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Published Mar. 21, 2022

The best pressure washers make outdoor cleaning jobs much more manageable. Sure, you can hand-scrub muck off a dirty piece of patio furniture or even the siding of a house, but you’ll expend a lot of elbow grease doing it, and it won’t be nearly as satisfying as watching that grime disappear instantly under a jet of high-pressure water. 

Pressure washers can produce sprays up to 3,500 pounds per square inch (psi), making quick work of algae growth on the side of a home or black mildew on a patio chair. Pressure washers come in both electric and gas-powered varieties and range from light-duty models for washing the car to heavy-duty washers capable of taking on a house cleaning job. Ahead, we’ll examine what factors you should consider when shopping for the best pressure washer and present our top five choices for review. 

How We Selected the Best Pressure Washers

Methodology 

I applied my experience using a pressure washer to clean the house, various cars, and even a few driveways to research more than 20 pressure washers and narrow them down to the top five for this guide. Cleaning power is critical, so I only chose pressure washers capable of producing high enough water pressure to remove dirt. For light-duty models, I chose pressure washers with at least 1,700 psi, while pressure washers designed to clean an entire home needed to produce at least 2,000 psi. A good pressure washer should be rugged, so I stuck with pressure washers that feature durable construction with metal wands as opposed to plastic ones. Finally, since pressure washers must move quite a bit during a power washing job, wheels are critical. With that in mind, I leaned toward models with larger wheels that can roll more easily over varied terrain.

The Best Power Washer: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Wholesun 3000 PSI Electric Power Washer

WHOLESUN

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Why It Made The Cut: The Wholesun dominates other electric pressure washers we reviewed with its 3,000 psi cleaning power.

Specs:

  • Max psi: 3,000
  • Number of Nozzles: 4
  • Hose Length: 20 feet

Pros:

  • More cleaning power than most electric pressure washers
  • Well-designed hose storage
  • Durable metal sprayer wand
  • Lighter than other electric power washers

Cons: 

  • Smaller wheels and cheaper build quality than other power washers

The Wholesun power washer comes with a 1600-watt motor that generates an impressive 3,000 psi at 2.6 gallons per minute, making it one of the most powerful electric power washers on the market and capable of handling pretty much any cleaning job. 

Though the Wholesun’s plastic wheels are not as beefy as those found on higher-priced pressure washers, they are adequate for its relatively light weight of 40 pounds. It also has a shorter 20-foot hose — most power washers come with a 25-foot hose — limiting its range. That said, Wholesun’s crank style hose storage makes it easier to wrangle the hose. The wrap-around style storage also does a better job of ensuring the hose stays securely stowed than other models that require you use a hook. While Wholesun’s build construction isn’t tough enough for pro use, it’s adequate for most home power washing sessions. I also like the fact that the wand is metal versus plastic. Despite a few shortcomings, Wholesun is a reasonably priced pressure washer that offers cleaning power that’s on par with some gas-powered models. 

Best Budget: Sun Joe SPX3000 2030 Max PSI Electric High Pressure Washer

Sun Joe

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Why It Made The Cut: Though the Sun Joe may not have the same build quality as other pressure washers, its low price makes it an excellent choice for occasional use. 

Specs:

  • Max psi: 2,030
  • Number of Nozzles:
  • Hose Length: 25 feet

Pros:

  • More than $100 cheaper than other pressure washers
  • Includes five nozzles
  • Includes durable all-metal wand

Cons: 

  • Lower build quality than other electric pressure washers

Sure, the Sun Joe lacks the build quality and power that higher-end electric pressure washers can produce, but that’s not much of a trade-off considering how much cheaper it is. For those who may only use a pressure washer a couple of times a year, the Sun Joe is a great option. 

Its 2,030-psi output gives it a similar cleaning ability to higher-priced pressure washers, and its all-metal wand gives it a leg up over similarly priced models that use plastic. In addition to coming with five nozzles, it also includes a pump that will only operate when the trigger is engaged to extend the pump’s life and storage for the wand and hose. 

The Sun Joe does have its weaknesses. The motor isn’t as big as those found on higher-priced models on this list, and its shorter hose and smaller wheels make it harder to use with larger house cleaning jobs that require you to cover more ground. But, given its low price, the Sun Joe is a great choice for those who may only use a power washer every now and then. 

Best Heavy-Duty: Simpson Cleaning MSH3125 MegaShot 3200 PSI Gas Pressure Washer

Simpson Cleaning

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Why It Made The Cut: A reliable Honda engine that produces ample power for large cleaning jobs sets this pressure washer above other gas models. 

Specs:

  • Max psi: 3,200
  • Number of Nozzles:
  • Hose Length: 25 feet

Pros: 

  • Powerful motor gives it a high psi output
  • Sturdy all-metal construction
  • Large 10-inch pneumatic tires

 Cons:  

  • Expensive power washer
  • Pull starter can make it difficult to get going

Although they can be harder to use and require more care to avoid potentially damaging more delicate materials (or one’s self), a gas pressure washer is the way to go to achieve a truly pro-level power washing job. Powered by a formidable Honda engine, the Simpson gas-powered pressure washer delivers an impressive 3,200 psi while using 2.5 gallons per minute, giving it far greater ability to clean the house, driveway, car, or whatever else is power washable. 

Honda has a reputation for making long-lasting, high-performing small engines and this one is no different. It’s durably built with a welded steel frame. And, though it weighs a hefty 66 pounds, it rests on a pair of 10-inch pneumatic tires that make it fairly easy to wheel around. Its 25-foot hose provides ample range for cleaning two-story homes or larger driveways. 

While the Simpson gas-powered pressure washer is a great option for larger jobs, just keep in mind that with great power comes great responsibility. Using the right nozzle and psi setting is critical to avoid permanent damage to more delicate materials, such as wood decking or vinyl siding, as well as injury to yourself. 

Best Compact: Karcher Cube 1700 PSI Electric Pressure Power Washer

Karcher

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Why It Made The Cut: This is the most compact power washer we could find that still provides enough power to do most jobs. 

Specs:

  • Max psi: 1,700
  • Number of Nozzles: 3
  • Hose Length: 20 feet

Pros:

  • Compact size makes it easy to store 
  • Easier to carry around thanks to light weight
  • Wheels and handle allow it to be wheeled like luggage
  • Cheaper than full size power washers

 Cons:  

  • Not as powerful as larger power washers
  • Plastic want isn’t as sturdy as metal alternatives

With the gardening tools and machines a home needs, the garage can quickly get filled up with stuff. If you’re short on space, this portable model from Karcher may be just what you’re looking for. It won’t put out the same grime-cutting power of other pressure washers with its 1,700 psi, but it can still handle most power washing jobs. You’ll just have to be more patient as it’s going to take longer. With its 15.5-pound weight, it’s easy to carry to the driveway to wash the car or around the home for spot cleaning the siding. At just 16 inches wide, 12 inches high and 13 inches deep, it fits easily on a garage storage shelf. 

Despite its compact size, the Cube still has plenty of range thanks to a 20-foot hose and 30-foot power cord. It also sports some thoughtful design features, including a foot pedal that allows you to turn the pressure washer on and off without having to crouch down, and a convenient storage rack that holds the hose and wand. While I wish it had a metal wand as opposed to a plastic one and came with more nozzles, the Karcher Cube is a great option for anyone looking for a light-duty power washer that’s easy to store.

Best for Cars: Karcher K1700 PSI TruPressure Electric Pressure Power Washer

Karcher

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Why It Made The Cut: The power output and price tag make this power washer the right choice for car washing duties. 

Specs:

  • Max psi: 1,700
  • Number of Nozzles: 3
  • Hose Length: 20 feet

Pros: 

  • Powerful enough to clean but not damage a car’s finish. 
  • Upright design makes it easy to wheel around a driveway
  • Telescoping wand can reach various sizes
  • Cheaper than full-size power washers

 Cons:  

  • Not as powerful as larger power washers

If your main purpose for purchasing a power washer is to clean the car, then there really isn’t much point in spending a lot of money on a model with a big motor. In fact, if the power washer is too powerful, it could end up damaging the car’s finish. With its 1,700 max psi, this model from Karcher puts out enough pressure to clean the car without damaging it. Plus, it’s much more affordable than washers that have more cleaning power. 

The Karcher power washer also has features that make it easier to use for car detailing, including a telescoping handle, allowing you to extend it hard to reach places, such as the roof, and retract it for jobs that require more pressure, such as cleaning brake dust off rims. While it lacks the pneumatic tires of bigger pressure washers, the wheels are adequate for maneuvering the pressure washer around a driveway. A 35-foot power cord coupled with a 20-foot hose provides ample range for car washing duties. 

Things to Consider When Buying the Best Pressure Washer

Cleaning Power: A power washer’s ability to clean depends on how much power it can produce. And while we tend to think more power is always better, that’s not always the case with a power washer. Having too much power can damage fragile materials, like decking, vinyl siding, or even a car’s paint job. While it’s possible to set any power washer to handle lighter jobs, doing so isn’t as easy as simply turning a knob. With this in mind, when assessing a power washer consider how much power you really need and buy a model that suits your needs. 

Nozzles: Power washers come with different size nozzles to suit a variety of applications, ranging from washing a car to cleaning a driveway. Nozzle shapes are given in degrees and range from 0 to 40, with the latter offering the widest fan and the former delivering a powerful stream of water. Knowing what nozzle to use for the job is crucial to using a power washer safely and effectively.

Power source: Power washers come in both electric and gas models. Electric models are easy to start up and produce up to 2,400 psi; however, they’re tethered to a power cord. Gas power washers have more cleaning power than electric models, producing 3,500 psi or more and don’t require an external power source; however, they are heavier, harder to start, and are considerably more expensive. 

Wheels: Most power washers come with a set of wheels that allow for mobility. Given that power washers often need to be lugged around a house or driveway to complete a cleaning job, wheels are vital. Heavier gas pressure washers have larger heels with pneumatic tires that make it easier to maneuver the power washer, while lighter electric models feature wheels made from high-grade plastic with rubber tires. 

FAQs

Q: How from the surface should I hold the nozzle?

That depends on the material you’re cleaning. The further from the surface, the lower the amount of impact the water will have on it. If you’re cleaning a house, you should hold the nozzle about 3 to 5 feet from the surface of the house. If you’re cleaning harder materials, such as a driveway, you should set the nozzle about 6 inches from the surface. 

Q: What are the different colored nozzles?

Nozzles are color coded to make it easy to identify the angle of the stream they produce. Red nozzles deliver a concentrated stream while yellow nozzles produce a broader 15 degree fan. Green and white nozzles deliver broader streams of 25 and 40 degrees respectively. Black is a low pressure nozzle ideal for applying soap. While narrower nozzles will remove dirt more effectively wider nozzles cover more surface area and are less likely to damage the material. 

Q: What do I do with a clogged nozzle?

If you have a clogged nozzle, remove it from the wand immediately and clean it. A clogged nozzle can quickly cause pressure to build up in the pump, potentially damaging it.

Final Thoughts

When selecting a pressure washer it’s important to first think about what you plan to clean with it. If you’re planning to use it to pressure wash the entire house or clean a driveway, consider investing in a larger electric or gas-powered pressure washer that’s capable of handling heavy-duty jobs. However, if you need a pressure washer to wash the car or clean dirt off the patio furniture, then choose a less powerful model that is more affordable and won’t damage more delicate materials while still getting the job done. 

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