The Best Electric Pressure Washers: Reviews and Tips for Buying
Once you use a pressure washer, you'll know it's a tool you can't live without. We tested and provided 13 pressure washer reviews for readily available units. Here is what we discovered, including an explanation of the most important features. Use this guide to determine the best electric pressure washer for you.
Gas vs. Electric Pressure Washer Reviews
Two Critical Ratings
What They Can and Can't Do
The Hose Matters — A Lot
Dial Nozzles are Great
Pressure washer nozzles come in two varieties: individual snap-in quick-change nozzles and a dial-type multi-spray pattern nozzle. We found no difference in performance. But for convenience, the dial nozzle wins the contest hands down.
The number of nozzles included with the machine varied by manufacturer. The Powerhorse unit came with just two nozzles, one for soap and one for spray. Other machines had three, four or five nozzles. Additional nozzles are available at most home centers.
All the gas machines we chose used a standard nozzle coupling. If the gas machine you like comes with individual nozzles, you can convert it to a dial style. However, some electric units use a proprietary hose, gun and nozzle fitting, making it much more difficult to find additional or replacement accessories and parts.
Variable Pressure vs. Fixed
Most pressure washers run at maximum pressure all the time, but some let you turn down the pressure for delicate surfaces. This is a nice feature, but you can get the same effect just by using a wider spray pattern and holding the nozzle farther away from the surface. Or buy an add-on pressure regulator like the Simpson Dial-N-Wash.
Pneumatic Tires Roll Better
The machines with pneumatic tires were the easiest to move around, especially on steps and gravel. But they need occasional reinflation. Plastic or molded rubber wheels get stuck much more readily.
Higher Hose Connections Are Easier
The pumps and hose connections on vertical-shaft gasoline engines are mounted at the bottom of the unit, near the ground. The pumps on horizontal-shaft engines sit about 8 in. higher. The designs work equally well. It's just a matter of convenience when attaching the garden and high-pressure hoses. If you have bum knees or trouble bending over, that slight height advantage makes it easier to connect hoses.
Soap Tanks Are More Work
Pressure washers provide the best results when you pretreat with pressure washer soap. Some machines include an onboard soap tank. We initially thought that was a great idea. But we found it to be a nuisance overall. We had to constantly refill the tank on large jobs. And afterward, the tank needed to be cleaned out (dried soap can damage the pump).
Instead, we prefer the siphon tube approach. Just shove the end of the tube into a gallon of cleaner and start soaping. When you're done, rinse the siphon tube, cap the jug and call it done. You can convert a machine with an onboard tank by disconnecting the tank tube and installing a siphon tube/filter accessory to the soap port on the pump.
Best Ways to Kill Your Pressure Washer
Don't ever do these things to your pressure washer.
- Leave water in the pump and hose over the winter
- Let it idle for long periods (gas models)
- Kink the garden hose while washing
- Fail to clean the pump inlet screen
Choosing a Pressure Washer
RYOBI NO. RY14122
BRIGGS & STRATTON POWERFLOW+ No. 020559
CRAFTSMAN NO. 020561
GREENWORKS NO. 51012
KARCHER K3 FOLLOW ME
SIMPSON NO. MSH3125-S
RYOBI NO. RY80940B
TROY-BILT NO. 020568
GENERAC OneWASH NO. 6602
BRIGGS & STRATTON POWERflow+
POWERHORSE* NO. 1577110
PACIFIC HYDROSTAR* NO. 69734
CRAFTSMAN GRIP & GO NO. 020573
Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.