The Best Pressure Washers of 2018

By Jonathan Chan

Your home is your most valuable asset, not just in monetary terms, but it's the physical manifestation of your ability to survive in this world. Every day, the outside world pounds at the walls and roof of your abode. Salt, dirt, invasive plants, and old paint are all threatening to bring down your house one iota at a time.

That's why investing in a good pressure washer is essential. We spent weeks preparing and cleaning vinyl, concrete, brick, wood, aluminum, and gutters. After all that testing, we think the Ryobi RY141600 (available at Amazon) is the best for most people. That's because it brought the power, adjustability, and portability that we were looking for.

Here are the five best pressure washers we tested ranked, in order:

  1. Ryobi RY141600
  2. Sun Joe SPX1000
  3. Karcher K3 Follow Me
  4. Greenworks GPW1600
  5. Worx WG640
— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Updated September 12, 2018

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Ryobi best overall
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

Ryobi RY141600

  • Editors' Choice

Ryobi RY141600

Best Overall

The Skinny: Made in China, weighs 18.2 pounds, includes soap, turbo, and 15° nozzles, 1,600 PSI, 1.2 GPM, 3-year warranty.

The Ryobi RY141600 brought the power of clean in a compact design. With the three onboard nozzles, we blasted a variety of surfaces ranging from vinyl siding to clogged gutters. In every instance, the RY141600 had an answer. The 15° nozzle blasted away dirt and sand from siding without damaging the paint underneath. For stripping jobs, the turbo nozzle got Krylon and exterior paint off aluminum sheets with relative ease.

Cleaning wise, we found this Ryobi up to snuff. However, it was the design that put it over the top. We carried this 18-pound pressure washer around with ease with handlebars that also act as a roll cage. While it was more physical labor than models with wheels, we appreciate the fact the RY141600 can go places where others might roll away.

The RY141600 costs more than most on this list, but it gives quality back in spades.

Sun Joe best value
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

Sun Joe SPX1000

  • Editors' Choice

Sun Joe SPX1000

Best Value

The Skinny: Made in China, weighs 15.1 pounds, includes adjustable nozzle, 1,450 PSI, 1.45 GPM, 2-year warranty.

When we first unpacked the Sun Joe SPX1000, we didn't have high hopes. The looser feel of some of the parts and the lower PSI rating stacked the odds against this pressure washer.

That being said, the SPX1000 utilized what it had better than most on this list. We liked the fact that the one included nozzle could be adjusted from a pencil-sized stream to a 45° fan. This allowed us to blast away dirt gently or strip paint. Although we should note that we weren't able to get the paint off of our aluminum sheets as easily as the Ryobi could. We also don't like that all specialized nozzles are sold separately.

If you can look past the faults, you'll find a great value. This sub-$100 pressure washer impressed us with its cleaning prowess.

How We Tested

Stains
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

We placed compacted dirt on wood, vinyl, and aluminum.

The Tester

Greetings, I am Jon Chan, the Senior Lab Technician at Reviewed. Along with my colleagues Julia MacDougall and Kyle Hamilton, we tested all the pressure washers in this roundup. As a homeowner, I'm always on the look out for tools to help keep up my property. When it comes to pressure washers, I wanted to find a pressure washer that could clean a variety of surfaces without damaging them, but could also handle tougher jobs.

The Tests

Testing
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

We tested on a variety of surfaces, ranging from asphalt to wood.

Look at the box of any pressure washer, and you'll see something about PSI, GMI, or Amps. While all those specs are very interesting, what is really important is if the pressure washer can clean and if it is easy to use.

For cleaning, we painted vinyl, wood, aluminum, brick, and asphalt and covered each with half an inch of compacted dirt. We blasted each of these surfaces with the pressure washers on various settings and gauged how easy we could get rid of the dirt and not damage the paint. After the tough but gentle approach, we went full bore and tried to strip exterior and spray paint off of asphalt, aluminum, and wood.

Results
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

Stripping paint is a tough job, even for a pressure washer.

The pressure washers that proved exceptional were presented one last challenge: a clogged gutter. This gutter wasn't clogged with leaves but a man-made pseudo-sandstone created by mixing sand and flour.

In the gutter
Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

Strong candidates were given the additional test of cleaning a clogged gutter.

We also tested for portability by moving the pressure washers from place to place; focusing on lifting them from ground level up to dock height.

What You Should Know About Pressure Washers

Pressure Washer vs Power Washer

Pressure washers are not the same as power washers. The major difference between the two is that power washers heat up water to aid in cleaning. Typically, power washers are reserved to remove mold and mildew.

General Terms

PSI: Pressure per square inch is the overall amount of power each pressure washer can put out.

GPM: Gallons per minute measures the flow rate

Induction Motor vs Universal Motor

Without getting into the nitty-gritty, induction motors are quieter, last longer, but are heavier and more expensive. They are also easier to replace because they have a standardized design. Universal motors tend to be lighter, have higher initial torque, and are less expensive.

Why we tested what we did

You may have noticed that all the pressure washers in this roundup are under 1,800 PSI and electric. We think that electric is more approachable for the average homeowner and that most do not need anything above 1,8000 PSI. Yes, a more powerful pressure washer will probably clean better, but it's rare that a job needs that much power.


Other Pressure Washers We Tested

Karcher K3 Follow Me

Karcher K3 Follow Me

The Skinny: Made in China, weighs 20.3 pounds, includes adjustable and rotary nozzles, 1,800 PSI, 1.3 GPM, 2-year warranty.

The Karcher K3 Follow Me ended up in third place in our roundup. We really liked this model's versatility. The main nozzle is highly adjustable, going from a regular garden hose's pressure to powerful enough to strip paint from wood. It also comes with a great rotary nozzle. What sets this model apart from the rest is that it moves on four wheels. With its low center of gravity, it's nigh impossible to tip the K3 over.

Great cleaning, design, and included features make the K3 a solid choice. In fact, it was in the running for the top spot. However, we experienced issues with the power supply. We often see this problem when dealing with appliances that are converted from European sources. If it's tough to turn, then it's tough to use.

Greenworks GPW1600

Greenworks GPW1600

The Skinny: Made in China, weighs 16.6 pounds, includes soap, turbo, and 40° nozzles, 1,600 PSI, 1.2 GPM, one-year warranty.

The Greenworks GPW1600 reminds us a lot of the Sun Joe. The Greenworks is a little more expensive but comes with more stuff. For example, we found a soap applicator in the box. The Greenworks is also a little more powerful, able to put out 1,600 PSI compared to the Sun Joe's 1,450. So why didn't the Greenworks take the top spot? Adjustability and throughput.

We liked the adjustable wand on the Sun Joe more, the wand on the Greenworks only has one setting. Also, while the Greenworks has more power, the Sun Joe has better flow–1.2 gallons per minute versus 1.45 gallons per minute. That means the Greenworks can do more overall, but the Sun Joe is faster within its lane. We think if you're not stripping paint or blasting away mounds of dirt, the Sun Joe is better.

Worx WG640

Worx WG640

The Skinny: Made in China, weighs 5.8 pounds, includes adjustable head, 355 PSI,.5 GPM, 3-year warranty.

We actually tested two Worx products: the WG629 and WG640. They both have the same design so we're going to talk about the 640 because it's the more powerful of the two. Amongst the models we tested, the WG640 was the most different. First off, it's battery powered, which made it most portable. For small jobs, you don't even need a hose connection, it can draw water from a bucket.

If you get WG640 or 629, just understand that, in terms of power, it's just a step up from a hose. However, if you're looking for something to help wash your car and water your garden, the Worx will give you the right amount of power without taking up too much space.

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