The Best Pressure Washer

We’ve been using pressure washers for over 10 years. In that time, we’ve tested more than 50 models and researched more than 300. Whether you’re shopping for gas or electric power, residential or commercial use, or maybe you’re not sure yet, we know pressure washers better than anyone.

Cleaning concrete with a pressure washer

Compare recommended pressure washers

Before reading our reviews, use the product carousel below to compare each of our recommended pressure washers. We’ll talk about how to choose a pressure washer later, but this should give you an idea of what type of product you can expect from each category.

The best electric pressure washer

Electric pressure washers are easy to use and usually have enough power for most residential projects. Compared to gas models, they have lower quality components and less cleaning power (meaning they clean slower), but they are still the more popular choice among homeowners because they are less expensive and get the job done without the need for fuel, oil or any routine maintenance.

Best electric
Ryobi RY142300 electric pressure washer

Ryobi RY142300

The RY142300 has a 95% recommendation rate (based on 4,000+ verified reviews from three sources). It’s the best-selling electric pressure washer at Home Depot and a favorite among many third parties.

Why we like this one: The Ryobi RY142300 has everything you want from an electric pressure washer, without the common drawbacks. It has a durable aluminum frame, big rubber wheels, a few premium accessories and best of all, a brushless induction motor with an axial cam pump (important upgrades over the cheaper universal motors and wobble pumps found on most models). All of these features make the price almost $300, but they are worth the extra money because it means the RY142300 is more durable, more reliable and will last longer than competing products.

Read more about the RY142300 and see alternatives in our guide to electric pressure washers.

The best gas pressure washer

Gas pressure washers are very reliable and have more than enough power for any residential project. Compared to electric models, they are more expensive and require some routine maintenance, but they are usually the better investment because they have more cleaning power (meaning they clean faster) and higher quality components that last longer.

Best gas
Simpson MSH3125-S gas pressure washer

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.

Why we like this one: The Simpson MSH3125-S has the best components you can get on a residential pressure washer, and it still manages to be under $400. It has a heavy-duty steel frame, big pneumatic wheels, all premium accessories (with custom housing) and a Honda GC190 engine with an axial cam pump from OEM Technologies. The cost efficiency of the MSH3125-S is a result of vertical integration; FNA Group, the company that owns Simpson, also owns several parts manufacturers in the industry, so they get the best parts at the lowest cost.

Read more about the MSH3125-S and see alternatives in our guide to gas pressure washers.

The best budget pressure washer

Pressure washers under $200 are considered budget products. They compromise in some areas like quality and cleaning power (which is expected, this is how any company reduces costs), but they usually offer good value for your dollar and still have enough power to freshen up surfaces. Note: there are no gas models available in this price range.

Best budget
Sun Joe SPX3000 electric pressure washer

Sun Joe SPX3000

The SPX3000 has an 88% recommendation rate (based on 18,000+ verified reviews from seven sources). It’s the best-selling pressure washer on the market, with the top position at Amazon and Walmart, and top five at Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Why we like this one: The Sun Joe SPX3000 provides more value than other budget pressure washers by simply making fewer compromises. It still has reasonable quality and cleaning power, and it actually has more (and better) features than some products over $200, like a steel wand, extra nozzles and two detergent tanks. Most importantly, the SPX3000 has an automatic start-stop system that shuts down the pump when the spray gun is off, which reduces wear on the motor and pump so they last longer (important because universal motors and wobble pumps are known to be less reliable).

The best small pressure washer

Pressure washers that can be carried by hand are considered small products. They usually have the least cleaning power and lack onboard storage for accessories (which is expected, due to their size), but they are the easiest to use and still have enough power to freshen up surfaces. Note: there are no gas models available in this category.

Best small
Ryobi RY141612 electric pressure washer

Ryobi RY141612

The RY141612 has a 96% recommendation rate (based on 6,000+ verified reviews from three sources). It’s the second best-selling electric pressure washer at Home Depot.

Why we like this one: The Ryobi RY141612 is small enough to be stored on any shelf and even inside most cabinets, yet it’s just as good as many products twice its size. It has a durable body and stable base, despite weighing only 16 lbs, and it’s one of the only small pressure washers to offer detergent injection (more specifically, siphon injection, which is preferred but uncommon on electric models). The motor, pump and accessories are average quality, but considering the RY141612 is under $100, it’s well worth the money.

The best commercial pressure washer

Commercial pressure washers are premium products designed for professionals (although they are great for anyone who wants professional results). They usually cost over $1,000 and can be quite heavy, but they have the highest quality components and the most cleaning power for handling the hardest jobs in the shortest amount of time. Note: both portable and mounted setups are available.

Best commercial
DeWalt DXPW60605 gas pressure washer

DeWalt DXPW60605

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.

Why we like this one: The DeWalt DXPW60605 is the gold standard of pressure washers, developed exclusively for the company by FNA Group (the company that owns Simpson). It has a heavy-duty steel frame (semi-caged), giant pneumatic wheels and the most desirable engine and pump in the industry, the Honda GX390 and the CAT 67DX. It also features downstream detergent injection (meaning after the pump), adjustable pressure and of course, all professional accessories. The DXPW60605 is pricey, as expected, but it’s not an exaggeration to say it can last for decades with proper maintenance.

Read more about the DXPW60605 and see alternatives in our guide to commercial pressure washers.

The best hot water pressure washer

Hot water pressure washers are the most premium products in the commercial category. They start around $2,000 and can be twice the size and weight of cold water models, but they are well worth the investment for professionals because hot water cleans deeper and faster than cold water, plus it dries faster so surfaces can be used sooner. Note: both portable and mounted setups are available.

Best hot water
NorthStar 157310 gas pressure washer

NorthStar 157310

The 157310 has a 94% recommendation rate (based on 100+ verified reviews from three sources). It has more reviews than any other hot water pressure washer, making it the most popular.

Why we like this one: The NorthStar 157310 can be described with one word: comprehensive. It has so many beneficial features, it’s hard to list them all: anti-vibration steel frame with four pneumatic wheels, Honda GX390 engine with electric start, CAT 66DX triplex pump with adjustable pressure, schedule 80 heating coil with insulated ceramic case, multi-fuel burner with temperature control (both hot water and wet steam up to 250° F) and so much more. The 157310 has less pressure than some competing products, but realistically, you don’t need as much pressure when you have higher water temperature.

How to choose a pressure washer

Learn what to look for when buying a pressure washer. We’ll help you choose the best power source (gas or electric), cleaning power (PSI and GPM) and features (engine, pump and more). Keep in mind, this advice is generalized, so there may be exceptions in some areas.

PSI and GPM

Pressure washers have two measurements of power: pressure (how hard the water hits the surface) and volume (how much water hits the surface). Pressure is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI), while volume is measured in gallons per minute (GPM). Both are important to overall cleaning power; you need pressure to break things up, and you need volume to wash things away. 

More cleaning power means you can handle more projects, but you can still get plenty done with less. Use the table below to compare light, medium and heavy-duty cleaning power and choose based on what you want to clean.

Note: when you’re comparing products online, you may see another measurement of power called cleaning units. This is an unofficial unit of measurement used by the pressure washer industry to describe overall cleaning power, calculated by simply multiplying PSI and GPM together.

Light-duty Medium-duty Heavy-duty
Pressure Less than 2,000 PSI 2,000-2,999 PSI More than 3,000 PSI
Volume Less than 2.0 GPM 2.0-2.9 GPM More than 3.0 GPM
Cleaning units Less than 4,000 CU 4,000-8,999 CU More than 9,000 CU
Application Good for easier projects like tables, chairs, grills and vehicles. Good for all easier projects, plus fences, patios, decks, siding, roofs and gutters. Good for all easier and moderate projects, plus garages, driveways, paint and of course, commercial projects.

Read more in our guides to 2,000 PSI, 3,000 PSI and 4,000 PSI pressure washers.

Gas vs. electric

Pressure washers can be powered by an engine (gas) or motor (electric). There’s a lot of debate over which power source is better, but they both have pros and cons. Use the list below to compare gas and electric pressure washers and choose based on what’s important to you.

  • Gas models have higher pressure and volume, so they clean deeper and faster.
  • Gas models have better components, so they are more reliable and last longer.
  • Gas models are not restricted by a power cord, so they can be used anywhere (outdoors).
  • Electric models start with a button and have no maintenance, so they are easier to use.
  • Electric models are quieter and have no exhaust, so they can be used outdoors and indoors.
  • Electric models are less expensive, so they are more accessible.

Features to look for

Pressure washers have many available features. Some are good for everyone (like big wheels), some are only good for certain people (like a triplex pump) and some should be avoided because they can cause issues (like a hose reel). Review the list below and see which features you should look for.

  • Reliable power source. There are three categories of gas engines: brandless, rebranded and name brand. There are two types of electric motors: universal and induction. Engines are usually more reliable than motors, but comparing all five options, name brand engines and induction motors are the most reliable.
  • Reliable pump. There are three types of pumps: wobble, axial and triplex. Triplex pumps are the most reliable, but they are usually only available on commercial models, so look for axial pumps on residential models (these are still very reliable).
  • Big wheels. Wheels can be any size and plastic or rubber. Any wheels are better than none, but big ones (larger than 6”) are more maneuverable, especially those with pneumatic tires.
  • Steel wand. Wands can be plastic or steel. Steel wands have replaceable nozzles and can be used with more accessories, not to mention they are more durable.
  • Durable hose. Hoses can have several layers of plastic or steel braiding. High pressure hoses are decently durable by nature, but braided ones are more resistant to punctures and kinks.
  • Quick-connect fittings. Fittings can use threaded or quick connections. Quick-connect fittings are easier to use and they are always metal (some threaded fittings are plastic).
  • Accessory storage. Accessories can be stored several ways. Custom housing (holsters, hooks or anything made to fit each specific accessory) is more secure than other methods. However, hose reels should be avoided because they are hard to use and can actually damage the hose.
  • Detergent injection. Detergent can be injected using an onboard tank or through a siphon. Any method of detergent injection is better than none, but siphons are easier to use.

Frequently asked questions about buying a pressure washer

Get answers to some of the most common questions about buying a pressure washer. 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.

What is a good PSI for a pressure washer?

This depends on what you want to clean. Generally, pressure washers with around 3,000 PSI are the most versatile. They can be used for light, medium and heavy-duty projects alike. With less PSI, you may not have enough power for harder projects, and with more PSI, you may have too much power for softer surfaces (this can usually be managed with the right nozzle and some distance, though).

What is the best pressure washer for cars, driveways, etc.?

We talked earlier about how much cleaning power you need for certain projects, but there’s more that determines the best pressure washer for the job. You may also need good mobility, detergent or some special attachment. Review the list below and see what matters for the projects you have in mind.

  • Tables, chairs and grills. Low pressure, so both gas and electric models are suitable. Helpful feature: detergent injection.
  • Bicycles, motorcycles, cars and trucks. Low pressure, so both gas and electric models are suitable. Reliability is important for routine washing. Helpful attachments: foam cannon, undercarriage cleaner.
  • RVs, boats and trailers. Moderate pressure, so gas models are suggested, but some electric models can be suitable. Mobility is important for moving around large vehicles. Helpful attachments: foam cannon, undercarriage cleaner.
  • Fences, patios, decks and siding. Moderate pressure, so gas models are suggested, but some electric models can be suitable. Mobility is important for covering large areas. Reliability is important for long hours of runtime. Helpful features and attachments: detergent injection, telescoping wand, surface cleaner, rotating brush.
  • Garages, driveways and paint. High pressure, so gas models are recommended. Mobility is important for covering large areas. Reliability is important for long hours of runtime. Helpful features and attachments: detergent injection, turbo nozzle, surface cleaner, rotating brush.

Is it better to buy or rent a pressure washer?

Buying is usually smarter than renting, unless you only need to use a pressure washer once. Average retail prices are between $300-400 and average rental prices are between $75-150 per day. Buying costs more initially, but the investment pays itself off after just a few uses.