No matter where you live, it’s a pretty safe bet there is something in your area that will make your car dirty. It might be mud from constant rain, dust from a dry climate or pollen from trees. One thing is for sure, when these substances get on your car, you will need to wash it. This can be a big problem if you have poor water pressure at your home or live far from the nearest car wash. That is unless you own your own pressure washer. Having your own best pressure washer for cars makes it simple to keep your automobile looking good.
This article will give you the information that you need to make a wise pressure washer purchase. In it, you will find much useful information about pressure washers. This includes what features to look for when shopping for a new pressure washer. Included in the article are also some pressure washer reviews of the best ones available in the marketplace. All of this information will help you find the perfect pressure washer for your needs.
Best Pressure Washer Reviews
Here are some of the highest performing pressure washer models you will find in the home improvement marketplace:
1. Sun Joe SPX3000 2030 Max PSI 1.76 GPM 14.5-Amp Electric Pressure Washer
There are few companies that have as solid a reputation for making quality pressure washers for cars than Sun Joe has. Models like this one are the reason why. It’s the perfect model for washing cars because its 1.76 GPM water flow gets off stubborn dirt but does not harm a car’s finish. Most people will find its 2030 max PSI and 1430 working PSI are more than enough for pressure washing cars.
One of the best things about this pressure washer is its versatility. It can safely be used to clean RV’s, ATV’s, boats, lawn equipment, motorcycles, sidewalks, vinyl siding and more. This product’s motor is designed for a long life too. That’s because it automatically stops pumping water when the trigger is let go.
It also comes with several accessories. That includes two onboard 0.9-liter detergent tanks, spray wand, and 5 different tips. This model even is backed up by Sun Joe’s no questions asked two-year warranty.
2. Powerhouse International – Electric High Power- Pressure Washer
If you are looking for an all-in-one type pressure washer you will want to take a good look at this model. Powerhouse International has designed it to handle much more than just washing cars. Its 5 different tips allow you to do everything from washing cars to cleaning the most stubborn dirt off of vinyl siding. It packs a very nice punch thanks to its 3100 max PSI pressure and generous 2.2 GPM water flow.
It’s a pressure washer model that is loaded with features. This includes its extendable triggered spray wand and 2 proprietary tips for angled and high-pressure spraying. The unit will even shut itself off as soon as the spray trigger is released to help extend motor life.
This model stores all the accessories right onboard and even has a telescoping handle for easy storage or transport. It also comes with a 30’ water hose that stores on its own reel and a 35’ power cord. It even includes a built-in GFCI equipped safety plug. The manufacturer warranties this product for a period of 1-year.
3. WEN PW3100 Gas-Powered 3100 PSI 208cc Pressure Washer
Here is another pressure washer that will allow you to do more than just wash your vehicle with it. It’s a gas-powered machine that can nicely generate up to 3100 PSI of water pressure and a 2.5 GPM water flow. This unit is able to do that because it has a powerful 208 cc 4-stroke OHV engine. That engine contains an axial cam pump that will also help extend its useful life.
There are 5 different tips included for different pressure washing needs and 30’ of the quality pressure hose. It also features large wheels for traversing rough terrain and several onboard storage compartments. There is also a built-in soap tank.
Despite all its power, this pressure washer still only weighs 75 pounds. This makes it fairly portable if you have a pickup or other large-size vehicle to haul it in. Wen has included an industry-standard 2-year warranty on this pressure washer model too.
4. Stanley SLP2050 Electric Power Washer
There are not many companies in the tool manufacturing business that have a reputation for consistently making quality products. Stanley is one of them. Well-designed items like this pressure washer are the reason why. It has the power (2050 PSI) and the water flow (1.4 GPM) to easily clean the stubbornest dirt off of any vehicle.
This is also one of the easiest pressure wash models to move around as you use it. It has a less upright style and a unique curved handle design. These factors when combined with its oversized wheels, make it very simple to move and help keep it stable while doing it. It also only weighs 36 pounds.
It features a professional-style spray gun with extension and a corrosion-resistant brass water hose connection. There are 5 different spray tips and generous size soft water hose (25’) and power cord (35’) that come with it. Stanley also includes a good 2-year warranty on this pressure washer product.
5. Greenworks 2000 PSI Pressure Washer with Hose Reel GPW2002
Here is another very popular pressure washer manufacturer. Models like this electric powered pressure washer from them are the reason why. The 2000 PI that this model generates pushes out a very generous 1.2 GPM water flow. That’s enough to clean any car without risking damage to its finish.
This is a pressure washer that is designed for portability. That’s because it stores all of its cords, hose, and attachments right on the body of it. Included in its storage features is a very handy reel to help roll up its 25’ high-pressure water hose. Its design is also very compact so it fits easily in larger trunks or vehicles with big hatches.
It comes with 2 regular spray nozzles, one soap nozzle, and one turbo spray nozzle. This nozzle selection makes it easy to clean everything from vehicles to driveways. The motor also has a sleep mode when not running to help extend its working life. Greenworks warranties this product for a single year.
6. Prymax Pressure Washer 3000 PSI 1.80 GPM Car Electric Power Washer
If you are looking for a quality pressure washer at an affordable price, here is one that fits that description. It puts out a nice 1.8 GPM water flow thanks to its electric motor’s ability to create some 3000 PSI. That gives it enough pressure to do much more than just cleaning cars. It’s excellent for doing other tasks such as cleaning sidewalks, garbage cans, and wood or vinyl siding too.
It comes with 4 different interchangeable spray nozzles that can be conveniently stored right on the spray wand itself. This pressure washers also features what Prymax calls a total stop system. That means the motor actually stops running when the spray wand trigger is not being pressed. This helps to extend the motor’s useful life.
The generous size 35’ power cord that comes with it also has an attached GFI for safety. There is also an included 20’ high-pressure hose and a detachable detergent storage tank. Prymax backs it up with a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year product warranty.
Best Pressure Washers for Cars Comparison Chart
Sun Joe SPX3000 2030 Max PSI 1.76 GPM 14.5-Amp Electric Pressure Washer
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Powerhouse International – Electric High Power- Pressure Washer
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WEN PW3100 Gas-Powered 3100 PSI 208cc Pressure Washer
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Stanley SLP2050 Electric Power Washer
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Greenworks 2000 PSI Pressure Washer with Hose Reel GPW2002
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Prymax Pressure Washer 3000 PSI 1.80 GPM Car Electric Power Washer
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Pressure Washer Buying Guide
Here is the most important information that you need to know and consider when you are shopping for a new pressure washer.
Top 4 Considerations When Buying a Pressure Washer
These are some of the important questions to ask yourself before you start looking for a new pressure washer:
What is the main task I will be using my pressure washer for?
If you are mainly going to be using your new pressure washer to clean your car. Then 2000 PSI is plenty for those tasks. If you will be doing some heavy-duty pressure washing tasks like cleaning pavement or decks, you will want more PSI. Pressure washers with 2800 PSI or above are best for those types of heavily soiled jobs.
Will I be using it at home only or at several locations?
This will help determine how portable you will need your new pressure washer to be. If you are just using it around your home, then portability is not a big concern. This is just the opposite if you are taking your pressure washer to many locations. It will need to be highly portable and easy to store while transporting it.
What type of ground is present where I will be using my pressure washer?
Not all pressure washers are meant to go over rough terrain. So if you are going to roll your pressure washer across a lawn and rough dock boards to clean your boat, then it better have oversized wheels. Casters and regular size wheels go great across smooth pavement and floors but not much else.
Will there be a power outlet nearby?
This is something to definitely consider when purchasing a new pressure washer. Electric models are great for home use and other situations where you know you will have a power outlet nearby. That is not the case at all if you will be working at construction sites with no power yet or remote locations. Then it’s best to choose a gas-powered pressure washer.
14 Important Pressure Washer Features and Specifications
In order to make a sound pressure washer purchase, you need to be aware of these key specs and features of them:
This is perhaps the most important characteristic of any pressure washer for cars. That’s because PSI measures the amount of force that a pressure water model pushes out of the unit’s spray wand. The higher the PSI the more pressure a particular model pressure washer has. Cars have a pretty delicate finish so they do not need a high PSI to clean them. Other jobs, such as cleaning decks, fences, siding, and pavement require much more PSI. That’s why anyone who is purchasing a new pressure washer must be familiar with this number on any pressure washer that they are thinking about buying.
It must also be noted that the listed PSI is a max PSI that a pressure washer can generate. You may also want to see if a manufacturer lists a working PSI too. It’s guaranteed that a pressure washer’s working PSI will always be lower than its stated max PSI.
Here is a close cousin of PSI. GPM (gallons per minute) is another way to measure the output of any pressure washer model. Usually the more PSI a particular pressure washer has the higher its potential water output. A manufacturer will usually clearly list the number of gallons of water flow that a pressure washer can produce. Once again this is a max water flow measurement and such things as water hose size and nozzle selection can lower this figure.
The type of power source that any pressure washer model has is a big deal in the selection process. That’s because it makes a difference as far as what a pressure washer can be used for. It also impacts such things as weight and portability. The two main ways that pressure washers get powered are by gas or electric. Gas pressure washers tend to generate more pressure and that makes them more versatile than electric power washers in most instances. Electric pressure washer technology has been catching up recently and they are usually lighter and more portable. More specifics on gas versus electric pressure washers will be discussed later in this article.
Auto Pump Shutoff
The technology in pressure washers has come a long way over the years. One of the most significant advances that have been made with them is the introduction of auto pump shutoff switches. These switches actually stop the pressure washer motor from running when the trigger on the spray wand is not being pushed. This has greatly helped to extend motor life which at one time was a big problem area with pressure washers. It’s a feature that you definitely want on any pressure washer that you buy.
Type of Spray Wand/Extensions Included
Pressure washers come with all different types of spray wands included in the package. The ones that people prefer the most are trigger activated like the models that you see at a carwash. These are nice because there are different settings on them including a continuous run setting that will reduce hand fatigue. Some spray wands have no ability to turn the water stream on and off and are made to do specific functions. This includes turbo power washing and soap dispensing wands. Included wand extensions are also great for window washing and getting to hard to reach areas.
Included Water Hose Length/Quality
It stands to reason the more water hose you have the less pressure washing repositioning that needs to be done. So be sure to know what size water hose comes with any pressure washer you are thinking about buying. You also want to make sure the included water hose is at least 20’ in length. Any shorter and you will probably get frustrated moving the pressure washer too much and purchase a longer one. You also want to consider how well an included water hose is made. Good water hoses are made of thick flexible rubber or ribbed plastic tubing that is also very flexible.
Included Power Cord Length/GFI Protection
The bigger the vehicle you will wash with your pressure washer the longer you want the power cord to be. That’s because with a short power cord you may have to move your pressure washer many times while operating it. That can be very inconvenient, to say the least. So know what size power cord any unit you are thinking about buying has.
It’s also no secret that water and electricity don’t mix. Because of that, if you are using an electric powered pressure washer, you either want to plug it into a GFI protected outlet or have a model with a GFI protected cord. A GFI switch cuts off power to a pressure washer even if a minuscule drop in current loss is detected. Current loss can happen for many reasons in an electric circuit, some of which can cause a shock hazard. GFI circuit protection helps pressure washer operators avoid potential deadly shock hazards.
Number of Included nozzles
Most pressure washers come with a variety of interchangeable spray wand nozzles but the number varies between products. The more nozzles you have a wider variety of jobs that you can do with your new pressure washer. Spray nozzles are designed to do such things as angle the water spray and cut down or increase water pressure. You also want interchangeable nozzles that connect quickly as opposed to ones that screw on and off.
Here are two things to strongly consider if you are going to be taking your new pressure washer to different locations. You don’t want to move around a heavy pressure washer from place to place unless you do many tough washing jobs with it. Larger size pressure washers tend to be heavy but they also tend to be hard to stow and transport. So choose wisely if you are looking for a pressure washer to use in many locations. Get the lightest and most compact model that still has enough power to do the jobs you need it to.
This is another factor as far as portability is concerned. There are some pressure washer models that are only made to be rolled across flat, hard surfaces. This includes models with small size wheels and casters. It’s easier to go across uneven ground and other rough terrain if you have larger size wheels on a pressure washer. So consider where you will be using your pressure washer the most and what size wheels will make it easy to get there.
Retractable Handle/Folding Handle
Here is another item that can help make your new pressure washer easy to take places with you. This is especially true if you will be hauling your pressure washer in a car. Having a handle that folds or collapses can make a pressure washer easier to get in a trunk. It will also help when storing that unit too. This is an option that pretty much only exists on electric pressure washer models.
The more accessories that come with your pressure washer the more washing tasks that you can do with it. As you are shopping, you will notice that some pressure washers come with a wide variety of attachments and others not so much. Although this should never be the main factor in pressure washer selection, it certainly can be a deciding factor between two similar models. Be sure to look closely at what accessories come with your pressure washer to make it more convenient to use.
You don’t want to always be rummaging around your trunk or workshop for loose accessories when using a pressure washer. That’s why it makes it very nice to have a pressure washer with on-board storage. The more secure that onboard accessory storage is the better. That way all the accessories you need for your pressure washer will not fall off when transporting it.
There is a wide variety of different types of warranties that come with pressure washers. Having a good warranty is very desirable when you own a pressure washer. The best warranties are ones that last a long time and include a short money-back guarantee period too. That’s also a sign that a manufacturer thinks that their pressure washer products are well-built. So, just like when you are choosing a car buffer, you need to find the best possible warranty when choosing a pressure washer too.
Electric vs Gas Car Pressure Washers
One hard decision when buying a new pressure washer is whether to buy a gas or electric-powered model. Here is a comparison of the pros and cons of each type of pressure washer to help with that decision.
Electric Pressure Washers
- They are very lightweight and portable.
- The technology in them is improving and making them more powerful.
- They are the more budget-friendly option of the two.
- These style pressure washers are virtually maintenance-free except for occasional cleaning and lubrication.
- Less costly models can be underpowered as far as PSI goes. This makes them less versatile than gas-powered pressure washers.
- Tend to be not as durable as gas pressure washer models.
- There needs to be a power outlet everywhere that you take them. Power cords can also restrict the freedom of movement that you have with them.
Gas Pressure Washers
- Usually, they generate more PSI than electric pressure washers. It makes them great for use on pavement, decks, and other tough cleaning jobs.
- Can be used at remote locations that have no electricity.
- More freedom of movement because they have no attached power cords.
- They can be extremely heavy which makes them less portable than electric pressure washers.
- Gas engines are very noisy when the pressure washer is operating.
- Have to be careful when using them on automobiles and painted surfaces because of their power.
- They require more maintenance than electric pressure washers.
Helpful Pressure Washer Terms
It will probably help you when shopping for a new pressure washer to know some of the more familiar terms that people use to describe their features.
6 Terms of Pressure Washer for Car*
Here is one way that the power of a pressure washer is determined. PSI stands for ‘pounds per square inch’ and represents the amount of pressure that pushes the water through a pressure washer hose.
This is another factor in determining how powerful any pressure washer you are thinking about buying is. It stands for ‘gallons per minute’ of water flow. The more gallons per minute water flow a pressure washer has the more powerful it is.
A spray wand is attached to the water hose and helps the user control how they operate a pressure washer. Usually, they are trigger activated when it comes to starting and stopping the water flow from a pressure washer. The spray wand also has an end that will help it accommodate many different types of nozzles.
This is the attachment that is placed at the tip of the spray wand. Most pressure washers come with several of them. They adjust and angle the stream of water coming out of the spray wand. The tips are color-coded and pressure washers typically include a 40° (white) nozzle that delivers a flat spray, a 25° (green) nozzle and a 15° (yellow) nozzle that is preferred for washing cars.
Turbo nozzle or turbo tip
This is a specialized tip that has a very small opening. It creates extra water pressure coming out of the spray wand. It’s used for heavy-duty cleaning jobs.
This is a spray wand attachment that comes with some pressure washer models. It screws into the spray wand to make it longer so it can reach up higher to do such things as siding and window washing.
This is the hose that is attached to the pressure washer spray wand and the pressure washer itself. It’s what the forcibly pumped water from the pressure washer flows through in order to enable it to do washing and cleaning tasks.
Cleaning Power: PSI and GPM
We have already talked a little about how important it is to know the GPM (gallons per minute of water flow) and PSI (pounds per square inch of water pressure) specs for any pressure washer model that you are thinking about buying. Here is a little bit more about these two critical pressure washer numbers.
If you are just going to use your pressure washer just to clean your car you need between 1200 to 1900 PSI. For comparison sake, a typical garden hose has about 80 PSI. You will need higher PSI than 1900 if you are going to be cleaning concrete or other very dirty surfaces with your new pressure washer.
As long as you have good PSI in your pressure washer, you are guaranteed to have good GPM flow too. Just to be on the safe side here, make sure your new pressure washers GPM is 1.0 to 4.0.
Power Washers Vs. Pressure Washers – What’s the Difference?
Many people wonder what the difference is between a pressure washer and a power washer. It’s a pretty simple answer. Power washers use a combination of high pressure and heated water to get things clean. Pressure washers do not have a heating component to them. They just use the force of the water coming out of them to make washing surfaces easier.
Pros and Cons of Using Pressure Washers on Cars
Here are the good and bad points of using pressure washers on vehicles:
- There really is no faster way to clean a car. So they are perfect for those that like a clean car but have little extra time to wash it.
- They save a lot of wear and tear on your body. With the right detergent mix, they make it very easy to get road dirt and grime off of your car. No tedious scrubbing or rubbing is required to get your car’s surface extremely clean.
- Some states have laws that prohibit the use of using water hoses when cleaning your automobile. There are no laws against using pressure washers to clean your car because they save water while you do it.
- Pressure washers are so powerful they tend to totally remove the wax finish protectant on any car.
- If they are used with the wrong tip in combination with too much pressure, they can hurt your car’s finish.
- You can get hurt using a pressure washer on your car if you are not careful.
Why Pressure Washers Don’t Damage Paintwork if Used Properly
There is a lot of misinformation going around that pressure washers are bad for use on cars. This is entirely not true. The only way you will damage your vehicle using a pressure washer on your car is if you do it without using any common sense. You also need to thoroughly read your pressure washer’s owner’s manual before using it. Sure, if you put a non-restrictive nozzle on the end of a spray wand you can damage your car’s finish. The bigger question is, why would you ever want to do this. It’s the very reason that your pressure washer comes with different tips and different pressure settings. When used according to the manufacturer’s instructions and with common sense, no pressure washer will ever damage your car’s finish.
Everything You Need to Know About Using Washer
How Pressure Washers Work
The concept of how pressure washers work is actually very simple. There is an incoming water line that feeds water into the machine. Then the motor on the pressure washer, which is electric or gas-powered, increases the force of the incoming water. That higher pressure water then travels through the water pressure hose and into the spray wand. Once the trigger of the spray wand is depressed, the water comes shooting out of the wand with great force. This is why pressure washers do a great job of cleaning and washing cars and other surfaces. That high pressure jetted stream saves a lot of scrubbing and rubbing when it comes to getting surfaces clean.
How to Use A Car Pressure Washer
It’s pretty easy to clean your car with a good pressure washer. That’s why they are so widely popular for this purpose. If you have a soap dispenser in your pressure washer, soap your car starting at the top and working down. If no soap dispenser, do this with a bucket and large sponge. Some detergents you may have to leave on a few minutes, so make sure to read the instructions. Next, once again working from the top down, rinse your car off. Use the 15° (yellow) nozzle for this. Spend a little long on muddy areas or other areas with high grime buildup. You may even have to use a special car brush to clean tires and get off bugs. Once you are done a good coat of wax is always recommended.
When you are done cleaning the exterior of your car with your pressure washer, make sure you do the windows too. That will help your car look awesome when it’s done. Use our car window cleaner buying guide to help you find a good streakless window cleaner.
Safety Tips When Using A Pressure Washer
You always have to keep safety in mind whenever you are using your pressure washer. Never get the spray too close to your body or point it at someone else. This can cause cuts and skin irritations if you have a strong pressure washer. When working with gas pressure washers don’t get too close to their hot exhaust. Also don’t leave a gas can near the pressure washer when it’s running or it could ignite. For electric pressure washers, we recommend you never run them unless plugged into a GFI outlet or they have a GFI attached to their power cord.
Pressure Washer FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions that we get about pressure washers:
- Question: What is the red nozzle that comes with my pressure washer best used for?
Answer: We are glad you asked this question because operators need to use the red nozzle with extreme caution. That’s because it’s what’s known as a 0° nozzle. It sprays straight and does not cut down the pressure at all. It’s so powerful it can take the paint off your car’s delicate finish and leave gouges in the wood. Use it on only the toughest jobs like paint stripping or cleaning non-painted solid metal objects.
- Question: Can I use my pressure washer to strip paint off of wood?
Answer: The answer here is yeas but you have to be careful. You need a nozzle that takes off the paint without damaging the wood underneath. Start with lower pressure nozzles and work your way up until you find a nozzle that works.
- Question: If I am just doing light duty cleaning and car washing with my new pressure washer, should I get a gas-powered or electric-powered pressure washer?
Answer: The answer here is definitely an electric pressure washer. It will clean everything as mentioned and be more portable and less expensive to purchase.
Follow the links to read full in-deepth reviews of each car products if you want to find out more.
There is a reason why pressure washers have become such a popular item over the years. It’s because they make keeping your car and other surfaces around your home so easy to clean. They not only save you time but you don’t have to put much effort into any washing task. Anyone that owns the best pressure washer for cars can find so many other uses for it too.
If you read through this article all of the ways, you will now know what to look for when pressure washer shopping. By focusing on the key traits of pressure washers that we mentioned, it will help you narrow down your pressure washer choices. That way you can find the best one for your individual needs. If you don’t want to do the shopping yourself, then any of the models that we did pressure washer reviews on should work nicely for you.