Washing a car may seem like a tedious task, but when done on a regular basis, it helps retain the car’s integrity against the elements. You may drive your car over for a quick 10-minute automated wash often, or grab your hose, soap, and sponge, and do it manually. Whatever your preference, when it’s time to cut through the real dirt and grime, a pressure washer is the most effective and efficient method. The best pressure washer will not only blast the dirt away, but it also leaves your precious wheels sparkling with less elbow grease.
What stops you from getting the same results as a professional car wash? What you get after washing your car all depends on the product you’re using, the type of water, and the technique. But, with the right information and the best pressure washer, you’ll ace it in no time.
The five pressure washer brands we’ve reviewed here are among the most popular and readily available. Price, features, and availability all play into choosing the right machine for you. Are you washing one car, or your house, vehicles, and your driveway, or even a tractor? Either way, you are going to want to know a lot to make an informed decision on the best pressure washer to buy.
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What Is a Pressure Washer
A pressure washer is basically a pump that gives you a super-powerful jet of water for removing dirt and all kinds of other outside grime from almost any surface. The best pressure washer blasts things clean aggressively with pressurized water jets, or, for more delicate cleaning, gently sprays at lower pressures.
The main parts of a pressure washer include a water inlet, electric motor or gas engine, water pump, high-pressure hose, and a cleaning attachment. So it's less sophisticated than it sounds. Some pressure washers may have additional features like a built-in circuit breaker in the power supply to protect you in the event of an electrical fault.
Pressure washers, like many other products, come in different shapes and sizes. From easily portable units that can be carried around to heavy ones that need wheels for easy transport.
They are also different types, the main ones being gas and electric pressure washers. The difference is that the gas models are more powerful. And because they run on a gasoline engine, they are great for places where the electric supply is scarce. They’re also ideal in places where stringing extension cords would pose a danger or inconvenience.
Electric models, on the other hand, are light-duty and run off your electricity supply. Unlike the gas pressure washers, these are more compact, quieter, and easier to move around with.
The other type is the hydraulic pressure washer, which is found mostly on farms and in large industries. This kind of pressure washer isn’t dependent on electricity or fuel.
How to Pick the Best Pressure Washer
The popularity of the pressure washer has exploded over the past few years because of its ability to clean thoroughly. When using the best pressure washer on your car, you’ll notice its effectiveness at cleaning whatever you point it at. Not only will it speed the job up, but it will also give you nearly professional results with less effort.
To decide which pressure washer you need, you must first consider its purpose and your environment. For example, a farm needs a different type of pressure washer than a home in the city does. You also need to know what your water source will be, for instance, a water tank.
Finally, you need to know what features to look for when you are searching for the best pressure washer.
The best pressure washer will include an onboard detergent tank and soap attachment, letting you use chemicals to clean your car effectively.
These are the cylindrical or round spouts at the end of the pressure washer wand. They have small little holes through which the pump forces water. The holes are set up for spreading out to varying stream widths and pressures. As well as several types with different degrees of rotation. The best pressure washer will have adjustable or replaceable nozzles so that you can conveniently change the head for each different task. The same goes for adjustable or interchangeable stainless steel wands.
Weight and wheels
Most pressure washers weigh between 15 and 35 pounds, so if it is heavy, check whether it has stock wheels for easy transport or maneuverability.
For electric pressure washers, PSI and GPM are essential factors. PSI (pound per square inch) refers to the amount of pressure produced, while GPM (gallons per minute) is the amount of water flow. Both affect the price, restricting you regarding the power you can get on the machine. If you’re willing to spend more, you can get a heavy-duty power pressure washer, or settle for a light-duty and medium-duty machine if you're on a lean budget or don't have a use for one that will take paint off a fence.
Hose/cord length and coupling
A typical pressure washer will have a hose that’s 20 feet long or power cords that go up to 30 feet long, so be wary if the unit you want has anything less. Similarly, check if the coupling is brass or plastic, as the latter tends to break or leak. If you don’t get a unit with brass coupling, you can purchase it separately.
Cord and tool storage
A pressure washer that comes with a storage compartment for keeping your power cord, tools, and other accessories is a big plus, even though it is not absolutely necessary.
The best pressure washers will offer a warranty on the product, some giving limited warranties of one to two years, meaning coverage against substantial defect on material and construction that occur within the period of warranty. Thus, if you use the washer according to the user manual and a part of or the whole machine fails within the warranty period, it’ll be fixed or replaced entirely.
A typical pressure washer engine measurement is the size of its compression chamber, measured in CC (cubic centimeters). If it has a bigger CC, the engine will be more powerful.
Electric pressure washers use motors to power their pumps and to deliver the required water pressure. Electric power measurement is in Watts or Amperes (Amps). There are three main types of motors: universal, induction, and water-cooled. Universal is the least costly, and the water-cooled motor is the priciest as it uses water to cool the motor while increasing its life.
The type of pump you select with your pressure washer is rated based on its life. There are three common types of pumps: wobble, axial, and triplex. The wobble pump is affordable with its life estimated at three years, but it cannot be replaced or repaired. The axial pump is a bit more expensive than the wobble, with an expected two or three times more life. The triplex pump is the most expensive, but its life is ten times that of the axial pump and is suitable for daily use.
Professional car wash companies use hot water to clean your car because it cleans better than cold water. An onboard burner or heating coil heats the water, but they’re more expensive than cold water units.
The best pressure washer will have other attachments to boost the machine’s cleaning capacity while making your work easier. So you’ll find extras like a surface cleaner with rotating nozzles, or even a brush.
How We Reviewed
With new brands entering the market every so often, and manufacturers trying to outdo each other, consumers tend to get overwhelmed with information. When reviewing the best pressure washer, we first sought to find out the features that make for a great machine. We also looked at reviews and comments from experts and real customers alike, picked from sites such as Consumer Reports, Pressure washer, and Amazon. With the above information, we found the highest ratings, reviews, and real criteria for the best pressure washer.
Five Best Pressure Washers
If you’re looking for the best pressure washer for car use, here’s a roundup of the top five brands , in no particular order.
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The Sun Joe SPX3000 is a lightweight, easy to use and portable electric pressure washer whose unique features make it stand out from the crowd. This powerful washer can take on large volumes of cleaning tasks. It has one of the best motors and produces an incredible cleaning power.
If you have a few bucks to spend, this is the best pressure washer for a solid cleaning job.
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Although the KarcherSee K5 Premium Electric Power Pressure Washer is slightly pricier, it is quite effective for washing your car and other light duties around the house. What makes it unique is its patented DirtBlaster wand that gets the toughest jobs done much faster, as well as its adjustable Vario spray wand that lets you adjust the nozzles.
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This small, innovative electric pressure washer by Ivation is ideal for people who like using one attachment for every cleaning job. The Ivation Electric Pressure Washer is designed for optimal versatility, this machine, which comes in three different models, boasts of being the best pressure washer and the only one you’ll need for all your cleaning tasks.
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It’s never easy to find the best pressure washer machine that is powerful, affordable, and able to handle a variety of tasks. The Greenworks GPW1950 Pressure Washer, however, combines all three qualities making it a viable alternative to other machines.
If you’re looking for the best pressure washer, the first thing you want to do is identify the purpose you will use it for as well as the type of environment you'll be using it in. The best pressure washer overall is the Sun Joe SPX3000 electric pressure washer. It is very popular with high ratings of 4.2/5, and over five thousand positive reviews on Amazon. It also has all the qualities of a good pressure washer regarding features, strength, performance, and affordability. However, if you’re looking for a pressure washer for light tasks, that is easy to use and portable, and you don’t mind adding a few bucks, you can go for the Ivation electric pressure washer.