The Best Pressure Washer
After more than 50 hours of research and a week using six pressure washer models to clean cars, patio furniture, and more, we found that the best pressure washer for most homeowners is the Ryobi RY142300 2,300 PSI Brushless Electric Pressure Washer. All the electric washers we tested cleaned well, but the Ryobi has a durable motor, a longer hose, larger wheels for easier maneuvering, a better-designed cord, and a longer warranty than the competition.
The Best Pressure Washer
After all of our testing and research, we’re confident that the best pressure washer is the Ryobi RY142300 2300 PSI Brushless Electric Pressure Washer. It didn’t perform the cleaning any faster or better than the others we tested, but it does eliminate nearly every inconvenience commonly associated with pressure washers.
Compared with the competition, the Ryobi RY142300 is quieter; it also never tips over, and it has fantastic hose and cord storage, made easier by the high-quality hose, which isn’t as stiff as those of competitors. It has the largest wheels we could find on any electric pressure washer, making it the easiest model to use on an uneven lawn or up a patio step or curb. The washer hose is 5 feet longer than on the competition (something we noticed while washing the cars), and although the 35-foot power cord is standard, Ryobi allows for the use of a 25-foot extension cord (not all companies do). This gives the RY142300 a 60-foot reach, the longest reach of the tested washers. Even the end of the power cord is well thought out, with the GFCI unit set back from the end of the plug, making it easier to use in a crowded outlet box. Setup took us less than a minute.
The washer is covered by Ryobi’s three-year warranty, the longest coverage we could find for a residential electric pressure washer. This model is also readily available at Home Depot. The RY142300 was the most expensive electric washer we looked at: It typically costs around $250 and is roughly $50 more than the next most expensive model. Comparatively, that’s a lot, but we believe that its comprehensive convenience features are well worth the initial investment.
This Ryobi model’s pressure rating of 2,300 psi is very high for an electric pressure washer, as most are in the 1,800 to 2,000 psi range. But this washer’s relatively low flow rate, measured in gallons per minute, makes for a cleaning units (CU) score of 2,760, on a par with that of the other models we tried. In other words, this Ryobi model doesn’t clean any faster or better than the competition—in our tests all the models managed to get blobs of pine sap off a car and to push away the graying layer of mildew on patio furniture. The RY142300 comes with three nozzles (rotary, 15-degree, and soap), and between those we don’t think there is any normal cleaning task that the Ryobi can’t handle.
Sun Joe SPX3000 Electric Pressure Washer
If you want a decent washer for the lowest price possible, we like the Sun Joe SPX3000 Electric Pressure Washer. It was among the least expensive models we tested. It’s nowhere near as user-friendly as the Ryobi RY142300, but if you’re planning to use a pressure washer only once or twice each year and you cringe at the Ryobi’s price tag, the Sun Joe will still get your cleaning done even if it introduces some annoyances. Among the pressure washers in its price range, the Sun Joe stands apart for making fewer compromises than its competitors.
In cleaning power, the Sun Joe is right up there with the recommended Ryobi. It’s advertised as a 2,030 psi unit capable of moving water at 1.76 gpm, giving it an extremely high cleaning-units score of 3,572—on paper, that’s at least a third higher than the CU of the rest of the electric models we tested. But a closer look at the specifications on the Sun Joe website turns up a “working pressure” of 1,450 psi, which reinforces the idea that manufacturer specs are to be taken with a grain of salt. Regardless of the actual number, we found the Sun Joe to be on a par with the other machines in our test group as far as cleaning power and cleaning speed.
The Sun Joe has a metal spray wand (competitors’ wands at this price are often plastic), and the unit comes with five removable nozzle tips: 0, 15, 25, 40, and soap. Unfortunately, it has no rotary nozzle, so for especially deep cleaning, you need to rely on the 0-degree nozzle or use the 15-degree tip at extremely close range. This is not ideal due to the danger of the concentrated spray, both to you and the material you’re cleaning.
The Sun Joe has two detergent tanks, which is a nice feature to have (the Ryobi has only one tank). Some detergents are specific for what you need to clean, so this tank design lets you store two at a time and not have to deal with emptying and filling a tank between cleaning projects. We preferred Sun Joe’s detergent-tank design over Ryobi’s, as Sun Joe’s tanks are easily removed and semi-opaque so you can see what you have left at a glance.
Hose and cord storage is also nice with the Sun Joe SPX3000. Because it has two simple hooks, as on the Ryobi RY142300, you can gently loop the cord and hose, which is easier to do than using the hose reels common to inexpensive models. This hook design, unlike a reel, helps keep the hose from curling too much, so it’s able to lie flat in use. The Sun Joe does not offer a Velcro strap or a little bungee like the Ryobi does, so you have no way to secure the cord and hose once you’ve hooked them, but in our tests the hooks were deep enough that we never had any issue with the hose or cord falling off while we were moving the washer.
Sun Joe also allows for the use of a 25-foot extension cord, which not all manufacturers do. This feature, combined with the 35-foot power cord, gives the SPX3000 a reach of 60 feet.
Where the Sun Joe model stumbles is in some of its other convenience-oriented features. Compared with the hose on the Ryobi electric model, this hose is 5 feet shorter, so encircling a car for washing, for example, is more difficult. The hose is nice and pliable, though.
The Sun Joe also has small wheels that seem to be designed only for perfectly flat surfaces. Thankfully, at 32 pounds, the washer is fairly light, because while working on a lawn, we ended up half dragging, half carrying it behind us rather than rolling it. Imagine taking a pull-behind suitcase across your bumpy lawn, and you get get the picture.
Given the low cost of the Sun Joe, it’s no shock that this model comes with a universal motor rather than a quieter, longer-lasting induction motor like the kind on the Ryobi. One nice thing, though, is that the Sun Joe motor cycles on only when you call for water; the Ryobi motor is on all the time. Unfortunately, the Sun Joe motor has a whine, whereas the Ryobi motor just hums.
In the end, when it comes to cleaning, the SPX3000 does the job well, which is the most important thing. But overall, the Sun Joe lacks the general fit and finish of the Ryobi. It lacks a metal roll bar, it’s not as stable, the hose connections are just a little more difficult to make, the tip storage isn’t as good, and the GFCI plug is hard to use in a crowded outlet box unless you use an extension cord. Keep in mind that these little annoyances (combined with the wheel size, the hose length, and motor noise) do add up, so the machine’s low cost comes at a price.
Generac 6923 Gas Powered Pressure Washer
It’s the turn next of our Premium Choice pick in our Best Pressure Washers review, and we’ve gone for the Generac 6923. This is a gas powered washer and is undoubtedly very user-friendly and incredibly versatile. It’s constructed from a durable powder coated steel frame which sits on your pneumatic tires that will never go flat. It also has a foam grip for your comfort and convenience during transportation. With an enormous output of 3100 PSI, it makes short work of those troublesome tasks around the house like cleaning concrete and decking.
There are two angled degree tips as well as an additional chemical tip for use with detergents and soap. The tips are easy to change and can be stored away in the unit for easy access. The spray gun itself has a comfortable and ergonomic grip handle that is easy to control, and there’s a 25-foot long hose that conveniently connects to the back of the high-pressure cleaner. In a horizontal design, it’s mobile and can be transported easily from one place to the next. It’s compact, versatile and delivers professional cleaning results.
Also great: Ryobi RY803001 3000 PSI Honda Gas Pressure Washer
If you need to go farther than the electric Ryobi model’s 60-foot max cord length allows, or if you’ll be regularly cleaning large areas, you should step up to a gas model. We recommend the Ryobi RY803001 3000 PSI Honda Gas Pressure Washer, a gas pressure washer that offers more than similarly priced competitors. Like many other highly regarded gas washers, the RY803001 comes with a reliable 160 cc Honda engine, and like its electric counterpart it stands out due to its abundance of convenience features (including a 35-foot hose) as well as its ready availability at Home Depot and its strong three-year warranty.
The gas Ryobi operates at 3,000 psi and has a flow rate of 2.3 gpm, which works out to a CU of 6,900. Generally speaking, those numbers indicate that the gas Ryobi cleans twice as fast as the electric one. We didn’t detect much of this speed while cleaning our cars, wheelbarrows, or patio furniture, but you’re likely to notice it if you’re scrubbing down your entire driveway, a deck of significant size, or a long stretch of sidewalk.
The performance of a gas pressure washer starts with the engine, and the Ryobi RY803001 comes equipped with a 160 cc Honda engine that has a truly stellar reputation. This is the same engine (but just a little smaller) than the one on our pick for the best lawn mower, which is without question the most universally praised piece of equipment we’ve encountered in our years of reviewing lawn gear. To highlight the significance of adding a Honda engine, Ryobi includes it in the name of this pressure washer.
As for features, the Ryobi gas washer shares a lot of characteristics with its electric counterpart. It has the same easy-to-use Velcro strap for hose storage, the same giant wheels, and the same metal roll-bar handle (which takes just minutes to set up). The overall look and feel of the two is nearly identical, and the design is as successful on the gas model as it is on the electric version.
The gas Ryobi model comes with a single quick-change sprayer tip. It’s designed like a garden sprayer or a shower head, where you can turn the head and cycle through the spray options. It has 0-, 25-, and 40-degree sprays as well as two soap settings, fan and jet. This is a very convenient feature to have, and we’re surprised that more washers don’t come with something similar. The connection is the same as on the other nozzles, so the RY803001 is fully compatible with surface sprayers and other add-ons, including other individual spray tips, should you want them. Unfortunately the RY803001 doesn’t offer any on-board tip storage.
The RY803001 has a 35-foot hose; that distinguishes it from most gas washers, which usually have either a 25- or 30-foot hose. You’ll likely add on more garden hoses to truly take advantage of its range—but the inclusion of even these extra few feet of hose here is a nice perk over the competition. Like the electric model, the gas Ryobi is available at Home Depot and comes with a long, three-year warranty.
As for downsides, this model has the same soap-tank issues as its electric counterpart—the opaque tank is bolted to the frame and difficult to empty out or to check for its detergent levels.
Additionally, the RY803001 is gas powered, and as with any gas model, a good deal of maintenance goes along with that. As good as the Honda engine is, it will need oil changes, spark-plug maintenance, and seasonal shutdowns. You also need to figure the price of gas and stabilizer into the operating costs. No electric pressure washer requires that kind of upkeep, which is why we recommend an electric model first if you think that type would work for your property.
Champion 3200-PSI 2.4-GPM Dolly-Style Gas Pressure Washer
The Champion Dolly-Style Gas Pressure Washer is an absolute behemoth. This is a fact that is backed by just how much value it delivers. The washer is easy to maneuver due to the dolly-style design. The yellow and black colors used on the surface gives it the look of a bee, and we all know what bees are famous for (“working hard!” Just in case “making honey” was the first thing that came to your mind). The 224cc single-cylinder overhead valve engine is powerful and the 3200 PSI it delivers is equally impressive. It also uses 2.4 Gallons Per minute which when coupled with the high PSI rate, makes for a thorough wash job.
In the ease of use department, the Champion Pressure Washer also excels as it features a 47.2-inch hose. The hose also sports an ergonomic design and a comfort grip trigger gun that makes washing a painless exercise. The Annovi Reverberi axial cam pump is robust and delivers steady nozzle pressure, which in turn, makes for more consistent cleaning. Speaking of nozzles, the Champion Pressure Washer comes with five (0 ̊, 15 ̊, 25 ̊,40 ̊ and soap) which are all easy to connect and are usable in a number of situations. So regardless of the type of cleaning job you need to execute (deck, car, boat etc), there’s a nozzle for you. There aren’t many washers that guarantee great power and enduring consistency and it’s safe to say that Champion does both.
Ryobi also has a number of small pressure washers, such as the RY141612, RY141812G, and RY1419MTVNM. Compared with our picks, they have less power and less capacity for larger projects. In the future, we might look into the practicality of a more portable pressure washer for those who need one only for occasional small jobs.
The Beast P2000B-BBM15 2000 PSI Electric Pressure Washer looked promising in our research, but we can’t find a Web page or any significant information about the company that makes it. Because of this, we have concerns about potential long-term service or warranty issues.
We had some hopes that the Sun Joe SPX4600 could be a viable alternative to our current picks from Ryobi, but its hose is 5 feet shorter, and the cord storage doesn’t seem as convenient or polished.
We tested the Kärcher K4 1900 PSI Electric Pressure Washer, and although we found a lot to like about it—including an induction motor—the convenience features weren’t as comprehensive as the Ryobi RY142300’s. It has much smaller wheels, a less stable vertical design, and a less robust plastic wand.
The Ryobi RY141900 2000 PSI Electric Pressure Washer shares many characteristics with our top pick, but the wheels aren’t as large, it has a hose reel, and it has only a universal motor.
The AR Blue Clean AR383 Electric Pressure Washer was the least expensive washer we looked at, but even at its usual bargain price, we can’t recommend it. We didn’t like the hose reel, the cord storage was tedious to use, it tended to tip over, and the wheels were tiny.
We did not test the Ryobi RY14122 1700 PSI Electric Pressure Washer because it fell outside our target range of 1,800 to 2,200 psi. It has a CU score of about 2,000, so it’s less powerful than our electric picks (though after conducting our tests, we think it would probably clean comparably to our top pick). It’s clearly very popular, with more than 2,600 positive reviews on the Home Depot site at this writing. It lacks the larger wheels, the metal wand, and the well-designed GFCI plug of our top pick. At about $170, its price compares to that of the Sun Joe SPX3000, but we’d recommend the less expensive Sun Joe first: This Ryobi model has a less convenient cord wrap and a single, opaque detergent tank (the Sun Joe has two semi-opaque ones), and the Sun Joe offers a better, metal wand.
We dismissed more than a few other electric pressure washers prior to testing.
The Kärcher K5 Electric Pressure Washer operates at a higher pressure than the K4 (which we tested) but at a lower flow rate in gpm, which evens out its cleaning-units score. In all other ways, the two models are identical. In this case, we didn’t think the added cost made it a good value, given the closeness in performance.
Kärcher’s K3 Follow Me has an interesting four-wheel design that you can pull around behind you. Its low cleaning-units score and so-so owner feedback put it out of the running.
Kärcher also sells the K1700, K1800, K1900, and K2000. Although these look like nice washers, they don’t match the cleaning-units scores of their Kärcher counterparts (the K4 and K5) yet their cost is nearly the same. On top of that, these models come with individual nozzles rather than an adjustable wand, and they have opaque detergent tanks and the clunky GFCI plug design.
AR Blue Clean’s AR383SS has a hose reel and tight cord storage. It usually costs about the same as the Sun Joe SPX3000, if not more. The company also sells the AR2N1, which has an interesting design that allows you to remove the motor from the frame and mount it to a wall. That feature adds a decent amount of cost to the AR2N1, but it still has only a universal motor.
Stanley’s electric pressure washers are all made by AR Blue Clean and appear to the the exact same but with yellow paint instead of blue.
Greenworks appeared to be in the middle of a transition between model lines at the time of our testing in 2018. The GPW1950 is still in stores but doesn’t show up on the company’s website, while the GPW1954 is available at the Greenworks website but nowhere else.
We researched a number of popular gas washers, but none matched the Ryobi RY803001’s ease of use, warranty, availability, and Honda engine. The Simpson MSH3125-S came the closest. It has a larger Honda engine (190 cc) but no quick-change tip; it also has smaller wheels and a shorter warranty. It typically costs more too. Simpson also sells the MS60773-S, which also has a shorter hose and warranty.
Cub Cadet’s PW3024H costs about the same as the gas Ryobi and has the same engine, but it suffers from a shorter hose and the lack of a quick-change tip.
Another element that complicates the measurement of cleaning power is that manufacturers take the psi of a washer per ASTM standards, and they take it right off the pump rather than at the end of the nozzle. Kramar told us the standard “also allow[s] a 10% tolerance so if they test 1300 psi 10 times that can be divided by .9 to give 1444 psi and that can be rounded up to 1450 psi in the manuals and on the nameplates.”
Zero-degree tips project water with a pinpoint focus strong enough to cut through clothing and flesh. Kramar writes at his site that they can easily damage materials (car paint, wood, and the like), but that they “could be used for removing very tough caked on mud from construction equipment, or rust, or holding at the right distance stains from high strength concrete.” When we interviewed him, Kramar told us that for residential use, “there’s no need for [the 0-degree tip]” because the “pinpoint jet spray will take forever to clean a surface area.”
The specific tip is less important than the wand’s distance from what you’re cleaning. According to Kramar, ”you can adjust what the surface feels by pulling back with the 15 or 25-degree nozzle. You half the force by doubling the distance, generally. “ He goes into more detail on this point at his site.
Hose reels are for storage only; both ends of the hose need to be disconnected in order for you to reel it on. Reels are not a way to keep the hose contained during use.