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Pressure washers have many uses around your home, from cleaning decking and siding to washing cars, removing mold, cleaning lawn equipment, and more. These versatile tools come in both electric and gas models, and you can get one as powerful as you need to tackle jobs around the house.
One of the best pressure washers on the market is the Simpson Cleaning MegaShot Gas Pressure Washer. This powerful machine houses a Honda GC190 engine for reliable power, and it delivers a whopping 3,200 PSI using 2.5 gallons per minute (also referred to as GPM), making it ideal for use on your house, driveway, patio furniture, car, painting surfaces, and more.
This pressure washer has a heavy-duty welded steel construction frame and 10-inch pneumatic tires for increased stability, and it weighs in at 55 pounds. The MegaShot is equipped with a 25-foot kink-resistant hose, a reliable OEM axial pump, and an ergonomic spray gun, and it includes five stainless steel quick-connect nozzles for a variety of applications. Reviewers say this gas-powered pressure washer is easy to setup and start, and many call it reliable, sturdy, and powerful.
The Ryobi 3000 PSI Honda Pressure Washer is another top-rated model that’s worth considering. With its Honda GCV160 gasoline engine, this pressure washer delivers 3,000 PSI of force that will make quick work of dirt, mold, and grime on driveways, fences, cars, and other surfaces. It uses 2.3 GPM, and its 35-foot non-marring hose provides a long reach for those tough-to-reach areas.
Unlike our top pick, the Ryobi pressure washer has an on-board detergent tank for easy soap application, and its 5-in-1 nozzle delivers maximum versatility. This pressure washer weighs 56 pounds, but it’s easy to cart around thanks to its 12-inch wheels and hand truck design. It even has a quick-release handle for easy storage!
Electric power washers are easier to maintain—no oil changes necessary—but the downside is you have to be in close proximity to an electrical outlet. One of the most highly rated electric models today is the Sun Joe Electric Pressure Washer, which delivers 2,030 PSI at 1.76 GPM. This affordable unit is equipped with dual detergent tanks, and it comes with five quick-connect spray tips to help you tackle all sorts of cleaning tasks.
The Sun Joe Pressure Washer features a 20-foot long, high-pressure hose, a 34-inch extension wand, and a 35-foot power cord, and it even comes with a garden hose adaptor. You can store two different types of detergent in the dual chambers, switching between them with the selection dial. This versatile power washer can be used for a variety of easy and tough tasks—reviewers have put it to work on siding, decking, cars, and more.
"We used it to clean our porch furniture, some white picket fencing, siding, and a grill we left outside all winter. The grill was caked with grime and grease, and the Sun Joe cut through it with ease. Because it isn’t overly powerful, the Sun Joe removed the superficial dirt from our porch furniture and siding without damaging it." — Kelly Hodgkins, Product Tester
Want to wash your car without scrubbing it by hand? A pressure washer like the Karcher K5 will get the job done in no time. This electric power washer delivers up to 2,000 PSI at 1.4 GPM, and it has an onboard detergent tank for easy soap application. The Karcher K5 has up to 40 times as much pressure as a garden hose, and it includes two wands—the Vario for everyday cleaning and the DirtBlaster for tough jobs.
The Karcher K5 has a water-cooled induction motor—a system that can help the motor live five times longer—and it comes with a 25-foot high-pressure hose and a 35-foot power cord. Many reviewers note that this 32-pound pressure washer is great for cleaning cars, trucks, and SUVs, but it can also be used on tougher jobs like cleaning driveways.
Will you just need to tackle small jobs with your pressure washer? In that case, a more affordable model like the Greenworks Pressure Washer will serve you just fine. This budget-friendly model dials back the power to 1,500 PSI and 1.2 GPM, making it ideal for smaller projects, such as cleaning lawn furniture and washing your car.
This lightweight electric pressure washer weighs just 17 pounds and includes a 35-foot power cord and a 20-foot high-pressure hose. It can be used vertically or horizontally for greater stability, and it comes with 25 and 40 degree quick-connect tips for different spraying levels. Reviewers say the Greenworks Pressure Washer is a great value, as it’s affordable, but still powerful enough to clean siding, driveways, and more.
Gas pressure washers are typically more powerful than electric models due to their engines, and if you’re looking for a top-rated gas model that packs a mean punch, the Simpson PowerShot Pro Gas Pressure Washer may be the best power washer for you. This heavy-duty pressure washer delivers 4,400 PSI to tackle even the toughest jobs at 4 GPM.
This unit gets its power from a 420cc engine, and it’s made from solid steel for durability. The washer’s kink- and abrasion-resistant hose is 50 feet long, and the 13-inch tires make it easy to steer across various terrains, like pavement or grass. The PowerShot Pressure Washer comes with five quick-connect nozzle tips that can be used for all sorts of applications, from wood restoration to graffiti removal and everything in between.
Pressure washers can easily weigh 50 pounds or more, and if you’re looking for a product that’s a bit lighter to carry around your yard, you’ll like the Ryobi 1,600 PSI Electric Pressure Washer. This smaller unit from Ryobi weighs just 16 pounds, and it’s compact enough to store in even the most crowded garage or tool shed.
This 1,600-PSI electric power washer uses 1.2 GPM, and it has a 35-foot power cord and a 20-foot hose. It includes three different nozzles, including a turbo nozzle for 50 percent faster cleaning, and reviewers say it’s surprisingly powerful for such a small unit—great for use on cars, walkways, lawn tools, and more.
For washing concrete and other surfaces that require serious power, you need a model like the DEWALT 4400 PSI Gas Pressure Washer. This tough piece of machinery is designed for professionals, and with the help of its premium Honda GX390 engine, it can blast away dirt, grime, mold, paint, and more with ease.
This DEWALT Pressure Washer delivers 4,400 PSI at 4 GPM, and it boasts a 50-foot steel-braided hose that’s durable, non-marring, and three times more abrasion-resistant than rubber hoses. It has a AAA industrial triplex plunger pump that drives higher pressure to the nozzle for improved cleaning performance, and it’s easy to direct the ergonomic spray gun and switch out the five quick-connect nozzle tips.
The best pressure washer on the market is the SIMPSON Cleaning MegaShot Gas Pressure Washer (view at Home Depot), which has a maximum PSI of 3,200 and can tackle driveways, outdoor furniture, cars, and more. However, if you’re looking for something that’s specifically meant for cars, go with the Karcher K5 Premium Electric Power Pressure Washer (view at Home Depot). It has a built-in detergent tank, making it easier for washing vehicles.
Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Pressure Washer
Pressure washers are an incredibly helpful tool to have around the house. These machines amplify the power from your garden hose, using water to blast away all sorts of tough stains on a variety of surfaces. You can use a pressure washer to clean your car, remove mildew from your deck, get oil off the driveway, wash your home’s siding, and much more—without ever having to break out a scrub brush.
How do pressure washers accomplish these tasks with such ease? When connected to a hose, the machine uses either gas or electricity to power a pump that amplifies the water pressure, shooting water out with 30 to 80 times more pressure than it would have just from the hose. This force can effectively loosen dirt, grime, paint, and more from a variety of surfaces, helping to streamline many of your household chores. Some models even have built-in soap tanks that mix with the spray for even more cleaning power.
However, shopping for a pressure washer can be a bit confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with the common terminology. You’ll need to find a pressure washer with an appropriate water volume and cleaning force, measured in GSM and PSI, respectively—to make this decision a little easier, pressure washers are often described as light-, medium-, or heavy-duty. Additionally, you’ll have to choose between gas- and electric-powered options, each of which have pros and cons.
The following guide will help you better understand the nuances of pressure washers, giving you the information you need to pick the best option for your home.
What to Look for in a Pressure Washer
There are several features you’ll want to consider as you shop for a pressure washer. These factors will determine not only how well the machine performs and what tasks it is best used for, but how expensive it will be, as well.
- Water Pressure: One of the most important factors to consider when buying a pressure washer is how much force it creates. After all, more pressure equates to more cleaning power.
This pressure is measured in PSI, or pounds per square inch. Generally speaking, lower PSI means less pressure. However, that doesn’t mean you should simply buy the highest PSI machine you can find—depending on how you intend to use your pressure washer, a lower PSI may be perfect for your needs.
Consumer pressure washers often start at around 1,300 to 1,800 PSI. This type of light-duty machine is great for small residential jobs like washing cars, cleaning shutters, washing down lawn furniture, and spot-cleaning mold or mildew. The next step up is around 2,000 to 3,000 PSI, and these machines are often considered heavy-duty, as they can be used to clean house siding, driveways, decks, and other tough stains.
Finally, machines with 3,000+ PSI are considered professional-grade and are used for industrial cleaning, paint stripping, graffiti removal, and more. These high-end pressure washers are the most expensive, and in general, most homeowners don’t need this much power.
- Gallons Per Minute: The other key factor that goes hand-in-hand with PSI is GPM, or gallons per minute. As you might have guessed, this measures the volume of water that goes through the pressure water. Models with a higher GPM will clean faster and more effectively since they’re using more water.
GPM is directly correlated to PSI—the higher the pressure, the more water the machine will use per minute. Light-duty machines may only use 1.5 GPM, while professional-grade models can reach up to 4 GPM.
When shopping for a pressure washer, you’ll want to look at PSI first, but keep an eye on GPM, as well. Depending on what you’re using for a water source, you might not be able to support a high-GPM machine.
- Power Source: You’ll also want to look at how different pressure washers are powered. There are both gas and electric models available, and each of these styles has its own pros and cons.
Electric-powered pressure washers are typically less expensive, lighter, and easier to maintain. Additionally, they run quieter and don’t create any harmful air pollution. However, electric models are generally less powerful than gas ones, and you have to use them near an electrical outlet. This type of pressure washer is often best for small jobs around the house, such as cleaning cars, patio furniture, and grills.
The other option is a gas-powered pressure washer. These machines are much more powerful, and because you’re not confined by a cord, they’re more portable and versatile. The downside is that gas machines require regular maintenance, and they’re louder and worse for the environment.
- Pump Type: The pressure washer pump is arguably the most important part of your tool, as it’s what creates the high water pressure. There are two types of pumps that are commonly used: axial pumps and triplex pumps.
Axial pumps are great for beginners, as they’re easy to use and require little maintenance. They’re best for small tasks around the house and ideal if you only plan to use your pressure washer once in a while.
Triplex pumps, on the other hand, are a bit more heavy-duty and will serve you well if you plan to use your pressure washer frequently. However, these pumps require more maintenance.
- Water Source: What type of water source are you planning to hook your pressure washer up to? Municipal water? Well water? Maybe you don’t have a water source at all!
This is an essential—yet sometimes overlooked—consideration when purchasing a pressure washer, as the GPM of the machine has to be equal to the pressure of your water supply. For instance, if you purchase a pressure washer that uses 2.5 GPM, your water supply needs to be able to consistently provide that much water. Otherwise, you will likely burn out the motor of your new tool.
In general, most pressure washers can be safely run on a city water supply, but the same can’t be said about well water. If you plan to hook your pressure washer up to well-supplied water, you’ll want to measure the GSM to ensure it can support the needs of the machine for the duration of the time you’re using it.
What if you have no water supply? You have a few options. First, you could invest in some type of water tank to run your machine off. Second, there are some small pressure washers that have built-in water reservoirs that you can fill up in the sink or shower. Keep in mind that both these options will give you a limited runtime.
- Noise: Some pressure washers are noisier than others. If you have neighbors close by, you may want to opt for a quieter version—electric pressure washers are typically much quieter than gas ones, as their motors run silently.
- Portability: Do you plan to use your pressure washer just around the house? Or will you be taking it to various job sites, as well?
There are several features that impact a pressure washer’s portability. First, the weight of the machine will dictate how easy it is to transport. Further, some models have wheels that make them easier to move from location to location.
- Cord Length: If you’re planning to purchase an electric pressure washer, make sure to look at how long its power cord is and whether it’s compatible with extension cords. Many pressure washers recommend that you don’t use extension cords, and this means you’ll be limited to the length of the existing power cord.
- Soap Tank: Depending on how you plan to use your pressure washer, it might be beneficial to find a model with a built-in soap tank. This will allow you to simultaneously spray water and soap onto surfaces for a more thorough wash job. However, if you plan to use your washer to remove paint and clean driveways, you may not need a soap tank.
What is the Best Type of Pressure Washer for Me?
There are several types of pressure washers to consider as you shop.
- Gas-Powered: As discussed above, gas-powered pressure washers are both powerful and portable. They’re great for tackling larger jobs, such as washing siding or cleaning sidewalks, but they’re also noisier and require more maintenance.
Gas pressure washers typically start at around $200 for low-end models, and they can range upward of $2,000 for commercial-grade options.
- Electric-Powered: Pressure washers that run on electricity are generally lighter and quieter. They’re great for small jobs around the house, as they typically have a lower PSI and GPM. However, they’re not as powerful as gas models, and when using them, you’re constrained by the length of the power cord.
Electric pressure washers are some of the least expensive options, starting below $100 and topping out at around $300.
- Light Duty: Pressure washers are often categorized as light-, medium-, or heavy-duty, and this describes the types of jobs they can tackle. Light-duty models typically have a PSI under 1,800, and they can be used for small jobs, such as washing cars and boats and cleaning patio furniture.
These models are typically electric, and they will cost between $50 and $200.
- Medium Duty: The next step up is medium-duty machines, which have between 2,000 and 2,800 PSI. These pressure washers are helpful if you want to clean your home’s siding, remove dirt from a fence, or clean mold off your deck. These middle-of-the-line options are arguably the most popular with homeowners thanks to their versatility, power, and relatively affordable prices.
Most medium-duty pressure washers are gas-powered, but there are some electric models, as well. You can pay anywhere from $200 to $500 for this type of machine.
- Heavy Duty: Heavy-duty pressure washers have more than 2,800 PSI, and they’re used to tackle the biggest, toughest jobs, such as prepping houses for painting, cleaning driveways, and washing second-story exteriors.
These are the most expensive models, costing anywhere from $500 to several thousand.
- Multi-Duty: Most pressure washers operate at one PSI and that’s it. However, if you’re willing to spend more, you can get a multi-duty or all-in-one pressure washer, which allow you to adjust the pressure flow to suit various tasks.
These units start at around $400 and are generally gas-powered.
- Commercial: You may come across some pressure washers with 3,500+ PSI. These units are designed for commercial or professional use. Some applications include paint stripping, graffiti removal, and industrial cleaning.
These units will cost $500 or more, and they’re generally unnecessary for homeowners.
- Hot Water: The majority of pressure washers use cold water, but you can actually clean more efficiently with hot water. As such, there are certain models that heat up the water before spraying it.
The downside is that hot water pressure washers are very expensive, costing $2,000 or more. As such, they’re typically only used for farm and industrial purposes.
As you shop for a pressure washer, you’ll likely come across several well-known brands.
- Karcher: Karcher pressure washers are some of the most popular thanks to their innovative features. This company offers both electric and gas models, and its electric models are designed to be more eco-friendly. One unique feature of some Karcher models is their four-wheel “Follow Along” design.
- DeWalt: This well-known tool brand offers a few pressure washer models, the majority of which are gas powered. DeWalt pressure washers are known for their power and performance, but many of these models are extremely high-end, costing $1,000 or more.
- Simpson: Simpson is a manufacturer of pressure washers, and while some of their machines are sold under the brand names DeWalt and Briggs & Stratton, the company also sells its own line of the tools. Simpson pressure washers are recognized as a great value because they are well-made machines without the price markup that comes with a well-known brand name.
- Generac: Generac offers several high-end, gas-powered pressure washers, starting at around $400. This company designs and manufacturers many of its engines, and its models have some of the highest average customer ratings.
- Ryobi: Ryobi offers both electric and gas-powered pressure washers, and its electric models are a bit more expensive than other brands thanks to high-quality fittings and hoses that are designed to make them perform better and last longer.
- Craftsman: Another household tool name, Craftsman makes both electric and gas-powered pressure washers. However, its gas models are known to perform better and be more reliable than its electric ones.
- Sun Joe: Sun Joe may be a more affordable pressure washer brand, but don’t count it out just yet. This brand sells several electric-powered models that are highly-rated by homeowners who use them for basic tasks around the house.
There are several accessories you can purchase for your new pressure washer to upgrade your machine. For instance, you can find new fittings and new hoses to replace cheap pieces on inexpensive models—this will help to ensure your pressure washer performs its best and lasts longer.
Perhaps some of the most popular pressure washer accessories are new nozzles or spray tips. There are specially designed nozzles that change the size and intensity of the spray, allowing you to tackle more precise jobs or cover more area at once. As an added bonus, these additional nozzles or spray tips are generally quite affordable.
Another popular accessory is the surface cleaner. This attachment features a round deck on wheels, typically equipped with rotating spray nozzles, that lets you clean a variety of floor surfaces quickly and more efficiently. Additionally, there are a variety of other pressure washer attachments, such as brushes and surface cleaners that can help you tackle specific jobs.