”Is it powerful enough or is it too powerful?”
These are the questions that plague most people who are looking to buy one of the best pressure washers for cars. And if that rings true for you, you’ve come to the right place.
Today, I’ll be putting 5 pressure washers to the test to find the best car pressure washer. But that’s not all. We’ve also prepared an extensive guide so that you can learn how to wash your car the right way.
Excited? Well, let’s get started then!
Best Car Pressure Washers Reviewed
If you’ve ever delved into the world of power tools, the brand, Sun Joe, should be familiar to you. From chainsaws, lawnmowers, to air compressors and pressure washers, Sun Joe has a wide variety of class-leading products. And, the SPX3000 is no different.
Now, let’s find out why I consider this to be the most popular pressure washer for cars.
- It features 5 different quick-connect spray tips (0°, 15°, 25°, 40°, and soap), which help tackle all types of cleaning tasks, ranging from light, medium to even heavy-duty cleaning
- The SPX3000 comes with Total Stop System (TSS) which automatically shuts down the pump when the trigger isn’t in use. The TSS helps with the pump’s longevity
- The powerful 14.5 Amp/1800 Watt motor can produce up to 1.76 GPM and 2030 PSI of force
- This pressure washer features dual detergent tanks with 0.9-liter capacity. The tanks are removable and can be used to store different types of detergent
- The SPX3000 is CSA approved
- plus-circleIt comes with a 2 Year Warranty
Things I Loved About The SPX3000
Now, the SPX3000 isn’t just a pressure washer for cars. It can easily handle heavy-duty cleaning tasks as well. But, it has some cool features that make it really useful for washing cars. And that’s exactly what I wanted to test out.
For this review, I decided to give my 2004 Ford F-150 a thorough clean after I’d taken it for some serious off-roading. The doors, front fenders, rear fenders, and grille were completely covered in mud and gunk. And so, I thought this was the perfect moment to test the SPX3000’s cleaning abilities.
For the mud and gunk, I switched between the 15-degree and 25-degree nozzles. And I had no problem in removing all the dirt. Now, after the initial cleaning, I wanted to bring the shine back to my F-150’s silver paint job.
This is where the dual detergent tanks came in quite handy. I filled one tank with a strong solution and used a lighter solution for the other. And then I installed the soap nozzle and got right away with the cleaning.
I must say, the soap nozzle transformed it into quite a lovely foam cannon. Once I finished covering my truck with foam, I used the 40-degree nozzle to clean off the foam.
Following this, I used the soap nozzle yet again. But, this time around, it was with the lighter soap solution. Finally, I washed off the foam with the 40-degree nozzle.
I know, I know, that was probably overkilling, but I was adamant about bringing back the former glory of my truck’s original silver paint job. And, this pressure washer came quite close to that.
The finer touches are where most pressure washers falter. But, the SPX3000 performed admirably.
- Dual detergent tanks and 5 different quick-connect spray tips are extremely
- Very powerful
- Well priced
- Slightly on the bulky side
Verdict: How Does The SPX3000 Pressure Washer Hold Up?
The SPX3000 is surely one of the most versatile pressure washers we’ve tested. It can easily handle heavy-duty cleaning tasks while performing admirably for the finer touches.
From power tools, chainsaws, to pressure washers, lawnmowers and more; Greenworks has got them all. Their products are not only reliable but are extremely well-priced. And, the Greenworks GPW1501 Pressure Washer stands true to that notion.
Can this be your next pressure washer? Read more to find out.
- It comes with a 13 Amp motor which generates up to 1.2 GPM and 1500 PSI of force
- The base model comes with two quick-connect tips (25° and 40°)
- The GPW1501 weighs only 17 lbs. and can be easily carried around
- It comes with a 20-foot high-pressure hose along with a 35-foot power cord
What I Loved About The Greenworks GPW1501
Now, after reviewing a bunch of higher-powered options, I decided to take a step back and test out a portable pressure washer under $100.
Once again, I followed my usual testing protocol and got my F-150 covered with mud and gunk all over. For the initial cleaning task, I installed the 25° tip and used it to spray off the dirt.
Since the GPW1501 is quite underpowered, it took a while, but, it managed to do the job just fine. Then, I connected the soap applicator along with the 40° nozzle for adding the finishing touches.
After the truck was covered in foam, I removed the soap applicator and switched to the 25° nozzle to finish the job.
- Very lightweight and portable
- Offers great value for money
- checkGreenworks customer service is excellent
- Not fit for heavy-duty cleaning
Verdict: A Super Portable & Light-Weight Pressure Washer
All in all, the GPW1501 is not very powerful, but, its portability can be a huge plus for petite and elderly people. So, if your car washing needs are quite basic and you want something lightweight, this is the best option out there.
Now, the Karcher brand may not have a product lineup as versatile as Sun Joe’s, but, they sure do know a thing or two about manufacturing top-of-the-line pressure washers. And the Karcher K5 sticks to that notion.
It is a highly competent pressure washer, and it ranks second on my list for good reason. Now, it’s time to check out some of the standout features.
- The Karcher K5 has a powerful induction motor that generates up to 1.4 GPM and 2000 PSI of force
- The water-cooled induction motor ensures longevity
- It comes with an integrated hose reel for storing the 25-foot high-pressure hose
- This pressure washer comes with two types of spray wand. The Vario Power Spray Wand helps in adjusting the spray right from the wand, while the Dirtblaster Spray Wand is geared towards heavy-duty cleaning tasks
- The N-COR pump is durable, non-corrosive and maintenance-free
- 2 Year Warranty
What I Loved About The Karcher K5
My parents had been asking for a pressure washer for a while now, so I thought this would be the ideal time to gift them the Karcher K5.
I ordered the pressure washer online and had it delivered straight to my parent’s house. Thankfully, it arrived on time, just as soon as I did.
Now, this time around, the task at hand was quite different. You see my father owns a gorgeous 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray 427 Convertible. But, the poor thing had been gathering rust after being locked away in the barn for a long while.
So, I put the K5 to the task and started with cleaning off the rust from the bottom half of the car. I used the Dirtblaster Spray Wand in this case, and I must say, it did a fantastic job.
Within half an hour, I managed to clean off all the rust, but, I couldn’t recover the original paint job of course. Well, that wasn’t much of a problem anyway as the car was going to be repainted.
For the subtler cleaning, I switched to the Vario Power Spray Wand to gain more control. I loaded some light cleaning solution in the tank and sprayed the foam all over the car. Following this, I used water to finish off the job.
Now, compared to the Sun Joe product I reviewed earlier, the K5 Premium wasn’t quite as good for the finishing touches. But, it was more than satisfactory.
- Dirtblaster Spray Wand is excellent for heavy-duty cleaning
- The onboard hose storage is quite nifty
- Priced on the higher side
Verdict: A Versatile Heavy-Duty Power Washer
Although I like the Sun Joe SPX3000 better, that’s not to say this is any less useful. The Dirtblaster Spray Wand does quite a fantastic job for heavy-duty cleaning tasks, and the Vario Power Spray Wand makes this product highly versatile. I just wish the price was a bit more competitive.
AnnoviReverberi or AR, in short, may not be a well-known brand, but, their inexpensive lineup of pressure washers has surely become quite popular over the years.
The AR383 is their most popular model, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s loaded with all the essential accessories and comes at a price which is rather attractive.
So, do you have to make compromises for the low price tag? Let’s find out.
- The 13 Amp/1.5 HP Universal Motor along with the Tri-Axial Pump can deliver up to 1.5 GPM and 1900 PSI of force
- The AR383 comes with multiple accessories including a 20-foot high-pressure hose, 2 types of pressure washer wands, a 35-foot power cord with Auto-Reset GFCI module, and a detergent bottle
- It comes with Total Stop System (TSS), which automatically shuts off the pump when the trigger isn’t being used
- plus-circleThe storage hose reel along with the onboard accessory storage is quite nifty
What I Loved About The AR383
Honestly, after comparing the AR383’s price tag to the other products I reviewed, I was quite skeptical. And unboxing the pressure washer didn’t really help with it either.
This product just doesn’t feel as premium as the Sun Joe SPX3000 or the Karcher K5 Premium. But, it’s not flimsy by any means. In fact, I’d say it’s rugged, but, the design makes it look quite tacky.
For this review, I once again took my trusty old Ford F-150 off-roading and covered it with mud and gunk all the way to the door handles! Thankfully, the AR383’s turbo spray lance was more than up to the task.
Once I removed all the mud and gunk, I loaded some detergent into the bottle and switched to the adjustable spray lance. And I must say, the AR383 did a rather fine job. It was almost as good for the finishing touches as the Karcher K5.
- Offers excellent bang for your buck
- Quite powerful
- Great customer service
- Design looks tacky
Verdict: An Affordable Yet Powerful Pressure Washer
If you’re on a tight budget but still want a highly capable pressure washer, then the AR383 is your best bet. It offers excellent value and performs almost as good as its higher-priced competitors.
Ivation may not be a well-known name in the world of pressure washers, but, they sure do have an impressive lineup of heaters, air purifiers, among other things.
The Ivation Electric Pressure Washer looks quite incredible, on paper at least. But, how does it perform in the real world? Let’s find out.
- The powerful 14.5 Amp/1800 Watt motor generates up to 1.8 GPM and 2200 PSI of force
- It comes with 5 interchangeable nozzles (0°, 15°, 25°, 40°, and soap)
- This pressure washer features Total Stop System (TSS), which helps increase the pump’s life by automatically shutting it off when the trigger isn’t engaged
- It is quite easy to set up
What I Loved About The Ivation Electric Pressure Washer
The Ivation Electric Pressure Washer is available in two models; the regular and the new, updated one. Since the new model costs a fair bit more over the regular, I went for the former. And what’s interesting is, this pressure washer is more powerful than the new variant.
For this review, I decided to do something a little different. Instead of taking my Ford F-150 on yet another off-road adventure, I chose to give my wife’s 2011 Chevy Sonic a thorough clean.
The Sonic had been used rather extensively for the past couple of weeks, and it had gathered quite a bit of dust and grime all over. So, I took this opportunity to bring back the sparkle and please the wifey.
Did it work? Well, after I wiped the initial layer of stubborn grime using the 25° nozzle, I was quite impressed by the performance. Now, I could’ve used the 15° nozzle, but, I feel it would’ve been overkill.
After wiping the grime and dust, I loaded the cleaning solution in the tank and switched to the soap nozzle. Once the car was covered with foam, I used the 40° nozzle to finish off the job.
Honestly, I was quite satisfied with the overall results. It can handle the car washing task quite well. And compared to the top products, it can hold its own.
- Quite powerful and does a satisfactory job of cleaning
- Comes equipped with all the necessary accessories
- Long-term reliability might be an issue
Verdict: Does The Ivation Hold Up Against The Rest?
The Ivation Electric Pressure Washer is nothing spectacular, but, it gets the job done. Moreover, it is competitively priced and comes with all the necessary accessories and then some. That’s what I like most about this product.
How to pressure wash a car?
Step 1: Choose the right pressure washer and nozzle
Needless to say, this is the most important step. You not only need to choose a pressure washer that is powerful enough but also ensure that it has a safe PSI for car wash.
Truth be told, it’s not just related to the pressure washer psi rating, but it depends on a combination of PSI and GPM. Don’t worry it’s not a complex mathematical equation.
All you need to do is multiply the PSI and GPM ratings and check if the final result lies in the range of 1900 – 2800 cleaning units.
Now, there’s no need to worry if your pressure washer slightly exceeds the range mentioned above. You can always switch to a lower-powered nozzle to keep things in check.
As for the nozzles, there are usually 5 types – 0°, 15°, 25°, 40°, and soap (which is a 60 – 65° nozzle). Unless your pressure washer has a low PSI rating, I wouldn’t suggest using the 0° nozzle at all. It’s geared towards heavy-duty cleaning tasks.
For removing stubborn mud and gunk, the 15° nozzle will be your best bet. But, if you want to stay on the safe side of things, you can start off with the 25° nozzle.
Finally, for applying soap and rinsing it off, you can alternate between the soap nozzle and the 40° nozzle.
Now, you need to keep in mind that some pressure washers like the Karcher K5 don’t come with the nozzles I mentioned earlier. Rather, they have spray wands or lances. And usually, these pressure washers feature two types of wands – one for heavy-duty cleaning tasks and the other, which can be adjusted to switch between high pressure and low pressure.
Step 2: Park your car in the appropriate spot
Now that you’ve understood how to choose the right pressure washer and nozzle, it’s time to get on with the cleaning. And to do that, you need to park your car in the right spot.
Since your pressure washer will most likely be an electric one, you need to be near a power outlet. Then, check your surroundings and ensure that everything is clear. After all, you don’t want to get someone else’s car wet or spray water into something you aren’t supposed to.
Step 3: Rinse your car
The next step is to get started with the cleaning business. Now, if you’re just planning on doing some casual cleaning, there’s no need to take out the high-pressure nozzles. Instead, the 25° or the 40° nozzles will do just fine.
Image via: amazon.com
Image via: amazon.com
However, if you’re looking to remove stubborn debris or mud from your vehicle, you should go for the 15° nozzle.
In case your pressure washer comes with spray wands, I’d suggest checking the efficacy of the adjustable wand. If the high-pressure output from that is sufficient, you can continue with your cleaning.
Step 4: Apply the cleaning solution
After the initial rinse, it’s time to apply the cleaning solution. Your pressure washer should feature a detergent tank. So, first, you need to fill it up with the detergent of your choice.
Following this, you need to switch to a low-pressure nozzle. If your product doesn’t come with a dedicated soap nozzle, I’d recommend using the 40° nozzle.
Use the soap solution and low-pressure nozzle to spray your car with foam. Once you’ve sprayed the foam all over your vehicle, leave it to rest for about 5 minutes.
Step 5: Rinse off the foam
Now, it’s time to wash off the detergent from your vehicle. And for this task, I’d recommend the low-pressure 40° nozzle. But, before you proceed, don’t forget to empty the detergent tank. Or you’ll spray your car with foam yet again.
Once you’ve washed off the detergent from your car, you can add finishing touches using a non-abrasive towel or soft cloth. This part is optional, but, if you don’t want your car to have water spots, I’d suggest wiping off the water droplets.
And that’s it! You’re done! It wasn’t so hard, was it?
Best Pressure Washer For Cars: Final Words
Well, that about wraps it up. So, which product was your favorite? Was it the Sun Joe SPX3000 with its all-round capabilities, or was it the highly portable Greenworks GPW1501? Whichever it was, I hope it fulfills your needs.
And if you’ve had any difficulties cleaning your vehicle, don’t be shy to hit me up in the comment section below.