Best Pressure Washers of 2020

Paul Hope

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Pressure washers can work magic on concrete or decking, and the best can erase decades’ worth of stains with a brief blast.

Our pressure washer buying guide is the place to start if you're considering one of these tools. CR members can also jump right to our pressure washer ratings to compare models. For the first time, in addition to our lab test results, our ratings also reflect reliability data from our exclusive member survey. Below, we've highlighted the very best from our tests.

But first, an important word on safety: A pressure washer is much more than a high-powered garden hose. It can direct a stream of water with such force that it can pierce skin and even cut through protective gear, including boots.

That’s why CR doesn’t recommend pressure washers that include a zero-degree tip or nozzle, which harnesses water power into the finest, most powerful stream, no matter how they perform.

“It's not just that zero-degree nozzles are dangerous; they’re not really necessary,” says Dave Trezza, who oversees pressure-washer testing for Consumer Reports. “Our testing routinely finds that you can get the same results with a little patience and a 15-degree tip.”

If you buy a model with a zero-degree nozzle, toss that nozzle into the trash.

To test pressure washers, we measure how much pressure each model can produce in pounds per square inch, giving a higher score to those with a higher psi. Then we fire up each pressure washer and use it to strip paint from painted plastic panels, timing how long it takes. Models with a higher pressure output tend to perform better on this test. We also measure noise, and you should know that almost all pressure washers are loud enough to require hearing protection.

Last, we size up ease of use by evaluating basics such as the process of adding fuel and noting features that improve the experience. For example, a model with an engine that automatically shuts off when oil is running low will earn a higher score.

The models featured here are the best pressure washers you can buy based on CR's latest tests.

How to Clean Your Deck

Is your deck looking tired and dingy? On the "Consumer 101" TV show, Consumer Reports’ test engineer Dave Trezza shows how to revive your outdoor space.

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