This is our new and updated guide to the 7 best pressure washers for 2020.
Our aim is to help you find the best pressure washer for your needs today.
Why you can trust this guide:
Since 2013 we have spent 1,000s of hours researching, testing, disassembling and reviewing so we can recommend the best pressure washer to you.
We have bought and used 37 different ones ranging in price from $89 to $1,499 and now countless driveways, cars, patios, and home siding are clean because of us.
Our work has even been featured in The New York Times, Wirecutter, Popular Mechanics, HowStuffWorks, Daring Fireball, Realtor.com, Homes.com, and elsewhere.
Okay now let’s check out the 7 best:
The Best Pressure Washer: A Quick Look
Best Gas Powered
Best Electric Money Can Buy
Most Popular Electric
|- Long-lasting Honda engine|
- The most affordable heavy-duty gas
- Great cleaning power for the money
|- Industrial quality pump and motor|
- German manufactured to high quality
- Most popular pressure washer for car detailers
|- Most affordable medium-duty electric
- 9,000 people rate it 4.3/5
- Great flow rate to finish cleaning faster
3 Best Gas Pressure Washers
1. The Best Value for Your Money. Powered By a Long-lasting Honda Engine
Update: We still recommend the Simpson Megashot as the best value for your money gas powered pressure washer.
Over the last 7 years, we’ve tested 3 different versions of the MegaShot having bought them online from Amazon and PressureWashersDirect and offline at The Home Depot.
We have never had any major issues out-of-the-box or during use. And it is still – years later – our most used machine around the house and testing facility.
Despite our great experience we have received a few emails detailing various problems others have – after opening the box and trying to use – with leaking oil and pump issues. The main concerns were lack of customer service when trying to rectify the issues.
Advice: We recommend buying from Amazon.com because they allow you to return your pressure washer no questions asked within 30-days of purchase.
Why it’s our top pick gas powered
The best gas power washer for most people happens to be the most affordable gas powered on this list. At a manufacturers suggested retail price of $399 you’re getting a heavy-duty residential workhorse. The price combined with the pump specs and Honda engine make it the top value for money pressure washer.
Simpson Cleaning (the company manufacturing the MegaShot) has done an amazing job engineering a unit that will make your driveway look brand new in 1-hour with its impressive 2.5 GPM flow rate and a surface cleaner attachment.
It’ll also make your outdoor cleaning jobs fun and effortless because it’s easy to move around your yard – even with a bad back.
How? Because it’s only 65 pounds and designed with a superior wheelbarrow stance and large 10-inch tires.
No more dealing with hose kinks, either… As it comes with an abrasion and kink resistant pro-quality hose.
With this machine you’ll actually look forward to completing your essential cleaning chores like gutters, house siding and back patio.
The main perk of the MegaShot is its Honda engine. It has what Honda calls a residential-use engine… Engineered purposefully to provide reliable power to residential pressure cleaners.
Quick note: If you plan on using your pressure washer all-day everyday then you’ll need to upgrade to the #3 choice NorthStar machine below as it has a commercial grade engine and pump.
But if you plan to just do lots of pressure cleaning on the weekends then this a great unit to grab. Check out its full specs and current best price at the link below.
Our Top Pick for 4 Years Running
For use around the house there is no better gas power washer.
It has 3,200 PSI and 2.5 GPM to make quick work of your driveway, back patio or whatever cleaning job you need to complete.
All of that and its often (sales depending) the most affordable on the market.
The Most User Friendly. Adjustable Pressure at the Turn of a Knob.
Update: We still feel the Generac SpeedWash is a well-built pressure washer at a great price suited perfect for homeowners.
It ranks below the Simpson MegaShot because it doesn’t have a Honda engine, its wheels aren’t as rugged and its frame is more upright and less robust compared to the wheelbarrow stance of the MegaShot.
Why you should buy the Generac SpeedWash
Well, because it’s the most user friendly. The second best gas power washer for most people allows you to adjust the pressure to 4 settings between 2,000 and 3,200 PSI, at the turn of a knob. This allows you to go from cleaning your car to washing your driveway – instantly – without having to change the nozzle.
Whether you plan on cleaning your driveways, gutters, deck, patio furniture or vehicles this pressure washer can get your job done – fast. Generac designed this unit with customer feedback in mind: Its upright style allows for a smaller storage footprint in your garage and its orange front cover helps dampen the noise from the engine so earplugs are optional.
The reason it ranks #2 and not #1 is because of the Honda engine on the #1. Generac has put together a great value machine with a great engine and pump but we believe the Honda to be more durable and reliable. This machine can be bought at an affordable price similar to the Simpson cleaner above. If you love the idea of having the adjustable pressure feature then this is yours.
Adjustable Pressure at Turn of a Knob
Go from cleaning your driveway to gently cleaning your home’s windows with the quick turn of a knob on the pressure gun.
It also comes with a power broom attachment to make cleaning flat surfaces a cinch.
Max Performance for Homeowners. Best Engine. Best Pump.
Update: This NorthStar pressure washer is new to the list. It is a much higher quality machine than our previous recommendations (and comes with a 3x higher price) because it has a commercial-duty Honda engine and CAT brand triplex pump.
These upgrades put it firmly into the realm of commercial/contractor-duty but we still feel comfortable recommending it as our max performance pick for residential-use.
What does commercial-duty mean?
You can use a commercial-duty pressure washer daily without worrying it will fail from overuse. A typical residential-duty pressure washer is not designed to be used all day every day (just weekends). Engineers accomplish this by fitting the pressure washer with a triplex pump and commercial-duty engine.
Here’s what makes the NorthStar pump and engine industrial quality:
A commercial-duty pump
- Triplex pump instead of axial pump = more durable, longer life, higher pressures and flow rates
- Runs at lower RPM which means longer life through lower operational heat and less wear
- The pistons/plungers move through a stationary seal which are less prone to leaks and allow for higher water pressures
A commercial-duty engine
- Cast iron cylinder sleeve not aluminium so it’ll last much longer
- Automatic low oil protection shutoff
- Manual fuel shutoff value to allow fully draining of fuel without removing the carburettor
- All steel parts (not plastic) so it’ll be more durable
Is NorthStar a good brand?
Yes – it’s a great brand because they source only the best parts for their power washers.
NorthStar is the in-house brandname of Northern Tool + Equipment. Just like many other brands, Northern Tool assembles their pressure washers with parts sourced from brands like Honda, CAT, COMET. They stand behind NorthStar with a 4 year manufacturer’s warranty.
You won’t regret spending the extra money when you’re wheeling it out of the garage in 10 – 15 years to give your driveway its yearly pressure clean.
Our Max Performance Pick
The commercial grade Honda GX270 engine and CAT triplex pump make this pressure washer good value for money despite costing $1,000.
Industry vets know that combo of pump and engine (with regular maintenance) easily give you 10 – 15 years of use.
You are paying now to not pay later.
4 Best Electric Pressure Washers
1. The Best Electric Pressure Washer on the Market Today. German Engineered and Manufactured to Industrial Quality.
New: We have been using the Kranzle 1122TST everyday for the last month now. We have come to the conclusion it is the best pressure washer for cars, trucks, dirt bikes and more.
After testing and using 35+ pressure washers since 2013 we can quickly tell when we are using an excellent pressure washer – engineered and manufactured to perfection with every detail taken into account.
This Kranzle is a very practical, durable and high quality electric pressure washer. Given its high price we feel it is best suited for prosumer customers who subscribe to the “buy it for life” philosophy of buying high quality products upfront so they last a lifetime.
It is our new #1 best electric pressure washer pick because of its industrial quality pump and motor and uncompromising German quality.
Buy it for life – How Kranzle pressure washers are made to last
One of the main reasons we are comfortable recommending a professional-grade Kranzle electric pressure washer in the #1 spot is because it may be the last one you ever buy. Even if you use it everyday.
There are instances of the original 1994 Kranzle shuttle series pressure washers coming in for a full service for the first time in 2019 (25 years without anything more than a pump oil change and some o-ring replacements). Now that’s an impressive serve life.
To achieve this durability Kranzle engineers have done several things mostly dedicated to transferring heat from the system and preventing corrosion:
- Forged special brass pump head. The pump head/housing is manufactured of forged special brass in Germany with Kranzle designed CNC machines to ensure precision. Brass for the head is superior because it is corrosion resistant, cavitation resistant and good in either cold or hot environments.
- 14mm stainless steel plungers. Inside the pump are large stainless steel plungers with a smooth ceramic coating at the point where the plunger strokes over the backing seals. Stainless steel transfers the heat generated from the friction to the oil bath in the transmission housing. The transmission housing has cooling fins to help transfer the heat efficiently. The ceramic coating on the plungers helps further reduce heat by reducing the friction as ceramic coating is very smooth. All of this heat transfer to the oil allows the pump to run dry without damage.
Other benefits of the Kranzle 1122TST include:
- Can run it dry without causing damage in case you forget to turn the supply water on.
- You can change the pressure with the turn of a knob. The Kranzle comes with a pressure gauge and adjustable unloader to change and monitor the PSI.
- Auto on/off gun control. When you release the trigger to stop the water flow the pressure washer motor automatically turns off. When you pull the trigger it turns back on. This keeps the pump cooler and increases service life.
- 10-year warranty on the pump head. Kranzle is so confident in their pump quality they have a 10-year guarantee on the special forged brass pump head.
- Self priming so you can pull water from a tank, lake or the ocean.
- Strong and durable roto-mold frame. The hard plastic frame is made of the same material as kayaks, playground slides and some helmets – it is very strong, durable and impact resistant to protect the pump and motor internally.
- Easy to go off-road and up stairs. Large diameter wheels make this Kranzle very to pull up stairs and from job to job without straining your back or putting in much effort.
- Comes with DirtKiller turbo nozzle which rotates a max PSI jet of water to clean tough surfaces like concrete with gum or restaurant fan hoods soaked in grease.
- Has a 50 foot industrial quality wire braided hose with a hose reel that is actually enjoyable to use and won’t cause the pressure washer to tip over (surprisingly common in other electric pressure washer models).
- 30-day money back guarantee if bought from KranzleUSA / DirtKiller.
Kranzle 1122TST’s focus on high flow (and light-duty PSI) is perfect for car pressure washing and other sensitive surfaces around your home
- This 1,400 PSI and 2.1 GPM model is the go-to model for the car detailing industry.
- The high flow and light-duty PSI allows you to quickly pressure wash any surface without risking damage.
- In pressure washers the PSI forces the dirt from the surface and the GPM carries it away. The GPM is what tells you how many cars you can pressure wash in an hour, for example. 1 GPM = 1 car would mean 2 GPM = 2 cars.
- This also transfers over to other surfaces around your home like the patio, deck, outdoor furniture and other stuff that doesn’t need 2,500 PSI blasting. The 2.1 GPM tells us you can get more jobs done than the other electrics below.
How Kranzle’s are imported from Germany
Josef Kranzle GmbH & Co., the German company that manufactures Kranzle pressure washers in Germany only ships them to one master distributor per country, who then distributes to dealers within that country. The USA importer is KranzleUSA (owned by Dirt Killer, Inc.)
Our New #1 Electric Pick – For Those Who Take Pride in Owning the Best
It is THE pressure washer for pressure washer lovers. It’s not for first time owners.
So if you value owning the best tool (and owning it for life) then check out the best electric pressure washer we have ever used:
2. The Best Value for Your Money Under $200. 2-in-1 Pressure Washer with Options for Cart and Handheld.
The AR Blue Clean electric pressure washer can be placed in its wheelie cart to be moved between cleaning areas.
You can also remove it from its cart to go handheld mode. This makes going up stairs a cinch.
Why its our 2nd top pick electric powered
The 2nd best electric pressure washer for around the house for most people is this new model AR Blue Clean – the AR2N1.
The main reason it is new to the list this year is because of its dual modes and stability when in use.
Dual modes: It has handheld and in-cart modes so you’re getting two pressure washer styles for the price of one. The in-cart mode is perfect for moving the unit around your house from back patio to front driveway. And the handheld mode is perfect to go up stairs to clean the deck or to put in the car to take to the cabin or a friends place.
Quick note: The AR in AR Blue Clean stands for Annovi Reverberi – an Italian pump manufacturer well known in the industry as a premium pump brand. So you can rest easy knowing the pump is durable and reliable.
Last year’s top pick, the AR383SS, is still a great option…
…However, we feel this new model beats the old out having similar specs at a more affordable price. The company AR Blue Clean has taken all the feedback received over the last 6 years into account when designing and engineering this new improved model.
Here’s how the AR2N1 hits the sweet spot:
- It has new and improved quick connect hose attachments
- It now has a stainless lance with quick release nozzles instead of the plastic all-in-one style
- It now has a side holster to store the wand and hooks for the electric cord (much easier than before having to wrap around handle)
- It now looks better, you know, more pro-style with better overall stability.
So with all that being said…
…Imagine next time you need to wash your car:
With this unit in your garage all you need to do is plug it in, attach the hose, attach the correct nozzle tip, point the spray gun and your car will be clean in 1/2 the time as with a garden hose while using 5 times less water.
We have 4 different AR models in the test shed and use them all the time. All are much quieter than a vacuum cleaner yet powerful enough to wash the back patio, patio furniture and BBQ grill in prep for summer and spring parties each year. You’ll find it’s not only a cool tool to own but also a cool toy to play with.
Our New #2 Electric Pressure Washer Pick
For the last 5 years our top electric pick was the AR383 and AR383SS from AR Blue Clean.
We are confident this model beats them and are excited to see if you agree.
It’s surprising how despite this machines specs and features it is still one of the most affordable on the market – and AR Blue Clean love’s slashing the price without warning.
3. The Most Reviewed Pressure Washer on Amazon.
Why you should buy the Sun Joe SPX3000
The third best electric pressure cleaner for most people’s needs is about the same price as the #2 pick but it has more flow rate (GPM).
It has a max burst PSI of 2,000 PSI but in reality you’ll be pressure washing at its working pressure of 1,450 PSI. What’s great about the Sun Joe is it has a really elite GPM of 1.7 GPM for an electric in this price range. That means you’ll be able to clean surfaces 25% faster than other electrics on this list.
You’ll notice it doesn’t have a hose reel (although it has hose holder for storing). We find this to be a plus not a minus because cheap hose reels on these already top heavy pressure washers are a bad idea. They warp the high pressure hose and cause the machine to fall over when you pull for more hose length. Instead, in its place, it has dual detergent tanks to make injecting chemicals into the stream a breeze.
It comes with a pro-style steel lance and 5 different quick connect nozzles to go from intense jet to gentle spray in seconds.
People love the Pressure Joe for its pump performance (keeps stable flow rate no matter the nozzle) and its high rated power (in terms of GPM x PSI) for an electric unit. It’s a great choice for a great price.
The Most Popular on Amazon.com
The reason this Sun Joe is the most popular and most reviewed unit on Amazon is because it was the first affordable electric to offer steel lance and steel hose fittings (instead of plastic).
It also has the highest GPM in its class and is a great choice if you don’t care about the dual modes (handheld and in-cart) of the #2 pick.
4. The Most Durable Residential-use Electric Pressure Washer Under $300. With Brushless Induction Motor.
Update: We’ve been using this Ryobi with induction motor for the past 2 years as our main electric pressure washer for cars. We hadn’t added it to the list because of its higher price and lower GPM.
But this year, after tweaking our ranking criteria, it makes the list in the #4 spot because it is more high quality than some other electrics. Just look at it. It looks like a gas powered with its sturdy frame and large wheels. And with its quieter, more durable electric (induction instead of universal) motor it is one you must consider.
What’s the difference between induction and universal motors?
As with all engineering design decisions deciding which motor to put in your pressure washer is an exercise in optimization.
Ryobi engineers decided to optimize for life span, durability and sound level.
- Induction motor: Runs at lower RPM (lower heat) and thus has longer lifespan. More power efficient. Quieter.
- Universal motor: Is much smaller and thus takes up less room and is lighter. Costs less. Runs at higher RPM and is louder.
In addition to the best in class electric motor Ryobi also decided to include a much more high quality hose than you’ll find on the other electrics. It is easy to roll up for storage and doesn’t kink when in-use.
All-in-all if you have the budget to spend $300+ on your new pressure washer then this is going to be the most durable and long lasting.
With Longer Lasting and Quieter Induction Motor
Our #4 electric powered pick is the most expensive of the lot because it has a longer lasting induction motor.
If you look at it you’ll also notice it comes on a sturdy frame with big wheels making it look more like a gas powered than electric. This allows you to manoeuvre it around your yard and up steps without breaking your back.
Runner-Up: The Most User Friendly and Most Affordable.
Update: The Karcher K1700 is a runner-up pick on the list this year because it has such a thoughtful design and is very affordable for its specs.
Our runner-up pick is a new addition to the list and means it didn’t quite make top 7 but is worth mentioning.
We used to rank a top-of-the-line Karcher in this spot – the K5 – but with our updated ranking criteria it dropped down a few spots because of it instability when in-use.
The K1700 with its lower center of gravity and foot activated on/off switch jumped 7 spots to make the list in position ‘runner-up’ of the best electrics.
What makes the Karcher K1700 special?
For one, Karcher is the largest manufacturer of pressure cleaners in the world. And have been for quite some time. They have scale to engineer products for each price point (small light-duty to commercial-duty) so you can pick the exact one that matches your needs.
The K1700 has a thoughtful design. Just check out the picture below:
- It has a socket built into the handle to secure the plug when in storage so it won’t hand down and get dirty or wet
- It has cord storage with hooks that rotate to secure the cord in place not matter how you’ve rolled it up
- It has a built-in bucket to place the gun, lance and hose and don’t worry the bucket won’t fill with water – it has drain holes
- It has a foot activated on/off switch so you don’t have to bend over
- It has a low center of gravity making it stable even if you yank on the hose.
If you’re in the market for the most affordable home use pressure washer on the market this is going to be the one for you to look at.
The most affordable electric pressure washer on our best ranking this year is also the best design.
If you’re only going to be using your pressure washer for small jobs like your car, patio furniture and what-not then this a top option.
Why You Should Trust Our Recommendation
1. Our experience
Since 2013, we have written 100s of articles, taken 1,000s of photos, and tested 35+ pressure washers by cleaning homes, driveways, vehicles and more. We are laser focused on pressure washers and always will be.
Here’s a collage of pictures taken during testing:
2. Our practical knowledge
Combine our team’s commercial power washing and mechanical engineering experience with the hands-on real-life use testing for PressureWashr and the benefits and downfalls of each pressure washer become easy to spot. We also keep the pressure washers we buy – and test them after 20 hours-use and 50 hours-use – not just brand-new.
3. Our aim is to find your best pressure washer
To us, the best power washer isn’t the most expensive highest performance one. It is the one that best matches your needs. So to help you find yours we break up the pressure washer buying advice as:
- Best value for your money. The sweet spot in price, performance and quality.
- Most user friendly. The one with useful features like adjustable pressure, gun storage, cord and hose storage.
- Max performance. Best engine. Best pump. Still homeowner affordable.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Best Pressure Washers
Should I buy a pressure washer – is it for me?
A pressure washer makes quick work of all your big and small cleaning projects around the home, farm, business or job site. They use less water than a garden hose for cleaning and because they use a nozzle with a tiny orifice it generates at least 1,500 PSI to blast away mildew, grime, dirt, grease and whatever else you point it at (it works great cleaning the underside of a lawn mower).
You can rent them from Home Depot and Lowe’s and local tool shops (for around $80 a day or $300 a week). So if you are only planning to do a seasonal clean of the driveway and back patio then you should probably just rent one.
However, after the rental day you will start finding other jobs and end up wishing you had just bought one.
In terms of prices there are two classes of pressure washer:
- Residential (less than 5 – 10 hours use per week): The small electrics are around $100 – $200 and the bigger gas powered are $300 – $500
- Professional (daily use no problem): Electrics anywhere from $500 to $2,000 and gas from $700 – $5,000
What is a good PSI and GPM for a pressure washer?
- The higher the GPM (water flow rate) the faster you can complete cleaning jobs.
- Professionals prefer 5-8 GPM because it means they can make more money per day.
- But for around the house the PSI and GPM you need depends on what you’re using your pressure washer for.
- PSI represents the force of water to knock the dirt/moss/mildew loose from the surface.
- 1,400 PSI – 2,500 PSI will do the trick for 90% of jobs since you adjust the pressure with a nozzle/orifice size and moving closer/further from the surface.
GPM vs. PSI
Professionals care more about GPM than PSI because GPM tells how much work can be done. A 4 GPM pressure washer will clean an area 2x faster than a 2 GPM machine.
For this reason pros like max GPM, which is generally 8 GPM.
So what is a “good” PSI and GPM?
- 1,400 PSI – 2,500 PSI and 1.5 GPM – 2.5 GPM is ideal for a homeowner
- Spend more for higher GPM before higher PSI
Is a gas or electric powered pressure washer better?
It depends on your needs…
If you’re using it for big jobs (think large driveways) every weekend – get a gas powered because the time you save will outweigh the extra money.
But they both have their pros and cons.
- Good: More powerful because they are not limited by home electric outlet current and voltage. More portable because they are not tethered by electric cord. More bang for your buck.
- Bad: Require re-fueling and periodic maintenance. Are loud and can’t be used indoors because of the exhaust. Often bigger and heavier than their electric counterpart.
- Good: Require little maintenance. Are more quiet. Can be used indoors. Have affordable light-duty options if that’s all you need.
- Bad: Have electric motors which need to be plugged in to an outlet – so they are limited in range and power. Generally, they have low cleaning power (unless you spend extra money on a professional one) so small tasks can take a long time.
What are the different pump types in pressure washers?
A wobble plate pump is directly connected to the drive shaft to push pistons back and forth creating suction and then pushing the water out. It has no seals moving back and forth with the piston and is self priming and can run dry. There are both low-end and high-end versions of the wobble pump in pressure washers and the main difference is ceramic vs. stainless steel plungers and low grade steel vs. solid brass pump head constructions.
- Lifespan varies based on specific pump specs: 200 – 300 hours up to 3,000++ for the Kranzle wobble pumps
The triplex plunger pump is the most advanced and efficient pump used in only the best pressure washers. It is connected to drive shaft via a crankshaft with connecting rods that stroke 120 degrees apart from each other. This allows the pump to run cooler and more efficient than the other pumps. It is easy to perform maintenance on making its lifespan much longer.
- Lifespan: 3,000 hours ++
How loud are the different types of pressure washers?
A gas pressure washer is louder than electrics and is about the same as a lawn mower.
There are two types of electric pressure washers with different loudness: universal motor and induction motor powered. The universal motors are louder and about as loud as a blender. The induction motors are quieter and about as loud as a vacuum.
Are there any battery powered cordless pressure washers like other power tools?
Yes there are but they are not practical at this time. The motor powering the pump requires too much power for them to be feasible. The one we have tested is a Ryobi cordless battery powered with space for 2x 5Ah, 36V batteries. Each battery lasted 12 minutes of pressure washing. And that was light-duty cleaning power 1,400 PSI and 1.3 GPM. Although it was a pleasure to use – very quiet and smooth.
How did PressureWashr decide which 36 to purchase and test?
First we investigated the online ratings and reviews of all 205+ models available while putting the data and findings into a spreadsheet.
Then we bought those best power washers from different online and big-box retailers to test for ourselves.
Quick note: We buy the pressure washers online and from the stores just like you. We do not get special or free machines for testing purposes.
How does PressureWashr perform testing?
Scientific testing: We uses gauges and devices to measure the actual PSI and GPM each machine produces. These numbers are all input to a spreadsheet.
Testing in use: We pressure wash different surfaces like concrete, wood, brick, vinyl, metal, plastic etc. and get a feel for the pressure washers real life quality. Not just how good it cleans but also how easy it is to move around the yard, how easy it is to setup etc.
The pressure washers are used over 3-4 weeks an hour or two a day before the final ratings are input to our proprietary spreadsheet. The goal of the spreadsheet is to turn 11 different rating category numbers into a single number for each pressure washer model. The number is what we use to rank them from best to worst.
How often is this list updated?
The list is updated for accuracy monthly and was last updated September 18, 2020.