Best Pressure Washers for Cars: More Capable Cleaning Power

These pressure washers will blast away dirt, grime, and more to get your vehicle exterior sparkling clean.

byHank O'Hop| UPDATED Jan 26, 2023 12:50 PM
Best Pressure Washers for Cars: More Capable Cleaning Power

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BYHank O'Hop/ LAST UPDATED ON January 26, 2023

Life only gets better with a pressure washer. Think about everything that's made easier when you add one to your collection. Obviously, cleaning your car, powersports equipment, and even the house or driveway are benefited from this piece of equipment. That's not all a DIYer will get out of one. Cleaning the road grime and grease parts during major repairs or restorations is made trivial with a power washer. It's just one of those tools you'll put to work during almost every project. You already know that, though. What you're trying to figure out is which belongs in your collection. There are a ton of options on the market, and some are better suited to your project than others. Let's sort it out.

Best Overall
Sun Joe Electric High Pressure Washer

Sun Joe Electric High Pressure Washer

Summary
With a powerful spray, interchangeable nozzles, and two onboard detergent tanks, this electric pressure washer makes car washing easy work.
Pros
  • 2,030 max psi
  • 1.76 gallons per minute
  • Includes five quick-connect nozzles
Cons
  • Quick-connect nozzles can corrode eventually
Best Value

Greenworks 1500 psi 1.2 gpm Pressure Washer

Summary
Lightweight and easy to maneuver with an affordable price, this pressure washer is a great fit for cleaning most vehicles.
Pros
  • 1,500 max psi
  • 1.2 gallons per minute
  • Includes detergent tank and two nozzles
Cons
  • May be too compact and lightweight for some tasks
Honorable Mention

Briggs & Stratton S2000P Electric Pressure Washer

Summary
With higher pressure and solid cleaning potential, this pressure washer for cars makes getting rid of stubborn exterior dirt easy and efficient.
Pros
  • 2,000 max psi
  • 1.1 gallons per minute
  • folding frame
  • User-friendly layout
Cons
  • Faulty units often arrive to customer
  • Does not work with some Briggs & Stratton accessories

Summary List 

Our Methodology

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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The pressure washers for cars that I chose as the best of the bunch were those made by reputable brands within the power tools and automotive spaces, as well as highly reviewed and well-rated according to users. I specifically sought out pressure washers for cars that were tough on dirt yet convenient to use around a vehicle, with key features like weight, plenty of reach or spray distance, and few to no complaints about leaks, failed connections, and portability. Those that made the list of the top picks were those that performed reliability, were easy to set up and use and did an effective job cleaning vehicle exteriors without a lot of effort.

For more on how The Drive selects products, check this out.

Best Pressure Washer for Cars Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Maximum Pressure: 2,030 psi
  • Item Weight: 31 pounds
  • Hose Length: 20 feet

Pros

  • 14.5 amp, 1,800-watt electric motor
  • 1.76 gpm
  • Two onboard, removable 0.9 gal detergent tanks
  • Includes five quick-connect spray nozzles

Cons

  • Quick-connect nozzles can corrode with time and use

The Sun Joe SPX3000 Electric High Pressure Washer is one capable machine, and it’s a very handy model when you’re looking for a car washing accessory. This machine, which features a 14.5-amp, 1,800-watt electric motor, takes all of the elbow grease out of the washing process. It’ll generate up to 2,030 psi max and 1.76 gpm when running at its highest power level. It can be used to clean your vehicle as well as RVs, lawn equipment, boats, decks, and areas around your home and exterior. And thanks to perks like dual onboard detergent tanks and a set of five swappable quick-connect nozzles, you can adapt to each cleaning situation (or area of your vehicle) easily.

The only potential drawback that’s mentioned in users’ reviews is the included quick-connect nozzles can wear with time and use. After a few years of regular use, those nozzles can corrode and become prone to leaks, so they’ll need to be replaced later in the pressure washer’s lifespan.

Specs

  • Maximum Pressure: 1,500 psi
  • Item Weight: 17.36 pounds
  • Hose Length: 20 feet

Pros

  • 13-amp electric motor
  • 1.2 gpm
  • 35 feet pressure cord
  • Soap applicator with two nozzle tips and detachable detergent bottle

Cons

  • May be too compact for some cleaning tasks

Affordable and easy to work with when washing your car, the Greenworks 1500 psi 1.2 gpm Pressure Washer is both convenient and an excellent value. It’s smaller than other electric pressure washers, but it doesn’t skimp on the job. You can carry this upright machine easily, and it offers a 20-inch hose plus a 35-foot power cord for solid reach. It’ll deliver up to 1,500 psi max, with 1.2 gallons of water each minute. And you’ll particularly like the soap applicator, two nozzle tips for application, and the attachable detergent bottle that are nicely designed for soaping up your vehicle. Plus, the pressure washer’s wand is adjustable, which gives you better flexibility (and solid reach) when you’re working outdoors.

However, because the Greenworks pressure washer is a smaller option for cars, it is less powerful. That’s not necessarily a drawback when you’re trying to protect your paint job; however, for some cleaning tasks, users might not find it as effective as other devices.

Specs

  • Maximum Pressure: 2,000 psi
  • Item Weight: 43.25 pounds
  • Hose Length: 25 feet

Pros

  • Brushless electric induction motor
  • 1.1 gpm
  • User-friendly layout
  • Folding frame

Cons

  • Faulty units often arrive to customer
  • Does not work with some Briggs & Stratton accessories

The Briggs & Stratton S2000P Electric Pressure Washer is a well-balanced machine for delivering a good amount of water pressure and tough cleaning power. However, it's still gentle enough to tackle the dirt and debris on the exterior of your car. It's durable brushless induction motor, which offers 2,000 max psi and 1.1 GPM flow, and 7-in-1 nozzles make it a solid choice for a number of projects. It's built using a foldable frame that's great for storage purposes, and the layout makes for a very user-friendly experience.

It's worth noting, however, that quality control or shipping issues are a common theme for this pressure washer, with many faulty units arriving to customers. Another issue many have is that it won't work with some Briggs & Stratton pressure washer accessories.

Specs

  • Maximum Pressure: 2,700 psi
  • Item Weight: 63 pounds
  • Hose Length: 25 feet

Pros

  • 212cc 4-stroke gas-powered engine
  • 2.3 gpm
  • Includes four quick-connect nozzles
  • Durable steel frame and never-flat wheels

Cons

  • Engine can be tight and require break-in time
  • Needs to cool down if running continuously

If you’re looking for serious pressure cleaning power, the Westinghouse WPX2700 Gas Powered Pressure Washer delivers. Unlike the more popular electric pressure washers you’ll mostly find while shopping, this machine runs on a capable 212cc 4-stroke Westinghouse OHV horizontal shaft engine with recoil start. It’s long-lasting, maintenance-free, and capable of delivering an impressive 2,700 psi max. Plus, it’s convenient to clean with, thanks to the 25-foot hose, 2.3 gpm, and 1.6 liters of tank space. The machine also includes a lightweight spray wand and four quick-connect nozzles with different spray angles, including one reserved just for soaping up. The frame of this pressure washer, which is steel, and the capable wheels make it easy to maneuver around your garage, too.

The only drawback is the engine on this pressure washer is a bit tight, and it may take some time to break in fully. User reviews also mention that after the machine runs continuously, it needs to cool down; otherwise, you might encounter start-up issues or longer-term problems with wear.

Specs

  • Maximum Pressure: 2,150 psi
  • Item Weight: 27 pounds
  • Hose Length: 25 feet

Pros

  • 13 amp electric motor
  • 1.4 gpm
  • Includes attachments like pressure washing gun and wand, foam cannon, and more
  • Includes four quick-connect nozzles

Cons

  • Connector does feature a plastic component that may break

The Stanley SHP2150 Electric Pressure Washer can do it all — wash your car, create cleaning foam fast, maneuver to clean from all angles, and power-wash everything from your car’s exterior to your outdoor furniture, ATVs, and RVs. This is one very versatile pressure washer, and it’s built for both light- and heavy-duty jobs. Relatively lightweight at 27 pounds, this machine can provide up to 2,150 psi max and 1.4 gallons per minute as it works. Equipped with a pro-grade brass hose connector, a pressure washer wand and gun, and a 25-foot high-pressure hose, it’s also dependable in its performance. And you’ll really benefit from the included attachments; the foam cannon and detergent tank and multiple quick-connect nozzle choices give you more choices for washing your car.

However, there is one pain point on this pressure washer, and it’s the water inlet connector. Although this connector is made of durable brass that shouldn’t weaken or break with use, it does contain a small inner plastic piece — and that can break. Users note that this little plastic part can crack or fall apart with wear, leaving you with a leaky connection unexpectedly over years of use.

Specs

  • Maximum Pressure: 1,700 psi
  • Item Weight: 20.7 pounds
  • Hose Length: 20 feet

Pros

  • 1.2 gpm
  • Easy on-off foot switch pedal
  • Removable storage bin for accessories
  • 0.5 gal detergent tank

Cons

  • Hose may be a bit short for some

For the ultimate maneuverability and ease of use around the house, opt for the Karcher K1700 Electric Power Pressure Washer. A surprisingly lightweight machine, you’ll get the same pressure washing power as you’d find in larger machines, but with the ease of being able to move this one wherever it’s needed. At just 20.7 pounds, this pressure washer is a great car washing companion. You’ll enjoy up to 1,700 psi max and 1.2 gallons per minute. Plus, there are added perks built in for convenience, like an on-off foot pedal to prevent bending and back strain, a removable storage bin for accessories, and convenient cord storage. The addition of three quick-connect spray nozzles, a bayonet spray wand, and a 0.5 gallon onboard detergent tank are all helpful for car washing, too.

The only complaint users have about this pressure washer is its hose length. For some, the included 20-foot hose may not offer enough reach. However, it can easily be swapped out for a longer one.

Our Verdict

The Sun Joe Electric High Pressure Washer is the best overall pressure washer for cars because it balances strong psi with great cleaning power and the dual detergent tanks make it incredibly easy to soap up and rinse off quickly. Plus, its included nozzles give you more control. And the Greenworks 1500 psi 1.2 gpm Pressure Washer is a great option for those who want solid cleaning ease and efficiency at a more budget-friendly price, with multiple nozzle choices and a single detergent tank. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Pressure Washer for Cars

From size to max psi to wand style and reach, there are plenty of factors that go into choosing a pressure washer that’s suitable for your car. If you’re wondering where to start, here’s what to keep in mind as you search and shop for the best product options.

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: What psi pressure washer is best for cars?

A: A solid, safe range is 1,200 to 1,900 psi. Going above 1,900 psi can potentially cause damage to your car’s paint and exterior parts, so it’s best to stay a bit lower. 

Q: Can you turn down the psi on a pressure washer?

A: You can definitely control the maximum pressure your pressure washer is using to generate its powerful spray. Gas pressure washers often have pressure regulators on the pump; electric models tend to have regulators on the spray wands.

Q: Can you use Dawn dish soap in a pressure washer?

A: You can, but you’ll need to dilute the dish soap before getting to work. And it’s also worth noting that even the best dish soap may not deliver as good of a clean as foams and soaps specially formulated for use in a pressure washer. 

Q: Can you pressure wash tires?

A: Typically, auto and tire manufacturers warn against using a pressure washer to clean your tires. The high-frequency pulsing can potentially damage the sidewall cords and weaken your tires. 

Q: Will a pressure washer remove brake dust?

A: Yes, you can use a pressure washer’s extra strength to blast away brake dust underneath your wheels or hanging around the brakes. However, you may still need some elbow grease and a wheel brush to get into tight spots.

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