Electric pressure washers aren't as strong as gas pressure washers, spraying from around 1,300 to 2,000 psi. This is still plenty of power for most home projects -- ideal for jobs like "cleaning cars, small boats and patio furniture," says Roy Berendsohn from Popular Mechanics. With lower water pressure, the spray wand is easier to control and less likely to damage wood or paint.
In addition, the motor on an electric unit doesn't require regular servicing (like a gas engine does), and electric pressure washers tend to be lighter, quieter and less expensive than their gas counterparts. The best models have a stop system that shuts off the pump and motor when the trigger is released. This protects the pump from overheating and silences the unit, allowing users to easily pause while cleaning to have a conversation. In general, electric pressure washers only last a few seasons, so it's important to select one with a solid brand reputation and to follow the manufacturer's directions for proper pump maintenance.
Among electric models, reviewers say the AR Blue Clean AR383 (Est. $200) is the best choice around. The high-grade triplex pump is durable and an unusual bonus at this price point. With 1,900 psi and 1.5 gpm, the AR383's cleaning power is excellent for light-duty tasks; some owners say it's even powerful enough for tougher grime and stains.
The AR383 features two spray nozzles: a high-powered turbo nozzle and one that adjusts from a thin, blasting stream to a broader, fan-like spray. It also has a hose reel, which some find convenient and others say is cumbersome, and plenty of onboard storage. There's also a soap dispenser and wheels for easy moving. It comes with a one-year warranty.
The AR383 has the most reviews of any pressure washer on Amazon.com and earns an average rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars. Most report great results on dirt and a range of stains. There are some complaints that water tends to leak where the hose meets the water source, but this is a common complaint with electric models that some fix with pipe tape or washers.
The AR383 also gets a nod from Mike Aletich, product expert at PressureWashersDirect.com, who says the triplex pump is of much higher quality than that typically found in washers at this price point.
For slightly less money, and a slight decrease in power, the Campbell Hausfeld PW1835 (Est. $150) also chalks up favorable reviews. This 1,880-psi, 1.5-gpm model has a stop system that shuts off the pump when the trigger is disengaged, which helps protect the pump and reduce noise. It features an adjustable lance and also comes with an attachment for detergent. It has a one-year warranty.
The PW1835 earns an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars at Walmart.com, as well as an average 4.1 out of 5 stars from HomeDepot.com users, and an average 3.5 out of 5 stars from Amazon.com users. Most like its lightweight design and effective cleaning power and say they appreciate not having to deal with the hassles of owning a gas-powered washer. There are several complaints about leaks around the inlet fitting -- but this comes up fairly regularly with electric models.