Pressure washers can be a great way to clean your vehicle. They are often overlooked for their cost and size, but they are capable of making your washing job faster, more efficient, and more fun. They usually do initially cost more than handwashing with a few basic materials or going to a car wash, but buying a pressure washer might pay off quickly over frequent car wash visits.
Pressure washers have become more affordable than ever because of increased technology and demand. Many offer the ability to mix car wash soap for a two-in-one rinsing and washing experience that can be completed in thirty minutes.
There are, of course, some things to avoid when it comes to pressure washing your vehicle, but if you like a clean vehicle, and you find yourself constantly trying to keep the paint in top shape, a pressure washer may be the best way to go.
The Best Car Pressure Washers
1. KranzleUSA Cold Water Electric Commercial Pressure Washer
The KranzleUSA Cold Water Pressure washer is an expensive option, but it ensures that your money is well-spent by offering a host of features and dynamics. It has a 110 Volt, 15 Amp electric motor with a 35-foot cord and GFI for safe and versatile pressure washing.
It is rated for multiple surfaces in addition to vehicle paint with a maximum rating of 1400 PSI and 2.0 GPM. With a 50-foot hose and reel, its usable range is further increased from the cord length. It has an automatic on/off control and run-dry capability to reduce pump wear or failure. An inlet water filter helps rid the water flow of contaminants
It also comes with several useful attachments and extras such as their Dirt Killer turbo nozzle, a wash and soap nozzle, and professional-grade jet lance. Despite being over 80 pounds, its wheel setup allows for easy maneuverability. Extension cords are not recommended to be used for this product.
2. Karcher K5 Premium Electric Pressure Washer
The Karcher K5 offers many of the same features as the KranzleUSA pressure washer. It does require a slightly higher voltage – 120 – than the previous product, but it also offers a 35-foot power cord and is rated at 2000 PSI and 1.4 GPM.
A 25-foot hose and reel are included, along with two different spray nozzles for differing cleaning tasks. A built-in, removable detergent tank with variable chemical ratio adjustment works with both the adjustable and non-adjustable spray nozzles to tackle a range of cleaning jobs.
The K5’s key to success comes from its water-cooled motor. This effectively lowers pump operating temperatures, allowing for a longer lifespan and overall durable design compared to other pressure washers.
3. AR Annovi Reverberi Blue Clean Electric Pressure Washer
The Annovi Reverberi pressure washer is even lighter and less expensive than the Karcher K5 – It weighs a little over 13 pounds and costs less than $160. Despite this, it packs a punch. It is rated at a maximum of 1900 PSI and a 1.3 GPM flow rate. Like the other pressure washers on this list, it is safe to use on multiple different surfaces.
With a 35-foot power cord and auto-reset GFCI connection, it is as safe to use as it is easy to use. Also included are four different quick-change nozzles, a wand, and a washer gun to suit any need and surface you might face. The two wheels at its base allow for easy maneuverability.
An onboard reel and 30-foot hose allow for extended distance between you and the power source required for its 13-Amp motor. Lastly, a 28-ounce detergent tank is built into the back of the machine.
4. Briggs & Stratton S2000 Electric Pressure Washer
The Briggs & Stratton S2000 banks on a simpler overall design than the previous products to get the same cleaning job done, not only for your car, but for other things like pavement, patio furniture, and walkways. It is rated for a maximum flow rate of 1.2 GPM at 2000 PSI.
The claim to fame of the S2000 is its durability and mobility. It is built with a military-grade welded steel frame that has a folding handle for easy transportation and storage. It is not as light as some other products on this list, weighing forty pounds, but its folding frame and wheels still allow for use wherever needed.
It features four quick connect nozzles to suit any need, an integrated detergent tank, and a 25-foot hose to extend your reach.
5. CAT Electric Pressure Washer
The CAT electric pressure washer is the smallest product here, but it is by no means the least. Its small size and lightweight make it portable, but it is capable of producing a maximum flow rate of 2.0 GPM and a maximum of 1800 PSI from its five-piston aluminum pump. It requires 13 amps to run and comes with a 35-foot cord with a GFCI connection.
A 20-foot hose, four brass connectors, metal lance, and metal pressure cannon allow for a wide variety of washing jobs to be completed. Even though a detergent tank is not integrated into the washer itself, the machine comes with one that can be connected to the pressure cannon.
One more neat trick the Cat has up its sleeve is an on/off LED light. While not integral to the overall function of the pump, it is a cool feature to show how the washer is operating.
Electric vs Gasoline-Powered Pressure Washers: What is the Difference?
There are two main types of pressure washers: electric and gasoline-powered. Both have their pros and cons, some of which have to do with maximum pressure, price, storage, and purpose.
Electric pressure washers are usually less expensive to buy and operate. They are also usually easy to store since a fuel tank is not necessary and does not have to be removed if not being operated for long periods.
Gasoline-powered pressure washers are usually more powerful and more expensive to buy. As a result, gasoline-powered pressure washers are often better for heavier-duty jobs. Even though they tend to be better with some foam cannons than weaker electric washers, it is often unwise to pressure wash your vehicle with too powerful of a washer as it could peel the paint.
Electric power washers are usually better for cars since they can operate with many different foam cannons on the market and can be usually be used directly on car paint. They can also usually be used for a variety of regular, non-industrial household washing needs.
Pressure Washer Ratings and Requirements Explained
Because pressure washers use water pressure and pumps to operate, they are rated by various measures to show compatible auxiliary equipment that can be operated safely or without failing.
PSI stands for pounds per square inch, and it is the measure of pressure being pumped through the washer. All pressure washers have a maximum PSI rating and a normal operating PSI rating. Most electric washers have a maximum PSI of around 1800-2000 PSI and a normal operating PSI of about 900-1200.
GPM stands for gallons per minute and is referred to as the flow rate of the washer. GPM goes hand-in-hand with PSI ratings. Normal maximum GPM for electric pressure washers is usually between 1.8 and 2.0 GPM.
Cleaning units is a lesser-known measurement, but it is the GPM and PSI multiplied. For example, a pressure washer with an 1800 maximum PSI and 2.0 GPM rating produce 3600 cleaning units. You can usually find this rating within the more technical product specs as not all companies display this for quick reference.
With any piece of electronic equipment, you need to make sure that there is enough electric supply to power it. Pressure washers can use quite a bit of electricity, so all of them have an Amp rating: the amount of electricity it takes to run the pump. Extension cords are often discouraged from being used with electric pressure washers.
Pressure Washer Nozzles and Connectors
Many pressure washers come with connectors or nozzles. Not all nozzles, hoses, and connectors are universal, so sometimes adapters are also needed for the desired fitment. The more accessories come with a given pressure washer, the better it could be for you.
Different connectors and nozzles can be used for different tasks. Some come with adjustable spray nozzles, some come with a variety of non-adjustable spray nozzles, and some come with a gun or foam cannon. Depending on what needs spraying will determine which nozzle you use.
Nozzles are rated by degrees of outflow, also called the fan angle. A zero-degree fan angle produces a pointed water stream that is very concentrated. A wide forty-degree fan angle spreads the water flow much wider in the shape of a fan to cover more area that produces less pressure.
More delicate surfaces require a wider fan angle. This is usually a twenty-five or forty-degree nozzle. Zero and ten-degree nozzle heads are not recommended for vehicle paint because of the concentration in water flow but are better for cleaning tight spaces or very dirty surfaces.
Pressure Washer Warnings
Every machine comes with warnings and risks. Reading the instructions is the most important thing you can do for yourself and the pressure washer you buy. It might save your property or even your life, since working with electricity always comes with some risk.
A more practical pressure washer warning is to not spray your engine bay. When washing your vehicle, a pressure washer can make the job go faster. Cleaning your engine bay could expose delicate electronics to high-pressure water and fry your system.
Another practical pressure washer warning is to avoid gravel areas when spraying your vehicle or any other item. Gravel can be kicked up because of the water pressure and cause damage to whatever you are spraying.
Especially when it comes to vehicle paint, it is recommended to keep the water fan moving continuously over the surface. “Parking” the sprayer on one area can weaken and chip the paint, even if the pressure washer is rated to be safe for vehicles.
Pressure washers are an effective way to wash your vehicle. They can even be quite fun and can save loads of time if used properly. Even though they can be expensive, washing your vehicle often may warrant consideration. Many come with features and accessories to make the job as easy as possible.
Always make sure to read the instructions on each pressure washer you consider so that you will be aware of the requirements that each outline for use.