The Best Pressure Washers Under $400 for Every Job

Narrow your search with these top-rated pressure washer picks.

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February 18, 2021

It’s incredibly satisfying to watch those videos on social media where people methodically pressure wash a driveway. Beyond viral videos, pressure washers are handy for tackling so many different levels of grime, from an old wooden deck to vinyl wall siding to the underbelly of your car. But not all pressure washers are made for the same job. You definitely don’t want to use a heavy-duty unit on your car. And a lightweight model won’t be enough to tackle a concrete sidewalk. We’ve rounded up the best pressure washers for the most common tasks as well as outlined what to look for when shopping for a pressure washer so you can buy confidently. Take a look at our favorites below — all under $400 and give your outdoor surfaces a much-needed deep clean.

Shopping for a Pressure Washer

When you shop for a pressure washer, there are two important acronyms to know: PSI and GPM. Pound-force per square inch (PSI) measures how powerful the water spray is. Gallons per minute (GPM) measures how much water goes through the spray wand at a time. The higher the PSI and GPM, the more forceful and heavy. For example, 2,000 PSI and two GPM (or lower for these) is a good rule of thumb for light jobs such as cleaning off a patio or getting mud off a car. For longer, more arduous tasks such as cleaning a driveway, you may need a medium-duty machine with a PSI up to 3,000 and GPM up to three, but most household jobs do not require a pro-grade, industrial PSI or GPM. It’s too much power and can strip surface paint or worse.

Pressure washers come in two options: gas or electric. Typically, gas pressure washers offer higher, more heavy-duty PSI and GPM, which makes them faster. They can tackle concrete in a flash but might be way too much for a wooden deck. These are also heavier and bulkier. Electric pressure washers, however, come in a variety of power levels but typically don’t offer as much force as a gas pressure washer. If you’re short on space, there are some great lightweight and compact pressure washers in the electric category.

Pressure Washer Safety

It’s also important to remember that as fun as these tools are, they can be dangerous. It’s not a garden hose. No matter how low your PSI and GPM are, always wear protective gear such as gloves and eye goggles. And never point a pressure washer in the direction of a person or pet. If you’re a pressure washer newbie, brace yourself for a kickback.

Best Electric Pressure Washer

Not only is this RYOBI the best electric pressure washer, but we also consider it the best all-around pressure washer. Just take a look at the nearly 3,000 five-star reviews on The Home Depot's website. At 2,300 PSI and 1.2 GPM, this unit is great for common tasks such as grimy fences and patios, and it's a great value at under $300.

Best Gas Pressure Washer

For something with a little more pep, this RYOBI 3,000 PSI and 2.3 GPM pressure washer is your best buy for a gas unit. It's a little heftier than your average general use pressure washer so it's great for areas that haven't been cleaned in years such as a retainer wall covered in dirt and mildew or a back deck that's turning green.

Best Budget Pressure Washer

Pressure washers can easily go above $500, but if you're looking for average force on a strict budget, this electric Sun Joe unit is the best of both worlds. You get 2,000 PSI and 1.75 GPM in a compact design for under $150. Buyers at both Lowe's and Amazon LOVE this pressure washer, and it's one of Amazon's best-selling units.

Best Lightweight Pressure Washer

Both electric and gas pressure washers are heavy with most household units ranging from 30-60 pounds. That's not doable if you have low-mobility, and honestly, it can be a pain to lug anything that heavy out of the garage or storage. There are lightweight models under 20 pounds — and don't assume these tiny units are wimpy. This Greenworks pressure washer is only 17 pounds, but it features 1,700 PSI and 1.2 GPM.

Best Compact Pressure Washer

Like other outdoor tools and equipment, pressure washers are pretty bulky — especially gas units. But unlike other pressure washers on wheels, this little Sun Joe unit isn't as tall making it perfect for storing on a shelf in a garage or storage shed.

Best Heavy-Duty Pressure Washer

For bigger, longer projects, you need a gas pressure washer. For tough grime, you need a heavy-duty unit. This pressure washer from Simpson (with a Honda motor) has slightly more PSI and GPM than our over-all gas pick, and that means it can tackle the big stuff. Customers on both The Home Depot and Lowe's websites are obsessed with this pressure washer. Just take a look at the before-and-after photos users have shared.

Best Pressure Washer on Sale

If you're looking to stretch your budget, don't sleep on this top-rated Homdox electric unit on sale. It's pretty powerful for its size, and right now you can snag it on Wayfair for $75 off.

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