Car Bibles is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
Washing your car on a regular basis helps retain its integrity against the elements. From any dust and dirt that has accumulated over time to bird droppings and tree sap that have found their way onto your vehicle’s body, these contaminants should be removed immediately from your car to help preserve its finish. Now you may want to drive your vehicle to a car wash on a daily basis, or you can power wash it yourself with this selection of the best car pressure washers on the market.
The Best Car Pressure Washers
It is easy to see why Sun Joe’s Sun Joe SPX3000 Electric High Pressure Washer is so popular. The Sun Joe provides a water flow rate at an amazing 1.76 gallons per minute powered by a 1,800-watt, 14.5-amp motor, providing superb cleaning power.
Most would expect that such power means a rather hefty price tag. But this is where the Sun Joe is able to surprise many non-believers. It provides all of its amazingly powerful and innovative features without significantly burdening your pocket. You get the Sun Joe and its wide assortment of features, including five spray tips that come with Quick-Connect technology. We know changing the spray tips can be a hassle, but considering you’ll be using the Sun Joe on almost every conceivable cleaning chore, it’s all worth it.
The Sun Joe also comes with two 0.9-liter, on-board detergent tanks instead of the usual single tank layout in other products. We know 0.9 liters isn’t much, but having two of these is amazing. At any rate, the system will allow you to use two different detergents at the same time to further increase your cleaning power. Like all other pressure washers, the Sun Joe does have occasional leaks in its connections. But this is often not enough to deter folks from buying it.
PSI rating: 2030
Water flow: 1.76 GPM
Powerful 1800-watt motor
Quick-Connect spray tips
Auto Total Stop System
Dual on-board, removable detergent tanks
Comes with 2-year warranty
- BrandSnow Joe LLC
- Weight31 pounds
Powerful water pressure perfect for tough jobs
Improved energy savings with its auto-TSS feature
Excellent price for its features and effectiveness
Extra-long 35-foot power cord for greater reach
Supplied hose connector may have tendency to leak
Some issues with durability
If you don’t mind paying a bit more for a pressure washer that will only give you 1.4 gallons a minute and a PSI rating of 2000, then perhaps the Karcher K5 Premium Electric Power Pressure Washer is designed specifically for you. It is powered by an induction motor that is water cooled to improve its lifespan by as much as five times. The pump is also designed to be maintenance-free and corrosion-resistant, so this is one less worry.
The Karcher K5 is an excellent choice if you want something really stable as its 32-pound weight almost stakes it to the ground. It also comes with two unique sprays — DirtBlaster and Vario — for a variety of applications. The K5 is a wonderful pressure washer.
PSI rating: 2000
Water flow: 1.4 GPM
Patented corrosion-resistant and maintenance-free N-COR pump
Water-cooled induction motor
DirtBlaster and Vario spray wands and integrated hose reel
On-board detergent tank
Comes with 2-year Rapid Exchange Program
- Weight32 pounds
Cool, rugged, and futuristic design
Washes and cleans surfaces 50% faster than other systems
Quiet operation and lower energy consumption
Easy-to-maintain and durable system
Very pricey for its power output
1.4 GPM output quite mediocre considering its
Quite heavy at 32 pounds
The AR ANNOVI REVERBERI Electric Pressure Washer has a powerful 1900 PSI rating and a large volume 1.5 GPM capacity. The extra-long 35-foot power cord is also a welcome bonus since you don’t necessarily want to spray your vehicle near your electrical outlet.
The unit also comes with an auto shut-off feature that should come in handy for improving the life of both the motor and the unit. The downside, like most products we’ve seen in the market, is that this machine is also plagued with leaky issues, especially at the connections. However, considering that you’re getting a powerful and versatile pressure washer for such a good price is amazing.
PSI rating: 1900
Water flow: 1.5 GPM
With quick-release spray gun bayonet fittings
Comes with other accessories
35-foot power cord with Auto-Reset module
Comes with 1 year warranty
- BrandAR North America
- Weight27 pounds
Packs plenty of power for its compact and lightweight design
Uses 80% less water but produces 40% more power than garden hoses
Extra-long power cord and pressure hose allow for greater reach
Versatile use with accompanying attachments and accessories
Extra-rugged construction for improved durability
Issues with leaks on the plastic hose adapter
High pressure hose has the tendency to get tangled
Some consistency issues with pressure delivery
It may only be powered by a 13-amp motor, but the Greenworks Pressure Washer sure can deliver the kind of cleaning that you would want for your vehicle, thanks to its powerful 1950 PSI pump. Sadly, if you’re looking for a higher capacity rate of flow, the GPW1950 isn’t for you as it can only manage to provide 1.2 GPM.
On the bright side, at least you won’t worry about your water bill substantially rocketing. But then again, you also want to be efficient in your cleaning. It is for this reason that the unit can be considered a viable alternative to other systems, especially if you’re looking for a vertical-use-only gadget. The other downside that we noted about the machine is that it costs substantially higher than other systems that may have the same pressure output.
PSI rating: 1950
Water flow: 1.2 GPM
Powerful 13-amp induction motor
With built-in soap tank and on-board hose reel
Comes with accessories
Comes with 1 year warranty
- Weight46 pounds
Easy to assemble and provides just the right power for average DIYers
Compact and lightweight design
Highly transportable and easily stored
Quick-connecting nozzles for added versatility
Designed only for vertical use
1.2 GPM water flow may not be powerful enough for some car owners
Very pricey for its features
For folks who simply don’t like having to change attachments for every cleaning job that they work on, then perhaps they should get Ivation’s Electric Pressure Washer. Available in three different models differentiated only by PSI ratings and water flow, the Ivation system features a unique spray wand that comes with a fully adjustable mechanism. This allows users to modify the flow rate and pressure that comes out of the nozzle by simply turning a section of the wand. This switches between the different spray types.
Unfortunately, as novel as the idea may be the water flow for its smallest unit only comes in at a mere 1.32 gallons per minute and a PSI rating of 1520. A number of users also complain about leaks in its connections as well as some units simply failing after only several uses. Interestingly, there are also customers who can attest to Ivation’s durability. If any, its affordable pricing scheme plus cool features are often enough to make you want to consider buying this.
PSI rating: 1520
Water flow: 1.32 GPM
Comes with soap dispenser and other accessories
Total Stop System
Adjustable spray wand
Comes with 1 year warranty
- Weight15 pounds
Powerful water pressure in a compact design
Automatic TSS for increased safety
Doesn’t require changing the nozzle as spray wand can be adjusted
More affordable than similar units with the same pressure output
1520 PSI rating may not be sufficient for certain jobs
1.32 GPM may not appeal to customers who require greater output
Some issues with leaks in the connections
Questions about the durability of the unit
When it comes to power tools you can trust Stanley to deliver uncompromising products with exceptional qualities. This is what you would expect from its SHP2150 Electric Pressure Washer. Compact and lightweight, the SHP2150 comes with a powerful motor delivering a flow rate of 1.4 gallons per minute with a max pressure at 2150 PSI. It also answers to some extent the perennial issue of leaks at the connections by using professional-grade brass fittings to help secure these connections and prevent leaks.
The downside? Well, the SHP2150 comes with a hefty price tag, the second most expensive in this list perhaps because of the royalty placed on the brand name. The other lament is that the built-in foamer comes in the form of foam cannon only. It doesn’t have any built-in detergent tank so this is usually an issue among those who’d prefer a dedicated storage compartment for the detergent solution. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a compact, lightweight, versatile, and effective pressure washer, disregarding the price tag altogether, then the Stanley SHP2150 is a great choice.
PSI rating: 2150
Water flow: 1.4 GPM
Leak-proof connections made of professional-grade brass
Complete with high pressure foam cannon and other accessories
Comes with 2-year limited warranty
- Weight25.6 pounds
Versatile washer and foamer system
Up to 43 times greater water pressure than conventional garden hose
80% savings on water consumption
Complete array of accessories as a complete car wash system
Lightweight and compact design
Comes with foam cannon only; not detergent tank
Plastic body and wheels giving it a rather cheap feel
1.4 GPM may not produce really amazing water flow
Best Pressure Washer for Car Cleaning Buying Guide
If you’re having issues trying to figure out just what kind of pressure washer you need or whether you need one at all, then allow us to enlighten you with this simple yet comprehensive buyer’s guide and FAQ for car pressure washers.
Benefits of Pressure Washing Cars
There are those who prefer to go the old-fashioned method of washing cars — using buckets. There are also those that use ordinary garden hoses, thinking that it is more efficient than using buckets. Sadly, nothing beats pressure washers when it comes to cleaning cars. Here are some of the more common benefits of power washing your car.
Makes Cleaning More Efficient
If you have ever tried cleaning and washing your car by hand, you know that the biggest benefit of using power washers is that they cut down the time it takes to clean your vehicle. If you use the old method of having to wash your vehicle without using a garden hose — using only a bucket of water — you will have to refill your bucket several times to make sure that you get the best clean on your car. And of course, due to the number of times that you will be going back and forth to your water faucet, you will also probably be complaining about the pain in your back and your sore arm muscles as you lift the water-filled bucket from the faucet to the car. Can you only imagine?
Now, let's say you are going to use the water from your garden hose. This will be more efficient than having several buckets of water, of course. However, it will still not be as efficient as spraying your car with pressurized water. The water from your garden hose will still move under pressure, but this will be significantly less than what you can get from a pressure washer. As such, it will take significantly more time to remove dirt and debris that may have stubbornly stuck onto your car’s body. So what do you do? Most of us will try to reduce the opening on the nozzle of our garden hose with our thumbs to help increase the pressure. But have you tried doing this for several minutes? Plus, you really don’t get consistent pressure, do you?
Enter pressure washers and you can immediately see the difference. If it will take you an hour or so washing your car using the bucket method and perhaps around 30 to 45 minutes with a garden hose, a pressure washer cuts you down to about 15 to 30 minutes of work, depending on how dirty your car is. The precious minutes you save can be used on more important things like spending time with the family, other household chores, golf...you get the point.
Makes Cleaning More Thorough
The whole idea behind washing your car is to remove dirt and other unwanted particles that can damage its beautiful paint. Unfortunately, there will always be particles that will be located in hard-to-reach areas such as in the spaces between car body panels, under the hood, and under your car. The area behind your tires and wheels are also quite difficult to clean and wash by hand alone. So even if you think you did a pretty good job washing the exterior of your car, there really is no guarantee that you performed a truly thorough cleaning.
Because pressure washers come with an assortment of spray nozzles that will give you an amazing array of choices, you can easily clean every nook and cranny and every square inch of space in your car. You can also clean hard-to-reach areas like the ones we already mentioned. Let's take, for example, the area behind your wheel. If done manually, you will have to really work your hands into each of the tiny spaces that you can see. But wait — how about the spaces that are not clearly visible from the outside? Or how about spaces that are so small you cannot even fit your stubby fingers through? Well, good luck with that. Using a power washer helps you clean these areas by simply blasting pressurized water through these spaces.
In hindsight, not sticking your fingers through tiny spaces can also help save that limb of yours. At least you will not be complaining any time soon that you hurt your fingers for sticking them where they shouldn’t.
Removes Stubborn Dirt
This is akin to what we have been discussing above about giving your car a more thorough clean. Have you tried cleaning dried-up bird droppings or even tree saps on your car using an ordinary garden hose without having to physically remove the stubborn dirt with your hands? You see, the water pressure coming from your garden hose is not powerful enough to blast the stubborn dirt and debris off the surface of your car. That is why you will still have to physically manipulate these so that they will be removed.
On the other hand, really powerful pressure washers will blast the dirt and debris off the surface of your car. Simply set your nozzle to the highest possible pressure, direct the spray on the object you want to remove, and let it rip. There’s no need for physical manipulation or scraping of the dirt. It gets blasted by the high water pressure.
Have you tried whitewater rafting before? How about swimming or even standing directly under a waterfall? Or simply remember the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami or even the 2011 Tohoku Japan tsunami and you can easily understand just how powerful water can be. Now imagine this same force being applied over this stubborn dirt on your car and you can see why the system really works.
More Cost-Effective Cleaning
Did you know that you can actually save a lot if you use a pressure washer in cleaning your car? First of all, you save on water since you will only be using a fraction of the volume of water that it would take to complete the task. Doing it manually with the bucket, how many buckets do you think you will need to really clean your car? If you use a garden hose, how long should the tap remain open for you to clean your car? Well-designed pressure washers can save you up to 80 percent on your water consumption. Now, this can translate to savings on your water utility bill.
Secondly, washing your car will typically involve a series of steps such as the initial rinse, the application of a car cleaning soap, and the final rinse, as well as few other steps in between. The thing is that each step will require a different set of tools to get the job done. Many pressure washer systems today already come with either a built-in foamer or a foam spray attachment so you no longer have to buy a separate detergent applicator for your car. You save on these as well.
Lastly, the amount of time you save cleaning your car is simply irreplaceable. Imagine if you can cut down your car cleaning time from one hour to just 30 minutes. That’s 30 more minutes to spend with your family, your friends, running important errands, watching a favorite TV show, or any other activity that you love doing. Yeah, 30 minutes may not sound like so much, but for some, it is still a priceless commodity.
Types of Pressure Washers
There are a variety of ways in which pressure washers can be classified which easily translates to their typology. These are generally divided into their power sources and their functional capacity.
Electric Pressure Washers
Electric pressure washers operate on electricity and are, thus primarily used in light to moderate applications mostly for home use. They are generally plugged into an electric outlet, although they can also be connected to a power generator.
Gas-Powered Pressure Washers
Gas-powered pressure washers are usually indicated in medium to heavy applications and are often used in commercial and industrial establishments. The downside to these systems, of course, is the exhaust fumes that they generate. So car washing with a gas-powered motor should not take place inside of a garage or other enclosed spaces.
Diesel Engine Washers
A diesel pressure washer for cars is similar to the gas pressure washer except that it runs on diesel fuel instead of gasoline. The downside is similar to a gas engine pressure washer in that it can only be used outdoors, though isn’t necessarily a problem as you likely wash your car outside.
Hydraulic Pressure Washers
You will only see these in agricultural and farm industries although establishments with existing hydraulic systems can also use this type of pressure washing system. The good thing about this type is that it is not dependent on either electricity or fuel. These are also super-quiet, lightweight, and compact.
How Many PSI Does A Pressure Washer Have?
- Light-duty – These have a pressure rating of about 1300 to 2000 PSI delivering, at most, 2 GPM. These are ideal for most home applications such as cleaning deck areas, small to medium patios, garden equipment, and small cars and motorbikes.
- Medium-duty – These pressure washers have a pressure rating of 2000 to 2800 PSI and a flow rate of 2 to 3 GPM. These are indicated for cleaning sedans, SUVs, trucks, grates, gutters, hot tubs, swimming pools, large size patios, fences, and drains.
- Heavy duty – These come with pressure ratings of 2900 to 3000 PSI at 3 to 4 gallons per minute. These are excellent for even larger vehicles, stone- and brickwork, and others.
- Extra heavy-duty – These are really powerful washers often exceeding 3300 PSI and are preferred for really tough jobs.
What Type of Pressure Washer Do I Need?
Now that we have an idea of the different types of pressure washers, the next logical question is which of these types of pressure washers you will need. To help you answer this question here are some things that you have to consider.
If you are looking for a cleaning tool for a small car or other small cleaning tasks, then a light-duty machine should suffice. If you need a pressure washing tool for larger cleaning tasks, like for pressure washing a large SUV or outdoor area, then you need a medium-duty machine for that. And if you want to wash something much larger, like an RV or minibus, then only a heavy-duty, high-pressure washer will do.
You also have to consider your location or the location of the object that you want to clean. If you have a barn, then a hydraulic pressure washer is your best choice. If you have very sensitive neighbors, an electric model fits the bill as you don’t want fumes from your petrol or diesel engine pressure washer to be the source of an argument with your neighbors.
There are those who would like to connect their pressure washers directly to a water tank. If this is the case then it is imperative that you also buy a filter to help prevent the entry of debris from the tank to the pressure washer pump. Otherwise, you risk damaging it.
Features of Car Pressure Washers
It’s not usually enough that you get just any other pressure washer. There are also certain cool features that you might want to look for. Here are some of those.
Soap or Detergent Tank
Many models include an on-board soap or other kinds of attachments to help create a soapy foam on your vehicle, simplifying the process of cleaning. When shopping for the best pressure washer for you, consider what kind of soap tank would be most useful for you.
Cord and Tool Storage
While not absolutely necessary, if the power washer comes with a storage compartment for organizing and keeping your power cord, tools, and accessories then it would be a big plus.
Adjustable or Replaceable Nozzles
The right nozzle can make a huge difference in your car washing experience. It’s important to be able to adjust the nozzle so that you provide the right pressure for the task at hand. Quick connect nozzles, for example, make it easy to wash your car while still delivering the right pressure. Other kinds of connecting spray nozzles, such as a turbo nozzle, can turn your tool into a high-pressure washer when needed. Having the ability to adjust the pressure via the nozzle gives you more bang for your buck.
Adjustable or Interchangeable Wands
Like changeable nozzles, adjustable wands can offer you added versatility in the use of the power washer.
Thermal Relief and Unloaders
These are safety features that help manage the buildup of heat from your unit. It also helps mitigate the potential problems caused by excessive pressure buildup in your device.
Safety Tips When Using a Pressure Washer
Pressure washers should always be treated as machines. And like all machines, it is imperative that you observe basic safety rules whenever using a pressure washer. Here are a few tips to enhance your safety around these devices.
- Even before you start using the pressure washer make sure to read the owner’s manual first as this contains invaluable information on how to safely operate the machine.
- Always wear protective goggles as the water pressure can send debris and other materials flying directly into your eyes. While most power washers operate with minimal noise it is often advisable to use earmuffs as well.
- Always stand on a flat and stable surface to help minimize the risk of falls. Don’t use the pressure washer while on a ladder. The force of the spray can send you tumbling down.
- Always use the correct spray setting and nozzle. Observe the correct distance between you and the tip of the nozzle and between the tip of the nozzle and the surface being cleaned.
- Make sure to place your electric power washer in an area where it will not be reached by water splash or spray. While these may be designed to be waterproof, they still run on electricity and this makes it especially dangerous around watery environments.
- Never point the pressure washer’s spray gun to yourself, at other people, animals, plants, and other objects that may not be able to withstand the high water pressure.
- Keep your spray gun away from power sources, electrical fixtures, and power lines. Don’t ever plug your electric power washer on an extension cord. It should always be plugged directly into a wall outlet.
Pressure washers have become indispensable tools in keeping our cars free from dirt and other unwanted materials. These gadgets provide a variety of benefits. It is thus crucial that you learn how to choose the right one that corresponds best to your needs. With our list of the best car pressure washers, you’re definitely on the right track.
If you’re looking for the best pressure washer on the market, then you’ll want to stick with these brands. They have been making pressure washers for years and consistently pull in five-star reviews with each new model.
Sun Joe creates many different types of outdoor tools, including the SPX3000 Electric Pressure Washer For Car. We like it because it reliably provides high pressure even for a low cost, making it the perfect family-friendly car washing tool.
Karcher is a German brand that makes high-quality cleaning tools, including the K5 Electric Power Pressure Washer on our list. When looking for a pressure washer for cars, you’ll likely find Karcher on every list out there because it is one of the industry's favorite brands.
Greenworks is known for its portable battery-powered pressure washer, making it extremely easy to use for those not interested in bigger tools. Because of this, it is one of the most popular brands on the market, though it comes with a higher price tag.
Pricing For Car Pressure Washers
When looking for the right pressure washer for your needs, it’s important to be mindful of the price. Some pressure washers are upwards of $1,000, making it an unnecessary expense for your car washing needs. These are the best pressure washer packs for very affordable prices.
$100 to $200
- Sun Joe SPX3000 Electric Pressure Washer
- AR Annovi Reverberi Blue Clean AR383 Electric Pressure Washer
- Greenworks 1700 PSI 13 Amp 1.2 GPM Pressure Washer with Hose Reel GPW1702
- Stanley SHP2150 Electric Pressure Washer