Gas pressure washer models can be much more effective than their electric counterparts on tough stains, cleaning large areas, and for heavy-duty tasks like removing exterior paint. Understanding where and when each pressure washer works best is key to choosing the right unit.
We used gas pressure washer reviews and user experience to critically examine the features of today’s high-performance models and select some of the best gas-powered pressure washers for your home or business.
- BEST OVERALL: Generac 7122 SpeedWash, 3200 PSI
- RUNNER-UP: Simpson MSH3125 MegaShot Gas Pressure Washer
- BEST BUDGET: WEN PW3200 Gas-Powered 3100 PSI 208cc Pressure Washer
- BEST FOR CARS: Champion Power Equipment 3100-PSI Gas Pressure Washer
- BEST FOR DECK & PATIO: Simpson MegaShot MS60763 3100 PSI Pressure Washer
- BEST COMPACT: Generac 8874 2900 PSI 2.4 GPM Pressure Washer
- ALSO CONSIDER: Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment WPX2700
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Gas Pressure Washer
While most gas power washers deliver higher performance than their electric counterparts, many are still aimed squarely at general-purpose home and yard use. At the other end of the scale are heavy-duty professional machines. Understanding the following features will help you select the best gas-powered pressure washer for home use options and tasks you undertake on a regular basis.
It’s important to use a pressure washer for the right type of cleaning jobs. Though many gas pressure washers have considerable flexibility, they sometimes have too much power. In general, gas pressure washers are tools for outside tasks.
Medium-duty models can be used for vehicle cleaning, though using an appropriate accessory like a car-cleaning wand is a good idea. A residential pressure washer is a great choice for cleaning siding and brickwork and removing grease and oil from decking, paths, garage floors, and elsewhere.
Some pressure washers can strip rust and flaking paint before refinishing and even remove graffiti. In essence, gas pressure washers are for cleaning hard surfaces—those that can withstand the force of the water jet that’s generated.
A gas pressure washer’s cleaning performance can be compared using three measurements: pounds per square inch (psi), gallons per minute (GPM), and cleaning units (CU).
- PSI is the actual water pressure a unit generates. Higher numbers mean a stronger jet and thus a greater ability to cut through dirt and grime. If starting with a high psi, it can usually be turned down. Low psi, which can be a challenge with an electric pressure washer, limits the jobs that can be done.
- GPM is the volume of water flow the pressure washer can supply. More gallons per minute usually indicates the ability to clean larger areas. However, both psi and GPM are interdependent to some extent. If there is high psi but low GPM, a powerful jet of water still is possible, but it will be very thin and thus of limited use.
- CU is simply the multiplication of psi with GPM. As such, it’s not a performance indicator on its own but can be used to give an overall comparison among models. It’s more often quoted on electric pressure washer units (possibly because the figures are impressive) but is of limited practical value.
Gas pressure washers almost invariably use four-stroke (also called four-cycle) engines. Those with two-stroke engines have their advantages on tools like chainsaws, but gas pressure washers don’t need to run as fast.
With top-rated gas power washers, a four-stroke motor provides more reliability, lasts longer, runs more quietly, and produces lower emissions. With the stringent California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations and increasingly strict EPA restrictions, several gas pressure washer manufacturers now use the term “50-state” to indicate that their low-emission motors are compliant with all current regulations.
The actual size of the gas engine is given in cubic centimeters (cc). However, two motors of the same size can produce different amounts of power, so it’s useful to check horsepower (HP) as well.
Though most manufacturers produce trustworthy motors, names like Briggs & Stratton, Honda, and Kohler have particularly strong reputations for reliability and durability. Their motors are often used by other gas power washer makers.
The ability to move a gas pressure washer around is clearly a major factor. The smallest models weigh around 60 pounds, so they may be able to be lifted without too much difficulty, although these units always have wheels.
Wheel types include solid plastic wheels on low-cost gas pressure washers, hard rubber tires on midrange units, and pneumatic tires on the largest machines. On big, heavy machines, the tires help spread the load and make them easier to maneuver on a variety of surfaces.
Additionally, consider the length of the hose from the machine to the spray gun. Though 25 feet is common, some hoses are up to 35 feet. If greater mobility is needed, connect a heavy-duty garden hose from the water supply to the pressure washer. The hose must be able to handle at least 500 psi.
Whereas electric pressure washers sometimes need a separate bucket for detergent, many of the top-rated gas pressure washer options generally have an onboard tank. If considering a heavy-duty model, capacity is a feature to check.
All machines come with a spray gun, which may or may not have a wand extension. There will be a number of quick-connect nozzles (usually between four and six) that provide for soap delivery and offer different spray patterns.
Other attachments may be included, including one designed as a hard surface cleaner or one for vehicle bodywork. If not, accessories from independent manufacturers are widely available. Be sure to check the connector size if considering these.
Some minor assembly of a gas pressure washer may be required, and tools are almost always included. A few models even include a small amount of engine oil to get the user started.
Our Top Picks
Now that you have a good understanding of the primary features, it’s time to look in detail at some of the best gas-powered pressure washers. In addition to the considerations above, manufacturer reputation and value for money are taken into account to help you find the best gas pressure washer in each category.
The Generac SpeedWash has a 196cc engine, producing 3,200 psi at 2.7 GPM. A power dial on the spray gun allows for easy pressure adjustment. It comes with four interchangeable nozzles. Versatility is further extended by a turbo nozzle for focusing on tough spots, a high-pressure soap-blaster spray attachment, and a power broom for horizontal surfaces.
The motor and pump are situated over the axle, making for good balance and easy maneuverability. The hose length is 25 feet. While not the most powerful machine featured, it is an outstanding general-purpose choice for both home and professional use.
- Water Pressure: 3,200 psi
- GPM: 2.7
- Weight: 62 pounds
- Includes power dial and broom
- Comes with 4 interchangeable nozzles
- 25-foot power hose
The Simpson MegaShot is an extremely popular gas pressure washer for household jobs, and it rivals the top spot on this list. The pressure washer’s chunky 10-inch pneumatic tires give it better all-surface mobility, and the rugged construction makes it better suited for commercial applications as well as DIY use.
The superb Honda 190cc motor gives it the power to consistently deliver 3,200 psi at 2.5 GPM. A maintenance-free pump makes it easy to look after. The MegaShot comes with five quick connect nozzle tips, including one for soap application, and 25 feet of high-pressure non-marring hose.
- Water Pressure: 3,200 psi
- GPM: 2.5
- Weight: 65 pounds
- 10-inch pneumatic tires
- Rugged construction
- Includes five quick-connect nozzle tips
- Does not ship to California
A great pick for best budget gas pressure washer, this model has a durable 208cc four-stroke engine that makes it among the most powerful in its class. It allows the pump to deliver 3,100 psi at up to 2.5 GPM.
The set mimics that of many more expensive models. There’s a long-life axial pump, a quick-connect spray gun with four angled nozzles and one for soap, plus 30 feet of tough reinforced hose. The onboard detergent tank holds 32 fluid ounces.
While not aimed at professional users, the WEN is sensitive enough to tackle vehicle bodywork without risking damage yet still provides sufficient performance for difficult cleaning tasks around the yard. Considering the price, it offers an outstanding combination of performance and value.
- Water Pressure: 3,100 psi
- GPM: 2.5
- Weight: 74 pounds
- Won’t cause damage when used on vehicles
- Quick-connect spray gun with four nozzles
- Onboard tank holds 32 fluid ounces of detergent
- Heavyweight build; may be difficult to maneuver
There are frequent warnings of dire consequences for those who clean cars with a gas pressure washer. As long as a low-pressure nozzle is chosen, however, there should be no problem. This Champion model has an advantage: While it isn’t focused on maximum power, it offers effective cleaning, particularly for cars, trucks, quads, and RVs.
A 196cc motor drives a maintenance-free axial pump delivering water from a 25-foot high-pressure hose at 3,100 psi and 2.2 GPM. Four nozzles provide varying spray intensities, plus there’s one for soap. A 1-gallon soap tank has the capacity to clean even the largest vehicles without constant refilling.
- Water Pressure: 3,100 psi
- GPM: 2.2
- Weight: 69 pounds
- Delivers 3,100 psi at 2.2 GPM
- Five nozzles (includes one for soap)
- 1-gallon soap tank
- 25-foot high-pressure hose
- Not as heavy-duty as other models
The RH265 Kohler motor is actually a 196cc unit. It’s known for its reliability and produces 3,100 PSI and 2.4 GPM. There is the standard 25 feet of high-pressure hose connecting a spray gun that comes with five interchangeable nozzles.
The addition of a 15-inch surface scrubber makes this an outstanding tool for decks, driveways, garage floors, and more. The resilient powder-coated steel shell combines a stiff-bristled edge with a pair of rotating stainless steel jets. Together they cut through dirt with great efficiency and leave a virtually streak-free finish. For substantial surface areas that need to be cleaned on a regular basis, this is a worthy choice.
- Water Pressure: 3,100 psi
- GPM: 2.4
- Weight: 64 pounds
- Includes 25-foot high-pressure hose
- Comes with 15-inch surface scrubber
- Powder-coated steel shell
- Dual stainless steel jets
- Some cases of manufacturing defects
This Generac model has the same high build standards and long-term reliability as other top picks, but it has a compact chassis with a weight of just 50 pounds. Despite the smaller size, it is fitted with a high performance 196cc CARB-compliant motor and delivers a healthy 2,900 psi of cleaning power at 2.4 GPM.
Four quick-change nozzles and 25 feet of durable hose are provided. Rubberized never-flat tires and good overall machine balance make for great maneuverability. A cushioned handle and easy-pull trigger help minimize operator effort. When not in use, the spray wand stores neatly against the side of the machine, reducing required storage space.
- Water Pressure: 2,900 psi
- GPM: 2.4
- Weight: 50 pounds
- Lightweight build
- Includes four quick-change nozzles
- Rubberized never-flat tires
Westinghouse manufactures both electric and gas pressure washers and has 50 years of experience making these machines. The budget-friendly WPX2700 has a class-leading 212cc four-stroke engine that’s easy to start, despite the larger-than-average size. It produces 2,700 psi at 2.3 GPM.
The spray gun can be fitted with one of four quick-connect nozzles, one for soap delivery and three for different spray patterns. It connects to the pump via 25 feet of abrasion-resistant hose. At half a gallon, the detergent tank is big enough to tackle large areas without frequent refills. A weight of 63 pounds combined with 12-inch wheels also makes it very maneuverable.
- Water Pressure: 2,700 psi
- GPM: 2.3
- Weight: 63 pounds
- Less expensive than other models
- Includes four quick-connect nozzles
- ½-gallon onboard soap tank
- CARB compliant
- Larger than the average tool
While selecting a gas pressure washer can depend on the amount of power, mobility, and nozzles offered, for most typical tasks around the house and yard, the Simpson MSH3125 is one of the best for household jobs. Those looking for a pressure washer to help clean vehicles can consider the Champion Power Equipment model a worthy choice.
How We Chose the Best Gas Pressure Washers
These recommendations for the best gas pressure washer include a variety of sizes and types to meet the needs of the average user planning to execute typical activities around a home like yard cleanup, vehicle cleaning, and removing exterior paint.
We narrowed our research to focus on pressure washers that are designed for DIYer use and reviewed the popular options and brands that met our criteria for portability and durability. We also considered the intended use, cleaning performance, motor power, and additional features like an onboard tank and wand extension.
While electric pressure washers are compact and simple to use, a gas model is the best type of pressure washer to choose for large areas and heavy-duty cleaning tasks. Our favorite models include a considerable variety in terms of price, performance, and portability. It’s worth spending time to consider each of the important features needed for a particular project to maximize the chance of finding the best gas pressure washer for your needs.
Tips for Using a Pressure Washer
Using a modern gas pressure washer is not complicated, but it’s always worth reading the owner’s manual thoroughly to gain a complete understanding of your machine. It’s important to know how to turn it off quickly if there is a problem.
- Always consider safety, both your own and others’. Never point a pressure washer at anyone. Wear gloves and eye protection.
- Consider where debris from heavy-duty cleaning operations will go. For example, when cleaning a driveway, it’s easy to accidentally spray surrounding dirt or gravel considerable distances, endangering people, pets, and windows.
- Only use approved cleaning products for pressure washers. Bleach and other harsh chemicals can eat into internal seals and ruin the machine.
- Even the best gas motors need periodic maintenance to maximize working life. It’s not difficult, and manufacturers provide instructions.
- Check the pressure adjustment before each task. Don’t assume the machine is how you last left it.
The information above should provide a thorough understanding of the key issues affecting the performance and durability of the top gas-powered pressure washers. However, a few questions may still remain, and answers to some of the most popular questions appear below.
Q: What can I clean with a gas pressure washer?
You can clean all kinds of things, from cars and trucks to driveways, decks, some types of patio furniture, vinyl siding, and brickwork. As long as you can adjust the pressure to the task, most powerful gas pressure washer options can tackle many different surfaces.
Q: Do gas pressure washers require oil?
Yes. Oil is vital for lubrication and cooling. Two-stroke models use an oil and gas mix. Four-stroke machines have a separate tank for oil. It’s important to follow the directions in the owner’s manual or risk damaging the machine.
Q: What kind of gas does a gas pressure washer use?
Regular unleaded gas is generally recommended. Some will run off of 10 percent ethanol or 15 percent MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether). Again, check the owner’s manual.
Q: How do I set up a gas pressure washer?
Generally, setting up a gas pressure washer is a straightforward process. Connect the hose and spray gun, add fuel and oil, run water to prime, then pull the cord to start. Each machine may have minor differences, so reading the instructions is vital for proper operation.
Q: How long does a gas pressure washer usually last?
There are many variables, so it’s difficult to offer an accurate time frame. Some manufacturers provide a rating in hours. If properly maintained, anywhere from 500 to several thousand hours is possible.
Q: What is a good PSI for a gas pressure washer?
For either home or professional use, gas pressure washers with 1,300 to 2,400 psi provide the best results.
Q: Are gas pressure washers better than electric ones?
Though electric pressure washers are more eco-friendly, gas pressure washers are more powerful due to higher flow rates and water pressure making them suitable for heavy-duty projects and tasks.
Q: How many PSI do I need to clean concrete?
As concrete has a tough texture and is easy to stain, a high psi of 3,000 or more is required to properly clean it.
Q: How loud is a gas pressure washer?
Though they are effective, gas-powered pressure washers are noisy. The average model is over 85 decibels or louder during operation, which is as loud as a leaf blower. If you intend to use a gas pressure washer for an extended period of time, hearing protection should be used.
Q: How do you properly recycle an old gas pressure washer?
As is the case with most indoor and outdoor equipment, recycling a gas-powered pressure washer should be done at a local recycling plant or junk-removal service.