We all know that regular maintenance protects our cars from the elements and preservers their hull's integrity. If left unchecked for a couple of days, even the smallest twigs, leaves, and pieces of debris can cut deep into the paintwork and leave permanent scars.
So, washing the car should be something you do upon the first sign of the stacked up dirt. Well, it should be. If only you had enough time and money to bring the vehicle to the car wash every couple of days.
This problem, however, could be easily avoided if you only had a good pressure washer to clean your ride whenever you see fit. Fortunately enough, this market corner has been booming for quite some time now, so you have more than enough options to cherry-pick from.
Let me go then through the five most popular units of the market and see what is the best pressure washer for cars the money can currently buy.
Last Updated: April 22nd 2021
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Best Pressure Washer for Cars - The Comparison Table
34.33 x 13.07 x 16.77 inches
15.6 x 13.5 x 33.9 inches
11.25 x 12.25 x 28.5 inches
21.06 x 18.5 x 12.01 inches
14.57 x 13.58 x 26.77 inches
Getting the Best Pressure Washer for Cars
- Buyers Guide -
Ok, now that you know what I consider to be the best pressure washer for cars you can currently find in the stores, let's quickly go through some important considerations that got me there.
You see, different consumers have different needs. A persona that owns a small hatchback may not need the same model as a family with multiple vehicles or a professional shop.
Learning more about the available options and what makes the best pressure washer for cars can only help you find your ideal pick. With that in mind, here are a couple of things to consider before buying your next car pressure washer.
Types of Car Pressure Washers
One of the easiest ways to classify the commercially available pressure washers is by looking at their power source. Here, we can find four different groups:
- Electric pressure washers - In the world of pressure washers, electricity is not amongst the most powerful power sources. Therefore, they are used only for light and moderate applications.
- Gas pressure washers - This type of pressure washers can throw a far heavier punch than a regular electric pressure washer. That makes a gas pressure washer suitable for professional and industrial applications.
- Diesel engine washers - In terms of sheer power, diesel engine pressure washers are similar to gas-powered units. Still, due to their power source, they can only be used outdoors.
- Hydraulic pressure washers - Hydraulic pressure washers are efficient, silent, and lightweight. But, they do need existing hydraulic infrastructure, so they are mostly used in farms and industrial establishments.
How much PSI does a pressure washer have?
Generally speaking, they can be divided into four groups:
- 1,500 PSI to 2,500 PSI - These car pressure washers are amongst the lightest and most affordable units on the market. However, with the modest pressure clocking at around 2,000 PSI, they are suitable only for grills, scooters, and bikes.
- 2,600 PSI to 3,000 PSI - Now, we're moving to the big league. An electric power washer clocking at 3,000 PSI can easily unleash 2 to 3 gallons per minute, which makes them more than suitable for car washing but also fences and decks.
- 3,000+ PSI - This is the point where you can no longer buy an electric pressure washer but exclusively the gas-powered units. But, this is the PSI option you go with if you want to open a professional car wash shop or clean the biggest possible vehicles.
The best pressure washer for cars should give you the freedom to use it without any restrictions. But, just how much is enough?
From my personal experience, if you are not going to move your electric pressure washer when you are washing the car (honestly, no one wants to do this), you will need approximately 25 feet of length to get the optimal freedom of movement.
Going too far past that point, on the other hand, will give you too many things to slip over.
Without an ample amount of soap or detergent, even the best pressure washer for cars will do a very poor job of cleaning the persistent stains. So, it is in your best interest to make sure you have the biggest detergent tank the money can buy.
In the worst-case scenario, you should be able to at least do-over the entire car without having to stop and replenish your electric pressure washer.
You can as well describe this feature how easy to move around the pressure washer for cars is. This property, on the other hand, depends on a wide variety of different factors. How about the weight of the pressure washer? Or the length of the power cord?
Of course, these are only the two most obvious mentions. It would help if you also considered the wheels, the size of the detergent tank, handles, etc. Just make sure that you can move the damn thing around.
By default, a pressure washer can deliver a certain amount of water per minute. Still, these factory settings are simply not good enough if you tackle more than one vehicle.
So, it is in your best interest to find yourself the electric pressure washer with the adjustable nozzles that will allow you to find the best pressure for each vehicle you are washing at the moment.
Nothing beats the good old versatility.
As I mentioned in the previous sections, a pressure washer for cars can be a pretty dangerous machine if broken or mishandled. That is why you should try to get yourself an electric pressure washer with at least some safety features to put your worries to rest.
I suggest that you start with things like unloader and thermal reliefs. These two can go a long way in mitigating the problems caused by the excessive pressure building in your power washers.
Best Pressure Washers For Cars on the Market - Individual Reviews
1. Karcher K5 Electric Power Pressure Washer - Best Electric Power Washer Overall
Our Rating: 94/100
Karcher is the name that has quite a rep far beyond the circles of avid car lovers. Their pressure washers and floor cleaners are known around the world for their quality and efficiency.
It shouldn't be that big of a surprise then that their electric pressure washers sit at the very top of this market.
When it comes to the design, I can only summarize that this is probably the best pressure washer for a car I have seen in recent years.
For a start, the body is made from durable plastic that ensures years of safe use. At the same time, the overall weight is kept at around 30 pounds, which means the unit is still easy to move around the garage.
But, these are only the basics. This electric pressure washer has to offer so much more. How about an integrated hose reel and onboard soap tank? Or the two interchangeable wands that allow you to easily adjust the water pressure on the go when washing your car.
The electric power is easily distributed by the lengthy power cord, so no real complaints in the design department.
In terms of the sheer car washing performance, Karcher K5 electric pressure washer creates an equally satisfying impression.
Clocking the reasonable high water pressure of 2,000 PSI (you roughly get 1.4 gallons per minute), this electric power washer produces quite powerful and uninterrupted water flow able to easily clean all sorts of smaller vehicles ranging from bikes and scooters to smaller cars.
The onboard detergent bottle is spacious enough to allow a seamless pressure washing experience without the need to stop and refill the tank every five minutes.
Add into the mix the water-cooled induction motor that keeps the motor cool improves the pressure washing performance, and prolongs the unit's life up to five times, and you will get one of the best pressure washers I have seen in recent years.
You will be able to clean your car with ease and grace at a reasonably affordable price. Sure, the flow rate could be a bit higher, and you could get more PSI/GPM water flow necessary for more demanding cleaning tasks.
But not at this price point.
2. Sun Joe SPX3000 Electric Pressure Washer - Best Affordable Pressure Washer for Cars
Our Rating: 88/100
When I talked about the precious product, I mentioned just how well-respected Karcher is in the pressure washer market corner. Sun Joe is a brand with a very similar reputation in the world of premium outdoor tools.
That doesn't mean the company isn't able to throw a punch in the lower market segments. Sun Joe is the prime example of this.
Some people would probably call Sun Joe SPX3000 bland and uninspiring. I would much rather call this pressure washer functional.
Sure, the plastic the whole unit is made from is probably not as heavy-duty as some other entries on the list, but you get a reasonable level of durability, and that is perfectly fine.
Aside from that, everything on display here works like a charm. For instance, dual detergent tanks pack quite a lot of capacity, so you will be able to clean your car in one run easily. Also, Sun Joe was kind enough to include one neat hose handle, total stop system, garden hose adapter, and even the detergent selection dial.
At this price point, all these things are something that put this pressure washer for car far above the average.
Most importantly, low weight and 35-foot power cord allow for one very effortless pressure cleaning performance.
Speaking of performance, I have to admit that Sun Joe SPX3000 is one very powerful pressure washer for cars, especially taking into consideration its modest price.
For a start, the unit packs an excellent PSI rating of 2030 PSI that produces a working pressure of 1450 PSI and a water flow rate of 1.76 GPM. Although not monstrous, these specs will handle cleaning your car but only as long if you own a smaller vehicle.
Keeping that in mind, the water flow is seamless and steady and a bunch of accessories in tools you can find in the package only make the cleaning tasks easier.
So, I am very pleased with how Sun Joe SPX3000 handles high-pressure washing. What I am not that thrilled about are the constant leakages from the motor that clearly give away we are still talking about one entry-level pressure washer for cars.
3. AR Annovi Reverberi Blue Clean Pressure Washer - Best Pressure Washer for Casual Consumers
AR Blue Clean can be best described as a pressure washer for cars that strives to some very modest aspirations. But that doesn't have to be a bad thing.
Although the manufacturer has decided to reach the low price point by ditching the expensive features and concentrating on what matters the most - sheer cleaning power.
As you can probably guess from my introduction, AR Blue Clean pressure washer won't win any prizes for design or build quality.
But, I have to admit the whole thing looks and feels very functional, so I don't have that much room for complaints. The plastic used for production feels solid and sturdy, while the very modest weight of only 13 pounds makes sure you won't have any problem cleaning your car wherever you are.
What's even better is that despite the small size and even more affordable price, the electric pressure washer packs all the basics you need for seamless pressure washing in this day and age.
So, you have your standard garden hose connector, built-in hose reel, two different pressure washer wands, and a total stop system.
All these essentials are also straightforward to use. So, the total length of the hose goes all the way up to 20 feet, while the 35-foot power cord makes washing your car as easy as it gets.
But, what about the high-pressure performance?
Well, I have to admit that with the PSI rating of 1,900 and the flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute, this small pressure washer throws quite a heavy punch for a unit of its size.
Of course, that doesn't say much since you are mostly going to use the unit for floors and patio, but even as a washer for cars, the product does a very decent job.
The high-pressure hose is easy to use and readjust on-the-go, the detergent tank can handle smaller vehicles in one run, while the cleaning power was able to tackle even the vehicles that lack professional car detailing.
As for objective drawbacks, quick-connect spray tips showcased occasional leaking, while the hose proved to be far easier to tangle than I like.
4. Greenworks GPW1950 Pressure Washer - Best Premium Pressure Washer for Cars
Although Greenworks is not the brand best known for the premium products, I would lay if I told your his pressure washer manufacturer hasn't had its moments of glory.
This Greenworks pressure washer is definitely one of these examples. And the fact that I gave it the title of my premium pressure washer pick comes more from its performance rather than its price.
It doesn't take more than a passing look at this beauty to see that, unlike Sun Joe and other products we have seen on the list, this pressure washer is dragged around like a simple trolley.
When you want to clean your car, this small fact makes the unit far more usable than the competitors.
Of course, the fact that you get all the goodies like a 25-foot high-pressure hose (heavy-duty hose reel included), dual detergent tanks, 35-foot power cord, excellent build quality, and a bunch of accessories (more on them in a minute) only make this story better.
Bottom line, when you want to wash your car, this pressure washer will only make your life easier.
The great design of this pressure washer for cars largely translates to its real-life performance.
Namely, the unit is powered by a very potent induction motor that produces the pressure of excellent 1950 PSI and somewhat underwhelming flow of 1.2 GPM. I would be far more nagging about the latter mention if washing your car wasn't still very easy and suitable for all smaller vehicles I tried it on.
However, the features I probably dig the most are the quick connect nozzles (0, 25, and 40-degree tips) and quick-connect spray tips that drastically increase the unit's usability.
When all these things are summed up, I can only say that although for my taste the pressure cleaning was performed a bit slower due to limited GPM rating, the rest of the features never made the cleaning a chore, and the capacity of each detergent tank allowed me to tackle every vehicle in one run.
Not the best pressure washer for cars but damn close.
5. Stanley SHP2150 Electric Pressure Washer - Pressure Washer with the Best PSI rating
Our Rating: 83/100
Finally, we have the last pressure washer for cars on this list. Now, I was very hesitant to put this bad boy on the number five spot. But, the other heavy-duty pressure washers just so happened to pack better overall quality.
Furthermore being listed in the top five is still a good recommendation to check this one out.
It would be unfair to say that the Stanley SHP2150 pressure washer looks bad. But, with its heavy-duty cut-out yellow body, it is hard to escape the feeling the unit puts its eggs in the performance basket.
But these are not bad things. The pressure washer feels solid and well-put-together. Coupled with manageable size, the weight of 26 pounds, and lengthy hose and cord all these things produce one effortless car cleaning experience.
And then we have the rest of the common features in the form of a reliable total stop system, spacious detergent tank (no dual detergent tanks this time, sorry), and four quick connect nozzles.
Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with what I got in the package.
Now, let's move on to the performance.
Here, I must say I was pretty impressed by the excellent pressure rating that climbs all the way up to 2,150 PSI. Too bad that the water flow is stuck at only 1.4 GPM. Of course, this is far from the worst GPM in this range, but with just a little bit more gallons per minute, I would be able to go through my vehicles far faster.
This drawback, however, is somewhat counterbalanced by excellent quick connect nozzles and quick-connect spray tips that allow you to fine-tune the performance according to current needs easily.
In the end, if I had to single out one thing that bothered me the most, that would be the spray gun. Namely, whenever I quickly released the trigger, the washer ended up stuck in a loop for a second or two before flushing the water again.
Best Pressure Washer For Cars - Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of car pressure washers?
For a start, there is the novelty of being able to perform deep cleaning at home. Since you have more time on disposal, you can be more thorough and remove even the most stubborn dirt particles. This is something you simply can't do at a car wash.
And then there are the savings. Although it requires an upfront investment, a good car pressure washer more than pays off in the long run.
What Type of Pressure Washer Do I Need?
This one really depends on the type of vehicles you want to tackle. Most bikes, scooters, and smaller cars can be easily cleaned even with the compact, low-pressure electric-powered units.
However, if you plan to open a professional car wash shop or clean bigger vehicles like trucks, SUVs, and vans, you may consider buying yourself a gas-powered (or hydraulic) mid-pressure washer.
Using a pressure washer on bigger vehicles is far easier when you are able to release more gallons of water power per minute.
Is it safe to repair the spray hose if it has a puncture?
In most cases, no. You see, a pressure washer for cars is sometimes able to handle the pressures up to 8,000 PSI. If the hose is not properly sealed, the next time you try to clean your vehicle can result in some kind of malfunction or even a fatal accident.
A smaller, less powerful power washer can be theoretically repaired since the danger of injury is far lower.
Still, we recommend that you simply replace the hose.
Why does the nozzle in my pressure washer clog?
Pressure washer for car can become clogged for several different reasons.
- Debris - Once the deposits of dirt start building up, your electric pressure washer may start experiencing some serious performance drops.
- Wear and tear - Like all other mechanical units, pressure washers are susceptible to wear and tear, which can have its effect on clogging.
- Wrong detergent - Mixing the wrong detergent and cleaning water can cause deformation and clogging as time goes by.
- Caking - Also known as bearing, is the process in which the deteriorated materials of an electric pressure washer build-up at each side of the orifice resulting in the nozzle clog.
Is it safe to leave fuel in the gas tank when transporting the pressure washer?
I would say no. Although leaving the gas tank in your power washer during transport doesn't automatically translate to a fatal accident, you are ramping up the chances.
As for me, I'm not particularly eager to play with these sorts of things. Although removing the gas tank from your power washer takes some time, I always do that before embarking on some bumpy, long-distance trip.
After it's all said and done, we recommend:
In my honest opinion, the winner has to be Karcher K5 Electric Power Pressure Washer. With its excellent PSI rating, robust but functional design, replaceable spray tips, and nozzles, as well as other useful features, this neat piece of technology was simply a joy to use.
What's most important, the washer was able to tackle all sorts of vehicles easily, so it automatically gets additional points in the versatility department.
I hope this short overview gave you some general idea bout who's who in the world of best pressure washers for cars. Keeping your favorite four-wheeler in top shape is hard even without having to drive the car to the wash every couple of days. With one of these pressure washers, you can put all of your worries to rest.