There’s nothing like a pressure washer to take the strain out of car cleaning, but even if you own one, a stream of new models can tempt you to upgrade. So what are the Most reliable pressure washer options?
Makers aren’t just chasing higher outputs, but also safety; too much power can damage a car. Kärcher has its own pressure monitoring and guide system, and rivals are offering more compact units, hoping to draw buyers with limited storage.
Most reliable pressure washer
3 most reliable Gas Pressure Washers
1. The Best Value for Your Money. Powered By a Long-lasting Honda Engine
Simpson Megashot: 3,200 PSI, 2.5 GPM
Update: We still recommend the Simpson Megashot as the best value for your money gas powered pressure washer.
Over the last 7 years, we’ve tested 3 different versions of the MegaShot having bought them online from Amazon and PressureWashersDirect and offline at The Home Depot.
We have never had any major issues out-of-the-box or during use. And it is still – years later – our most used machine around the house and testing facility.
Despite our great experience we have received a few emails detailing various problems others have – after opening the box and trying to use – with leaking oil and pump issues. The main concerns were lack of customer service when trying to rectify the issues.
Advice: We recommend buying from Amazon.com because they allow you to return your pressure washer no questions asked within 30-days of purchase.
Why it’s our top pick gas powered
The best gas power washer for most people happens to be the most affordable gas powered on this list. At a manufacturers suggested retail price of $399 you’re getting a heavy-duty residential workhorse. The price combined with the pump specs and Honda engine make it the top value for money pressure washer.
Simpson Cleaning (the company manufacturing the MegaShot) has done an amazing job engineering a unit that will make your driveway look brand new in 1-hour with its impressive 2.5 GPM flow rate and a surface cleaner attachment.
It’ll also make your outdoor cleaning jobs fun and effortless because it’s easy to move around your yard – even with a bad back.
How? Because it’s only 65 pounds and designed with a superior wheelbarrow stance and large 10-inch tires.
No more dealing with hose kinks, either… As it comes with an abrasion and kink resistant pro-quality hose.
With this machine you’ll actually look forward to completing your essential cleaning chores like gutters, house siding and back patio.
The main perk of the MegaShot is its Honda engine. It has what Honda calls a residential-use engine… Engineered purposefully to provide reliable power to residential pressure cleaners.
Quick note: If you plan on using your pressure washer all-day everyday then you’ll need to upgrade to the #3 choice NorthStar machine below as it has a commercial grade engine and pump.
But if you plan to just do lots of pressure cleaning on the weekends then this a great unit to grab. Check out its full specs and current best price at the link below.
Our Top Pick for 4 Years Running
For use around the house there is no better gas power washer.
It has 3,200 PSI and 2.5 GPM to make quick work of your driveway, back patio or whatever cleaning job you need to complete.
All of that and its often (sales depending) the most affordable on the market.
See today’s Amazon price…
2. The Most User Friendly. Adjustable Pressure at the Turn of a Knob.
Generac SpeedWash: 3,200 PSI, 2.7 GPM
Update: We still feel the Generac SpeedWash is a well-built pressure washer at a great price suited perfect for homeowners.
It ranks below the Simpson MegaShot because it doesn’t have a Honda engine, its wheels aren’t as rugged and its frame is more upright and less robust compared to the wheelbarrow stance of the MegaShot.
Why you should buy the Generac SpeedWash
Well, because it’s the most user friendly. The second best gas power washer for most people allows you to adjust the pressure to 4 settings between 2,000 and 3,200 PSI, at the turn of a knob. This allows you to go from cleaning your car to washing your driveway – instantly – without having to change the nozzle.
Whether you plan on cleaning your driveways, gutters, deck, patio furniture or vehicles this pressure washer can get your job done – fast. Generac designed this unit with customer feedback in mind: Its upright style allows for a smaller storage footprint in your garage and its orange front cover helps dampen the noise from the engine so earplugs are optional.
The reason it ranks #2 and not #1 is because of the Honda engine on the #1. Generac has put together a great value machine with a great engine and pump but we believe the Honda to be more durable and reliable. This machine can be bought at an affordable price similar to the Simpson cleaner above. If you love the idea of having the adjustable pressure feature then this is yours.
Adjustable Pressure at Turn of a Knob
Go from cleaning your driveway to gently cleaning your home’s windows with the quick turn of a knob on the pressure gun.
It also comes with a power broom attachment to make cleaning flat surfaces a cinch.
See full specs here…
Max Performance for Homeowners. Best Engine. Best Pump.
NorthStar Cold Water 3,300 PSI, 3.0 GPM
Update: This NorthStar pressure washer is new to the list. It is a much higher quality machine than our previous recommendations (and comes with a 3x higher price) because it has a commercial-duty Honda engine and CAT brand triplex pump.
These upgrades put it firmly into the realm of commercial/contractor-duty but we still feel comfortable recommending it as our max performance pick for residential-use.
What does commercial-duty mean?
You can use a commercial-duty pressure washer daily without worrying it will fail from overuse. A typical residential-duty pressure washer is not designed to be used all day every day (just weekends). Engineers accomplish this by fitting the pressure washer with a triplex pump and commercial-duty engine.
Here’s what makes the NorthStar pump and engine industrial quality:
A commercial-duty pump
- Triplex pump instead of axial pump = more durable, longer life, higher pressures and flow rates
- Runs at lower RPM which means longer life through lower operational heat and less wear
- The pistons/plungers move through a stationary seal which are less prone to leaks and allow for higher water pressures
A commercial-duty engine
- Cast iron cylinder sleeve not aluminium so it’ll last much longer
- Automatic low oil protection shutoff
- Manual fuel shutoff value to allow fully draining of fuel without removing the carburettor
- All steel parts (not plastic) so it’ll be more durable
Is NorthStar a good brand?
Yes – it’s a great brand because they source only the best parts for their power washers.
NorthStar is the in-house brandname of Northern Tool + Equipment. Just like many other brands, Northern Tool assembles their pressure washers with parts sourced from brands like Honda, CAT, COMET. They stand behind NorthStar with a 4 year manufacturer’s warranty.
You won’t regret spending the extra money when you’re wheeling it out of the garage in 10 – 15 years to give your driveway its yearly pressure clean.
Our Max Performance Pick
NorthStar Model #15781820
The commercial grade Honda GX270 engine and CAT triplex pump make this pressure washer good value for money despite costing $1,000.
Industry vets know that combo of pump and engine (with regular maintenance) easily give you 10 – 15 years of use.
You are paying now to not pay later.
See NorthernTool.com price…
See Amazon price here…
4 Best Electric Pressure Washers
The Best Value for Your Money. 2-in-1 Pressure Washer with Options for Cart and Handheld.
AR Blue Clean AR2N1: 2,050 PSI, 1.4 GPM
The AR Blue Clean electric pressure washer can be placed in its wheelie cart to be moved between cleaning areas.
You can also remove it from its cart to go handheld mode. This makes going up stairs a cinch.
Update: The AR2N1 from AR Blue Clean is a new addition to our best list. This year we upped the importance of pressure washer stability – we found when in-use the tall upright models with hose reels fell over when you pull the hose to get more length. This electric pressure washer has a low center of gravity and no hose reel so it ticked both boxes.
Why its our top pick electric powered
The best electric pressure washer for around the house for most people is this new model AR Blue Clean – the AR2N1.
The main reason it tops this years list is because of its dual modes and stability when in use.
Dual modes: It has handheld and in-cart modes so you’re getting two pressure washer styles for the price of one. The in-cart mode is perfect for moving the unit around your house from back patio to front driveway. And the handheld mode is perfect to go up stairs to clean the deck or to put in the car to take to the cabin or a friends place.
Quick note: The AR in AR Blue Clean stands for Annovi Reverberi – an Italian pump manufacturer well known in the industry as a premium pump brand. So you can rest easy knowing the pump is durable and reliable.
Last year’s top pick, the AR383SS, is still a great option…
…However, we feel this new model beats the old out having similiar specs at a more affordable price. The company AR Blue Clean has taken all the feedback received over the last 6 years into account when designing and engineering this new improved model.
Here’s how the AR2N1 hits the sweet spot:
- It has new and improved quick connect hose attachments
- It now has a stainless lance with quick release nozzles instead of the plastic all-in-one style
- It now has a side holster to store the wand and hooks for the electric cord (much easier than before having to wrap around handle)
- It now looks better, you know, more pro-style with better overall stability.
So with all that being said…
…Imagine next time you need to wash your car:
With this unit in your garage all you need to do is plug it in, attach the hose, attach the correct nozzle tip, point the spray gun and your car will be clean in 1/2 the time as with a garden hose while using 5 times less water.
We have 4 different AR models in the test shed and use them all the time. All are much quieter than a vacuum cleaner yet powerful enough to wash the back patio, patio furniture and BBQ grill in prep for summer and spring parties each year. You’ll find it’s not only a cool tool to own but also a cool toy to play with.
Our New #1 Electric Pressure Washer Pick
AR Blue Clean AR2N1
For the last 5 years our top electric pick was the AR383 and AR383SS from AR Blue Clean.
We are confident this model beats them and are excited to see if you agree.
It’s surprising how despite this machines specs and features it is still one of the most affordable on the market – and AR Blue Clean love’s slashing the price without warning.
See today’s Amazon price…
The Most Reviewed Pressure Washer on Amazon
Sun Joe SPX3000: 1,450 PSI, 1.7 GPM
Update: This Sun Joe has been our #2 pick for 4 years now and we are going to keep it there. As mentioned above, this year we upped our ranking criteria value for stability when in-use. The Sun Joe is a more upright style with a higher center of gravity but we found because it doesn’t use a hose reel it was still very stable. In addition, it has a good length electric cord and good fittings.
Why you should buy the Sun Joe SPX3000
The second best electric pressure cleaner for most people’s needs is about the same price as the #1 pick but it has more flow rate (GPM).
It has a max burst PSI of 2,000 PSI but in reality you’ll be pressure washing at its working pressure of 1,450 PSI. What’s great about the Sun Joe is it has a really elite GPM of 1.7 GPM for an electric in this price range. That means you’ll be able to clean surfaces 25% faster than other electrics on this list.
You’ll notice it doesn’t have a hose reel (although it has hose holder for storing). We find this to be a plus not a minus because cheap hose reels on these already top heavy pressure washers are a bad idea. They warp the high pressure hose and cause the machine to fall over when you pull for more hose length. Instead, in its place, it has dual detergent tanks to make injecting chemicals into the stream a breeze.
It comes with a pro-style steel lance and 5 different quick connect nozzles to go from intense jet to gentle spray in seconds.
People love the Pressure Joe for its pump performance (keeps stable flow rate no matter the nozzle) and its high rated power (in terms of GPM x PSI) for an electric unit. It’s a great choice for a great price.
The Most Popular on Amazon.com
Sun Joe SPX3000
The reason this Sun Joe is the most popular and most reviewed unit on Amazon is because it was the first affordable electric to offer steel lance and steel hose fittings (instead of plastic).
It also has the highest GPM in its class and is a great choice if you don’t care about the dual modes (handheld and in-cart) of the #1 pick.
The Most Durable Residential-use Electric Pressure Washer. With Brushless Induction Motor.
Ryobi RY142300 2,300 PSI, 1.2 GPM
Update: We’ve been using this Ryobi with induction motor for the past 2 years as our main electric pressure washer for cars. We hadn’t added it to the list because of its price which is $300+.
But this year, after tweaking our ranking criteria, it makes the list in the #3 spot because it is so much more high quality than other electrics. Just look at it. It looks like a gas powered with its sturdy frame and large wheels. And with its quieter, more durable electric (induction instead of universal) motor it is one you must consider.
What’s the difference between induction and universal motors?
As with all engineering design decisions deciding which motor to put in your pressure washer is an exercise in optimization.
Ryobi engineers decided to optimize for life span, durability and sound level.
- Induction motor: Runs at lower RPM (lower heat) and thus has longer lifespan. More power efficient. Quieter.
- Universal motor: Is much smaller and thus takes up less room and is lighter. Costs less. Runs at higher RPM and is louder.
In addition to the best in class electric motor Ryobi also decided to include a much more high quality hose than you’ll find on the other electrics. It is easy to roll up for storage and doesn’t kink when in-use.
All-in-all if you have the budget to spend $300+ on your new pressure washer then this is going to be the most durable and long lasting.
With Longer Lasting and Quieter Induction Motor
Our #3 electric powered pick is the most expensive of the lot because it has a longer lasting induction motor.
If you look at it you’ll also notice it comes on a sturdy frame with big wheels making it look more like a gas powered than electric. This allows you to manoeuvre it around your yard and up steps without breaking your back.
See today’s Amazon price…
The Most User Friendly and Most Affordable.
Karcher K1700: 1,700 PSI, 1.2 GPM
Update: The Karcher K1700 is a new addition to the list this year because it has such a thoughtful design and is very affordable for its specs.
We used to rank a top-of-the-line Karcher in this spot – the K5 – but with our updated ranking criteria it dropped down a few spots because of it instability when in-use.
The K1700 with its lower center of gravity and foot activated on/off switch jumped 7 spots to make the list in position 4 of the best electrics.
What makes the Karcher K1700 special?
For one, Karcher is the largest manufacturer of pressure cleaners in the world. And have been for quite some time. They have scale to engineer products for each price point (small light-duty to commercial-duty) so you can pick the exact one that matches your needs.
The K1700 has a thoughtful design. Just check out the picture below:
- It has a socket built into the handle to secure the plug when in storage so it won’t hand down and get dirty or wet
- It has cord storage with hooks that rotate to secure the cord in place not matter how you’ve rolled it up
- It has a built-in bucket to place the gun, lance and hose and don’t worry the bucket won’t fill with water – it has drain holes
- It has a foot activated on/off switch so you don’t have to bend over
- It has a low center of gravity making it stable even if you yank on the hose.
If you’re in the market for the most affordable home use pressure washer on the market this is going to be the one for you to look at.
The most affordable electric pressure washer on our best ranking this year is also the best design.
If you’re only going to be using your pressure washer for small jobs like your car, patio furniture and what-not then this a top option.