Can be used practically straight out of the box. Much less expensive than equally powerful washers. Quality brass pump that won't rust out. Owners have used it for all sorts of consumer purposes without problems.
Some owners had pump issues.
Rated highly for general quality, ease of use, and the ability to tackle anything from lightly soiled vinyl siding to mildewed concrete.
Some plastic fittings are prone to leaks. This is easy to fix by swapping out the existing parts for brass versions.
A budget model with convenient features including a 20-foot hose, high-pressure spray gun, and 1-year bumper-to-bumper warranty. Lightweight and easy to assemble.
Occasionally produces intermittent water pressure. A few leaks have been reported. Not built to perform major tasks.
Sports a 1/2-gallon detergent compartment and 30-foot pressure hose. Gas powered 196cc OHV motor makes it powerful enough to tackle most jobs.
It's expensive and heavy. Some consumers report missing pieces upon arrival.
When you need a thorough outdoor cleaning, such as your driveway or siding, nothing executes the task as effectively and efficiently as a pressure washer. A pressure washer can remove mud, algae, gum, loose paint, and more. But there are a number of models available and each is different. For instance, some might be great for your patio but won't reach the second floor. How do you decide which is best for you?
If you need power, go for a gas-powered pressure washer. Electric models are lighter but don't pack the same wallop. Most homeowners can get by with 2,000 to 3,200 psi, but needs vary so choose what's right for you. It is also important to consider the weight – if you can't easily move the unit about, cleaning will be difficult.
For usage tips and more in-depth information about different features you might want to have, keep reading. If you're ready to buy now, consider one of the pressure washers that we've chosen as our favorites.
First, let's examine the two main types of pressure washer, along with their pros and cons.
As the name implies, electric pressure washers are powered by electricity, using a cord plugged into a power outlet.
Electric pressure washers tend to be more lightweight and easier to carry around than gas versions.
Since electric pressure washers don't need to be filled with fuel, you avoid the mess of refuelling and the hassle of storing cans of gas.
The lower pressure of electric models means they're well-suited to more delicate jobs, such as washing cars and outdoor furniture.
Electric pressure washers are generally more affordable than gas pressure washers.
With lower pressure, electric models aren't as good at tackling tougher jobs.
You're limited in where you can take an electric pressure washer, as you need to be in reach of a power outlet.
Gas pressure washers have a motor powered by gasoline, which means you need to manually refuel them when it runs out.
Gas pressure washers tend to be more powerful.
The highest-power models can be used for tasks that electric pressure washers couldn't easily tackle, such as stripping paint.
You're not constrained by a power cord, so you can take a gas pressure washer practically anywhere.
Gas pressure washers tend to be heavier than their electric counterparts.
You have to refuel them when they run out of gas, which can be messy.
As a rule, gas pressure washers cost more than electrically powered versions.
Pounds per square inch (psi) is a unit used to measure how powerful a pressure washer is. As a rule, the higher the psi, the more powerful the pressure washer is, though other factors are at play (more on that later).
Electric pressure washers tend to have a psi between 1,000 and 2,000 – suitable for washing cars, outdoor grills, plastic play sets, garden furniture, driveways, and patios.
Residential-grade gas pressure washers tend to offer between 2,000 and 3,200 psi, suitable for washing boats, cars (on lower pressure nozzle settings), decks, patios, house siding, and fencing.
Commercial grade gas pressure washers tend to have a psi between 3,200 and 4,500, or sometimes higher. These are suitable for paint stripping, surface preparation, construction site or heavy-duty cleaning, and graffiti removal.
While psi is a good indicator of how powerful a pressure washer is, it's also worth looking at the cleaning units (CU). This rating takes into account the volume of water a unit puts out, as well as the pressure. Suppose you had two pressure washers of equal psi. If one pumps out more water per minute than the other, it will clean more quickly.
A basic consumer model might have a CU rating of 2,000 to 8,000, whereas a more powerful gas-powered model may have a CU rating between 8,000 and 16,000.
Commercial models can have CU ratings up to 30,000 – but that's way too much pressure washer for your average user.
Think about the weight of your chosen pressure washer. Will you easily be able to move it around your house or property?
Electric pressure washers are relatively light, weighing roughly 20 to 45 pounds. Gas pressure washers, on the other hand, are heavier – an average model weighs anywhere between 55 and 90 pounds.
All pressure washers are capable of adjusting their spray. A smaller, more concentrated spray has higher pressure and is good for extremely tough jobs, while a wider-angled spray has lower pressure and is best for lighter or more delicate jobs.
The method of setting the spray varies. Some pressure washers have an adjustable nozzle that you turn to get different dispersion angles. Other models have interchangeable nozzles that you switch out depending on the desired angle of spray.
How important is it that your pressure washer is easy to move around?
Lighter electric models usually strap to your back like a rucksack, whereas heavier gas models tend to have wheels so you can drag or push them along.
If you'll use your pressure washer over rough terrain, you might prefer to have a model you can carry, or one with large, air-filled tires that will maneuver better over bumps.
It's best to use the widest angled nozzle that will adequately achieve the task in hand. Use too narrow a spray and you might cut into the surface you're trying to clean.
If you have a gas pressure washer, don't forget the engine will need occasional servicing.
Never use a pressure washer while on a ladder. The recoil can cause you to lose balance and fall.
When cleaning a vertical surface, such as a wall, get best results by cleaning from the bottom upward, then rinsing from the top downward.
You can find pressure washers to suit a range of budgets, and the average home user needn't spend a fortune to get a decent model.
Electric pressure washers start around $75 and can cost up to $250. You can find a model powerful enough for the average home user for around $150.
Gas pressure washers start at $200 for basic home models, and can cost more than $2,000 for commercial models. Even for heavy-duty home use, you shouldn't need to pay more than $500, but you'll find some great options closer to the $300 mark.
Q. Are pressure washers safe to use?
A. Pressure washers are safe to use as long as you exercise common sense and caution, but the extreme pressure of the water could cause an injury, so never point they spray toward someone. It's also wise to wear safety glasses and long pants while using your pressure washer.
Q. Can you use a pressure washer to wash a car?
A. You can, but you need to be cautious not to use too high a psi. Our expert, Luke, says, "Are you thinking about using your pressure washer to clean your car? An electric pressure washer’s psi could be more suitable for the task. Use caution when applying pressure washer water to your car’s delicate paint."
Q. Do more powerful pressure washers give better results?
A. The most powerful pressure washers – with the highest psi and CU ratings don't necessarily give better results, but they do give faster results. An 8,000 psi pressure washer can usually achieve the same results as a 16,000 psi pressure washer, but it will take roughly twice as long to do so.
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