Let’s discuss electric pressure washers – the best 3 of each type, typical warranties and basic terminology…
With an electric power cleaner, next time you need to clean out the gutters:
- Just grab your washer from the garage
- Plug it in
- Attach to water source
- Connect your extra length wand with right angle at end
- Press on
- Squeeze the spray gun
- See the leaves and dirt jump out of your gutters
With a gas washer there’s fuel and oil to worry about, wondering if it will start and winterizing it each season.
Electric pressure washers are compact, low maintenance, affordable, very light and portable and provide continuous power with no need to add oil or fuel.
So if you’re looking for a power washer to use for small projects around the home – seasonal gutter clean, car cleaning, boat wash, patio furniture – an electric washer is what you want.
Electric Pressure Washer Warranties
Electric pressure washers are all under a one-year manufactures limited warranty.
The gist: your washer will get a replacement part or be replaced if it is found to be defective from manufacturer workmanship or material defect. Usually this warranty won’t include accessories like the wand and nozzles after 90 days.
Your pressure washer arrives (assuming you ordered it online) and it has a cracked front casing and the hose reel handle is broken off. In this situation it will be covered by the company you ordered it from online or the manufacturer. How do you get it fixed?
Go to the manual and call the customer service number. Hopefully you will be prompted in a few minutes… the agent will give instructions.
They’ll either refer you to a local dealer for replacement or get you to follow the return policy of the online company you purchased it from (if you ordered from Amazon go here to return for new). The online company will pay and get you to mail the product back to them.
Register Your Product Online
To qualify for your warranty you’ll need to register your product online. It’s easy and just means you have to go to the brand website and enter your product number and you name.
Terminology and Some Basics
You measure all pressure washer performance on PSI, GPM and CP. I posted the definition on the front page but will re-post here:
- PSI (pounds per square inch): This is force the water hits the surface with. The higher the PSI, the more stubborn stains, surface grime, dirt you can remove.
- GPM (gallons per minute): This is the amount of water that flows from the nozzle per minute. The higher the GPM, the bigger a job you can complete for a given PSI.
- CP (cleaning power): CP is PSI x GPM. It is a value that is representative of the “cleaning power” of the pressure cleaner. The higher the PSI and GPM means the CP is higher and thus you can clean more. And more dirty jobs too.
As a reference:
Garden Hose (data)
- PSI = 50
- GPM = 8
- CP = 400
Light Duty Karcher Electric Washer
- PSI = 1600
- GPM = 1.25
- CP = 2000
Note: CP is only useful when comparing pressure washers because of the high GPM of the garden hose but little pressure. Nonetheless, the Karcher has 5x the cleaning power of the garden hose and uses 6.4x less water (16% of the water).
But yeah, it’s more useful to just tell you the washer has 32 times more pressure and uses 16% of the water of a garden hose.
Electric Pressure Washer Categories
Electric washers fit in to the light-duty and medium-duty categories.
To choose the right type for your needs ask yourself:
- How often will you clean?
- What surfaces do you need to clean?
- How patient are you when cleaning?
Light-duty (up to 1700 psi) – Very Portable and Affordable
These electric power washers are best suited for small jobs and occasional use. Not to say they can’t do big jobs – but those big jobs will just take A LOT longer.
Also, given these washers are fitted with consumer pumps and motors – frequent use will cause them to fail earlier. So if you plan on using it daily, save yourself money in the long run and look at the medium and heavy-duty options.
How often and what surfaces?
- Weekend use for small jobs like cleaning the car, boat or mountain bike.
- Weekend use for front steps.
- Seasonal use for the gutters, deck and fall driveway clean-up.
- Bigger jobs like driveway and deck will take 1.75x to 2x as long as the medium-duty cleaners.
Medium-duty (1700 psi to 2800 psi) – Bestselling
Medium-duty electric washers are best suited for small-medium jobs and occasional-to-frequent use.
So if you’re a professional/contractor looking to do big-jobs-daily I would recommend looking at (<–good video on gas washers) the gas powered washers – they’ll provide the power and reliability you need. If you’re dead-set on electric then have a look at this 2900 psi for $1130.
How often and what surfaces do medium-duty electric do?
- Surfaces: good for vehicles, stairs, fence, driveway, garage floor, gutters, patio furniture and deck or patio.
- Frequency: smaller jobs everyday, bigger jobs once a week or less.
- You’ll clean you’re driveway twice as fast with most of the medium-duty washer compared to the light-duty.
- But even the cheapest gas pressure washers will be another big step up in cleaning speed (2x at least).
It’s about $100, 1600 PSI and perfect for all light-duty power washing jobs. The only downsides are that is doesn’t have a hose reel and no wheels.
But still, people love this little unit with a 4 / 5 star rating off 119 customers on Amazon (and 4.2 / 5 on Home Depot).
The reviews echo with surprise on how powerful 1600 psi really is, how quiet the washer is and how it feels like MORE than 100 dollars of pressure washer.
Number 2 on the list is the Karcher K2.350 – a mid-range light-duty washer with a few more benefits than the above pick.
The main differences are that it has wheels. It costs about $140 (30-40 more than the #1 pick)…
…I’d say get this one if you can see yourself getting annoyed not having wheels. Also, Karcher is the top brand in pressure washing – they invented the first one.
The third best light-duty electric pressure washer for most people is the AR Blue Clean AR118. It’s built to carry around very easily.
For $90 or so, you’re getting an 11.7 pound hand carry cleaner perfect for removing dirt from your car, cleaning your patio furniture and removing dirt from your driveway now and again. It is light-duty as pressure washers go but still 30x more powerful than your garden hose.
If you want to speed up odd cleaning jobs around the house then this unit is a perfect entry-level pressure washer.
All-in-all the AR Blue Clean AR383 is the best electric pressure washer for residential consumer use on the market today – the best value for the money.
It’s in the $150 range, 1900 psi, comes with a hose reel and a rotary nozzle attachment and will surely impress you with the ease you will soon be cleaning your driveway, house siding, back patio and more…
It’s easily the best selling electric pressure washer with an average approval rating of 4/5 from nearly 1000 ratings.
Like I said on my 2013 pressure washer picks page this cleaner is 80% more expensive than the one above and only offers 2% more cleaning capacity (PSI x GPM)…
…Karcher invented pressure washers and have been around so long that you’re paying for a brand name. Not to say this isn’t an awesome power washer – I’m just trying to explain why the above is the number 1 pick.
The K5.540 is the top of the line Karcher electric with a water cooled motor for 5x the lifespan and a pressurised hose reel to keep the hose neat and tidy.
It has wheels, 1750 psi and costs in the $150 range. In terms of cost, it’s a bit more than the light-duty AR’s above (+$50) but not much less (-$10) than the #1 AR just above – that’s why it comes in third place.
So why buy it over the #1 pick? Well, I wouldn’t. It’s only $10 less. And you’re getting 150 psi less as well as no hose reel and all-in-all a lower series model.
Some Other Helpful Pressure Washer Resources
- Wikihow did a decent article on how to use a pressure washer. It outlines some safety warnings and gives a step-by-step guide when first using your first cleaner. Check it out.
- PowerEquipmentDirect has a great how to choose your washer guide. Have a look there if you weren’t satisfied with the above choices.