The Best Pressure Washers for Outdoor Cleaning

Want to rid your outdoor items of built-up dirt and grime? Take a gleaming glimpse of the best clean machines on the market today.

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Best Pressure Washer - What to Look for in a New Pressure Washer

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Nothing says “clean” like a great pressure washing! Decks and driveways, patio furniture and window shutters—they all collect dust, dirt, and the occasional dollop of bird poop, growing grimier by the day. But a good pressure washing can spray away weeks, months, and even years of buildup. Read on for a breakdown of the types of pressure washers available and the features offered by each, so you can determine which is best for your purposes. Then continue on to browse our top picks.

  1. BEST FOR LIGHT DUTY: Greenworks 2000 PSI 1.2 GPM Pressure Washer
  2. BEST FOR HEAVY DUTY: Generac OneWash 3,100 PSI Pressure Washer
  3. BEST VALUE: Sun Joe 2030 PSI 1/76 GPM Electric Pressure Washer
The Best Pressure Washers, According to Consumers

Photo: istockphoto.com

Choosing the Right Pressure Washer

Gauge gas versus electric.

If you’ve got large areas to cover—think pool decks, patios, and tall exterior walls—and want as much mobility and power as possible, a gas-powered pressure washer is your best bet. These models don’t tether you to an outlet, so you can really move around, plus higher pressure that stretches farther to get the job done fast. For smaller, simpler chores like cleaning outdoor furniture, the family car, or just a few feet of exterior space, electric pressure washers are just the ticket. Generally quieter and lighter than their gas-powered counterparts, these plug-ins don’t offer quite as much mobility, but if you buy one that’s extension-cord compatible (not all models are), you can stretch the perimeter of the job without having to switch to a new outlet every few meters. Just be sure to keep the socket and plug—not to mention your hands—completely dry when connecting and disconnecting the cord.

Pick your power setting.

Pressure washers come in a variety of settings. Those rated below 2000 pounds per square inch (PSI) are considered light-duty and work best on the small stuff like patio furniture and cars. Medium-duty pressure washers (between 2000 and 2800 PSI) have a little more oomph, and from 2900 to 3300 PSI, you’ll find heavy-duty models perfect for large driveways and high walls, as well as exterior paint job prep. At the top of the spectrum, extra heavy-duty pressure washers top out over 3300 PSl; they’re considered professional-grade and have a steeper sticker price. If you’ll be doing a variety of cleaning jobs, consider a multi-duty model, which lets you adjust the pressure, tailoring it to the task at hand.

Feel the force.

Another feature to consider is how many gallons per minute (GPM) a pressure washer expels. In consumer-grade washers, the flow rating tends to run between 1.0 and 4.0 GPM. Generally speaking, higher numbers result in faster, easier cleanups. So if you’re dealing with truly stubborn mud, crud, or gunk, let the force be with your and opt for a higher GPM.

Powerful Picks

With an array of power washers on the market—all looking somewhat alike—it can be difficult to figure out which ones are really the best. That’s why we’ve selected the models DIYers are happiest with. No matter what your cleaning needs, one of the following is sure to work for you.

Best for Light Duty

The Best Pressure Washer Option: Greenworks 2000 PSI 1.2 GPM Pressure Washer
Photo: amazon.com

For quick and efficient cleaning of mildly dirty items—such as house windows, car exteriors, vinyl siding, and patio furniture—check out the Greenworks 2000 PSI 1.2 GPM Pressure Washer. The Greenworks’ 2,000 PSI and three spray nozzles make it plenty strong and versatile enough for tackling light-duty cleaning chores. Plus, the washer comes with large wheels and a telescoping handle, making it a snap to pull the unit along as you go as far as the 35-foot electrical cord allows (more if you have an appropriate extension cord!), and its 25-foot high-pressure hose with a quick-connect wand is long enough to reach even second-story windows without stretching.

Best for Heavy Duty

The Best Pressure Washer Option: Generac 7143 eStart PW Kit
Photo: amazon.com

To wash dried, packed-on mud off of driveways, you need the extra power of the Generac OneWash 3,100 PSI Pressure Washer. The Generac features an electric start (powered by an included lithium-ion battery), so you’ll be up and running with a single push of a button—no cranking necessary. The spray wand outputs water at up to 2.5 gallons per minute and features four adjustable power settings, in addition to four quick-change spray nozzles.

Best Value

The Best Pressure Washer Option: Sun Joe 2030 PSI 1 76 GPM Electric Pressure Washer
Photo: amazon.com

Those who are not ready to invest in a pricey power washer can still get power at a great price with the Sun Joe 2030 PSI 1.76 GPM Electric Pressure Washer. Indeed, the Sun Joe delivers up to 1.76 GPM at 2,030 PSI to effectively tackle light, medium, and heavy duty washing jobs. The pressure washer comes with five quick-connect spray tips, a 20-foot high-pressure hose, and a 35-foot power cord. Plus, its dual removable detergent tanks let you load two different types of detergents (say, window cleaner in one and vinyl siding cleaner in the other) and then switch back and forth as desired. Built-in TSS shuts off the pump when you’re not squeezing the trigger.