The Best Pressure Washer for Cars – Mr. Thrifty Opines

Greenworks 1800 PSI 1.1 GPM Cold Water Electric Pressure Washer, 5113002HDVT

Have you ever thought of buying your own pressure washer to save money on car washes? Mr. Thrifty had been mulling it over for a few years and finally pulled the plug earlier this year. This article covers his research and decision-making considerations, with some practical experiences to relate based on actual usage. Read on for his top tips and advice about the best pressure washer for cars, considering performance and value.

Mr. Thrifty’s pick for the best pressure washer for cars

For those who want to skip the TL;DR, our research ranked the Greenworks 1800 PSI 1.1 GPM Cold Water Electric Pressure Washer 5113002HDVT as the best value pressure washer for cars. Click on the image below to be transported to where you can buy this pressure washer immediately:

Why did he choose the Greenworks 1800 PSI 1.1 GPM? Three main reasons: (1) it’s a complete kit with everything you need for pressure washing a car, (2) customer reviews and reliability are somewhat superior to other brands, and (3) it’s a great value.

This research was based on several hours going through Consumer Reports, various online review sites, Amazon customer reviews, and Reddit. It’s also reinforced by his actual experience in using the Greenworks 1800 PSI 1.1 GPM for the past 6 months to wash his car.

What are the benefits of owning a pressure washer for cars?

A pressure washer give you complete flexibility over when to wash your car. No lineups at the car wash. No time limits. You can take the time to do a thorough job. You can choose the soap and drying technique too. If you’re particular about your car, owning a pressure washer is the way to go.

What are the drawbacks of owning a pressure washer for cars?

Well, for starters, you’ll have to find a place to store it in your garage or basement. 

As a machine, any pressure washer will have a certain useful life and would break down over time. You can do the calculations about how many car washes would work out in your favour to break even on owning one. At an average car wash price of $10, you’d be breaking even after about 15 washes. That could take 1-2 years depending on how often you wash your car (or how many cars you own). One thrifty way to accelerate the break-even point is to rent it out on a short-term basis (read on below).

Another drawback for most Canadians (also related to the break-even point) is that a pressure washer is of limited use in the winter, when your garden hose is likely to be frozen.

What does Reddit say about the Greenworks 1800 PSI 1.1 GPM pressure washer?

Here’s an insightful review of the Greenworks 1800 PSI 1.1 GPM from Reddit:

“[I’ve owned the] Greenworks 1800psi 1.1 gpm for 5 years. [Recommend that you] upgrade the gun/hose to something with metal parts, not the plastic internal ones [included]. I pressure wash my vinyl fence, vinyl siding, and concrete just fine with an electric one. Even use a 15 foot gun for my 2nd story and it does just fine. Buy whatever has the highest GPM within your budget I’m told PSI doesn’t really matter and all about the GPM.”

What do Amazon customers say about the Greenworks 1800 PSI 1.1 GPM power washer?

Here are a couple of representative comments/excerpts:

“… great value for residential duty of washing cars, using a foam cannon, cleaning around the home, cleaning gutters, decks etc. I really like this unit”

“… would recommend – had it since May 2018, used about 3-4 times a week constantly washing cars, house work, etc.”

In terms of complaints, the most common was that the input hose connection leaks. This is due to the hose not being screwed in completely, which is a common newbie error. Mr. Thrifty experienced this when first setting up the unit and the problem vanished after tightening the hose. (N.B. another tip to facilitate switching the pressure washer connector with your garden hose is to use a quick connector system if you’re not using one already. Mr. Thrifty recommends the Melnor 65134AMZ 5 Piece Quick Connect Starter Set Connector Bundle).

Bonus Thrifty tip – making money with your pressure washer

Why stop at saving money? Rent out your power washer on a community P2P platform like Kijiji to actually make money from your pressure washer. It’s one of the most sensible products to rent short-term as many people may not want to invest in a machine that they would use infrequently, or may want to try different models before making a final decision. Just make sure to charge a deposit in case things go awry…

FAQs about the best pressure washer for cars

Here are some FAQs that we considered before deciding on the Greenworks 1800 PSI 1.1 GPM as the best pressure washer for cars:

What is the optimal pressure for washing cars?

The consensus seems to be that a PSI between 1200-1900 is fine for washing cars. You should avoid pressure washers with a PSI above 2000 for car washing. It’s also important to use a nozzle with an appropriate concentration factor. The Greenworks 1800 PSI 1.1 GPM includes a 40 degree nozzle that’s ideal for cars. Another important point is your pressure washing technique. Don’t fix the pressure stream on one area too long, and keep the it a safe distance from your car paint (about 1 metre; you can go closer for stubborn stains like bugs but don’t keep it concentrated on 1 spot for too long).

Will the Greenworks 1800 PSI 1.1 GPM get rid of bugs on the front bumper?

In two words, not completely. It does fine with 90% of bugs but there are always a couple of pesky spots that will require hand scrubbing.

What PSI is too powerful and risks damaging the car’s paint?

Anything over 2000 is risky. If you already have a pressure washer that is rated 2000 or above, it should have a setting to reduce the PSI. Also make sure to use a 40 degree nozzle.

What is the warranty for the Greenworks 1800 PSI 1.1 GPM? How do I get warranty service?

Greenworks offers a 3-year warranty against defects in materials, parts or workmanship. The warranty is valid only for units which have been used for personal use (i.e. have not been purchased or rented for industrial/commercial use). The purchaser is responsible for the cost of transporting the unit to Greenworks. They have an office in Canada (Newmarket, Ontario). To obtain warranty service, you first need to contact Greenworks via their toll-free helpline: 1-888-909-6757.

Ready to buy the Greenworks 1800 PSI 1.1 GPM pressure washer?

If you’ve gotten some value out of this post and are ready to buy, just click on the Greenworks product image/link below to shop directly on (Disclosure: Mr. Thrifty makes a small commission should you end up buying on, which helps us to keep adding content like this.)

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