Deep cleaning your house, both indoors and outdoors, is never an easy task. Instead of purchasing a lot of equipment, a high-quality pressure washer might offer tremendous support. The thing is, how do you go about finding the best pressure washer? We have some options for you to choose from.There are some models we have purchased and used ourselves. For the rest, we have collected reviews from friends and many other sources to get the most accurate feedback. We have undergone the process of choosing a high-pressure washer before, so hopefully, this Top 5 pressure washers article could help you too.
Top 5 pressure washers
So, you are ready to do some cleaning around the house and yard? What better appliance to make the cleaning process quicker and more efficient than a pressure washer? Choosing the right pressure washer can be a daunting task, especially with all the various brands and models available. Each brand has its line of washer based on pressure, water capacity, and number of accessories.
When choosing the pressure washer for you, the most basic place to start is deciding if you want a gas-powered or an electric pressure washer. Our first article in this series will hopefully do that by comparing and giving you the basic differences between each, see Electric or Gas Pressure Washer: Which is Right for You?
If you have settled on an electric pressure washer to fit your needs now the task is deciding which features are most important to you. Do you want it to simply wash a car? Will you be using it for more heavy-duty cleaning or to simply clean your deck a couple times a year? Whatever your needs some of the best electric pressure washer for the home are outlined below and might fit what you are looking for.Pressure WasherOur Rating
Greenworks 1500 PSI 13 Amp 1.2 GPM Pressure Washer GPW1501
Pressure: 1500 PSI
Motor: Universal induction, 120V, 13 Amps
Hose length: 20 feet
Cord length: 35 feet
Soap tank: No
Accessories: Quick disconnect, 25˚ and 40˚ quick connect tips
Price Range: $75-$100
This lightweight pressure washer from Greenworks is one of the most compact yet efficient models you can find. Do not let its small size fool you as it still packs 1500 pounds of pressure and can cut through dirt at 1.2 gallons per minute. While it does not have wheels, it is compact enough to easily carry it anywhere and it can be used sitting either horizontally or vertically on the ground.
Whether you are using it to wash the family car or to clean the patio furniture before spring use, the Greenworks 1500 comes with a 25° and 40° tip that makes it usable for a variety of situations. These tips utilize a quick connect system to make them more user friendly. The hose and trigger handle attach via a threaded twist on connection. You’ll be able to reach high and low and all over the yard or driveway with the long 20-foot hose and the 35-foot power cord.
This Greenworks Pressure Washer does not come with a built-in tank for soap but does include a detergent tank that can be attached to the handle. Other features include inline GFCI in the power cord and 1,500 watts in the universal 13 Amp induction motor. Perfect for the homeowner looking for a dependable pressure washer that is compact, easy to store, and reasonably priced.
- Can be used vertically or horizontally
- Easy to carry
- Quck disconnect
- Only 2 hose tips
- No wheels
- Soap applicator not attached
Sun Joe SPX3000-MAX Pressure Washer
Pressure: 2,800 PSI
Motor: 14.5 Amp Brushless induction motor
Hose length: 20 feet
Cord length: 35 feet
Soap tank: 2 – 30.4 fluid oz each
Accessories: 5 Quick Connect spray tips – 0º, 15º, 25º, 40º, and soap
Price Range: $200-$300
If you are looking for a powerful yet affordable pressure washer then the Sun Joe SPX300-MAX might be the model for you. It comes with everything you need for a variety of household cleaning needs with the power to feel like a more commercial washer. The 14.5-amp brushless induction motor gives you maximum cleaning power with 2,800 PSI and 1.3 GPM. It also runs quieter and works cooler so it will last longer than other electric motors.
The Sun Joe SPX3000-MAX High Performance Pressure Washer has some superior features that make it a top choice in electric pressure washers. It comes equipped with two onboard detergent tanks that each hold 30.4 fluid oz. The detergent dial lets you choose between two separate detergents or a mixture of each to provide the perfect cleaning solution for your job. The Total Stop System allows you to save energy and extend the life of your pump by automatically turning off when the trigger is not engaged.
Other things to take note of on this pressure washer are its 20-foot-long, high-pressure hose that is steel-reinforced for durability. It also has a 34-inch extension wand and 5 spray tips that can be easily swapped using the quick connect system. Spray tips come in 0º, 15º, 25º, 40º and a soap tip to ensure you have the right angle and pressure for light to heavy cleaning jobs. With a 35 foot power cord and easy glide wheels, you can use this versatile pressure washer almost anywhere around the house.
- Powerful 2
- 800 PSI
- Dual detergent tanks
- Total Stop System
- Quiet brushless induction motor
- Insufficient cord storage
- High pressure hose known to pop off
Karcher K5 Premium 2000 PSI Electric Pressure Washer
Pressure: 2,000 PSI
Motor: 13 Amp Water Cooled Induction Motor
Hose length: 25 feet
Cord length: 35 feet
Soap tank: Yes
Accessories: Vario Spray Wand, Dirt Blaster Turbo Nozzle
Price Range: $200-$250
The Karcher K5 Premium Electric Power Pressure Washer is one of the top electric pressure washers because of its high-end performance and ability to tackle all levels of household cleaning. Its features allow the user to move easily from delicate jobs like cleaning a prized motorcycle to heavy-duty jobs like removing old stain from a wood deck. The K5’s motor cleans quickly and powerfully with 2000 PSI and 1.4 GPM. And it comes equipped with two wands – the Dirtblaster spray wand that takes on hard jobs such as removing stains from concrete and the Vario Power Spray Want that adjusts the spray level with a quick turn.
Moving the Karcher K5 from storage to the front drive and then around to the backyard is quick and simple with the 7.7-inch high-impact wheels. The built-in hose reel for the 25-foot-high pressure hose makes clean up and storage quick and easy as well. An on-board detergent tank makes soap use a breeze with a convenient dosage knob to adjust the amount you want to use.
Another feature to boast about on the K5 Premium Electric Pressure Washer is the water-cooled induction motor which increases the life of this model up to 5 times that of most electric washers. The water-cooled system reduces the heat on the pump and motor and also helps reduce the machine’s noise by up to 50%.
- Integrated hose reel
- Vario Power Spray wand
- Dirtblaster wand
- Onboard detergent tank
- Water cooled induction motor
- Hard to find replacement parts
- No cord storage
AR Blue Clean 2000
Pressure: 2000 PSI
Motor: 14 Amp universal motor
Hose length: 30 feet
Cord length: 35 feet
Soap tank: Yes – 48 oz, integrated
Accessories: Hose reel, Quick-coupler, 4 pro-style tips (0º, 25º, soap, turbo nozzle)
Price Range: $200-$250
The AR Blue Clean 2000 is an affordable and versatile pressure washer that is perfect for every cleaning job you may encounter. It is reliable and durable, designed to do everything from powerful jobs like blasting away dirt and mold from surfaces such as fences, siding and patio furniture. It is also safe to use when cleaning concrete, stucco, and stone. Ready to re-stain the deck or fence? The AR Blue Clean has the equipment you need to pressure clean most wood surfaces. And of course, it is perfect for lower pressure jobs like cleaning your car, truck, ATV, or motorcycle.
This electric pressure washer comes equipped with a motor that is capable of offering up to 2,000 PSI at 1.3 GPM. It has a 35-foot power cord with auto-reset GFCI and a swivel cord release, which is easily stored around the on-board hose reel. The 30-foot high-pressure hose allows you to move easily around the job site while rarely needing to move the washer itself. However, the included 7-inch wheels make portability quick and simple. An inboard detergent tank holds 48 ounces of detergent.
One of the best things about this AR Blue Clean 2000 pressure washer is its included pressure washer gun and accessories. The washer gun is professional style with a zinc steel pressure washer wand. At the end of the wand you will find a quick-coupler nozzle that makes switching between one of the 4 tips effortless. Included tips allow for a 0° or 25° spray. You can also advantage of the soap nozzle or the rotary nozzle for a variety of cleaning advantages.
- 2 Quick-change wands
- 3 Spray tips
- Inboard 28 oz. detergent tank
- Pressurized hose reel
- Uses 80% less water
- Hoses may crack
Briggs & Stratton S2200 2200 MAX PSI Electric Pressure Washer
Pressure: 2200 PSI
Motor: Brushless induction motor
Hose length: 25 feet
Cord length: 35 feet
Soap tank: No
Accessories: 3 quick-connect spray tips (15°, 40° & turbo), attachable detergent foamer
Price Range: $225-$300
Briggs & Stratton is a recognizable name in tools with small engines, and their pressure washers are no exception. For a high quality, reliable machine you will definitely want to consider their S2200 2200 Max PSI Electric Pressure Washer. Designed to be user-friendly this model is light weight, easy to start, and has a brushless induction motor that makes it quieter than many of its competitors. It is also equipped with an instant start & stop system, so it only runs when you pull the trigger on the spray gun. This helps reduce motor time, decreasing heat and avoiding excess wear and tear on the motor.
You can pull this pressure washer anywhere with its 8” wheels that are flat-free. And the 35-foot cord allows you to use the washer anywhere around the house, even when an outlet isn’t readily available. With 2200 PSI and 1.2 GPM early any job can be tackled around the house or in your backyard. This washer is an excellent choice for medium-duty jobs such as cleaning siding and driveways, washing cars and GFpatio furniture, or removing mold, grease, dirt, and rust.
The Briggs & Stratton 2200 comes with a 26-foot high-pressure hose that hangs on the compact steel frame with a hook. You can easily switch between jobs with the quick-connect spray tips that are stored on-board. Tips include a 15°, 40°, and a turbo cleaning tip for tougher jobs. While this model does not come with a built-in detergent tank it does have an attachable foamer that allows you to use a variety of soap only when needed.
- Powerful 2
- 200 PSI
- Instant start/stop system
- Quiet cleaning
- 3 Quick-connect spray tips
- Hose and cord storage
- 9″ Solid wheels
- Detached detergent foamer
- High pressure hose known to disconnect
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.