The 5 Best Pressure Washers for Cars: Reviews and Buying Guide

Tired of spending time and money at the car wash? Using a pressure washer to wash your car cuts through the dirt and grime to give you that same deep clean. Plus, with a pressure washer cleaning your car only takes minutes.

If you’re ready to join the home pressure washer revolution, then you’re in the right place. We put together a roundup of the best pressure washers for cars and an awesome buyer’s guide just for you.

The car pressure washers we will be reviewing in this article are:

  1. Sun Joe SPX3000 Electric Pressure Washer 
  2. Stanley SHP2150 Electric Pressure Washer
  3. PAXCESS Electric Pressure Washer
  4. Kärcher K2 Car Care Kit Electric Pressure Washer
  5. Greenworks 1500 PSI Pressure Washer GPW1501

Honorable mention: Karcher K1700 Electric Pressure Washer

Top Pick: Sun Joe SPX3000 Electric Pressure Washer

  • Performance: 2030 PSI/1.76 GPM max
  • Hose: 20 ft
  • Cord: 35 ft
  • Two removable .9 litre detergent tanks

Why Use a Car Pressure Washer? 

  • A Deeper Clean: The cleaning power of a pressure washer lets it take on tough stains that a garden hose just can’t handle. Paired with a good detergent or foaming spray, and you can get your car clean enough to look straight off the lot.
  • Cost-Effective: Trips to the local carwash can quickly add up, and it won’t take long for a pressure washer to pay for itself in that regard. This is especially true when your family owns multiple vehicles. With a pressure washer, you can stop overspending at car washes and enjoy the same level of cleanliness while saving money.
  • Save Time: If you’re already washing your car at home, just think of how long it can take. Now, picture being able to have the whole fleet of family cars looking brand new in well under an hour. With a pressure washer, you can cut the time it takes to get a great car wash down to just minutes.
  • Use Less Water: Pressure washing uses up to five times less water per minute than a garden hose and can finish the same job in far less time, saving you money on your water bill. Plus, using less water is better for the environment as well.
  • Great around the house too: You may be buying a pressure washer for car detailing, but they can be awesome to have around the house for other cleaning jobs too.Cleaning tough stains like oil or grease of the driveway is just one of the things they can make super simple. We’ve included a list of just a few of the many other jobs that they are awesome for later in this article as well.

How our Best Pressure Washers for Cars List Was Made:

To find the car pressure washers for the money, we searched for professional and customer reviews to build a list of the most trusted models on the market. Using the manufacturer provided specifications like the PSI and GPM to gauge the performance of each model narrowed our initial list. Beyond performance, we also assessed the ergonomics, durability, ease of use when building our list.

Evaluating each product left us with a list of pressure washers that we feel are the perfect choice for use in your car.

Reviews of the Best Pressure Washers for Cars

At the top of our list, this powerful little pressure washer is one of the best pressure washers available period. I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing the Sun Joe SPX 3000 once before for our list of best pressure washers. In that article, I chose it as the best light-duty electric pressure washer around, and my opinion on that hasn’t changed. It’s a light-duty pressure washer with plenty of power and some excellent quality of life features.

With a Max working pressure of 2030PSI and the flow of 1.76 GPM, this small cleaner is as perfect for cleaning your car and windshield as it is for cleaning your deck or patio furniture. With five included quick-connect nozzles, you can tailor the pressure output of the spray to your needs making cleaning a breeze.

This pressure washer is highly mobile with its 35-foot power cable end a set of built-in wheels that make it easy to move around on the job. It comes with a 34-inch extension spray wand with five quick-connect nozzles to easily control the strength of your stream for different cleaning tasks.

That 34-inch extendable spray wand gives you some serious reach to clean otherwise tricky places like the underside of the car or the top of a truck without needing to bend down or awkwardly reach over the top.

My absolute favorite feature is the unique dual detergent tank system. This helpful time-saver lets you carry two cleaning solutions at once. You can swap between the tanks quickly with a turn of the selection knob, so you’re ready to switch at a moment’s notice.

When you don’t need two different cleaning solutions, the dual tanks still give you extra storage space with the ability to hold a massive combined 1.8 liters of detergent. These tanks are also easily removable for faster and more convenient refilling.

This machine also includes a total stop system (TSS) trigger, a safety feature that shuts down the pump when not engaged. This feature is one you want to look for because it not only saves you power but also helps to preserve the life of the pump.

Key Features:
  • Performance: 2030 PSI/1.76 GPM max
  • Hose: 20 ft
  • Cord: 35 ft
  • Two removable .9 litre detergent tanks

With and 43 times the pressure of a garden hose, the SHP2150 provides deep cleaning while using less water and finishing the job more quickly. With a max working pressure of 2150PSI, it has the power to handle just about any cleaning job you’d expect from a light-duty washer and more.

Easy to assemble thanks to simple instructions, and just as simple to use. It comes with four quick-connect pressure nozzles to adjust the pressure of the water stream. You also won’t have to worry about losing those nozzles when not in use thanks to onboard storage located conveniently on the body of the pressure gun.

The SHP2150 features durable professional-grade brass garden hose connectors and a 22mm connector. This inclusion is good to see because those brass connectors will never rust or crack.

Also included with this washer is a detergent tank that doubles as a foam cannon. This attachment allows you to spray a thick layer of foam on your car, truck, or other vehicles for deep cleaning. This method of cleaning is perfect for removing tough grime for a cleaner finish.

While it is a bit heavy 26 pounds, it’s still easy to move around thanks to a wheeled base and telescoping handle. A 35-foot power cable and the included 25-foot pressure hose also allow a good deal of mobility when working.

Another exciting feature is that the spray gun has a convenient trigger lock that makes for easier cleaning.  It allows you to lock the trigger in place so that you don’t need to keep it held down yourself the whole time you are using it. This feature is a nice one to have when you expect to be spraying for a while, but be sure not to leave it on when not in use to avoid extra wear on the pump.

Key Features:
  • Performance: 2150 PSI/1.4 GPM max
  • Hose: 25 ft
  • Cord: 35 ft
  • Included 28oz foam cannon

A pressure washer with a special feature that makes it perfect when you cant be sure there will be a tap around.

The PAXCESS electric pressure washer has a powerful 1800 Watt mode motor capable of pumping out up to 2150 PS I at 1.85 GPM. This little pressure washer punches above its weight class and impresses with its cleaning power. Its easy to use being reasonably lightweight, and despite having so much power has very little kickback.

A unique feature that makes the PAXCESS electric pressure washer great for boat or RV owners is that it doesnt need to be connected to a tap. Instead, you can opt to place the connected hose into a bucket or other water source, and the pump will automatically suck up the water.

This pressure washer gives you all the power you need to clean cars, trucks, boats, or any other vehicle in just minutes.

It features an adjustable pressure nozzle that just needs to be twisted to adjust the pressure of the stream. It may not sound like much, but its a nice quality of life feature to have. After all, it means less time fumbling around with changing nozzles and more time cleaning. The adjustable spray wand also has a foam spraying pattern for spreading soap.

The PAXCESS pressure washer has a TTS trigger, which helps with preserving the life of the pump by preventing it from running while not in use.  It also has an onboard hose reel, which makes it easy to manage the 26 foot long included pressure hose preventing kinks and tangling.

Key Features:
  • Performance: 2150 PSI/1.85 GPM max
  • Hose: 26 ft
  • Cord: 33 ft
  • Adjustable pressure nozzle
  • Onboard hose reel

With a maximum rated power of 1600 PSI and 1.25 GPM water flow, the Karcher K2 may not be capable of taking out tough grease stains on your driveway, but it’s perfect for having your car washed in just minutes. The Karcher K2 is another excellent choice for car detailing.

Compact and ultra-lightweight, it’s incredibly portable and easy to maneuver with two wheels and a collapsable telescoping handle. It takes up less space in the garage, which is always welcome and is small enough to be easy to bring on the go.

The K2 is sold with two included pressure wands. The wand you’ll primarily want to use is an adjustable power spray wand that twists to let you easily adjust the pressure. Being able to adjust the pressure on the fly instead of changing nozles is a great time saver. At lower pressures, the adjustable wand will automatically dispense detergent.

The other spray wand provides a more high-pressure stream for cleaning stubborn stains and isn’t suited for use on cars since it could damage the paint. Still, it could be useful for blasting dried mud off of truck tires.

Karcher sells the K2 with a car and home cleaning kit bundled with a variety of additional useful accessories.

One of these accessories is a detergent foamer able to quickly spray a thick layer of foam on your car to clean off stubborn dirt or stains. Using a foamer gets you the kind of shine that you can’t get with just spraying. It also comes with a container of biodegradable car detergent to use with the foamer as well.

Also included in the kits is a surface cleaner for cleaning your driveway or patio, but if that’s something important to you, then I’d recommend looking for a more powerful washer like the Sun Joe SPX3000. This washer is perfect for everyday cleaning, just don’t expect it to handle deep grease stains or mold as well as more powerful options.

Overall the Karcher K2 is an excellent choice with the perfect strength for cleaning your car quickly with minimal splashback.

Key Features:
  • Performance: 1600 PSI/1.25 GPM max
  • Hose: 20 ft
  • Cord: 35 ft
  • Includes a variable strength nozzle and a foamer attachment

The Greenworks GPW1501 is an ultra-light and ultra-portable pressure washer perfect for cleaning your car. Its lightweight and compact design make it the best pressure washer to bring on the go making it ideal for RV and boat owners.

The lightweight design of this pressure washer makes it easy to carry wherever it’s needed, and it can be stood up or laid on its side for more stability. Together with its 30-foot power cord and included 20-foot hose, this makes the GPW1501 perfect for maximum maneuverability.

The compact design also makes the GPW1501 super easy to store since it doesn’t take up much space.

At 1500 PSI with a 1.2 GPM flow, this cleaner may be weak for a pressure washer, but it still has the perfect amount of power for cleaning a car. It provides way better results than a garden hose while taking much less time and water.

The Greenworks GPW1501 pressure washer includes two quick-connect nozzles that can be stored on the body when not being used. It also comes with a soap applicator for spraying detergent for better cleaning.

Similar to the Karcher K2 while this small pressure washer is perfect for cleaning your car or truck, and for light cleaning tasks around the house. This ultralightweight washer is one of the best pressure washers for detailing your car truck or boat.

Key Features:
  • Performance: 1500 PSI/1.2 GPM max
  • Hose: 20 ft
  • Cord: 35 ft
  • Super small and lightweight


The Karcher K1700 is a powerful cleaner with a great ergonomic design. It takes some excellent quality of life features and pairs them with enough power to handle almost any cleaning job.

An easy on/off footswitch reduces back strain from frequently having to bend over to switch the unit on or off. The half-gallon detergent tank is also removable, making for quick and easy refills.

A large removable storage bin provides storage for accessories so you can keep them all together, and for your personal items while cleaning. It also features a unique power cord storage feature that provides excellent cord management, perfect for avoiding knots and tangles.

The K1700 incredibly durable with metal hose connections and an integrated aluminum frame with oversized no-flat wheels. A TSS trigger also prevents the pump from running when not in use, preserving the life of your pump life.

With a robust metal exterior, large handle, and oversize wheels, this pressure washer is easy to transport and durable enough to survive the journey. It’s easy to move to provide lots of mobility and also incredibly stable, so you don’t need to worry about it tipping over.

Or, for a more compact option, Karcher also sells another variation of the K1700 called the K1700 Cube. The Cube has the same pump and motor as the K1700, but it forgoes the metal foreclosure, handle, and wheels for a more compact and easy to store option. If space is your primary concern, then there’s a good chance this could be your best pressure washer for car detailing.

Key Features:
  • Performance: 1700 PSI/1.2 GPM max
  • Hose: 20 ft
  • Cord: 35 ft
  • Convenient on/off footswitch
  • Large removable storage bin

Choosing the Best Pressure Washer for Cars: A Buyers Guide for 2020

What Features to Look out for

There are some key points that you want to look at when comparing car pressure washers. These features are what you want to look for and how you can judge what car pressure washer is the best for you.

Cleaning Power (PSI and GPM)

The overall cleaning power of a pressure washer is probably the first thing you want to consider. To figure out how powerful a pressure washer is there are two terms you need to know; PSI and GPM.

PSI stands for pounds per square inch and is a measurement of the force of the water stream the pump can produce when leaving the nozzle of the pressure cleaner.  GPM stands for gallons per minute and is a measurement of how much water the pump can output in a minute.

When you know the PSI and GPM of a pressure washer, there’s an easy formula for figuring out its cleaning power. Cleaning power (CP) is a measurement taken by multiplying the PSI and GPM of a pressure washer. Sometimes this is also written as cleaning units (CU) instead.

Different jobs require different amounts of cleaning power to complete. When washing your car, you don’t need an incredible amount of force, too much force will even damage your paint job. That’s why the sweet spot for a car pressure washer is between 1960 and 2800 cleaning power.

Included Nozzles or Adjustable Wands

Different nozzles alter the psi when pressure washing and let you take on different cleaning tasks. That’s why a washer that includes more nozzles is great to see. It provides you more versatility and can handle a wider range of cleaning tasks right out of the box.

Some car pressure washers don’t come with any nozzles at all. Instead, they feature adjustable pressure wands where you control the strength of the stream by adjusting the wand. A car pressure washer with this kind of attachment is excellent for light-duty cleaning jobs like car detailing. They give you the flexibility to adjust the stream on the fly, so you don’t even need to change nozzles between jobs.

Foaming wands or tanks

Some car pressure washers are sold with attachments to apply foam cleaners for deeper cleaning. This feature could be provided with either a separate tank attachment or a built-in capability that the spray wand has.

Having this built into the wand is the more convenient option since it means fewer attachments to deal with having around. To spray foam with one of these wands, you just need to use a lower PSI and it will automatically spray the detergent.

Soap/Detergent Tank

Using a detergent with your car pressure washer gives you the extra cleaning power you need to remove even the most difficult stains. Having dedicated onboard detergent tanks makes cleaning simpler.  Look for a model with an easy to refill detergent tank for even more convivence.

Hose Length

While you can always purchase another hose, it’s easier and most likely cheaper to get one the right length and quality with your pressure washer. You want enough room to move freely, but going too long will diminish the strength of the stream.

Cord Length

Similarly to a hose, you could always buy an extension cord, but there are plenty of models with long wires enough that you wouldn’t need one. A long wire gives you more mobility and less of a hassle when you need to move around your car pressure washer.

Power type

One of the largest distinguishing factors in choosing a pressure washer is its power source. They can use either electric motors or gas-fueled engines.  Electric pressure washers tend to be cheaper and lighter duty, while gas-engine pressure washers are premium tools for heavy-duty cleaning.

The best pressure washers for car detailing are usually electric pressure washers. These cleaners are more lightweight and compact than gas models. They also run more quietly and don’t require the same amount of maintenance. They produce the perfect range of water pressure to be used in car detailing.

Gas-engine pressure washers are designed with heavy-duty applications in mind. They produce more force than electric motors providing higher PSI streams of water. Not only is this not needed for washing your car, but it risks damaging your paint job. Water at too high a psi will strip the paint right off!

Popular Brands

Greenworks

Greenworks is one of the leading names when it comes to electric yard tools. They specialize in battery-powered outdoor tools and make some of the best cordless tools around. They produce great tools that have a reduced impact on the environment.

Stanley

Stanley tools have been synonymous with quality for well over a century now. One of the oldest operating tool companies in the united states, they’ve expanded their business from hand tools to electric tools. They offer a wide range of outdoor tools through both the Stanley and Black & Decker brand names. Stanley electric pressure washers are among the best pressure washers for car washing.

Karcher

Karcher Is a well-known brand that sells a wide variety of different home and garden cleaning products. They are one of the world’s leading producers of electric pressure washers and have an impressive line of machines capable of meeting all but the toughest cleaning needs. They make some of the absolute best pressure washers for car detailing.

Sun Joe

Sun Joe specializes in making high-quality and affordable electric outdoor tools. They make a wide range of outdoor tools, including some of the best electric pressure washers on the market. They also make some great snow blowers under the Snow Joe brand name.

Using Your Car Pressure Washer

How to use

Having the best pressure washer for car washing doesn’t mean much if you don’t know how to use it! We have an article dedicated to giving a more in-depth guide on how to clean your car with a pressure washer, but we’ll tell you all you need to know here.

  1. Find a convenient place to park your car away from other cars; this shouldn’t be a problem if you have a driveway. Also, be sure not to have anything in the area that you wouldn’t want to get wet. Make sure you remembered to roll up your windows!
  2. Make sure you have a long enough power cord or extension to reach the closest outlet if you’re using an electric pressure washer.
  3. Set up your pressure washer and check your pressure. Start further back from the car before moving closer. This step is important! Misjudging your pressure can damage your paint job.
  4. Pre-rinse your car; you need to do this before using detergent or foam. You want to spray the whole exterior, don’t forget your tires!
  5. Apply your detergent, foam layer, or other cleaning product. Make sure to closely follow any direction on the bottle of the product on how to dilute the soap if needed.
  6. Let the foam sit for the specified amount of time to allow time to work.


And that’s it, it’s now finally time to rinse off your car, and you’re done, just like that.

Safety Tips:

A pressure washer is a fantastic tool for cleaning if it’s used correctly and safely.

  1. Never point a spray gun at any person or animal
  2. Never allow children to play near an in use pressure washer.
  3. Whenever you turn off your pressure washer, be sure to release any pressure still in the pump. You can usually do this by squeezing the gun trigger until the pressure is drained before disconnecting the hoses.
  4. Never let the pump run out of water. Running dry can cause severe damage to a pump.

Snow Foam Lances

A snow foam Lance is an attachment that sprays a special kind of foaming soap, coating your car in a layer of foam. Once it has been sprayed on, you let the foam site for a few minutes; usually around ten. While sitting there, that layer of foam is activating, dissolving and lifting off even the deepest levels of dirt from your paint.

Snow foaming gives you a whole new level of clean with way less effort required on your part. If you want your car to look brand new, then this accessory gives you the best possible clean.

Other Uses for a pressure washer

Driveways

Years of dirt, pollen, coolant leaks, or oil spills can leave a driveway dull and stained. However, the huge flat surface of a driveway can easily be cleaned with the use of a pressure washer. With sufficient PSI and the right detergent even, the toughest stains can be blasted off with ease. Your driveway is one of the first things anyone sees when they pull up to your home. Why not say hello to an amazing first impression?

Foot Paths

Just like a driveway, a good pressure cleaning will have your footpath cleaned off and looking brand new. In just one afternoon, you can restore the color to a brick or stone pathway or have concrete looked freshly paved.

Patios & Decks

Patios and decks can be the centerpiece of your summer get-togethers, but being exposed to the elements they can feel like magnets for dirt. Imagine how long it would take to clean a deck or patio by hand. Instead, with a pressure washer, just spray, and you can have it squared away in no time.

The same is true for patio furniture, which you can have looking as clean as the day you bought it without any need for scrubbing.

Grills

Speaking of summer get-togethers, nothing says summer quite like a barbecue. Nobody wants to use a dirty grill, but have you ever scrubbed a grill by hand? It’s tough work, and it takes much longer than you would expect. With a pressure washer though you can have that grill cleaned way quicker and looking just like new.

FAQ

What kind of cleaning products can I use in my pressure washer?

You should use only detergents that were designed to be used by pressure washers. Using another cleaner could damage the pump or nozzle if using an external detergent tank.

Can I use hot water in a pressure washer?

No, most pressure washers are designed to be used with cold water, and hot water will likely melt rubber O-rings or other components. Do not use hot water unless the owner’s manual specifies that it is ok.

How do I unclog a pressure washer nozzle?

If you think your nozzle is clogged, then turn off the pressure washer and detach the gun before examining it. Use a thin wire and try to poke out whatever is obstructing the nozzle. Run water through the nozzle to see if it is unclogged and try and remove any remaining debris. Now reconnect the spray gun to the pressure washer and try again.

Can you repair a pressure hose if it’s been punctured?

No, once a hose has been punctured, it needs to be replaced. Pressure washers operate at such a high PSI that patches and dressings are almost always ineffective at saving a hose.

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