If you’re in need of a good tool for residential cleaning, pressure washers are something you can’t overlook. The power, versatility and ability to effectively get the job done are something that everyone wanting a clean yard, home or car should consider.
You don’t have to be in an industrial setting to use a power washer either nowadays, with relatively inexpensive residential focused washers existing on the market.
Whether you’re in the market searching for the best electric power washer to simply clean up your backyard a bit, or a gas operated machine for a larger scale cleaning, we’ve got you covered with the top power washers on the market today.
Types of Power Washers
The power washers on the market today exist mainly in two forms: Electric and gas operated. Each come with their own respective pros and cons and should be chosen based on your specific needs.
Simplicity and ease of use at its finest. Electric power washers are great for most jobs done around the house. These cost the least and are relatively light. Because they are electric operated, they can be stored indoors unlike gas washers.
Electric washers are easy to store, relatively quiet, maintenance free and have zero emissions. It is NOT recommended to use extension cords with electric pressure washers, so consider the fact that you must be relatively close to a dedicated power outlet when using one.
Delivering quite a bit less power than gas pressure washers means jobs will take a little longer, but the best electric power washers can still accomplish jobs well within reason.
These have great power for larger sized residential jobs. They can be capable of pumping out pressure much higher than that of electric power washers. So if you’re in need of getting jobs done fast or are working on the clock, gas is the preferable way to go.
Gas pressure washers are also quite a bit more expensive than electric ones, and of course, come with the extra maintenance cost of fuel usage. You won’t be finding them as portable as electric ones either.
They are also quite a bit louder than their electric brothers, so consider that before you decide to use one on an early Sunday morning in a residential neighborhood. You also don’t want to store one of these inside your house, and these should never be used in an enclosed indoor location because of their carbon monoxide production.
For those who are concerned about going green, there are new battery operated power washers. These seem like a good concept. They could also be a valuable product, in a few years. For now, their inefficiency and power aren't worth the money.
First, these power washers need to be charged on a regular basis to work. In addition, many people have found that the battery life doesn’t live up to the jobs that need to be accomplished. Models will often shut off in the middle of an operation or scale back power to preserve battery life.
On top of this, they can’t touch the power offered from an electric or gas-powered power washer. That’s due to the inefficiency of the battery power.
Main Parts of Pressure Washers
Pressure washers are simple machines. Water comes in, gets pressurized, and is pumped out the nozzle. There are a few parts that you should be aware of, though, in case something goes wrong, you will need to know what to look for when doing repairs or ordering new parts.
The water inlet does just what it sounds like. You attach your water hose to the inlet, and the supply of water is pumped into the machine. Almost every pressure washer will have a water inlet with a garden hose attachment for your convenience.
The electric motor is what powers the entire unit. The motor receives its power from the electrical supply and, in turn, supplies power to the pump, inlet, and nozzle.
The water pump is where the magic happens. Water supplied from the water inlet is brought in by the pump into the housing area. Here it is pressurized and pumped out to the high-pressure hose where you can release the water with the nozzle handle or trigger.
The high-pressure hose is a specialty item that can withstand high internal pressures without rupturing. The higher-rated hoses can maintain internal pressures up to 3,000 PSI or more.
Types of Pumps in Power Washers
Each electric pressure washer will have various pumps that it uses to draw water in and push pressurized water out.
Axial Cam Pump
Axial cam pumps connect to the engine, and the crankshaft spins at the same rate of speed as the engine does. These pumps are often found in home-use pressure washers. They are smaller, easier to build, and contain fewer parts than the other types.
Axial pumps are also the weakest and will generally not last very long before needing to be serviced or replaced.
Triplex Plunger Pump
Triplex plunger pumps are a heavy-duty pump that uses separate chambers with three plungers to pressurize the water. The heavy-duty components make them ideal for industrial and commercial pressure washers as they last much longer and can hold up to daily use.
Wobble pumps, like axial pumps, rely on the crankshaft of the motor to operate. These are the weakest pumps of the bunch because, in addition to the water, they also have to push against springs on the wobble plate. When a wobble pump goes out (average about 3 years), you must replace it. The cost of repairing a wobble pump will be more than you paid for the entire pressure washer.
Wobble pumps are designed for low-use, lightweight work and can sustain pressures below 2500 PSI.
Best Brands On The Market
After deciding on whether you need an electric or gas operated power washer, you’ll want to take a look at some of the top most reliable brands. Here we’ve gathered a list of 3 of the top brands you’ll typically encounter in your search.
Snow Joe has an expansive line of outdoor products, while their power washers and other “summer” products are amusingly dubbed under the “Sun Joe” sub-brand.
Snow Joe is prized on its green image and all of its products are emissions free.
Snow Joe’s products and power washers have all earned the Energy Star for efficiency qualities and will definitely last you many power washing jobs to come.
Generac is mostly known for its powerful generators, so you know it’s pressure washers are going to be workhorses.
Generac has brought the industrial power washer into the hands of residential homeowners.
These power washers can be suitable for almost any application, from the tough industrial to residential environments.
This is a German-owned company that was found in 1935 and now operates worldwide. This family-run operation is best known for high-pressure cleaners, but they sell a variety of other materials as well.
They carry floor care equipment, wash water treatment products, military decontamination equipment as well as window vacuum cleaners. They are known for their signature yellow color of products. They also own several American brands such as Landa, Hotsy, and Shark pressure washers.
Karcher employs more than 10,000 people worldwide and is a trusted source in power equipment manufacturing.
AR Blue Clean is a brand of electric pressure washers that have 50-years of high-pressure pump experience. They have a strong focus on customer service as well as innovation.
The newer line of power-jet cleaners offers a sustained commitment to continued product research regarding washer design. They have a full range of products to meet all your cleaning needs.
AR Blue Clean guarantees that each model is easy to handle, delivers high performance, take safety measures to protect the user and offer versatility with a wide range of available accessories.
Simpson Cleaning is a brand well liked for offering premium power washers and one of it’s slogan being “tough job, easy clean” is definitely true.
Offering both residential and industrial washers you’re sure to find one under this brand suitable for any job you need it for.
With a large focus on building tough equipment, Simpson pressure washers are built to last.
Top 5 Electric Power Washers Reviewed
Reliability, price, user friendliness and performance are all the general markers consumers would look out for when deciding on an electric power washer that’s right for them.
What follows is an organized list of electric pressure washer reviews of some of the top rated models currently on the market.
1. Sun Joe SPX3000 Pressure Joe Electric Pressure Washer
- POWERFUL: 14. 5-Amp/1800-watt motor generates...
- VERSATILE: Tackle a variety of cleaning...
- TSS (Total Stop System): Automatically shuts...
- PRESSURE: Max rating per CSA test standards....
By Looking at the Sun Joe SPX3000 by Snow Joe, you’d almost forget that it’s a power washer. You won’t be ashamed to have this one sitting in your house. It’s attractive and very sleek design is not the only thing that made this one the best electric power washer on our list.
The SPX3000 can easily clean and take care of most of your household dirty jobs with its 1800 watt motor that can generate up to 2030 PSI and make use of 5 different spray tips for the right tasks.
It also comes with removable, dual detergent tanks to store different types of detergent to handle multiple tasks at once and a total stop system to conserve energy when the trigger is not engaged. The SPX3000 is CSA approved and has a full 2-year warranty.
2. Ivation Electric Pressure Washer
- Incredible Cleaning Power Generated by the...
- 5 Interchangeable High and Low Pressure...
- Easy-to-Use System Requires Just 30-Second...
- Power Washer Features Safety Automatic Total...
This is another fantastic option for regular residential cleaning. Most electric pressure washers today, including the Ivation, tend to look like sleek and beautifully designed vacuum cleaners that will fit in perfectly with your house.
Don’t be fooled by their looks though, as this can still pump out water at 2200 PSI generated by its 1800-watt motor.
Tackle any residential job with ease with the Ivation’s 5 interchangeable high and low-pressure nozzles with a bonus turbo wand included for harder to reach places. And the convenient built in soap dispenser makes the perfect for cleaning even your car.
This pressure washer comes with a 1-year warranty. Compact, lightweight and attractiveness are what allows the Ivation electric pressure washer to make this list.
3. AR Blue Clean AR390SS
- OUTDOOR CLEANING POWER: Easy and quick for...
- HIGHLY RATED: Top rated Consumer Report 2016...
- ATTACHMENTS INCLUDED: Professional-style...
- ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY: Conserves water by...
Looking like a device out of a sci fi movie, the AR Blue Clean is on the top price end of electric power washers on this list for a reason. It fulfills the top rated consumer report 2016 electric power washer tests and will not disappoint in any regard.
This product will effortlessly power away at dirt and grime on your deck, driveway, car, and patio with ease using its 2000 PSI hose. Its 30 foot long high pressure hose along with its 35 foot long cord will ensure you’ll definitely be capable of reaching most places around your home.
With this washer you’ll get a pressure washer wand, 30-foot high-pressure hose, 4 different pressure washer nozzles and a 48 oz. detergent tank.
4. Sun Joe SPX3001
- POWERFUL MOTOR: Powerful 14. 5-amp/1800-Watt...
- QUICK-CONNECT SPRAY TIPS: 5 Quick-Connect...
- ONBOARD REEL: Onboard reel keeps 20 ft. (6m)...
- TSS (Total Stop System): Automatically shuts...
This top end product on Sun Joe’s electric pressure washer line brings the appealing design of the SPX3000 with the added bonus of an onboard reel for its 20 foot hose.
Snow Joe definitely specially designs its power washers to not be something you’ll just keep tucked away and hidden. With its attractive design, this really doesn’t look like your typical backyard equipment. Like the SPX3000, this model has an 1800-watt motor to power its 2030-PSI to deliver some of the best cleaning you can get with a pressure washer of this size and price.
5. GreenWorks GPW1501
- Maximum Inlet Water...
- 1500 PSI at 1.2 GPM will blast through grime...
- Can be used vertically or horizontally for...
- Includes a 25° and 40° quick connect tip...
This little guy is definitely the most portable power washer on the entire list. Don’t be fooled by its super compact size though, as it still boasts a 1500-PSI punch capable of getting rid of most of the dirt and grime problems around your house.
This is probably one of the top electric pressure washers you can get for under $100 currently. It will perform well in every aspect and its 25° and 40° quick connect tips will handle a variety of applications that you put it through. This product includes a 20-foot long hose, soap applicator and 1-year warranty.
Top 5 Gas Power Washers reviewed
1. SIMPSON Cleaning MSH3125-S
- HONDA GC190 premium residential engine
- Maintenance-free OEM Technologies axial cam...
- Note : Keep Maximum Fuel level 1/2 Inch(12.7...
- Welded steel construction frame.Pump/Hose...
This Simpson model is a true beast of a residential pressure washer. Coming in more expensive than most of the others listed, however, it’s easy to see why it’s at the top of our list of gas power washers. Powered by a Honda engine and boasting a significant 3100-PSI output, it’s safe to say it’ll take on any residential job you put it through.
Everything about this model is heavy duty and it's seriously no toy. It’s power and efficiency alone can easily make it worth the extra cost. You won’t be getting plastic tires with this one, but 10-inch pneumatic tires that’ll last and make it easy for you to move around.
You’ll also get a 25-foot long strong and flexible hose, spray wand with 5 connect tips, and spray gun. The Simpson washer comes with a 1-year warranty while it’s Honda engine is supported by a 2-year warranty.
2. Generac 6922 Gas Powered Residential Power Washer
- Designed with ergonomics in mind, the cushion...
- Integrated ½-inch gallon detergent tank...
- Featuring a Generac OHV horizontal-shaft...
- Designed with 10” never-flat wheels,...
Coming in at 2800 PSI, this model is perfectly suitable for moderate yard and residential tasks. With a good pressure output like this, you’ll be cleaning up your driveway and patio in no time at all.
You can take this one straight out of the box, with minimal assembly and no tools required to do so. The Generac is a true gas powered residential pressure washer capable of getting the job done cleaning up concrete, brick, siding and more.
This model also has 10” never flat wheels for easy maneuverability over various terrain types. You’ll also get an integrated detergent tank, and 4 quick connect tips to take on various tasks.
3. Powerstroke PS80519B 2200 psi Gas Pressure Washer
- Ultra compact frame and powerful 140cc motor....
- Aluminum axial cam pump
- Precision 25 and 40 degree high pressure fan...
- Convenient onboard hose, trigger gun, wand...
While not as high pressured as most gas powered washers here, this one makes up for it with its super compact size housing its 140cc motor. You’ll easy be able to take this one around the yard to finish off various tasks without tiring yourself out.
It’s design is sleeker than the typical gas powered washer, yet it will still get the job done, albeit will take slightly longer than some of these 3000 PSI beasts.
The Powerstroke features 25 and 40-degree high-pressure fan nozzles, a low pressure soap nozzle and a 21-inch chrome plated spray wand. Overall, you’ll find this fairly light and easy to maneuver gas pressure washer a great investment for its relatively moderate price.
4. Generac 6855 3,600 PSI, 2.6 GPM, Gas Powered Commercial Pressure Washer
- Pro-grade triplex pump provides up to 4X...
- Powerful 212cc Generac OHV engine delivers...
- Low-oil level shutdown automatically...
- Oversized never-flat tires improve mobility...
If you’re in need of a serious commercial pressure washer, the Generac 6855 is the monster to choose. Coming in at 3600 PSI this is seriously nothing to play around with.
If the power output of the other models won’t cut it for you and you’re willing to spend the extra money, this one definitely will cover your needs. Rated for commercial jobs, any residential tasks you put this through will be a breeze.
This model is truly built to last, with its pro-grade triplex pump providing up to 4 times the lifespan of typical axial pumps. Also featuring 5 quick connect tips for a variety of different spray types. This model really lives up to Generac’s performance expectations, and you will not be disappointed.
5. Karcher G 2700 Gas Power Pressure Washer, Performance Series
Karcher offers some of the best and most well-known pressure washers on the market and it isn’t for no reason. The Karcher G 2700 is a powerful, 196cc gas operated washer easily capable of giving you its return on investment. Even better is its moderate price tag for a model like this that can achieve mostly all the tasks you’ll be using it for.
It’s strongly built with 8-inch pneumatic tires and a welded steel frame along with an axial cam pump. It features 5 quick connect tips to tackle different types of jobs and has an onboard detergent tank. This comes from the world’s best selling brand of power washers so you’ll be certain be getting your value here.
The Complete Pressure Washer Buying Guide
When purchasing a new pressure washer, there are many aspects to consider. Here’s what to look for before making the final decision.
Multiply the pressure washers PSI by it GPM to figure out the total cleaning power. By taking this step, you have a better idea which of the models you are looking at will perform the best. It will also help to determine if the machine is a good value for the money.
Looking at the PSI of a pressure washer helps you determine if the machine is suited to your job. Washers below 2000 PSI are geared toward light jobs such as cleaning the patio or deck furniture. Many people also find this to be a good level to wash the vehicle.
Pressure washers between 2000 and 2800 PSI are medium-powered. They are ideal for decks, walls, patio and other moderate cleaning projects.
Anything over 2800 PSI is considered to be heavy-duty. These would be used for intensive projects like driveways and preparing areas to be painted.
Most people look to PSI to determine a good pressure washer, but the Gallons per Minute (GPM) is just as important. GPM refers to the amount of water coming from the unit.
Contractors tend to pay more attention to the GPM of a machine than the PSI. That’s because they want to be sure that cleaning chemicals and dirt can be rinsed away thoroughly.
You can refer to the beginning of the article for more in-depth information regarding power sources. It would be important to determine the location of the nearest power source to your job.
If you aren’t going to be able to use a 25-30 foot cord, then you may need to consider purchasing a gas-operated power washer.
It may be tempting to purchase a pressure washer that is low-cost and comes from a brand you never heard of, but it might not pay off. Considering the quality could be sub-par, you might end up buying another pressure washer in the near future anyway.
In addition, it’s possible that the pressure washer won’t be competent enough to complete the job which will leave you in a jam.
Garden Hose Length
Some pressure washers won’t work with the garden hose you are currently using because it isn’t wide enough to supply proper pressure.
Be sure to read all the requirements on the pressure washer to figure out what hose will supply you with the best performance.
Some pressure washer models offer tanks for cleaning solutions. This makes washing items such as siding or vehicles easier because you won’t have to stop to apply the cleaner.
If this feature is something that is beneficial to you, keep in mind that models with a tank generally cost more. It is normally worth the extra cost when you weigh out the convenience.
Most pressure washer offers nozzles with varying spray angles and pressures. This helps you to choose the nozzles that work best for your cleaning task.
When you are planning to wash your car or patio furniture, it will be important to ensure that the pressure washer has lower-pressure nozzles.
Be sure to check out the nozzles that come with the unit. You can also see if there are additional nozzles that will work with your unit.
Most pressure washers offer their own variety of attachments. This can include varying hose sizes, connect tips and extension wands. Evaluate the attachments that come with your model to determine if it will suit your needs.
Some pressure washers even offer onboard storage compartments so the parts won’t be lost.
10 places you can use an Electric Power Washer
There is a wide variety of things you can use an electric pressure washer for, but here are 10 of the most popular reasons:
Driveways are one of the first things people see when entering a home, so it is important to keep it clean. Many people find that using a pressure makes this tedious job easy and fast.
This area tends to be where many people entertain so keeping it clean and fresh is important. By using a pressure washer, it is easy to leave the patio looking new every time you throw a party.
Curb appeal for a house starts at the front stairs or walkway. 10 minutes of pressure washing can make a world of difference when it comes to making your home look clean and new.
Cleaning a deck is about appearance and safety. Think of how slippery a wooden deck becomes when dirt gets wet. Just be sure to use the 25-degree or 4-degree nozzle and hold it two to three feet from the surface.
All home exteriors can use a washing to look new. Both siding and brick homeowners find this as a top reason to own a pressure washer. Master window cleaners also uses these for commercial window cleaning.
That boundary around your property can become old and drab looking. Spruce it up with a quick washing with your new pressure washer. You’ll be amazed at the difference a few minutes can make.
Instead of spending time scrubbing your car with a sponge, you could be done the job in just a fraction of the time with a pressure washer. Just make sure the pressure isn’t too high or it could harm the cars paint job.
Just as you would with your car or truck, pressure washing the RV, boat, trailer and mountain bike is just as popular. You can even use the pressure washer to clean off your power equipment.
Don’t like how dirty the outdoor furniture can become? Now you can whip out the pressure washer and quickly get it looking like new again.
While some people frown upon this practice, it can be done with caution. Just be sure that you detach the propane and electronics before washing.
Price Guide of Electric Power Washers
Hiring a professional to do your pressure washing jobs can cost several hundred to several thousand dollars depending on how much work is needed. You can save yourself a lot of money by purchasing your own unit. In addition, you’ll have it for future jobs as well.
Considering many high-quality models sell for $200 or less, you are sure to find something within your budget that will complete the job well. Before purchasing anything that appears to be too “cheap”, take the time to consider the quality.
Investing another $50 in a better machine might save you money and hassle in the long run. In addition, the more expensive models tend to offer stronger power and more features. This helps you to get the jobs done even quicker.
When deciding if a new electric pressure washer is a good investment for you, take this into consideration? How many jobs would you use it for? Could you see yourself accomplishing all of the ten purposes I listed above?
If so, consider the cost of hiring a professional or renting a machine for each of these tasks. I think it will be plain to see that the $100 - $200 investment will be far worth the expense.
Care, Maintenance & Storage
Electric pressure washers generally have almost zero maintenance. Electric motors are sealed units and do not require grease, lubrication, or any external additions from the owner. Some models will advise against long-term use to allow the motor to cool off, but other than this small pause in your work day, there isn’t much for you to do.
When it comes to maintenance, you will need to run visual inspections of the hose to make sure there are no cracks or leaks. Punctures in a high-pressure hose cannot be easily repaired, and the hose needs to be replaced. Check the nozzle and tips for clogs as well, cleaning them out if you find anything.
You also need to check the power cords for nicks or fraying, and repair or replace when needed. To store your unit, simply wind the cords and hoses and place the handle in the carrier before setting in a cool, dry place until the next time it is needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Do You Start An Electric Power Washer?
Just make sure you are plugged into an outlet nearby and turn the machine on.
Is Gas Or Electric Better?
It depends on your needs. Many gas power washes output higher levels of PSI, but they are more expensive and tend to be louder.
Can You Leave An Electric Washer Running?
No. When you allow your pressure washer idle, the temperature inside reaches over 200 degrees. This causes unnecessary wear to the internal components.
What makes electric pressure washers powerful?
The motor is the primary source of power for the electric pumps and combined with the internal workings of the pump assembly. Because the electric motor and pumps are compact and lightweight, they can produce a lot of power. Electric pressure washers are powerful but pale in comparison to the power that can be generated by gasoline-engine pressure washers.
Does the washer have enough pressure to damage car paint?
Yes, with the right tip attached (red or blue/turbo), a pressure washer can crack windows and dent metal. They can damage car paint as well.
Can I let my electric pressure washer use hot/warm water?
If you want to use hot water (defined as higher than 140 degrees), you will need to get a hot water pressure washer. Standard pressure washers cannot hold up to high water temperatures as this will damage internal seals, o-rings, and motor parts.
What chemicals can be used for when cleaning cars with a power washer?
There are chemicals, cleaners, and ingredients that are specifically designed to be used with pressure washers. Dish soap and car shampoo, for example, cannot be used in a pressure washer. If you want a natural alternative to pressure washer specific chemicals, you can use vinegar (about a 7-to-1 mix with water)
How much water is used for pressure washing?
The average pressure washer uses about 4 to 6 gallons of water per minute. Some commercial washers will use up to 10 GPM.
How to winterize an electric pressure washer?
Electric pressure washers can easily be prepped for winter storage by following a few simple steps. First, you will want to remove any detergent by using a bucket of water for the detergent siphon hose and run the washer for about 2 minutes. Remove the garden hose and bucket of water and run the system until no more water runs through. Use pump saver antifreeze to the pump inlet and store it in a dry location for the winter months.
After getting any one of these models, you might be wondering why it took you so long to invest in a pressure washer if you’ve never had one.
If you do have one and simply are looking to upgrade, these are all great choices. You’ll find the top models really do make a big difference in terms of quality and reliability.
While pretty much all the pressure washers featured on our list will get the majority of jobs completed well, it’s up to you to decide which one is most suitable for your situation. We hope the information provided here has made your search a little easier.