An electric pressure washer is often seen as the favorite for chores around the house, but gas-powered models can be just as easy to use. They are more effective on tough stains, for pressure washing 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.
This article examines the features and benefits of high-performance models, sharing the information you need to find the best gas pressure washer for your home or business.
- BEST OVERALL: Simpson Cleaning MSH3125 MegaShot Gas Pressure Washer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: WEN PW3200 Gas-Powered 3200 PSI 208cc Pressure Washer
- BEST FOR HOME USE: BLUBERY 3500 PSI Gas Pressure Washer
- BEST FOR CARS: Champion 2800-PSI Low Profile Gas Pressure Washer
- BEST COMPACT: Generac 8874 2900 PSI 2.4 GPM Pressure Washer
- MOST VERSATILE: SIMPSON Cleaning MegaShot Gas Pressure Washer
- HONORABLE MENTION: Westinghouse Outdoor Power Equipment WPX2700 Gas
- ALSO CONSIDER: Generac 7122 SpeedWash, 3200 PSI
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 pressure washer for the 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 the best pressure 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, gas pressure washers 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 top models. 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 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.
This gas pressure washer has a durable 208cc four-stroke engine that makes it among the most powerful in its class. It allows the pump to deliver 3,200 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.
It’s difficult to choose the best gas pressure washer for home use because needs vary. However, with its powerful 212cc motor delivering 3,500 psi and 2.6 GPM, this Blubery model can tackle tough household challenges like brickwork, fences, and driveways with ease. A selection of four angled nozzles and one for soap mean it’s not all about heavy-duty output. The Blubery also is able to clean cars or patio furniture.
At 80 pounds, it is rather heavy, but 13-inch pneumatic tires boost mobility and can handle all kinds of surfaces. Additionally, 50 feet of high-pressure hose gives it much greater reach than many rivals, so it needs to be moved less often. The generous 1-gallon soap tank can run longer between refills, too.
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 2,800 psi and 2.1 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.
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.
This Simpson pressure washer comes with a powerful 196cc Kohler motor that is known for its reliability. It drives a maintenance-free pump producing 3,100 psi and 2.4 GPM. It includes 25 feet of high-pressure hose, which connects to a spray gun that comes with five interchangeable nozzles.
This machine can handle a wide variety of tasks. The addition of a 15-inch surface scrubber adds even more versatility. This makes the Simpson an outstanding tool for decks, driveways, and garage floors. 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.
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.
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.
Tips for Using a Pressure Washer
Using a 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.
FAQs About Gas Pressure Washers
The information above should provide a thorough understanding of the key issues affecting the performance and durability of the best gas 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, these cleaning machines 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.
Electric pressure washers are compact and simple to use, but a gas model is undoubtedly the best pressure washer to choose for large areas and heavy-duty cleaning tasks.
There is considerable variety available, both in terms of price and performance. It’s worth spending time to consider each of the important features to maximize the chance of finding the best gas pressure washer for your needs.