You have three choices when it comes to pressure washing your grimy outdoor surfaces: hire a professional, rent a unit, or buy one. Purchasing your own top-performing electric pressure washer can save you money down the road, especially if you’ll use it more than once or twice a year. Gas pressure washers are another option, but for most homeowners, a top-rated electric power washer and the best electric pressure washer will perform just as well as an average gas model.
Why Electric over Gas*? Here are the PROS:
- Smaller and lighter
- Easier storage
- Can be used indoors (depends on cleaning surface)
* Like all pressure washers, they can be dangerous if not used correctly. We’ll talk about safety tips that will prevent surface damage as well as injury to you, your family, pets and plants.
Best Electric Pressure Washer
1.Sun Joe SPX3000 Pressure Washer
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The Sun Joe SPX3000 is built to deal with all kinds of cleaning jobs around your home and garden, whether it’s part of the house itself or some outdoor furniture that needs to be sprayed down.
It can create and maintain a water pressure of up to 2030 PSI, enough to strip the dirt straight off most surfaces, and has two built-in detergent tanks that you can switch between on the fly: this lets you carry up to 1.8 liters of up to two different cleaning agents, adding some extra versatility to an already easy-to-adjust washing tool.
Five interchangeable spray nozzles offer five different levels of pressure, each being useful in a range of different situations, while the built-in Total Stop System prevents accidental sprays of water when you’re trying to move the electric pressure washer around or make adjustments to it.
The 20-foot hose and 14-inch extensions wand included in the box help you reach further, while the 35-foot power cord gives you a much larger range of movement while using it.
Why We Like It
- Extremely wide reach
- Two different detergent tanks
- Powerful 2030 PSI spray with adjustable pressure
- Automatic stop system
- Durable metal parts for longer life
PSI2030Dimensions15.6 x 13.5 x 33.9 inWeight31 pounds
The SPX3000 is great for cleaning larger areas, especially big porches or house roofs that need a long-reaching, high-pressure spray to wash effectively.Editor Rating
2.Karcher K5 Premium Pressure Washer
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The Karcher K5 is a 2000 PSI electric pressure washer that can deliver up to forty times the power of a standard garden hose, but still produces a thin spray that can be used to target specific locations and patches of dirt, letting you concentrate on each dirty area with powerful, precise blasts of water.
The durable, compact pump design makes it robust and easy to store away, so you won’t need to worry about it breaking or taking up space if you haven’t needed to use it for a while.
The electric motor has a built-in water cooling system to improve its performance and lifespan, and the upper part of its body uses an easy-to-access detergent tank with its own flow adjustment dial, giving over more control over how much detergent you apply to each surface and how fast you use up a full tank.
Why We Like It
- 25-foot high-pressure hose
- Durable design and engine
- Adjustable spray wand for faster pressure switching
- Detergent tank with flow dial
- Two different spray wands
PSI2000Dimensions34.3 x 13.1 x 16.8 inWeight32 pounds
The robust design of the Karcher K5 makes it one of the best electric pressure washer models we’ve seen when it comes to operational lifespans and long-term performance.Editor Rating
3.Greenworks GPW1501 Pressure Washer
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The Greenworks GPW1501 is a compact yet powerful electric pressure washer that’s designed to deliver consistent bursts of soapy water, regardless of where you’re using it or what material you’re trying to clean.
Although 1500 PSI might seem low on paper, it forces the water out through a tiny nozzle at the end of a 20-foot-long, high-pressure hose, letting it completely obliterate dirt at closer distances.
The inline GFCI plug at the end of its 35-foot power cord means that you won’t need to run it through the inside of your home, and you can safely plug it into outdoor outlets without needing to worry about permanent damage to either the appliance or the plug itself.
The design of the washer’s main body keeps it stable on bumpy or uneven ground, and it won’t suddenly stop working if it’s turned sideways or falls onto its back – Greenworks have specifically stated that its performance is meant to stay the same.
Why We Like It
- Controlled high-pressure spray
- Excellent results as short ranges
- Plugs into external power outlets
- Stable, functions at any angle
- Compact design that’s easy to carry
PSI1500Dimensions11.4 x 17.1 x 9.4 inWeight16.45 pounds
The PGW1501 is a good mix of small size and high power, delivering a solid spray of water directly into any dirty you’re trying to get rid of.Editor Rating
4.Sun Joe SPX4000 Electric Pressure Washer
The Sun Joe SPX4000 is a powerful 2030 PSI electric pressure washer that’s built for maneuverability first and foremost, using a pair of slick wheels to let you easily wheel it around on almost any surface, whether it’s solid wood and stone or bare dirt and grass.
It can be switched to a lower 1450 PSI setting for simpler cleaning jobs, letting you preserve water and power while still getting rid of small patches of dirt, mud, and grease – switching between the two is easy and can be done in a matter of seconds, essentially making it two tools in one.
The 20-foot hose on this electric pressure washer and optional extension wand make it easy to reach dirt in difficult places. On top of this, there are also five different spray tips that allow different levels of pressure, essentially giving you ten different ways to tackle unwanted dirt depending on the situation.
Why We Like It
- Large range of settings
- Relatively lightweight
- Long hose and wand for awkward spots
- Five different spray tips for different pressure levels
- Two PSI settings
PSI2030 (can be reduced)Dimensions22 x 18 x 36.6 inWeight27.8 pounds
The sheer amount of versatility and adjustability this electric pressure washer provides makes it great for all kinds of situations, no matter what kind of dirt it’s dealing with.Editor Rating
5.Ryobi RY141612 Pressure Washer
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The RY141612 electric pressure washer is extremely compact, portable and lightweight, offering a much more mobile solutions to your dirt problems. The simple, semi-angular design makes it easy to store away in nearly any situation, whether it’s in a cupboard at home or in a car when you’re out on the road.
The built-in carrying handle means that you’ll still have your other hand free while you’re carrying it. At 1600 PSI, it packs a lot of power into a small frame, and you’ll be able to blast dirt off most surfaces without needing to bring any extra tools or equipment.
Speaking of extra tools, this electric pressure washer comes with three distinct nozzles, which allow for different types of cleaning that can be switched between on the fly. Despite weighing only around 16 pounds, it’s fairly durable and can take a lot of punishment before showing signs of damage.
Why We Like It
- Extremely portable
- Compact design
- Powerful water spray
- Three nozzles
- Easy to store
PSI1600Dimensions12.5 x 10 x 9.5 inWeight16.75 pounds
This electric pressure washer is great if you need something that you can easily carry with you, and it doesn’t sacrifice much power despite being more compact than other models.Editor Rating
6.Schafter ST5 Pressure Washer
The Schafter ST5 is a simple, easy-to-use electric pressure washer that doesn’t throw too many gimmicks at you, but still offers plenty of variety and versatility. Its 3000 PSI water spray is able to strip dirt straight off of almost any surface, especially at close range, and the automatic total stop system means that you won’t accidentally spray half of your tank into the ground while you’re trying to get it into position.
The 33-foot-long power cord can be plugged into external outlets, giving you a huge range of movement without needing to rely on a cable that’s running inside the house.
This electric pressure washer comes with four nozzles in a variety of different degree settings, meaning that you can choose to have a concentrated spray for tough dirt, something wider to wash away big clumps or a huge 40-degree shower of water to get rid of light stains and thin layers of dry dirt.
Why We Like It
- Powerful 20-foot-long hose
- 3000 PSI
- Four different nozzles
- Can wash almost any materials
- Comes with various other attachments and tools
PSI3000Dimensions11.7 x 10.5 x 29.6 inWeight22 pounds
The ST5 maybe one of the best electric pressure washer models we’ve seen when it comes to large-scale cleaning, especially with its widest nozzle attachment.Editor Rating
7.Ryobi RY141900 Pressure Washer
The RY141900 is a powerful, efficient electric pressure washer that’s built to function consistently for all kinds of urban and suburban cleaning jobs, whether that’s washing windows or hosing down an entire house.
The 13-amp motor has a long lifespan and provides plenty of power, while the high-pressure hose makes it easy to keep up a constant stream of water without running into pressure drops or performance issues on longer cleaning jobs.
This electric pressure washer’s body also contains a removable detergent tank that can be easily filled up with soap, letting you do more than just wash the dirt away with plain old water and a hose winder that keeps everything neatly packed together when you aren’t using it, making storage much easier.
Why We Like It
- Fairly compact design
- Powerful high-pressure hose
- Reliable electric motor
- Removable detergent tank that you can fill with the soap of your choosing
- 2000 PSI water output
PSI2000Dimensions16.5 x 19.2 x 34 inWeight32 pounds
The simple design of the RY141900 makes it a great choice for anybody who needs a basic, reliable electric pressure washer around the house.Editor Rating
8.PAXCESS Electric Pressure Washer
This powerful electric pressure washer can generate up to 1250 PSI of pressure almost immediately, letting you clean up any kind of surface with a powerful directed blast of water and soap.
The built-in total stop system lets you instantly switch off the motor as soon as you’re done washing a spot, so you won’t need to worry about wasting water or losing control of the hose – you can turn it off at the press of a button, keeping all of the washers’ important components safe from harm.
The hose reel mounted below the carrying handle makes it easier to store the pressure washer away without the hose being crushed under other objects, and keeps everything neatly tied up for faster carrying.
Although it only has a single nozzle, it can be adjusted to alter the pattern, width, and intensity of the spraying water, meaning that you don’t need to waste time replacing it if you need a different type of spray to deal with another dirty spot.
Why We Like It
- Total stop system
- Adjustable nozzle
- 1800 watt motor
- 2150 PSI sprays
- Simple, durable design
PSI1800Dimensions35.1 x 13.5 x 63 cmWeight10.3 kg
The high pressure generated by this electric pressure washer makes it an excellent tool for quick bursts of intense cleaning, and its simple design makes it easy to take out and put away on a whim.Editor Rating
9.Stanley SHP2150 Electric Pressure Washer
The SHP2150 is a powerful 2150 PSI electric pressure washer that includes it’s very own foam cannon, allowing it to double as a high-pressure foaming tool for difficult stains and dirty areas that can’t be cleaned with water alone.
The powerful spray can clean a variety of surfaces, even things that can easily attract dirt through natural means, but the washer’s design ensures that it’s both durable and leak-proof to ensure that it’ll withstand constant use.
It comes boxed with an extended wand and a 25-foot-long high-pressure hose, letting you easily reach far-away or awkwardly-placed walls and piece of furniture to hose them down without needing to stand at an uncomfortable angle, and the four different quick-connect nozzles let you quickly swap to a slightly different type of spray when you need it.
Why We Like It
- High-pressure hose
- Multiple easy-to-swap nozzles
- Foam cannon
- Garden hose connection adaptor
- Extended wand for easier long-distance spraying
PSI2150Dimensions14.6 x 13.6 x 26.8 inWeight25.6 pounds
The SHP2150 electric pressure washer offers a surprising amount of flexibility while also being reliable and durable enough to handle heavy use over long periods of time.Editor Rating
10.Briggs & Stratton 20680 Electric Pressure Washer
The Briggs & Stratton 20680 is incredibly durable and tough electric pressure washer, using a carefully-designed metal frame to keep it safe from physical damage and a plastic casing to protect it from weather-related damage. The flexible 20-foot hose allows it to spray water at a variety of different angles without needing to be balanced in unstable or awkward ways.
It’s 900 PSI spray is able to clean most surfaces without slowly wearing out the hose or causing any damage to the nozzle – however, it’s still a strong enough flow of water to strip away any dirt it hits, especially if you hold it close by, and the detachable turbo nozzle helps increase the speed of the water without pushing its pressure any higher. The built-in detergent tank lets you mix in soap and other cleaning agents without needing to permanently add it to the main water supply.
Why We Like It
- Long, flexible hose
- Stable water PSI to reduce wear and tear
- Turbo nozzle
- Integrated detergent tank
- Durable frame for better protection
PSI1800Dimensions15.5 x 18.8 x 34.5 inWeight26.5 pounds
This electric pressure washer is incredibly strong and safety-focused, boasting a long lifespan and high level of physical durability.
What You Need to Know Before Buying a Pressure Washer
Pressure washers have come a long way. Over the last ten years the quality has increased as prices have become more affordable. The cleaning ability of a pressure washer is great, removing dirt, grime, and algae quickly, efficiently and effectively. A pressure washer can greatly increase your ability to maintain and clean your property and equipment giving it greater value. If your time is valuable, a pressure washer could be a good investment, but if you get the wrong machine, you will be frustrated and you could waste a lot of time and money.
The goal of this buying guide is to help you understand what a pressure washer does and what you need to look for when deciding to purchase one. If you’re ready to start shopping, check out the pressure washers at kmstools.com. Or keep reading to learn more about the following:
- How a Pressure Washer Works
- Pressure Washer Pumps
- Direct Drive or Belt Drive
- Gas or Electric
- Pressure Washer Accessories
- Choosing the Right Pressure Washer
How a Pressure Washer Works
A pressure washer is actually a fairly simple piece of equipment. A motor or engine turns a pump, pushing water through an orifice (tip). The water accelerates as it goes through the small hole, much like a river flows faster in a narrow gorge, and that fast-moving water is very useful for blasting dirt and grime. The math is quite simple. Each time the pump turns over, a specific volume of water is pushed through the tip. The more water you push through the tip, the more pressure is developed, and therefore more power is required. The higher the pressure, the faster the water moves, and the harder it hits the dirt, removing it from the surface you want to clean.
What to Consider
The two most important considerations when buying a pressure washer are size, which determines how long it takes to do the job or how many jobs you can do in a day; and life expectancy, which determines how many hours of work you can do per dollar spent during the life of the machine.
Here are some basic ratings:
Horse Power (HP)
This is how much power the engine or motor produces. This rating is important because it directly relates to how much pressure and volume the pump can produce.
Pounds Per Square Inch (PSI)
The pressure generated by a pressure washer is measured in pounds per square inch or PSI. Pressure contributes to the cleaning force.
Gallons Per Minute (GPM)
The water volume produced by a pressure washer is measured in gallons per minute or GPM. Volume also contributes to the cleaning force.
Cleaning Power Units (CPU)
Cleaning Power Units quantifies a pressure washer’s cleaning ability. To determine CPU, multiply GPM x PSI. The greater the CPU, the greater the ability the machine has for cleaning deeply and effectively.
Often consumers are so focused on the PSI rating of the machine, they do not consider the CPU. For example, a pressure washer may have a rating of 2,800 PSI and 2 GPM, giving it a CPU of 5,600. Another pressure washer is rated for 2,400 PSI and 4 GPM. That’s a CPU rating of 9,600. In this example the lower PSI machine has more than 40% greater cleaning power than the higher PSI machine. The result is that the 2,400 PSI machine will be able to clean an area 40% faster than the 2,800 PSI machine.
Now consider this: A garden hose typically provides 6 GPM at 10 PSI giving it 60 CPU. With a standard spray nozzle attached to the garden hose you can get around 5 GPM at about 40 PSI generating 200 CPU. We all have seen the difference of how much more effective a simple spray nozzle is at cleaning dirt off surfaces. Trying to clean your driveway with your garden hose spray nozzle generating 200 CPU is fairly ineffective. However, if we take a mid-range pressure washer rated at 2.0 GPM and 2,500 PSI (5,000 CPU), the CPU rating represents a staggering 25 times increase over a typical garden hose spray nozzle.
A commercial pressure washer rated at 4 GPM and 4,000 PSI is an incredible 16,000 CPU. It is not difficult to see the difference in efficiency. However, this is all true within a range. If you have extremely high pressure and low volume, you can cut steel or concrete (water jet cutter), and if you have extremely high volume and low pressure, you have a river. Neither of these would be very good for cleaning your house or driveway.
Pressure Washer Pumps
This is the part of the pressure washer that receives water from your hose, and pumps it through a tip at high pressure. There are several common types of pumps that you will see in commercial and home-owner type machines. All pressure washer pumps have pistons and valves similar to a gas engine or an air compressor. On some pumps the pistons are driven by a plate on an angle (wobble plate), and in other cases the pistons are driven by a crankshaft. Crankshaft driven pumps are generally built better and will last longer.
Pressure washer pumps are equipped with bypass valves, so that when you let go of the trigger, or when the tip gets plugged, the water will bypass and go back to the inlet side of the pump. If left in this mode for longer than the manufacturer recommends, the water will get hot and cause damage to the pump. On a gas-powered pressure washer, the pump includes a thermal relief valve that dumps hot water into the bypass loop. Most bypass valves are adjustable so you can dial down the pressure when cleaning sensitive materials
Low-cost pressure washers have pumps with very low life expectancies—some as low as 60 – 100 hours. When buying a pressure washer, make sure you find out the life expectancy of the pump. If the information is unavailable, stay clear because it is very likely that the manufacturer does not want you to know how low it is.
Another very important factor to consider is parts availability. KMS Tools was a warranty/service centre for some low end brands, however lack of parts availability and unreliability of these machines were such a problem that we decided to no longer provide this service.
Before buying your machine, ask where you can get parts if you need them. KMS is often referred to by other retailers as a source for parts and repairs for numerous brands that are pretty much disposable. If you are buying a new machine for $200.00 or less, expect it to be a disposable machine that might last you only one season, and be prepared to spend a lot of time to get the job done.
Direct Drive or Belt Drive
The drive describes how the motor is connected to the pump. Direct-drive systems are most common. The pump is bolted directly to the motor or engine with a shaft coupler. Compared to a belt-drive system, direct drive requires fewer parts and space, resulting in a more compact design. Direct drive is also considerably more economical than an equivalently rated belt-drive machine.
Belt-drive systems are typically seen on industrial platforms. The pump on a belt-drive unit turns at a much slower speed. The belt absorbs vibration that would wear out a unit faster. Since the pump turns at a lower speed all the pistons and valves in the pump are larger. All this adds up to a cooler running machine that will last considerably longer than an equivalent direct drive version. However, there is slightly more maintenance and considerably more dollars involved (10 – 30% more). If you are using your pressure washer on the job, then you want to consider buying a belt-drive machine. However, an equivalent direct-drive machine will have the same performance for a lot less money.
Gas Engine or Electric Motor
On a pressure washer, the engine or motor powers the pump. The more powerful the engine or motor (rated in HP), the greater the PSI and GPM the pump produces. Gas engines are typically designed to last between 300 and 3,000 hours. The motors on electric pressure washers usually last longer than the pumps.
Electric motors are very low maintenance and fairly quiet. There is also no exhaust so they can be operated indoors or in poorly ventilated areas. A typical electric pressure washer that is 115 Volt and 15 Amps will be fairly light duty because it is built for the low-price market. The motor is not strong enough to generate much pressure or volume. While electric pressure washers are compact and usually portable, most jobs take longer with a light-duty electric pressure washer.
HP is rated differently on electric motors compared to gas engines. A typical low-price electric pressure washer is rated around 1 to 1-1/2 HP and would be equivalent to a 3 HP gas pressure washer. (Electric motor HP has to be doubled to equal gas engine HP.)
Heavy-duty electric pressure washers are available for applications where power is available and portability isn’t a factor, and exhaust from a gas engine would be a problem.
Gas pressure washers are larger and heavier and mounted on a cart with wheels. Some are better balanced and easier to maneuver. Gas engines can produce more power and are a lot more mobile as they do not need to be plugged in to an electric power source. Since gas engines can be more powerful, the pump can generate considerably more PSI and GPM so that they can clean faster and deeper than any 115 Volt rated electric pressure washer could. However they do take a little more maintenance and cost more to operate. They must be used in well-ventilated areas because of the emission of carbon-monoxide fumes.
Pressure Washer Accessories
Without accessories, your pressure washer is fairly useless. It would be like having a drill without any drill bits.
Pressure Washer Hoses
You probably want a 50 ft length hose. If you go shorter, you will have to keep moving your machine. Make sure you get a quality hose with the proper PSI rating to match your machine. A poor quality hose will break down faster, is more susceptible to leaks and kinks, and will usually be less flexible and harder to work with.
Pressure Washer Wands and Tips
The wand includes a handle with a trigger valve, and different lengths and angles of wands are available for different applications. You can change the spray pattern by changing the tip at the end of the wand. Most pressure washers come with a selection of tips—from a very narrow spray to generate higher force at the tip for deeper cleaning to a wider spray that has less force but covers more area. Most tip sets also include a low pressure tip for applying cleaning solutions.
In addition to tips, other, very useful attachments are available:
A dirt blaster or rotary nozzle attaches to the end of your wand. It has a very narrow spray that spins in a circular motion very rapidly. Dirt blasters are effective because they can quickly clean hard surfaces very well and, when used properly, avoids the tiger striping effect on your driveway that happens with conventional spray tips.
For cleaning out-of-reach areas, look for an extension wand that’s adjustable up to 24 feet in some cases. Extension and telescoping wands are beneficial if you need to reach up high. They can save you from trying to pressure wash while standing on a ladder.
A gutter cleaner is a simple hooked extension that affixes to the end of your wand. It lets you get into your gutters to clean them out.
A Whirl-A-Way is an accessory that looks a little like a lawn mower and has two rotating nozzles inside. They are available in sizes from 12” to 24” and excel at cleaning large flat areas.
Hot Water Pressure Washers
Hot water pressure washers are commercial machines with built-in water heaters. The cleaning effect of the machines is considerably better than a cold water machine with comparable PSI and GPM because hot water simply cleans more effectively than cold water. Hot water pressure washers break down and remove dirt and grime faster than cold water pressure washers, and often eliminate the need for expensive chemicals. Do not feed hot water into a normal cold water pressure washer pump. The heat will damage seals and o-rings.
Detergents can greatly increase the speed of cleaning and help remove tough stains. Most pressure washers come equipped with a venturi tube that will draw in the detergent from a bottle or pail and add it to the water stream. The detergent should be first applied with a low pressure spray, given some time to do its work to break down the dirt, and then washed off with a normal high pressure spray.
Choosing the Right Pressure Washer
When it comes right down to it, you need to buy a pressure washer that fits your application. There are many different types of pressure washers—from very low-end machines to extremely powerful industrial machines. Before you buy a machine you need to sit down and ask yourself these questions:
- “How will I use a pressure washer?”
- “How often will I use a pressure washer?”
If you are a home owner, you will probably use a pressure washer less than 50 hours per year. In this case getting a machine rated for 500 hours will last you up to 10 years if properly maintained. However, if you are using it on the job, you will want something rated for 2,000 hours or more. If time is important to you, buy as big a pressure washer as you can justify. A 13 HP gas pressure washer will clean your driveway about 10 times faster than a small electric unit. It will also last longer because it doesn’t have to run nearly as long to do the job. Finally, plan in advance what attachments you will want in the future and make sure that the pressure washer you buy has enough power to support them.