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Compare the best pressure washers

The right tools for your heavy-duty cleaning jobs.

Regardless of your project, a pressure washer is a helpful tool to have at your disposal. With a lot more power than your average garden hose, pressure washers can help you blast moss, dirt, mud and grime off a variety of surfaces.

Top pressure washers

NameAvg. price
Max Pressure(PSI)Max Flow Rate(litres/min)Detergent Tank/BottlesWeight (kg)Purchase
Ryobi RPW140-G
Ryobi RPW140-G
Karcher K2 Plus
Karcher K2 Plus
Briggs & Stratton BWS018
Briggs & Stratton BWS018
Bosch AQT 45-14 X
Bosch AQT 45-14 X
Karcher K4 Premium
Karcher K4 Premium
Data obtained February 2019. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

What is a pressure washer?

A pressure washer is a tool that connects to your outdoor spigot and delivers a powerful, high-pressure stream of water through a cleaning nozzle. These cleaners provide a fast and efficient way to clean driveways, patios, tiles, concrete, cars, bikes and more.

Why should I consider a pressure washer?

The main advantage of using a pressure cleaner is that if you need to give a dirty, muddy or moldy area a deep clean, it’s much quicker and easier than a hose, bucket and scrub brush.

You can use a pressure washer for a wide range of cleaning jobs, including:

  • Removing oil stains and dirt from concrete
  • Blasting moss and slime from tiles and patios
  • Hosing dried mud off your car
  • Cleaning outdoor furniture
  • Prepping surfaces for painting

Why shouldn’t I consider a pressure washer?

If you only need a pressure washer for a one-off job, you might be better off renting one for a day from an equipment rental service. Check the daily rates in your area before deciding whether renting a machine might be a more sensible option.

If you only want a pressure cleaner for basic jobs, like blasting mud off your bicycle and getting your outdoor furniture looking new, an entry-level model for less than $200 should have all the power you need.

What types are available?

  • Electric pressure washers. Electric models are usually a good choice for most homeowners because they’re generally easier to use and maintain than gas-powered washers. They’re affordable, don’t require too much maintenance and have enough power to tackle a wide range of cleaning jobs around the home.

However, they plug into your home outlets so you’ll need to deal with the hassle of lugging around a power cord and possibly an extension cord.

  • Gas-powered pressure washers. If you want extra power to tackle bigger cleaning tasks, or you simply don’t want to be tethered to an extension cord, you may want to consider a gas-powered washer. They’re suitable for heavy-duty work and use in remote areas because they’re more portable and more durable than electric washers. However, they’re noisier and heavier than electric models, need fuel and require more upkeep.
  • Battery-powered pressure washers. Though less popular than the first two options, a few manufacturers offer battery-powered models. They can be convenient and easy to use, and the battery might be able to run several other garden tools from the same manufacturer. However, battery-powered models often can’t offer the same power as the other options.

How to compare pressure washers

Cost is probably one of your top considerations when buying a pressure washer. You can pick up an entry-level electric model for around $50, but most units sit within the $100 to $600 price range.

As a general rule, the more money you spend, the more cleaning power you’ll get. Gas-powered pressure washers start at $300 and go up to around $2,000 for an industrial-grade model.

There are many additional factors you should take into account when buying a pressure washer. Here’s what to consider:

  • Nozzles and attachments. Some manufacturers provide an all-in-one adjustable nozzle to change the angle and force of the spray, while others provide interchangeable nozzles. Check what’s included and what surfaces they’re best for cleaning. Regular options include pinpoint spray, a wide fan nozzle and turbo nozzle.
  • Pressure and flow rate. There are two key factors that determine the cleaning power of a pressure washer: water pressure and flow rate. Some models feature an LED display to allow you to easily check the pressure setting you are using.
  • Hose length. Check the length of the hose that runs from the body of the cleaner to the spray lance. The longer it is, the easier the machine will be to use.
  • Lance. Also known as the spray wand, this directs the spray onto whatever surface you’re cleaning. Metal wands are more durable than plastic ones, and it’s important the wand is long enough for you to reach the ground without stooping. Some models come with extension wands for jobs like cleaning second-story windows, and angled wands that can work with an extension wand to clean gutters.
  • Portability. Most electric and battery-powered pressure washers weigh somewhere between 10 and 50 pounds, but gas-powered models are usually heavier. Check the weight quoted on the specs sheet to make sure you’ll be able to comfortably maneuver the unit around as you clean.
  • Automatic shut-off. This feature ensures that the washer only sprays water while you depress the trigger, allowing you to move from place to place and navigate obstacles without spraying water this way and that. A safety lock on the trigger will also ensure that you don’t accidentally start spraying.

Compare pressure washers for 2021

Which pressure washer is best for me?

To decide the best pressure washer for your needs, you’ll need to consider exactly how you plan on using it.

What type of cleaning will you be doing? Do you want electric, gas or battery power? How much are you willing to spend? Once you know what sort of cleaner you want, you can start comparing your options.

To help simplify the shopping process, we’ve compared the pros and cons of five popular pressure washers in the table below:

The goodThe bad
Bosch AQT 45-14 X
  • Sturdy and durable
  • High pressure and excellent flow rate
  • A little heavy
  • More power than some users will need
Briggs & Stratton BWS020
  • Powerful
  • Impressive flow rate
  • Not cheap
  • Not as many attachments as some other models
Ryobi RPW140-G
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use and maneuver
  • Trigger uncomfortable on longer jobs
  • Difficulty working out how to use detergent dispenser
Kärcher K4 Premium
  • Easy to use
  • Powerful
  • Unnecessary LED display
  • No patio brush
Gerni Classic 110.5
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Reduced water flow compared to some other models
  • Low maximum pressure

Pressure washing tips

There are a couple of important things to remember before using a pressure cleaner:

  • Stay safe. Pressure washers are seriously powerful machines and should always be used with caution. Getting in the way of a misdirected spray, particularly when the nozzle is on the narrowest setting, could do serious damage and lead to a trip to the emergency room.
  • Be careful with paint. When using a pressure washer on your home or car, be careful not to damage the paint. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and always err on the side of caution when setting the water pressure.

Bottom line

Investing in a pressure washer can make your everyday cleaning much easier and maybe even a little more fun. Choose the model that’s the best fit for your cleaning needs by comparing the size, weight, power and price before you buy.

How did we choose these products?

To choose our list of the best pressure washers, we considered the price point, size, flow rate, water pressure and ease of use. We also factored in third-party product reviews and our own online research.

Frequently asked questions

What’s a good pounds per square inch for a pressure washer?
The higher the pounds per square inch, the more powerful the machine and the more cautious you need to be when operating it. Pressure washers can range from around 1,200 pounds per square inch to 2,800 pounds per square inch.

Is it safe to use a pressure washer on a car?
Yes, but with caution. Choose a low-pressure setting — somewhere around 1,200 to 1,900 pounds per square inch — and a wide spray nozzle, rather than a narrow, direct stream.

Can I run hot water through my pressure washer?
Only if your pressure water is rated for hot water. Otherwise, hot water will damage your pump over time.

Image: Shutterstock

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