As seen in:
Simpson
MSH3125-S MegaShot
Campbell
Hausfeld PW182501AV
Sun
Joe SPX3000
Karcher
K 5.540 X-Series
Generac
6596
Check Price
Check Price
Check Price
Check Price
Check Price
Good

Ranks at the top in every important aspect that we considered. Packed with features that are actually useful in real-world situations.

A light-weight, budget model - but that's all 99% of pressure washer owners will ever need.

Rated highly for general quality, ease of use, and for its ability to tackle anything from lightly-soiled vinyl siding to mildewed concrete.

High construction quality. Very ergonomic. Has an integral hose reel which owners find to be very convenient.

Fitted with large, never-flat tires so you can take it anywhere. Has an easy-starting 196cc motor, designed for consistent high performance.

Bad

On the more expensive side of the spectrum, but owners find it to be well worth the price.

Lacks some of the bells and whistles of more expensive models, but its features are sufficient for most household situations

Some of the plastic fittings on the unit are prone to leaks; this is easy to fix by swapping out the existing parts for brass versions.

At 31 pounds, it might require a little more effort to move around.

The gas engine can be somewhat noisy.

Bottom Line

By far the best pressure washer on the market. Can be used for anything from washing your patio to scrubbing old engine oil off the garage floor.

A popular lightweight model, but if you want to maximize value, we recommend the Sun Joe.

The best value for your money. Unless you are a power user, this is the right machine for you.

A quality machine made by a premium brand that has put extra thought into the design and functionality of every inch of this pressure washer.

If you spend the weekends off-roading or any other pursuit that demands tough cleaning solutions, this is your best bet.

How we decide
BestReviews is committed to providing comprehensive and trusted reviews for products that matter to consumers. We do the research to help you save time and money.
0
Products received from manufacturers
63
Models Considered
37
Hours Spent
3
Experts Interviewed
184
Consumers Consulted

Best Pressure Washers

You can buy a perfectly good budget pressure washer for around a hundred dollars. On the other hand, professional machinery can cost well in excess of a thousand dollars.

For our ratings we've chosen pressure washers that will suit the vast majority of home owners. They are designed to clean your car, your deck, brickwork, sidings, and more. There are electric and gas-powered machines with a variety of useful features. To make it to our top five, each has had to demonstrate high overall quality and versatility. We have chosen:

Products we Considered

Simpson
MSH3125-S MegaShot
Campbell
Hausfeld PW182501AV
Sun
Joe SPX3000
Karcher
K 5.540 X-Series
Generac
6596

Considerations

Cleaning Power

The ability of a pressure washer to clean effectively comes largely down to the volume of liquid it is capable of delivering (measured in GPM - gallons per minute), and the output pressure generated (measured in PSI - pounds per square inch). Insufficient volume gives you a spray that's too fine. Inadequate pressure leaves you with little more than an expensive garden hose.

User Comfort

It's not just about how easy it is to control the cleaning action; each pressure washer is also rated for weight, portability, and other factors that impact how convenient it is to use.

Attachments & Features

Most top pressure washers have additional attachments. Some include them in the price, some offer them as optional extras. We also look at safety features and other functions that make the machine easier to live with and/or better at its job.

Price

We've managed to put together a broad choice of high-quality pressure washers while still keeping a watchful eye on your budget. While more powerful gas-powered models do require a larger investment, there isn't as big a difference between some machines as you might expect.

Considerations

Cleaning Power

Campbell Hausfeld PW182501AV

Our first choice, the Campbell Hausfeld PW182501AV Electric Pressure Washer, is at the lower end of the scale, with output figures of 1900 psi and 1.65 GPM. However, this should by no means be considered an under-powered tool. Some experts will argue that electrical motors can't produce the raw power of gas ones. While this is true, in most household situations the Campbell Hausfeld copes well.

Sun Joe SPX3000

Our second finalist, the Sun Joe SPX3000 Electric Pressure Washer, has more impressive figures of 2030 psi and 1.76 GPM. Like the former, this would still be classified as a light-duty machine but, once again, that's not a criticism. Though there are more powerful models in our shortlist, the Sun Joe still has the capacity to deal with the cleaning tasks most owners will ask of it around the home and garden.

Karcher K 5.540 X-Series

No review of pressure washers would be complete without a Karcher - one of the leading names in the industry world-wide. In particular, we have chosen the Karcher K 5.540. At 2000 psi and 1.4 GPM, it has similar raw figures as the Campbell Hausfeld, although Karcher claim that up to 50% extra pressure can be gained depending on the accessory used.

Generac 6596

Our first gas-powered model is the Generac 6596 Residential Pressure Washer. Now the figures really start to get impressive. A pressure rating of 2800 psi, combined with a flow rate of 2.5 GPM, puts this multi-purpose machine very close to the output levels expected of contractor-standard equipment.

Simpson MSH3125-S MegaShot

Finally we have the Simpson MSH3125-S MegaShot Gas Pressure Washer. Like the Generac, it moves liquid at 2.5 GPM, but pressure is higher at 3100 psi. What's more, Simpson's PowerBoost technology offers even greater at-the-nozzle pressures. No accurate figures are available, but anything over 3000 psi is considered heavy duty - which tells you all you need to know.

The Campbell Hausfeld PW182501AV should by no means be considered an under-powered tool.
Considerations

User Comfort

Although hand carry pressure washers are available, they are usually the least powerful models, which is one reason why none made it to our top five. The other reason is that at 15 pounds or more in weight, they aren't all that much lighter than something like the Campbell Hausfeld PW182501AV - a much more powerful machine yet weighing just 23.6 lbs. In use, you mostly want to concentrate on the cleaning wand anyway, so you would likely put a hand carry unit on the floor, negating any advantage. Owners of this machine cite the fact that the Campbell Hausfeld can be used lying down, as well as upright, as a definite plus, allaying any concerns about knocking the light-weight unit over.

Sun Joe SPX3000

At 31 pounds, the wheeled Sun Joe SPX3000 is no heavyweight either. Cable length, often a drawback on electrical machines, is a very useful 35 feet. This is a very popular all-rounder and a lot of thought has gone into both the location of dials and buttons and their size, making it possible for you to operate most functions while wearing gloves.

The Karcher, at 31 pounds, might require a little more effort to move around, but the quality of construction materials is apparent - as are the ergonomics. It's a beautifully designed pressure washer and the only one tested that has an integral hose reel - something that is so convenient you wonder why all machines don't have one.

Not surprisingly, adding a gas engine makes a considerable difference to bulk - and the Generac 6596 is a weighty 61.5 pounds. While it's obviously not going to be nimble, that's the trade-off you get for the extra power. Having said that, this is no cumbersome brute. We found it to be relatively well balanced, and the wand has an excellent feel and it's fitted with large, never-flat tires so you can take it anywhere.

Simpson MSH3125-S MegaShot

The Simpson MSH3125-S MegaShot is simply a big, impressive machine - all 65 pounds of it. Big controls, big wheels, big sturdy welded frame, big powerful Honda motor, etc. This robustly constructed machine is no featherweight, so moving it around isn't a finger-tip operation, but it has reasonable balance and adequate maneuverability.

The Simpson MSH3125-S MegaShot is simply a big, impressive machine - all 65 pounds of it.
Luke
Expert Consultant
Luke
Landscaping Professional

Luke owned and operated his own lawn and landscaping business for over a decade. Founding the business and growing it prior to an acquisition, Luke led all procurement decisions, from the purchase of blowers and lawn mowers to weed whackers and tillers. Luke uses all of these machines regularly.

Considerations

Attachments & Features

Campbell Hausfeld PW182501AV

Given what it costs, the Campbell Hausfeld PW182501AV is a reasonably well equipped machine, with 20 feet of high-pressure hose on a useful swivel adaptor. It's a shame it doesn't have a built-in hose reel, but neither do machines costing four times as much. For safety (and to extend pump life) it only runs when the trigger is actually depressed. It also has a detergent tank for when you want more than just water. At the business end, a spray gun and two different cleaning lances are provided.

Sun Joe SPX3000

The Sun Joe SPX3000 has a similar auto-stop system to the Campbell Hausfeld. It also has 20 feet of high-pressure hose, this time with a spray wand that can be extended to 34 inches. That's useful for extra reach, because you should never spray from a ladder. There are five nozzles, plus the notable benefit of not one but two detergent tanks. We did find one common criticism with this machine - some of the plastic fittings on the unit are prone to leaks. However, this is relatively easy (and not very costly) to fix by swapping out the existing parts for brass versions.

Karcher K 5.540 X-Series

We've already mentioned the Karcher's integral reel in the previous section, but we can’t stress enough how useful it is. Other notable features are the 25 feet of high-pressure hose, the expected trigger safety lock, a detergent tank, a spray gun, and two different wands - the "Dirtblaster" delivering a pressure boost of up to 50%. The motor should also be mentioned. It’s a more durable, quieter, induction model than the brush motor often found in cheaper machines.

Generac 6596

The Generac 6596 has one major advantage over any electrical machine: no power cord! It has an easy-starting 196cc motor, designed for consistent high performance. There's an axial cam pump, chosen because it's less prone to overheating under continual use. Hose connectors are at a convenient height so that you don't have to kneel down to make connections, and 25 feet of a high-pressure hose is provided. Though only one wand is offered, it does have four quick-detach nozzles. A wide choice of attachments are also available to extend reach or for specific functions like large-area surface cleaning.

Simpson MSH3125-S MegaShot

If the Simpson MSH3125-S MegaShot has one outstanding feature, it's the 190cc Honda motor. Honda have, quite deservedly, an extraordinary reputation for the quality of engines they supply to manufacturers of home and garden equipment. To be fair to Simpson, the rest of the machine is of a similarly high standard. The high-pressure hose is kink and scuff-resistant for longer life. The wand is steel, with a choice of five quick-detach nozzles. Detergent supply is downstream of the pump, meaning a wider choice of fluids is available (if it's upstream, your choice is restricted because some detergents can damage pump mechanisms). The gun has the usual safety lock and the pump is, once again, the axial cam type. Again, numerous attachments are available, which we find to be a huge advantage if you want to maximize the utility of your machine.

If the Simpson MSH3125-S MegaShot has one outstanding feature, it's the 190cc Honda motor.
Considerations

Price

Campbell Hausfeld PW182501AV

List price for the Campbell Hausfeld PW182501AV is $179 - which is a bargain for a good quality, light-duty electric pressure washer. Spend a few dollars more on replacement brass fittings, and the Campbell Hausfeld is a package that will satisfy the needs of most homeowners.

Sun Joe SPX3000

The popular Sun Joe SPX3000 comes in at $146, and few owners have anything but good things to say about it. They rate it highly for general quality, ease of use, and foremost its ability to tackle anything from lightly-soiled vinyl siding to mildewed concrete. The fittings do come in for the occasional negative comment but, as with the Campbell Hausfeld, this is easily remedied.

Karcher K 5.540 X-Series

Karcher is a premium brand, so it's no surprise that the Karcher is a more expensive machine. Having said that, deals are available and a current offer of $293 is a considerable saving over the list price. We should note that you're not just buying reputation if you choose this machine. You're also buying superior build quality and the extra thought that has gone into the design and functionality of every inch of this pressure washer.

Generac 6596

You would expect a gas-engined machine to cost extra, so it might surprise you how little difference there is between the Karcher and the Generac 6596. Here's a near-professional standard machine, from one of the foremost manufacturers, for just $299. If you spend the weekends off-roading your truck, or dirt-biking, or any other pursuit that demands tough cleaning solutions and you don't mind a machine that's a bit noisier, the Generac is your best bet.

Simpson MSH3125-S MegaShot

The Simpson MSH3125-S MegaShot is a contractor-standard machine at home-owner type money. OK, $394 may not be cheap, but this is a serious piece of equipment by any standards. The Honda engine is a delight. The construction is robust, the features and functions are designed to strip all kinds of dirt and grime from all kinds of surfaces - and to go on doing it over and over again.

The Simpson MSH3125-S MegaShot is a contractor-standard machine at home-owner type money.

Best of the Best

So it's decision time. We've analyzed each of our top five pressure washers, rated them over all the important criteria, and now we have to pick the best. On this occasion, it's not as difficult as with some other categories of home and garden machinery. With pressure washers it seems, you get what you pay for. Bigger is better.

The winner is the Simpson MSH3125-S MegaShot. The Simpson is no lightweight, but it's relatively easy to move around, and the extra bulk is a small price to pay for the power. And it's only large by comparison. It's not some huge, unwieldy monster - it's actually surprisingly well balanced and ergonomic. It's packed with features that are actually useful in real-world situations and, above all, it has tremendous cleaning capabilities. You can use it for anything from giving your patio furniture a quick once-over to scrubbing old engine oil off your garage floor. All in all, it ranks at the top in every important aspect that we considered, and it is the clear winner as the best pressure washer on the market.
Best of the Best
Check Price
You can use it for anything from giving your patio furniture a quick once-over to scrubbing old engine oil off your garage floor.

Best Bang for your Buck

When it comes to deciding the best value pressure washer on the market, things aren't quite so easy. The Simpson MegaShot wins the power stakes by no contest, but is it worth almost four times what you would expect to pay for the Campbell Hausfeld PW1825? For some users, clearly not.

The majority of pressure washer owners don't spend the weekend cleaning up after motor sport events, renovating steam trains, or scouring decades of mildew, grime and graffiti off old buildings. They wash the car, spruce up the decking, or give the lawnmower a quick cleaning. They want the simplicity and speed of a plug-and-go electric pressure washer.

The Karcher is tempting. It's a great machine, but it's the same price as the more powerful Generac, and this category is all about "bang for buck".

So our choice for the best value pressure washer is the Sun Joe SPX3000. It's one of the lightest machines on our shortlist, and it is very easy to move around. It's not overwhelmed with features, but it does what you need it to. It has adequate cleaning power for all the "regular" jobs listed above, and that's all the majority of people will ever do. At its list price, it would have been a close call. At its current offer price, it’s a no-brainer. To be safe, you can change those troublesome plastic hose fittings, and you'll still be saving $60 dollars or more. It's not perfect. It's a light-weight, budget model - but that's all 99% of pressure washer owners will ever need, and unless you are that power user in the 1%, this is the right machine for you.
Best Bang for your Buck
Check Price
At its list price, it would have been a close call. At its current offer price, it’s a no-brainer.
The team that worked on this review
  • Bob
    Bob
    Writer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Editor
  • Ann
    Ann
    Operations
  • Jimi
    Jimi
    Product Analyst
  • Kriti
    Kriti
    Data Scientist