Best small pressure washer

Finding the best small pressure washer or small portable pressure washer options can be hard if you’re unaware of what features to look for especially that there are so many of them to find around. For this reason, we’ve put up a guide highlighting the top 10 pressure washers in the category.

Our team has researched and reviewed these products to help you come up with a better decision.

Washing your vehicles is the most obvious use… But you can also use light-duty instead of medium-duty for jobs like your driveway, it’ll just take longer because it has less flow rate.

Here are 4 popular uses:

Light duty pressure washer examples uses

1.) Front steps

Clean front steps and driveway can increase the value of your home by $10,000 when selling. Realtors know this, and have power washing contractors on speed dial. A light-duty machine is perfect for the task. Grab one this weekend for less than $100 and increase the value of your home. It will take no more than twenty minutes of pressure cleaning – and it’s fun pulling the trigger seeing the dirt be gone.

2.) Lawn mower and other lawn equipment

Clean your lawn equipment with your new lawn equipment. Just look at the John Deere ride-on mower. Used and dirty to new and sparkly in a just a few minutes with your new machine. Worth it.

3.) Patio furniture

Ever gone to a BBQ and the outdoor furniture had cob webs and looked green? I have. I prefer my patio furniture to be clean before inviting guests, but that’s just me.

4.) Other patio stuff like table and BBQ

The uses of a light-duty unit are endless. You can turn old, weathered stuff new again. It really is magnificent. Removing surface debris from your driveway after a storm is .

With all these cleaning jobs how will the light-duty pressure washer components and parts hold up?

Light-duty Power Cleaner Durability

Light-duty units are not just lower power and price. They are specifically designed for less usage than a heavy-duty unit. Their parts are not commercial quality.

If you plan to use your light-duty unit daily – like someone would at a car wash business – just know that this extended frequent use wear it down much quicker. You’ll save money in the long-run if you invest more upfront on a unit designed to take a beating daily.

The power washers designed for daily use have triplex pumps and are designated commercial-use. You can get electric or gas powered commercial machines. They tend to cost $1,000 or more.

Portable Pressure Washers Advantages And Drawbacks

Portable pressure washers are designed to meet the requirements of people who cannot afford a lot of space (storage or cleaning space) and they bring a familiar set of features to the table. These smaller, but not much less powerful washers bring along both benefits and drawbacks, with the emphasis on saving space. Sacrificing some performance for a lot of space makes pressure washing available to anyone.

1. Advantages

The main benefit of any compact power washer is its size. People buy portable pressure washers because they don’t want to lug the standard ones around the property. Smaller units weigh from 9 to 20 pounds, and standard power washers can weigh anywhere between 30 to 60 pounds. Mobility is the issue, especially if you have a light cleaning task at hand and don’t want to waste time wheeling out the big guy when a compact power washer can do the trick. Many people invest in a handheld power washer exactly because of this.

They have larger, more powerful units for heavy stains, and since they are so used to benefits of power washing, any lighter cleaning task is redirected to the smaller washers. Once you get hooked to one of the most powerful electric pressure washers from our reviews, you don’t want to use the simple garden hose ever again.

The benefits are even more evident if you buy a rechargeable, cordless unit that is perfect for cleaning boats, cars, and smaller yard jobs like patio and furniture maintenance. No cords, no power outlets. Also, if for some reason you cannot plug the power washer to the water supply, or you have such a small cleaning job at hand that one bucket is enough, then a canister pressure washer is a perfect solution.

Also, a small water pressure output means that you will be getting the job done without spending too much on the electricity bill.

2. Drawbacks

Well, there aren’t many, but the main downside is the small PSI and GPM output, which also means diminished cleaning power. We have noticed that many of these units come with a shorter warranty.

What Can You Clean With A Portable Power Washer?

Handheld Pressure Washer

There are multiple uses of portable pressure washers – they can serve as the ultimate cleaning device for various types of surfaces. If you have grown tired of all the hustle that you have to go through when cleaning your patio or driveway, or any of that outdoor furniture, then a portable pressure washer is the solution to your problem.With the help of a handheld pressure washer, you can also clean the fences of your garden or your vehicle too. It helps you to get the job done in no time. You don’t have to spend all day cleaning your outdoors. With this machine, you can do it in a second.  No more scrubbing the pine cones and needles off the patio. Dogs messing up the concrete? The high-pressure washer will get rid of any stain. A good pressure washer can clear out the mildew, fungus, and stains from almost any surface. Top-rated concrete cleaners can also help.

Best small pressure washer

1. Sun Joe SPX1000

Sun Joe SPX1000 Pressure Washer1

Small. Powerful. Handy. This compact pressure washer has 1450 Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) water pressure output and 1.45 Gallons Per Minute. For such a small handheld unit, this product packs immense power. Small pressure washers can usually handle light cleaning only, but this little Sun Joe can help you tackle dirtier surfaces.

This is an electrical power washer that comes with a 35-feet long cord, which is enough to do the regular cleaning around the house. This little fella is great if you want to quickly wash the dirt and mud from your porch, siding, patio, car, even some willful moss and muck build-up. You can pick it up with ease, or wheel it around, either way, it is a breeze when the product weighs only 11.7 pounds.

This mini pressure washer also has a total stop system and triggers a safety lock that will keep you from accidentally using the spray gun. This product is reasonably priced (trying to avoid saying it’s cheap), and it can really simplify the cleaning process. However, it’s mostly made from plastic parts, so you should expect the quality to be in line with its cost.

Pros

One of the best features of this small power washer is the adjustable spray nozzle that comes with it. Use it any way you like and get the job done. Also, let’s not forget about the 33-inch wand. You can reach all surfaces with ease while still being at a safe distance from the water. If anything happens to this power washer, you can always fix it under the 2-year warranty. Another great thing about this washer is its super-affordable price.

Cons

Even though it’s a handy little unit, the assembly is required. Take out your screwdriver out of the toolbox because you will need it. Another downside to this pressure washer is that the hose unit is made of light plastic so it can start leaking after a couple of uses. It depends on your use and storage as well. Also, the O-rings are of low quality. Perhaps you could order some more along with the power washer.CHECK THE LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON!

2. Sun Joe SPX6000C-XR iON Cordless Pressure Washer

Sun Joe SPX6000C-XR iON Pressure Washer1

This is the pressure washer with the lowest PSI output (only 1160 PSI), but for what it’s worth, it still gets the easy jobs done. The best-selling point of this handy power washer is that it’s cordless and comes with a 40-volt rechargeable battery.

The pressure has to suffer for that matter, but with an 1160 PSI, it’s still a handy bucket pressure washer that will let you wash your car, boat, RV, decks, patios, windows, outdoor furniture and everything else that doesn’t require that much strength. On the plus side, you can take it wherever you want and do your cleaning.

This portable pressure washer with a water tank lets you use the bucket for the water supply, or you can connect it to the garden hose and use it as a regular power washer. It’s a tad bit heavier with 19.8 pounds (when empty), but luckily you can easily move it around because it has 4 wheels.

Pros

The wonderfully-devised bucket design lets you work without a steady water supply, so you can still use a pressure washer if for some reason you can’t connect it to a water outlet. This cordless power washer comes with a 5 Amp battery that you can recharge whenever you want. And the main benefit of course – the lack of cords. This light pressure washer comes with 4 quick connect nozzle tips and a soap sprayer.

Cons

Lack of electric cord brings forth the low PSI and pressure output, as well as the diminished cleaning power. While this battery-powered pressure washer has 4 wheels and it’s easy to transport around the house, it can’t handle anything remotely harder terrain like fields, construction sites, and dry land. Also, we think it’s kind of sneaky to sell the charger and battery separately from the pressure washer.CHECK THE LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON!

3. AR Blue Clean AR112 1,600 PSI Hand Carry

AR Blue Clean AR112 Pressure Washer2

AR Blue Clean is a very powerful portable pressure washer that sports 1600 PSI water pressure output, with 1.58 gallons per minute. This means that it can easily conquer even dirtier surfaces and tougher stains.

Another great thing about this compact power washer is the fact that it has tempered stainless steel plungers. That means that the corrosion is less likely. This unit has an easy to use a spray gun and a nozzle lance. All additional equipment like a detergent bottle, high-pressure hose, and lance are specially designed to fit the spray gun on the first try.

AR Blue Clean handheld power washer has a good reputation for safety. It doesn’t have wheels so you will have to lug it around, but on the bright side, this unit only weighs 18.2 pounds.

Pros

The best thing about it is the full 1-year warranty – we are talking about the “bumper to bumper” feature. Also, it can never hurt when the product has the best customer service in its class. There is also the Total Stop System that automatically turns off the pressure washer as long as the trigger isn’t pressed. That means that the electric energy is preserved as well. Also, the AR Blue Clean packs the highest PSI and GPM output among compact pressure washers we reviewed here.

Cons

The price dictates the quality of parts, and the three axial-piston wobble plate pump that this unit has isn’t considered to be very durable in the long run. It’s still a very powerful unit for occasional cleaning. Another downside is the short return policy since you only have 30 days to return the product. The unit has an overall cheap, plastic feel.CHECK THE LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON!

4. Sun Joe SPX200E 1350 PSI

Sun Joe SPX200E Pressure Washer1

This is a good cleaning unit that can handle easy pressure washing jobs, and for that purpose is perfect. It doesn’t belong to the more powerful mini pressure washers on our list, with its 1350 PSI pressure out and 1.45 GPM. This Sun Joe comes with a power nozzle that lets you control the pressure output by twisting it.

Regarding the additional equipment, this handy pressure washer comes with an extension wand and garden hose adapter. You can cover most areas with a 35-feet long power cord, however, you will have to carry it by hand since this power washer also has no wheels.

This is not the highest quality product with the most water pressure power, but it’s handy to have for simple cleaning chores. The price tag corresponds perfectly to the product quality, but if anything happens, it’s covered by a 2-year warranty. This is one of the smallest pressure washers on our list with only 9 pounds.

Pros

The best thing about this power washer is the adjustable spray wand. You can use it any way you like. The pressure output controller lets you select the pressure strength you need so that you can switch from light to medium cleaning jobs with a single click. This means that you can tackle delicate surfaces and resistant patios. Also, this pressure washer saves energy – it turns off the pump if it’s not in use. Make the best use of the 20 feet high-pressure hose powered by a 10-amp motor, because the price is more than affordable.

Cons

We have already said that it can tackle light to medium cleaning, but this unit, unfortunately, can’t handle heavier dirt and stains. Another downside is that you cannot hook the cannon on. A soap dispenser is a great tool for quick cleaning or more thorough cleaning even if you don’t need a strong pressure output. The assembly can be tricky until you get everything right.CHECK THE LATEST PRICE ON AMAZON!

5. Greenworks 1500 PSI 13 Amp

Greenworks 1500 PSI Pressure Washer1

This is also a powerful compact pressure washer that has a staggering 1500 PSI and 1.2 GMP output. Such a unit is easily capable of tackling light to medium cleaning tasks, including the dirt and grime. You can place this Greenworks power washer both vertically and horizontally, whichever way is more stable during the use.

This mini power washer comes with a handy soap applicator so that you can thoroughly clean any service. There are two quick connect nozzle tips that you can change with ease whenever you want since they are easily detachable. You can cover a great area with a 35 feet long power cord. This power washer is certified by the Pressure Washer Manufacturers’ Association.

Move the unit with ease – it only weighs 17 pounds.

Pros

It’s always good to have additional protection, and this power washer comes with a safety feature on the power cord. Another great thing about this unit is that it’s really easy to assemble – you can start using it in a matter of minutes. Even though this 1500 PSI portable pressure washer is sold as a small and compact unit, it still packs enough power to tackle light to medium cleaning jobs.

Cons

We always do unbiased reviews so after the good sides, here comes the bad. The hose connector that comes with the unit is low quality, which makes it susceptible to wear and tear. Ultimately, it can leak. The motor is really loud in the beginning, but after it’s been running for a while, it gets quieter. This little pressure washer doesn’t have wheels, so you have to carry it around.

What You Need to Know Before Buying a Pressure Washer

pressure washer buying guide

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.

Understanding Ratings

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.

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pressure washer buying guide
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 wobble plate. On others, the pistons are driven by a crankshaft. Crankshaft-driven pumps are generally built better and will last longer.

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.

pressure washer buying guide

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.

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pressure washer buying guide

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

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 Engines

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 buying guide

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:

Dirt Blasters

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.

Extension/Telescoping Wands

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.

Gutter Cleaners

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.

Whirl-A-Ways

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

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.

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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.

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