The 8 Best Pressure Washers For Every Outdoor Cleaning Job
If your deck, patio, grill, car, or outdoor furniture could benefit from a spring cleaning, a pressure washers could be a good investment for you. The outdoor appliance runs by an electric motor or gas engine and pressurizes the water from your garden hose (or whatever water source you hook it up to) through a spray wand to wash away stains, mildew, or dirt without lots of scrubbing on your part.
"When shopping for the best power washer for your cleaning needs, keep in mind that power determines what kind of jobs it can handle," says Gary McCoy, Lowe's Store Manager serving the Charlotte, NC market. This particular power is measured by the PSI and GPM. "A pressure washer rated with a higher PSI and GPM cleans better and faster but also costs more than the lower-rated units," he says. Some tough jobs might require the high pressure of a gas unit, but using too powerful of a machine can damage delicate materials, like car paint, so more powerful isn't always better.
We looked at power, special features, hose length, and versatility to help us determine the best pressure washers for a variety of jobs. Overall, we think the Generac Residential 3,100 PSI 2.4-Gallon Cold Water Gas Pressure Washer Engine (CARB) is best for those looking for a gas model, and the Greenworks Pro 3000 PSI 2-Gallon-GPM Cold Water Electric Pressure Washer is a great pick if you'd prefer to go electric.
Below, the best pressure washers for every type of job.
- Best Gas: Generac Residential 3,100 PSI 2.4-Gallon Cold Water Gas Pressure Washer Engine
- Best Electric: Greenworks Pro 3,000 PSI 2-Gallon-GPM Cold Water Electric Pressure Washer
- Best Cordless: WORX 40V Power Share Hydroshot 2X20V Portable Power Cleaner
- Best Budget: CRAFTSMAN 1,900 PSI 1.2-Gallon-GPM Cold Water Electric Pressure Washer
- Best for Cars: Sun Joe SPX3001 2,030 PSI 1.76 GPM 14.5 AMP Electric Pressure Washer with Hose Reel
- Best Small: RYOBI 2,000 PSI 1.2 GPM Cold Water Electric Pressure Washer
- Best Heavy-Duty: Westinghouse Gas Pressure Washers 3,400 PSI 2.6-Gallon-GPM Cold Water Gas Pressure Washer
- Best Hot Water: Easy Kleen Commercial 4,000 PSI 3.5-Gallon-GPM Hot Water Gas Pressure Washer
What We Recommend
Best Gas: Generac Residential 3,100 PSI 2.4-Gallon Cold Water Gas Pressure Washer Engine (CARB)
Best Electric: Greenworks Pro 3,000 PSI 2-Gallon-GPM Cold Water Electric Pressure Washer
Best Cordless: Worx 40V Power Share Hydroshot 2X20V Portable Power Cleaner
Best Budget: Craftsman 1, 900 PSI 1.2-Gallon-GPM Cold Water Electric Pressure Washer
Best for Cars: Sun Joe SPX3001 2,030 PSI 1.76 GPM 14.5 AMP Electric Pressure Washer with Hose Reel
Best Small: Ryobi 1,600 PSI 1.2 GPM Electric Pressure Washer
Best Heavy-Duty: Westinghouse Gas Pressure Washers 3400 PSI 2.6-Gallon-GPM Cold Water Gas Pressure Washer (CARB)
Best Hot Water: Easy Kleen Commercial 4000 PSI 3.5-Gallon-GPM Hot Water Gas Pressure Washer
The Bottom Line
All things considered, there is no one choice that fits all when it comes to selecting the best pressure washer for you. Overall, the Generac Residential 3,100 PSI 2.4-Gallon Cold Water Gas Pressure Washer Engine is the best gas option, if you want a high-pressure nozzle with a relatively affordable price tag. On the other hand, those wanting an electric model should go for the Greenworks Pro 3,000 PSI 2-Gallon-GPM Cold Water Electric Pressure Washer, since it's a high-powered residential power washer with a great battery life.
What To Know About Pressure Washers Before Shopping
When shopping for pressure washers, the most important feature to keep in mind is the PSI. In general, the stronger the PSI, the more power the machine has. For instance, those looking to clean vehicles, boats, and outdoor furniture can go for a light-duty PSI of 1,000 to 1,899 whereas those looking for something that can strip paint or remove graffiti will want a commercial level PSI of 3,100 or more.
Another factor to consider is the motor type. Electric and gas-powered pressure washers can typically handle the bulk of outdoor cleaning products that one would need them for. However, according to McCoy, it's worth considering factors such as power, noise level, mobility, and maintenance when deciding what machine is best for you. "Electric pressure washers feature push-button start buttons, run more quietly and cleanly than gas models, and tend to require less maintenance," he says. "Gas models give you the mobility and power you need to tackle large jobs, such as driveways, sidewalks, home exteriors, and heavy-duty work like removing paint yet may be louder and require more maintenance."
You can also look for additional features to make using the machine easier to use, like interchangeable nozzle tips, adjustable wands, and a triplex pump. Some models might even have built-in storage compartments that allow you to put it away simply so you can use it seamlessly.
Your Questions, Answered
Can you pressure wash your car?
According to McCoy, 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. This 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 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 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."
What PSI do I need for different pressure washing projects?
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 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
This article was written by Rachel Dube, who has written for a wide variety of publications across all topics related to beauty and lifestyle. To come up with this list, she consulted Gary McCoy, a Lowe's Store Manager, and thoroughly researched the best pressure washers while considering factors like PSI, motor type, and utilization purpose.