Best Pressure Washers of 2019

Paul Hope

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

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

But as Consumer Reports has demonstrated in its tests, 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.

“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 in the trash.

How CR Tests 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. 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. (A model whose engine automatically shuts off when oil is running low will earn a higher score.)

Again, CR recommends against zero-degree nozzles, which we believe pose an unnecessary safety risk to users and bystanders. Regardless of how they perform, we don't recommend models that include a zero-degree nozzle.

The Best Pressure Washers

If you’re shopping for a pressure washer, start with our buying guide to figure out which type you need. Gas models are the most powerful, but they tend to be the most expensive and require more maintenance. Electric models can be great for lighter cleaning and are easy to use, but they lack the power necessary for the toughest jobs.

CR members can browse our full pressure washer ratings of more than two dozen models. Here's our selection of the best pressure washers in every configuration. 

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