Best Pressure Washer of 2021
|Price||$110 List||$250 List|
$202.02 at Amazon
|$150 List||$300 List|
$299.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Small, light, inexpensive||No gas, minimal noise, good wheels||Highly portable, inexpensive, quiet||Good hose and cord storage, quick-disconnect from hose to wand||Very powerful for electric, large wheels, huge soap tank|
|Cons||Poor cleaning power, no wheels||Larger than many electric types, less power than gasoline||Disappointing cord and hose storage, limited cleaning power||Expensive, lacks power||Heavy, constantly runs|
|Bottom Line||If you need a pressure washer for household jobs and you know you won't need a ton of power, this model is a fantastic choice||When it comes to electric models, it's hard to top this pressure washing machine||The compact RY141612 is great for light work but can't compare to the cleaning power of top models for heavy-duty applications||It's hard to recommend the Powerhouse International Platinum Edition with its high price tag and unimpressive results||If you want a pressure washer that offers above average performance but without the gas, oil, and fumes, the RY142300 is the one|
|Rating Categories||Greenworks GPW1501||Sun Joe SPX3500||Ryobi RY141612||International Plati...||Ryobi RY142300|
|Ease Of Use (10%)|
|Specs||Greenworks GPW1501||Sun Joe SPX3500||Ryobi RY141612||International Plati...||Ryobi RY142300|
|Measured 15º nozzle PSI||N/A||1650||1490||1050||1975|
|Measured 25º nozzle PSI||1200||1600||N/A||1100||N/A|
|Measured 15º Nozzle GPM||N/A||1.08||1.08||1.26||1.1|
|Measured 25º Nozzle GPM||1.16||1.09||N/A||1.28||N/A|
|Wheels||None||8 in plastic||None||4 small casters||12 in plastic|
|Measured dBA at Machine||73.3||70||77.6||84.6||82.5|
|Measured dBa at 25 ft||63.8||65.2||62.2||64.2||65.1|
|Length of included hose||19' 8"||20'||20' 5"||29' 7"||25' 4"|
|Electrical cord length||34' 9"||30'||34' 1"||35'||34' 6"|
|Electric or Gas||Electric||Electric||Electric||Electric||Electric|
|Measured Weight||15.5 lbs||42.6 lbs||15.6 lbs||27.9 lbs||51 lbs|
|Measured Cleaning Units||1428||1782||1609.2||1323||2172.5|
|Measured Ball Distance||2.6 ft||3 ft||3.6 ft||2.75 ft||3.75 ft|
Best Gas-Powered Pressure Washer
Simpson MSH3125 MegaShot
If you're seeking a pressure washer for heavy-duty jobs, the Simpson MegaShot should be your go-to. This model showed some of the most substantial spraying power that we've seen. If the smaller, weaker models are commuter cars, the MegaShot is a monster truck. It's loud, it's strong, and it's large. Despite its weight and bulk, it's still easy to roll around thanks to its inflatable tires and beefy wheels. Our favorite thing about this machine is its incredible spraying power — it's capable of washing 2-story buildings, cleaning the thickest of mud off of toys, and even removing certain types of paint. If you need a washer that can tackle the toughest jobs out there, this is the one.
However, we have a few bones to pick with the MegaShot. While the oversized tires are useful for moving the unit around a garage, driveway, or yard, they don't really help when it comes to transporting this model from site to site. You may need to enlist the help of a friend or a ramp to lift this bulky and awkward machine into a truck bed. Also, there are inherent drawbacks to having the extra power of a gasoline engine — toxic fuels, smoke, noise, and the potential for oil leaks. If switching to electric tools is a goal, you'll want to look elsewhere. However, our team found the performance of this model difficult to beat.
Read Full Review: Simpson MSH3125 MegaShot
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 other rough terrain. One of our favorite aspects of the SunJoe SPX3500 is the astonishingly 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. 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 or professional 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 Light Duty
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.
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 spent 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 their 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 Simpson MSH3125 MegaShot. Though a bit more expensive than many of the models tested here, its cleaning power is much closer to a professional tool than an average consumer model. 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 Greenworks GPW 1501 is 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, 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 Simpson MSH3125 MegaShot knocked it out of the park, earning a perfect score in this metric. This gas-powered model is what our professional tool testing team described as "beastly" when it came to its performance in every one of our cleaning assessments. The MegaShot was exceptionally impressive at tackling real-world household chores, cleaning gutters, sidewalks, and fences with ease.
We measured the cleaning units for this model 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. 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.
Another gas-powered machine that excelled in the cleaning metric was the Generac 7132. This model achieved an impressive 3710 cleaning units, putting it near the top of the list in that test. It did well in our timed dirty area assessment, cleaning everything up faster than most other models. For our incline test, the Generac was able to spray the bocce ball 4.75 feet up the ramp with its included 25-degree nozzle, but when we attached a 15-degree nozzle, it increased the distance to 6 feet. The Generac 7132 can handle light to medium-duty jobs with ease (think washing cars and patios), but it's also strong enough for some larger projects like peeling old paint.
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 a 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. The SunJoe SPX3000 offers the best of both worlds — it's reasonably light yet still has decent-sized wheels.
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. Their height makes them a bit more difficult to store than some of their more compact competitors, but since they are neither long nor wide, they can be tucked into the corner of a garage quite nicely.
The Ryobi RY142300 and the Simpson MSH3215 MegaShot don't quite top the leaderboard for this metric. Although they're big and bulky, we gave 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 Simpson has decent hose and wand storage as well, and since it has a gasoline engine, there is no power cord to fiddle with. This model is slightly heavier than the RY142300, but it makes up for the extra bit of girth with inflatable rubber wheels that grip dirt, rocks, or concrete better than their hard plastic alternatives.
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. Also, 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 only other model that scored decently in this metric was the Ryobi RY141612. This model produced one of the lowest sound meter readings from 25 feet away — 62.2 decibels. Meanwhile, you can expect 77.6 decibels while using this machine, just barely higher than the Greenworks models.
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 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.
Scoring near the top of the scale, the Greenworks GPW1501 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.
The Powerhouse International Platinum Edition, Ryobi RY141612, Ryobi RY142300,SunJoe SPX3000, and SunJoe SPX3500 all scored well for their various favorable features.
The Powerhouse International was the only pressure washer in our review that 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 Powerhouse has awesome storage for its many attachments, and there is a spool on which to store the hose. The soap dispenser comes as a separate attachment, similar to the Greenworks GPW1501. Unfortunately, the Powerhouse International lost some points because it requires that you swap out wand parts to attach it.
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. The short, sturdy construction and absence of wheels on the Ryobi ensures that this sturdy little machine is unlikely to move or tip over. Its nozzles are stored on top of the handle and are simple to get in and out of their holders. The hoses and cords are strapped to the machine 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 weight and wide base of the 142300 mean it's very unlikely it will tip over while in use. This machine also has an onboard soap container with a wide cap that is awesome if you don't feel like dealing with a siphon or detachable container.
If you know you will be using soap, and you know that you're going to also want to use a rinsing agent, the SunJoe SPX3000 has you covered. This model 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's garden hose hookup is front and center on the machine, making it a simple task to attach. This model has three hooks — one on either side for the cord and the wand and one on the front for the high-pressure hose.
The SunJoe SPX3500 has the same basic features as its little cousin mentioned above, but it was a massive soap tank to ensure that you won't have to refill while washing those extra-large vehicles and toys.
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 and Ross Patton