Best Pressure Washer of 2021
|Pros||Good hose and cord storage, quick-disconnect from hose to wand|
|Cons||Expensive, lacks power|
|Bottom Line||It's hard to recommend the Powerhouse International Platinum Edition with its high price tag and unimpressive results|
|Rating Categories||Powerhouse Internat...|
|Ease Of Use (10%)|
|Measured 15º nozzle PSI||1050|
|Measured 25º nozzle PSI||1100|
|Measured 15º Nozzle GPM||1.26|
|Measured 25º Nozzle GPM||1.28|
|Wheels||4 Small casters|
|Average Measured dBA at Machine||84.6|
|Average Measured dBA at 25 ft||64.2|
|Length of included hose||29' 7"|
|Electrical Cord Length||35'|
|Electric or Gas||Electric|
|Measured Weight||27.9 lbs|
|Calculated Cleaning Units||1323.0|
|Measured Distance in Bocce Ball Power Test||2.75'|
Best Gas-Powered Pressure Washer
Westinghouse WPX3200 Pressure Washer
If you're looking for a pressure washer that can take on any job, the Westinghouse WPX3200 is the furthest you need to look. Although bulky in appearance, this machine comes equipped with nice and large wheels that allow easy portability over relatively short distances. This pressure washer also comes equipped with extraordinarily convenient onboard storage for the included twenty-five-foot hose. Where the Westinghouse WPX3200 really flexes, however, is its cleaning power. The first descriptor our testers thought of when they tried it out accurately summarizes this washer: "beastly." No job was too tough for this pressure washer during our testing period, which cleaned an entire carpet soiled by activated charcoal in under three minutes, twice. For the toughest jobs, and the light ones, the Westinghouse WPX3200 should be your choice.
Despite the Westinghouse WPX3200's beastly power, it still suffers from a few drawbacks. It's large, heavy, and the engine is noisy. The gas engine also brings with it the drawbacks of any gasoline engine, (i.e., fumes, smoke, oil leaks, and maintenance). Although an electric pressure washer will save you some of these headaches, we nonetheless can't deny that this pressure washer is one of the best available and performs circles around the competition — electric and gas.
Read Full Review: Westinghouse WPX3200
Best Electric Pressure Washer
Sun Joe SPX3500
For a powerful pressure washer without the fumes and gasoline, check out the SunJoe SPX3500. With this electric model, you won't have to worry about gas cans, choke levers, pull cords, or priming bubbles. It provides fantastic cleaning abilities for a machine of its type, and it also has handy onboard storage slots for the array of included nozzles and a set of nice hooks for coiling the power cord and high-pressure hose. The SPX3500's hard plastic wheels are large enough to roll easily over grass, bumps, or rough terrain in general. One of our favorite aspects of the SunJoe SPX3500 are the low noise levels — if you're looking for a powerful pressure washer that won't annoy your neighbors or wake up your napping kids, this is the one.
Still, we have a few gripes with the SPX3500. For starters, if your projects require raw power, electric models just can't compete with the pressure produced by gas-powered washers. This model is also fairly bulky compared to other electric models. If you're looking for a washer that you can stash on a shelf or in a closet, it'd be wise to go with something more compact. Still, we think the SunJoe SPX3500 is a great option for those that want the most from an electric pressure washer.
Read Full Review: Sun Joe SPX3500
Best Bang for the Buck
The SunJoe SPX3000 is one of the most affordable models in our test fleet. Despite its low price tag, it still offers a high degree of performance compared to what many competitors offer. It registered higher cleaning units than a couple of more expensive models, and we found that it performs well enough overall. The SunJoe offers some conveniences that others haven't thought of, such as placing the garden and high-pressure hose nozzles higher on the machine where they are easily accessible, which keeps you from ending up on hands and knees on a wet driveway when its time to pack everything up. The SPX3000 is also one of the easiest on the ears. It's silent until the trigger is pulled, and while spraying, it's much quieter than the majority of models we've encountered.
There are a few ways that the SunJoe SPX3000 is lacking. First, it is one of the only models in our review requiring tools for assembly. And when it comes to power, this model falls a bit short. If you're looking for a machine for heavy-duty use, this probably shouldn't be your first choice. We also felt this model was slightly on the loud side for an electric pressure washer, though it's still much quieter than a gasoline engine.
Read Full Review: SunJoe SPX3000
Best for a Tight Budget
Worx 13 Amp 1500 PSI Electric Pressure Washer
If you're looking for a pressure washer on a tight budget, the Worx 13 is a fine choice. Lightweight and electric, this machine is easy to maneuver for any job. Although it performed modestly in our cleaning metric, this machine offers more than enough capabilities to meet most around-the-house jobs you may need. And within its price range, its by far the most powerful we've ever tested. An incredibly convenient facet of the Worx 13 is that every connector, save the garden hose, offers a quick connect, along with plenty of room for comfortable movement around each hose port.
For a greatly reduced price, however, the Worx 13 does suffer from some noticeable issues. This was the loudest pressure washer we tested, so ear protection is a must when using this machine. More inconveniently, this pressure washer offers no onboard storage hooks or straps for either the hose or the power cord, meaning that moving around or storing the Worx 13 can turn into flailing hoses and cords. Although not a deal-breaker, we would be wrong to say that it isn't annoying. Plus, this pressure washer was the only one that did not come with either an onboard soap container or a spray bottle, a minor, although still inconvenient annoyance. However, despite these annoyances, the Worx 13 still offers a great performance for a greatly reduced price.
Read Full Review: Worx 13
Best for Light Duty and Space Savings
The Greenworks GPW1501 isn't the most powerful pressure washer we tested, but the majority of users won't need tons of pressure for their home pressure washing projects. In many cases, the bigger, burlier models would be overkill for household chores. In fact, they're often capable of damaging vehicle paint or softer building materials around the property. If you're used to cleaning your belongings and property with a garden hose, this nifty little tool is a huge step up. Compared to its larger cousins, the Greenworks GPW1501 is hardly going to ding your wallet, and it won't take up too much real estate in your garage.
Although the GPW1501's small size is convenient in several ways, it also detracts from its overall performance. The diminutive body means a smaller motor and pump, equating to less power. Though perfect for small jobs, the Greenworks is inadequate for tough ones. Aside from a few nozzle holders, it also has zero onboard storage features. It comes with a velcro strap to hold the hose, cord, and wand to the handle, but even when they're wound up, it's still a bit of a jumbled mess (though much better than the Worx model). For a smaller house or garage, the light-duty performance and compact storage of the Greenworks GPW1501 might be perfectly ideal.
Read Full Review: Greenworks GPW1501
Why You Should Trust Us
To prevent bias toward any brand or model, we purchase all of the products we test at full price from the same websites as our readers. Our review editor Ross Patton has considerable expertise when it comes to pressure washers. He's disassembled and repaired large-scale high-pressure pumps used for cleaning watercraft that are contaminated with invasive species before they enter pristine waters. The other half of our review team, research analyst Austin Palmer, has extensive experience using these tools on oil rigs in West and South Texas. Together, they developed and implemented a no-holds-barred series of tests to analyze these products with true side-by-side comparisons.
We spend hundreds of hours jetting, soaping, and washing an array of different objects and surfaces until we figured out which of these tools displayed the highest degree of performance and functionality. To come up with some hard numbers, we physically gathered all types of data ranging from weight, dimensions, and PSI. To take things a step further, we devised our own way to evaluate washer performance with visual and numerical measurements with an apparatus we named "the testing trough."
Related: How We Tested Pressure Washers
Analysis and Test Results
We judged these machines according to cleaning power, portability, noise, and ease of use. When considering your purchase, it's essential to contemplate the types of tasks you will be using one of these machines for and how tough they might be. One feature or function of a pressure washer could be essential to you but useless to others.
Related: Buying Advice for Pressure Washers
When it comes to getting the most value out of a pressure washer for your own individual applications, there are a few different things to consider. If you know you're hard on your tools and you require the highest performance level, we recommend the Westinghouse WPX3200 for long-term value. Though more expensive than many of the models tested here, its cleaning power is much closer to a professional tool than any consumer model we have tested. The electric model with the most power from our testing is the SunJoe SPX3500, which is worth every dime considering its high level of effectiveness. If you don't need a professional level of performance, but you'd still like a washer that offers decent performance at a reasonable price, then check out the SunJoe SPX3000. For any folks who don't need unbridled power but are looking for a machine that offers more pressure than a garden hose, the compact (but less powerful) Greenworks GPW 1501 or the more powerful (but less compact) Worx 13 are where we'd direct your attention.
The primary purpose of a pressure washer is to clean, so we decided to let this metric account for a large proportion of the overall score. We began by getting a feel for how effective each unit was at various tasks — cleaning gutters, fence boards, driveways, wheelbarrows, and dirty trucks. However, because these jobs are very subjective and difficult to recreate, we devised a series of repeatable tests. We timed how long it took each model to remove a certain amount of dirt from a given area to give us some rough numbers to compare the machines to one another. Next, we calculated each model's cleaning units, which is defined as pounds per square inch of pressure multiplied by the gallons per minute of flow.
To get a more tangible sense of spraying power, we built a wooden trough adjusted to an angle of 24 degrees to see how high each washer could spray a standard bocce ball. We used a combination of all of these variables, observations, and judgments to settle on a score for each model's true cleaning ability.
The Westinghouse WPX3200 and the Simpson MSH3125 MegaShot knocked it out of the park, both earning the highest scores in this metric. These gas-powered models are what our professional tool testing team described as "beastly" when it came to their performance in every one of our cleaning assessments. Both are exceptionally impressive at tackling real-world household chores, cleaning gutters, sidewalks, and fences with ease, and the Westinghouse floored us by deep cleaning a completely stained carpet in under three minutes.
Our cleaning units measurement for the Westinghouse was a whopping 5980, which is over a thousand points higher than the Simpson. When we hooked it up to our testing trough, this washer was able to sustain a bocce ball at 6.5 feet on a 24-degree incline.
We measured the cleaning units for the Simpson at 4680, which is much higher than most of the field. In the testing trough, the Simpson nearly doubled the bocce ball's sustained height compared to other models, even slightly better than the Westinghouse. We were able to get it to settle in at a distance of 7 feet up the inclined trough at an angle of 24 degrees. With such similar performance in cleaning power, we consider the Westinghouse and Simpson models pretty equal in this important pressure washer aspect.
The electric SunJoe SPX3500 scored behind the top gas-powered models. Boasting a respectable measurement of 1782 cleaning units, it edged out most of the pressure washers in our review for this assessment. It holds its own with its gas-powered cousins when it comes to household tasks, and it was able to hold the bocce ball at a sustained distance of 3 feet up the testing trough.
One of the primary conveniences that attracts people to consumer pressure washers is their mobility. We determined that there are two different ways to look at pressure washer portability — how easy they are to drive between work sites and how easy they are to push around once they're on-site. Models that can fit in a smaller vehicle or can be loaded and unloaded by one person scored higher in this metric than the heavier models. That said, among the bigger models, some of the heaviest models ending up scoring decently because they featured the biggest wheels, tires, and the nicest handles for rolling around on the ground. The models that scored the lowest in our evaluation were the ones that fell in the middle — versions with medium weight and undersized wheels. This type is a pain to get in and out of a vehicle by yourself and is also difficult to roll around rough surfaces like dirt, grass, or gravel. Finally, we looked at their dimensions and considered how easy they are to store.
The Greenworks GPW1501 and the Ryobi RY141612 scored well for portability on account of their compact size and low weight. These models lack wheels altogether, which works out since they have handles and are painless to pick up. The RY141612's stout profile makes it a cinch to store on a shelf or in the back of a vehicle, especially if you detach the wand and hose.
The Greenworks GPW1501 has a vertically oriented body, in contrast to the horizontal style of the RY141612. This design gives it good balance while you're carrying it, and as a bonus, you don't have to bend over as far to pick it up.
We would be remiss in failing to acknowledge the great portability of the Worx 13. Despite a somewhat cumbersome cord and hose situation, it cannot be overstated how easy it is to transport this pressure washer between locations.
In the world of pressure washers, there is a dilemma when deciding between a model that's light with no wheels or a heavy machine with big wheels. Having seen the easy-to-carry products, here are the heavy-duty machines you'll need to wheel around.
The SunJoe SPX3000 offers the best of both worlds — it's reasonably light yet still has decent-sized wheels. In fact, both SunJoe models tackle terrain better than many of the models with wheels because the handle location and the balance of these machines make them easy to push and pull around.
The Ryobi RY142300 and the Westinghouse WPX3200 don't quite top the leaderboard for the Portability metric. Although they're big and bulky, however, we still credit them points for their burly handles and large wheels that allow them to be pushed and pulled over rugged terrain. As far as storage goes, the RY142300 has a strap for the high-pressure hose, a hook for the power cord, and a convenient holster for the wand.
The Westinghouse has great hose and wand storage as well, and since it has a gasoline engine, there is no power cord to fiddle with. This model is heavier than the RY142300, but it makes up for the extra bit of girth with large wheels that allow it to maneuver just fine over most surfaces, with the exception of tall grass.
To assess noise, we ran each machine at full power and full throttle and used a sound meter to take some decibel readings right next to each machine. Then, we backed up 25 feet away from the machines and took readings again. Because a sound meter can't determine pitch, we used our best judgment to determine whether there were any particularly annoying or bothersome sounds coming out of any of the machines.
The SunJoe SPX3500 emits a mere 70 decibels to the user and drops to only 65.2 decibels at a distance of 25 feet.
As a company that has long been dedicated to electric and battery-powered products, it comes as no surprise that the Greenworks GPW1501 machine scored well for its noise performance. It only registered 73.3 decibels on the sound meter while in operation and a mere 63.8 decibels at 25 feet away.
The Stanley SHP2150 rounded out our quietest performers; after this, the other pressure washers very rapidly become ear-piercing. Immediately next to the Stanley, our sound meter recorded 73.3 decibels, exactly the same as the Greenworks GPW1501. However, it scored slightly lower because from twenty-five feet away, the Stanley was putting out a reading of 65.5 decibels.
Ease of Use
Although most pressure washers are very similar to use, there are enough subtle differences to warrant that we factor in ease of use. To score it, we compared the hose connections, hose and cord storage, and the stability of the unit while in use. We also noted whether each machine has a soap dispenser, if it is in a convenient location on the unit, and if it is intuitive to use.
Our highest scorer in the Ease of Use category was the Greenworks GPW1501, which boasts several elements that make it simpler than most pressure washers on the market. The designers thought to put the garden hose connection and the high-pressure hose connection on separate sides of the machine so that they are less likely to get tangled.
The cords and hoses are easy to wrap up, and they stow behind the handle on the GPW1501 with a velcro strap and by hanging them over the collapsible wand that stores in a compartment in the back of the machine. The detachable soap dispenser, which easily snaps onto the wand, can also be stored in the back compartment.
When testing out these pressure washers, one of the key features we examined was the hose connections. The Powerhouse International has a quick connection from the hose to the wand, making it a cinch to get ready to use and then to put away when the job is complete. The garden hose connection is in a great location with lots of room, and it's effortless to hook up. The SunJoe SPX3000 comes equipped with a garden hose hookup that is front and center on the machine, making it a simple task to attach.
Hose and Cord Storage
Although this doesn't interfere with getting a job done, a frustrating hose and cord situation definitely affected our Ease of Use metric. The Powerhouse International has awesome storage for its many attachments, and there is a spool on which to store the hose. The Ryobi RY141612 benefited from its hoses and cords being secured with a velcro strap, which is a no-brainer to use. The Ryobi RY141612's big brother, the 142300, uses the same velcro loop for the hose, but the electrical cord on this model has its own plastic hook and employs a small bungee cord to hold it in place. The Stanley SHP2150 also offered a hook on the back for the hose, and a dual hook situation for the power cord, one of which rotated to help in unwinding. The SunJoe SPX3000 has three hooks — one on either side for the cord and the wand and one on the front for the high-pressure hose.
A convenient facet for any pressure washer is the inclusion of some form of soap dispenser. Every pressure washer, with the disappointing exception of the Worx 13, came equipped with some form of soap dispenser — whether onboard or separate. The Stanley SHP2150 and the Ryobi 142300 both came equipped with onboard soap dispensers, with the former's cap being a little small, and the latter's comfortably large.
The SunJoe SPX3000 has not one but two onboard dispensers, and there's a convenient knob near the handle of the unit to select which tank you'd like to draw from. The SunJoe SPX3500 has the same basic features as its little cousin, but it has a massive soap tank to ensure that you won't have to refill while washing those extra-large vehicles and toys.
The soap dispenser for the Powerhouse International comes as a separate attachment, similar to the Greenworks GPW1501. Some models lack a soap dispenser altogether. Instead, they use a siphon hose you put directly into a container of soap. One such model is the Ryobi RY141612. This is great for people that don't want to constantly stop to fill up an onboard tank or a small bottle on the wand.
By now, we hope you have the knowledge and the confidence to purchase the pressure washer that best suits your needs. Whether you're looking for a light-duty washer for easy jobs, a burly machine for tougher projects, or a versatile model that falls somewhere in between, we are here to get you headed in the right direction.
— Austin Palmer, Ross Patton, and Conrad Salonites
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