I’m compelled to start by confessing my undying love for my orange, copper-brown Honda Civic. I love this metal babe to bits and hope to keep it in pristine condition for decades to come.
So far, I’m doing a great job thanks to having a robust pressure washer for auto detailing. By effectively removing dust, dirt, and debris, even around hard-to-reach areas, I’m able to preserve my car’s paintwork in excellent condition.
Are you in search of the best pressure washer for cars? Read on, and I will share with you 9 top models that are worth a look. I will also equip you with some tips for finding the best unit for your needs.
9 Best Pressure Washers for Car Detailing-Review
We had to put a range of pressure washer models to the test to learn more about their features, pros, and cons. Here are our top 9 picks that are worth a look.
1. Sun Joe SPX3000 2030 Max PSI Electric Pressure Washer
Let’s begin by reviewing a pressure washer model that I believe offers the best deal. The SPX3001 from Sun Joe is a compact unit that delivers water pressure at 2030 PSI and 1.76 gallons per minute. This is a simple and affordable medium-duty machine with a reliable 4.5 amp motor.
- Compact design for easy storage
- Powerful unit with 2030 PSI, 1.76GPM, and a 14.5-Amp motor
- The multipurpose machine can clean cars, boats, driveways, patios, and more
- 5 different nozzles to enhance the versatility of the unit
- A flexible 20-foot pressure hose
- Dual detergent tank (removable for your convenience)
- Total Stop Technology prolongs the life of the motor and pump
- 2-year warranty
- The soap applicators have low pressure
If you do not handle large-scale cleaning projects, this is an ideal product to consider. Its powerful amp and PSI make it suitable for more than just cleaning your car.
You can use this pressure washer to clean your patio, driveway, walkways, and other exterior surfaces reachable by the 35-foot electrical cord and 34- inch spray wand.
This unit comes with a flexible 20-foot hose. Moreover, it has 5 interchangeable nozzles, two removable detergent tanks, and a total stop system designed to automatically shut down the pump anytime the trigger is not engaged.
This helps with energy consumption and ensures the pump is not subjected to unwarranted tear and wear. When testing this unit, we noted that the hose could reach the gutters of a one-story house with remarkable ease.
It was not necessary to keep moving the machine when going around the car because the length of the hose is practical. The water pressure provided did a quick and impeccable job, even when removing caked-on mud and mildew from the siding.
2. Karcher K5 Premium Electric Power Pressure Washer
If you have been using pressure washers long enough, I’m sure you have heard about products from Karcher. This is a reputable family-owned company based in Germany.
- A powerful electric pressure washer with 2000 PSI and 1.4 GPM
- 25-foot pressure hose
- Dirtblaster spray wand speeds up the cleaning process
- Vario Power spray wand helps with water pressure adjustments
- Corrosion-resistant, maintenance-free pump
- Onboard detergent tank
- Durable and easy-to-maintain unit
- The induction motor is water cooled to enhance its longevity
- This unit is too heavy; it weighs 32 pounds
It has earned its spot as a leader in the industry by producing sturdy cleaning tools, including military decontamination equipment and window vacuum cleaners.
Their K5 pressure washer is a premium unit with an impressively sturdy build. The performance of this machine is also beyond reproach because it delivers water pressure at 2000 pounds per square inch rating and 1.4 gallons per minute.
This is certainly not the cheapest unit on our list, and you have to part with a few hundred dollars to purchase it. However, its high performance makes it worth its price. Better still, its induction motor is ingeniously cooled by water, and this enhances its longevity by up to 5 times.
I also like the fact that the pump is corrosion-resistant and maintenance-free. Other impressive features include the rotary nozzle that ensures you have powerful sprays to get cleaning projects completed quickly and impeccably.
The Vario Power spray wand, on the other hand, allows you to adjust the water pressure, making it unnecessary to change nozzles.
3. AR Blue Clean, AR383 1,900 PSI Electric Pressure Washer
The AR Blue Clean brand is not as popular as Karcher or even Sun Joe, although its reputation is rapidly growing thanks to the practical design of its pressure washers. If you are searching for the best electric pressure washer for car detailing, the AR383 model is likely to impress you.
- Powerful medium-duty unit with 1900 PSI, 1.5 GPM
- Automatic on/off system
- Comes with a turbo nozzle for increased cleaning efficiency
- This versatile machine can clean cars, boats, patios, driveways, siding and more
- Comes with a range of handy attachments
- Lightweight and easy to transfer
- Easy to assemble and comes with a detailed user’s manual
- The hose is stiff
It offers 1900 pounds of pressure per square inch, which is ideal for washing vehicles without damaging the paintwork. The unit comes with an easy-to-adjust jet nozzle, a 35 feet electrical cord with an in-built GFI, wand, spray gun, and a detergent dispenser.
This is just what you need to tackle different cleaning jobs, including blasting dirt and grime off your driveways, outdoor furniture, and patio. Moreover, this pressure washer has a total stop system (TSS) that helps to enhance the longevity of the pump.
Also, this is a machine you are guaranteed to love if you are all about using environmentally friendly pressure washers. It pumps out as little as 1.5 gallons of water per minute, just enough to make cleaning easy and fast. When compared to models that pump out as much as 7 GPM, this unit uses about 80% lesser water.
One concern we noted when testing the pressure washer is that the hose is somewhat stiff. This is not a major concern for most people, although a flexible hose tends to be easier to use.
4. Greenworks 1500 PSI 1.2 GPM 13 Amp Pressure Washer
If you are on the budget and still want to enjoy the perks of a reliable pressure washer, you may want to consider investing in this unit.
- Affordable unit designed for auto detailing
- Lightweight with a compact design for stress-free storage
- 2 nozzles for increased versatility
- Powerful 13 amperages universal motor
- Comes with a suitable selection of accessories including 2 nozzles, a soap applicator, and a 20-foot hose
- This pressure washer has a 20-foot hose, which is rather short
This is a simple and portable pressure washer, ideal for car detailing. What I liked the most about it is that it offers premium features like 40 and 25-degree nozzles.
They make it easier to control the water pressure during different cleaning applications.
With 1500 PSI, a 35 feet power cord, and a 20-foot high-pressure hose for enhanced reach, you can give your car, wooden deck, outdoor furniture, and fence a clean sparkle. This is a light-duty unit that is gentle on your vehicle’s paintwork to minimize the risk of damage.
It is easy to use, and you can set it horizontally or vertically to ensure enhanced stability during use. For the price, you will receive a range of attachments, including a soap dispenser. The detergent bottle is placed beneath the trigger handle, allowing you to spray your cleaners at lower pressure.
The design of this pressure washer makes it perfect for property owners with limited garage space. And the unit has a compact design and will only occupy a small amount of space. It is also easy to carry and weighs only 17.5 lbs in gross weight.
5. Stanley SHP2150 2150 PSI Powerful Pressure Washer
The quality of Stanly power tools is unmatched. This brand makes no compromises when it comes to the build and performance of its units.
- A versatile pressure washer with a foam cannon system
- Compact and lightweight design
- Offers about 43 times more water pressure than a garden hose
- Quiet operation
- Flexible high-pressure hose
- 4 GPM lowers your water consumption by 80%
- Comes with a selection of accessories to make it ideal for car detailing
- The plastic wheels and body give the unit a somewhat cheap feel
The SHP2150 model is a lightweight and compact pressure washer with a powerful motor that delivers a maximum pressure of 2150 PSI and a 1.4 GPM flow rate.
What gives this unit an edge above its counterparts is that it has professional-grade brass fittings. These components prevent leaks by ensuring all connections are tightly secured. This, of course, impacts the price tag of the machine, making it slightly more expensive than other models that lack brass fittings.
You can use this machine for a variety of applications. With it, you can give your car, RV, or boat a clean sparkle and also clean your animal cage, driveway, patio, and more. This unit has four removable nozzles that give you the freedom to adjust the pressure of water when tackling different jobs.
If you need a versatile pressure washer, this is one of the best options you have. It comes with a pressure washer wand and gun, a 25 feet hose, 4 nozzles, foam cannon, and an O-ring replacement kit.
It is worth mentioning that the powerful gun makes it easy and quick to use mild cleaners and blast out stubborn stains and caked-in mud on different surfaces.
6. Greenworks GPW1950 Pressure Washer with Hose Reel
Greenworks is an internationally renowned manufacturer of powerful tools, ideal for DIYers. This company uses state-of-the-art technology to provide easy to use, yet high-performance products.
- 13 amperage motor delivers 1950PSI and 1.2GPM for effortless cleaning
- 35 feet electric cable and 25 feet hose for greater reach
- Multipurpose unit ideal for auto detailing, cleaning pavements and more
- Comes with an in-built soap tank, 3 nozzles, foam sprayer, and wand
- Compact design with hose reel for secure storage and transfer
- This pressure washer offers only 1.2 GPM, which is low considering its high PSI
Even though it was at first located in Seattle, Washington, it is today based in Sweden and produces tools that are popular in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The GPW1950 model is a high-performance pressure washer. It is run by a heavy-duty 13- amperage motor that powers the 1950 PSI pump.
Those looking to lower their water consumption rate will find this auto detailing pressure washer with a built-in hose reel to be quite ideal because it pumps out 1.2 GPM.
Moreover, the high-pressure hose of this unit measures 25 feet while the electrical cord is 35 feet long. This gives you a greater reach to make the machine quite versatile. With three nozzle tips, a wand, soap tank, and a foam sprayer, you can clean your car, fence, siding, outdoor furniture, and more.
One thing we did not like when testing this unit is its GPM. I must say that we expected more than 1.2 GPM given the fact that the pressure washer has an outstanding 1950 PSI rating. This unit ticks just about all boxes, although it would be more practical if it had a higher GPM.
7. Power Pressure Washer 1500 PSI 1.3 GPM Electric Unit
Do not be fooled by the compact design of this pressure washer. It is lightweight and easy to assemble, although it is a sturdy unit that delivers 1500 PSI and 1.3 GPM. The machine is perfect for auto detailing, and its metal fittings ensure stable leak-free connections.
- Compact and lightweight unit with a unique design
- Ultra-low sound and energy-efficient
- 1500 PSI and 1.3 GPM provides impeccable auto detailing
- Total Stop System protects the pump from overheating
- Metal fittings for more secure connections
- Adjustable nozzles allow you to regulate the spray width
- Induction motor is designed to last 3X more than brushed motors
- 100% satisfaction guarantee
- This pressure washer has a short 20 ft hose and 10 ft electric cord
This affordable pressure washer also does an incredibly good job of stripping dirt and grime off neglected patios, sidewalks, and outdoor furniture.
A major bragging point that this unit has is its induction motor. It generates lesser heat, and this makes it last three times more than conventional motors. Moreover, the motor is powered by a mere 120 volts, making it more energy-efficient than the majority of brushed motors.
I love working in quiet environments, so I must mention the fact that this is the quietest pressure washer we tested. You can choose to wear earplugs or not during a cleaning project, although the best part is that you will not be disturbing your neighbors with noise pollution.
The adjustable nozzle allows you to switch from using a wide spray to using a thin stream. This is quite convenient, especially when cleaning a heavily soiled vehicle. When testing the unit, there were some challenges posed by the short lengths of the hose and power cord.
8. Generac OneWash 3,100 PSI 70191 Pressure Washer
Gas pressure washers are considerably more powerful than their electric counterparts. For those in search of gas-powered units, the Generac OneWash is the best gas pressure washer for cars.
- Adjustable pressure between 2000-3100 PSI
- Sturdy heavy-duty gas-powered pressure washer
- Versatile unit designed for auto detailing, cleaning driveways and more
- Front orange covers dampen the engine’s noise
- Can be stored vertically to consume lesser space
- Onboard soap tank for stress-free cleaning
- Interchangeable nozzles
With the mere turn of a knob, you can make pressure adjustments to 4 settings that range between 2000- 3100 PSI.
This makes the unit perfect for auto detailing and more. What makes gas-powered units a real appeal to most property owners is that you enjoy more movement flexibility. The absence of a power cord means that you can clean just about all exterior features, including your deck, gutters, siding, gate, and fence.
Depending on the specifics of your applications, all you need to do is adjust the PSI settings and change the nozzle to choose the most suitable water spray. Another feature worth mentioning is the orange front covers. They are designed to dampen the engine noise, so it is not mandatory to wear earplugs.
Also, this is not the smallest gas-powered pressure washer in the market, although it has a very convenient design. You can store it in an upright style, and this will ensure it uses minimal space in your garage.
9. Briggs & Stratton 20545 2200PSI 1.9GPM Vs. Washer, Red
Before we end our review, let’s check out what Briggs & Stratton has to offer. This is one of the largest manufacturers of small engine, gasoline-powered tools.
- Quality unit with sturdy construction
- A versatile machine with 2200 PSI and 19GPM
- This model is lightweight, given the fact that it is gas-powered
- 10-inch wheels for greater stability
- The axial cam pump starts in an instant
- Comes with a 25 feet high-pressure hose for greater reach
- The pressure washer lacks an oil drain plug
Even though the brand brags about numerous best-selling tools, one of its finest products is the 20545 pressure washing unit. This machine is designed to handle both small and large-scale cleaning tasks without a problem.
One of the prime features that make this unit outstanding is that it has a detergent injection system that infuses cleaners into the water flow. This allows you to strip off dirt, mud, mold, and debris from exterior surfaces in a matter of seconds.
The pressure washer offers 2200 PSI and 1.9 GPM, just enough pressure to enable you to quickly and effortlessly tackle different outdoor cleaning tasks
There are three quick-connect spray tips, and this enhances the versatility of the unit. You can switch from using a wide spray that is gentle on wooden surfaces and your car’s paintwork to using a fine jet stream to blast out stubborn stains on your driveways.
I must mention that this is one of the most straightforward gas-powered pressure washers to operate. The easy-start technology used ensures that the axial cam pump starts up as soon as it is engaged.
Benefits of Pressure Washing Car
I think it’s useful for car owners to wash their vehicles in person from time to time. This allows you to take a close look at the bodywork, the lights, the paintwork, and even the tires and hopefully unveil any issues of concern. Here are more compelling reasons to invest in a pressure washer for cars.
- Saves Time and Energy
Washing a car is no easy feat. This is more so the case if you want to do a perfect job. With a pressure washer, you do not need much time, muscle, or elbow grease to give your vehicle a clean sparkle.
All you need is to connect the machine to a power and water source, and you can blast out all the grime on your car exteriors in a matter of minutes.
Pressure washers are handy machines. They use highly pressurized water to blast out dirt and grime from different surfaces. To minimize the risk of damaging your surfaces, you merely need to adjust the pressure settings.
That said, you can also use your machine to clean your exterior walls, gate, fence, driveways, and walkways.
- Blast out Stubborn Stains
The highly pressurized water can stripe off all sorts of blemishes from your exterior surfaces. This includes smudge, oil spills, mud on your driveways, or even twigs and leaves that are stuck within the tire treads.
Just direct the hose to areas with stubborn stains, and the high water pressure will do the hard work for you.
- Environmentally Friendly
I have cleaned my car using a garden hose, and this would mess up the yard, leaving pools of water everywhere. When using a pressure washer, I’m able to reduce water wastage and slash down my water bills by a whopping 75%.
The machine does an impeccable job by ejecting strong water jets that are 50 times faster than the jets of a garden hose. Another aspect that makes pressure washers eco-friendly is that they eliminate the need to use harsh cleaners to remove stains from exterior surfaces.
You don’t need to add any detergents when using hot, highly pressurized water. When using cold water, it is adequate to use a mild cleaner to ensure your surfaces are cleaned effectively.
- Easy Storage and Transfer
As powerful as pressure washers may sound, they are relatively small machines and occupy a small amount of space. My garage has limited square footage, so I sometimes opt to disassemble certain parts of the device to make it more compact and more comfortable to store.
Even though certain pressure washer models are somewhat heavy, this will not pose any challenges as long as the machine has wheels.
Things to Consider before Buying a Pressure Washer for Cars
Finding the best pressure washer is more challenging than most people assume. You are in search of a handy machine that is in high demand. As you may understand the laws of economics, a specific product can rapidly saturate the markets as soon as its demand increases.
Currently, people use garden hoses mainly for watering flowers. For impeccable car detailing, you need a powerful pressure washer that can blast out grime on the tire wheels and even stubborn stains on your driveways. As I promised, here are some tricks and tips for finding the best pressure washer.
Let’s face it; not all pressure washers are designed for multipurpose use. You can tell which tasks a machine can handle based on its PSI rating (pounds per square inch rating).
It remains crucial to understand that while some units are specifically ideal for auto detailing, others are better off when used for other applications such as cleaning concrete pavements or cedar fences.
The right PSI rating for cleaning cars and boats is between 1,500 and 2,000. This is just enough pressure to get the exteriors cleaned without damaging the paintwork. A unit with a PSI rating of 2,000 can also be used for cleaning the fence, patio, and other applications.
You may need a more powerful pressure washer if you also want to effectively blast dirt, dust, and grime out of your driveways and exterior walls.
For you to make an ideal choice, you must first consider how you intend to use your unit. Additionally, find out whether a specific model allows you to adjust the water pressure.
- Water Consumption
I’m all about the environment, or at least I love to keep my water bills manageable. That said, I strongly recommend checking out how much water a specific unit uses. On average, pressure washers use between 1.5 and 5 GPM (gallons of water per minute).
The rules that apply are simple: the higher the GPM, the more the water delivered to the pressure washer nozzle with each passing minute. Even though this may not work in line with your water conservation goals, a higher GPM makes it easier and faster to wash your car and give it a perfect rinse.
- Foam Cannons
I believe in the perks of every auto detailing step. One of the most crucial pre-cleaning steps is the use of foam cannon. This offers a safe and effective method of removing all dirt particles to make your car impeccably clean. The thick foam cannon soap sticks to the bodywork and strips out all impurities.
For you to use foam cannons, your pressure washer should be able to adjust to about 55-90 PSI. For you to produce enough foam, the machine should have a flow rate of not less than 1.5.
Another important thing you may want to know ahead of time is whether a particular unit is designed to accommodate foam cannons, or you will need to buy a special adapter.
Also, read the full foam cannon adjustment and soap ratio for better wash here.
- Electric vs. Gas Pressure Washer
I have used electric pressure washers for years, so allow me to start by outlining their perks. First, electric units use a practical, high amperage motor. They can deliver 2,000 or more pounds per square inch rating, which is perfect for giving my car a clean sparkle.
If you have a trusted car detailer whom you prefer working with, then investing in a gas-powered pressure washer would be perfect. Such units are best for tough jobs, such as cleaning your asphalt or concrete driveways, and they produce as much as 7,000 PSI.
Also, I guess it’s common sense that blasting your car with 7000 pounds per square inch of force can do damage to more than just the paintwork. Moreover, the higher-powered motor of gas pressure washers makes them use considerably more GPM.
The higher PSI of gas pressure washers make them more complicated to operate, and they are better off when used by skilled operators. While electric washers have one on/off button, their gas-powered counterparts have a rope you should tug to start them.
Your gas-powered unit will also demand more in terms of maintenance, and you must consistently refill the oil and change the filters. If you just need to wash your car, I recommend purchasing an electric power washer. It is lighter, more comfortable to operate, and requires minimal maintenance.
Even though it never runs out of juice, it pays to remember that you always need to be close to a power outlet. This downside may also limit the number of applications you can perform using your unit.
Another essential aspect to consider is the nozzle of a pressure washer. This is what makes the unit practical for use on a range of applications. It is better to ensure your machine of choice has a flexible nozzle.
This will allow you to change from narrow to wider spray jets, depending on the part of your car you want to clean.
Pressure washers are equipped with either a range of interchangeable nozzles or an all-in-one flexible spray wand. The majorities of electric power washers have one spray wand, and the gas-powered units have interchangeable nozzles to make them useful in a broader array of applications.
- Price and Warranty
When it comes to pressure washers, the markets are certainly short of generous manufacturers who offer freebies. The price of a unit is often indicative of its quality. From my research, I found that expensive machines have sturdier parts and are designed to hold up to tougher jobs.
I’m not saying you should break the bank to purchase a pressure washer. What I mean is that you should not make price the overruling aspect that dictates the product you choose.
Because it is not every day that you shop for pressure washers, consider choosing one that will match your primary objectives and guarantee you a good return on your investment.
Talking about guarantees, the best brands will always offer a comprehensive and reasonably extended warranty. This directly reflects the levels of confidence they have in the quality of their units.
Which Type of Pressure Washer Do I Need?
The power of a pressure washer is what dictates the kind of applications it can handle. And the PSI rating refers to the pressure output of a unit, which is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) and GPM (gallons per minute).
A machine with a higher PSI rating and GPM cleans faster and better, although it is bound to cost more than pressure washers with lower ratings. To know the type of unit that best suits you, you must first consider your goals and budgets.
If you only need to wash your car, a light-duty pressure washer with a 1300-2000 PSI will do. Medium duty units with between 2000-2800 PSI can, on the other hand, wash your car, fence, driveway, and walkways.
Typically, heavy-duty machines delivering 3000 PSI and higher are ideal for commercial use and handling large-scale cleaning jobs.
Safety Tips to Keep in Mind
While it is perfectly okay to use a pressure washer for DIY cleaning projects, these machines are powerful and can be dangerous. You ought to know how to use the device to reduce the risk of getting injured or damaging your surfaces.
As I mentioned earlier, pressure washers deliver highly pressurized water, and the jets have incredible force. Here are crucial safety tips to commit to memory.
- Wear Safety Gear
I recommend wearing all the safety equipment from gloves and goggles to a waterproof apron and safety boots. Trust me, you cannot be safe enough, even when using a light-duty pressure washer.
- Read and Understand the User’s Manual
Pressure washer manufacturers have a vested interest in protecting their users from unwarranted accidents. They also would like you to make the most out of your unit. Everything you need to know about your machine is in the manual.
- Safely Store the User’s Manual After Reading It
Pressure washers are complicated machines. During those days, when you have forgotten valuable information about your unit, your manual will be like your knight in shining armor. You must not throw it away, even after reading and understanding it.
- Don’t Use Gas-Powered Pressure Washers in Enclosed Spaces
Your gas pressure washer starts emitting carbon monoxide from the instant you turn it on. This is a toxic fume that causes symptoms like headaches and dizziness.
Extreme carbon monoxide poisoning causes death. Because you would rather be safe than sorry, only use your gas-powered washer outdoors or around open and well-ventilated spaces.
- Remain Alert and Focused
I repeat; it’s unwise to fool around with pressure washers. When using the machine, check your surroundings to ensure that there are no kids, pets, or moving cars nearby. I also recommend only using the unit when you are in the mood of using it.
If you are bored, distracted, tired, or even hungry, it is better to postpone your pressure washing project.
- Double-Check All Details
You understand that water and electricity don’t mix. Well, your worst enemy is an open electric outlet close to your pressure washing workstation. In case you want to clean your home exteriors, make sure all windows are closed before getting started.
- Understand Your Skill Level
If you are not a trained pressure washing technician, forget about using anything other than the white, black, and green nozzles. The 0-degree red nozzle and 15-degree yellow nozzle are best for heavy-duty cleaning and are better off when used by skilled technicians.
Additionally, avoid ladders and heights; they are not worth the risk. If you are not a trained professional, have both feet on the ground anytime you are using your pressure washer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most commonly asked queries regarding pressure washers for cars:
- What PSI is safe for washing cars?
When intending to do auto detailing at home, it is best to choose a pressure washer that has settings of 1300-2000 PSI. This is just enough pressure to effectively remove dirt, mud, and grime from the exteriors of your vehicle without damaging the paintwork. Make sure your unit delivers at least 1.4 GPM.
- Will pressure washing damage car paint?
This highly depends on the power of the machine you choose. A unit that has 2,000 PSI and uses at least 1.4 GPM will be powerful enough to knock off dirt and mud from the exteriors of your car. However, this force is also gentle enough to ensure the paintwork remains in pristine condition.
I’m confident we have covered all grounds. You are now well conversant with the benefits of pressure washers and what to consider when buying a unit. I have also shared vital safety tips to reduce the risk of accidents when using your machine.
With this information, finding the best pressure washer for cars and making the most out of it should be a breeze. An don’t forget to dry your car properly after a good pressure wash.