high water pressure.
- Less prone to leaks.
- The seals are stationary.
- They are more expensive.
|Maximum Pressure (PSI)||3000 and above|
|Maximum Flow Rate (GPM)||3.0|
|Pump Efficiency||90 percent|
|Compatible Pressure Washer Type||Professional level washers|
|Lifespan||Around 10 years|
Axial Cam Pumps
These are also known as swash plate pump. They are intermediate-level pumps, so they’re slightly better than the wobble pump but not as powerful as the triplex pump.
This kind of pump has a higher PSI and GPM than a wobble pump. It’s similar in design but slightly different due to the pistons that rotate around the swashplate.
The swashplate is at an angle that allows the pistons to stroke it as they move from one side to pull up water, and then the other side to push out the water. It also rotates on the same axis as the driveshaft, since these two pieces are connected.
This allows for larger oil reservoirs and bearings which increases the lifespan of the pump.
- Lightweight and compact.
- More efficient than wobble pumps.
- You can adjust the flow of water manually.
- Longer lifespan than wobble pumps.
- They get hot and take a while to cool down.
- You may experience excess vibration.
|Maximum Pressure (PSI)||Less than 3500|
|Maximum Flow Rate (GPM)||2.5|
|Pump Efficiency||Between 70 and 90 percent|
|Compatible Pressure Washer Type||Gas pressure washers below 3500 PSI|
|Lifespan||5-8 years when used 3 hours per week|
Pressure Washer Pump FAQs
Pump, Pressure and Pristine Pavements
With the right pressure washer pump type for your pressure washer, your machine will be working better than ever. You’ll have those pristine pavements, driveways, and other surfaces.
The main types are wobble pumps, triplex pumps, and axial cam pumps. Triplex pumps are the most powerful, so you may be leaning towards that. But you have to keep in mind that you can only choose the one that’s compatible with your pressure washer.