All pressure washers work the same way: A motor powers water through a concentrated nozzle. To find the right pressure washer for your needs, consider the following factors:
✔️ Power source: There are three main options — electric, gas and battery — and your choice will affect power and convenience.
- Electric pressure washers are generally suitable for the vast majority of homeowners and can tackle projects like car washing, cleaning lawn furniture and spot-treating surfaces. They’re more affordable (think $300 and below), lighter, quieter and easier to store and maintain.
- Gas pressure washers are most commonly used by professionals because they’re a lot more powerful. They’ll blast away nearly any dirt and debris — they’re best used for things like decks and sidewalks — but they’re much more expensive (think $300 and above), plus they’re bigger, heavier, noisier and harder to maintain.
- Battery-powered pressure washers are the latest addition to the category. Many of these cordless models still max out between 500 and 1,000 PSI, compared with the 2,000 to 3,000 PSIs of the best gas or corded electric models. But we’re starting to see an increase in more powerful models, including the 1,500 PSI battery-powered Craftsman featured in this report.
✔️ Water pressure vs. water flow: To best understand how much power a pressure washer will generate, you need to consider two factors: water pressure and water flow. PSI, or pounds per square inch, indicates the water pressure delivered by the machine, says Adrienne Hunt, associate merchant for Home Depot. Pressure washers with a high PSI will clean deep stains more effectively than machines with a lower PSI. If you’re looking to clear dirt and grime from furniture or hose down the car, electric pressure washers with typical PSIs in the 1,600 to 2,300 range should do the job. For tougher cleaning tasks — say, tackling oil stains on a concrete driveway or removing sap from the back deck, you’ll do better with a gas pressure washer ranging from 2,700 to 4,400 PSI.
But while PSI is important, you also need to pay attention to water flow, measured in GPM, or gallons per minute. The two specs in tandem are super important. GPM measures the volume of water delivered by the pressure washer — an indicator of how quickly your machine will clean. Higher-GPM pressure washers (2.o and up) will clean faster than those with lower GPM.
✔️ Cost vs. value: While you can find pressure washers for less than $100, the least expensive models on our list are closer to $150. At the other end of the spectrum, you could spend $600 or more on a pressure washer, but our experts say the best of the best for home use are in the $300 to $500 range. That’s a serious investment, but hiring a professional to pressure-wash your home will likely cost between $25 and $100 per hour, according to Angi, the home services marketplace. That works out to around $250 for a single patio or deck, so the machine quickly pays for itself.