Best Pressure Washer for Cars: Experience Incredible Cleaning Power
Get rid of the toughest stains on your car with these top-rated pressure washers.
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BY Lisa Conant / LAST UPDATED ON April 12, 2021
There’s something so satisfying about having a freshly washed and waxed car. Everyone loves the feel of driving a pristinely clean and sparkling ride. Unfortunately, it can take a lot of work to get and keep your car looking like new all the time.
Whether you’re a fan of spending sunny Saturdays in your driveway lovingly washing and hand waxing your car, or if you’re a frequent flyer at your local car wash, purchasing a reliable and strong power washer for your car can save you both time and money when it comes to cleaning your car. Power washers are great at getting off stubborn and caked-on mud, dirt, salt, and debris without making you break a sweat.
If you’re considering purchasing a pressure washer for your car, check out our favorite top-quality options and be sure to read through our in-depth buying guide so you learn exactly what to look for to ensure you’re buying a long-lasting, powerful, and reliable machine that will make keeping your car clean a breeze.
CSA-approved electric pressure washer that generates up to 2,030 PSI. It can handle light-, medium-, and heavy-duty cleaning.
- Powerful motor
- Great water pressure suitable for heavy-duty cleaning
- Long 35-foot power cord for better reach
- Dual generator tanks for different detergents
- Hose connector is prone to leaking
- Nozzle gets rusty after some time
Powerful pressure washer suitable for medium- and light-duty cleaning tasks. Generates 1,500 PSI at 1.2 GPM. Comes with multiple connector tips to adjust the water pressure.
- Has a soap applicator
- Can be used both horizontally and vertically
- Easy to connect
- 25-foot hose for greater reach
- No charging or batteries required
- Not suitable for heavy-duty cleaning
- Feels cheap and is not durable
This electric pressure washer delivers 2,000 PSI maximum pressure. It has an integrated ½-gallon detergent tank for optimal cleaning potential.
- It can be folded into a smaller profile for storage
- Designed with a tough, durable steel frame
- Motor runs quietly
- Wheels provide easy roll-away mobility
- Might come with faulty spray tips
- May leak at the hose connection
- Wheels can get wobbly
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Benefits of Car Pressure Washers
- Clean tough stains. Pressure washers come with different pressure settings to handle light-, medium-, and heavy-duty tasks. Tough stains like oil, grease, or grime fall in the line of heavy-duty tasks, which a high-pressure washer can blast off your car. Some washers also come with accessories like scrubbers and soap applicators that make removing tough stains an easy job.
- Saves time. On average, it takes about 10 minutes to clean your car on low pressure. Heavy-duty cleaning may take double that time, but if you know how to work the machine, it’s almost impossible to spend more than an hour cleaning your car.
- Cost effective. You have probably spent a lot of money in the past when hiring a professional cleaner to get rid of tough stains on your car. A car pressure washer helps you save money as you can take care of the cleaning task yourself.
- Portability. Most car pressure washers are light enough to be carried around. You could store one in your trunk and pull it out whenever you need a quick cleanup. Some even have wheels so you can drag them around and clean about five more cars in your garage.
- Eco-friendly. You no longer have to use harsh chemicals to clean your car. Pressure washers release water at high velocity and power to lift the toughest stains from your vehicle. In most cases, you won’t have to use a detergent and that’s good for the environment.
Types of Car Pressure Washers
Hydraulic Pressure Washer
Hydraulic pressure washers are quiet, compact, and lightweight. They use a hydraulic mechanism to generate energy and do not require fuel or electricity to function. For that reason, they are eco-friendly and suitable for commercial use.
Diesel engine washers are suitable for medium- and heavy-duty work. The washer depends on diesel to fuel the pump. Because it generates fumes, it is not suitable for indoor use. Diesel engine washers are available in many sizes.
Gas engine washers are similar in design to diesel engine washers. These washers use gas as the main source of fuel to power the pump. They are suitable for medium- and heavy-duty cleaning tasks. They also generate fumes and are, therefore, for outdoor use only.
Electric pressure washers need to be connected to a power generator or an electric outlet to work. They are suitable for light-, medium-, and heavy-duty work.
Sun Joe is a brand of outdoor tools marketed under Snow Joe + Sun Joe. The company name was coined from its business mantra that it makes the best-looking outdoor tools whether the sun is shining or the snow is falling. The company was founded in 2004 and currently operates a 271,000 square foot distribution center in Mahwah, N.J. It sells the Sun Joe SPX3000, which is one of the best power washers for cars.
Greenworks is a global manufacturer of battery-powered tools suitable for the DIY user. The company uses best-in-class technology to provide reliable products that meet the performance needs of the consumer. It started its business in Seattle, Washington but later relocated to Sweden to meet the demands of its European, Middle East, and Asian markets. A popular Greenworks power tool is the Greenworks 1500 PSI.
Briggs & Stratton
Briggs & Stratton is a renowned American Fortune 1000 manufacturer of gasoline-powered tools and the world’s largest small engine producer. The company’s headquarters are in Wauwatosa, Wis., and it has a testing facility in Pierce, Fla. The company also manufactures garden care tools and power generators but pressure washers are its best-selling products, especially the Briggs & Stratton Electric Pressure Washer.
Karcher is a family-owned manufacturing company based in Winnenden, Germany. The company is an industry leader in the production of some of the best cleaning tools, including window vacuum cleaners, wash water treatment equipment, military decontamination equipment, and high-pressure washers. One recommended pressure washer from Karcher is the Karcher Premium Electric Pressure Washer.
Car Pressure Washers Pricing
- Under $100: Pressure washers in this price range are super budget-friendly but don’t come with a lot of extra bells and whistles. They're usually at a lower pounds per square inch (PSI) than some pricier models, but can still be counted on to do a thorough car washing. You just may not be able to use them to also power wash your house, driveway, or deck.
- $100 to $250: This is the most common price range for electric pressure washers. Most washers in this range have a high PSI rating and can be depended on to perform light to heavy-duty cleaning tasks.
- $250 and up: Pressure washers at this range often have the highest PSI rating and are most likely to be used for car detailing. They come with plenty of convenient features like scrubbers, extra detergent tanks, detergent injectors, and other items that make cleaning car surfaces easy. They’re built to be rugged and withstand some serious wear and tear.
How close is the pump’s power source? For car pressure washers, electric motors are the best since almost every home has an electric outlet. Also, electric washers utilize a high amperage in their motors to deliver a PSI of about 2,000, which is an ideal pressure for car washing. Engine pressure washers deliver a higher PSI rating and are more suitable for car detailing when you want to remove old paint from your car.
The nozzle size largely affects the amount of water coming out of the spray gun. Sometimes you may want a narrow spray for a light cleaning job or a powerful spray to remove the toughest grease stains. Keep in mind that there are critical parts of your car that a powerful spray could damage. You should therefore go for a pressure washer with an adaptable nozzle so that you can adjust the width of the spray to suit the cleaning task.
- Hose Length. The appropriate length of the hose in a washer is about 25 feet long. Anything less will have you constantly knocking down the pressure washer. On the other hand, if the hose reel is too long, it will be an inconvenience when you want to move around the washer
- Soap/Detergent Tank. You cannot just rely on water to get rid of all the stains. Soap makes your work easy, and if you get your soap and water from the same source, that makes it more convenient.
Best Pressure Washers for Cars Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Put your safety first when using an electric power washer. Although many are designed to be waterproof, machines do get old and/or faulty. Always ensure that the washer is placed in an area free of water splashes and puddles.
- Pressure washers emit jets of water at high pressure, which can send debris flying at your face. Protect your eyes with a good pair of protective goggles and wear earmuffs to cover up the noise from the motor.
- Always hold the spray wand at the correct distance from the nozzle. Consult with the owner’s manual on where your hands should be. The last thing you want is to get smacked in the face from the pressure coming out of the nozzle.
- It’s dangerous to point the washer nozzle at children, animals, or plants, since the pressure may throw them off balance and hurt them. You should also use the spray when you are on a flat surface, as the pressure may knock you off a raised platform.
- Always open your package immediately upon arrival to check for broken, damaged, or missing parts so that you can be sure to take advantage of any return/refund policies without any hassle, even if you’re not planning to use your pressure washer for months.
Q: Is it safe to repair the spray hose if it has a puncture?
Due to the extreme pressure of water being pushed through the spray hose, it’s not recommended to merely repair the hose. High pressures can exploit areas of weakness within the hose and quickly make them worse. It’s always best to replace the spray hose with a brand new one to be on the safe side.
Q: Why does the nozzle in my pressure washer clog?
Clogs in the nozzle of your pressure washer are usually due to a buildup of gunk or debris in the system. This can happen if your pressure washer has been allowed to sit for long periods without being used. It can also happen if you have a water supply with lots of mineral content, as this can accumulate in the hose and cause blockages over time. Carefully try to remove the clog so you don’t damage the nozzle or the spray hose.
Q: Is it safe to leave fuel in the gas tank when transporting the washer?
You should never leave fuel in the gas tank of your pressure washer during transport. If the washer were to tip over in your vehicle while underway, fuel can leak out into your car, or leak into the motor or air filter housing. This can cause serious damage, as well as a risk of fire. Always drain the fuel tank of your pressure washer before putting it in the trunk of your car or back of your truck.
Now that you’ve seen some of the great options for car pressure washers on the market and know what to look for to ensure you’re getting a top-quality product that will last you for years to come, it’s easy to see why we chose the Sun Joe SPX3000 as our top pick. It’s a clean functioning and quiet electric washer that’s strong enough to remove stubborn dirt and debris from your car. It’s also got a great price tag.
That being said, if budget is still a major consideration for you, check out the Greenworks 1500 PSI Pressure Washer. It’s a super affordable option that won’t sacrifice performance for price.