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If you're looking for a new pressure washer, we've done the hard work for you. After researching over 50 models, we bought and tested the 11 most promising options side by side. We rated each machine based on a battery of stringent tests to determine which is the champion of high-pressure spraying power. To do so, we devised multiple challenges to scrutinize each model's cleaning power, portability, ease of use, and accessory organizational systems. Check out our in-depth review to discover which models are the best for your specific needs. We've found the best bargains, electric options, and washers that blasted away the competition.
Weight: 63.6 pounds | Dimensions: 38.5" x 25.5" x 19.75"
REASONS TO BUY
Superb cleaning performance
REASONS TO AVOID
Heavy and bulky
If you're looking for a capable pressure washer ready to tackle any job, the Westinghouse WPX3200 is the one for you. Although bulky in appearance, this machine is deceptively easy to move around thanks to its large, quality wheels. Additionally, it features convenient built-in storage for the twenty-five-foot hose included. Where the WPX3200 really flexes is its cleaning power. The first descriptor our testers thought of when they turned it on is accurate — "beastly." No job was too tough for this pressure washer during our tests. From tough jobs to quick, light-duty rinses, we recommend this washer.
Although the Westinghouse WPX3200's beastly power is amazing, we still spotted a few drawbacks. It's large, heavy, and the gas engine is noisy. The engine also comes with the downsides associated with any gas-powered motor. Think fumes, smoke, oil leaks, and maintenance. Although an electric pressure washer would relieve you of many of these headaches, we can't deny that this model is one of the best on the market. It scours circles around the competition, whether they're gas or electric.
Weight: 42.6 pounds | Dimensions: 35.5" x 16" x 15"
REASONS TO BUY
Very powerful for electric
Large plastic wheels
REASONS TO AVOID
For a powerful pressure washer without the fumes and gasoline, check out the Sun Joe SPX3500. With this electric model, you won't have to worry about gas cans, choke levers, pull cords, or priming bubbles. You also save yourself money long-term as you won't constantly be refueling — not to mention it's more sustainable. This model provides powerful cleaning abilities for an electric option. It also has handy onboard storage slots for the included nozzle options and a set of hooks to organize the power cord and high-pressure hose. Also, the hard plastic wheels are large enough to roll easily over grass, pavement, and some rough terrain. One of our favorite aspects of the SunJoe SPX3500 how quiet it is. 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.
Despite all the attributes, the SPX3500 isn't perfect. For starters, if your projects require raw power, electric models have a harder time competing with the pressure produced by a gas-powered washer. Compared to other electric options, this pressure washer is bulky. If you're looking for a washer that you can stash on a shelf or in a closet, opt for something more compact. Still, we think the SunJoe SPX3500 is a great choice for those who want an electric pressure washer with the best performance possible.
Weight: 16.3 pounds | Dimensions: 27" x 10.5" x 9.5"
REASONS TO BUY
Impressive cleaning abilities
Compact and easy to carry
Easier to maintain than gas models
REASONS TO AVOID
Small wheels tip easily
No storage for nozzles
Obscured garden hose attachment
The Wholesun 3000PSI is one of the most affordable models in our test fleet. Despite its low price tag, it offers impressive results in our cleaning tests. Though it provides a relatively low pressure per square inch, this washer moves a lot of water. Spraying more gallons per minute helps it clean faster and better. We observed this firsthand when we used it to wash activated charcoal out of a carpet several times in between four and a half to five minutes. This washer is also easy to move around at 16.3 pounds and has one of the most compact dimensions. We appreciate how much less maintenance an electric engine requires as compared to a gas option.
It's a good thing that the Wholesun is easy to carry since its small plastic wheels aren't ideal. At 27 inches tall, it's too short to push or pull comfortably. There's also the issue that it tips over easily and lacks built-in storage options for its five nozzle options. Four of the nozzles provide a 0, 15, 25, and 40-degree spray angle. A fifth disperses soap, but you have to screw a detergent bottle to the spray gun itself, making it clunky. Similarly, the garden hose attachment point can be difficult to access. Despite these minor flaws, we believe the Wholesun is an excellent value for a bargain washer that packs a powerful cleaning punch.
We spend hundreds of hours testing these products, jetting, soaping, and washing an array of different objects and surfaces until we figured out which of these tools displays the highest degree of performance and functionality. To come up with some hard numbers, we gathered data ranging from weight, dimensions, noise levels, gallons per minute (GPM), and pressure per square inch (PSI). To take things a step further, we devised our own way to evaluate washer performance with visual and numerical measurements using a bocce ball and an apparatus we call "the testing trough."
Our pressure washer testing is divided across four different metrics:
Cleaning (45% of overall score weighting)
Portability (30% weighting)
Noise (15% weighting)
Ease of Use (10% weighting)
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 Matt Spencer knows his tech. As an avid gamer and tech enthusiast, he consistently researches industry updates. Matt has also tested drills and many other tech products for GearLab. The other half of our review team, senior 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.
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.
When it comes to getting the most value out of a pressure washer for your own individual applications, there are a few things to consider. If you know you're hard on your tools and require the highest performance level; we recommend the Westinghouse WPX3200 for long-term value.
Though more expensive than many models tested here, its cleaning power is much closer to a professional tool than any consumer model we've 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 professional-level performance but would still like a powerful, effective washer at a reasonable price, check out the Wholesun 3000PSI or 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, we'd direct your attention to the compact Greenworks GPW 1501.
The primary purpose of a pressure washer is to clean, so testing results in this metric account for 45% of the overall score. We began by getting a feel for each unit's effectiveness 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 section of carpet to give us some rough numbers to compare the machines to one another. Next, we calculated each model's cleaning units, 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 at a 24-degree angle 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.
When we measured each unit's PSI and GMP to calculate cleaning units, the Westinghouse registered 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.
This metric's top-performing electric models are the SunJoe SPX3500 and the Greenworks Pro 3000PSI. Boasting respectable cleaning units of 1782 and 2921, respectively. Both hold their own with their gas-powered cousins when it comes to household tasks, and are able to hold the bocce ball at a sustained distance of 3 feet up the testing trough. However, both performed behind the top gas-powered models.
One of the primary conveniences that attract people to consumer pressure washers is their mobility, worth 30% of the final score. We determined that there are two different ways to look at pressure washer portability — how easily the washers 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 be loaded and unloaded by one person scored higher in this metric than heavier models.
That said, some of the heaviest models earned respectable scores because they feature the biggest wheels, tires, and handiest handles for rolling around. The models that scored the lowest 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.
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.
Then there's the Wholesun 3000PSI. While it has wheels, they are small and plastic and don't work very well. Still, we consider it highly portable. At just 16.3 pounds, it's nearly as easy to move around as the handheld models.
The Ryobi RY142300, Westinghouse WPX3200, and DeWalt DWPW2400 don't quite top the leaderboard for the Portability metric. Although they're big and bulky, 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 DeWalt is small and easy to tuck away, but the spray gun easily falls out of its holder. The RY142300 has a strap for the high-pressure hose, a hook for the power cord, and a convenient holster for its 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 (except for tall grass).
To assess noise levels, we ran each machine at full power and full throttle, using 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 quietest machine in the test, 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 GPW1501and GPW2005 machines did well for their noise performance. They only registered 73.3 and 73.6 decibels on the sound meter while in operation and a mere 63.8 and 62.9 decibels at 25 feet away.
The Stanley SHP2150 and Wholesun 3000PSI round out some of our quietest performers. After this, the other pressure washers rapidly reach ear-piercing volumes. Immediately next to the Stanley and the Wholesun, our sound meter recorded 73.3 decibels, the same as the Greenworks GPW1501. However, they missed the mark because from twenty-five feet away, the Stanley was putting out a reading of 65.5 decibels and the Wholesun 67.3 decibels.
Ease of Use
Although most pressure washers are very similar to use, there are enough subtle differences to discuss here. To score it, we compared the hose connections, hose and cord storage, and the unit's stability 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. 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 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 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. Almost every pressure washer 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.
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 like the Wholesun 3000PSI.
By now, we hope you have the knowledge and 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.
We investigated, bought, and ran grueling comparative...
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GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.