Every home and many shops can do with a power washer. In some instances, like an auto shop, a pressure washer can be considered an essential item. So if you’re looking for a good quality power washer, this article is just for you. Because some people refer to these machines as pressure washers and others will call them power washers, I’m going to use both terms interchangeably. In the end, it’s the same thing.
We’re going to be reviewing ten of the best electric pressure washers available. With such a big selection, it may difficult for you to decide which is going to be the best power washer for your needs. To help you in your decision, here are some useful tips to guide you in your search for a suitable pressure washer that will get the job done with satisfction.
Many of us will base our initial decision on price. It’s very likely that you’ll narrow your search down to the makes and models that fall within your price range. After this, you’ll look at the specs and features of these pressure washers and choose the one that is going to best suit your needs. This seems like a logical starting point. But when looking at all these specifications, you’ll still need to interpret the data in order to figure out which power washer is going to be your best choice.
- Greenworks 1700 PSI 13 Amp 1.2 GPM Pressure Washer
- AR Blue Clean AR383SS 1900 PSI Electric Pressure Washer
- WEN PW20 2030 PSI 1.76 GPM 14.5-Amp Variable Flow Electric Pressure Washer
- Sun Joe SPX4000 2030 PSI 1.76 GPM 14.5-Amp Electric Pressure Washer
- Ivation Electric Pressure Washer 2200 PSI 1.8 GPM
- PowRyte Elite Electric Pressure Washer, 2100PSI, 1.80GPM Power Washer
- Ryobi 1600 PSI 1.2-GPM Electric Pressure Washer
- Karcher K5 Premium Electric Power Pressure Washer 2000 PSI, 1.4 GPM
- NorthStar Electric Cold Water Pressure Washer 3000 PSI
- Meditool Electric Pressure Washer 3000 PSI High-Pressure Washer Machine
How to Choose the Best Power Washer
People use a pressure washer for different purposes. An auto shop will most likely be using the power washer to clean engines and then clean the body of the car before handing it back to the customer. At home, we’ll use a pressure washer to clean decks, driveways, and cars. Both contractors and home users will often use a pressure washer to remove old paint from a building before renovating. One can also use a pressure washer to clean gutters and downpipes. Some people even use a power washer to unblock drains. There are many other uses for a pressure washer that I haven’t mentioned, but we’ll stick to the basics here.
Water Flow and Pressure
The two most important specs for any pressure washer are the water flow, expressed as Gallons per Minute (GPM) and water pressure, measured in Pounds per Square Inch (PSI). European manufactures will give the water flow in liters per minute and pressure specs will be given either in Kilo Pascal (KPA) or bar – conversions for these units are easily found on Google.
Both water flow and pressure are equally important and we use these differently, depending on our application. A power washer uses a pump (an axial cam or a triplex pump) to pressurize the water and send it through a high-pressure pipe to the wand. At the wand, a nozzle determines the spray angle. The spray angle (expressed in degrees) determines our ratio between the water flow and pressure. One will always come at the sacrifice of the other. A narrow-angle of 0-degrees is known as a needle spray, this will give you the maximum pressure but will provide the minimum water flow. A wide 40-degree nozzle will increase the water flow and proportionally decrease the pressure.
When using a pressure washer, our requirements will differ. A low volume, high-pressure spray is used for removing grease and stubborn dirt from a small concentrated area. However, this high-pressure spray will easily damage paintwork and even remove it. You should never use a needle spray on your car’s bodywork – it will damage the paint. A wide-angle nozzle with a low pressure is great for general cleaning – decks and car bodywork.
In most cases, the highest pressure with the greatest water flow is the best pressure washer. However, these will usually be the most expensive. If your budget is limited, look at which of these specs are going to work the best for you. High GPM is the best for general cleaning and will clean the largest area in the least amount of time. High pressure is the best for intensive cleaning over a small area – like removing oil from the underside of your car or the garage floor.
As I mentioned, your nozzle determines the ratio between the pressure and the water flow. There are two systems used to control your spray angle.
Some power washers have a control knob on the wand. You turn this knob to change the spray angle. This system is convenient because you can change your spray angle and therefore, the pressure/water flow, as you work. Though these systems are not always precise and, over time, they can become problematic. You may find yourself toggling the spray angle knob back and forth a few times to get the correct setting as the machine gets older. Despite this drawback, I prefer the control knob at the wand. You can move from soap to medium spray and then to needle spray without stopping to change the nozzles.
Most pressure washers have interchangeable nozzles which are easy to remove and replace. However, you need to stop and change the nozzle each time you want to change your spray angle. The benefit of this system is that you know exactly what angle you’re selecting and it’s always 100% accurate. Generally, you’ll get at least 3 nozzles – a soap nozzle which has the widest angle and the lowest pressure, a medium to wide angle nozzle (usually 40-degrees) for general cleaning and a narrow-angle (usually 0-degrees) for a high-pressure needle spray to remove stubborn dirt and oil. Some power washers will have 5 or 6 different nozzles, offering the greatest versatility when it comes to spray angle. A turbo or rotating nozzle provides the most effective high-pressure cleaning by rotating the water stream as it leaves the nozzle. Not all pressure washers have these nozzles, so if you want the best high-pressure cleaning action, this may be something to consider.
Most pressure washers will also have a dial at the pump to control the pressure feed to the wand.
We often need to use detergent with a power washer and there are two basic ways in which this can be accomplished. Some pressure washers will use a siphon system with a detergent reservoir at the pump. Though, in some cases, it may just be a pipe that you place into a separate detergent bottle or a bucket. The other system uses a detergent dispenser on the wand. One system isn’t better than the other – it depends mostly on how you choose to use them.
My personal preference is a siphon system at the pump. This is because I mostly use a power washer for cleaning cars and engines. I find that the detergent bottle connected to the wand can get in the way when cleaning inside the engine compartment. However, there is a disadvantage to this system. The detergent has to flow along the entire length of the high-pressure hose before it reaches the nozzle. The main problem is when you turn the soap off. You have to wait for all the detergent to be flushed out of the hose before you can rinse. Though once you’re used to this, it’s not a real issue. After using your pressure for a while, you’ll know how long it takes for the soap to work its way through the pipe. I always turn the soap off a short while before I intend to stop applying it. This way I use the last bit of detergent in the pipe, instead of wasting it.
For cleaning driveways and decks, a detergent bottle at the wand can be better. You may only want to dispense the soap occasionally, like when you find a spot of grease or tree gum. So you can do a short burst of detergent and then resume cleaning with just water. You won’t be waiting for the pipe to draw in the detergent and then flush it out afterward. This saves time and you can waste a lot of detergent if you’re continuously changing between soap and rinse when using a soap dispenser at the pump.
Although the type of detergent that you use is of no consequence when choosing the best power washer, it deserves a mention. A pressure washer, its pipes, and the wand have many seals and “O” rings that are vital to the workings of the machine. These seals can be harmed by some harsh detergents, resulting in serious damage which could render the power washer unusable. Some power washer manufacturers recommend a particular detergent for their equipment and it would be wise to follow their recommendations. When in doubt, you can always use dishwashing liquid. These detergents are mild enough so as not to damage your hands. If it’s mild enough for your skin, it won’t harm the seals inside your pressure washer.
A Review of the Best Electric Powered Pressure Washers
Knowing what to look for is the first step in choosing the best pressure washer. Your final decision, and probably the most difficult, is to choose a high-quality power washer. This review of the best electric power washers is going to help you with that.
We’ve chosen 10 of the best and most popular electric power washers, providing an in-depth review of each model. While all of the best pressure washers that we’ve selected are great quality machines, they’re not all equal. Some are intended for more heavy-duty work and some are the best for the home user who doesn’t want to spend too much, but still wants a pressure washer that’s well-made and can be used for weekend cleaning of the car and other household/garden cleaning.
Their prices vary, as do their specifications. Based on the criteria that I’ve mentioned in the introduction to this review, you should be able to determine which power washer is going to be the best for your needs.
The Greenworks brand has become a trusted name amongst homeowners. For an affordable product that will meet the basic needs of any home user, the Greenworks GPW1702 is a fantastic pressure washer. It’s not the most powerful in their line of power washers. In fact, it’s the second smallest. Though for cleaning, decks, outdoor furniture and your car, the Greenworks GPW1702 is certainly up to the task and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a pressure washer of a similar quality standard at a better price.
The 13A 110V electric motor is a reliable unit with a reasonable power output. I say reasonable because this is not the kind of power you’d get from a heavy-duty machine. It’s designed for the weekend home user and for this purpose, it’s one of the best. With 1700 PSI pressure and a maximum water flow of 1.2 GPM, it’s on the lower end of the scale but you won’t have a problem using this power washer for your general domestic cleaning needs.
It’s fantastically light, weighing only 25-pounds and the fairly large wheels combined with an excellent handle, make the Greenworks GPW1702 a very portable machine. The Hose reel makes storage for the long 25-foot high-pressure hose perfectly simple and trouble-free. It has a conveniently long 35-foot power cord with GFCI protection at the power socket. This takes the stress out of using an electric machine in the wet conditions that come with operating a pressure washer.
Along with a user-friendly wand, you get two quick connect spray nozzles (25 and 40-degrees). There’s no needle spray nozzle, something I’d prefer to have – it’s very useful for engine cleaning. It also doesn’t have a built-in soap tank, though this isn’t a big deal. It does have a soap applicator, so you can apply detergent like any of the best power washers. My only concern with the design of this power washer is the molded plastic connector for the water inlet that protrudes from the side of the machine. There’s no reason why this should be a problem, as long as you take care not to snag this connector when moving the pressure washer. The way it’s positioned, can cause it to break off if treated roughly – something to be aware of when using the power washer.
As one of the more affordable options available, the Greenworks GPW1702 is one of the best for general household use. You won’t be spending a lot on this pressure washer and, if used as intended, it will give you years of trouble-free cleaning. Greenworks is an established brand and they give you a one year warranty on the GPW1702 power washer.
Annovi Reverbi (AR) is an Italian company that has a longstanding reputation for building some of the world’s best high-pressure pumps for industrial applications, farms, and home cleaning. The AR383SS forms part of their line of domestic power washers and is built to an extraordinarily high standard for a non-industrial machine. You need have no fears about buying an imported power washer from AR, they have service centers in the US.
The pressure washer has a robust plastic housing as well as a great aluminum handle with a soft grip and high-quality wheels. The extra-long 30-foot high-pressure hose is super convenient and stores onto a reel at the handle. A 35-foot power cord is also great and the AR383SS has auto-reset GFCI protection for added convenience. The strong metal pipe connectors for the hosepipe inlet and high-pressure hose are excellent and positioned in such way that it’s easy to connect and there’s virtually no chance of these being damaged. The wand is also of the highest quality and you get 4 quick connect nozzles: 25-degrees; 0-degree needle spray; a rotary or turbo nozzle which is great for extra cleaning power without being abrasive, and a low-pressure soap nozzle.
The AR383SS is not the lightest, weighing 33-pounds. Though the extra weight does give us an indication that they’ve used heavier, stronger components in the manufacturing of this power washer. The pump is certainly one of the best, delivering 1900 PSI. This is excellent pressure for a small power washer. There’s no water flow (GPM) spec, though AR pumps are among the best in the world and one can expect this pressure washer to have above average water flow. It also has a large 28 OZ detergent tank at the pump.
To my mind, the AR3833SS is just about the best in its class. Unsurpassed quality combined with excellent performance makes this an incredible pressure washer. Given the level of quality that you’re getting, the price is very reasonable and it comes with a 1-year warranty.
WEN products have made a good impression on me. They manufacture really decent machines that are both durable and very affordable. The WEN PW20 has a spec level to rival any of the best power washers at a price that beats most of them.
Despite being one of the cheapest power washers, the WEN PW20 has features that put some of the more expensive machines to shame. It has a fantastic lance (wand) with adjustable pressure and water flow. There’s no nozzle-changing when selecting your spray angle. It also has a huge detergent tank – an incredible 30 ounces!
Both the pressure and maximum flow rate are above average for a small to medium-duty pressure washer – 2030 PSI and 1.76 respectively. This is provided by a relatively small and economical motor – 14.5A (1595-watts). This is a very light power washer, weighing only 17-pounds and has a sturdy handle as well as large 6” wheels. The 20-foot reinforced high-pressure hose is highly durable and combined with the 36-foot power cord, you have a decent working range.
I’m impressed by the metal hose fittings, this is rare on a pressure washer in this price range. In addition to this, the water inlet has a filter to ensure that there are no small particles entering the pump. For extra protection, the water connection points are recessed into the body of the power washer. All the components store neatly on the machine.
A refreshing combination of superb quality and a low price. What more could you ask for? In this price range, most will concede that the WEN PW20 is easily the best and it comes with 2-year warranty.
Sun Joe is another one of those brands that Americans have come to depend on for affordable reliability and quality. The Sun Joe SPX4000 looks very different to most power washers and I like this design, purely for the durability that it offers.
Unlike the molded plastic housing that makes up the body of regular pressure washers, the Sun Joe SPX4000 is mounted onto a metal frame. This protects the pump and fittings from knocks and bumps. It’s a great design. Another outstanding feature of the Sun Joe is the power selection mode. You can choose to run the motor at a low setting that will reduce its power consumption and provide 1450 PSI which is perfect for gentle cleaning. For tougher lobs, where more power is needed, it can be cranked up to a full 2030 PSI. The maximum flow rate is 1.76 GPM which is pretty much the norm for this size power washer.
The 35-foot power cord and 20-foot high-pressure hose give you a similar working range to most of the best power washers. It has a great selection of nozzles: 0-degrees; 15-degrees; 25-degrees; 40-degrees and a soap nozzle. The large detergent tank has a very convenient filler cap at the front. The wheels are as good as good as any of the best pressure washers and onboard storage for the wand and high-pressure hose make things very convenient.
This is a robust and versatile power washer with a host of great features. Like many people, I have complete faith in the Sun Joe brand and the service that they offer. This includes a full 2-year warranty.
This power washer has everything that you’d want and is certainly one of the best. Copper fittings offer durability and the machine is contained in a sturdy plastic housing with an excellent handle and wheels. The 14.5A motor delivers 2200 PSI and 1.8 GPM. This is as good as, or even better than most pressure washers in this class.
With 5 nozzles, you have the cleaning options that you want. It comes with 0; 15; 25 and 40-degree nozzles as well as a soap nozzle and an optional suction soap dispenser. All the nozzles are stored on the handle, making them instantly accessible and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll lose them. Like many of the best power washers, this model also has an additional turbo lance. The high-pressure hose and power cable roll up neatly on either side of the machine and there’s a large storage bin for all your accessories.
The Ivation electric pressure washer offers you a complete package in a compact machine that weighs 25-pounds. It’s not at all expensive and will make an excellent choice for anyone looking for one of the best power washers.
The PowRyte electric pressure washer offers above average pressure at 2100 PSI and an equally impressive water flow of 1.8 GPM. Nozzles are limited to a 25-degree and 0-degree turbo nozzle. The rotating turbo nozzle does give it superior cleaning and should not be overlooked.
The 20-foot high-pressure hose stores onto a reel for ultimate convenience and GFCI protected power cord is certainly long enough at 35-feet. This power cord rolls up neatly onto a hanger. There’s also a large detergent tank that’s one of the easiest to fill.
When compared to many of the best power washers in this review, the only thing lacking here is a wider selection of spray nozzles. For many, this won’t be a big deal – especially if consider that it comes with a turbo lance. It has the power to compete with the best and is a very convenient and easy to use pressure washer.
Cheap, but by no means nasty, this is what the Ryobi brand has come to represent. The compact and very light Ryobi pressure washer may not have the power specs to match many of the best, but it has its merits.
This little pressure washer has a wrap-around roll cage that offers superb protection and makes it an easy machine to carry in one hand. The biggest advantage of the Ryobi is its compact size, making it very convenient to store and easy to use anywhere around the home or garden.
While perfectly reasonable, the power specs aren’t the best. An efficient 13A motor gives you 1600 PSI and 1.2 GPM water flow. Three nozzles (15-degrees, turbo, and soap) are all that many home users will need and both the wand and 20-foot high-pressure hose are of a high quality standard. Even though this is a very compact pressure washer, there’s still storage for the pipes, cord and nozzles on the machine and it has a 1-quart onboard detergent tank.
At an excellent price, the little Ryobi offers a great solution if you want a small and easy to carry power washer. To this end, the compact design with a superb roll cage could easily be considered as the best.
As one of the top brands when it comes to power washers, Karcher is going to cost more than many comparable machines. Though this means a high level of quality and outstanding design and features. There’s a good reason why many people are prepared to pay
extra for the Karcher K5 Premium power washer – even though there are cheaper machines with a higher pressure and GPM specs. Quite simply put, when it comes to improved design and build quality, Karcher’s experience makes them among the best manufacturers of high-end power washers.
With a pressure of 2000 PSI and water flow of 1.4 GPM, the Karcher K5 Premium is not far behind the best when it comes to power specs. What makes this machine a cut above the rest is in its durability. The water-cooled electric motor is likely to last much longer than most others. All the molded plastic and solid brass fittings are of the best you’ll find. It has two wands that offer not only excellent quality but great versatility and ease of use. An adjustable general purpose wand allows you to select the spray angle at the wand and is one of the best of its kind. The detergent will be automatically dispensed from the onboard tank when the pressure is set to minimum. For increased cleaning power, there’s a second, Dirt Buster wand which is a sophisticated version of a turbo wand.
Even the handy storage reel for the long 25-foot high-pressure hose has been thought out very carefully. The pressurized hose reel reduces kinks in the hose. This is certainly the best and most convenient hose storage system that you’ll find.
Karcher has made a name for themselves, both professionals and home users will agree that the K5 Premium is the best power washer that you’ll get in this class of light to medium-duty pressure washers. It would certainly be my first choice and it’s worth paying extra for. Along with excellent backup service, the Karcher K5 Premium also has a 2-year warranty.
If an industrial-grade heavy-duty power washer is what you’re looking for, the NorthStar 3000PSI is going to be your best option. It’s in a completely different class than the other pressure washers in this review. This machine is designed for the professional shop or serious DIY enthusiast and has a price tag to match. The NorthStar is way more expensive than light to medium-duty power washers. Though this is to be expected – it’s built tougher and is much more powerful.
This is a large machine, weighing around 130-pounds and is mounted to a strong steel frame with large wheels for transportation. One look at the Cat DNX pump fitted to this pressure washer, and you can see it’s designed for heavy-duty work. The forged brass head and large 5HP motor make for an impressive sight. This is a heavy-duty power washer and this means running it on a dedicated 30A 230V power circuit. This gives it the power to pump out 3000 Psi pressure and an incredible 2.5 GPM water flow. A far cry from the small domestic power washers.
The high-pressure hose, lance, and nozzles are about the best that you can get. Every aspect of the design and build of this machine is aimed at making it the best industrial-grade pressure washer. When all this taken into account, it doesn’t cost all that much when compared to pressure washers in the same class. As a manufacturer of professional-grade power washers, NorthStar provides a full range of additional accessories for this pressure washer.
While the Meditool might not match up to the AR in terms of heavy-duty build quality, it certainly makes up for this in power specs. This is one of the most powerful light to medium-duty power washers that you’ll find.
It has a rated pressure of 2200 PSI, with a maximum of 3000 PSI. Water flow is great, 1.7 GPM. This is one of the best home pressure washers if you’re looking for a great combination of both high water flow and pressure. It’s going to make light work of all your cleaning tasks. The high-pressure hose has a rather unimpressive length of only 19-feet, the power cord is better, at 32.8-feet. The shorter high-pressure hose does make it more manageable, it won’t tangle and coil as easily as a long hose. Though this does mean that you’ll be moving the power washer around more than most in order to reach all the areas that you wish to clean. Fortunately, the Meditool has a great handle and large wheels, making it easy to move.
The wand seems to be good and you get a great selection of 5 nozzles: 0-degrees; 15-degrees; 25-degrees; 40-degrees and a soap nozzle. Although both the inlet and outlet hose connectors points are plastic, they are recessed into the body of the power washer – safely protected and out of harm’s way. The high-pressure hose has a great caddy storage at the back of the machine and a remote control on the hose to control the detergent (supplied from a tank at the pump) makes it quick and easy to apply the soap.
The Meditool power washer is one of the best when it comes to power specs – it has a 1800W motor. I wouldn’t rate it as the toughest pressure washer around, they’ve used plenty of plastic and very little metal. Though I wouldn’t call it flimsy either – it just won’t hold up to rough treatment as well as some others.