Pressure washers date back to almost 100 years ago when they first were invented by Frank Woldert II, but they didn’t become a popular tool for cleaning until the 1950s. Pressure washers, often called power washers, are designed to clean tough surfaces in a timely manner using high-pressure water streams. They can be used outdoors and indoors. There are two different ways pressure washers are powered. The first way is by electricity: You simply plug your machine into an outlet. The second way is powered by gas —these pressure washers come with a built-in gas tank to be refilled as needed.
What Are the Different Types of Pressure Washers
There are two different types of pressure washers: One is called a cold-water pressure washer, which can be used for residential and commercial cleaning, such as for maintaining windows, siding, and decks. This is the most commonly available pressure washer. The second, hot-water pressure washers, are for tougher cleaning and disinfecting, and are often used for commercial and industrial purposes. Both of these types of pressure washers can be powered either by electricity or gasoline.
What Features Should You Look for in a Pressure Washer?
Some of the most important things to consider when buying a pressure washer are: what you’ll use it for, how often you’ll use it, and where you’re going to use it. Some of the main specifications and features to pay attention to are:
Pound per Square Inch (PSI): PSI is a measure of power that will help you evaluate the strength of your pressure washer. Pressure washers start around 1,000 PSI, with the higher the PSI, the more powerful, making clean tough surfaces easier. Electric-powered pressure washers usually have a lower PSI compared to gas-powered ones.
Electric or Gas-Powered: Electric-powered washers are powered using an electric power outlet. As noted, these have a lower PSI capacity than gas-powered machines, but they are better suited to indoor projects since they are less noisy. Compare that to gas-powered pressure washers that have a higher PSI, are bigger in size, and can be quite noisy. Plus, since these are powered by gasoline, fumes get released when these are in use, meaning they’re best used outside or in a well-ventilated area.
Detergent/Chemical Tank: Most pressure washers come with a built-in soap dispenser or a chemical injector. This is a nice feature to have, especially when you need soap or a cleaner solution handy for a truly deep cleaning job.
Nozzle Tips: Nozzle tips will help you adjust the spraying degree needed for different surfaces. Your pressure washer will have three to five nozzle tips included, which are labeled or colored for the recommended type of use.
Hose Length: Hose length is important to consider, given that you don’t want to be dragging your pressure washer around. You should consider a pressure washer that comes with a hose length that’s greater than 20 feet.
What Is the Price Range of a Pressure Washer?
Depending on the features, in general, the price range of a pressure washer starts in the $100 to $200 range, on the low end. On the high end, you can expect to pay up to $1,000 to a few thousand dollars for a hot-water power washer. Electric-powered ones tend to be more affordable than gas-powered ones.
What should I Keep in Mind When Operating a Pressure Washer?
Operating a pressure washer can be fun, there is no doubt about that. However, as the name suggests, pressure washers are built to dispense water at a high pressure to help clean tough surfaces easily. Given the amount of pressure some of these machines have, you can hurt yourself if not handled properly. So keep in mind the following:
- Hold on Tight: If you are new to using a power washer, when you first push the trigger to start spraying the water, make sure to hold the spray gun firmly to avoid potentially losing your balance due to the force of the machine.
- Use Personal Protective Equipment: Whether you are operating a hot-water or a cold-water pressure washer, make sure to protect yourself with goggles, gloves, and waterproof footwear. Sometimes small debris can be released from the surface you’re cleaning, especially from bricks or concrete surfaces.
- Keep Away from Children: The pressure these machines release is extremely strong, especially closest to the nozzle, and can easily hurt a little one.
Now that you have some knowledge about pressure washers, let’s dive in as we move on to sharing our list of the best pressure washers on the market.
1. RYOBI 3300 PSI 2.3 GPM Gas Pressure Washer
A favorite among homeowners with a powerful and versatile design, the RYOBI 3300 PSI Pressure Washer can tackle most outdoor jobs around the house. Featuring a Honda GCV190 engine, a 15-inch surface cleaner, a detergent dispenser, a 35-foot hose, and a five-in-one nozzle tip, this is a must-have. This powerful machine is easy to move around and can clean the toughest stains, thanks to its 3,300 PSI strength and releasing 2.3 gallons per minute (GPM). It is perfect for cleaning flat surfaces, like decks, driveways, and sidewalks. Plus, it can be used for windows, brick walls, and vinyl siding.
2. Simpson Cleaning MSH3125-S MegaShot Gas Pressure Washer
The Simpson Cleaning MSH3125-S MegaShot Gas Pressure Washer is synonymous with power. With a 25-foot long hose, 3,200 PSI of pressure, and up to 2.5 GMP, a Honda engine, and a maintenance-free pump, this machine makes for a great second choice. This nice, rustic-looking pressure washer is gasoline-powered and ideal for heavy-duty jobs. It comes with two 10-inch wheels, making it easy to move around and store. This machine comes with five nozzle tips to be used for different surfaces around the home and car, and can even be used for outdoor furniture.
3. PowerShot PS4240 Cold-Water Gas Pressure Washer
BEST FOR COLD WATER
If what you are looking for is a powerful cold-water pressure washer, look no more. The PowerShot PS4240 4200 PSI at 4.0 GPM HONDA GX390 Cold Water Pressure Washer by Simpson is the most powerful pressure washer on our list. Its name describes itself perfectly. This is a powerful beast and a great option for commercial use when it comes to washing windows, decks, driveways, and siding. In addition, it comes with a chemical and soap injection, a large 50-foot hose, and 13-inch wheels, making it easy to move around in between projects.
4. NorthStar Gas Wet Steam & Hot Water Pressure Washer
BEST FOR HOT WATER
The NorthStart Gas Wet Steam and Hot Water Pressure Power Washer is the ultimate solution for all of your commercial and industrial needs and hard-to-remove stains. Releasing up to four GPM with a 3,000 PSI, a chemical injector built-in, a 50-foot hose, five quick-connect nozzles, and a burner and thermostat that control the temperature up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, this hot-water power washer will leave you feeling amazed at what it can do. Powered by gasoline and a commercial Honda motor with an easy-to-start engine, there is no stain that can stand up to its power.
5. Westinghouse WPX3200 Gas Pressure Washer
BEST FOR OUTDOORS
Built for outdoor use, the Westinghouse WPX3200 pressure washer is easy to use and offers a great cleanup. Conveniently comes with a Westinghouse motor, 3,200 PSI, capacity to run 2.5 GPM, a 25-foot hose, heavy-duty wheels, and three heads for your spray gun. Plus, it has a detergent tank and a gas tank with the capacity to hold one gallon of gasoline, so you don’t have to refill your tank often. The Westinghouse WPX3200 will be a joy to roll around your property for all your outdoor projects, from cleaning your walls, sidewalks, and driveways.
6. Sun Joe SPX3000 Pressure Washer
This small but powerful pressure washer is a versatile machine that runs on electricity. It comes with a 14.5-Amp/1,800-watt engine able to release water of up to 2,030 PSI and can reach a water temperature up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. It comes equipped with two soap tanks, five colored sprayed tips for easy use, and a safety lock system. This is a perfect tool for homeowners who want to tackle outdoor projects and indoor cleaning around the house. It is compact, lightweight, sleek, and can be rolled and stored anywhere. There is no surprise that it is a top seller on Amazon.
7. EXCELL Gas Pressure Washer
With a gas-powered engine, 3,100 PSI and 2.8 GMP, and a built-in overheating protection pump system, this Excell cold-water pressure washer delivers incredible results. Whether you need to clean brick walls, siding, trucks, or anything you can think of, it will not disappoint. Not only that, it is resistant to rust, easy to store, comes with a 25-foot pressure hose, and quick-connect nozzles, and can hold close to one gallon of gas. Plus, it is comfortable to use.
RYOBI Electric Pressure Washer
The RYOBI 1600 PSI Electric Pressure Washer is the most affordable pressure washer on our list, with a cost of less than $100. This tiny and compact pressure washer can literally be taken anywhere, weighing less than 17 pounds. It has a built-in soap injector, works with cold water, and has three easy-to-connect tips, a 20-foot hose, a turbo nozzle, and a surprising 35-foot long cord, making it perfect for cars, patios, indoor use, and outdoor furniture. This will make a great first pressure washer of your own or to give as a gift.