Most and Least Reliable Pressure Washer Brands

With data on more than 12,000 models, Consumer Reports’ exclusive member survey reveals the brands that last

Each year Consumer Reports tests pressure washers to find the models that do the best job blasting off dirt. We run each through a battery of tests, including cleaning decking and concrete. But how well do gas and electric pressure washers hold up over time, outside of our labs? To find out, we surveyed CR members about their experiences with the models they own.

To arrive at a brand’s reliability score, we asked members if they experienced problems with their pressure washers. In the survey, the information we captured included starting problems, leaks in hoses and connections, and the total failure of the pump that produces pressure. And we asked members how likely they were to recommend their pressure washer to others, which serves as the basis for our owner satisfaction score. 

More on Pressure Washers

“Regardless of whether they're gas or electric, most of the pressure washer brands we rate earn a Good reliability rating or better,” says Simon Slater, CR’s associate director of survey research. “However, gas-powered washers are generally more well liked than electrics.” Perhaps that's because the best gas-powered pressure washers clean better and faster than their electric counterparts. That's what we find in our pressure washer performance tests. 

Our latest reliability findings come from the Consumer Reports 2019 Fall survey, in which we asked 11,595 CR members who purchased a new pressure washer between 2014 and 2019 about their experiences with more than 12,000 of the tools. In all, our survey revealed how reliable models from nine gas pressure washers brands are, including DeWalt, Generac, and Karcher. We also cover 13 brands of corded electric pressure washers, including Campbell Hausfeld, GreenWorks, and Ryobi.

CR members can read on for the results from our survey, along with details on top-performing pressure washer models from brands that rate well for predicted reliability.

For more information, see our pressure washer buying guide and pressure washer ratings. One note on safety: Any pressure washer can pose a serious danger, particularly when used with a zero-degree cleaning nozzle. CR recommends discarding the zero nozzle if one comes with your model.

Most Reliable Pressure Washer Brands

Only two out of the nine gas pressure washers earn ratings of Excellent for predicted reliability, meaning they’re the least likely to break during the first three years of ownership. They are DeWalt and Northstar. Two more brands earn ratings of Very Good: Generac and Simpson.  

DeWalt, Northstar, and Simpson also earn a rating of Excellent for owner satisfaction, while Generac earns a rating of Very Good. That means owners are highly likely to recommend those four brands to their family and friends.

Bottom line? Within gas pressure washers, DeWalt and Northstar lead the pack, both earning ratings of Excellent for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction.

Of the electric pressure washers in our survey, four brands earn a rating of Excellent for predicted reliability: DeWalt, GreenWorks, Ryobi, and Sun Joe. Portland and Stanley earn ratings of Very Good.

No electric pressure washer brand earns a rating of Excellent or Very Good for owner satisfaction, but DeWalt, GreenWorks, Ryobi, and Sun Joe earn a rating of Good. That’s the highest rating any brand of electric pressure washers earns for owner satisfaction. 

If you opt for an electric pressure washer, the four brands at the top in terms of reliability—DeWalt, GreenWorks, Ryobi, and Sun Joe—are good options.

Here, we’ve highlighted five models, a mix of gas and electric options, that rate high for predicted reliability and score well in our lab tests. 

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