The 5 Best Pressure Washers for Quick and Easy Outdoor Cleaning
"Pressure washers are multi-use tools that can be used for a variety of cleaning applications," says Chris Stoness, CEO of Elite Window Cleaning. "From surface cleaning to washing cars, the high-pressure water jet created by pressure washers is a fantastic way to remove dirt without scrubbing or agitation."
To find the best pressure washers for everyday people, we spent hours researching the most popular options on the market and assessing them for water pressure, ease of use, and reliability. In addition to Stoness, we also consulted another outdoor cleaning expert: Chris Gehan, brand manager of Shine Above Window and Gutter Cleaning. Both experts gave us advice on how to choose the best pressure washer for your needs.
Here are the best pressure washers for cleaning outside of your home.
Our Top Picks
- Best Gas Pressure Washer: Westinghouse WPX2700 Gas-Powered Pressure Washer
- Best Electric Pressure Washer: Sun Joe SPX3000 Max Pressure Washer
- Best Cordless Pressure Washer: Worx Power Share Hydroshot 320 PSI Electric Pressure Washer
- Best Pressure Washer for Cars: Greenworks 2000 Max PSI Electric Pressure Washer
- Best Small Pressure Washer: Ryobi 1600 PSI Electric Pressure Washer
Best Gas Pressure Washer: Westinghouse WPX2700 Gas-Powered Pressure Washer
Best Electric Pressure Washer: Sun Joe SPX3000 Max Pressure Washer
Best Cordless Pressure Washer: Worx Power Share Hydroshot 320 PSI Electric Pressure Washer
Best Pressure Washer for Cars: Greenworks 2000 Max PSI Electric Pressure Washer
Best Small Pressure Washer: Ryobi 1600 PSI Electric Pressure Washer
Our top gas-powered pick is Westinghouse's WPX2700 Pressure Washer because it's powerful enough for tough messes without being too intimidating to use at home. But if you'd rather choose an electric option, then the Sun Joe SPX3000 Max Pressure Washer is also great—especially for beginners. It's still powerful and well-rounded, but it's lightweight, cool, and quiet compared to gas power washers.
How to Shop for a Pressure Washer Like a Pro
When shopping for pressure washers, there are two key metrics to look for: PSI and GPM. PSI (pounds per square inch) represents water pressure, and GPM (gallons per minute) represents water flow rate. "High GPM machines are great for pressure-washing long driveways, where dirt and debris need to be pushed over long distances," Stoness says. "High PSI machines are best for tough cleaning tasks, where more pressure is required to remove baked-on dirt and grime."
Electric vs. Gas
Pressure washers are either powered by gas or electricity. Gas pressure washers are often stronger than their electric counterparts, which makes them great for anyone who wants professional-level results at home. But electric pressure washers tend to be cooler, quieter, and easier to use. For those reasons, electric models are great for beginners because they're not as intimidating. There are also battery-powered cordless models that are extremely lightweight, as well as compact power washers that are easy to store in small spaces.
"Before you purchase a pressure washer, do your research on the type that is most relevant to your desired application," says Stoness. "For heavy-duty jobs, you'll want a large, powerful pressure washer. For small jobs, you may prefer a compact, light-duty pressure washer."
Ease of Use
Above all, look for a power washer you'll feel comfortable using. If the appliance is heavy and bulky, look for wheels that make it easy to transport. If you're going for a handheld pressure washer, make sure it's lightweight enough to lift and carry. For pressure washers that require access to an outlet or tap, make sure the power cord and hose are long so you have room to move around. You can also look for models that have safety features, like pressure relief valves.
Pressure washers can be expensive, so you should always consider the manufacturer's warranty before buying one. To make sure you're spending wisely, the experts we spoke to also recommend looking for a reliable pressure washer that's made with durable parts.
Questions You Might Ask
How do pressure washers work?
Pressure washers might seem like intense cleaning tools, but they're not as complicated as they sound. They're essentially extremely strong versions of hoses that use gas or electricity for the extra power.
"A pressure washer connects to an exterior water source and pressurizes the water before spewing it out of the tip at a high pressure," Gehan says. "The highly pressurized water then pushes dirt, dust, and other debris off of surfaces, giving them a thorough cleaning."
What are pressure washers usually used for?
According to Gehan, power washers are typically used for cleaning outside of the house. They're great for washing cars and boats, hosing down sidewalks and driveways, cleaning patios and patio furniture, rinsing off grills, and more.
Not sure if you can use a pressure washer on something in particular? "Before you use a pressure washer to clean anything, make sure that you test it out to make sure it won't damage the surface or object," says Gehan. "I recommend testing the pressure on a small patch of the surface before going ahead with the entire thing! This can save you a lot of damage."
Is dish soap safe for pressure washers?
Most dish soaps are safe to use in pressure washers, but you have to put them in the right place. "You can add soaps or surfactants to most pressure washers through a device called a downstream injector," Stoness says. "It is important to have the downstream injector hooked up [properly], because the pumps on pressure washers are not designed to pressurize anything but water, and soaps can damage the pump."
Take Our Word for It
This article was written by Lindsey Lanquist, a contributing writer for Real Simple with seven years of experience writing lifestyle content. For advice on what to look for when buying pressure washers, Lindsey turned to two experts: Chris Gehan of Shine Above Window and Gutter Cleaning and Chris Stoness of Elite Window Cleaning. She then spent hours researching the most popular pressure washers on the market, assessing them for power, reliability, and ease of use.
- This $700 Cordless Vacuum Is Now Just $203 Thanks to a Double Discount on Amazon
- The 8 Best Dusters for Cleaning Every Nook and Cranny in Your Home
- This Popular Hoover Vacuum Pulls 'So Much Hair and Dust' Out of Carpets—and It's on Sale
- Shoppers With Seasonal Allergies Say They 'Wake Up Refreshed' Thanks to This On-Sale Air Purifier