The 8 Best Pressure Washers to Scour Away Dirt in 2022, According to Testing

Blast away mildew with our best overall pick, the Karcher K 5 Premium.

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8-best-pressure-washers-to-scour-away-dirt-in-2022

Home Depot

Whether you’re dredging mud from the grooves of a tractor’s tires, scouring loose paint from a wall, or blasting pine deposits from your wooden dock, a pressure washer is a crucial tool for heavy-duty outdoor cleaning jobs. The best pressure washers deliver extreme pressure and can strip through layers of grime and organic or inorganic deposits with ease. Most feature handy detergent infusions that can help dissolve molds and wash away oils. However you use them, pressure washers simplify rigorous washing and scouring jobs that would take far longer to accomplish by hand.

For an authoritative look at the best pressure washers, our team in Des Moines, Iowa, tested 20 different pressure washers. We evaluated each based on a wide range of factors, rated and tallied their pros and cons, and compared them to the competition. 

To get some perspective on how to use these machines safely, we talked to Darrin Conlon, the principal engineer for appliance standards—including pressure washers and appliances—for the Consumer Products Group at UL Solutions. “Follow manufacturer's instructions and warnings,” Conlon says. “And be careful. These are very effective machines. Use them safely.”

Based on our tests, the Karcher K 5 Premium is the best overall pressure washer for most users. The K 5 deals with dirt instantly, and with versatile spray modes, it has enough power to handle heavy grime deposits on brick, yet it still has the finesse for more delicate applications. 

 Read on for a look at the best pressure washers. 

Best Overall

Karcher K5 Premium Electric Power Pressure Washer

4.8
K5 Premium Electric Power Washer

Karcher

Why You Should Get It: It is moderately sized and reasonably priced, with powerful pressure. 

Keep In Mind: Allow some time for assembly.

Our tester called the K 5 Premium pressure washer “the little pressure washer that could.” Taking the spot for the overall best pressure washer, this compact tool fits well into garage storage, yet it packs a considerable punch and remains stable despite its power. With versatility built right into its design, it also has ample storage and features a detergent loader for a sudsy spray that will clear mildew and oil. 

With a max PSI of 2,000 pounds per square inch, the Karcher K 5 delivers moderate power for a median price. Our tester found it simple to change between detail and heavy-duty wands and adjust spray power with a turn of the nozzle. They also appreciated the 25-foot hose, which they found “easy to unfurl.” The tester used this product to remove dirt and grime on their sidewalk, porch railings, rain gutters, and lawn mower. They were impressed by how quickly and efficiently the pressure washer cleaned, despite its light weight.  

This corded electric pressure washer uses a water-cooled induction motor. Our tester found the pressure water to be “astoundingly quieter” than other pressure washers they had used. With a two-year limited warranty, Karcher guarantees that it will last. 

The only downsides to this pressure washer were the instructions and initial assembly. Our tester started with the “quick start” directions but found them “inadequate.” However, after abandoning those directions and reading the operator’s manual, they were able to assemble the pressure washer with clarity and ease. After it’s properly assembled, the Karcher is remarkably easy to use, powerful, and effective. 

Price at time of publish: $327

Product Details:

  • Type: Corded electric
  • Flow Rate: 1.4 GPM 
  • Maximum Pressure: 2,000 PSI
  • Hose Length: 25 feet
  • Weight: 32 pounds
  • Nozzles: Two

Best Budget

Sun Joe SPX3000 2030 Max PSI 1.76 GPM 14.5-Amp Electric Pressure Washer

4.9
Sun Joe SPX3000®-MAX Electric Pressure Washer

Courtesy of Best Buy

Why You Should Get It: Even for a budget price, this pressure washer has all the accessories you’ll need to unlock its potential.

Keep In Mind: While powerful, this pressure washer’s PSI is considerably less than many pro-level models.

Finding true power for a reasonable price can be difficult, but the Sun Joe SPX3000 certainly has it. At 2,030 PSI, with a flow rate of 1.76 gallons per minute at minimum pressure, the Sun Joe SPX3000 is moderately powerful, falling in the middle of the PSI range of the models we tested. It also features a 20-foot hose and two detergent-infusion tanks.

Our tester found this pressure washer to be a real workhorse, finding that it did a great job blasting dirt and stains from concrete walkways and noticeably improved the appearance of their weather-beaten deck.

Our tester found that it was simple to change between the five included nozzles and adjust the stream types for more or less pressure. Assembly was straightforward, and our tester put together the pressure washer in about 15 minutes, remarking that it was easier than expected.

They loved how intuitive this pressure washer was to use, with large wheels and a convenient handle, making it a great beginner pick as well as a budget pick, “I never felt restricted, thanks to the long length of the power cord and hose,” our tester shared. They also noted that Sun Joe offers some excellent attachments that they have used and loved in the past and are compatible with this pressure washer. 

Our tester said their favorite part was how quick it was to get started, “I simply attached my garden hose, let the water run, and turned the machine on. Yes, that's it.”

While pressure washers are generally quite loud, our tester found that this one wasn’t too bad, noting that they were “able to clean all surfaces without my ears getting irritated.” All in all, they found the Sun Joe to be an excellent buy. At under $200, it’s the best pressure washer in terms of value, and its small size and good price will make it attractive to homeowners. 

Price at time of publish: From $115

Product Details:

  • Type: Corded electric
  • Flow Rate: 1.76 GPM 
  • Maximum Pressure: 2,030 PSI
  • Hose Length: 20 feet
  • Weight: 31 pounds
  • Nozzles: Five spray tips

Best Electric

Greenworks Pro 3000 PSI 2-Gallon-GPM Cold Water Electric Pressure Washer

greenworks-pro-3000-psi-2-gallon-gpm-cold-water-electric-pressure-washer REFRESH

Lowes

Why You Should Get It: With a power that rivals gas-powered pressure washers, this corded electric washer delivers up to 3,000 PSI.

Keep In Mind: The pressure washer’s coiled cord can be cumbersome.

Ushering electric into the big leagues, the Greenworks Pro 3000 PSI is an electric pressure washer with super-powered performance that can easily scour away oil and hard-to-wash stains. With a steel-mounted body, long cord and hose, and large wheels, this pressure washer is durable and convenient. It prioritizes power over easy storage, even if its ability to stay standing does allow you to tuck it into corners. 

The Greenworks Pro’s one-gallon detergent tank is simple to load for repeat uses and ensures that you’ve got the soap for a job after job. The pressure washer also features storage space for all five nozzles, which come labeled and include a soap nozzle and turbo nozzle, as well as three nozzles to direct spray shape. Our tester found that they had “all the nozzles I needed.”

Our tester found that despite its power, the Greenworks Pro didn’t fatigue their arms or back, even when rolling the pressure washer around the yard. However, they noted that the engine continues to run between blasts, in the same way that a gas-powered washer would. That makes it noisier than other electric models on our list, though not as loud as gas models our tester had used before. You might have to raise your voice to talk over it, even when it’s running passively and you’re not actively spraying water. This engine feature is indicative of its engine quality, however, which is capable of 3,000 PSI. 

This pressure washer cleaned the dirt from surfaces in our testing without trouble. It removed debris from the bottom of a mower and scouring stains from our tester’s back porch with so much vigor that it even began to rip at the texture of the wood deck—until they switched to a gentler and more appropriate nozzle. Our tester’s only complaint was that the pressure washer’s hose tends to return to the same coiled shape it ships in and at their arm—an issue that will likely solve itself with time and use as the hose stretches out.

While this pressure washer costs significantly more than some of the other electric washers on this list, it includes a generous 10-year motor and a limited three-year warranty.

Price at time of publish: $399

Product Details:

  • Type: Corded electric
  • Flow Rate: 2 GPM at 100 PSI
  • Maximum Pressure: 3,000 PSI
  • Hose Length: 25 feet
  • Weight: 47 pounds
  • Nozzles: Five spray tips

Best Cordless

WORX Hydroshot 320-PSI Cordless Power Cleaner

4.4
Portable Power Cleaner

WORX

Why You Should Get It: This battery-powered pressure washer is ideal for light jobs like boats, bicycles, and trash cans.

Keep In Mind: At only 320 PSI, this isn’t as powerful as many plug-in pressure washers.

The Worx Hydroshot isn’t a replacement for heavy-duty pressure washers that can remove the paint off a wall, but it has its perks. The battery-powered pressure washer’s cordless design makes it the best pressure washer for cleaning areas without power and hose hookups. It can also draw water from any water source, like a lake or stream. 

Our tester used their Hydroshot to clean the interior of a messy compost bin and watched as sludgy food scraps and mulch poured out. Without external power outlets around their home, the tester appreciated the one hour of battery life they got from a single charge of this pressure washer’s battery. They also found that it was pleasantly maneuverable and compact to store. The pressure washer wasn’t too loud, but the trigger was frustrating, and our tester noted they had to hold it down the whole time, which caused hand and arm fatigue. 

Our tester found that it wasn’t powerful enough to scour muck and dirt from pebbled concrete without the help of a broom and that moss removal and the like also require the assistance of a broom. But because of its maneuverability and convenience, it’s our top pick for the best pressure washing without a cord.

Price at time of publish: $109

Product Details:

  • Type: Battery-powered electric
  • Flow Rate: 0.53 GPM
  • Maximum Pressure: 320 PSI
  • Hose Length: 20 feet
  • Weight: Four pounds
  • Nozzles: One (five-in-one pressure settings to the nozzle)

Best Gas

Simpson Powershot 4400 PSI 4.0 GPM Gas Cold Water Pressure Washer

simpson-powershot-4400-psi-40-gpm-gas-cold-water-pressure-washer

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: Pumping out 4,400 PSI of water pressure, this gas-powered pressure washer has enough power for even the toughest stains.

Keep In Mind: Its larger size and gas dependency mean you’ll need space to store this heavy-duty washer. 

The best gas pressure washer is the Simpson Powershot. A true commercial-grade pressure washer, the Powershot provides up to 4,400 PSI, unleashing a torrent that will take care of particularly persistent stains or strip material from walls. With five nozzles that go down to zero degrees, the Powershot gives you all the tools you’ll need for tough pressure washing jobs.

Our tester put the Powershot to the test on their driveway. At partial power, they were impressed to see the Powershot rip through blacktop stains that had plagued the driveway surface for almost a year. 

One thing to note is that gas-powered pressure washers generally make more noise than electric pressure washers, and this one is no different. Our tester remarked that they wished they’d worn earplugs during the operation and that they had ushered their children inside to keep them away from the noise. 

Our tester did have a few concerns about the Powershot’s design. They found it somewhat difficult to assemble the machine’s handles and noted that it also took a little work to get the engine running, requiring several pulls of the starter. Still, they found it to be intuitive to use overall.

The Powershot is a commercial-grade pressure washer. With a high price and a large profile, it’s a commitment, both in terms of price and storage. However, this price is offset somewhat by a generous three-year engine warranty and five-year pump warranty. If you want to maximize your power washing potential, this is the best pressure washer. 

Price at time of publish: $899

Product Details:

  • Type: Gas powered
  • Flow Rate: 4 GPM
  • Maximum Pressure: 4,400 PSI
  • Hose Length: 50 feet
  • Weight: 135 pounds
  • Nozzles: Five

Best for Cars

Greenworks Pro 2300-PSI Electric Pressure Washer

4.6
Pro 2300-PSI Electric Pressure Washer

Greenworks

Why You Should Get It: With 2,300 PSI and five nozzles, this power washer is perfect for cars, and its relatively compact form makes it storable. 

Keep In Mind: It doesn’t quite have the power needed for heavy-duty jobs like stripping paint.

With enough power to excel at most jobs you’ll encounter around the yard and home, the Greenworks PRO 2300 PSI Pressure Washer is a homeowner’s best friend. It delivers just the right amount of power you’ll need for car washes as well as clearing an average amount of dirt accumulation along paths and drives, all without damaging surfaces. That is why we think it’s one of the best pressure washers in its class. 

A corded electric pressure washer, the Greenworks PRO draws power from a socket with its 35-foot power cord and supplies you with a 25-foot hose to work. Even with that length, our tester felt that the washer’s hose could be longer, though they noted that it was light enough to reposition whenever needed. Our tester did fully approve of the machine's plug, noting that it fit the socket so perfectly that it began to wrench the socket from the wall rather than unplug when strained. 

With start-up instructions right on top, our tester appreciated how simple it was to start their unit, which took about five seconds for full power. When washing their car, they knocked off bugs with a first pass and then used the detergent infusion to wash their car with soap, leaving it very clean. They then removed a discolored spot from their concrete driveway with a close application of the spray wand. This detergent tank, paired with five spray tips, means that the Greenworks PRO has all the tools you’d need for most jobs a homeowner will encounter—and do so for years, with a three-year warranty included.

While the Greenworks PRO can’t compete with some of the heavy-duty pressure washers we highlight on this list, its relatively compact size and median pressure make it an excellent pick for those who are looking for a great tool for washing their car. 

Price at time of publish: $360

Product Details:

  • Type: Electric powered
  • Flow Rate: 2.3 GPM
  • Maximum Pressure: 2,300 PSI
  • Hose Length: 25 feet
  • Weight: 40 pounds
  • Nozzles: Five

Best Heavy-Duty

DeWalt 4400 PSI 4.0 GPM Cold Water Gas Pressure Washer

4.7
dewalt-4400-psi-40-gpm-cold-water-gas-pressure-washer

Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: A pro-grade pressure washer, the 4,400 PSI DeWalt has little trouble with more difficult tasks, like stripping paint.

Keep In Mind: With a loud gas engine, this large machine requires careful use and is very heavy.

As our tester said, “If you can't get something clean with this power . . . it’s probably never going to be clean.” When you’re looking for a true heavy-duty pressure washer, there are few better than this gas-powered machine from DeWalt, which sports a powerful Honda GX390 engine. With a three-year engine warranty and a five-year pump warranty, this steel-framed pressure washer is built to last.

With similar specs to our slightly cheaper pick for the best gas powered pressure washer (the Simpson Powershot), the DeWalt distinguishes itself via its name-brand Honda engine. Both machines have powerful triplex pump systems and deliver up to 4,400 PSI with 4 GPM. They both also feature heavy-duty 13-inch wheels and 50-inch hoses.

Our tester found that the DeWalt had more than enough power to strip plant matter and stains from their concrete walk, clean the siding of their home, and remove mud dauber nests from the eaves. They loved how authoritatively powerful it was but found themselves frustrated with its ample size and heavy weight, which made it a challenge to store and lug around. That is why they recommend Dewalt for contractors or homeowners with lots of heavy-duty tasks. 

The pressure washer features a hose that is quite sturdy and kink resistant. It connects by the handle, in a placement that they found “tricky to connect and disconnect,” even while it worked well overall. They also found that nozzle tips were easy to switch out. Setup presented some difficulty, and they resorted to videos online, noting that the washer requires yearly oil changes. A second detailed manual lays out engine maintenance. 

With a loud gas engine, detergent injection, and super-powered power washing, we think the DeWalt is the best pressure washer for contractor-grade tasks. It will cut through mud, strip paint, and blast away oil stains. Its Honda engine and high-grade pump are built day after day of use, though they will require maintenance over the long term. As with all higher PSI pressure washers, be careful as it has more than enough power to damage the skin, muscle tissue, or local wildlife. 

Price at time of publish: $1,279

Product Details:

  • Type: Gas powered
  • Flow Rate: 4 GPM
  • Maximum Pressure: 4,400 PSI
  • Hose Length: 50 feet
  • Weight: 140 pounds
  • Nozzles: Five

Best Small

BLACK+DECKER BEPW1850 1850-PSI Electric Pressure Washer

4.8
1850-PSI Electric Pressure Washer

BLACK+DECKER

Why You Should Get It: Small and compact, this pressure washer still has a detergent injection and does a great job on cars and walkways. 

Keep In Mind: Its plastic construction might not last for years.

The Black+Decker is the best pressure washer for those who have little storage space or only need to use a pressure washer occasionally. Compact in size, this pressure washer still had enough power and performance to get our tester raving.

The Black+Decker pressure washer pumps out 1,850 PSI, with 1.2 GPM of flow, and while that’s less than half of some of the heavy-duty pressure washers on this list, it’s still enough for most home and garden uses. It also features a 25-foot hose and three nozzles.

Our tester used their Black+Decker washer with a detergent infusion to blast bugs from the grille of their car and found that the power washer stripped away all mess and detritus. The power washer also blasted away reddish deposits and mildew with ease when the tester cleaned the asphalt around their hot tub. The tester loved how the moderate engine noise lets up when they ease off the trigger, decreasing to a volume they could chat over when the kids come out with a question. 

In tests, our one gripe with this pressure washer was its use of plastic throughout. While our testers raved about the performance of their machine, they did worry that the plastic wheels would prove too flimsy for long-term use. However, when we factor in its affordable price, respectable performance, and stowable size, this is one of the best small pressure washers for the money. 

Price at time of publish: $162

Product Details:

  • Type: Electric powered
  • Flow Rate: 1.2 GPM
  • Maximum Pressure: 1,850 PSI
  • Hose Length: 25 feet
  • Weight: 22.6 pounds
  • Nozzles: Three

The Bottom Line

The Karcher K 5 Premium is our top pick among pressure washers for most home users. At 2,000 PSI, it contains a good amount of power, that should take care of most home needs, yet it won’t kick back dangerously, or rip into surfaces. With two heads, a high-pressure “Dirt Blaster,” and a pressure adjustable alternative, the K 5 is highly versatile. While the K 5 might not have enough power for commercial users, it’s the best pressure washer for general home maintenance, like cleaning your siding and washing pavers.

Our Testing Process

We sent 20 different pressure washers home with testers to use around their properties for a couple of weeks. For each machine, our testers timed how long it took to get the pressure washer set up and ready to go after unboxing. They then evaluated the connections and components on each pressure washer, checked quick connections, and looked for leaks or other design or manufacturing issues. 

For each unit, testers reviewed the hose length, maneuverability, spray settings, power, and noise as they cleaned various surfaces. They then evaluated how well the machine handled each job. We aggregated our tester’s findings and used them to select the best pressure washers within various categories.

What to Know About Pressure Washers

Safety

“If people read the instructions, and follow the instructions, [pressure washers are] going to be relatively safe,” says Darrin Conlon, the principal engineer for appliance standards—including pressure washers and major appliances—for the Consumer Products Group at UL Solutions. 

However, Conlon does note that there are a few safety measures that everyone should be aware of. He warns that pressure washer users should wear boots or other protective shoes, especially when using zero-degree nozzles. He also recommends using goggles, gloves, and ear protection, especially when using a gas-powered pressure washer.

You’ll also want to avoid using your pressure washer with an extension cord. UL certification requires that pressure washers have a 35-foot power cord, so users won’t need to use an extension cord. “We’ve heard about instances where someone’s using an extension cord, and that extension cord gets damaged, and it’s laying in water. The typical environment for a pressure washer is outside, very wet, puddling—and if you’ve got a damaged extension cord, you’ve got a risk of shock.” 

Conlon also warns that when using pressure washers with higher PSI, they must stay aware of dangerous kickbacks. “You hit the trigger, and the long wand is gonna go up,” he says. “The pressure is not to be fooled around with, it’s to be respected.”

Zero-Degree Nozzle Safety

Many pressure washers come with zero-degree nozzles, which should be used with care. “It’s like a pencil point,” Conlon says. “It’s a very narrow stream, and that stream poses an increased risk for personal injury.” While other types of nozzles also come with risk, the focused point of a zero-degree nozzle makes it capable of causing severe injury.

How to Pick the Right PSI

Among pressure washers, pressure per square inch varies widely. The lowest PSI on this list is under 400, while the highest is over 4,000. But which is right for you? Conlon says that for an average untrained user or homeowner, around 2,000 PSI is enough. While more powerful pressure washers are critical for industrial use, Conlon suggests that the dangers usually outweigh the benefits for untrained home use. Most home jobs can be achieved with around 2,000 PSI.

Other Pressure Washers We Tested

Rock&Rocker Powerful Electric Pressure Washer

The Rock&Rocker Powerful Electric Pressure Washer is a decent pressure washer that has a few issues. Its setup is more difficult than average; in particular, its reel requires some challenging precision work to thread properly. Our tester found it to be moderately powerful but felt that its design flaws limited its usefulness.

Westinghouse WPX2700 Gas Pressure Washer

A moderately powerful gas pressure washer, the Westinghouse WPX2700 Gas Pressure Washer has a PSI level similar to those of other electric power washers we tested. While our tester loved the actual power of the machine and found it to do a good job of cleaning stained concrete, they found the manufacturing quality and material design to be lacking. They even worried that it could break apart with use.

Craftsman 1900 PSI 1.2-Gallon-GPM Cold Water Electric Pressure Washer

The Craftsman 1900 PSI 1.2-Gallon-GPM Cold Water Electric Pressure Washer is a moderately powerful electric power washer aimed at homeowners. With 1,900 PSI and a 25-foot hose, it’s a power washer with decent reach. Our tester found that the pressure washer did an acceptable job of cleaning the sides of their house, even though it left a noticeable amount of dirt still baked onto the siding. They felt that the washer’s power—while decent—was a little short of what they expected, given the price.

Your Questions, Answered

Can you pressure wash your car?

According to Gary McCoy, Lowe's Store Manager serving the Charlotte, North Carolina, market, a light-duty pressure washer can absolutely work to pressure wash your car. However, there are a few precautions you should take ahead of using it. 

"Check your vehicle's owner manual for specific cleaning instructions, as well as your pressure washer manual for operating instructions and details about spray settings and how far the pressure washer's spray tip should be from the vehicle," he says. You should also always test a spray pattern on a hidden area before cleaning, to avoid potential damage and make sure it's safe for usage.

How do you winterize a pressure washer?

Allowing water or gas to freeze may cause expansion and blockage in your pressure washer, so it's imperative to winterize it. That only needs to be done on gas pressure washers, since electric pressure washers do not need to be winterized.

McCoy recommends draining all the water from the machine (including supply lines and hoses) and then using a funnel to pour plumbing antifreeze through a hose connected to the pump until the solution comes out, ensuring that all water has been removed. "This will guarantee that any remaining water is mixed with antifreeze and unable to freeze, protecting your pump." He advises following that process by removing any fuel from the tank and then mixing a fuel-stabilizer solution with any drained fuel. "Add to the fuel tank before turning your pressure washer on to send the mixture through the carburetor."

Different power washing projects require different PSIs. According to McCoy, a light-duty would be considered 1 to 1,899 PSI and is ideal for washing vehicles, boats, grills, and outdoor furniture.

On the other hand, medium-duty (which is PSI of 1,900 to 2,788) is great for removing dirt and mold from exterior siding, fencing, decks, and patios, whereas heavy-duty (which has a PSI of 2,800 or more) is best for cleaning and removing tough stains from driveways, walkways, and second-story exteriors. The largest and most powerful PSI, which would be 3,100 or more, is considered commercial and is ideal for graffiti removal, paint stripping, and other commercial-grade cleaning projects.

Who We Are

Gabriel Morgan is a freelance writer for Better Homes & Gardens. This article is deeply informed by research from the Better Homes & Gardens testing team, which tested 20 pressure washers at their homes. He also consulted Darrin Conlon, senior director of principal engineering for the Consumer Products Group at UL Solutions, who provided expertise on pressure washer safety and use. Gary McCoy, Lowe's Store Manager serving the Charlotte, North Carolina, market, also provided insight on using pressure washers.

What Is BHG Recommends?

BHG Recommends comes from the belief that reliable recommendations stem from hands-on testing. You’ll notice the BHG Recommends badge next to every product on this list. We place our seal there with pride, knowing that each of our recommendations has been tested with a rigorous methodology. Most of these products we buy ourselves. However, we occasionally receive these products as samples. In such cases, we let you know that we got something for free, to remain as transparent as we can.

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