The 5 Best Pressure Washers for Big and Small Cleaning Jobs
By Corrie Pelc
While standard garden hoses can do a pretty decent job of cleaning dirt and muck from outdoor surfaces, it’s usually hard to get enough pressure to really get the job done. A lot of times you end up having to go in with a sponge or rag to really get something clean.
Enter the pressure washer — a mechanical device that uses pressurized water to easily and thoroughly clean outdoor areas. Want to clean up the grime stuck on your patio stones? Pressure washer. How about cleaning the dirt off your house siding? Pressure washer. Got a mess on your walkway you need to make short work of? You guessed it — pressure washer.
Now that we’ve convinced you that you need a pressure washer in your life, let’s look at this complete guide to the best ones you can buy this year.
Best Overall Pressure Washer: Sun Joe SPX3000 Electric Pressure WasherA much-loved and highly-respected pressure washer that won’t break the bank.
Best Cordless Pressure Washer: WORX WG644 40V Power Share Hydroshot Portable Power CleanerAn extremely lightweight, battery-operated pressure washer that can be used just about anywhere.
Best Gas-Powered Pressure Washer: Westinghouse WPX2700 Gas Powered Pressure WasherA medium-duty gas pressure washer that can tackle almost any job you need it for.
Best Budget Pressure Washer: RYOBI 1,600 PSI Electric Pressure WasherA light-duty, extremely portable electric pressure washer for under $100.
Best Pressure Washer for Tough Jobs: Simpson MegaShot MSH3125-SA heavy-duty gas-powered pressure washer that can handle any cleaning task you throw at it.
What is a Pressure Washer?
A pressure washer is a device that uses pressurized water to clean outdoor areas, such as driveways, walkways, patios, grills, outdoor furniture, and home exteriors. A water hose connects the pressure washer machine to an outdoor spigot. Once water starts to flow into the machine, you turn the washer's motor on which pressurizes the water, forcing it out of the pressure washer's hand wand.
At the end of the hand wand is a nozzle. Pressure washers will come with either one nozzle that allows you to turn it to different angles for different cleaning purposes, or it will come with a variety of nozzles you can change in and out as needed.
There are a few important pressure washer features you should familiarize yourself with before purchasing:
Gas or Electric? — Pressure washers are either powered by gas or electricity, whether it’s corded or battery-operated. Both options come with their own pros and cons, and it’s really a personal preference which you like best.
PSI and GPM — The main ways in which a pressure washer's power is calculated are through the gallons per minute (GPM) and pounds per square inch (PSI). The GPM measures how much water the pressure washer shoots through its spray wand, and the PSI measures the force the water is being shot out with. There are three levels of pressure washers based on the GPM and PSI measurements:
- Light-duty pressure washers are usually smaller and lightweight, making them a great option for lighter cleaning jobs around the house or cleaning a car. They usually have a PSI up to 2,000 and a GPM of 2 or under.
- Medium-duty pressure washers can handle tougher jobs like removing stains from decks and deep-cleaning concrete. They are still appropriate for home use but will be larger and a bit more expensive than light-duty washers. Medium-duty washers usually have PSIs between 2,000 to 2,800 with 2-3 GPM.
- Heavy-duty pressure washers are the best for large-scale cleaning projects that are usually left to professionals, like removing graffiti and paint stripping. They'll have PSIs of 2,800+ and 3-4 GPM.
Important Note: Pressure washers are no joke. They are powerful tools and as such, require safety equipment such as goggles or safety glasses when operating. Never point the pressure washer wand at other humans or animals, and watch out for plants as pressurized water can damage them. And always make sure the safety lock is turned off on the wand or trigger when you are changing out nozzles or not using the pressure washer at that moment.
Test Factors We Considered When Picking the Best Pressure Washers
Let’s go over the test factors we used when deciding on the best pressure washers for 2022:
- Price: Knowing the price of the pressure washer is important for factoring it into the user’s home improvement and maintenance budget.
- Power: Is the pressure washer powered by gas or electricity?
- Weight: How heavy is the pressure washer? This is important in determining how easy it is to move around a property.
- Max Pressure: How much force does the pressure washer use to shoot water out of its wand? This is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). The higher the PSI, the tougher jobs the washer can tackle.
- GPM: How much gallons per minute (GPM) of water does the pressure washer move through the wand? The more water that shoots out of the wand, the faster the washer can get something clean.
- Wand: Pressure washers come with a wand used to guide the water as it shoots out. Some wands are extendable and some come with built-in sprayers.
- Nozzles: How many different nozzles does the pressure washer include?
- Detergent Tank: Some pressure washers come with a detergent tank for applying cleaners for projects like cleaning a car.
- Water Hose Length: Pressure washers come with a hose to attach to an outdoor spigot. Knowing the hose length indicates how much room the user has to move the pressure washer around a property.
- Warranty: Does the manufacturer back the performance of its product?
Without further ado, here are our picks for the best pressure washers this year.
Best Overall Pressure Washer: Sun Joe SPX3000 Electric Pressure Washer
With over 43,500 ratings and 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, there's no secret as to why the Sun Joe SPX3000 Electric Pressure Washer is our overall top pick for the best pressure washer you can buy right now. This pressure washer produces up to 2,030 PSI and 1.76 GPM, making it capable of tackling a variety of cleaning jobs around the house, including driveways, patios, cars, RVs, and boats. The washer features two 0.9-liter detergent tanks so you can store and use two different types of cleaners at the same time. Weighing only 31 pounds, the washer is easily moved around on its dual rear wheels. The included 34-inch extension spray wand makes quick work of reaching both low and high areas, from the undersides of boats to the second-story exterior of homes. And the Sun Joe SPX3000 Electric Pressure Washer includes five quick-connect spray nozzles, a 35-foot power cord, and a 20-foot hose.
- Capable of tackling a variety of cleaning jobs around the house
- Includes 34-inch extension spray wand and five nozzles
- Dual detergent tanks allow you to use two different cleaners at the same time
- Corded electric pressure washer has to be plugged in to work
Best Cordless Pressure Washer: WORX WG644 40V Power Share Hydroshot Portable Power Cleaner
Weighing only about seven pounds, the WORX WG644 40V Power Share Hydroshot Portable Power Cleaner is a pleasure to work with. This battery-operated pressure washer runs on two 20V batteries, allowing you to use it pretty much anywhere you want. It comes with a 20-inch draw hose that is capable of pulling water from any source — such as buckets, lakes, or pools — making it that much more portable. The pressure washer has a maximum 450 PSI, which is just enough pressure for routine cleaning jobs such as cleaning windows, outdoor furniture, cars, and other outdoor equipment. And it also has a lighter pressure job of down to 290 PSI to help save battery power. The WORX WG644 40V Power Share Hydroshot Portable Power Cleaner comes with a 4-in-1 interchangeable nozzle and is backed by a three-year warranty.
- Only weighs seven pounds
- 20-foot draw hose capable of pulling water from any source
- Comes with a 4-in-1 interchangeable nozzle
- Batteries have to be recharged after use
- PSI and GPM are on the low end
Best Gas-Powered Pressure Washer: Westinghouse WPX2700 Gas Powered Pressure Washer
Easily deep-clean a wide variety of outdoor objects and areas with the Westinghouse WPX2700 Gas Powered Pressure Washer. This gas-powered pressure washer features a one-gallon gas tank and provides up to 2,700 PSI of water pressure at 2.3 GPM. Water comes in through the washer's 25-foot abrasion-resistant hose and goes out through its lightweight spray gun with four interchangeable nozzles. It also has a half-gallon soap tank onboard when you need to use a cleaner. Although this pressure washer is a bit heavy at 63 pounds, its 12-inch wheels make it easy to move around your property. The Westinghouse WPX2700 Gas Powered Pressure Washer is constructed from a steel frame so it lasts for a very long time, and it's backed by a three-year limited manufacturer warranty for service, labor, and parts.
- 25-foot abrasion-resistant hose
- Lightweight spray gun with four interchangeable nozzles
- Steel frame construction
- Bit on the heavy side
- Gas-powered washers require more maintenance
Best Budget Pressure Washer: RYOBI 1,600 PSI Electric Pressure Washer
With more than 8,000 reviews and 94-percent customer recommendations on HomeDepot.com — and a price tag at under $100 — the RYOBI 1,600 PSI Electric Pressure Washer is our pick for best budget pressure washer. Weighing about 16 pounds, this compact pressure washer can be easily carried wherever you need it to go thanks to its top-handle design. Despite its small size and price, this light-duty pressure washer emits 1,600 PSI of water at 1.2 GPM, allowing it to efficiently handle lots of cleaning jobs, including windows, vehicles, and patio furniture. It comes with a spray wand and three nozzles, including a turbo nozzle for 50-percent faster cleaning and it also has a detergent tank, 20-foot water input hose, and 35-foot electric cord.
- Under $100
- Top-handle design makes it very portable
- Comes with three nozzles, including a turbo nozzle for 50-percent faster cleaning
- Will struggle with medium- and heavy-duty cleaning tasks
Best Pressure Washer for Tough Jobs: Simpson MegaShot MSH3125-S
If you have a large property or big cleaning jobs that require a ton of pressurized water, you'll want to check out the Simpson MegaShot MSH3125-S. This gas-powered pressure washer puts out a substantial 3,200 PSI at 2.5 GPM, making it almost a commercial-grade pressure washer. The washer's 25-foot high-pressure water hose is built to be flexible and resistant to abrasions. Although it weighs 65 pounds, the washer is easily maneuverable thanks to its 10-inch wheels and handlebar. The included wand features a quick-connect spray lance with five different nozzles and the washer’s frame is constructed from welded steel for extra durability.
- Puts out a heavy-duty 3,200 PSI at 2.5 GPM
- 25-foot water hose is abrasion-resistant
- Spray wand comes with five interchangeable nozzles
- Gas pressure washers require more maintenance than electric
Pressure Washer Care Tips
A pressure washer is an investment and as such, you want it to last for many years to come. Here are some tips on getting the most out of your new tool:
- Read the Manual — Before firing up your new pressure washer, always read the user's manual to learn what every button does and how to use it safely and properly.
- Inspect Before Each Use — If you have a gas-powered pressure washer, check the oil levels. If you have an electric-powered pressure washer, check the cord for any fraying. And regardless of which type of washer you have, check the water hose and couplings to ensure there are no leaks or faults to worry about.
- Remove Excess Detergent — If your system is a detergent tank, make sure to flush any excess detergent out thoroughly when you are done. You don't want to allow detergent to build up in the system as it will affect its performance.
- Store Properly — Once you're done with your pressure washer, make sure you're storing it somewhere it will stay safe and dry, such as a shed or garage. Leaving it out in the elements can lead to rust or rips in hoses and cords.
Do you have a particular pressure washer that makes you happy? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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