In this Guide
All pressure washers perform the same duty—they are meant to increase the intensity of a stream of water from a water source to create a more efficient way of cleaning.
However, though they all perform the same job, not all of them are built the same. These machines vary a great deal in size, power, and construction.
When shopping for the right one for you, it’s important to know what class of machine is best suited for the work you intend to use it for. They are designed to tackle a wide variety of jobs—ranging from backyard chores to heavy-duty industrial labor.
First, we’ll look at our favorite models from each class. After that, we’ll explain the differences between each group, and what kind of work they are designed for. We will also discuss what to look for when making your purchase. Keep reading to find the right one for you!
Best Pressure Washer Reviews
Best Electric Pressure Washers
Top Pick: AR Blue Clean AR383
The AR Blue Clean AR383 is one of our favorites for its solid blend of price and performance. Judging by how well this power washer sells online, we’re not alone in our opinion. Reviews of this model are largely positive, and AR Blue Clean has a reputation for good machines and high-quality customer service.
The AR383 is a great choice for homeowners looking for a low-cost option that can handle work around the house. If you’re looking for one for light-duty jobs like washing windows, hosing off lawn furniture, or cleaning your car, we recommend this model.
Unlike others in the same price bracket, the AR383 doesn’t compromise on high-quality components. For example, the high-performance Annovi Reverberi Triplex 3 axial-piston pump in the AR383 can’t be found in other similarly priced models. See more of the best electric pressure washers.
Best Gas Pressure Washers
Top Pick: Simpson MSH3125-S MegaShot
The Simpson MSH3125-S Megashot comes highly recommended by expert and amatuer owners alike.
Many features make the MegaShot a solid buy, but the selling point for most reviewers was the high quality Honda engine. Users report this engine often starts on the first pull, and runs smoothly for hours on end.
According to owners, operation of the MegaShot is a breeze, and the compact, sturdy design of the unit makes it uniquely portable and maneuverable.
It’s an all-around workhorse of a machine, and our favorite model for tackling light- and medium-duty work around the house. Many owners also assert that this model works just fine in small commercial settings, as well. Read on more of our top picks for the best gas pressure washers.
Best Commercial Pressure Washers
Top Pick: Simpson PS4240-S PowerShot
Simpson also makes our favorite heavy-duty, commercial grade pressure washer—the PS42040-S PowerShot. With 4,200 PSI and 4.0 GPM, it’s certainly powerful enough to tackle heavy-duty work in a commercial setting.
But power alone doesn’t make for a good machine on the job. It needs to be reliable and able to handle long hours of operation. It needs to be rugged enough for any work site, but maneuverable enough to maintain productivity. Luckily, the PowerShot hits all these notes.
The key components of this machine are the pump and the engine. The PS4240 features a powerful Honda GX390 OHV commercial series motor, and a AAA industrial triplex plunger pump with ceramic pistons. Both are high-performing pieces of machinery that will keep this one running for a long time. See our other recommendations for top commercial pressure washers!
Different Types of Pressure Washers
Electric Pressure Washers
Electric models are powered by electricity instead of gasoline. They’re generally smaller and less expensive than gas-powered models, but they aren’t capable of producing the sheer cleaning power of gas machines.
Still, electric power washers are a good choice for many homeowners. If you’re simply looking for a machine that can tackle weekend chores (like washing the car or hosing down patio furniture), you should consider purchasing an electric power washer.
Gas Pressure Washers
Gas powered pressure washers are designed for medium to heavy-duty jobs. They’re capable of tackling tougher cleaning work at faster rates, and thus they usually cost more.
On this page, we compare some of our favorite medium-duty gas pressure washers. These models are still usually designed for residential use, although they can also work well for a small business. They’re ideal for tasks like cleaning large driveways and decks.
They are a good choice for home or small business owners who plan to use their machine on a fairly regular basis, and need consistent and reliable performance from their pressure washer.
The best models of this class are capable of tackling medium- and light-duty work—in fact, they are often used to perform light-duty tasks at a faster speed than electric models.
Commercial Pressure Washers
We chose from the highest-powered pressure washers available online to decide which models meet the needs of working professionals.
Though commercial-grade models are technically also “gas-powered,” we felt that they deserved their own category. This class of pressure washer is designed to handle tough jobs fast, and they can produce much more power than residential models.
What to Look for in a Pressure Washer
There are a few things to keep in mind when you think about making your purchase. You should know how to determine the cleaning power, and you should know the parts of the machine that are important to its performance.
PSI & GPM
When people talk about the “cleaning power” of a pressure washer, they usually measure it by two factors.
PSI (pounds per square inch) measures the force of the water stream. This number indicated the most water pressure a certain pressure washer is capable of producing.
GPM (gallons per minute) refers to the amount of water a pressure washer uses over time—also called the “flow rate.” The higher the GPM, the faster a machine can accomplish a task.
To calculate cleaning power of a machine, experts recommend multiplying the PSI by the GPM. For example, the AR383 has a PSI of 1,900 and a GPM of 1.5.
So the cleaning power of this particular pressure washer is (1900 x 1.5), or 2850. This is a useful equation for side-by-side comparisons.
Of course, the motor of a pressure washer plays a big role in performance. It’s important to look at ratings and reviews of the motor that powers the machine you are considering.
Electric models measure their engine power by watts or amps. Though a good motor is important in an electric model, it is even more critical to research the motor if you are buying a gas-powered model. As is the case with automobiles, different engines in gas-powered power washers score differently in terms of performance, quality, and long-term viability.
Another important component is the performance is the quality of the pump. The pump’s job is to draw in water from the hose and accelerate it to a much higher pressure. Because your pump will be working overtime while you operate your machine, it’s important to know which ones to look to for good quality.
Pressure washers use three types of pumps: wobble, axial, and triplex.
These pumps are found in low-end residential pressure washers, and are not suited for heavy-duty work or frequent extended use.
Pressure washers with wobble pumps tend to cost less, but don’t last as long. They are best suited for a few hours of work on the weekend. Wobble pumps are also not replaceable when they break.
Most pressure washers contain axial pumps. They have roughly two or three times the lifespan of wobble pumps, but are still not ideal for multiple hours of work every day.
If you’re purchasing a machine for daily use, you should make sure that it has a Triplex pump. This is the highest quality category of pump. With proper maintenance and care, these pumps will last for a very long time.
Hoses, Nozzles and Other Attachments
It’s not just what is “under the hood” that determines the quality of a pressure washer. It’s also important to consider the quality of the attachments, and which are best suited for your purposes.
Check the length of the hose when considering a pressure washer. Is it long enough to ensure mobility? If you’re buying the pressure washer for commercial jobs, is the hose sturdy enough for the terrain you will work on?
Most pressure washers come with attachable nozzles, as well. These are used to alter the intensity of the water stream. Wider nozzle attachments are useful for tasks like washing cars and windows. Narrow attachments are better for cutting through grime, dirt, mold or paint. You could also read on what Consumer Reports say about what to look for in a pressure washer.
If you’re looking for something a little more powerful and reliable, we recommend our Best Gas Pressure washer list.
Those who are interested in rugged pressure washers designed to meet the needs of working professionals should check our Best Commercial Washer Page.