Pressure washers have become indispensable power tools for both professional and home users. Used for everything from graffiti removal to boat cleaning, these power tools infuse water with high pressure and turn them into a potent cleaning force. The water jet produced by a pressure washer varies on the type of nozzle used. Some water jets are ideal for removing dirt and grime while others are powerful enough to strip paint off a surface. Pressure washers are powerful machines, which is why it’s important to choose one that is adequate for your needs and skill level.
Before choosing a pressure washer, you have to consider your requirements. What will you do with your pressure washer once you have it? Will you be washing vehicles and boats? Or would you be cleaning your home’s façade and driveway? You have to be absolutely sure about the pressure washer’s purpose since you need to get one that has the correct nozzles and attachments. You also don’t want to get a washer that’s too weak or too powerful for the job. Once you have determined what works and what doesn’t, you can then choose a pressure washer.
There are three major considerations when it comes to petrol pressure washers. There are also three minor features that people tend to gloss over but matters a lot if you are going to use a pressure washer for professional work.
For petrol pressure washers, your main considerations should be the horsepower (HP) rating of the engine. The engine is responsible for the volume and pressure capacity of the machine. Some cheap pressure washers advertise higher pressure without increasing the HP rating. The pressure rating should be commensurate with the HP.
Check pressure washers for their HP, PSI (pounds per square inch) and GPM (gallons per minute). Domestic pressure washers should go for a 5HP for typical washing work, but if it’s for washing vehicles then a lesser powered pressure washer would do fine.
Professional users should go for a pressure washer with at least 6.5HP, depending on the type of work required. Some people, however, prefer commercial-grade 13HP pressure washers but its use is limited to workshops and manufacturing plants.
The volume produced by a pressure washer can be measured in GPM or gallons per minute. This unit determines how much water the machine can discharge per minute. Along with the PSI rating, the GPM is the most effective barometers of the petrol pressure washer’s effectivity.
Pressure is measured in PSI or pounds per square inch. Many people assume that PSI is the most important factor when choosing a pressure washer, but in fact, it’s the least important of the three units. However, PSI is still an important measurement of the pressure washer’s performance.
One of the best ways to measure the petrol pressure washer’s cleaning power is to multiply the PSI with the GPM. Those two measurements together is a reflection of the pressure washer’s effectivity. Couple it with the HP and you can get an idea of how much power a machine possesses.
Most cheap, low-quality pressure washers source their pumps from local factories or Chinese imports. When choosing a pressure washer, ask if the pump is built by the manufacturer or outsourced to a third-party supplier. Your best bet, however, is to choose a pressure washer from a good brand.
You might think you’re saving by getting a cheap pressure washer but you’ll be assured of a better performance, longer service life and easy access to spare parts with a more expensive model. Don’t forget to check the pump’s components as well. Some of the telltale signs that it’s a high-quality pump are brass heads, ceramic plungers and thermal relief valves.
Vertical or Horizontal Shaft
The direction of the engine shaft is a little-known but nonetheless important consideration. Vertical shafts tend to be more affordable and have a shorter service life. Meanwhile, horizontal shafts are pricier but are more reliable. If you want the pressure washer to last you for a long time then choose one with a horizontal shaft.
1. Top Choice – Honda 200-2900 PSI 196cc Petrol Engine Powered High-Pressure Portable Jet Sprayer
- Very Long Lasting Engine and Frame
- 8.5 liters per minute flow rate
- 4 nozzles including soap
- 0.6L of engine oil free
- 24 month manufacturer warranty
- Feeds from barrel
- Heavy at 27.5 kg
Price & Reviews
I’ve got another Wasper underneath this as a runner up but it doesn’t compete with this one, why? It’s got a honda engine.
I have heard nothing but good things about Hona engines, it doesn’t matter how old they get, their engines start and they work. A mechanic friend doesn’t like their cars because they can be prone to rust but even he loves the engines.
And the rust isn’t a problem because this frame is indestructible with a powder-coated steel frame. Who knew a pressure washer could be an heirloom you give to your kids?
It’s got a steeper price stage but it’s completely worth it having 4 different angle nozzles and an adjustable detergent you can clean anything and everything around your house. Plenty of pressure at a max of 200bar it does a great job cleaning cars, the patio, your driveway, your kids, your private jet, OK maybe not those last two but you get the message.
It can be fed out of a barrel if that’s your thing or it’s got a standard hose connector. It also fits a standard foam lance if you want to get a really soapy clean.
If you’re cleaning your car then make sure to take care, stand further back and go in bursts so you don’t wreck the paint.
Easily the Best Petrol pressure washer you can buy, a great investment that you can clean with for decades to come.
2. Runner Up – WASPPER Petrol Engine Powered High-Pressure Ultra Light Jet Sprayer
- 3.5-litre fuel capacity
- 145 bars
- 420 litres per hour water flow
- Compact design
- 18.8-kilo weight
- 6.5-meter hose length
- 5-year guarantee
- Ergonomic trigger gun handle
- Quiet for a petrol 4 stroke motor
- No wheels
- No water filter
- Only comes with one nozzle
Price & Reviews
If you’re short on space then this Waspper pressure washer is an excellent compact washer that can find a home in the smallest of storage areas. It’s so small it can be carried with one hand allowing you to get it into some otherwise inaccessible areas.
It is also small enough to fit into just about any car boot to take on the road to your off-grid cabin or to help a friend out at his house.
That doesn’t mean it is weak, though. It boasts 145 bars of pressure and 420 litres an hour of water flow.
The one drawback is that it only comes with one nozzle, a 15-degree jet version. This is a good nozzle for most jobs but when you need to do a gentle job you may want a nozzle with about a 25-degree angle jet. For instance, you shouldn’t attempt to clean a painted surface with that nozzle.
The motor runs quiet and it has 4 rubber studded feet. This cushions any vibration to alleviate any rattling noises. There are also rubber bumpers between the motor and the frame. It also runs cool, as the motor has fins to help it air cool and not emit too much exhaust heat.
I like the trigger gun handle. It is easy to operate one-handed with a large trigger that is very responsive. This little power washer is easy to use and is ready to go right out of the box. No assembly required.
To cover a lot of area in a little time then this is an ideal small petrol power washer.
3. Most Powerful – Kiel Heavy Duty Petrol Power Washer 15HP
- 15 HP
- 4800 Psi
- 840 Litres per Hour
- 20 m commercial brand hose
- 4 wheels for easy movement
- Cleans 120 square m per hour
- Very heavy
Price & Reviews
This is easily one of the best pressure washers available, it’s got incredible power with a 4 stroke engine and 15 hp, that’s huge for a pressure washer!
But what I like about it is the cleaning power is adjustable so you can start on a lower pressure so you don’t ruin any patios or decking and start stripping paint accidentally. Handle any cleaning job quickly and efficiently with this high-pressure washer. The highest power, highest water flow rate and a 20 m high-pressure hose to reach anywhere you need to.
The long hose is more of a blessing because this beast is on 4 wheels for a reason, as well as being all-terrain wheels it’s VERY heavy at 73kg, so you wheel it out and leave it where it is. But this is the trade-off for higher power.
If you’re looking for commercial-grade cleaning at home then this is the pressure washer for you.
4. Best Budget Pick – Parker Brand 6.5HP Petrol Pressure Jet Washer
- 200 bars of pressure
- 550 litres per hour water flow
- Includes 4 nozzles
- Pistol handle trigger
- Long hose
- Sturdy wheels
- Runs loud
- Tricky to start
Price & Reviews
For a budget petrol power washer, you may want to consider this powerful unit by Parker.
At under £200, you get quite a punch with some nice versatility.
At 6.5 horsepower, the motor is quite robust. This does mean that it can be loud, however.
The pressure of 200 bars is also just short of professional, so you can cover just about any project around the home (and beyond, since it doesn’t require an electricity hookup) that requires a pressure washer.
Luckily there are nozzles which can reduce the pressure so you aren’t limited to blasting the surface off your cleaning area. A low-pressure nozzle can act as a soaker for detergent for a pre-wash. A pencil spray nozzle will focus on a small area to get into cracks and crannies. The narrow spray nozzle can be used to strip paint or blast grime off a deck or patio. And the wide nozzle covers all of your other cleaning needs.
All the nozzles are handily stored on the frame for easy access.
The pistol grip handle makes it very comfortable to work for long periods. The trigger is easy to pull and hold and there is a ridged grip to hold onto that won’t slip if your hands are wet.
Start up is a bit tricky. If you find it isn’t starting straight away, then check the oil level. It needs to be at the full line for the motor to turn over. Assuming it is full, it will start right away.
Spending £200 might not seem like a budget option, but petrol pressure washers generally go for much more. Considering the power that you get with this Parker pressure washer, it will seem like a bargain. It’s versatility also means it won’t sit in storage for most of the year collecting dust. The more you use it, the more value you get for the money, as well.
5. Best From A Barrel – Hyundai HYW3000P2 210cc Petrol Pressure Washer
- Detergent tank
- 8.75 litres per minute
- 2800 psi
- On wheels
- 4 different nozzles
- Lower Power
Price & Reviews
This is a great versatile choice, it can take water from the mains or gravity fed from a barrel and it’s got a built-in detergent tank for ease of use.
It’s not the most powerful but it’s very well built with a steel frame and an engine from a car company you can trust, Hyundai (at least I have a Hyundai so I hope you can trust them!). The wheels are also puncture-proof for easy mobility.
The engine has an auto cut-off if the oil gets low which is something to be aware of if you buy it and it doesn’t start or it gives up the ghost on you. It’s a 4-stroke petrol engine so needs to be treated like any other.
Another good plus is the engine is designed to not run at maximum revs while cleaning so it won’t burn out, you can go on using it every year and have this for the long term. Especially with the steel frame that won’t rust while it’s sitting in the shed over winter.
An ideal patio cleaner but a fine choice for any cleaning task you might have lined up for when you finally get the pressure washer you’ve been wanting for ages. go on, it’ll make life so much easier.
Petrol Power Washer vs Electric Power Washer
If you are buying your first pressure washer, then you likely are asking yourself which type of power washer should you buy. Electric or Petrol?
There is no wrong answer to this question, of course. It all depends on your needs since the two types have distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Breaking down each one by category should give you a clearer picture of which one best suits your needs.
The maximum power you can expect to get from an electric pressure washer is 180 bars. Which is more powerful than most home clean up projects would likely require. Typically an electric washer comes in around 110 bars. Again, this will suffice for most jobs around the house.
A petrol pressure washer can offer up to 150 at a minimum going up to about 275 bars. This is a lot of power and you likely won’t need that much if you just plan to wash your windows or bicycle.
It is nice to have that extra power in the chance that you need it. It’s better to have the extra psi and not need it than to not have the power when you do need it.
Petrol power washers can give you more litres of water per hour than electric, but most of the non-professional models have about the same rating as electric. Expect to get 360 litres per hour on the lower end for an electric and 600 litres per hour on the higher end for either electric or petrol.
You will have more options for higher water flow when you are shopping for a petrol power washer, however. If you have a large job then it makes sense to have a petrol pressure washer to handle a bigger area in less time thanks to a potential higher water flow.
Besides the higher power of a petrol washer, this category is where they stand out. A petrol pressure washer is more durable than an electric. A petrol washer is made with more metal parts and higher-grade materials than electric in general. With proper maintenance, you can expect to get many years more from a petrol washer than electric.
This is where electricity outshines a petrol washer. Since electric pressure washers run off your mains supply, they don’t have as complex a motor.
Petrol motors require changing oil, filters and buying the petrol needed to power the unit. Rubber fuel lines can dry out and crack and need to be checked regularly.
If your petrol power washer sits for long periods of inactivity then you’ll need to use a fuel stabilizer to prevent the tank from oxidizing since old petrol can corrode the metal.
Spark plugs also need to be checked regularly and changed.
This may all sound like a lot of work, but we are talking about minutes of your time every once in a while. It’s best to not neglect the maintenance of a petrol pressure washer as regular upkeep will extend years of life to your machine.
Though both types of washer can be compact and easy to store, the fact that one is petrol means that storage has to be carefully considered.
An electric model can be stored in a closet if you need to do that. Obviously, with wet hoses and leaks, you may not want to do that, but there is no danger in storing one in a closet as you would a vacuum cleaner.
Petrol washers, on the other hand, cannot be stored in a house or apartment. You need to keep it in a shed or garage since there are fumes and the petrol is highly flammable.
If you don’t have a safe place to store your petrol power washer, then you should consider an electric one.
If you’re interested in an electric pressure washer then check out either my article on the best car pressure washers or the best patio pressure washer. If you’re looking for a general round the housing washer then have a look at the patio article.
Safety Precautions for Petrol Power Washers
I already noted the storage issue with petrol washers, but it bears repeating. Never store your petrol pressure washer inside the house as fumes can be toxic and there is a major fire hazard.
Also, never run your petrol power washer indoors. Always leave it outside in a well-ventilated area. It will emit exhaust that can give you CO2 poisoning.
Lastly, never run your power washer in the proximity of any objects, like the side of a house for instance. The motor runs hot and gives off some considerable heat which can not only damage your house, car or other structure, or worse, start a fire.
It should also go without saying that you should not touch the motor while it is running as you can risk injury, such as burns. Give it time to cool if you need to touch the motor for any reason.