All pressure washers work the same way — a motor powers water through a concentrated nozzle. To find the right pressure washer for your needs, consider the following factors:
✔️ Electric vs. Gas: There are two main options, electric and gas, and your choice will impact power and convenience.
- Electric pressure washers are generally suitable for the vast majority of homeowners and can tackle projects like car washing, cleaning lawn furniture and spot-treating surfaces. They are more affordable (think $300 and below), lighter, quieter and easier to store and maintain.
- Gas pressure washers are most commonly used by professionals because they are a lot more powerful. They’ll blast away nearly any dirt and debris — use them for things like decks and sidewalks — but they’re much more expensive (think $300 and above), plus they’re bigger, heavier, noisier and harder to maintain.
✔️ Water Pressure vs. Water Flow: To best understand how much power a pressure washer will generate, you need to consider two factors: water pressure and water flow. PSI, or pounds per square inch, indicates the water pressure delivered by the machine, says Adrienne Hunt, associate merchant for Home Depot. Pressure washers with a high PSI will clean deep stains more effectively than machines with a lower PSI. If you’re looking to clear dirt and grime from furniture or hose down the car, electric pressure washers with typical PSIs in the 1,600 to 2,300 range should do the job. For tougher cleaning tasks — say tackling oil stains on a concrete driveway or removing sap from the back deck, you’ll do better with a gas pressure washer ranging from 2,700 to 4,400 PSI.
But while PSI is important, you also need to pay attention to water flow, measured in GPM, or gallons per minute. The two specs in tandem are super important. GPM measures the volume of water delivered by the pressure washer — an indicator of how quickly your machine will clean. Higher GPM pressure washers (2.0 and up) will clean faster than those with lower GPM.
✔️ Cost vs. Value: While you can find pressure washers for under $100, the least expensive models on our winners’ list are closer to $150. At the other end of the price spectrum, you could spend $600 or more on a pressure washer, but our experts say the best of the best for home use are in the $300 to $500 range. That’s a serious investment, but hiring a professional to pressure wash your home will cost between $25 and $100 per hour, according to Bailey Carson, Home Care Expert at Angi. That works out to around $250 for a single patio or deck, so the machine quickly pays for itself.