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Generac 8874 Review

This is a powerful, relatively easy to use, and fairly compact machine
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Generac 8874 Review
Credit: Generac
Price:  $379 List
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Manufacturer:   Generac
By Clark Tate ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 10, 2023

#3 of 9
  • Cleaning - 45% 8.6
  • Portability - 30% 6.0
  • Noise - 15% 2.2
  • Ease of Use - 10% 6.0

Our Verdict

The gas-powered Generac 8874 offers impressive cleaning power. If you need to strip paint or stain from a deck, this washer could do the work. For such a stout machine, it's compact, easy to maneuver, and easy to use. On the downside, it is among the loudest options we've tested. We also wish it included a 15º nozzle, which is our favorite option for most cleaning tasks. Its pull cord broke on the fourth use. Luckily it was easy to replace. Despite these drawbacks, this is a solid machine that we consider effective for its price. To compare this model to others in our lineup, check out our full pressure washer review.
Excellent cleaning power
Limited nozzle selection
Weak pull cord

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generac 8874
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Generac 8874
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award  
Price $379 List$349 List
$329.00 at Amazon
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$169.99 at Amazon
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Bottom Line This unit cleans powerfully and rolls around easilyNo job is too tough for this high performance gas-powered pressure washerGood at cleaning and easy to carry, this is a high-value optionWe recommend this device for those that are searching for a pressure washer sans fossil fuelIf you want a model that performs decently but won't take a toll on your bank account, this model is a great choice
Rating Categories Generac 8874 Westinghouse WPX3200 Wholesun 3000PSI Sun Joe SPX3500 SunJoe SPX3000
Cleaning (45%)
Portability (30%)
Noise (15%)
Ease of Use (10%)
Specs Generac 8874 Westinghouse WPX3200 Wholesun 3000PSI Sun Joe SPX3500 SunJoe SPX3000
Calculated Cleaning Units with 15º Nozzle 4486 5980 1452 1782 1464
Electric or Gas Gas Gas Electric Electric Electric
Overall Size 35.5" x 24.5" x 19" 38.5" x 25.5" x 19.75" 27" x 10.5" x 9.5" 35.5" x 16" x 15" 34" x 13.5" x 17.5"
Nozzles Available 0°, 25°, 40°, and soap 0°, 15°, 25°, 40°, soap 0°, 15°, 25°, 40°, and soap 0°, 15°, 25°, 40°, soap 0°, 15°, 25°, 40°, soap
Measured 15º Nozzle Pressure N/A 2600 psi 1200 psi 1650 psi 1200 psi
Measured 25º Nozzle Pressure 2100 psi 2600 psi 1200 psi 1600 psi 1150 psi
Measured 15º Nozzle Flow N/A 2.3 gpm 1.21 gpm 1.08 gpm 1.22 gpm
Measured 25º Nozzle Flow 2.14 gpm 2.34 gpm 1.22 gpm 1.09 gpm 1.2 gpm
Wheels 10" Hard Plastic Wheels 12" Plastic 5" Plastic 8" Plastic 7.5" Plastic
Average Measured dBa at Machine 93.0 dBa 83.2 dBa 73.3 dBa 70.0 dBa 83.8 dBa
Average Measured dBa at 25 ft 80.0 dBa 68.0 dBa 67.3 dBa 65.2 dBa 61.4 dBa
Length of Included Hose 25' 4" 25' 20' 3" 20' 20' 3"
Electrical Cord Length N/A N/A 32' 5" 30' 35' 3"
Measured Weight 62.2 lbs 63.6 lbs 16.3 lbs 42.6 lbs 28.2 lbs
Measured Distance in Bocce Ball Power Test 5.0' 6.5' 3.0' 3.0' 3.5'
Manufacturer Pressure 2,900 psi 3,200 psi 2,150 psi 3,000 psi 2,030 psi
Manufacturer Flow 2.40 gpm 2.50 gpm 1.58 gpm 1.48 gpm 1.76 gpm
Calculated Manufacturer CU 6960 8000 3397 4440 3572.8

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Generac is the easiest-to-use gas-powered pressure washer we've tested. Its intuitive setup and portability make it a popular option among our test team. Though it's not quite as powerful as the top gas options and is louder than most, we wouldn't be sad to own this machine.

Performance Comparison

The Generac has decent power at a high price.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


As a general rule, gas-powered pressure washers are more powerful than electric options. The Generac is no exception, besting every e-option in the test and performing well in comparison to the other gas models. It has a lot of raw power but performed a little less aggressively than the other gas options in our cleaning tests.

There is a caveat. We normally conduct these tests with the 15-degree nozzle, which most models include in their accessories. Over years of testing, we've found that it offers the best mix of water volume and pressure. The Generac does not come with a 15° nozzle at the time of this publication –- only 0, 25, and 40-degree options and a soap nozzle. We opted to test the Generac's 25° nozzle against the other washer's 15° option. That means the water stream is wider but less pressurized and aggressive. When we used the Generac with an ill-fitting 15° option from another machine for unofficial trials, it did post more powerful results. But we test the machines as they come.

generac 8874 - the wand still has plenty of punch with a 25-degree nozzle.
The wand still has plenty of punch with a 25-degree nozzle.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Since powerful cleaning is the main point of a pressure washer, we conduct three separate cleaning trails. The first is cleaning speed. After adding a thin layer of activated charcoal to a bright white carpet, we time how long it takes each washer to remove the grime.

The Generac blazed a wide path through the carpet, blasting the charcoal out of the carpet fibers in one pass. Using it instead of the electric options we tested saves time. It was slower to clean the carpet than the other gas options by about 30 seconds with a less aggressive nozzle. We found that performance fairly impressive.

We use each washer in the real-world before heading to the lab for repeatable tests.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Next, we measured each washer's cleaning units (CU), which you can find by multiplying the nozzle pressure (found using an independent pressure gauge) by the number of gallons it sprays in a minute. The Generac has 4,486 cleaning units with a pressure reading of 2,100 pounds per square inch (PSI) and 2.14 gallons per minute (GPM). That's over twice the cleaning units of any electric option, though it couldn't match the other gas options in the test.

The last cleaning test is launching a bocce ball up a 24 to 26-degree ramp and measuring how far it goes. The Generac's bocce ball made it 5 feet using the 25° nozzle. Again, better than the electric versions but not as strong as the other gas-powered washers.

We borrowed a 15° nozzle to try, earning the Generac another foot. That wasn't accounted for in the official results, though, and other gas options went even further. Still, it's a powerful cleaning machine.

generac 8874 - well-organized and compact, the generac is an appealing package.
Well-organized and compact, the Generac is an appealing package.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


On the small side of a gas-powered pressure washer, the Generac is compact, with a 465.5 square inch footprint. That size is comparable to several of the electric options in our tests, but it doesn't help the Generac escape the weight penalty of a gas engine. It weighs 62.2 pounds, at least 20 pounds more than most electric options.

Thanks to its sturdy, 10" hard-plastic wheels, this washer is relatively easy to move around. Its balanced weight makes it easy to push or pull, and the wheels track over dirt or asphalt. A tall, plastic-covered handle provides leverage. The lack of an electric cord means you have one less thing to tangle with and an unlimited range.

Our biggest complaint when moving the Generac is dealing with its wand, which balances loosely in a holster at an angle. It juts out from the machine, and we frequently find ourselves either carefully accommodating its placement or accidentally knocking it into things in crowded spaces.

Balanced weight and large, well-placed wheels make it easy to roll this machine around despite its heft.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


Gas engines are loud and run even when the washer is in standby mode. Electric versions are often quieter and only make noise while spraying water. Even by normal gas standards, the Generic is noisy. We measured decibels (dBA) with a meter directly beside it and 25 feet away.

The meter read 93 dBA beside the machine while running. When the engine is idling, the noise drops down to 84 dBA. At 25 feet, we measured 80 dBA. We didn't notice any high-pitched whining or low rumbling. We just heard the engine. If you end up going with a powerful gas engine that's this loud, consider ear protection.

generac 8874 - the generac washer is loud and at its loudest when you're...
The Generac washer is loud and at its loudest when you're compressing the trigger. When it's idling, it drops by about 9 decibels.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use

Though straightforward, the Generac requires more setup and maintenance time than electric options. You have to buy gas and oil, maintain the engine, and use a pull cord to get it started. It takes us between one and three pulls to start the engine when it's cold. After it warms up, it usually fires on the first try.

Unfortunately, the pull cord is low quality. It broke the fourth time we pulled it. We picked up a higher-quality replacement cord on a quick trip to the hardware store for 50 cents a foot. We also called Generac's customer support. They were helpful and shipped a cord assembly for easy replacement. Shipping delays have kept it from arriving in time to review.

generac 8874 - the gas tank is accessible and easy to fill.
The gas tank is accessible and easy to fill.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Otherwise, the Generac has a solid motor. It's accessible and would be fairly simple to winterize if need be. You will need to change the oil after every 20 hours of use, the air filter after every 50, and the spark plug after 100 hours. That's all pretty standard maintenance for a gas engine pressure washer.

We also looked at how easy it is to attach your water hose to the washer. The process is cumbersome. The area around the port is crowded, tucked under the wand hose connection point. It takes more effort and attention than we'd like. Luckily, it's clear of the engine and any dangerously hot elements that could burn you or the hose.

generac 8874 - attaching a water hose to the generac won't be the hardest part of...
Attaching a water hose to the Generac won't be the hardest part of your day, but it could be a lot easier.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The Generac provides a small, clear siphon hose to add soap to your washer. Just place it in a bucket with soap and you're good to go. The bucket makes it harder to move the setup around, though. And if the hose pops off and gets lost, you'll have to track down a replacement.

generac 8874 - a clear siphon hose will sip soap out of a bucket if you have one.
A clear siphon hose will sip soap out of a bucket if you have one.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Built-in storage for the spray hose and nozzles works well and keeps your tools close at hand. A generously sized wire hook holds the coiled hose under the handle and out of the way. A larger hook would make it easier to wrap the hose tidily, but it works.

generac 8874 - a thoughtfully molded wire hook helps hold the hose in place.
A thoughtfully molded wire hook helps hold the hose in place.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The nozzle tips slide in and out of a caddy beneath the handle. Though there are infographics to help you remember where each one goes and what it does, they aren't incredibly clear. Sometimes it takes us a minute to figure out which one does what. The nozzles have quick disconnects that make them a cinch to switch out from the wand itself.

generac 8874 - the nozzle storage system could be better. the infographics aren't...
The nozzle storage system could be better. The infographics aren't that clear, and the nozzles aren't that secure.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

We also tested each machine's stability, pulling on hoses from several angles, knocking the handle around, and pulling and pushing it quickly around turns. With its low center of gravity, this machine is very stable.

Cord and wand storage is fast and efficient with the Generac.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Should You Buy the Generac 8874?

Overall the Generac is a great little gas-powered machine, and we consider the price tag pretty reasonable. If you want the power of a gas engine in a more compact package to save on floor space, this could be the right unit for you.

generac 8874 - this is a nice pressure washer with a lot to recommend it.
This is a nice pressure washer with a lot to recommend it.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

What Other Pressure Washers Should You Consider?

The Westinghouse WPX3200 Pressure Washer is a much more powerful gas pressure washer. It's quieter than the Generac and is nearly as easy to move around. It is larger, however, and a little less intuitive to use. If you want a more compact option and don't need crazy amounts of power, consider the electric Wholesun 3000PSI.

generac 8874 - powerful and compact, the generac is an easy pressure washer to use.
Powerful and compact, the Generac is an easy pressure washer to use.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Clark Tate