Honda engines are known for reliability, and they are considered the gold standard in many industries. We’ll compare the two models commonly used in the pressure washing industry, then we’ll show you the best Honda-powered pressure washers (remember, the engine is just one part).
Compare Honda pressure washer engines
Honda has six small engine models, but only two are common on pressure washers: GC and GX. The GC series is designed for residential use, while the GX series is designed for commercial use. Compare each model below and learn about important differences between the two.
Honda GC engines are available in two sizes, 160cc and 187cc (the GC160 and GC190, respectively). They use an overhead camshaft (OHC) design, with either a horizontal or vertical drive shaft (denoted as GCV). They have more basic components to make them cost-efficient, but none that compromise reliability, especially in a residential setting (for example, most homeowners don’t mind a plastic fuel tank).
Honda GX engines are available in several sizes from 98cc to 688cc, with the most common being 196cc and 398cc (the GX200 and GX390, respectively). They use an overhead valve (OHV) design, with either a horizontal or vertical drive shaft (denoted as GXV). They have bigger, better components to handle more frequent use and longer hours, plus a number of extra features to assist with maintenance (for example, Oil Alert will shut down the engine in the event of low oil).
The best Honda GCV160 pressure washer
There are only a handful of pressure washers sporting a 160cc residential engine, and the ones that do are using the vertical shaft GCV160 (in any other category, horizontal shafts are more common). Of the available products, we think the Ryobi RY803001 provides the best package.
The RY803001 has a 95% recommendation rate (based on 4,000+ verified reviews from three sources). It’s the best-selling gas pressure washer at Home Depot.
The Ryobi RY803001 is Home Depot’s best-selling gas pressure washer, with thousands of 5-star reviews and an impressive 95% recommendation rate. The selling power of Honda branding certainly helps, but that’s not the only reason it’s chosen over competing products. It’s on the higher end of pressure for a GCV160, which range from 2,700-3,000 PSI, and it comes with better accessories, like a longer 35 ft. non-marring hose and a 5-in-1 adjustable nozzle (normally, we don’t like these, but Ryobi’s are pretty nice). It also has a massive 128 oz. onboard detergent tank and a longer warranty at 3 years.
The best Honda GC190 pressure washer
Based on combined sales volume, GC190 models are the most popular Honda pressure washers. There are a couple dozen of them to choose from, but our favorite (and the favorite of many people, for that matter) is the Simpson MSH3125-S.
The MSH3125-S has a 90% recommendation rate (based on 5,000+ verified reviews from six sources). It’s the best-selling gas pressure washer at Amazon and Pressure Washers Direct, and it’s top three at Home Depot and Lowe’s.
The Simpson MSH3125-S is the #1 best-selling gas pressure washer on the market. It’s been that way for years, and we don’t see that changing anytime soon. Why? For the same price as competing products, it provides commercial quality. The GC190 is a residential engine, of course, and so is the pump, but every other component is the same style that gets used on Simpson’s commercial units (heavy-duty steel frame, pneumatic wheels, braided hose, etc.). You can’t get this kind of value for your dollar from others, which is one of the main reasons we named it the best gas pressure washer in our own reviews.
The best Honda GX200 pressure washer
Although Honda’s commercial engines are available from 98cc, the GX200 is the starting size for pressure washers. We like it because it provides all the extra features without being much more expensive, which is why the Simpson PS3228-S does so well.
The PS3228-S has an 87% recommendation rate (based on 1,000+ verified reviews from six sources). It’s the most affordable commercial pressure washer on the market.
The Simpson PS3228-S is essentially the heavy-duty version of the MSH3125-S you saw above. Visually, the two products even look about the same. The GX200 is the step up from the GC190, and similarly, the AAA triplex pump is the step up from the OEM axial pump (they are literally made by the same company, just under different brand names). Besides those changes, the rest is equivalent. If you’re wondering why the PSI and GPM are similar, remember: commercial products aren’t inherently more powerful, they can simply withstand more abuse. If you want higher pressure, you’ll need more horsepower.
The best Honda GX390 pressure washer
If you’re a professional, you want a GX390 pressure washer. Even if you didn’t, it’s such a staple in the commercial industry, you’d have a hard time finding a model that didn’t have this engine. In our eyes, the DeWalt DXPW60605 uses it best.
The DXPW60605 has a 99% recommendation rate (based on 100+ verified reviews from four sources). It’s the highest-rated commercial pressure washer at Home Depot and top five at Pressure Washers Direct.
The DeWalt DXPW60605 is one of the highest-rated pressure washers on the market, and that’s saying a lot considering its customers are mainly professionals who are notoriously picky about their equipment. The GX390 is a good selling point, of course, but in this category, it’s also critical to have a reliable pump. CAT is like the Honda of pressure washer pumps, and although this isn’t the only pressure washer to use a Honda engine with a CAT pump, the 67DX is a newer, more refined version that’s very hard to find. This contributed to us naming it the best commercial pressure washer in our reviews.
Honda vs. Kohler, Generac and Briggs & Stratton
Honda isn’t the only small engine manufacturer that pressure washer brands use for their products. The three main competitors are Kohler, Generac and Briggs & Stratton. Compare each brand below in areas like engine selection, warranty and price.
Honda vs. Kohler
Kohler is the second-largest competitor in the pressure washing industry. Honda’s presence is still five times greater, which can also be said for their manufacturing sales in general, but Kohler has an equally diverse product line with similar features and options for every work setting. Their prices tend to be lower, which gives them an edge, but the playing field is leveled by their shorter warranty (2 years for home use).
Honda vs. Generac
Generac engines are primarily designed for generators (they are the leading brand in that market), so it goes without saying that reliability is the company’s top priority. They aren’t available on any brand of pressure washers other than their own, so your options are limited, but they do feature a number of higher-end innovations due to their primary purpose (without adding to the price). However, their dealer network is much smaller.
Honda vs. Briggs & Stratton
In terms of manufacturing sales, Briggs & Stratton is actually bigger than Honda, making them just as trusted with an equally large number of support centers. They have become less popular on home use pressure washers over the years, but their Vanguard series is coveted among professionals. They are generally more expensive than the GX series, so keep that in mind, but you definitely can’t go wrong with Briggs & Stratton.
Frequently asked questions about Honda pressure washers
Get answers to some of the most common questions about Honda pressure washers. For additional help, you can reach out to us at any time. For questions about specific products, we’re happy to offer advice, but depending on the question, you may need to contact the manufacturer.
Does Honda make a pressure washer?
Interestingly, Honda does not make their own brand of pressure washers in the United States. They have two models available in Japan, the WS1010 and the WS1513, but for some reason their American power equipment division has decided not to sell them.
How much does a Honda pressure washer cost?
The cheapest Honda pressure washer costs $329 and uses the GCV160, while the most expensive runs over $10,000 and uses the ultra-powerful GX690, an OHV V-Twin engine. With that said, on average, you can buy a Honda-powered pressure washer for around $400-500.
How to start a Honda pressure washer?
This depends on the model and size. The GX series has a consistent startup procedure between all sizes, but the controls are different for the GC series, even between the two sizes. See the list below for specific instructions:
- How to start a GC160 (or GCV): There is no power switch or fuel valve. Instead, there is a silver lever for throttle adjust (which automatically turns the power on and activates the fuel pump). Pull the lever all the way up, open the choke and pull the recoil starter. Once the engine has warmed up, close the choke and adjust the throttle, if necessary.
- How to start a GC190 (or GCV): There is no throttle adjust or fuel valve. Instead, there is a red ON/OFF switch for power (which activates the fuel pump and automatically adjusts the throttle). Turn the switch on, open the choke and pull the recoil starter. Once the engine has warmed up, close the choke.
- How to start any GX (or GXV): There is a power switch, throttle adjust and fuel valve. Open the fuel valve, choke and throttle in that order, then turn the power switch on and pull the recoil starter. Once the engine has warmed up, close the choke and adjust the throttle, if necessary.
What kind of gas does a Honda pressure washer use?
Unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87 or higher is recommended for both the GC and GX series. Ethanol-based fuels, like E85, are usually not approved unless explicitly stated.
What kind of oil does a Honda pressure washer use?
SAE 10W-30 oil is recommended for general, all-temperature use for both the GC and GX series. Synthetic oil is usually not required, but recommended for better performance.