Best Pressure Washers For Cars: Reviewed, Rated & Compared

Washing your car should be one of your regular household chores. Refraining from washing your car can lead to harmful dirt and grime eroding, damaging and staining your vehicle.

Plus, no one wants to be that person drawing in excess attention over a dirty car with the words “clean me” smudged on the back window.

To avoid the excessive drive through car washing fees, and to show your car the love it deserves, you should invest in the best power washer for your cars.

Pressure Washers For Cars - Comparison Guide

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RATING

Model

Buy Now

Type

Max PSI

Price

AR Blue Clean AR390SS

AR Blue Clean AR390SS

Electric

2000

$$

Briggs & Stratton 20545

Briggs & Stratton 20545

Gas

2200

$$$

Ivation Electric Pressure Washer

Ivation Electric Pressure Washer

Electric

2200

$$

Sun Joe SPX3001

Sun Joe SPX3001

Electric

2030

$$$

Excell EPW2123100

Excell EPW2123100

Gas

3100

$$$$

Types Pressure Washers For Cars

You can find models of both pressure washers available on the market. Here’s what you need to know about the differences.

Gas-powered pressure washers

Man using hozelock pressure washer

These types of pressure washers are ideal for large-scale projects. You can use them to quickly clean decks and siding. In addition, they generally pump out about 2,000 to 2,800 PSI of water pressure at a time. Because of the additional pressure, they are ideal for getting rid of sap, stains and baked on dirt.

A gas-powered pressure washer will clean a concrete patio three times faster than an electric model would. There are some downsides that come with that power. First, you have additional noise and weight. In addition to that, you’ll have to worry about fuel-mixing and tune-ups.

The pumps will need to be winterized in colder climates and these machines should not be stored indoors. Gas models tend to be too powerful to wash the car with and can also injure wood or various other soft surfaces. A general price range for this model would be between $200 and $500.

Electric-powered pressure washers

Using pressure washer on metal bench

These types of pressure washers are ideal for lighter-duty jobs. You can use them to clean small decks, patios, furniture and vehicles. 

They tend to be lightweight and quiet plus create little maintenance work. There are no exhaust emissions and they can also be stored indoors.

The only downside to the electric pressure washer is slower cleaning times. You will also need to be near an outlet for the washer to work.

Expect to pay anywhere between $80 to $200 for a decent electric pressure washer.


What to look for in a Good Pressure Washer

When choosing the best car pressure washer, there are some things to consider. This ensures you get the most from your wash and the most bang for your buck.

Pressure

What good is a pressure washer without the pressure? Levels are measured in terms of PSI. Basically, the higher the PSI is, the more powerful your unit is. You have to be careful not to go too high or you could crack your windshield while washing.

Light-duty pressure washers tend to have a rating of 1300 to 2000 PSI. These are best for cleaning decks, patios and garden equipment. Some people also use them to wash off motorbikes or small cars.

Medium-duty pressure washers rate between 2000 to 2800 PSI. These are ideal for cleaning SUVs, trucks, sedan, gutters, swimming pools, larger patios, drains and hot tubs.

A heavy-duty pressure washer is rated 2900 to 3000 PSI. These are ideal for heavy machinery or large vehicles. They are also used to wash off brick and stonework. If you find a unit over 3000 PSI, this is considered to be extra heavy-duty. 

Power Source

You’ll need to consider your power source. Some machines are electric powered which means you need access to a plug. This is sometimes difficult depending on where you are washing your vehicle.

Other options include gas-powered motors which make the machine mobile. With that in mind, they are also louder.

Hose Connections

Depending on what you’re washing, you might need some special hose adaptations. For example, if you aren’t tall but you want to reach the roof of your truck, you’ll likely need an extension hose.

Before purchasing the best power washer for cars, you’ll need to make sure that you can get the correct accessories.

Features

If you are willing to invest in the best pressure washer for cars, you might find some special features with your machine. An important one would be a detergent tank. This makes foam to clean your vehicle out of soap you put in. With this feature, you spend less time preparing and more time cleaning.

Cord or tool storage is also essential. By having a compartment to put all your tools plus the power cord, you can stay organized.

Adjustable nozzles allow you to dial in the amount of pressure you need. We recommend purchasing a machine with this feature because it gives you more freedom over the jobs you perform. Interchangeable wands offer some versatility as well with your power washer.

Some of the higher-end machines come with thermal relief or unloaders. This manages the buildup of heat from the pressure washer. It also stops any problem that would’ve been caused by excessive pressure buildup.


Top 5 Pressure Washers For Cars Reviewed


1. AR Blue Clean AR390SS Electric Power Washer

AR Blue Clean AR390SS

Best Features

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    Uses less water
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    30-ft high-pressure hose included
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    Heavy-duty wheels

My Overall Rating

The AR Blue Clean AR390SS Electric Power Washer is one of the most powerful non-commercial models of power washers by the Annovi Reverberi brand.

This machine is known for it’s efficiency. It operates at a PSI level of 2000, but also comes with the added feature of using less water. By using less water, at a high PSI level, it makes cleaning more efficient, and the machine more environmentally friendly than others.

A 30-foot-high pressure hose is included with this machine, which makes those hard to reach places such as the underbelly of a car, or the roof of your vehicle easy to spray. It also has attachments that allow the machine to fire at a lower pressure.

This comes in handy when washing more sensitive areas of the car such as the headlights or mirrors. An added feature of this machine is it’s portability – the heavy duty wheels, easy grip handle, and electrical cord coil make it easy to transport, and store in a small space. One of the other important features of this machine that make it one of the best power washer for cars, is the customer service that comes with it.

The Annovi Reverberi brand has gained a substantial reputation for being easy to contact, and quick to provide any necessary support that you need with regards to this machine.

Pros

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    Attachments included
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    Environmentally friendly
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    Lightweight

Cons

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    Plastic hose can leak
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    Hose tangles easily

Comparing the AR Blue Clean to other models

This machine holds up well compared to others on the market. At a mid-range price level, some of the features such as its portability and environmentally friendly nature are exceptional. The PSI level is higher than most non-commercial pressure washers (though not the highest on the market) which assists in getting the job done quickly.

One of the potential downfalls of this machine over others, is the fact that it is electrically powered. This means that you will need to have a power source (electrical outlet) nearby to power the machine.

However, by providing a 35-foot-long power cord, this likely negates this minor downside. The numerous adaptable hoses and pressure-adjusting-nozzles that are available with this machine put it above others. Being able to use this one machine for all parts of your car (and other household cleaning projects) is a bonus that does not always exist with other machines.


2. Briggs & Stratton 20545 2200-PSI Gas Pressure Washer

Briggs & Stratton 20545

Best Features

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    High PSI
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    Never go flat wheels
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    Powerful engine

My Overall Rating

If you’re not sold on the AR Blue Clean AR383, there are other options out there. The Briggs and Stratton 20545 Gas Pressure Washer runs under a massive PSI of 2200. This machine has a much higher PSI, but uses much more water, making it less environmentally friendly.

This higher PSI does not equate to an equally high efficiency. It is also a gas powered machine, which allows for easier portability when using it around your home. Because it does not need to be plugged in, you can move it to where you need it to be without worrying about a power source.

The engine on this machine is extremely powerful. However, some added weight comes with this powerful engine, which may make it more difficult to transport from one location to the next.

Pros

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    Can be used anywhere
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    Detergent injection system
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    2-year warranty

Cons

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    Not environmentally friendly
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    Heavy

3. Ivation Electric Pressure Washer 2200 PSI 1.8 GPM

Ivation Electric Pressure Washer

Best Features

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    5 Interchangeable and adjustable nozzles
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    Adjustable temperature controls
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    30-second setup

My Overall Rating

Another alternative to the AR Blue Clean AR383 is the Ivation Electric Power Washer, which functions with a PSI of up to 2200. Similarly to the AR model, this option comes with an adjustable nozzle which allows you to choose the amount of pressure being exerted from the machine.

This model also allows you to adjust the temperature of the water being used to clean your vehicle, which will be beneficial for climates with variable seasons. Again, this easy to use system requires little assembly, and should be ready to go practically as soon as you make the purchase.

The adaptations that come with this machine are varied, though an extendable hose used to reach high places does not appear to be one of those options. There is also a soap dispenser built into this machine, but it does not need to be used if you don’t feel it is necessary.

The Ivation Electric Power Washer is another strong contender to consider when selecting the best power washer for cars.

Pros

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    Many adjustments are available
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    Higher pressure than some electric models
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    Portable

Cons

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    Higher priced
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    Only has a 1-year warranty

4. Sun Joe SPX3001 2030 PSI 1.76 GPM 14.5 AMP Electric Pressure Washer with Hose Reel

Sun Joe SPX3001

Best Features

  • check-circle
    5-Quick connect spray tips
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    Powerful motor
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    Onboard reel

My Overall Rating

This electric pressure washer offers a variety of 5-quick connect spray tips so you can easily tackle light to heavy-duty cleaning tasks. The powerful 14.5-amp/1800-watt motor will produce up to 2030 PSI for the maximum amount of cleaning power.

This washer features an onboard reel which keeps the 20-foot hose organized for easy clean-up plus storage. In addition, the Total Stop System (TSS) will automatically shut off the pump if the trigger is not engaged. This is a great safety feature as well as an energy saving option which helps to prolong the life of the pump.

Pros

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    Total Stop System
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    Energy saving
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    20-foot hose on reel for easy cleanup
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    Pumps at up to 2030 PSI

Cons

  • thumbs-o-down
    Made with plastic parts
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    Hose reel can be flimsy

5. Excell EPW2123100 3100 PSI 2.8 GPM Cold Water 212CC Gas Powered Pressure Washer

Excell EPW2123100

Best Features

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    Stainless steel pistons
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    Rust-resistant wand
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    Low-profile frame

My Overall Rating

This 212cc EXCELL OHV gas engine offers an axial style Brass Head pump that has stainless steel pistons and thermal relief valve. These will help to extend the pump life.

In addition, the ergonomic rust-resistant wand offers assembly with a quick-connect nozzle tip. The five included tips are colored coded so you can easily identify what to use them for. The low-profile frame offers convenient storage in your garage.

This is a heavier model at 76 pounds but has heavy-duty tires for easy mobility. In addition, the unit comes complete with a 25-foot hose so you can reach anywhere.

Pros

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    Durable
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    Comes with a long hose
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    Can be stored easily

Cons

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    Price
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    Probably too much machine for the average user

Are Pressure Washers Good For Detailing Cars?

Pressure washers offer a soap tank which saves you the trouble of using separate containers and buckets. In addition, tools and cords can be stored on board making it an all-in-one piece of machinery.

Some pressure washers come with adjustable nozzles to offer a variety of spray patterns for varying jobs. This is a convenient way to get the right pressure needed to safely wash a vehicle. Because of the ease of using a pressure washer, they tend to be a great option for detailing the car. The only thing to be careful of is that the pressure isn’t too high.

This is especially true when dealing with a gas-powered pressure washer. They can easily harm the car’s paint job if sprayed too forcefully. Our suggestion, if you choose to pressure wash your car, is to use an electric-powered washer and make sure the force is turned down.

When used properly, an electric-powered pressure washer is an effective and quick way to clean the car.


Does a Good Soap Or Detergent Matter?

best pressure washer for cars

Most pressure washers contain a compartment designed for detergents. You only want to use a detergent that is geared toward the use of pressure washers.

If a detergent is sold as a concentrate, it is essential that you properly dilute it before applying it to the vehicle.

The manufacturer should give clear dilution directions that you can follow. Our recommendation is the Karcher Concentrated Vehicle Detergent Car Wash & Wax Soap for Gas & Electric Pressure Washers.

One gallon can create up to 20 gallons of detergent with proper dilution. It also rinses away easily without leaving a residue behind.

Once you’ve finished washing the car with the detergent you’ve chosen, it is imperative that you rinse all of the detergents away. Otherwise, it can cause damage to the vehicle’s paint.


Advantages of Using a Pressure Washer over Hand or Hose​​​​

Using your hand and hose to clean a car is a great way to make sure every spot of the car is clean. It provides for a more detailed appearance and gives you greater control over the cleaning.

The downside to this is that it can take a lot longer to wash a car by hand. If you don’t mind spending half of your day washing the car, then by all means, wash it by hand.

If, however, you have other things to accomplish, washing the car with a pressure washer is a fast and efficient way to get the job done. You can place the detergent into the designated container and spray it on easily.

Then, with a high-pressure rinse, the vehicle will be clean! It’s as simple as that. Just be sure you use the delicate setting on the pressure washer to protect your paint.


How To Clean Your Car – Experts Guide

Follow these steps for the ultimate cleaning job on your vehicle.

  • 1
    Set the pressure washer on a delicate setting. This should be about 2,000 PSI.
  • 2
    Use the nozzle that offers a wide spray pattern to avoid hurting the paint.
  • 3
    Rinse the car with plain water first.
  • 4
    Dilute detergent according to the directions. Apply the detergent to the vehicle.
  • 5
    Allow the detergent to sit for about three to five minutes.
  • 6
    Use a brush to remove any baked on dirt or grime.
  • 7
    Rinse off the detergent starting at the top of the vehicle and working your way to the bottom.

In addition, you’ll want to keep the car on a hard surface like concrete or asphalt. Make sure you avoid spraying inside the engine or on fragile items such as lights and windows.


question

Frequently Asked Questions

Will A Pressure Washer Damage My Car?

As long as you have it set appropriately between 1200 – 1900 PSI, you shouldn’t have an issue.


Can You Use Normal Car Shampoo In A Pressure Washer?

You only want to use the detergent recommended for use with a pressure washer. We recommend this detergent from Karcher.


How Many PSI For Washing A Car?

You’ll want to start on the lower end around 1200 PSI and see how that works before moving up. Remember, going too high can ruin your car’s paint or crack a window.


What Is The Average Price Of A Pressure Washer?

You can find some budget-friendly options under $100, but your feature-rich machines will run more than $100, sometimes even several hundred.


Conclusion

When you’re investing in something like this that could potentially last a lifetime, you want to make sure you’re getting the best car pressure washer.

The AR model is a solid choice from a company with an excellent reputation and customer service. It’s environmentally friendly characteristics are an added bonus for anyone wishing to take this into consideration.

Any of the above options would be a great choice for someone wishing to avoid the “wash me” writing smudged into the dirt on the back of their car!


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