In this Guide
From cars to lawnmowers these days, the future is electric! Whether you’re driving to work or kitting out your garage, electricity’s convenience, efficiency, and quietness has never been better.
With that in mind, we think it’s time for us all to take another look at electric pressure washers! For years, they’ve been crappy, lightweight toys that you could hardly classify as tools. Now, though, there are some fantastic options that rival the best gasoline models.
Having said that, given what you’ll see in most stores and in most other buying guides these days, you wouldn’t know it! That’s why we’ve created our own guide, for people who want to avoid the gimmicks and toys. Our recommendations are real tools through and through!
We’ve rounded up all the best electric models on the market to recommend to you here. You’ll be surprised to see how far these things have come! Our recommendations span a range of price points and power outputs, so there should be something for every need. After our reviews, we’ve also included a quick primer on how to figure out exactly what you need from your electric pressure washer.
Here are our favorites, at a glance!
Check our top three:
Best Electric Pressure Washer Reviews 2018
- Sun Joe SPX3000
Ford FPWEF2.1-1800 1800PSI Electric Pressure Washer
- NorthStar Cold Water Pressure Washer (2000 PSI/1.5 GPM -or- 3000 PSI/2.5 GPM)
1. Sun Joe SPX3000
an excellent choice for the typical homeowner on a budget”
The Sun Joe SPX3000 is our budget pick for an electric pressure washer. It’s compact, lightweight, and convenient for home use. The Sun Joe covers all the basics, at a price and scale anyone can handle.
The SPX3000 is an excellent choice for the typical homeowner on a budget. It has by far the best build quality in the inexpensive range, plus a good deal more power than you’d expect for the price! If you want to use a pressure washer for occasional tasks around the house, this one’s a very affordable option.
The best part of this is the price. The Sun Joe is by far the most affordable of our recommendations. This is a very accessible price point to get into pressure washing. We think it’s the least you can pay for a decent unit.
We like the Sun Joe better than other inexpensive models because it packs a lot more power into its frame. It has a top PSI rating of 2030, rated at 1.76 GPM. We found that those specs were pretty optimistic if not misleading, but the fact remains that this is the most powerful of the budget range.
the most powerful of the budget range”
This model has a better motor than any of the competition, and the pump is very good for the price. It’s an inexpensive piston system, but it works smoothly and can handle occasional use for years. The induction motor runs at 1800W/14.5A.
One nice design touch is the smart automatic shutoff feature built into this one. Most electric (and gas) units run the pumps constantly, and you just control the water output. On the Sun Joe, the pump only engages when the wand trigger is pulled. You end up using a lot less power, and have an easy way to cut the noise without turning the machine completely off.
While it’s not as smooth or refined a system as the Ford or NorthStar, the Sun Joe is relatively quiet, as well as powerful.
You get more cleaning range out of the box than you do on other inexpensive models. That adds quite a lot to the Sun Joe’s value factor! It has a 34” extension wand, a 20’ hose and a 35’ power cord. Combined, that’s nearly 60’ of cleaning range. You’re not going to do better with anything else this price!
You’re not going to do better with anything else this price!”
It comes with 5 different nozzles–the same amount of options as you get with models many times the price. They’re sorted by degrees (0, 15, 25, 45, and 65). The largest is what you’ll use for detergent. Having this range of options makes the Sun Joe as versatile as anything else that doesn’t have adjustable pressure as well.
Another factor that adds to the Sun Joe’s versatility: there are two independent detergent tanks on board. Most budget options have just one. So, you can very easily bring two different solutions along with you as you clean. Each tank holds about .9L.
It’s actually very practical to change between chemicals, since you can switch between them with a simple dial. They’re also removable, and come with caps so you don’t have to empty them after each use. You can simply keep your two preferred solutions in the tanks, and use them as needed!
Unlike a lot of budget options, which are awkwardly designed, it’s very maneuverable! The Sun Joe has large rear wheels and the whole thing only weighs around 30 pounds.
It’s a lot better-made than other inexpensive electric models, too. While many of the parts are still plastic, it feels relatively sturdy and can easily stand up to occasional domestic use.
This latest version adds a metal garden hose adaptor, which replaces the weakest point on the older Sun Joe’s. It’s a nice design tweak which shows the company has listened to reviewers like us who’ve pointed out the flaw!
Finally, we think it’s important to note that this is made by a reputable company, at a price where most competitors are sketchy knock-offs or generic imports which aren’t made by a real company. It’s CSA-approved and meets all the appropriate safety standards.
It’s covered by a 2-year warranty on everything–much longer than other budget options care covered! This is where buying from a “real” company comes in very handy. Generic imports and knock-offs usually have either no warranty coverage or coverage from a company that probably won’t respond to any warranty requests.
You can’t adjust the output pressure. That’s not surprising for the price, but it’s worth noting. All you can do to tweak the output is to swap tips.
Be careful: the 0-degree tip can be dangerous for newcomers! It creates a pencil-point spray which can easily pierce skin. So, while this might look like a casual, lightweight tool, it’s not. Be sure to wear suitable boots and gloves, and treat this with caution.
The main flaw with this one is its mixed reliability record. As you might guess from the low price, it doesn’t stand up to extended use as well as our other recommendations.
The key flaw has historically been the intake connection, which we’ve mentioned already. That’s fixed, but there are some motor issues as well which affect a percentage of units. Overall, there are also quite a few plastic components on this one, and the whole thing simply feels less sturdy and well-made than the others.
This one’s not as powerful in practice as our more expensive picks, even though it’s on par when you look at the advertised specs. In our review process, we found that it’s definitely lower volume than advertised.
We can see how you’d get close to the advertised volume using the largest nozzle, but at that point you’re certainly way below 2000 PSI! Don’t plan on doing heavy-duty tasks with this. Still, it should handle anything around the house fairly capably.
The Sun Joe is better in the ergonomics department than other inexpensive options, but it is a bit more awkward on the whole than pricier models. Having to hold down the trigger can get annoying on big jobs, especially as the handle isn’t especially well-designed. The cord storage isn’t great, either.
The Sun Joe doesn’t come with many accessories. If you want an extra length of hose, or a cleaning tool beside the nozzles, you’ll have to pay extra.
2. Ford FPWEF2.1-1800 (1800 PSI/1.6 GPM)
our top recommendation for the average buyer”
This Ford is our midrange pick. The Ford is more expensive than the Sun Joe, even though it’s not any more powerful. What you do get is a big boost in ergonomics, reliability, and versatility!
The Ford is our top recommendation for the average buyer. It’s convenient to use around the house, and reliable enough to last for years of use, even if you take on projects regularly! Unless you need something especially heavy-duty like the NorthStar, this is as much as you need to spend.
This is as powerful as most folks need. Even though the specs make it seem like the Sun Joe has a more powerful output than the Ford, that difference disappears when you actually use the Ford. It packs a 2.17 HP motor, which cranks out 1800 PSI at 1.6 GPM.
You’re correct in noticing that’s slightly lower than the Sun Joe ratings. Here’s the crucial point: the Ford’s ratings are much more realistic, whereas the Sun Joe’s ratings are inflated to say the least. We still love it, but there’s no way it’s more powerful than the Ford. We give the Ford the slight edge, but you’re mainly paying for improved design and reliability rather than extra power.
One of the biggest reasons the Ford is more reliable than the Sun Joe is that it has a better pump. The Ford’s axial cam pump is vastly more durable than the one on the Sun Joe. It can also be repaired, while the Sun Joe pump is essentially disposable if it breaks.
offers a very convenient adjustment system”
While the Ford’s 4-position wand isn’t exactly standard fare in the pressure washer world, we actually love it! It offers a very convenient adjustment system which doesn’t require you to have a bunch of different nozzles. You can just tweak the one nozzle to get the spray the way you want it!
The adjustable nozzle gives you basically the same options as models with replaceable tips, so there’s no downside to speak of.
Turbo is the strongest setting, and it’s the one where we can definitively give the Ford the power edge over the Sun Joe! It’s absolutely stellar. Ford says it translates into 30% more cleaning power! We don’t know how you’d measure that objectively, but it’s quickly become our favorite.
You also get a high pressure setting that’s basically an all-purpose mode, plus a wide fan and a softer soaping mode (like the Sun Joe, the Ford has a removable soap compartment on board).
The Ford’s biggest practical advantage over the Sun Joe and other models in its price brackets is its range. With a 25’ hose and 35’ cord, you can maneuver a solid 60 feet, without counting the wand. That’s an extra 5 feet of range over the Sun Joe! That doesn’t sound like much, but it does add up in practice!
the more enjoyable electric model to use”
There are a few different ways in which the Ford is the more enjoyable electric model to use:
For one thing, it’s very ergonomic. You can make your nozzle adjustments right on the wand. Having more range also makes it less of a strain to get around your entire car, or to get where you need to go when you clean larger areas of your house.
For another, it’s actually lighter than the Sun Joe, despite the fact that it’s built better! The Ford knocks a solid 5 pounds off, yet still feels rugged. The Ford is more compact, too: 15″ x 13″ x 32”. Its compact and maneuverable main unit moves about very easily, and isn’t a pain to lift up and down steps.
The Ford is a bit pricier than the Sun Joe, but it still has a lot of value to offer. First off, it’s more reliable, so you’re less likely to need to replace it anytime soon. Plus, unlike the Sun Joe, it comes with some attachments. There’s a car detail brush and an orbital hand wand brush in the box!
The attachments are a lot better than you’d think for freebies! They’re very handy for cars (that’s what they’re really designed for), but they’re also quite good for cleaning things like grills and outdoor ovens.
While aesthetics won’t make a big difference to your actual cleaning abilities, they do make a machine more fun to own! That’s certainly the case with the Ford. It takes some cues from Ford’s automotive range in the wheels and grille.
The biggest difference is the Ford’s outstanding record for reliability. While the Sun Joe is by far the best in the budget range, it’s still rather spotty over the long term. The Ford has a much better track record, and ought to last for quite a lot longer. It’s backed by a 1-year warranty and very good customer service.
As with the Sun Joe, and anything else at this price, you can’t adjust the pressure beyond tweaking the nozzle.
There’s one fewer option for the nozzle adjustments, compared to the Sun Joe. The Ford has just 4 settings. Do we really miss the 5th, though? Nope. You’ll have as much latitude as you need on the Ford.
The Ford also has just one chemical/detergent compartment, compared with two on the Sun Joe.
It’s only covered by a 1-year warranty, whereas the Sun Joe is backed up for 2 years. The flip side of that is you’re far less likely to need to use the Ford warranty. Also, we’ve linked specifically to an Amazon listing for this model, which includes options for add-on coverage up to an extra 4 years!
This is as good as we think most homeowners need. However, if you have ambitious projects on your agenda, and can handle something a bit more industrial, the NorthStar options below are the best bets. They’re more powerful by a long shot. Professionals should definitely choose one of the NorthStar’s, unless your budget requires you to settle for the Ford.
3. NorthStar Cold Water Pressure Washer (2000 PSI/1.5 GPM -or- 3000 PSI/2.5 GPM)
more powerful, more versatile, and more reliable than anything else on offer.”
When it comes to picking the best electric pressure washer on the market, there’s no competition as far as we’re concerned! NorthStar’s are more powerful, more versatile, and more reliable than anything else on offer. They’re pricey, but serious users won’t find anything better that plugs in!
There are actually two different versions of our top recommendation. One runs on standard household electricity, and the other on an industrial power supply. We’re going to discuss them together, since they’re really the same model apart from the motors and pumps. They come with the same hoses, fittings, and tools. Both have spotless reliability records.
If you use a pressure washer for hours at a time, or on a daily basis, these are worthy investments! They’re not marketed exclusively as commercial models, but they’re very suitable for pros as well as ambitious homeowners.
We suggest getting the 230V model if you’ve got a way to use it. Otherwise, you should know that the 120V model is extremely capable in its own right.
You won’t get more power in a portable electric unit!
The standard household version cranks out 2000 PSI at 1.5 GPM. The 230V model does even better. It produces a massive 3000 PSI at 2.5 GPM. That’s the kind of power and volume you’d ordinarily find on only gasoline models!
The household version is best for households, since most folks don’t have industrial hookups. If you’re in the percentage of DIYer’s and home tinkerers who do, great! The 230V model gives you a massive boost in power for only ~$200 more. The 230V is also excellent for working garages or other professional environments where industrial hookups and heavy-duty tasks are both common!
by far the most powerful of the three!”
Observant readers will note that the rating for the standard 120V model is on par with the Sun Joe. Bear in mind what we mentioned above, though. The Sun Joe ratings are wildly optimistic, and the NorthStar’s are definitely conservative. In practice, this is by far the most powerful of the three!
In addition to their high output ratings, we like the NorthStart’s because they’re slightly overbuilt. They have larger motors than other models with the same specs, which in this case means they have to work less hard to achieve the same results! The 120V model is powered by a 2 HP Marathon motor, while a 5 HP Leeson motor provides the 230V model with its grunt power.
They have the most efficient and reliable pumps we’ve ever seen on electric models! While the motors and the pump specs differ, both NorthStar variants have direct-drive CAT pumps. They’re built with brass manifolds and ceramic plungers, to top-notch standards. Easy start reduces pressure when the system engages, which makes for longer lives for the components!
the best build quality on the market”
Overall, the NorthStar models have the best build quality on the market, as far as we’re concerned! These are every bit as industrial as the company’s gas-powered options (which currently top our rankings in that department). In addition to the heavy-duty pump/motor pairings, the frames are made with steel roll bars. Pressure washers don’t come sturdier!
Between the durability of the frame and the reliability of the motor/pump assembly, these are absolutely stellar workhorses. They’re very, very low-maintenance, and all you’ll need to do is keep them relatively clean and oiled. They’re by far the best choices on the market for folks who use pressure washers frequently and for demanding tasks!
the best control on any electric model.”
Adjustable pressure makes these the most versatile of the bunch, even if they come with the fewest nozzles. Being able to adjust the pressure itself gives you a lot more options and finesse than simply changing the fan size and hoping you get the pressure output you need. These offer the best control on any electric model.
There are still a couple different nozzle options, though. You get a 15-degree nozzle on the household model and a 25-degree on the industrial power version. Both include soaping nozzles, too. Sockets for expansion accessories are on the cart, so you can add more as needed.
The NorthStar’s just edge out the Ford for the maneuverability prize! Both models come with 25-foot hoses (non-marking), 36’ power cords, and 3’ wands.
The rear-entry guns and wands on these are absolutely stellar. They’re rock solid, and a lot more ergonomic than you’d expect on relatively industrial machines. They’re not technically classed as commercial, but it may as well be!
These are also the best of the electrics for moving about. Their big 10” pneumatic tires will go anywhere, and the pushdown cart design makes things maneuverable despite the heavy construction on these. It has places to store the power cords and hoses, too.
Even these largest of our electric picks are still much quieter than gasoline models! That’s a massive boon for professional users who need indoor systems. Not only do these not produce fumes, they won’t deafen you either!
These are superb long-term investments. They’re each backed by a 2-year warranty, plus excellent domestic customer support. NorthStar have quickly become our favorite source for heavy-duty systems, because they’re both knowledgeable and prompt in interactions.
You can also get up to 4 years of additional warranty protection when you buy through the links we’ve provided!
Like anything this powerful, you’ll have to hold the trigger down to spray. That’s not the case on the Ford. The NorthStar gun is a hand-grip model, though, not just a finger trigger. It’s much easier to use, and doesn’t get tiring for quite a while.
It only comes with two nozzles out of the box, as we mentioned. You get the primary fan with concentrated spray, then a wider, softer fan for soaping. Thanks to the adjustable pressure, you shouldn’t need many more. Still, it would be nice to get the full set of 5, since they’re included on NorthStar’s gasoline models.
You don’t get any extra cleaning tools, either. There are some sold separately, but you’ll have to pay extra.
You’ll need both an industrial hookup and a 30A circuit for the 230V model. If you don’t already have one, you should know that installation is prohibitively expensive unless you’ll be using several different tools on that line.
Be aware that even the standard household model is a heavy power draw! Make sure you have a 20A circuit breaker before trying to use it.
These are heavy machines, especially compared to our other picks. The NorthStar’s are 104 and 139 pounds, respectively. Be sure you can handle them!
Likewise, they’re very expensive. The 120V model costs several times the price of the Ford, and you’ll pay even more for the 230V model.
These are overkill for occasional, casual users. Between the heavy construction and hefty price tags, they only make sense for folks who need to do big projects and use their machines on a regular basis. One of these would not be a great purchase for someone who only uses a pressure washer once or twice a year.
For commercial use with steam or hot water:
This NorthStar unit is our suggestion to any commercial users who need to work with hot water or steam. It’s both the safest and most powerful unit we’ve ever reviewed. You’d be surprised how easy it is to move around, too.
Hot water systems like this are ideal for cold areas where you have to blast ice off vehicles in a garage, or simply for extra cleaning power in normal climes. You can send up to 250-degree water through this thing without any issues. A ceramic fiber combustion chamber and a diesel burner do all the heating on board, so you can hook this up to a normal water feed.
NorthStar units are simply superb in the build quality and reliability departments, and this machine exemplifies that. The best feature in our minds is that you can run it on standard power supplies. This is certainly a niche setup, but if you need a heat-integrated pressure washer, it’s the best on the market right now.
Which Electric Pressure Washer is Right for You?
If you’re a typical homeowner who just needs a pressure washer for the odd light-duty job a few times a year, the Sun Joe is probably the best bet. It’s a lot more powerful than you’d think, even if it’s not quite as staggering as its specs would have you believe. The Sun Joe is the most affordable option here, too. If you do lots of pressure washer projects, and need something more resilient, the Ford doesn’t cost all that much more, and will last longer.
If you’re going to be more demanding, and plan to use your machine on a regular basis or for bigger jobs, spend a bit more for the Ford. It has stronger components, better reliability, and a little more power behind it. Although the Ford costs more, its accessories and longevity make it worth the price. Still, this doesn’t offer as much power as the NorthStar’s (especially the 230V model).
For the most demanding home users, as well as pros who need something heavy-duty, the NorthStar’s are our ultimate recommendations. They’ll cost you several times what you’d pay for the Ford or Sun Joe, but they’re rugged and powerful enough for anything. Just don’t spend this much if you won’t get your money’s worth out of your machine.
Electric pressure washers don’t all have the brute strength to match their gas-powered counterparts, but they are still the preferred choice for most jobs around the house.
An electric-powered pressure washer has many advantages over a gas-powered model. The first and most obvious is the “plug and play” factor. To operate an electric power washer, you don’t need to stop by the gas station to fill up. Plus, there’s no need to worry about exhaust fumes, or the inherent danger of combustion engines. These are ideal for garage use.
In addition, the lower water pressure of an electric model is less likely to damage paint or woodwork. That’s good news for DIYer’s. An electric pressure washer has more than enough power for most jobs around the house, whether it’s washing cars or cleaning decks. However, they’re easier to hold back when you need a less industrial touch!
They’re lighter and usually smaller than models with gasoline engines, and lower-maintenance as well. The motor of a gas-powered pressure washer (like the motor of a car) also requires a lot more maintenance than an electric motor. That’s why plug-in models are so good for the average homeowner! You can use them more safely and repair them far less frequently than the combustion models!
It’s important to pick the right model of electric power washer, however. Since they are smaller, lighter and cheaper, a low-quality pressure washer may also break down easier than the more rugged gas-powered model. You need to know exactly what you need up front, so you don’t end up disappointed with a model which doesn’t fulfill your needs.
Here are the key points to consider:
Your cleaning goals
What specific tasks do you want to tackle with your electric pressure washer? What kind of power will each require? Hash out all your goals up front, so you can shop for an appropriate system. For instance, if you’re just doing light-duty tasks like washing cars and siding, you don’t need lots of power. However, you’ll definitely want a detergent tank and a brush. Brainstorm all your projects up front so you know what to look for!
Likewise, make sure you have a sense of how often and how intensely you’ll use your new pressure washer. All of our recommendations can handle typical tasks. The difference is how much use they can stand up to (as well as how quickly they get the job done). Knowing how often you’ll use your machine will help you decide how much to invest.
Your power supply
Most electric pressure washers operate at standard household power (110-120V). However, they often draw higher amperage than normal. So, you need to make sure you have a suitable breaker that won’t be tripped when you plug in.
There are also a few super-charged models which operate on industrial (220-240V) power supplies. These offer a huge boost in power, but you’ll need an industrial hookup to make them work. Most homes don’t have that option. If you have one already, though, you should use it!
Sometimes, electrical power just isn’t enough. If you’re looking for high-powered pressure washers designed for heavy duty work, check out our Best Pressure Washers.