The Best Car Pressure Washer - The Top 5
Amazon.com prices as of 2019-05-25 at 13:43 UTC Details
When it comes to washing your car, nothing can beat using a power washer. It's probably the best way to remove dirt from paintwork and wheels quickly without causing damage and without breaking a sweat.
It's important to choose the correct power washer for your car, not all pressure washers are suitable for cleaning paintwork so you need to be sure the output pressure is correct and that the cleaning accessories are suitable for washing vehicles.
We've put together a list of the best pressure washers for detailing and cleaning your car. So if you're trying to decide on the best high pressure cleaner then look no further.
Best Car Pressure Washers - Detailed Reviews
'Best Power Washer For Cars'
The Sun-Joe SPX3000 is one of the best selling pressure washers available today. If you go searching, you'll find thousands of positive online reviews for this pressure washer. It's no surprise then, that I've included it in my list of best car pressure washers.
Size and Weight
This washer is a nice size and weight for washing cars. If you're like me, you'll probably want to use it week in, week out during the summer. So at just 31lbs in weight it's not too heavy to carry around. It comes with plastic rear wheels for moving it around easily, and it's just under 3 feet tall. So it's not too big when it comes to storing it away.
The overall build quality is what you'd expect from a power washer in this price range. It's made from plastic, so it won't rust but it's not going to be as sturdy as a metal framed, gas powered washer.
The 1800 Watt motor can generate around 2000PSI at full pressure and will pump out 1.76 gallons of water per minute. This is more than enough power to clean any part of your car. The motor itself is a standard 14.5 Amp motor with a wobble-plate piston pump. Sun-Joe have included a start-stop trigger to power the air cooled motor. This should help to prolong the life of the motor, but in all honesty these things are not built to last forever.
In my experience, the best way to prolong the life of a power washer motor is to take frequent breaks. If you're using an air cooled pressure washer on a hot day, then it's going to overheat more often.
Sun-Joe make great power washers (in my opinion). They are well designed and easy to use and this one is no different. The 35 feet power cord combined with the 20 feet hose means you can set it up and not have to move it around too much when in use. It also means that you can keep the power washer safely away from your car and puddles of water.
Another handy feature are the dual detergent bottles. They hold nearly 1ltr of washing fluid each and you can switch between them easily. I really like this feature because it means that when I'm washing my car I can attach a snow foam lance to cover the car in foam, and then switch to a shampoo when washing. I'm lazy, I know!
If you want to change between different washer nozzles, then you have 5 to choose from. Each of these nozzles connect to the 3 foot wand and give you a different water pressure. The 0° nozzle will give you just over 2000 PSI. This is too much pressure for regular car washing, so I normally stick with the 25° to be on the safe side.
You can also attach any 1/4" male quick connect spray nozzles to the spray wand. So if you want to be extra lazy, then you can buy a multi angle spray nozzle like this one and never have to swap the nozzle again! They are also handy for switching pressures quickly when washing more delicate parts of your car like windows and rubber trim.
Overall this is a great pressure washer because of its versatility. It's easy to hook up to the water and electricity supplies, and the range of accessories makes it suitable for all sorts of jobs around the house and car. It's also well priced, well made and comes with a 2 Year warranty.
On the downside, the motor isn't going to last forever. It's not water cooled, so you are depending on a fan sucking in some cool air. The washer body itself is plastic, so it's not going to stand up to everyday industrial use. But, it's not built for that. This washer is perfect for car lovers, that want a good quality washer that they can use for maybe 4-6 months of the year.
The K5 Premium is the most powerful electric pressure washer in Karcher's home range. Karcher are a world leader when it comes the development all sorts of cleaning machines. They offer a huge range of pressure washers, so many, that it can get a bit confusing trying to pick one.
Size And Weight
The K5 is a medium sized electric power washer and weighs approx 32 lbs. It also features two large 7.7" high impact wheels, so you won't need to carry it in most cases. Standing at 34 inches in height, there is a large D shaped handle for pulling it around. Just like the Sun-Joe 3000, it's a tidy machine that won't take up too much space in your garage.
Power wise, this Karcher washer is well suited to any job you can throw at it. I really like the motor in this machine. It's a water cooled, induction motor that can pump water at a maximum 2000 PSI. The motor is kept cool by circulating cold water, rather than relying on air to keep it cool.
This, in my opinion, is a great solution to a big problem that I have found with pressure washers over the years. The motors in pressure washers have to do a lot of work, and if not cared for, can fail prematurely. One of the biggest problems is overheating, caused by using them in hot weather and not taking enough breaks.
One of the best features of Karcher pressure washers, is the water hose reel. This one has a pressurized hose reel, that makes it simple to wind and unwind the 25 feet hose. Have you ever tried to wind up a thick, heavy power washer hose on a cold day? It's not easy, so the hose reel can be a real time saver.
The K5 has one removable detergent bottle. You can use control the rate of flow of detergent using a dial, another feature I really like. I've often needlessly blown through half a bottle of expensive snow foam with other power washers. This one is much more efficient.
Unlike other power washers in this class, the K5 comes with two wands, a Vario Power Spray wand and an aptly named DirtBlaster! The Vario gives a circular spray motion, whereas the DirtBlaster pumps out a concentrated higher pressure jet of water. It's really easy to interchange the wands, and you can store whichever one you aren't using on the washer itself.
When it comes to washing the paintwork of your car, you'll need to be careful. The DirtBlaster pushes the pressure up to 2000 PSI. In my opinion, this is the highest pressure I'd use with a car, any higher and you risk damaging the clear coat.
The K5 is in my opinion, a very well built washer. Every part of it feels premium, and I like the peace of mind that comes from having water cooled motor. The extra long 35 feet power cord, and water hose with reel make it really easy to manage. I would have liked to see a few more nozzles included in the set. Karcher offer a huge range of accessories, including a foam canon .
'Best Small Pressure Washer'
If you are looking for a truly portable electric power washer, that can still pump out 1500 PSI, then you should check out this washer from Greenworks. Small power washers are usually cheaper than full sized models. So they are a great option if you want a dedicated washer just for washing your car, without breaking the bank.
Size And Weight
The GPW 1501 weighs only 17 lbs, nearly half the weight of the Sun-Joe SPX3000 or Karcher K5. It doesn't have any wheels for dragging it around, but who needs them at that weight. It's about half the size of a regular power washer, so it really doesn't take up any space when stored away.
Apart from the size of the unit itself, everything else is the same as a full sized washer. The hose is 20 feet long, and feels just as hard wearing as others I've tried. It also comes with a 35 feet power cord. This is especially important with a washer of this size. Because of the lack of wheels, the washer body sits on the ground, so you'll want to keep it away from water.
At 1500 PSI, there is more than enough power to wash most vehicles. The power is a bit lower than other washers out there, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing. At 1500 PSI you're not going to strip the finish from your alloy wheels or paintwork. This makes it a safe option if you are looking for a dedicated car pressure washer.
The motor is a standard 13 amp universal motor. It's air cooled, so you'll need to be careful not to overload it. On the upside, it's water resistant, so it should be able to withstand an accidental drop in a puddle.
I'm a big fan of portable power washers, they're just really easy to manoeuvre. This one is no different. It's light, with long cables and hoses so you should be able to easily reach around any car or SUV. It comes with 25 and 40 degree nozzles that give a nice even spray of water. They're quick connect nozzles, so you can use any standard aftermarket nozzles too.
If you are looking for a dedicated car washer then you won't be disappointed with the Greenworks GPW1501. It can do everything that a bigger bodied washer can do, but is easier to lug around and a lot cheaper too.
'Best Portable Pressure Washer'
This is another portable pressure washer that is well suited to washing cars. The difference between this portable washer and many others out there is that you can pull this one along behind you as you move around your car.
Size and Weight
The Force 1800 is another small, lightweight pressure washer. It weighs only 17lbs and is no bigger than a small vacuum cleaner. Rather than standing up, it sits flat on the ground, resting on it's two large rear wheels. It's made entirely from plastic, so it whilst it's light, it doesn't feel like it would withstand too much abuse. However, like most electric power washers, it's not meant for commercial use, and should be fine for occasional home use
The motor is powerful enough to pump out water at a maximum 1800 PSI. It's not the most powerful electric washer, but definitely powerful enough to wash any car. An overheat sensor is fitted to the motor to protect it from overheating. It also shuts down when you release the trigger, so it's not running unnecessarily. You will find these features on most electric motor power washers today. I'm not sure how effective they are at extending the life of the motor, but they don't do any harm.
This power washer is probably one of the most portable washers on the market. This is down to its lightweight body and those rear wheels. Unlike a lot of bigger washers on the market, this one can be pulled along as you move around. It's a nice feature, although not entirely necessary. The water hose and power cord are both very long, so you can infact set this washer up in position and leave it there.
In terms of nozzles, this washer comes with plenty of options. In the box you get a soft bristled brush, a turbo nozzle, an angle nozzle, a multifunction nozzle and an adjustable soap dispenser. All of the accessories can be stored on the washer itself, so they are easy to find when needed. It's worth noting that whilst they are quick connect accessories, they're not universal. So you won't be able to use accessories from your old power washer
The cleaning nozzles are fairly standard. You've got an adjustable spray nozzle that can be adjusted from a wide to a narrow spray. There's a spinning turbo spray nozzle, and a handy angled nozzle. The angled nozzle is great for saving your back when cleaning under your car, or in hard to reach places like up under the wheel arches.
Overall, this is a nice little power washer. It has some great features that will make washing your car even easier. It's not the cheapest portable power washer you can buy, but it does come with a load of accessories that you would have to buy separately with other washers.
'Best Heavy Duty Power Washer'
The AR390SS is a heavy duty, high powered, almost industrial quality power washer. It's made by Annovi Reverberi, a high pressure pump manufacturer in Italy.
Size and Weight
At 42 lbs and standing just over 3 feet tall, this is a sturdy, very well put together pressure washer. The overall design is nothing unusual. It looks a lot like other Karcher and Sun-Joe models, but weighs about 10 lbs more overall. The extra weight shouldn't be too much of a problem, because the large D handle and plastic wheels make it easy to move around.
The motor is a 14 Amp, standard motor that can deliver 2000 PSI and 1.4GPM. Again, this is more than enough for washing a car. The motor is not water proof, and is air cooled rather than water cooled. It doesn't feature a heat protecting sensor, but it does shut off straight away when you let go of the trigger, a feature available on most power washers.
AR Blue Clean market this power washer in the United States as a medium to heavy duty residential washer. The build quality certainly backs this up. The spray gun is styled like those found on much more expensive machines. Unlike other power washers in this class, the spray gun features a hard wearing zinc steel lance.
All of the nozzles and attachments are universal quick connect. It comes with 5 nozzles in the box, and you can store them all at the back of the handle. The washer hose is 30 feet long, and just like the Karcher K5, it winds up very easily onto it's own pressurized reel. You don't have to unwind the whole hose to use it either, it works just fine when wound up around the reel.
The nozzles on this washer are suitable for a whole range of jobs around the house. You'll need to be careful which one you choose when washing the paintwork on your car. The 0 degree nozzle produces a fine, high powered 2000PSI spray, too strong in my opinion to point at a car. Instead I'd stick with the 25 degree 'fan spray' nozzle and the low pressure soap spray nozzle. Keep the turbo nozzle for washing the patio and garden furniture!
Best Car Pressure Washer Buying Guide
When it comes to choosing the best pressure washer for cleaning your car, it’s important to choose carefully.
Picking the biggest, most powerful pressure washer you can afford is not a good idea. Cleaning your car or truck is not the same as cleaning your drive. You don't want to strip the paint or damage the alloy wheels, so you need to be sure you've got the right power washer for the job.
Here are a few things to consider when you are doing your research.
1. Power Washer Type
There are a few different types of power washer and they can be categorised by how they are powered:
This is the most common for domestic use. The water pressure is generated using an electric motor. This type of pressure washer is usually the cheapest type, with the greatest number of options to choose from. The downside to this type of washer is that you are restricted by the distance to the nearest power outlet.
Petrol or Diesel Powered
Fuel powered pressure washers have dropped a lot in price in recent years and as such have increased their presence in the domestic market. They are generally more expensive than electric powered models, but they are usually better built and will stand up to more abuse. The obvious benefit of being petrol or diesel powered is the portability that this brings.
These are usually restricted to industrial or agricultural settings and would not be used for car detailing.
2. Water pressure Output
One of the most important features when it comes to choosing a pressure washer for your car, is the maximum water pressure that it will generate.
You don’t need a huge amount of pressure to clean the paint or trim on a car. Around 1,500 PSI is usually more than enough, although many domestic pressure washers will pump out water at around 2,000 PSI
Another number to watch out for is the Gallons Per Minute (GPM) rating. This is simply the number of gallons of water the pressure washer can handle per minute. Anywhere between 1.5 GPM and 2.0 GPM is sufficient.
One of the most important considerations is the accessories that you are going to need.
All pressure washers will come with a few different accessories that you can attach to the water hose. When it comes to cleaning your car you will need a standard spray nozzle with an adjustable spray pattern. You can also get other accessories for cleaning other parts such as a wheel brush for cleaning the wheels.
It can also be useful to have a long spray lance for cleaning high parts of your car or truck (or RV). It can also be useful for cleaning hard to reach areas under a vehicle.
The other type of accessory that’s essential when cleaning a car, is a soap or foam dispenser. These usually clip onto the water hose lance and have a bottle attached. You can also fit a snow foam lance to most power washers and these will create a sticky foam when used with the right type of soap/foam liquid.
4. Size and Weight
When it comes to washing your car, you don’t want to spend your time lugging around a heavy, awkward power washer.
So it makes sense to buy one that is portable (on wheels) and not too heavy, without compromising on build quality or power.
5. Power Cord Length (If Electric)
It also makes sense to choose a power washer with the longest possible power cord to save using an extension lead.
You can expect most electric power washers to have a 25+ feet power cord.
6. Motor Power Rating and Type
The size and power output of the electric motor is an important and often overlooked consideration.
The electric motor can often be the weak link in domestic power washers. Most power washer failures are due to faulty or burnt out motors. A fairly standard power rating is around 14-15 Amps. This will generally give you an output of 1,800-2,000 PSI.
It's vital that a stop-start trigger is included, this will help to extend the life of the motor by allowing it to cool every time you stop using it.
Some power washers have water cooled motors, instead of air cooled. These washers use the cold water supply to cool the motor, and are definitely recommended if you can find and afford one.
The Karcher K5 on our best power washer list is a great example of a water cooled pressure washer and comes highly recommended!
7. Water Hose Length
A longer water hose (this is the hose coming from the power washer...) can be very convenient when cleaning your car.
A long hose can mean that you can walk around the entire car without having to move the power washer. This can help speed up the job at hand and can be useful for reaching hard to reach areas like under the car.
A water hose that is 20 to 30 feet should be the kind of length you are looking for.