These top-performing models from Consumer Reports’ tests start instantly and clean efficiently
By Paul Hope
A pressure washer is the tool of choice for cleaning decks, patios, and walkways. But don’t assume you need a big gas-powered machine.
“In our most recent tests, we saw outstanding cleaning results from electric pressure washers,” says CR test engineer Dave Trezza. Many can clean as well as gas models—and in some cases, they do even better. The catch? Most electric pressure washers lack the power generated by gas models, so the same task may take a bit longer. As a rule, the most powerful gas machines will work up to twice as fast as electrics, making gas the better choice if you’ve neglected outside surfaces for years. You can always rent a powerful gas model to do a deep clean, too, then invest in an electric model for maintenance.
Electric pressure washers are lighter, more nimble, and far quieter than their gas counterparts. And like all electric and battery-operated tools, they start instantly and are significantly better for the Earth because they don’t produce any emissions during use.
Plus, you don’t have to mess with oil, fuel, or fuel stabilizer. Our data also shows that as a group, they’re more reliable than gas models. For more information, see our take on the most and least reliable pressure washer brands.
Gas or electric, all pressure washers (sometimes called power washers) are potentially dangerous, particularly when used with a zero-degree tip or nozzle. These nozzles can blast a stream of water with such force that it can pierce skin and even cut through protective gear, including boots. If you buy a model with a zero-degree nozzle, toss the nozzle in the trash to make sure no one ever uses it.
How Consumer Reports Tests Pressure Washers
We assess how much pressure each model can produce in pounds per square inch (psi). Those with higher psi earn a higher score. We then time how long it takes for each pressure washer to strip paint from painted plastic panels. Models with a higher pressure output tend to perform better on this test.
Even though electric pressure washers tend to be quieter than gas-powered washers, they still require hearing protection, such as earplugs or an earmuff-style headset. So we measure noise for these models, too.
Last, we evaluate how easy each pressure washer is to use. Electric pressure washers that offer, say, cord storage or features that simplify hose and wand attachment receive higher scores than models that don’t.
If you’re unsure whether an electric pressure washer is right for you, start with our pressure washer buying guide. It provides more details about how electric models differ from gas-powered and battery models in terms of features and capabilities. It also explains when you might be better off renting a pressure washer instead of buying one. CR members can explore our pressure washer ratings to see how various models in all categories compare, according to CR’s exhaustive tests. Below, we highlight the top four electric pressure washers and zero in on what makes each special.
Best Electric Pressure Washers
These electric pressure washers are designed for common household tasks, such as maintaining a patio or walkway. None include a zero-degree nozzle, a known safety hazard, and all earn a rating of Very Good for cleaning and noise.
How to Clean Your Deck
Is your deck looking tired and dingy? On “Consumer 101,” Consumer Reports test engineer Dave Trezza shows how to revive your outdoor space.
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