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.
Washing your car should be done as soon as you notice dirt building up. However, time and money may make this difficult to do often.
You can avoid this problem by investing in a good pressure washer. The market for pressure washers is large and growing, so you have plenty of options to choose 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: June 4th 2023
In a hurry? The test winner after 32 hours of research:
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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.
Finding the perfect pressure washer for your car can be a daunting task. But don't worry, with these helpful tips in mind you'll make an informed choice! Think about factors like portability and power before investing in a new machine - this way, you can ensure that your next purchase is worthy of cleaning even the dirtiest of cars.
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 offer much more than regular electric models. They are a better choice for those who need a high-pressure punch, such as professionals and industrial workers.
- 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 - provide a powerful and quiet performance, all while being lightweight. However, they require hydraulic infrastructure to work, limiting their use to large 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?
Based on my personal experience, if you're not planning to move your electric pressure washer during a car wash (believe me, no one wants that!), make sure you have at least 25 feet of space for optimal movement.
Going too far past that point, on the other hand, will give you too many things to slip over.
Even the best pressure washers cannot deliver satisfactory results without a sufficient amount of soap or detergent. Therefore, it's in your best interest to invest in a pressure washer with a large detergent tank.
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?
Apart from these two primary factors, there are plenty of other details you should consider when selecting the best pressure washer for your needs - such as handles, wheels, tank size and so on. Just make sure that its mobility suits your requirements.
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.
It's wise to invest in an electric pressure washer with adjustable nozzles to determine the ideal pressure for every vehicle you're cleaning.
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.
To avoid potential issues stemming from too much pressure, I suggest beginning your search with unloader and thermal relief features on the power washer.
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's no surprise that their electric pressure washers are among the best on the 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.
The body is constructed with durable plastic, promoting long-term use, while remaining lightweight at around 30 pounds - easy to transport to any part of 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 lengthy power cord enables efficient distribution of electricity, leaving no room for complaints concerning the design.
In terms of the sheer car washing performance, Karcher K5 electric pressure washer creates an equally satisfying impression.
This electric pressure washer produces a respectable water output of 2,000 PSI (1.4 gallons per minute) and offers a powerful and consistent water flow, suitable for cleaning an array of smaller vehicles such as bikes, scooters and 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.
The impressive water-cooled induction motor ensures the motor remains cool, enhances pressure washing performance, and extends the unit's lifespan up to five times - making this one of the best pressure washers 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
Karcher is highly regarded in the power washer market, and Sun Joe also enjoys a strong reputation for producing quality 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.
Not to mention, the features work flawlessly. For example, the dual detergent tanks store generous amounts of detergent, making it easy to clean your car in one pass. Additionally, Sun Joe has generously included a convenient hose handle, Total Stop System (TSS), garden hose adapter, and even a 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.
When it comes to performance, the Sun Joe SPX3000 is an incredibly powerful car pressure washer for a reasonable 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'm delighted with the power of the Sun Joe SPX3000. What I'm not so pleased about is the leaking motor, which indicates this is an 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.
The manufacturer opted for an economical price point by foregoing costly features and focusing on what matters most: strong 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 that the entire design is very practical and useful. The plastic feels solid and durable, while the lightweight of just 13 pounds guarantees convenient car-cleaning no matter where 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.
This pressure washer comes with the typical garden hose connector, an integrated hose reel, two distinct nozzles, 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?
Despite its small size, this pressure washer can pack a serious punch with a PSI rating of 1,900 and a flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute.
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 flexibly adjustable high-pressure hose makes it convenient to use on the go, while the detergent tank is ideal for cleaning smaller vehicles in one session. Additionally, the power of this pressure washer can even handle cars that are lacking 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 an example of this. The performance it offers is what puts it on a pedestal, making it worthy of the title of our premium pressure washer pick.
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.
This pressure washer offers even more value with a 25-foot high-pressure hose (complete with heavy-duty reel), dual detergent tanks, 35-foot power cord, top-notch construction, and countless accessories to help you get the job done.
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.
Boasting a powerful induction motor, this unit provides 1950 PSI of pressure that is capable of handling smaller vehicles with ease and 1.2 GPM of flow rate which may be slightly underwhelming but still efficient enough to clean your car quickly.
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.
Although slightly lower GPM in pressure washing can lead to a slower clean, the capacity of each detergent tank and the vast array of features ensure that cleaning vehicles is an effortless task.
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
Although the last pressure washer might have been deserving of a higher spot, other heavy-duty models presented better overall quality and therefore they took precedence.
Furthermore being listed in the top five is still a good recommendation to check this one out.
Although the Stanley SHP2150 pressure washer is far from an eyesore, its heavy-duty yellow body suggests that its main focus is on providing top-notch performance.
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.
The other features on this pressure washer include a total stop system, a spacious detergent tank, and four quick connect nozzles. Unfortunately, there is no dual detergent tank featured.
Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with what I got in the package.
Now, let's move on to the performance.
The Stanley SHP2150 pressure washer's pressure rating of 2,150 PSI is certainly impressive. However, the water flow rate is limited to only 1.4 GPM, which means you may have to spend a bit more time on cleaning than you'd like. With just a slightly higher GPM rate, it would be much faster and easier to get through the job.
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.
The most irritating aspect of using the Stanley SHP2150 pressure washer is likely the spray gun, which gets stuck in a loop for a few seconds each time you release the trigger quickly. This can be quite inconvenient when trying to finish up a job quickly.
Best Pressure Washer For Cars - Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of car pressure washers?
The best part of having a pressure washer at home is the pleasure of being able to deep clean everything thoroughly and carefully. You can choose to spend more time on cleaning and thereby remove stubborn dirt particles that would remain if you had gone to 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.
If you want to open a car wash business or clean large vehicles such as trucks, SUVs, and vans, investing in a gas-powered or hydraulic mid-pressure washer may be the right choice.
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?
Trying to clean your car with a pressure washer rated for up to 8,000 PSI can be dangerous if the hose is not securely sealed. Malfunctions or even fatal accidents can occur if proper precautions are not taken.
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.
Pressure washers for cars are typically rated at up to 8,000 PSI. If the hose is not tightly sealed, there is a risk of malfunction or even fatal accidents when attempting to clean your vehicle.
After it's all said and done, we recommend:
Karcher K5 Electric Power Pressure Washer stands out for its impressive PSI rating, robust design, replaceable spray tips and nozzles. On top of that, it is an enjoyable tool to use due to its useful features.
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.