Pressure washers are handy cleanup tools. But their powerful spray can be dangerous; more than 6,000 people each year wind up in the emergency room. So make sure to wear safety goggles and protective shoes, and never point one at a person or your pet. Always hold the washer with two hands. Start washing at a safe distance—about 2 feet should be good—then work your way in. And never spray in the direction of outdoor electrical equipment like outlets or air conditioners.
Consumer Reports just tested 24 pressure washers to see how much pressure they deliver. And testers checked how quickly and effectively they remove paint and stubborn stains.
Gas-pressure washers are more powerful and clean faster than electric ones. But of course, you’ll pay for that power. The top-rated Cub Cadet CC3224 costs $500. The $300 Troy-Bilt 020568 isn’t quite as powerful, but it cleans almost as well.
But many people may not need all that power. For most jobs, such as cleaning your car, washing the siding of your house, or cleaning your deck, you can get by with an electric pressure washer.
They cost less, too. The Briggs & Stratton 020601 for $230 was top-rated. A plus: It allows you to adjust to different cleaning modes and spray angles without changing the nozzle.