Over the past few years, the popularity of a car pressure washer has exploded as an all-round cleaning tool. Once you’ve used a quality pressure washer, you will see exactly how effective they are at cleaning cars. You can even connect accessories to it such as a foam cannon, which transforms the way you wash your car.
If you require a quick answer, the best pressure washer for cars is the Sun Joe SPX3000, which has a 2,030 PSI rating for breaking through tough dirt and is also backed by a 2 year warranty. However, if you are on a tight budget, the AR Blue Clean AR383 is the best alternative that’s powerful and lightweight.
In terms of rating the car pressure washers within this article, we based them upon our years of experience using multiple machines as well as a number of factors. The factors that we considered included their electric motor, performance, power cord and hose length, weight, warranty and value for money.
Table of Contents
Car Pressure Washer Comparison
|Car Pressure Washer||Weight||Water Pressure|
|Sun Joe SPX3000||31.0 LBS||2,030 PSI|
|Karcher K5||32.0 LBS||2,000 PSI|
|AR Blue Clean AR383||27.0 LBS||1,900 PSI|
|Greenworks GPW 1604||16.0 LBS||1,600 PSI|
|Stanley SHP2150||26.0 LBS||2,150 PSI|
|Karcher K3 Follow Me||16.3 LBS||1,800 PSI|
|Homdox 3000||20.8 LBS||3,000 PSI|
|X-BULL Orange||24,3 LBS||2,500 PSI|
Car pressure washers make short work of cleaning practically anything that needs to be cleaned. For those that are using them primarily for car detailing, they are an essential tool that can work at a safe PSI for multiple tasks.
Below is a list of the best pressure washer for cars that are ideal for car cleaning and are packed full of features.
The Best Pressure Washer For Cars
1. Sun Joe SPX3000 Car Pressure Washer
The Sun Joe SPX3000 is by far the most popular car pressure washer in the USA. This is primarily due to the range of features and excellent value for money that it provides. The brand also provide an impressive 2 year warranty with this particular model for complete peace of mind.
To increase the life span of the pump, it uses a “Total Stop System” trigger. This acts as a safety lock that automatically shuts off the pump when the trigger isn’t engaged. Compared to similar priced alternatives, small features like this make it a worthwhile investment.
Other features of the Sun Joe SPX3000 include:
- 31 LBS in weight
- Dual detergent tanks
- 2,030 PSI
- 14.5 amp/1800 watt Motor
- 35 foot power cord
- 34 inch extension wand
- 20 foot high pressure hose
- CSA approved
Although the Sun Joe brand offer a range of other car pressure washers, the SPX3000 is the best option as it combines performance with value for money. It’s the best car pressure washer on the market that also comes with a 2 year warranty for peace of mind.Check it Out
2. Karcher K5 Premium Electric Pressure Washer
Karcher is probably one of the first brands you think of in terms of pressure washers. They have marketed their pressure washers to be the best money can buy with a reputation for performance and build quality. Although Karcher is the main pressure washer in the UK, SunJoe is by far the more popular choice in the US.
This particular Karcher model known as the K5 pressure washer is the best of the bunch. Although it isn’t the newest model by the brand, it still features all of the desirable features and delivers maximum performance.
Features of the Karcher K5 Premium include:
- 2,000 PSI of water pressure
- 32 LBS in weight
- 2 years limited warranty
- 14.5 amp/1800 watt motor
- Water cooled motor
- Includes two wands and pressurized hose reel
- Onboard detergent tank
Karcher state that the water cooled feature aims to reduce the temperature of the induction motor, which helps assist the lifespan. They also claim that the motor will last up to 5 times longer than most of the competitors too.
Overall, the K5 is the ultimate car pressure washer with its specification outweighing the competition. It does come with a premium price tag but the build quality and range of accessories available makes it a worthwhile investment for anyone that enjoys using a pressure washer to clean their cars. Karcher do offer newer models but the additional cost really isn’t worth the extra when you consider what the K5 offers.Check it Out
3. AR Blue Clean AR383 Pressure Washer For Cars
The AR Blue Clean is another popular option that’s targeting those requiring an affordable car pressure washer. As an added bonus, this model comes as a complete kit, which includes two different wands that allow you to alter the spray pattern to best suit your car cleaning requirements.
Other features of the AR Blue Clean 383 include:
- 1,900 PSI of water pressure
- 27 LBS in gross weight
- 1 years warranty
- 30 feet power cord
- 14.5 amp/1800 watt motor
- CSA approved
Overall, the AR Blue Clean AR 383 is a reasonably priced car pressure washer that’s powerful and lightweight. For peace of mind, the brand provide a 1 year warranty with this model and also claim that they provide “Best-in-Class” customer service, which is based in the USA.Check it Out
4. GreenWorks GPW1501 Electric Pressure Washer
The GreenWorks GPW1604 is one of the cheapest pressure washers on the market that’s ideal for car detailing. It has many premium features such as a 25 and 40 degree quick connect nozzles that enables you change your approach for each job and so much more.
Included with the pressure washer are detergent bottles that can be placed under the trigger handle, which has the effect of spraying detergent solution at low pressure.
Other features of the GreenWorks GPW1604 include:
- 1,500 PSI of water pressure
- 17.5 LBS in gross weight
- 1 year warranty
- 35 feet power cord
- 13 amp universal motor
Overall, the GreenWorks GPW1604 car pressure washer offers excellent value for money without losing out on performance. It’s the best cheap car pressure washer, which has been designed for car detailing and includes a range of accessories.Check it Out
5. Stanley SHP2150 Car Wash Pressure Washer
The Stanley SHP2150 is a lightweight yet powerful unit that’s available with a budget price tag. It comes as a complete package and included with the pressure washer is a wand, 25 foot long hose, 28 ounce detergent tank, variable turbo nozzle and extension lance.
Other features of the Stanley SHP2150 include:
- 2,1500 PSI of water pressure
- 35 feet long power cord
- 1.4 GPM water output
- Foam cannon included
- Variable spray nozzle
- Brass garden hose adapter
- Lightweight at just 26 LBS
- Includes a two year warranty
The SHP2150 model by Stanley is the best unit they produce that provides excellent performance whilst remaining lightweight. It’s also one of the cheapest on the market but if you are on a tight budget, there are other cheaper models that feature less power.Check it Out
6. Karcher K3 Follow-Me Car Pressure Washer
Another pressure washer by Karcher is the K3 “Follow Me” model, which has four wheels that follows you as you go around the car. For those that use pressure washers on a regular basis, this is a great feature that makes using it far more easier. As it’s a Karcher branded pressure washer, it comes with an array of usable accessories that you can use to improve its usability as well as a two year warranty.
Other features of the Karcher K3 Follow Me include:
- 1,800 PSI of water pressure
- Weighs just 16.3 LBS
- 14.5 amp/1800 watt motor
- Vario power spray hose
- Larger rear wheels
- 2 years limited warranty
The K3 Follow Me model is a unique pressure washer for cars that makes going around your car and cleaning it much easier. It has the benefit of being very easy to move around yet doesn’t lack any car washing performance unlike many other smaller alternatives.Check it Out
7. Homdox Electric Pressure Washer
The Homdox electric pressure washer is a high powered option that provides professional cleaning power via a 1,800 watt motor. In terms of its performance, the brand states that it can output an impressive 1.80 GPM and 3,000 PSI of pressure. Also included with the pressure washer are five interchangeable nozzles, which allows you to choose a nozzle to best suit your cleaning requirements.
Other features of the Homdox Washer include:
- 3,000 PSI of pressure
- 1.80 GPM
- Weighs 20.9 LBS
- Supplied with 5 nozzles
- 10 meter electric cord length
- 6 meter high pressure hose
Overall, the Homdox pressure washer is an excellent all-round option for car cleaning and is packed full of features to improve usability. The choice of five different nozzles also allows you to choose the best type of nozzle whilst cleaning certain areas of the car.Check it Out
8. X-BULL Pressure Washer For Cars
X-Bull are a brand known within the off-road community but they also produce a wide range of cleaning tools. This pressure washer for cars is one of the cheapest on the market and is powered by a 1,800 watt electric motor for plenty of cleaning power.
Although it uses a powerful motor, it’s still relatively lightweight at a gross weight of 24.25 LBS. It also has useful storage within the construction for cleaning products.
Other features of the X-Bull Washer include:
- 2,500 PSI (also available as a 3,000 PSI model)
- Powered by a 1,800 watt motor
- Weighs 24.25 LBS
- 1.8 GPM
- 16.5 foot pressure hose
- Supplied with 4 nozzles
- Easy press trigger gun
- Includes a fixed brush and soap bottle
Overall, if you require a cheap car pressure washer that ticks all the boxes, the X-Bull is a great choice. Unlike similar priced alternatives, it uses a powerful electric motor and includes extra accessories within the box.Check it Out
How We Rated The Car Pressure Washers
After years of cleaning cars with a pressure washer, we have tried and tested a range of different machines. As well as our experience of pressure washing cars, we also based the recommendations within this article upon multiple factors. The factors that we considered included their electric motor, performance, power cord and hose length, weight, warranty and value for money.
Car Pressure Washer Buying Guide
If you want to water your flowers, a normal hose is fine but there are times when a garden hose with a nozzle/sprayer isn’t enough. When it comes to serious car cleaning, you will need a car pressure washer.
Tough dirt and grime can be impossible to remove using a standard hose. However, by using a pressure washer, you can safely remove them with ease. There are a range of pressure washers available and it’s important that you choose one that best suits your requirements. To help you make an informed buying decision, we’ve produced the below guide regarding car pressure washers.
Pressure Washers For Cars
There are a number of pressure washers available but it’s essential that you get one just for auto detailing. This is because some pressure washers are designed for different applications such as remove staining from fences, clearing concrete and much more. An electric pressure washer for cars will have a PSI rating that’s safe for use on cars and won’t damage the paintwork.
A PSI rating of around 2,000 is ideal for cleaning cars, trucks, boats and much more. It can also be used for cleaning patios, fences and other applications but if this is the sole purpose, the best option is to go for a higher PSI pressure washer.
How Much Water Does It Use?
If you care about the environment or are on a water meter, the amount of water it uses is very important. It’s estimated that the average car pressure washer uses approximately 7 to 9 gallons of water per minute.
When reading the specification of a pressure washer, look for the GPM (Gallons Per Minute) rating because this gives you an indication of how much water it uses.
A higher GPM means more water comes out of the nozzle, which provides the car with a better rinse. If both ratings are high, then the washing will be much quicker but the efficiency of water used may not be as good.
Attaching a foam cannon to a pressure washer allows you to spray thick foam all over your car. The purpose of this is to act as a pre-cleaning stage but it also provides the perfect photo opportunity whilst the foam is getting to work on the car.
Foam cannons usually work from 55 to 90 PSI and produce a large amount of foam with a flow rate of up to 5.5 GPM. Most simply click straight onto the pressure washer whereas others you may need a certain adapter.
If you haven’t got one yet, we wrote an article on the best rated foam cannons that features a list of models suitable for all budgets. They are one of the best attachments you can get for you pressure washer and can help reduce scratches and swirls appearing on your paintwork. Below is an example of what the foam looks like on your car once sprayed from a pressure washer.
Gas vs Electric Car Pressure Washer
You will notice that all of our recommended pressure washers for cars are all electric. This is because most are rated to a PSI of up to 2,000, which is ideal for washing cars.
Gas powered pressure washers deliver a much higher PSI rating with even the low powered versions producing well over 2,000 PSI. There are even some capable of producing over 7,000 PSI, which isn’t safe for car detailing.
Electric pressure washers for cars are far more practical too because it takes one button to turn it on or off. The gas alternative requires you to tug on a rope to get it to start and you also need to remember to fill it up with gas. Other inconveniences with gas machines is that it needs servicing, it’s much heavier and it also uses far more water too.
To conclude, the best pressure washer for cars is an electric powered model because there isn’t a real need for the additional power. Most people want to simply flick the switch and turn on a pressure washer and not worry about fuel or servicing.
Pressure Washer Nozzles
The nozzle is one of the most important components and without one, the pressure washer will be useless. You will want to look out for a nozzle that’s adaptable and allows you to change the width of the spray.
You won’t always want a narrow spray of water as this will be too powerful and could be a major risk to the paintwork. Adjusting the spray to a wider setting for certain areas of the car helps avoid any damage.
How To Use A Car Pressure Washer
Everyone has their own way of washing cars but when using a pressure washer, it’s much more fun and easier. Below is a guide on how to use a pressure washer for car detailing:
- Pre-clean – Before you use any wash mitt on your car paintwork, you should always rinse the car starting from the top and moving your way down. Be sure to take extra care over the lights and any body trim.
- Apply Detergent – Fill your car pressure washer with a detergent and then spray it onto the car using the widest setting for full coverage. Do not remove the detergent straight away but instead wait at least 5 minutes for it to soak up the dirt.
- Remove Dirt – Using a wash mitt, simply wipe away all the detergent from the car and then rinse it away.
Once the pre-clean stage above is complete, you can move onto washing the car with your car wash soap and spray it using the pressure washer.
Motors and Pumps
The electric motor of a pressure washer and the power they output is determined by the wattage and amperage. The three types of electric motors are universal, induction and water cooled. These three types are in order of cost, performance and noise levels.
If you are stuck between two car pressure washers that are priced the same, check to see which electric motor it uses. If one is water cooled over an induction motor, you will have a clear answer to which is the best pressure washer for the money.
Just as important as the electric motor is of course the pump because it must be able to handle the power of the machine. There are three types of pumps, which include wobble, axial and triplex. These are ordered based upon their lifespan and ability to withstand large amounts of power.
Other Important Features
There is so much to talk about with regards to pressure washers, so we will keep it short.
In terms of usability, electric machines require a power cord, which needs to be long enough to reach an AC outlet and not too close to any water. It’s not only length you need to look out for because the hose length is also something that can be either too short or too long. If it’s too long, it can get in the way but too short and you will find yourself knocking over the pressure washer.
Detergent intake may also be an issue for some auto detailers as some are a suction tube or a plug and clean system. There are also many different detergent soaps you can use too but this is for another article.
A pressure washer for cars is a tool for detailers, just like the cement mixer is to a builder. Investing into one that comes with a long warranty, variable settings and plenty of features is a worthwhile investment.
As most people will own a pressure washer for many years, it’s worth paying extra for one that offers more functionality. Sun Joe and Karcher are the best branded machines but they usually come at a premium price.