10 Best Pressure Washers under $500 of 2021 – Top Picks & Reviews
Nothing can transform dirty objects like a good pressure washer. From dirty cars to driveways to the sides of your house, a pressure washer can make the dingiest surfaces look shiny and new.
However, a power washer is like any other tool in your tool shed. Some models are better than others and some are a complete waste of time. So, before you can start washing, you need to answer a simple question: “what are the best pressure washers out there?”
This is where we come in. We’ve put together definitive reviews and a comprehensive buyer’s guide to help you find exactly what you’re looking for, and all for under $500. And with our help, you can get to cleaning in no time at all!
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Westinghouse WPX3200 Pressure Washer||
|Sun Joe SPX3000 2030 High Pressure Washer||
|Greenworks GPW1501 Pressure Washer||
|Stanley SHP2150 Electric Pressure Washer||
|Karcher K1700 Electric Power Pressure Washer||
The 10 Best Pressure Washers under $500 – Reviews 2021
1. Westinghouse WPX3200 Pressure Washer – Best Overall
If you’re in a hurry for a good pressure washer, you probably want to cut to the chase. So, which washer is the best overall choice? We have to give the nod to the Westinghouse WPX3200 Pressure Washer.
With 3,200 PSI, this washer packs the power you need. And because it offers a nice 2.5 gallons per minute, you can complete those major cleaning tasks with style.
The wheels make this model easy to move, and we liked how easy it was to fill the 1-gallon gas tank. However, you should know that the wand sometimes leaks, and if you’re not careful, it’s easy to accidentally burn through the hose.
2. Sun Joe 2030 High Pressure Washer
It may not be our best overall pick, but the Sun Joe SPX3000 2030 High Pressure Washer is a very reliable bit of machinery. And it offers some major advantages that every handyman can enjoy.
For example, the 2,030 PSI and the 1.76 GPM provide reliable pressure and efficient performance. And we were particularly impressed by the Total Stop System that saves energy and preserves the pump by shutting off the stream anytime you aren’t pressing the trigger.
The 2-year, “no questions asked” warranty is very nice. However, the nozzle tips rust out very easily if you don’t dry after every use. And the hose/washer fitting is very likely to leak. But if you want a solid, midrange model under $500, this may do the trick.
3. Greenworks GPW1501 Pressure Washer
Not every handyman needs a pressure washer that is ready for every possible task. What if you just want a washer that is ideal for cleaning driveways and vehicles? In that case, the Greenworks GPW1501 Pressure Washer is a solid choice.
While 1,500 PSI isn’t super-powerful, it packs enough punch to handle small-to-midsize tasks. And the 1.3 GPM is just what you need for things like patios, cars, and driveways.
The 1-year warranty is a nice touch, but it can be a little annoying getting the hose to unroll as you work. Additionally, the materials aren’t very durable. But at this price, this little washer offers a surprising amount of power and versatility.
4. Stanley SHP2150 Electric Pressure Washer
Need a little bit more power and performance from your electric pressure washer? If that’s the case, you may want to take a close look at the Stanley SHP2150 Electric Pressure Washer.
The 2,150 PSI and 1.4 GPM mean that this washer is ready for some of your medium-to-large tasks. For example, this is a great model to clean decks, siding, pools, pavement, and cement.
The 2-year warranty is nice, and we really enjoyed the special leak proof connections. But the lack of a detergent tank was a turnoff, and the wheels don’t run very smoothly. Finally, the lag between pulling the trigger and getting full pressure can be annoying.
5. Karcher K1700 Electric Power Pressure Washer
Many tools come with tradeoffs. For example, the Karcher K1700 Electric Power Pressure Washer doesn’t offer as much power as some of the other options. But it offers a surprising amount of versatility and user-friendly design.
The 1700 PSI and 1.2 GPM are mostly suited to smaller tasks. But the 3 different nozzles helped us find the right one for different types of jobs.
You can set everything up in a few minutes without even opening up your toolbox. But we didn’t like that the soap dispenser was so hard to remove. And despite the different nozzles it comes with, it can be difficult to achieve the intensity or precision spray that you need.
6. Stanley SLP2050 Electric Power Washer
Looking for a decent balance between price and performance? In that case, the Stanley SLP2050 Electric Power Washer is a very solid choice!
The 2,050 PSI (hence the name of this model) offers the power you need to take on many different tasks. And the push-button power switch is very convenient compared to the knobs of the previous versions. The leak-proof connections are convenient, and the bright yellow coloring is a really nice touch.
However, there are still a few issues with this model. For example, the water intake connection is bad. And the short power cord is going to put some serious limitations on what you can do with this washer.
7. WEN PW19 Variable Flow Electric Pressure Washer
Do you like equipment that packs a lot of power into a tiny package? In that case, you’ll love the WEN PW19 Variable Flow Electric Pressure Washer.
The small design and attached handle make it easy to carry this washer wherever you go. And it’s particularly handy for outdoors washing tasks such as cars, driveways, and decks. And despite the small size, it packs a healthy 2,000 PSI, 1.6 GPM, and a solid 13-amp motor.
There are a few things we didn’t like, including the weak foam cannon. And the 16.5-foot hose may be a little short depending on what you need the washer for.
8. Generac 7019 OneWash Pressure Washer
At first glance, there is a lot to recommend with the Generac 7019 OneWash Pressure Washer. But upon further examination, you’ll discover some really annoying issues.
Let’s start with the good stuff: at a whopping 3,400 PSI and 2.4 GPM, this has enough power to handle even the largest projects. And things like the ergonomic spray gun and power dial makes this washer easy to hold and even easier to use.
However, the extra power that comes from being a gas-based pressure washer means you’ll have more fuel storage and maintenance to worry about. The suction tube gets in the way quite easily as you work. And due to bad design, it’s all too easy to hit the muffler with the hose, causing the hose to melt.
9. PAXCESS Electric Power Washer
The PAXCESS Electric Power Washer is another very powerful option for heavy washing tasks. Unfortunately, all of this power comes with more than a few compromises.
First, the things we liked: at 3,000 PSI and 1.76 GPM, this washer is ready for the heaviest duties. The adjustable nozzle is easy to use, and the fact that they packed so much power into an electric washer is downright impressive.
However, the bad seals on this washer cause many leaks. The non-power wash setting is basically useless. Finally, the directions are hard to read, and the actual power pales in comparison to a gas-powered pressure washer.
10. Simpson Cleaning Cold Water Residential Gas Pressure Washer
The Simpson Cleaning Cold Water Residential Gas Pressure Washer is another relatively powerful option for your washing needs. But did we save the best for last? Sadly, the answer to that is an emphatic “no.”
Let’s get the good stuff out of the way. At 3,200 PSI and 2.4 GPM, this is one of the most powerful pressure washers you can buy for under $500. The engine starts very easily, and the steel frame construction is built to last.
But the handle is surprisingly difficult to assemble. The unit may “wander” on its own during use, which can be dangerous for you and your tools. The washer handle doesn’t stay in very easily. Finally, users report this washer being very loud, making it a poor choice for those who live in a quiet neighborhood.
Hopefully, our extensive reviews have helped you learn more about the different pressure washers under $500 on the market today. But the reviews alone may not be enough to help you find the tool that you need.
That’s why we put together a comprehensive guide to pressure washers. With this guide, you’ll learn about different types of pressure washers, how this tool will impact your daily life, and so much more.
Ready to learn more about pressure washers than ever before? Keep reading to discover our awesome buyer’s guide!
How Pressure Washers Work
Our reviews and buyer’s guide are designed to help you pick the best possible pressure washer. Before you can make a decision, though, we need to review some essential information about how pressure washers work.
Basically, the pressure washer uses pumps to transform water from a hose into the high-velocity spray that you know and love. You simply use the low-pressure connection so that it can accept the garden hose and then use the high-pressure connection to attach the water pressure hose.
Beyond hooking up the pressure washer, you must use the right pumps for the right tasks. For example, axial pumps (which are easy and low-maintenance) are perfect for smaller tasks outside of your home.
Meanwhile, the triplex pumps require more extensive maintenance, but they are best if you’ll be using your pressure washer on most days of the week. Don’t forget, though, that regular maintenance and repair of the triplex pump will be required if you want to continue using your pressure washer for years to come.
To keep your pumps safe, you can always use a pump protector before putting this tool up. This keeps the seals lubricated while protecting the rest of the pump from corrosion.
Before using a pressure washer, you should familiarize yourself with different nozzle settings. These change the spray pattern of the washer and generally and can dramatically change how well the washer handles different tasks.
Choosing Electric vs. Gas
Before you buy a pressure washer, one of the biggest decisions is whether to buy an electric pressure washer or a gas pressure washer. Each kind of tool has its own advantages and drawbacks.
Generally speaking, electric pressure washers are considered more user-friendly for beginners. They tend to cost and weigh less, and they require much less maintenance than a gas-powered washer. But they need to be plugged in at all times, and there are hard limits to how much power an electric pressure washer can generate.
By contrast, gas pressure washers are more of a long-term investment for experienced handymen. They last longer than their electrical cousins, but thanks to factors like the engine and the need to change fuel and oil, they require much more maintenance. However, you can’t beat gas washers when it comes to both power and portability.
Deciding which pressure washer you need is mostly a matter of deciding what you need the pressure washer for. Someone needing an occasional washer for smaller jobs will be fine with an electric washer. If you plan to regularly use the pressure washer and plan to tackle larger tasks, then you’ll need to go with the gas-powered washer.
Understanding PSI and GPM
Our reviews focused extensively on the PSI and GPM of different pressure washers. To help make your purchasing decision, we’re going to dive a bit more into what these terms mean and why they are so important.
PSI stands for “Pounds per Square Inch” and refers to the actual pressure of the washer. If you want a really powerful stream of water, then you generally want a higher PSI.
Meanwhile, GPM refers to “Gallons Per Minute.” This measures the volumes of water coming out of the pressure washer and allows you to determine how fast and effective the washer will be when it comes to cleaning.
When it comes to things like PSI, there is no magic “right” numbers. Instead, it all comes down to getting the right PSI for the different things you want to do.
The Right PSI for the Right Tasks
When we start talking about different PSI numbers, it’s easy to get dizzy. What do all these numbers mean, and what does it mean for your purchase? We’ve got the full breakdown below.
Generally speaking, you can break down the PSI of a pressure washer into three different categories. These categories include “light-duty,” “heavy-duty,” and “ultra heavy-duty.”
Light-duty pressure washers usually have a PSI between 1,300 and 1,800. With such a washer, you probably won’t use it that often. Instead, this is the kind of washer you’d bring out to wash cars, clean grills, clean shutters, and remove mold and mildew.
Heavy-duty pressure washers usually have a PSI between 2,000 and 3,000. With such a washer, you can use it every day as needed. And this washer is great for cleaning sidewalks, pavement, and siding. If you have highly-resilient stains to take care of, this washer can take care of things in no time.
Ultra heavy-duty pressure washers are usually reserved for professionals. They have a PSI between 3,000 to 4,000 (or more). Such industrial-grade models are designed to tackle large concrete and pavement jobs as well as removing graffiti, stripping paint, and dealing with the toughest stains under the sun.
See our reviews for the top: Commercial Pressure Washers
Pressure Washer Best Practices
As every handyman knows, there is a big difference between using a new tool and using it the right way. That’s why we put together this list of pressure washer best practices that you should follow every time you get to washing.
Don’t Forget the Accessories
Your pressure washer will provide solid performance right out of the box. However, you may need to snag certain accessories in order to make future jobs a bit easier.
For example, you can buy a variety of nozzles, brushes, and tips for your new washer. And these accessories have a lot of variety, including extension wands and rotating brushes.
Before you buy accessories, figure out what your next project will need.
Now that you’ve read our reviews and buyer’s guide, you should be ready to get a pressure washer under $500. But who were the big winners in our list?
For best overall pick, we loved the performance and durability of the Westinghouse WPX3200 Pressure Washer. For budget buyers, though, the Sun Joe SPX3000 2030 High Pressure Washer is user-friendly and highly efficient.
At the end of the day, you’re the only one who can figure out which tools you need next. As for the Healthy Handyman, we’re just here to help.
More buying guides like this:
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Pressure Washers under $500 – Reviews 2021
- 1. Westinghouse WPX3200 Pressure Washer – Best Overall
- 2. Sun Joe 2030 High Pressure Washer
- 3. Greenworks GPW1501 Pressure Washer
- 4. Stanley SHP2150 Electric Pressure Washer
- 5. Karcher K1700 Electric Power Pressure Washer
- 6. Stanley SLP2050 Electric Power Washer
- 7. WEN PW19 Variable Flow Electric Pressure Washer
- 8. Generac 7019 OneWash Pressure Washer
- 9. PAXCESS Electric Power Washer
- 10. Simpson Cleaning Cold Water Residential Gas Pressure Washer
- Buyer’s Guide