The industry has produced a LOT of pressure washers. We must have counted over a dozen manufacturers—each with its own particular claims to fame. With such a broad range of models and features (PSI, pumps, power supply, etc), it can be hard to make a decision…or even know where to start. You want to buy the best electric pressure washer or the best gas pressure washer you can. The right choice and model depend on how you plan to use it. The OPE Reviews team put their collective heads together to help you get the right one.
Let’s start with the best electric pressure washer since these seem to be so popular these days.
Greenworks GPW3000 3000 PSI 2.0 GPM Electric Pressure Washer
Rarely do we see a 3000PSI rating (that we trust) on a pressure washer. This one also brings up to 2.0 GPM (1.1 GPM @ 3000 PSI certified by PWMA ). That makes the Greenworks 5110502VT one of the most powerful electric pressure washers we’ve ever tested. In addition to making this list, it won consideration as our best electric pressure washer of the year. The brushless motor combines with Greenworks calls “JettFlow” technology to get more water on the surface. We also like that Greenworks uses PWMA-certified ratings and lets you know the pressure and flow rates you can actually expect with their tools.
Priced just under $400, you pay for the quality of this best electric pressure washer pick. It does currently, however, get you about as much power as you can expect without running a gas model.
Best Pressure Washer for Cars
For residential use, we really like the convenience and portability of the DeWalt DWPW2100. It gets the job done and hardly takes up any space at all. All of the accessories store right onboard—making this the most compact pressure washer we’ve ever tested.
We have to add a REALLY IMPORTANT caveat to our best pressure washer for cars recommendation. Namely: Don’t pressure wash your car! Almost any of the gas and electric pressure washers we’ve tested create enough water pressure to damage the finish and even strip the paint off your car or truck. IF you want to use a pressure washer on your car, ONLY use the soap nozzle. . Use that soap nozzle to apply soap and rinse the vehicle. Good ole fashioned elbow grease combined with a nice soft cloth fits the bill when it comes to actually cleaning your vehicle.
With that said, we have been known to pair a pressure washer with a good-quality foam cannon. We recommend the Chemical Guys Big Mouth Max Release Foam Cannon. You actually have to stay under a 3500 PSI rating to use this foam canon.
The 2100 PSI pressure and honest 1.2 GPM flow rate provide plenty of power for vehicular use. It also fits the budget.
What About Electric Pressure Washers for Cars and Car Detailing?
Just about any pressure washer will suffice for simply applying soap to cars. If you use a pressure washer professionally for car detailing, however, you likely want a gas model with a higher GPM rating. To lay down really thick foam from a foam cannon, you need something that puts out a true 2.0 GPM (or more). Even though many electric pressure washers claim to produce over 2.0GPM—most do not. Go with a smaller gas model.
For general cleaning and rinsing, you may want to consider grabbing one of the many cordless power cleaners that simplify things and eliminate a lot of setup and teardown. Power washers work very well for the homeowner who simply wants something for weekly or monthly car washing.
Best Gas Pressure Washer
While we’d like to pick just a single product—the truth is that we like every one of the Simpson SuperPro Roll-Cage gas pressure washers. While heavy to lift, the 4-wheel design makes it easy to transport once it’s on the ground. In fact, we’d say it’s far easier to move around than traditional 2-wheel designs that need to be lifted. We also like the steel tubular roll cage frame. Simpson also assembles these pressure washers in the USA using globally-sourced parts.
We always prefer the Honda-powered models found on the best gas pressure washers. You can find decent Kohler and CRX engine options as well, but choose the Hinda for the best reliability. The SuperPro gas pressure washers range from 3000 to 7000 PSI and between 2.5 and 8.0 GPM. For professional use, the wide range of PSI/GPM combinations give you tons of options.
Price: $899.99 – $5999.99
Best Battery-Powered Pressure Washer
Ryobi HP Brushless Whisper Series 1500 PSI 1.1 GPM Pressure Washer
A few years ago, the concept of a battery-powered pressure washer seemed out of reach. Now we have a few options. We think the Ryobi 40V HP Brushless model is the best battery-powered pressure washer in a very small field of contenders.
When you put the Ryobi RY40PW15VNM into Boost mode, you get up to 1500 PSI and 1.2 GPM of cleaning power. This battery-powered pressure washer runs on a single Ryobi 40V pack but also has a second active battery port. For the best performance and runtime, we recommend using the two included 6Ah 40V batteries.
One feature really set this model apart from others. You don’t need to connect a hose to the Ryobi 40V HP brushless pressure washer to use it. Instead, an internal pump can siphon from a natural water source or even a bucket of water for short jobs. You could presumably drop the siphon hose into your pool and clean your aluminum cage.
Price: $499 with two 6.0Ah batteries and a rapid charger
Best Heavy-Duty Commercial Pressure Washer
Simpson PowerShot 4400 PSI 4.0 GPM Gas Pressure Washer PS60843
For the money, we can’t find a better value than the Simpson PowerShot PS60843 for our best commercial pressure washer pick. It features a solid 4400 PSI of pressure and puts out up to 4.0 GPM. If you need more pressure than this you may be looking for a belt drive or even a pull-behind model. For what you pay, Simpson includes a 420cc CRX (Simpson OEM) engine that drives a reliable AAA triplex plunger pump.
If you find you do need a bit more performance, check out the Simpson Water Blaster series which does add belt drive and drives up to 4.0 GPM with its Honda GX390 engine.
Best Pressure Washer for Home Use
Ryobi 2300 PSI 1.2 GPM High-Performance Electric Pressure Washer with Surface Cleaner RY142300-SC
At home, pressure washers tend to spend most of their time cleaning driveways, sidewalks, and vinyl siding. Less common uses include cleaning the sides and roofs of RVs and cleaning off boats, decks, fences, and screen pool enclosures. With a pressure washer destined for residential applications, we want to see as much pressure and water flow as possible (at least 2100 PSI and 1.2 GPM). However, we also want all that at a decent price.
For what ends up as an occasional use tool, we like to recommend brushless electric pressure washers. It removes the need for gas engine and oil maintenance and you don’t need to winterize the tool. Our pick for the best pressure washer for home use is the Ryobi RY142300. We like the 2300 PSI rating (which happens to be PWMI-certified). Also, 1.2 GPM fits our minimum on how much water it puts out. Best of all? You can pick up an optional surface cleaner kit for just $14 more! That WILL save you hours of time when performing tasks like pressure washing your driveway and sidewalks.
Price: $313 ($299.99 without the surface cleaner)
Best Portable Pressure Washer
Ryobi RY141820VNM 1800 PSI 1.2 GPM Electric Pressure Washer
Several retailers now make truly portable pressure washers. None, however have nailed the design quite like Ryobi’s RY141820VNM 1800 GPI “suitcase” model. This hand-carry pressure washer redefines compact with one of the smallest overall footprints we’ve yet seen. With its small size, you’d think the power would drop as well, however the 1.2GPM flow rate and 1800 PSI make this a formidable portable electric pressure washer.
We think this Ryobi works really well for smaller jobs or even spot-cleaning a particular stain on your driveway. Plus, it easily packs into a trunk, hatchback, or truck bed to move it from place to place.
Best Pressure Washer for Driveways and Concrete
Our recommendation for the best pressure washer for concrete and driveways combines relatively high PSI with a steady amount of water flow. In this case, the Simpson SuperPro Roll Cage series features a solid Honda GX200 engine and AAA triplex pump. It meets our criteria by delivering 3600 PSI and 2.5 GPM.
Paired this pressure washer with a surface cleaner for tackling driveways or large concrete pads and you can move through multiple jobs in a day. We also love the price—which balances performance and value quite well.
Even better? With four wheels, you can roll this pressure washer on and off the trailer multiple times a day with minimal hassle!
Best Pressure Washer for Stripping Paint
Simpson PowerShot 4400 PSI 4.0 GPM Gas Pressure Washer PS60843
When people ask us for the best pressure washer for stripping paint, we figure they must be removing graffiti or working on steel. A strong pressure washer will remove everything if you set it to the highest pressure. If that’s your task, why not get something with ample power and waterflow to save you time and effort?
For removing paint, 4,000 PSI or more does the trick. Industrial solutions get much higher than that, but for now, let’s focus on manageable commercial work.
With 4400 PSI and 4.0 GPM coming from its Simpson 420cc engine and AAA triplex pump, the Simpson PowerShot PS60843 is our pick as the best pressure washer for stripping paint. We like the sturdy frame and all of the Pro-level components. It also seems very affordable for what you get. You can pay more for a similar model with a Honda GX engine, but at $840, we find it difficult to pass on the value of this pressure washer.
Price: $839.99 at Home Depot
Best Pressure Washer for the Money
Simpson Pressure Washers
We’ve tested a lot of different pressure washers from many different manufacturers. Simpson seems to offer the most options and the most value for what you get. They also manufacture a lot of their products here in the USA.
If you catch a deal, you can often find a Simpson pressure washer with a Honda engine at the same price (or less) than what other brands charge for an OEM engine. The company also breaks its pressure washers into several different categories (and their website makes it easy to find the one you really need). This also helps explain just why their products appear so many times in our best pressure washers list.
Best Pressure Washer Surface Cleaner
Simpson 20-inch Industrial Surface Cleaner
Using a surface cleaner dramatically reduces the time it takes to pressure wash a driveway, sidewalk, or concrete patio surface. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve lent out our surface cleaners to neighbors who began a job the old way using a 25-degree tip.
A surface cleaner works by directing the waterflow from your pressure washer into a spinning bar with two or more nozzles built into it. You have to match the PSI rating of the surface cleaner with the pressure washer as they come in different sizes and capacities. Larger models even feature casters to make it easier to move the surface cleaner around—though the water pressure also provides quite a bit of lift for these accessories.
For larger jobs, we love Simpson’s larger 20-inch diameter surface cleaner. It’s well-built and gets the job done quickly. You need to pair this particular model with higher PSI pressure washers (it maxes out at 4,500 PSI). They also have a smaller Simpson 15-inch surface cleaner that pairs with pressure washers up to 3,600 PSI.
While a tad expensive, it certainly gets the job done and saves you lots of time.
Best Pressure Washer Soap and Detergents
A good pressure washer injects soap or detergent after the pump. You don’t want to run chemicals through the system—ever. Most Pros also tell you not to use bleach—it’s simply too damaging to many surfaces.
Instead of bleach, many manufacturers have come up with truly effective cleaners for various uses. These really can cut down on your work time by breaking down the built-up dirt and grime before you hit it with water. We have a couple of favorites and they work specifically with pressure washers, This should help your accessories and tips last longer.
Best Vinyl Siding Cleaner for Pressure Washers
Simple Green Oxy Solve House and Siding Cleaner
When cleaning vinyl siding, Simple Green’s Oxy Solve House and Siding Cleaner is our best pick for use with pressure washers.
Pre-concentrated for pressure washers, they also made it non-toxic and biodegradable. Featuring peroxide as part of the composition, Simple Green claims this formula actually brings back colors without using bleach. Many should appreciate the environmentally-friendly approach, and it seems to work as well as other options that use more aggressive chemicals.
We Also Recommend:
- Rust-Oleum Krud Kutter House and Siding Pressure Washer Concentrate: $13.50/gallon on Amazon
- Zep House and Siding Pressure Washer Concentrate: $32.60 for 4 gallons on Amazon
Best Concrete Cleaner for Pressure Washers
ZEP Driveway, Concrete, and Masonry Cleaner Concentrate
ZEP’s Driveway, Concrete, and Masonry Cleaner works really well on concrete surfaces—even if they’re covered with oil, grease, and/or tire marks.
While not as environmentally friendly as Simple Green, it gives us an easier time getting tough concrete cleaning back up to par.
We Also Recommend:
- Rust-Oleum Krud Kutter Concrete and Driveway Pressure Washer Concentrate Advanced Formula: $41.99 for 2 gallons at Amazon
- Simple Green Concrete and Driveway Cleaner – Pressure Washer Concentrate: $19.79/gallon at Amazon
Best Car Soap for Pressure Washers
Chemical Guys Maxi Suds 2 High Foam Maintenance Shampoo and Gloss Booster
When it comes to cleaning vehicles, Chemical Guys makes some incredibly effective products. We use and recommend their Maxi Suds II High Foam formula as the best car soap for pressure washers. We find that it foams up better than most to cut through the dirt and grease you collect. As it lifts them off of the surface, you can easily wipe them away without leaving scratches and swirls on your finish.
We Also Recommend:
- Karcher Car Wash & Wax Soap for Pressure Washers: $13.99 /gallon on Amazon
Pressure Washer Buying Guide
Pressure Washers vs Power Washers – What’s the Difference?
When you compare pressure washers vs power washers you notice very little difference in pressure or water flow. That means they can have similar PSI/GPM ratings. However, one big thing sets them apart. Power washers have a heating element. Pressure washers just use a cold water supply.
Because of this, power washers do much better at removing stuck-on debris like oil and grease. They cost more and you have more to maintain over time. Most Pros and homeowners, as a result, tend to use less expensive pressure washers and add chemical detergents to tackle more difficult stains.
We have a great article on pressure washer PSI vs GPM, so we won’t rehash everything here. Suffice it to say, every pressure washer lists a number for both PSI (the maximum pressure) and GPM (the water flow rate). You need to know (and understand) both numbers to make an informed decision about which pressure washer to buy.
The highest pressure comes from the 0º tip. That pressure drops as you move to wider spray nozzles. The GPM number tells you how much actual water the pressure washer stands to deliver per minute. A ton of pressure with very little water won’t do much cleaning!
Calculating a Pressure Washer’s Power
One way you can look at the overall power of a pressure washer would be to multiply PSI x GPM to get a sense of its cleaning power:
|Model A||3000 PSI||2.2 GPM||6,600|
|Model B||3100 PSI||2.1 GPM||6,510|
|Model C||2800 PSI||2.3 GPM||6,440|
This really helps with electric pressure washers in particular since they seem to prioritize PSI over the maximum flow rate. In the table above, Model A doesn’t have either the highest pressure or water flow rate. It does, however, end up having the most overall cleaning power of the three tools listed. This all presupposes that each of the models uses the same standards, of course!
How Much Pressure Washer Power Do You Need?
We’ve broken down some levels of pressure washer below to help you understand where each falls. You don;’t need more pressure washer power if your intended use doesn’t require it. Also, remember that a wider nozzle reduces the water pressure. You can’t, however, make an underpowered pressure washer clean faster or with more power. Given that, you may want to “overbuy” just a little bit.
Buy a Pressure Washer < 500 PSI for:
- Washing vehicles
- Cleaning patio furniture
- Spray-cleaning screens on patios
Get a Pressure Washer < 2000 PSI to:
- Clean shutters
- Clean grill grates
- Remove mold and mildew from patio and lawn furniture
- Spray screens on enclosures
- Remove lighter mildew and mold
- Cleaning smaller areas of concrete or asphalt
Pick Up a 2000 – 3000 PSI pressure washer for:
- Cleaning decks
- Removing mildew and dirt from PVC fences
- Cleaning pavement, concrete driveways, and sidewalks
- Using ~15-inch surface cleaners
- Removing mold and mildew from vinyl siding
- Cleaning stubborn stains
Invest in a 3000 – 4000 PSI pressure washer when you need to do the above plus:
- Pressure wash larger concrete areas
- Run larger (~20-inch) surface cleaners
- Clean a whole house worth of siding
- Tackle deeper stains
- Prep for painting
- Basic paint stripping/graffiti removal (at the top of the range)
- Paint stripping/graffiti removal
- Concrete (driveways and sidewalks)
- Cleaning with the largest surface cleaner attachments
- Deeper stains
- Large paint prep
Gas, Electric, or Battery?
As you consider what kind of power plant you want on your pressure washer, there are some significant trade-offs.
Electric pressure washers are ideal for homeowners thanks to their low maintenance designs. They also run quieter and with fewer emissions. The downside is that they’re limited on power and water flow—the very things you need to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
If you’re buying an electric pressure washer, consider one that has GFCI built-in. If you decide on one that doesn’t have this feature, make sure you plug into an outlet that does.
Gas pressure washers are loud, require more maintenance, and have gas emissions. But electric motors don’t have anything on the pressure and water flow you get from a gas engine. In fact, electric pressure washers pretty much tap out by the mid-2000 PSI range. Much more and you’ll need a 240V plug.
Then there’s battery power. Currently, Greenworks has the only battery-powered pressure washer on the market with legitimate pressure, though there are a few pressure washers in the 300–450 PSI range. The sacrifice here is primarily run-time.
When you look at what the battery-powered industry is doing with gas engine replacements on ZTR’s or Milwaukee’s MX Fuel system , if electric options have a shot to compete with gas, it’s going to be using a battery for power instead of a wall outlet.
Commercial or Residential?
While there are a few electric pressure washers that are labelled “commercial”, they still fall well short of the pressure and water flow professionals need on a daily basis.
Instead, we’re really talking about the difference between commercial and residential gas pressure washers. It boils down to two major components: the engine and the pump.
Commercial pressure washers use commercial grade engines, such as the Honda GX series. Residential models use lighter-duty engines. The Honda GC series is a good example.
The other piece of the puzzle is the pump. The best pressure washer pump is a triplex pump on pressure washers for professional use and an axial cam pump on residential models. Many residential electric models use an integrated pump, but we prefer a separate axial cam design.
If you’re on the commercial side, consider an engine with EFI—electronic fuel injection . It’ll give you easier starting and better fuel economy.
Buyer Beware: PSI Max*
There are pressure washers on the market, primarily from the Snow Joe brand, Sun Joe, that uses “PSI Max” in their boldest product packaging and product webpages. Unfortunately, it’s completely misleading when you’re trying to compare pressure washers in an apples-to-apples fashion.
Somewhere in smaller print, you’ll find the “working pressure” or “rated pressure”. And it’s significantly less.
Take for example Sun Joe’s 3000 PSI Max/1.30 GPM system. It’s amazingly high power for an electric model, right? It sounds like it, but the actual working specs are 2300 PSI and 1.1 GPM. That “Max” pressure is more than 30% higher than its actual working pressure.
The rationale is that the pressure washer really does hit those numbers momentarily, and it’s important for consumers to know to avoid damage or injury.
Things that make you go hmmm…
Read more about the Better Business Bureau’s NAD decision to allow this type of advertising based on consumer relevancy here .
Pressure Washer Nozzles
Every pressure washer needs a set of nozzles, a hose, and a wand. Most use a standard quick connector, making a replacement pretty easy to acquire if you need it.
A lot of pressure washers come with 0º, 15º, 25º, 40º, and soap nozzles, though some may come with one or two less. That grouping covers the vast majority of applications you’ll come across. They’re color-coded and most models have a key on the frame you can reference. Even if it doesn’t, the angle is marked on the nozzle itself.
Nozzles are pretty inexpensive if you need to replace them. However, they have a PSI rating. Make sure you don’t buy one rated for less than what your pressure washer delivers. Most are a 1/4-inch QC (quick connect) and are compatible with the majority of pressure washer wand connections.
Pressure Washer Hoses
The hose that comes with your pressure washer is going to be paired intentionally by the manufacturer. Like the nozzles, they’re rated for a particular PSI. When looking for a replacement, use that rating as a guide and get as close as you can to what your model has.
You don’t want to put more pressure through a hose than it’s rated for. On the other hand, getting a hose that’s rated for a lot more pressure than your pressure washer produces can reduce your performance, especially if you move up in diameter.
When in doubt, check your manual to see what hose diameter and length are appropriate for your exact model.
Pressure Washer Wands
Pressure washer wands are probably the most vulnerable part of the entire system. Because they are tubes by nature and need to be light enough to effectively use, they’re also prone to bending, pinching, or flat-out breaking off if they get stepped on.
The best way to avoid damage is to hang the wand off the ground when you’re not using it and try to avoid leaning it against the wall or trailer.
Sooner or later, you’re going to need a replacement, though. Like the other accessories we’ve been discussing, they have a PSI rating to them. Stick with the same diameter tube and quick connect nozzles (most are a 1/4-inch tube with 1/4-inch QC), and you should be good to go.
The last thing to look for is the connection to your spray gun—the threads need to match. Most are M22 connections and you can always double-check your manual to be sure.
On a Well for Your Water Supply?
Most pressure washers need a pressurized water supply, even though the pump and the engine take it to another level. Water coming from well pumps often doesn’t have enough pressure and might not work with some pressure washers. Double-check the manual to be sure, and email the manufacturer if it’s not clear.
Hey, you made it to the end of the article! Thanks for sticking with us—we know it’s a long one. There are a lot of relevant topics and scenarios, including some we had to leave out for the sake of time and space. If you have any questions, comments, or want to give us a shout out about your favorite pressure washer, feel free to leave them in the comments below!
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