Washing a car is an art and can be tedious. It’s just more time consuming and physical burden if you are using only a garden hose! A pressure washer takes it to the next level when compared to a garden hose.
Your car is precious. I know how much you love it. Sometimes it can worth more than diamond. And that was a solid reason for me and my best friend Collin to dug deep about finding the best pressure washer for cars.
Personally, I like to keep that dirt and mud off my car before even they are there. With a daily routine wash that is easy to achieve. Hand washing is a versatile process but yet I prefer pressure washing. And for the fun part, I have foam cannon for my pressure washer.
I am going to make you understand two things:
- Why you need a pressure washer and which one to buy
- How to pressure wash your car in the right way
If you have a dirty car or want some great pressure washer purchase then jump into this!
Let me clear one thing. We have spent about 17 hours in pressure washing with 12 pressure washers. Among those washers 4 of which we own. Interviewed our neighbors and made solid research on the internet. I guess that was some hard work and you can count on the list.
Table of Contents
- 1 THE FACT: What Is A Good PSI To Wash A Car?
- 2 Pressure Washing is Completely Safe for Cars
- 3 Best Pressure Washer For Cars in 2019-Reviewed
- 4 1. Sun Joe SPX3000: Best For Washing Cars
- 5 2. Power Pressure Washer 1500 PSI Electric: Advanced Brushless Technology
- 6 3. Karcher K5 Premium: Best Electric Pressure Washer
- 7 4. Stanley SHP2150 Electric Pressure Washer: Top Rated Cleaning Power
- 8 5. AR Blue Clean AR383: Best Pressure Washer for Cleaning
- 9 6. Greenworks GPW1501: Best Efficient Pressure Washer
- 10 7. Briggs & Stratton 20545 2200 PSI: Great Allrounder
- 11 8. Generac 7019 OneWash: Best Gas Pressure Washer
- 12 The Best Car Pressure Washer in 2019: Quick Review
- 13 Pressure Washer Buying Guide for Cars: Types of Pressure Washer
- 14 How to Choose a Car Pressure Washer?
- 15 How to Pressure Wash A Car: A Complete Guide
- 16 Pressure Washer Maintenance
- 17 Pressure Washer FAQ
- 18 Final Words
THE FACT: What Is A Good PSI To Wash A Car?
Time for some blah blah blah! Ever wonder what size or shape a pressure washer should be, especially for a car pressure washer? In my opinion, it must be lightweight and convenient. A long hose is mandatory!
Moving to power, it is not that important. Yeah, really. I mean how tough it would be to remove just some mud and dirt! It does not take much pressure to remove those mud and dust. That’s why you do not need that much powerful pressure washer.
Believe me, a pressure washer with 1200-1900 psi is insanely good to wash your car. One more important point to carry in mind is the foam washer. I know you would love to wash your car covering in white foam, just like shaving cream! Pressure washer nozzle tips are important for this. I will discuss it later.
Here I am going to discuss the electric pressure washers for car (mostly). They are unbelievably lightweight and compact. If you are looking for something for the money, I have options below too. I am not saying gas pressure washers are not good. They are very powerful but heavy.
Have a look at the comparison if you are still confused. If you do not have a power source where you want to use the pressure washer, you can opt for a gas pressure washer.
Pressure Washing is Completely Safe for Cars
There are many people who fear that pressure washing car is not safe. This is true indeed. If you are not careful about the use of pressure, you may damage the paint job. To avoid this, you need to find out the perfect pressure washer and pressure.
According to the users, the safe psi for a car wash is around 2000psi. This is perfect for removing tough dirt stains from your car’s surface.
However, for the damage to happen you need to apply the pressure directly and from a close range to the car’s surface. Regardless of the PSI, you should always start with a distance from the target, which is about 24 inches and moves in closer to it.
Best Pressure Washer For Cars in 2019-Reviewed
1. Sun Joe SPX3000: Best For Washing Cars
We found Sun Joe SPX3000 as the most popular car pressure washer for the US market. This huge popularity is because of the huge specifications/features it provides at a very affordable price. This pressure washer surpassed all my expectations and the cleaning task I had subjected to it. The company has a tagline for this as the Ultimate Dirt Fighter.
Do I have to say more? Well, let’s check out the key specifications it got under the hood.
- 2030 PSI
- 31 LBS in weight
- 5 Amp/1800-Watt motor
- 1.76 GPM
- 35 feet power cord
One of the great features I want to discuss is the dual detergent tanks, mounted on top. This is extremely good as one might need to use two detergents, one for cleaning and another for shining. That’s how you can conveniently switch between detergents for different types of grimes.
To increase the pump life and save energy sun joe came up with an idea called Total Stop System(TSS). When the trigger on the gun is not engaged it automatically shuts off the pump. The accessories it offers are great. Like the 34-inch extension spray wand to reach some hard-to-access areas. Two rear wheels provide great portability around your garage or yard.
It comes with a huge 35-foot power cord and 20 feet high-pressure hose so you don’t have to worry about reaching any area.
There is a video that is surely going to give you a brief idea. (Check the bottom of this post)
However, it offers both high pressure and low-pressure spray. You need to use the low pressure for your cars.
2. Power Pressure Washer 1500 PSI Electric: Advanced Brushless Technology
Honestly, I got stunned by the performance and outlook of this pressure washer. This tiny pressure washer can be put in a locker.
I never had this pressure washer. Even I did not even know this one existed. But, a couple of days ago, my neighbor had bought this one and invited me to test this. I was just thrilled by the sound of it. Literally way too quieter than any pressure washer.
After the test I decided, this one is getting on my top list.
But, I placed it in second as the psi is only 1500. However, more than enough for a good car wash. Let’s have a look at the specification of it:
- 1500 psi of pressure 1.76 GPM
- 24 lbs of weight
- Brushless induction motor
- 20 ft long hose
Moving forward, look at the size of it. It is very easy to carry and super compact. The handle is really comfortable to hold and carry.
The most important thing that made me look at it is the brushless motor. This unique design pressure washer delivers 1500 psi pressure with a brushless induction motor. This motor is long-lasting. With way too less noise production than a gas pressure washer it also generates little heat.
This one features a total stop system for better protects the motor from overheating when not in use. However, the corded cable that comes with the pressure washer is too small and the hose could have been 5 feet long.
With the sleek design, it is a great choice. And if you do not want to mess with the neighbors due to the sound problem then, definitely this one is the choice.
3. Karcher K5 Premium: Best Electric Pressure Washer
If you think of pressure washer the Karcher brand would come to your mind on the first go. Karcher pressure washer was expensive before they reduced the price.
Meanwhile, the Sun Joe became very popular in the US market. Now, this Karcher K5 premium is the best car pressure washer from this company. This company has marketed its product to be the precious value for money.
This pressure washer is engineered to withstand the rigorous tasks of frequent residential use (definitely your car also). The main feature it stands apart from the rest is the water-cooled induction pump system. This water cooling system will extend the life of the motor by up to 5 times. Let’s check what specifications it offers:
- 2000 PSI of pressure 1.4 GPM
- 32 Pounds of weight
- Water-cooled induction motor
- 5 Amp/1800-Watt motor
Karcher has provided an N-Cor pump which is durable and literally maintenance free. This pump is non-corrosive as claimed by the manufacturer. To support the pump, they have a brilliant water-cooled induction motor system. It comes with an onboard detergent tank so you can leave the tension of using detergent.
Another two main features are Vario power spray wand and dirtblaster spray wand. What the vario-wand helps to do, is giving you the luxury of controlling low to high pressure easily from the wand. This pressure controlling is very important for car washing.
And the dirtblaster pressure wand is for removing very stubborn stains. Never think of using this for washing car. This wand is for concrete, bricks, stone, and other hard surfaces.
This can be easily used for much other washing. Don’t believe me? Check this out!
I would recommend using Karcher soap dispenser nozzle with your pressure washer if you want a shaving cream-like foam on your car.
4. Stanley SHP2150 Electric Pressure Washer: Top Rated Cleaning Power
Stanley is a company with trust in the tools industry, sustaining for 175 years. And this pressure washer is another reflection of their quality products.
This one is compact yet powerful to fit in tight spaces. In addition, you are going to love the awesome finishing it offers all over the body and parts. The features are impressive too. Let’s have a look at them.
- 2150 PSI pressure
- 25 foot soft flexible high-pressure hose
- 35-foot power cord
- 1.4 GPM
4 quick connect nozzles are stored on the zinc steel pressure washer wand with a clever idea. You don’t even need to bend for the pressure washer, the nozzles are all in your hand. These nozzles are going to serve for a specific type of cleaning on the spot.
On top of it, they have included a foam cannon with this pressure washer. That attachment is also a good one, saving a few $ if you stick with it. This means they are saying this pressure washer as a great one for cars.
Due to some bad customer review over the inlet connector, they have changed the connector using brass. However, you need to get the connection right on the first time. This is because the part on the machine is plastic that mates with. Any loose connection will lead to water leakage.
If the quick connect nozzle does not fit or pop out during setup, get an extra quick connect nozzle before that happens.
5. AR Blue Clean AR383: Best Pressure Washer for Cleaning
You might not be familiar with this brand. Annovi Reverberi, the manufacturer of this pressure washer is an Italian pump manufacturer company.
Although they are not famous, they are still making some affordable car pressure washer with great features. So, what are the features? Let’s check out:
- 1900 PSI pressure
- 27 pounds of weight
- 30 feet power cable
- 5 AMP/1800-Watt Motor
If you are looking for the best value pressure washer with a low budget then you can select this one without any dilemma. I was amazed by the features it’s giving at this cheap price!
You will get a hose reel for storing the 20 feet of pressure hose. And most amazingly you can store the accessories in the built-in storage space! They could have given a longer hose but still, it does the job.
Confused about what to do with the hose? Here’s a video for that.
The 14-ounce detergent storage gives you a flexibility of storing detergent for convenient cleaning. A cheap replacement for Karcher, this pressure washer also includes the safety feature. TSS (Total Stop System), a system that will automatically shut off the pump if the trigger is not engaged. This will save a lot of energy and keep the pump running for a longer span.
Its lightweight design, hose reel, and the wheels make it a versatile and compact pressure washer for carrying around the yard. The manufacturer offers a quick connect to easily attach your garden hose or included spray nozzles.
6. Greenworks GPW1501: Best Efficient Pressure Washer
Let me be honest with you. This Greenworks GPW1501 is unbelievably compact for a price this cheap! If you are on a tight budget, this is going to be the best car pressure washer under $100. You can say this thing is so compact, I wonder this is made only for car washing.
Don’t go with the size of it. It has a good capacity for cleaning stains and of course, cleaning your car. Perhaps this is one of the cheapest pressure washers on the market with some good features. Let’s have a look at it:
- 1500 PSI/1.1 GPM of pressure
- 4 lbs in weight
- 13 Amp universal motor
- 35 feet of power cord
- Soap applicator
This pressure washer comes with a 25 and 40 degree quick connect tip for greater stability to switch between your work. This way you would be able to complete different cleaning types.
It comes with a detergent bottle, which fits the gun’s handle. Simply fit it and apply detergent or cleaning solution at low pressure and then remove the bottle. Then, start with fixing the wand for pressure washing. This means no onboard detergent tank.
This water-resistant pressure washer is so compact and lightweight that you can move around holding it in your hand. Hand carry frame and plastic body made it this portable. Still, it manages to deliver 1.1 gallons of water per minute. Plus, you get a soap applicator if you want to thoroughly wash your car and make them shine like a mirror!
Definitely, go for this if you want the best cheap car pressure washer. Or you can check this dedicated review.
7. Briggs & Stratton 20545 2200 PSI: Great Allrounder
This is one of the most popular models of Briggs & Stratton brand. And it’s expected.
I have listed this pressure washer for its excellent customer review. If you want something that can clean not only your car but also serve your medium-duty cleaning jobs then select this. This one is also one of the best washers for car detailing.
With a powerful engine, this powerful pressure washer generates 2200 PSI pressure. It has some excellent features too. Let’s check them out:
- 2200 psi, 1.9 GPM pressure
- Never go flat wheels for smooth transportation
- 50 pounds in weight
- OHV 140cc engine
- Quick connector
Their manufacturing system focuses on lowest price quality products, like this one. This pressure washer comes with three quick connect spray tips for a variety of cleaning tasks. Also, there is a garden hose connector for versatile cleaning.
Its ergonomic design, combining with tall handle makes it great for controlling on the job. Strong wheels will support an easy movement.
Just like the big brands they have also come up with a brilliant easy start system for fast starting every time. Once again you do not have to worry about a faulty pump with maintenance free axial pump. This one is versatile.
Included a 25 ft high pressure hose all are just like the big brands. Oh, there is a detergent injection method. You can simply make life easier with this cheap pressure washer if you are not willing to pay a little extra for other brands.
8. Generac 7019 OneWash: Best Gas Pressure Washer
Wondering why I finally included a heavy gas pressure washer? I thought, why don’t I introduce you to an amazing all purpose pressure washer with an amazing feature. The feature is called PowerDial. This PowerDial is located on top of the trigger of the spray wand.
This machine is packed with features. Notably, there is specifically an option for car washing. It serves as modes. Car, wood, concrete and soap.
Now according to the book, it has a maximum capacity of 3100 psi with 2.4 GPM (huge power!). The power is harnessed by Generac 196cc OHV engine. All you can do is control the pressure with that PowerDial.
An axial cam pump combining with a 196 cc generates continuous pressure. With a half-gallon onboard detergent tank, you never have to worry about running without detergent. Better than the Generac 6596, this is one of the best gas pressure washers for cars.
The Best Car Pressure Washer in 2019: Quick Review
- Sun Joe SPX3000: Electric, 2,030 PSI, 1.76 GPM
- Power Pressure Washer: Electric, 1500 PSI, 1.76 GPM
- Karcher K5 Premium: Electric, 2,000 PSI, 1.4 GPM
- Stanley SHP2150: Electric 2150 PSI, 1.4 GPM
- AR Blue Clean AR383: Electric, 1,900 PSI, 1.3 GPM
- Greenworks GPW1501: Electric, 1,600 PSI, 1.2 GPM
- PowRyte Portable 2000 PSI: Electric, 2,000 PSI, 1.8 GPM
- Generac 7019 OneWash: Gas, 3,100 PSI, 2.4 GPM
Pressure Washer Buying Guide for Cars: Types of Pressure Washer
Don’t put pressure on your brain. Let them do other things as I am going to guide you exactly what to look for while buying a pressure washer. I know people thinking for years to know: “what kind of pressure washer do I need to wash my car?”
This is not going to be as easy as selecting a hosepipe to water your flowers. You are going to need to consider some technical points for this. Let’s begin.
There are categories of pressure washer that serves your purpose in a specific area. These categories can be described in three sections. Whether you are looking for the best electric pressure washer or a gas pressure washer for your car or patio, you can definitely follow this guideline.
Light Duty Pressure Washers
You understand from the category, it is not for daily heavy tasks. These are best for people who do not use them on a regular basis, or for “homeowners”. This does not mean that these pressure washers are of bad quality.
People who want to clean by themselves, they can choose this type of pressure washer. DO-it-yourself type of thing. This category can perform a lot of household cleaning with ease at a very cheap cost. That’s why this can be a great option for your car cleaning.
These are powered by either an electric or gas engine. Their motor or overall built quality is not like the leaders. So, they are best for infrequent use. Light duty pressure washers are best for car cleaning. They can also perform cleaning of sliding, concrete, deck, etc.
Medium Duty Pressure Washers
This category is one step up of the light-duty pressure washer. You can also think of it as a bridge between “cheap” and “luxury” pressure washers. These washers are for semi-pros. If you look wisely, you can find some great electric pressure washers for cars in this group. Definitely, these products are better with built quality than the light duty pressure washers.
However, it depends solely on the manufacturers. Some may manufacture a pressure washer with a great pump but with lower grade engine. It is not going to harm the performance in a great deal. Gas pressure washers are great for this range.
Although, electric pressure washers are also a great deal. Depending on your need (pressure, type of work, the frequency of work), you can select from a wide range of products. Typically, they fall between in the $300 to $400 price range.
Heavy Duty Pressure Washers
These are the best pressure washers you can get for the money. Professional pressure wash business owners use these sorts of pressure washers. But, still, you can use this too for your car wash. You can already understand, a heavy-duty pressure washer is made with top-notch components in every aspect, from the pump to nozzle.
Due to the great quality of components, they are expected to run for a longer period of time with great consistency. Most of the heavy-duty pressure washers are the most powerful pressure washers. Enough power for cleaning any kind of stains on any surface. Typically, they range above $500.
How to Choose a Car Pressure Washer?
Now, as you have learned different categories of pressure washers let’s try to choose one for car washing. The first thing that comes to mind is gas vs electric pressure washer. I would say the first target selecting the pressure of a pressure washer. Yes, they vary in size and power.
Car pressure washers are powered by either gas or electricity. But it would be wise to take a decision according to your car, yard or the space you are going to work. You already know, it does not require huge pressure for washing a car.
So, light duty pressure washers are marked as a car pressure washer. Due to the pressure, they possess, which is 1000 to 2100 psi they can wash your car with ease. Also, for other tasks like patio, boat, deck these light duty pressure washers can be extremely helpful.
Light duty pressure washers can be in electric or gas powered. Gas powered pressure washers require more maintenance than electric washers. That means a prolonged lifetime of electric pressure washers. Electric pressure washers are quite on the other hand.
If you consider portability, electric pressure washers are a winner here. They are extremely lightweight. You also have to consider the smoke that a gas washer generates. They are also heavy, difficult to move around your yard. However, a small engine gas pressure washer can generate more power than a large electric pressure washer. They are great for any kind of surface cleaning.
On the other hand, lightweight electric power washers can be great for washing your cars from time to time, but not for the daily hard cleaning job. No matter which pressure washer you select, always remember the pressure. A soft surface like your car can easily be damaged by high pressure.
How to Pressure Wash A Car: A Complete Guide
All right, now you have selected your pressure washer for car detailing. Make sure you wash your car for at least once every two weeks, regardless of the weather.
Your car is always exposed to the weather. And due to the moisture and dirt, some particle will stick to your car body ruining the shine.
You might not be aware but your car bottom takes a heavy amount of dirt, oil, and mud. So, try to wash it every two weeks. Before moving on here’s a video that should give you a perfect idea.
The process is simple.
Start with connecting the hose with the pressure washer and set up a 25⁰ nozzle. This will make sure proper safe pressure for your car paint. Or if you are using a powerful pressure washer then keep the pressure within 2000 psi.
Now, wash the car top to bottom with only water spraying with the spray wand. This will remove all the dirt and mud from your car body and wheels.
Never forget to wash underneath the car and engine bay.
After this, you can apply detergent using the on board detergent tank or you can use a foam cannon for mid blowing shaving effect (cleaning effect)! I will discuss later about this.
So, wash your car with detergent and let it settle for a while. Rinse off the detergent with only water pressure before it gets dry. You can use a soft brush or clean towel to shine your paint now. If you want to use a snow foam lance, look for an adjustable one. This would be easy for attaching it to the pressure washer nozzle.
First set it with the nozzle and spray it after first washing with water. Leave it for a while and rinse with pressure washer water. This will give the car paint an amazing shining glow!!
Using the Foam Cannon
Using this kind of cleaner attachments can bring back the shine of your car and make it look like brand new. Did you ever use it for your car? Let me make it simple for you. Here’s how you should use a foam cannon for pressure washer.
Did you notice the one I mentioned above? You can click it or better if you have one. Get an adjustable nozzle wand. Hook up the foam maker with the spray wand by just tapping the valve in. Spray on the foam just like you use the pressure washer.
Wait for a while and then rinse it off with pressure washer water force.
Foam cannon uses the detergent more and lesser water. This gives the shaving foam effect. Wipe the surface with a dry towel and boom! You have a shiny polished surface back on.
Pressure Washer Maintenance
Any machine, even you need good maintenance after a heavy operation. It may take 30 minutes for a pressure washer to run and wash your car. The pressure washer you used is also a machine and that is why it needs good maintenance. Here’s what you need to do for a great maintenance schedule.
- Keep your car pressure washer clean as much as possible. Keep them clean from mud and dirt after washing.
- Rinse detergent form the pressure washer
- Check and release pressure from the machine
- Leave the pressure washer motor or pump to cool down before storing it
- Remove water trapped in the hose or pump
- Winterize your pressure washer properly
Pressure Washer FAQ
1. Will Pressure Wash Damage Car Paint?
No, no, no. Like I said earlier, keep it within the 2000 psi range and you are good to go. More than that is up to you. More pressure will make your car paint prone to damage.
2. What is the best Electric Pressure Washer For Cars?
I have pointed out some great name earlier in this article. But still, in my opinion, Karcher K5 Premium is the best.
3. What is the Best Pressure Washer Pump Type?
There are three pressure washer pumps. Wooble, triplex plunger, and axial cam pumps. Only the triplex plunger pumps are driven by the crankshaft. This results in higher gallons per minute and PSI range. There’s nothing left to say that triplex plunger pumps are the best.
4. Own or Rent a Pressure Washer?
Pressure washing a car is really simple to work if you know what you are playing with. In my opinion and understanding the industry this can easily be addressed by saying: “it’s up to you”. If you are planning to give it a try and do not want to hop in another asset then read this about renting a pressure washer. Otherwise, if it was onto me, I would have bought a washer. It’s simple and easy to use. Please stay away from owning one if you do not want to take care of it.
5. How much water is used to wash a car?
This one is tricky to answer. Solely depends on how efficiently you use a pressure washer. But, roughly, 10 minutes of pressure washing cost 100 gallons of water. This is why manufacturers are introducing a total stop system to save water.
6. Which Karcher is Best for Cars?
I love the one that I mentioned here. This K5 model is best in overall performance. Moreover, it is a premium thing to own!
The Sun Joe Video as promised:
From selecting the best pressure washer for cars to how to wash the car you have been dedicated. So, why not dedicate some time to properly maintaining this piece of gem? Always keep your pressure washer clean and keep the pressure hose or power cable untangled.
I want to make you remember one thing again, your car paint job or car body can be really delicate against a huge pressure. Remember to wash your car with feasible pressure. Make sure you maintain safety for yourself and keep the pressure within 2000 psi to save the paint job of your car.
Well, I have personally checked some of these pressure washers and for the rest of the machines, I took help from some websites like Generac, Karcher. You can check the evolution of modern car wash and pressure washing from Wikipedia.