The 10 Best Electric Pressure Washers

Updated May 26, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 46 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Perfect for cleaning garages, decks, patios, vinyl siding, lawn furniture, and an endless array of other surfaces, electric pressure washers will drastically reduce the time you spend maintaining your home. More affordable and less messy than higher-powered gasoline-fueled models, these top selections offer enough muscle to tackle all but the toughest of tasks. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best electric pressure washer on Amazon.

10. Karcher K3 Follow-Me

The Karcher K3 Follow-Me rides on four wheels to follow you as you go, and it is stable and compact in a way that others are not. A variable wand makes it quick and easy to switch from a soapy output to a highly focused jet.
  • built-in detergent reservoir
  • not particularly reliable
  • may not achieve stated pressure
Brand Karcher K3 Follow-Me
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.5 / 5.0

9. Powerhouse Force 1800

For a more traditional pull-behind option, check out the Powerhouse Force 1800. A nifty foot-toggled on/off switch makes operation a breeze, and the included nylon brush, soap dispenser, and extra nozzles make it an especially good value.
  • thermal sensor prevents overheating
  • onboard storage for accessories
  • pull-behind design not right for all
Brand Powerhouse Internationa
Model PHI-1800A
Weight 17.7 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

8. Sun Joe SPX3001

Convenience is key to the Sun Joe SPX3001's appeal, starting with the onboard reel that makes retracting its 20-foot hose a cinch. With this model you also get a large, 1.2-liter detergent tank, an extension wand, and five spray tips.
  • decently long power cord
  • energy-saving auto-stop system
  • not especially powerful
Brand Sun Joe
Model SPX3001
Weight 38.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Ivation 9178L

The upgraded Ivation 9178L addresses the durability issues of the previous version, while retaining its consistent spray patterns and ease of use. Also, its included attachments are quick and simple to change out, which should make your life a little easier.
  • maxes out at around 2000 psi
  • one foaming and four angular tips
  • doesn't work with universal fittings
Brand Ivation
Model IVAPW9178ORL
Weight 33.9 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. AR Blue Clean

The AR Blue Clean offers performance approaching that of some high-end options, and on a simple, rugged chassis. Thanks to a 30-foot hose and expansive detergent tank, you can spend more time cleaning and less time refilling and relocating the unit.
  • four easily connected nozzles
  • superior hose management system
  • extra-long power cord
Brand Annovi Reverberi
Model AR390SS
Weight 39.3 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

5. Stanley 2050

If sheer power and reliability are what you're after, the Stanley 2050 is definitely worth a look. It can cover large areas on its rugged, two-wheeled cart, and it can detach to sit directly on the ground for stationary projects.
  • pressure adjusts to suit any surface
  • almost as powerful as some gas units
  • should last at least a few years
Brand Stanley
Model SLP2050
Weight 42 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Sun Joe SPX3000

Versatile and powerful, the Sun Joe SPX3000 comes with five easy-to-connect spray tips, ensuring it will be up to every cleaning task. It also boasts energy efficiency, thanks to the clever "Total Stop System," which shuts off the pump when the trigger is released.
  • dual onboard detergent tanks
  • covered by a two-year warranty
  • compact and easily maneuvered
Brand Snow Joe
Model SPX3000
Weight 34 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

3. Ryobi Hand-Carried

The Ryobi Hand-Carried sports an ultra-compact form factor with a sturdy handle on top to maximize the efficiency of small to medium jobs. Simply move it along with you as you complete the task, and never worry about it tipping over or rolling away.
  • 3 different quick-connect nozzles
  • works with or without soap
  • accepts most universal attachments
Brand Ryobi
Model pending
Weight 16.8 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Stanley SHP1600

From one of America's most trusted suppliers, the Stanley SHP1600 is one of the top light-duty options, thanks to its reasonable price and exceptional durability. Those with only an occasional need to blast away grime will love its effectiveness and portability.
  • includes a variable-spray lance
  • a good low-cost investment
  • backed by a 2-year limited warranty
Brand Stanley
Model SHP1600
Weight 17.9 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Sun Joe SPX3500

Electric models usually take a back seat to their gas-powered brethren, but not the Sun Joe SPX3500, a leading performer thanks to its induction-based, brushless motor. It includes nozzles with 4 different apertures, in addition to a soap applicator.
  • lives up to its claim of 2300 psi
  • 13 amps and 2000 watts of power
  • among the top heavy-duty selections
Brand Sun Joe
Model SPX3500
Weight 47 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

How Pressure Washers Work

At the foundation of every pressure washer is a motor. Whether pneumatic, hydraulic, internal combustion-based, or electric, this motor's sole purpose is to drive a high-pressure water pump. From there, water is forced through a hose under pressure, and out through a nozzle, when released by a user-controlled switch.

Most modern pressure washers have switches with a pistol-grip style, which requires the user to pull a trigger built into the washer's handle to release pressurized water.

Advancements in nozzle technology greatly improved the effectiveness of pressure washers. Most nozzles attach directly to the trigger gun, and shape the pattern of the water output. Identifying the correct nozzle for an application is important. For cleaning and stripping a flat surface, a fan nozzle may be appropriate. Other applications may call for a narrow jet (cleaning sidewalk grooves), or lower pressure and higher flow (washing cars).

For washers equipped for use with cleaning chemicals and detergents, there are nozzles that aid in the creation of foam. Some models also heat water, aiding in the cleaning of petroleum-based products and grease.

Electric washers plug into standard outlets, and can be supplied with common tap water. Today, these washers typically output at 2,000 pounds per square inch. Gas-powered washers can double that pressure output, but come with a number of safety concerns.

At the industrial end of the pressure washing spectrum, the highest powered pressure washers can be used to cut metal and concrete. Some industrial pressure washers combine water and sand in a process called sandblasting to remove graffiti and strip and/or resurface concrete. Others are used to remove rubber from airport landing strips. The highest powered washers max out at pressures exceeding 25,000 pounds per square inch.

High Pressure Safety Concerns

Electric pressure washers should be handled carefully, as many can output water and other chemicals at pressures great enough to tear skin and cause serious injury. If a washer is improperly cleaned, particles ejected from the hose can be particularly harmful to those they strike. Washers may also kick up debris at high speeds, which can be hazardous.

The combination of electricity and water is infamously deadly. For that reason, users should wear rubber-soled shoes for insulation and keep the cord away from standing water. If you must employ an extension cord, use only those rated for wet conditions.

Pressure washers cannot properly function without an adequate supply of water. Before purchasing one, make certain the pipe you plan to connect the washer to can provide enough water. If operated without enough water, the pump elements can suffer cavitation damage.

If you are interested in using a cleaning chemical with your washer, first confirm that it is safe for use with the model you own. Misuse of cleaning chemicals can damage the pump. It is also important to choose an output pressure suitable for the job at hand. Using too much pressure can damage surfaces irreparably.

With respect to safety, electric pressure washers have an advantage over their gas-powered counterparts: they produce no exhaust. The exhaust from gas- and propane-powered washers makes them especially dangerous for use indoors.

A Brief History Of Electric Pressure Washers

German Alfred Karcher invented the high-pressure washer in 1950, and is often credited as the father of the modern pressure washer. Karcher's status is disputed by Frank Ofeldt, who claims he invented a steam powered pressure washer decades earlier, in 1927.

Ofeldt discovered the cleaning potential of pressure washing by accident while working on a whisky still. Ofeldt inadvertently forced steam through a narrow hose at high pressure, and witnessed its effect on a grease-laden garage floor. From there, he worked to create the first steam pressure cleaners.

The commercial pressure washing industry took off in the early 1960s when Cat Pumps developed a piston pump that was significantly more durable than those that preceded it, and was capable of pressures up to 1,000 pounds per square inch.

By 1975 standard gas-powered commercial pressure washers boasted water pressures up to 3,000 pounds per square inch.

The automatic car wash industry used pressure washers in an unrelenting commercial setting that involved harsh temperatures and chemicals. Starting in the early 1980s, technological advances necessitated by the difficult conditions in car washes were incorporated in consumer pressure washers. Chief among those improvements was the ceramic plunger pump, which greatly improved the reliability of pressure washers. The early ceramic pressure pump operated for more than 2,000 hours with little maintenance, a durability record far better than those of its predecessors. The ceramic pump also improved the portability and safety of pressure washers, expanding their potential business applications. Additionally, the ceramic pump made it possible for a pressure washer to be powered by an electric motor.

The first electric washers were limited by the output of the standard household electrical outlet, which could hardly support 1,000 pounds per square inch of pressure. For comparison, similar gas models of the time could reach 3,000 pounds per square inch and beyond. This limitation, along with the United States National Electrical Code, which required all high-pressure washers to have ground fault circuit interrupter plugs, stunted the growth of the electric pressure washer. Adding electrical cords and the mandated breaker switches to pressure washers was costly, and many manufacturers instead chose to focus on gas-powered models.

Innovations like the turbo nozzle, which greatly improved the pressure of electric pressure washers, and the concurrent decrease in the cost of electrical components and increase in the cost of fuel, led to a resurgence in popularity of electric pressure washers. Today they are especially well-respected for their consumer applications and flexibility in household use.

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Last updated on May 26, 2018 by Christopher Thomas

A traveling chef, musician, and student of the English language, Chris can be found promoting facts and perfect copy around the globe, from dense urban centers to remote mountaintops. In his free time he revels in dispelling pseudoscience, while at night he dreams of modern technology, world peace, and the Oxford comma.

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