Best Electric Pressure Washer:
Start asking the right questions

Finding the best electric pressure washer is far more than just a basic search on the Internet. After all, everyone says they want the "best".

Just how does a person like yourself determine what the best actually is?

Are you even asking the right questions?

using best electric pressure washer to detail car engine

Pressure washers are fun toys!

You can clean so many things with pressure washers in general. Most people (specially us guys!) love the power of these toys.

The more power the better!

Or is it?

Best Electric Pressure Washer:

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I know, you came looking for an electric pressure washer not a gas powered pressure washer. I am simply throwing a wrench into your world to illustrate a point.

I am also speaking as a professional detailer who has worked with pressure washers for the last 30+ years in my detailing business.

But this was long before the Internet and long before electric pressure washers were even a "thing".

I want you to start applying this thing called critical thinking. Something that our instant gratification society seems to have forgotten.

"The quality of your questions will largely determine the quality of your life."

I use this quote here to get you to start asking quality questions before you pull the trigger on a pressure washer you end up being disappointed with. There is far more to finding the best electric pressure washer than just basic power.

  • What do you plan on using the pressure washer for?
  • How much power do you really need?
  • Does size really matter?

These questions only represent a small number of questions you should be asking yourself.

High Pressure Washer:
Understanding the basics of pressure washers

Let me dig right into this topic and see if I can't expand your mind with some questions I think you will find useful. After all, I don't want you landing on the wrong conclusion!

Like many areas of life that have little or nothing to do with electric pressure washers, far too often people fail to take the time to understand the basics, thus leaving them prone to making bad decisions based incomplete understanding.

How Does a Pressure Washer Work:

A pressure washer takes the water supplied to it and uses a pump to accelerate this water through a redistricted outlet.The water being simultaneously accelerated and forced into a smaller outlet creates large amounts of velocity and force.

It's similar in concept of attaching a basic nozzle to your garden hose. The nozzle restricts the flow of water, which then concentrates the water through a smaller outlet. This effect develops additional force and velocity of water as the water exits the nozzle tip.

But unlike a water hose with a basic nozzle attached that simply restricts water flow, a pressure water uses a pump (an electric pump in this case) to accelerate the water even faster into a restricted outlet thus creating high levels of force and velocity.

Why Use a Pressure Washer Instead of a Garden Hose:

Pressure washers serve (2) distinct purposes when compared to a traditional water source:

  • Pressure washers use less water than a traditional garden hose
  • Pressure washers create high velocity water output

And if those (2) reasons aren't sufficient for you, then run with the fact that a garden hose is never quite as fun as using a powerful pressure washer.

Most guys and many girls will appreciate the natural fun associated with using a pressure washer! Blowing away dirt and debris as you aim that power wand and making just about anything in your physical world cleaner with the wonders of a top rated pressure washer!

Is Gas Powered Pressure Washer Better Than Electric:

Yes and no. Bad answer, right?

But seriously, this all depends on the unique situation that you and world represents as opposed to the next persons unique situation.

It really comes down to weighing the pros and cons of each type of pressure washer. Gas powered pressure washers tend to dominate the world of business or commercial use due to higher psi ratings that are engineered into gas powered pressure washers.

There are (3) basic limitations of electric pressure washers if you had to label them:

  • You need an electrical power source
  • As a rule, electric pressure washers will have lower psi ratings
  • Water and electricity are not usually good bed partners

If you take a casual look at those limitations, they might make a compelling case as to why you wouldn't want an electric pressure washer. But the reality is that gas powered pressure washers have the same basic limitations; just in different ways. (I know, that seems like a direct contradiction)

But keep reading as we dive even deeper into this topic that is over-simplified in most cases.

Why Are Electric Pressure Washers Better than gas Powered:

They just are!

But that is me talking from my own professional and personal experience. As I stated above, I do believe they represent the winning balance for most people.

" I believe that the best pressure washer is an electric pressure washer for most people, in most situations"

  • Less moving parts to break down and to service
  • Electricity is generally available in most situations of cleaning
  • If you feel constrained by the distance of electrical output needed to operate an electric pressure washer, you must remember you are also constrained by the water source feeding any pressure washer
  • No flammable gasoline required
  • No oil changes like a gas powered engine requires
  • Electric pressure washers can produce more than enough cleaning power than most people would ever find necessary
  • Cheaper to puchase as a rule
  • Less bulky overall (this translates into less room required to store in your garage)
  • Lighter weight than gas powered (this means moving your electric pressure washer is less likely to throw out that back of yours)

As you can see, the long list of features and benefits of an electric pressure washer makes them the winner when I go in search of the best electric pressure washer!

Darren's Note: One of the main objections people will raise in objection to an electric pressure washer is two-fold:

  • Electric pressure washers require electricity (this means you have to work close to an electrical outlet)

Not to come across as too bold in the moment; but this is seriously binary thinking. Black and white thinking with no room for half-tones, or nuanced thinking.

The same constraint of an electrical source, will be the same constraint of a water supply line (called a hose) when working with a gas powered pressure washer. 

Most modern day electric pressure washers come with more than enough cord length, never mind the fact that any electrical extension cord is an easy fix if you come up short.

  • Electricity and water do not "play well together"

Once again; a non-issue with modern day pressure washers that have built in safety features to prevent electrocution if water and electrical current find themselves occupying the same real estate space.

Electric pressure washers are equipped with what are called GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupters) which cut off electrical supply immediately when a power imbalance occurs.

This is the same type of safety used in your home when electric outlets are within a certain distance of a water source. This prevents the pressure washer from damage, as well as damage to you as an individual in the form of electrocution.

Now safety is built into these modern day electric pressure washers.

Best Pressure Washer for Home Use:

I will give the same answer here as I did above:

Electric pressure washer takes the win for me!

  • Versatility
  • Quieter to operate (no loud gas engine)
  • As much power as any homeowner would ever need
  • Smaller
  • Lighter
  • Less service (if any) needed

These, along with the features I have already laid out make an electric pressure washer the win for most household uses.

More Power the Better: Gas powered Pressure Washer

In many ways, power (as in psi) is the only real viable factor when deciding on the best pressure washer for you and your world. Unless you are looking for a commercial grade pressure washer, power is no longer a factor of modern day electric pressure washers.

With operating psi ratings between 1200 psi to 3800 psi, you will find this far more power in the form of psi (pounds per square inch. A unit of pressure stated in pounds of force measured in square inch of area) than you could ever need.

What Can You Clean With  Pressure Washer

Pretty much anything that is water safe or water tight. I have found that the more I use my own electric pressure washer, the more uses I find for it.

And there are many cleaning duties of a pressure washer of either kind (gas or electric) that are used on surfaces that aren't necessarily water tight.

  • Driveway
  • Wood decking
  • Car engines
  • Car detailing
  • House siding
  • Lawn furniture
  • Rain gutters
  • Exterior grout lines
  • Pool decks
  • Outdoor upholstered furniture

Since the pressure in psi can vary from machine to machine, just as the different tips you can use will vary the intensity and power, you need to always apply caution.

This is easily done since you always remain in control of the power regardless of machine and tip. You simply pull back, far enough away from surface or object being cleaned so as to prove intentionally safe to begin with. The further you pull away from the object or surface, the less intense the water force will be.

As more power is needed, you simply extend the power wand closer to the surface or object you are cleaning until you find that wining balance between strong enough, and safe enough.

Darren's Note: Common sense is a good thing to work with when using any type of pressure washer.

Electric Pressure Washer: Does Size matter

The simple answer would be yes. But when it comes to pressure washers of either kind, it all depends on what you refer to as "size".

Size of physical machine, or size regarding the amount of power the machine can produce. And the power of an electric pressure washer like a gas powered washer can further be controlled by choice in tips.

All this translates into working psi that can be fine tuned based on choice of tip.

I believe that when it comes to work of any kind, you want to make your life as simple and easy as possible. This means that a bulky pressure washer simply gives you one more excuse to not clean the things that need cleaning.

Any of the electric pressure washers on this page will prove less work in managing them than any gas powered pressure washer.

Darren's Pick:
Best Electric Pressure Washer

Yes, I am going out on a limb here.

After all, most people do want to know what I do. People like yourself who don't necessarily want to get bogged down by all the endless data regarding performance specs.

"Darren, just tell me what you would do!"

I hear this often and I respond by offering either what I do use, or what I would do. While I enjoyed the experience to a large degree with the Sunjoe electric pressure washer, it hardly compares to my experience with my latest pick as the best electric pressure washer.

Ryobi Electric Pressure Washer

Ryobi 1,600-PSI 1.2-GPM Electric Pressure Washer (Model RY141612)

  • One of the exact pressure washers I own and has become my newest favorite
  • Incredibly compact, without sacrificing power
  • Incredibly quiet when engaged (all electric pressure washers only make noise when you pull the trigger on the wand)
  • Other electric pressure washers come with more tips, but I find that I really only use a couple tips and the assortment of tips many washers come with is simply overkill to me
  • Great hose quality when compared to other pressure washers
  • Super light and portable

Darren's Note: I have had many pressure washers over the decades of my professional career, but have since started testing and using electric pressure washers.

I love the fact that you do not have to listen to a noisy gas engine running regardless of whether you are actually pulling the trigger or not. Add to this the compact size of electric pressure washers and you have a winning combination in my world.

If you accept that anything you need to clean will automatically require a certain amount of work, you do not want to make the cleaning job more difficult than it needs by adding a bulky and noisy pressure washer.

This would only give you yet another excuse to avoid cleaning things that need cleaning.

Westinghouse Electric Pressure Washer

Westinghouse ePX3000 Electric Pressure Washer 2030 Max PSI 1.76 Max gal/min with Anti-Tipping Technology, Soap Tank and 4-Nozzle Set

  • One of many pressure washers I own
  • Amazingly compact without losing any of the benefits of larger electric pressure washers
  • Better hose quality than any other electric pressure washer I have tested
  • Having wheels makes this super convenient if working on flat ground and you want the ability to move washer from a distance by pulling on the hose

Darren's Tips: Since I have been using pressure washers for such a long time, it has been easy for me to go about "business as usual" when it came to the outdated pressure washer(s) I had been using up until recently.

I really underestimated the "size factor" of pressure washers. A compact electric pressure washer like this Westinghouse and the others I have tested have proved far superior to the larger and taller electric pressure washers like the Sunjoe.

electric pressure washer for car detailing

New technology means you can get all the power you need or have been used to getting. With this smaller, more agile pressure washer built on wheels, you can get the compact feature of electric without sacrificing power.

I also enjoy the quality hose that comes with this model when compared to other models. The Westinghouse also comes with more varieties in tips that you may appreciate, but I personally find a bit overkill.

Best Electric Pressure Washer Summary

How to pressure wash car engine

If you have made it this far down the page you are among a select group of society! Very few people have the patience to educate themselves through the process of what I call due-diligence.

I hope I have helped you to ask not just different questions in shopping for an electric pressure washer, but helped you ask the questions you didn't even know to ask.

I wish you much success in your efforts!


Darren Priest