In this Guide
As nifty as an electric pressure washer can be, sometimes you just need a little more oomph–something with a brawny gas motor to get the job done. Gas-powered pressure washers are about the most badass cleaning tools on the market! They’ll handle the toughest jobs, and they work absolutely anywhere.
Like so many combustion-powered tools, though, there are some real stinkers on the gas-powered pressure washer market. These are expensive tools, too, so duds can cost you dearly. Our team will help you steer clear of crappy combustion models, and get you set up with your new dream machine.
This guide is for anyone who wants maximum cleaning power and performance without having to go to mechanic’s school! We’ve rounded up a few of the best gas machines on the market. Below, you’ll learn all about them, and get our helpful pointers on choosing the best model for your projects!
Check out our Top 3 choices:
- Karcher G3000 Performance Series (3000 PSI/2.5 GPM)
- Ford FPWG3100H-J (3100 PSI/2.5 GPM)
- NorthStar Cold-Water Gas Pressure Washer (4000 PSI/3.5 GPM) #15781520
1. Karcher G3000 Performance Series (3000 PSI/2.5 GPM)
the cheapest we’ve found that’s worth the money!”
The Karcher G3000 is our budget pick for a gas-powered pressure washer. It’s not the least-expensive model on the market, but it’s the cheapest we’ve found that’s worth the money! The G3000 packs 3000 PSI at 2.5 GPM (Understand how pressure washers work.). That’s way more power for your money than you’ll get on any electric model! It has a more reliable motor than the competition, and it’s versatile enough for the average homeowner.
This pressure washer can more than handle the toughest stains and grime around the typical home! If you need lots of power without putting in a big investment, go for this one!
The Karcher has a surprisingly good motor for an OEM. For those who don’t spend their time geeking out over power tools (we see you!), that’s a motor made by the same manufacturer as the pressure washer (most companies outsource motors to Honda, Kohler, or another engine maker).
The Karcher is a lot better than a Briggs & Stratton, Briggs & Stratton being the other OEM engine maker on the pressure washer scene. It’s surprisingly reliable, and easily outclasses other budget models. Unless you’re going to invest in something with a Honda or Ford engine, this is as good as it gets.
At 196cc, it packs enough power for the average homeowner’s tasks. The Karcher puts out 3000 PSI at 2.5 GPM, which is lots of oomph for your buck. In fact, it cranks out close to the same PSI as the Ford, even though that machine costs quite a bit more!
One key reason we prefer the Karcher over other budget options: it gives you extra versatility and value! This one has a 25-foot hose, so it gets around a typical house or garage pretty easily. It also comes with 5 quick-connect nozzles, which allow you to cater the system to each task.
The different nozzle options are sorted by degrees of spray: 0, 15, 25, 40, 65 (with soap). The set gives you lots of spray patterns to choose from, as many as you get on our more expensive picks. So, you don’t feel like you’re missing anything using the Karcher.
The main reason we’ve recommended this over the budget competition is long-term performance. It’s built much more sturdily than other budget models! The Karcher has an axial cam pump with a brass head, paired with a much better engine build than other budget models–particularly the Briggs & Stratton options.
The rest of the unit is well-made, too! The spray wand is a real standout. Yes, we know–you have to be a bit of a tool nerd to get excited about wand construction. But if you’ve ever dealt with flimsy leaky pressure washer hoses, you’ll know why we love this thing!
This thing is very sturdy for the price! It’s all mounted to a welded steel frame, with metal wheels and zinc-plated fittings.While you could find something cheaper, you’d also have to replace it fairly soon. The Karcher costs a bit more up front, but it’ll last you a long time.
It’s backed up by a solid warranty, too. You get two years of coverage on the pump, and three on the engine.
We’ve linked to Amazon, because they offer extended coverage of up to 4 extra years for this one. Just click on the links in this review to check current prices, and see your options for extra warranty coverage as you check out!
There’s an onboard detergent tank, too, so you can suds up on tasks which need more than water. It fills like a gas tank, and unlike some other budget models we’ve reviewed, it doesn’t leak.
It has a child lock for safety–an important feature for residential use!
It’s fairly hefty, at nearly 75 pounds. This is definitely not something an older person wants to lug around. Make sure you can handle it! The cart makes things pretty easier, but it’s certainly no lightweight.
While this particular model has a pretty good track record for long-term performance, it probably won’t as long as the Ford or North Star. Karcher machines are hit or miss in our experience, so we’d suggest an extended warranty at checkout.
The Karcher gives you a lot of bang for your buck, but it can’t compete with the Ford or North Star in the power department. The North Star in particularly knocks it out of the park. Still, for the typical homeowner, this should cut it handily.
2. Ford FPWG3100H-J (3100 PSI/2.5 GPM)
The Ford FPWG3100H-J is far and away the best midrange gas pressure washer we’ve ever reviewed. Holy smokes, is this thing good! The Ford doesn’t give you a huge boost in power over the Karcher, but it offers massive improvements in design and reliability.
This is our top pick for homeowners, farmers and for light-duty pro users. Unless you need the kind of industrial performance that the North Star offers, this is as nice a pressure washer as you could ask for
The biggest difference between the Ford and Karcher is in the power department. The Ford’s motor is seriously brawny, at 212cc and cranking out a full 7 HP. It’s noticeably smoother and more confident than the Karcher’s.
While the overall PSI output on this thing isn’t a whole lot higher than the Karcher’s, the Ford motor is much more sophisticated. It’s a 4-stroke, 3-cylinder design, made by a company whose expertise in engine-building is pretty hard to argue with. This one features a horizontal shaft engine for longer life
You can get lost in engine stats with something like this, but the Ford has some very practical advantages to the buyer. It has fantastic reliability where Karcher-branded engines are a mixed bag. The Ford starts every time and will do for years.
This one also has better fuel efficiency, so if you use your unit on a regular basis you’ll save some money. It’s EPA/SCA/CARB-approved, too, so it has lower emissions than the Karcher.
It’ll give you an extra 100 PSI to work with, at the standard 2.5 GPM. That’s thanks to an Italian-designed pump, paired with the slightly oversized motor. It’s a brass-head, axial design, which is essentially a souped-up, smarter version of the one you get on the Karcher.
The specs don’t look hugely different on paper between the Karcher and Ford. However, overall, this one’s simply better designed than the Karcher. It’s hard to grasp from the specs, but think of it as the difference between a Toyota and a BMW. The Toyota gets the job done, but once you’ve driven the BMW, you realize what you were missing!
It has more user-friendly features, to start. It feels smoother when it’s running, especially the engine. It has a superb track record over the long haul, it performs noticeably better than the slight PSI increase would lead you to believe!We think it’s worth the extra money if you can afford it. This one’s simply more pleasant to use, and a better investment for years to come.
Even though it costs at least 1/3 more than the Karcher, we think the Ford offers a lot of value. It’s as good as anything under $1000, even though it’s usually available for less than half that. As long as you’re not an industrial user, this is as good as any homeowner or professional needs!
compares favorably to many units costing twice as much!”
We’re impressed with the Karcher’s construction quality, but the Ford is even better. We don’t have a single complaint about it, and we think it compares favorably to many units costing twice as much! It’s loaded with all-metal fittings for garden hose hookup, and mounted to a powder-coated steel frame. This thing’s rock solid.
Like the Karcher, the Ford has an onboard detergent tank. This one gives you a lot more options, though! It actually includes two reservoirs, so you can mix at different ratios or with different cleaning solutions. That’s a design tweak pros will definitely appreciate.
It’s built like a tank at the business end, as well as on the pump side of things. The Ford has a brass-valve gun, with a stainless steel wand and brass spray tips. Again, even more expensive options don’t have better build quality than this.
even more expensive options don’t have better build quality than this.”
There are a lot of little things about the spray tools that make this one more ergonomic, too. The grip is excellent, and there’s even a wand caddy on the frame to keep your work setup neat and tidy.
The spray tips on this one are a notch above the Karcher’s. Their turbo design oscillates water for stronger cleaning performance. It’s one of those features which seems like a gimmick until you use it! You can’t feel any pulsing in the wand, but it strips noticeably faster when you clean–especially on mold.
As with the Karcher, the Ford includes 5 different spray nozzles (including one for soaping). They’re sorted by angle, and can all be stored on board.
Another pro-grade feature that any user will appreciate: the Ford gives you extra range, thanks to a 30’ hose. It’s not annoyingly long, either, since it stores conveniently on the handle.
The wheels are super low-maintenance, without being as rigid as other foam-filled ones we’ve used. They’re 10” wheels with puncture-proof, foam-filled tires. We’ve found that they’re surprisingly good at stairs and steps, especially compared to other solid tires.
We think the best part of the base assembly is on the other end, though. The front end has balance feet, like rubber suction cups. They absorb vibration and keep things stable. It cuts down on the rattle when you use this thing on concrete.
Overall, it’s the most pleasant gas pressure washer on the market to move about.”
It’s actually lighter than the Karcher, even though it’s more rugged. Overall, it’s the most pleasant gas pressure washer on the market to move about. Like the Karcher, it has a fold-down handle, but the Ford’s throws in padded grips which feel a lot more comfy.
This one’s a fantastic investment. The Karcher we’ve recommended above has a better reputation for reliability than some of their other offerings, but it still won’t measure up to the Ford. This thing’s covered with a 2-year warranty on everything. You shouldn’t have to use it, though. We haven’t heard a single reliability complaint about this one.
Extended policies are available, too, so you can stretch coverage as long as 6 years. We’ve linked to an Amazon listing with additional warranty coverage offered as you check out.
The puncture-proof tires on the Ford are a great choice for the long term, and they’re very low-maintenance. Still, they’re not as all-terrain as the pneumatic ones on the Karcher or North Star. You don’t get a lot of bounce to work with, so this can jolt on stairs and bumps.
This is pricy for the power it provides. You’re mainly paying for a difference in quality and design, rather than brute force. The Ford costs about 1/3 more than the Karcher, despite only giving you a slight PSI edge. If you don’t use a pressure washer more than once or twice a year, this is overkill. We think it’s worth it for any regular user, though!
3. NorthStar Cold-Water Gas Pressure Washer (4000 PSI/3.5 GPM) #15781520
tremendous bang for your buck! This model is the best and brawniest gas pressure washer we’ve ever reviewed.”
NorthStar has quickly become our go-to source for heavy-duty pressure washers. They’re an interesting tool company: they don’t make any of their own engines, but they pair Honda power sources with industrial-quality components of their own making. The pumps on NorthStar models are superb, and they offer tremendous bang for your buck!
This model is the best and brawniest gas pressure washer we’ve ever reviewed. It’s the ultimate unit for industrial cleaning chores. If you’re a commercial user who needs lots of power, or if you’re cleaning big farm equipment regularly, go for the NorthStar!
The NorthStar leaves the Ford and Karcher in the dust when it comes to power. It packs a whopping 4000 PSI, and that’s at a much higher output (3.5 GPM as opposed to 2.5 GPM). This kind of power and volume is exactly what commercial users want. It’s the most powerful system we’ve reviewed that one person can safely handle.
Having such high pressure combined with a higher GPM makes for quick work on larger, heavier-duty tasks. This is what you’d want for cleaning logging equipment, for instance, or blasting through a big dairy barn.
Its Honda engine is extremely reliable. Like the Ford, it starts on the first pull, and has an easy-start feature for reducing pressure on the cord.
There are lots of small design tweaks which signal long-term performance to us: the overheating protection, as well as the built-in cooling fins. They’re super important on an engine with this kind of power! The Honda uses a horizontal shaft design much like the Ford’s (horizontal shafts last ~5x longer than vertical), too.
The 389cc motor cranks out almost twice the horsepower that the Ford can manage, and that’s despite the fact that it’s the quietest and most efficient of the bunch! It runs very, very smoothly.
the quietest and most efficient of the bunch!”
The Comet pump is as good as the Italian-designed unit on the Ford. It’s a direct-drive, triplex setup, designed with as few moving parts as possible, for better longevity. It’s truly a thing of beauty, if like us you geek out over these things.
The highlight on this pump is the ceramic plungers. It’s the one area of build quality where the North Star smokes even the Ford. Ceramic plungers resist corrosion and abrasion much better than metal. As with our other picks, the pump is completed a forged brass manifold and thermal protector.
Here’s the most important difference between the NorthStar and the Ford: it’s the only one of our gas-powered picks that offers adjustable pressure, beyond simply changing a nozzle! You can use the control dial to find the right setting for each task.
That’s particularly handy on this one, since it has so much brawn. You can safely turn things down to clean ATV’s or cars, then crank up to full blast to clean something like a skid steer or tractor.
We absolutely love the feel of this thing.”
It’s as heavy-duty on the business end as it is in the engine block. The NorthStar packs an industrial spray gun with a 3 foot wand. We absolutely love the feel of this thing. It’s almost entirely metal, and it doesn’t flex or creak at all.
You get the best range of the bunch, as well as the most power. This system has a 50-foot hose for the toughest, largest jobs. It’s made from non-marking, braided rubber that we think can easily take years of heavy use.
The NorthStar is an industrial unit, but we appreciate that it’s still user-friendly. Both the hose and wand store on the machine, and it has a push-down handle for easy storage. The handle also extends further back than other models so as to make the thing easier to maneuver. Those are just a few examples, but the whole thing is full of design tweaks which make it a lot easier to use than it looks.
This one has the same 5 nozzle options as our other picks (0, 15, 25, and 40 degrees, plus soap). The North Star actually has the most convenient nozzle rack of the bunch, despite its being so industrial. We love that you can clip the nozzle rack to either the machine or to your tool belt!
As with the other two, it includes a downstream chemical injector tank so that you can use detergents and other solutions.
We’ve already gone into detail with the construction quality on the engine and spray components, but we want to take a moment to sing the praises of the NorthStar’s steel frame! Yes, we know that tubular steel isn’t something most people get excited about, but this thing is rugged as all get out!
this thing is rugged as all get out!”
There’s a 1 3/8” roll cage around everything. Not only is the thick steel tubing rugged as a frame, but it provides lots of protection for job sites! It also conceals a smart vibration insulation system, to protect the pump and engine. So, it looks industrial, but is actually quite sophisticated!
We’re not going to pretend that this is the most portable thing on the market–it’s big and heavy. Still, for something with this much oomph, it moves about pretty handily. It’s fitted with big 15” pneumatic tires. We’ve found they’ll go pretty much anywhere you want them to, and they absorb bumps really well.
Aside from the Honda engine, it’s all American-made, and it’s backed by an excellent American support service. We’ve never had any bad interactions with NorthStar folks! This model comes with a 4 year warranty for consumers, 2 years for commercial users. Both get 3 years each on the pump and engine, and extended warranties are available. Check our linked listings for additional coverage options
This is a massive system. At 160 pounds, it’s not something the average homeowner is going to want to deal with on a regular basis. This one’s much better for professional users and hardcore consumers (such as farmers and DIYer’s).
It’s as expensive as it is powerful. This’ll cost several times as much as the Ford, which is already a premium unit. It’s wildly overkill for a typical homeowner. We could see it being used on a busy farm or homestead, but it’s meant for bigger equipment or commercial operations.
Which Gas Pressure Washer is Right for You?
Our favorite model for the average homeowner is the Karcher. It’s more durable and reliable than other inexpensive options. Combined with its compact size and ease of use, the Karcher is a gas-powered pressure washer that is suited for both beginner and experienced pressure washers alike. As long as you’re planning to do relatively small-scale tasks on an occasional basis, it’s quite a capable little machine.
The Ford is our top quality pick for most buyers. It’s an excellent long-term investment for homeowners who use a pressure washer fairly often. Plus, the professional-grade build quality and performance make it suitable for all but the most demanding pros. While you can get a lot more power from the NorthStar, the Ford is as good as anything else on the market in terms of reliability and user-friendliness.
If you’re looking for high-performance, industrial-scale cleaning power, the the NorthStar is where it’s at. It’s the most powerful unit here by a long shot, and it’s at the front of the pack for the whole market! While this is beyond overkill for typical use around the house, it’s the ideal tool for pros and demanding consumers working on farms or in garages.
Gas-powered pressure washers pack a lot more punch than their electric-powered counterparts. If you need a powerful pressure washer for tackling heavy duty jobs at home or at work, you’ll probably want to consider a gas-powered model.
The extra power comes at a price, however—these gas-powered models tend to cost significantly more than electric pressure washers. They also require regular service to keep them running in peak condition. For those reasons, it’s important to research which model best suits your line of work. It’s also important to consider which models strike your ideal balance of price and performance.
Their performance can be evaluated by looking at a few different factors. The most important is PSI (pounds per square inch), which measures the highest level of water pressure the machine is capable of producing. The higher the PSI, the more powerfully your system will clean. The other key spec is GPM (gallons per minute), the amount of water used by the pressure washer in question. Most gas models operate at 2.5 GPM, but some can go as high as 4.5. The more volume you have available, the faster you can get your work done!
You’ll also want to look at durability and pump quality. Both of these factors can help you evaluate performance over time—how long you can expect your pressure washer to operate well.Look for as many metal components as possible, with brass for the important pump components.
Warranty coverage is also an important consideration. Expect at least 2 years of coverage, and check to see whether any extended plans are available when you check out!
Finally, it’s also critical to evaluate the amount of maintenance a machine will require. Though all gas-powered machines require regular service, some need more attention than others. If you’re not willing to regularly service your machine—for example, checking and changing oil and spark plugs—you may want to consider purchasing an electric model instead.
In our evaluations, we looked at some of the best-selling gas-powered pressure washers on the market today. We looked at their technical specifications, user reviews, and critical evaluations. Our review also takes into account warranty length and any extra features that might help make your work a little bit easier.
If you’re looking for a high-powered pressure washer for on-the-job work, check out our Top Commercial Pressure Washers. If you’re looking for something a little bit smaller, lighter and less expensive, read our Best Electric Pressure Washers or visit our Best Pressure Washer Page.