The Garage Tools

Initial Impressions: DeWalt 20V MAX 550PSI Cordless Power Cleaner Blasts Away Dirt

Like a Super Soaker for grown ups who have chores

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I think I speak for everyone when I say having a pressure washer is a lifelong ambition. When you’re twelve, whoever had one would instantly turn into Mac Eliot sawing down the jungle trying to take out the Predator.

Once you own a home, the opportunity to fire that thing up to clean the BBQ, the driveway, the patio, the cars, and the bikes exponentially rises. And yeah, maybe sometimes you’re blasting the backyard fence still fantasizing about trying to smoke the alien that killed Cooper. But, not everyone has the need for 2,500 PSI or the space to store something else with the footprint of a lawnmower. 

DeWalt’s 20V MAX 550PSI Cordless Power Cleaner may just be the thing for you, and it’s got a pulse rifle feel to it.

First Thoughts

Upon unboxing, this thing is bigger than you think it is. The body is more rhombus than rectangular, so dimensions are tough to visualize. DeWalt doesn’t give dimensions on its website, but in its shorter configuration with the soap bottle, it’s 25 inches from the tip of the nozzle to the back of the battery holder at the rear. If you put on the pressure spray wand and turbo nozzle, it’s nearly 45 inches. It weighs 6.25 lb with the wand or 5.9 lb with an empty soap bottle. Keep in mind that this is without a battery, hose attachment, or the extra spray nozzles which can be stored on the body of the washer. This is a big boy.

It is made to be used by someone with larger hands, as the grip itself is roughly the size found on most of DeWalt’s pistol grip tools. Other touch points have nice big radii and everywhere you will use to hold the thing is a rubberized and textured surface. Although I’ll have a better idea in the next installment of this review, the tackiness of the rubber and the large radii will mean it won’t require a white knuckle grip during use. Those who work with tools all day realize this is a carpal tunnel saver.

Overall, it looks and feels like any DeWalt tool. The yellow plastic and over-molded black rubber feels thick and solid. Some of the seams where the two halves of the body meet are slightly sharp, but in areas you’ll probably never touch anyway. The black battery cover at the bottom is made from uncharacteristically thin material, but it only serves to keep water off the battery pack.

The color-coded nozzles fit with quick couplers in the wand, while the wand and soap bottle attach with a twist lock to the body. This can attach to your garden hose with a supplied quick coupler or you also get a hose that will drop into a bucket. That seems like a nice touch.

So What Is This And What’s It Supposed To Do

Just going by specs, price, size, and maybe more obviously the name, this isn’t the same tool as a pressure washer. DeWalt’s own plug-in electric power washer delivers up to 2,100 PSI and also sells gas-powered pressure washers that deliver 4,400 PSI and four gallons per minute. This is a pressure cleaner that’s capable of 550 PSI at one gallon per minute. If you’re wondering, the water coming out of the average hose bib, that’s the spigot on your house, is coming out around 50 PSI but you get around eight gallons per minute.

With a pressure washer, you can literally blast spray paint off block walls. I don’t foresee this pressure washer doing that, but at the same time, do you want that kind of pressure when you’re washing your car? Probably not. My expectation is that this washer will easily blast away brake dust and build up on the low setting while easily taking care of months of cooked-on build-up inside my Weber Grill on high. It should also make cleaning the driveway a lot easier, assuming I don’t get graffitied anytime soon.

Managing editor Jonathon Klein wishes he had this for cleaning the caked-on dirt, mud, and cow poop from his Can-Am

My expectation is this will also be far more silent compared to my neighbor’s gas-powered pressure washer he uses to wash his F-150 every Saturday at 7 a.m. like clockwork. And, although this is substantially bigger than most or probably any of my other cordless tools, once broken down, it’ll still fit in my tool cabinet, unlike a true pressure washer.

Just A Quick Blast Around The Backyard

This is just an initial impression. I took note of how it felt coming out of the box, unpacking the accessories, and making a few PEW, PEW sounds in my kitchen. But, I couldn’t stop there, I did the quickest thing I could think of before sitting down to write. I pulled the grate out of my Traeger smoker to blast off all the porky buildup.

The pressure cleaner is easy to set up; plug in the wand, select your nozzle, and connect the hose. Here is the one small thing I’ve noticed so far. The quick-release coupler for the hose is not up to the toughness standard I associate with DeWalt Tools, though. I feel like a couple of drops on the concrete and the thin plastic will likely crack. I may be wrong, but I am on the lookout. I have a feeling a quick cheap fix is just a hardware store run away. Anyway, drop in a battery pack, select High or Low power and you’re off and running.

First, it’s quieter than I was hoping. It is probably quieter than my 20v MAX drill. It is running constantly for minutes at a time, so it may not seem like it. Being a card-carrying tech nerd, it’s hard to believe I don’t have an SPL meter, but somehow, I’ve always had access to one but never owned one. It’s definitely quieter than my cordless vacuum – so somewhere between drill and vacuum. The low pressure setting wouldn’t quite get the most stubborn klingons off the grate, but high did. I played with, err, I tested for science, the pressure cleaner for roughly 20 minutes, I would estimate between 10 and 12 minutes of total run time. All three bars of the battery charge indicator still lit up when tested. I have the 8AH big boy in it. Nothing got hot, vibrations were almost nonexistent, and the only thing you notice after 20 minutes is the weight.

In a few weeks, I’ll have washed some cars and various other things and will do a full review of my experiences, thoughts, complaints, and how I think it sits compared to a full-size pressure washer.

But what else do you want to know about this DeWalt? Sound off in the comments below.