If you want the cleanest and stunningly shiny car in the neighborhood, there is only one way to go make sure it’s done right; with a pressure washer. Washing your car yourself at home will not only save you money and time spent in line at the car wash, but it will also allow you to make sure no spot of dirt or any part of the undercarriage, wheel wells, or roof is missed in the process.
Knowing what to look for in a power washer can be difficult for someone who has never had to consider it before. But if you want a better wash than a simple garden hose and bucket of suds will give you, a pressure washer is the way to go.
Keep scrolling for more information on what numbers to consider when purchasing a pressure washer, and what amount of pressure to watch out for.
How To Choose A Pressure Washer For Your Car
The first thing you need to consider when purchasing a pressure washer specifically for you car is the amount of pressure. While pressure is needed to make your car clean and shiny, too much can damage the paint job.
The term CU (Cleaning Units) refers to when PSI and GPM are multiplied, combining both the pressure and amount of water. You should have around 2250 CU in the optimal pressure washer.
In terms of flow, it’s ideal to have a washer with 1.4-1.6 GPM (Gallons Per Minute.) In terms of pressure, 1200-1900 PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch) is your safest bet though some say that anything below 3000 won’t hurt your vehicle. You can always, of course, use a pressure washer with more pressure capability than that, but only with the right nozzles.
If you already have a pressure washer but you’re worried it’s too powerful for your car (anything around 3000 PSI) you can still use it, but only with the correct nozzle. A 15, 20, or 40-degree nozzle will spread the water out evenly and not damage your paint job with too much pressure on a specific point of your car.
Tips For How To Get The Best Car Detailing
Before you go ahead and pressure wash you car for the first time, be sure to take note of a few things.
The first thing you need to be wary of is the water pressure. While pressure washing is perfectly safe for vehicles, you still need to be sure that you aren’t going to apply too much pressure.
Too much pressure and you can chip your paint job and begin a cycle of rust. Choose the appropriate nozzle, which should spread out the water evenly, and test it out on one of the more durable parts of your car, like the wheel wells.
Much like blow-drying hair, it’s also important to never hold the nozzle too close to your car. This can chip your paint and cause rust. A distance of a few feet is essential to getting a thorough wash anyways.
For those of you who live in places where salt is put on the road to melt the ice, it’s essential you wash off the bottom of your car. While salt is valuable in keeping the roads safe, it can have a chemical effect on your car, eroding it from the outside in.
The two parts of your car that are closest to the road and that will take the brunt of the damage done by salt are your brakes and fuel lines. Seeing as you need those two things to safely drive, it’s best you don’t let salt eat at them.
Now that you’re ready, here’s a list of top ten pressure washers that are perfectly equipped to wash your car:
The Sun Joe SPX3001 is our number one on this list for a few different reasons:
- While lightweight, and affordable, the Sun Joe is the best power washer on the market in terms of power and quiet operation.
- With a 14.5 amp/1800 Watt motor, it generates 2,030 PSI of pressure and 1.76 GPM, which is the perfect amount for outdoor jobs other than washing your car.
- It also comes with five different nozzles, a hose reel, and a 40-ounce reservoir tank for soap.
- Average Price: About $199
The AR Annovi Reverberi Blue Clean is one of the more environmentally friendly options on this list.
- It will conserve water by using 80% less water with 40% more power than your average garden hose.
- Features a 20 ft. high-pressure hose and a maximum pressure of 1900 PSI.
- Includes two pressure washer wands, 14 oz. detergent bottle, and two high-pressure washer turbo and variable nozzles.
- It’s also a quieter model than gas engine models.
- Average Price: About $165
- The Greenworks GPW1602 Pressure Washer is the perfect portable pressure washer for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money and who don’t need to much power on standby.
- Features a 13Amp universal motor and 1600 PSI at 1.2 GPM. Also has a 20 ft. high-pressure hose for when you need to get to the other side of the vehicle.
- Also includes all of the accessories you need to get the perfect car wash.
- Average Price: About $115
The Ryobi RY142300 is one of the more powerful options on this list, and is “engineered to handle even your toughest jobs.”
- Includes a 13 Amp High-Efficiency Brushless Electric Induction Motor, 1.2 GPM, and 2,300 PSI of force.
- Also features the bonus Turbo Nozzle that boasts of delivering up to 50% more cleaning power.
- Also has a 25 ft. non-marring high-pressure hose that doesn’t leave scuffs.
- Average Price: About $279
For a slightly more powerful option than the Ryobi RY142300, consider the DeWalt DWPW2400.
- This cold-water pressure washer uses up to 2400 PSI of pressure to not only be able to fully clean your vehicle but really any job you have outside.
- Includes five nozzles, including a turbo nozzle and built-in storage for your organization’s needs.
- Unlike other options on this list, it also is built with wide pneumatic tires that are perfect for moving your washer across your lawn.
- Average Price: About $299
Weighing less than four pounds, the WORX WG25 is one of the most portable options on this list. Keep this option in mind for when you want something easy to clean with that you’re kids can help out with.
- If you’re looking for something extremely lightweight, quick, and easy to use, this option has only 320 PSI.
- Includes a battery that can be toted everywhere, so no need to worry about how long the cord is.
- While not as powerful as the above options, it is the most convenient while traveling or camping.
- Average Price: About $157
If you’re looking for reliability, the Stanley SHP2000 is you’re best bet when it comes to pressure washers.
- Along with reliability, this option is slightly more powerful than the AR Annovi Reverberi Blue Clean, with its 2000 PSI.
- You can also clean other vehicles, other than your car, that may need pressure washed such as your RVs or ATVs.
- Includes an onboard hose reel for the easiest of storing and a built-in detergent tank.
- It also has a professional-grade brass garden hose connecter and 22mm connections.
- Average Price: About $230
The WestForce Electric Pressure Washer is the perfect machine in terms of safety and energy saving.
- Features 3000 PSI at 1.85 GPM, and an 1800 W motor, making it among the most powerful machines on this list.
- This particular washer is IPX5 waterproof and has a UL-listed GFCI plug that prevents electric leakage, so no need to worry about mixing water and electricity.
- The pump aromatically turns off when you’re not engaging the trigger, so you can save energy in the long run and extend the pump’s life.
- The built-in temperature sensor also shuts the machine off when it exceeds 266 degrees Fahrenheit, keeping you and the machine safe.
- Includes 5 quick-connect spray nozzles, ranging from spot cleaning to an all-purpose nozzle that is perfect for car windows. It also includes a sap nozzle for foam spraying.
- Average Price: About $165
If you’re worried about hard to reach areas of your car that always seem to be caked in dirt, this is a fantastic option for you .
- Features 1900 PSI and a 1.5 GPM Electric Pressure Washer.
- Has 25 ft. of the high pressure hose.
- Includes a Vario Power Spray wand and a Dirtblaster spray wand that claims to “tackle the hardest jobs in half the time.”
- Also has a water-cooled induction motor that increases its life span by up to 5X.
- Average Price: About $239
And lastly, is the Suyncll Pressure washer, the most powerful on this list, and the most bang for your buck. Be warned, this pressure washer is not for easy-to-tackle jobs, but for those who are very serious about cleaning.
- Includes a 2000 W motor, up to 3800 PSI at 2.5 GPM.
- Also includes a 20 ft. high-pressure hose and a 35 ft. power cord for flexibility.
- Features safety stop systems, which automatically shut off the pump when not in use to save energy and prolong the pump life.
- Also is IPX5 waterproof has a GFCI plug for optimal safety.
- Includes four spray tips for different jobs, from high and hard to reach, to soft and soapy.
- Average Price: About $175