Our aim is to help you find the best pressure washer for your needs today.
Everyone has a different reason they need a pressure washer; whether it’s occasional cleaning of patio furniture before a family cookout, or you need to clean driveways for hours.
Choosing the best pressure washer is all about the job you need it for!
If you’re looking for a pressure washer that can help for jobs/chores around the house, you’re in the right place. If you need more power for commercial jobs, see our commercial pressure washer page.
But if you want my single recommendation – right here and now – I would say go with the Simpson Megashot
SIMPSON MegaShot MSH3125
And all this for an affordable price because you’re not paying for heavy branding (like you would with DeWalt).
This opinion hasn’t changed for years, because the machine is so well built.
If our favorite pressure washer isn’t quite right for you, let’s get into the full list and dive into the details.
Our Picks for Best Pressure Washer
Best for Bigger Jobs – Heavy-Duty Consumer Gas
SIMPSON MegaShot MSH3125 is a heavy-duty gas pressure washer perfect for tough cleaning jobs. It delivers an industry-leading 3200 PSI and 2.5 GPM powered by a reliable Honda engine.
The Simpson Clean Machine gas pressure washer packs impressive 3400 PSI cleaning power in a compact, portable design. You get all that we like about the Megashot but save some money by skipping the Honda engine.
Best for Most Homeowners – Medium-Duty Electric
As one of our top affordable electric pressure washer picks, the AR Blue Clean BC2N1HSS strikes a nice balance between convenient usability. The fit and finish on this pressure washer is the best in the business.
Feature-loaded home electric pressure washer pumping out 2030 PSI with 5 nozzles, onboard storage, dual soap tanks, and 2-year warranty. All at a wallet-friendly price.
Best Light-Duty Portable/Small Pressure Washers
The Karcher K1700 Cube electric pressure washer is perfect for home use. Its lightweight cubic body takes up minimal storage space. With 1700 PSI and 1.2 GPM, it will handle your small outdoor projects.
What Are The Pressure Washer Categories?
We break the choices down by these categories, because they’re likely to be the most common you’ll find on the site (and in many cases around the internet).
If you’re specifically looking for an electric pressure washer, then focus on the light and medium duty jobs. Electric pressure washers as higher PSIs are typically very expensive and really only for commercial/industrial jobs.
Gas pressure washers typically fall into the higher end of the medium duty category and are almost exclusively for heavy duty jobs.
Why should I trust this best pressure washer list?
Since March 2013, we have written 267 articles, taken 1,243 photos, and tested 37 pressure washers by cleaning homes, driveways, vehicles, patio furniture, lawn mowers, fences, concrete pools, heavy equipment and more. We are laser-focused on pressure washers and always will be. Read more about us and our testing process.
Our practical knowledge
Combine our team’s commercial power washing and mechanical engineering experience with the hands-on real-life use testing for Pressure Washr 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.
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.
- Best for the occasional jobs around the house
- Premium Performance
- Best engine. Best pump. Still homeowner affordable.
Our work has even been featured in
Deciding Between Gas and Electric Pressure Washers
The medium-duty type of pressure cleaner is unique because there are both electric and gas options to choose from. So how do you know which one is for you?
- Electric – More affordable, quieter, less maintenance, doesn’t require trips to the gas station. However, the cord can be annoying and limiting and although the machines are more affordable then are less durable. Get an electric style washer if you only plan to wash thing close to your home where an electric outlet is accessible and only plan to wash for a few hours a weekend at most.
- Gas – More expensive, louder, smelly fumes, more maintenance and can’t use machine in poorly ventilated indoor areas. Also it requires trips to the gas station for fuel refills. However, you free yourself from the electric cord and get a more powerful pressure washer that will last more years and hours usage than medium-duty electric. Get gas if you want the power and freedom, especially if you need to power wash a further distance from your home or need to wash around others homes and don’t have access to electric outlet.
The Best Heavy-Duty Pressure Washers for the Biggest Jobs
Heavy-duty power washers give you more cleaning capacity than medium and light-duty. This is because they have higher PSI (2,800+) and GPM. They make quick work of large driveways and flat areas like tennis courts. Yet, with the right nozzle and technique can clean vehicles without damaging the surface. They are all gas powered and cost at least $370.
Even the least powerful heavy-duty units have 2x and 3x the cleaning capacity of medium and light-duty pressure washers.
Contractors purchase them because they are built with tough, long-lasting industrial strength parts. If you’re the type that buys the best because you see it as an investment for the long-term go with the heavy-duty.
Complete Any Job Faster Than Other Options
A heavy-duty unit can do light and medium-duty jobs more often and faster. It manages this because it has parts built to last.
Use the right nozzle and adjust spray distance to keep the ideal force for the surface being cleaned to avoid damage (wood: less force, caked on mud to steel: more force).
In general, a heavy duty residential machine can be used safely up to 20 hours per week. If you plan to start a pressure washing business and be using it 30+ hours per week, you’ll want to upgrade to a commercial pressure washer.
Here are 4 common uses:
A big powerful pressure washer is ideal if you have caked on mud to hard steel surfaces. If you have some heavy equipment on the farm or job site, no problem.
But like mentioned above, if you plan on all-day-every-day pressure washing upgrade to commercial.
That’s what pressure washing contractors with truck fleet washing contracts do. Some big shipping or other large companies can have 100s of trucks that need regular washing. And many prefer to hire contractors for the gig than hire internally.
Brick, concrete or other large flat wall areas are ideal for big flow rate power washers. The image above is of a parking lot wall divider and took a little more than one hour to properly clean. A light duty cleaner would take 2-3 hours with its lower GPM.
Tennis courts and basketball courts
A surface cleaner attached to a large power washer is the best way to clean tennis courts, outdoor basketball courts, large parking lots and other big flat areas.
Building entrances and large concrete areas
Clean building entrance stairs and courtyards with ease and efficiency. A light or medium duty can do the job, sure, but it will take longer and you’ll get annoyed having to go back and redo an area.
Features That Matter
Every tool brands’ version will have slightly different features. Here are the ones that matter:
- Sturdier Steel Carriage – A heavy-duty machine needs a stronger frame because it has a heavier larger engine and pump. If it didn’t it would bend and deform quickly. This robust frame also makes it suitable for wheeling around a job site.
- Job-site Tires – To support the big engine and pump the power equipment should have large pneumatic tires. If it didn’t it would be tough to move around on uneven ground.
- Commercial Series Engine – Although there exist heavy-duty washers with residential-grade engines and heavy duty tier power, you’ll notice most of the heavy-duty’s we recommend have the commercial engines. This is because a commercial engine in a pressure washer will have a bigger fuel tank and more long lasting components.
- Longer Lasting Pump – The difference between operating life of an axial cam pump and a triplex plunger pump is astonishing. Not all heavy-duty units have crank driven triplex plungers but the best do.
- Picking The Best Heavy-Duty Pressure Cleaner On The Market
The Best Pressure Washers for Most Homeowners – Medium Duty
Medium-duty pressure cleaners are the most popular. The most versatile. They hit a sweet spot with pressure ranging from 1,700 to 2,800 PSI (40x garden hose pressure) and prices ranging from $120 to $350. Some are electric. Some are gas. And – with the right nozzle – there’s no reason why a medium-duty can’t be used for light-duty jobs.
Regardless if you decide to do that or not, owning a medium-duty cleaner saves you money in the long run. And saves you time and effort in any cleaning efforts around the house.
What You Can Do With A Medium-Duty Pressure Washer
This size range is great because they do everything a light-duty does, just faster. As we move towards larger areas the more valuable a medium-duty becomes. What are these types of pressure washers best for?
Great Option for Driveways
Just look how much better the driveway looks clean. And how long do you think that job took? It’s a pretty long driveway, but with a surface cleaner and pressure washer it takes two hours done properly. You will want to use a surface cleaner attachment for large flat areas because they improve the efficiency.
Better Efficiency for Fences
You can pressure wash your wood fence with a light-duty pressure cleaner but it will take twice as long. A mid-tier machine has more flow rate and that means more cleaning capacity. You can visualize this principle by thinking about a fire hose. You don’t see Firefighters putting out fires with garden hoses. They use big thick hoses because it handles more water volume.
Great for Cleaning House siding
A medium-duty power washer is great for a small one-story house siding clean but heavy-duty is recommended once you get to two-story bigger homes. This is because you’ll need to use a telescoping extension wand to clean the upper level while staying safe on the ground. A heavy-duty can provide the needed flow rate for an extension wand to clean properly on the first pass so you don’t spend your entire weekend pressure washing.
Easily Clean Wood decks
With the correct nozzle you can clean your wood deck with a medium duty in a few hours. However, if you use the red tip blasting nozzle it could start cutting into the wood. Pine will be damaged at 2,320 PSI. Be sure to not use the red tip and be sure to hold the spray a few feet back from the deck surface.
Ultra Portable – Light Duty Pressure Washers for Small Chores
There’s no better way to clean your vehicles, lawn equipment and patio furniture than with a small and portable pressure washer. A light-duty pressure cleaner is electric powered and has 25x the cleaning power of a garden hose. They cost $80 to $130 and are light, quiet and easy to get started using.
Light Duty (Less than or equal to 1,700 PSI) are great for smaller chores around the house, but anything larger would be underpowered.
Here are 4 popular uses for a light-duty pressure washer
Pressure washing the front steps and driveway can increase the value of your home by $10,000 when selling. Realtors know this, and have power washing contractors on speed dial.
A light-duty machine is perfect for the front steps (continue to the medium-duty to find the best for the driveway). Grab one this weekend for less than $100 and increase the value of your home.
It will take no more than twenty minutes of pressure cleaning – and it’s fun pulling the trigger seeing the dirt be gone.
Lawn mower and other lawn equipment
Clean your lawn equipment with your new lawn equipment. Just look at the John Deere ride-on mower in the image above. Turn a used and dirty mower to new and sparkly in just a few minutes with your new pressure washer.
Ever gone to a BBQ and the outdoor furniture had cobwebs and looked green? I have. I prefer my patio furniture to be clean before inviting guests, but that’s just me.
Other patio stuff like table and BBQ
The uses of a light-duty unit are endless. You can turn old, weathered stuff new again. It really is magnificent. Removing surface debris from your driveway after a storm is as simple as using a leaf blower, but with more power.