5 On Your Side

Consumer Reports: Plenty of performance and cost effective power washers on the market

Posted October 27, 2015 6:04 p.m. EDT

Pressure washers are great for cleaning, but they can potentially be dangerous. Whether the deck or driveway needs repair, or the siding of a house, a pressure washer can help get the job done relatively quickly.

“I use it to clean off the patio furniture,” Bill Nugent said. “I power wash the siding on the deck, sometimes the siding on the house needs to be cleaned.”

Although pressure washers are highly effective tools, they land more than 6,000 people in the emergency room every year.

It’s best to stand two feet away from anything being washed, and never spray toward outdoor outlets or air conditioners.

“They’re very powerful; you want to make sure to wear safety goggles, protective shoes for your feet, and never point it at a person or your pet,” said Dave

Trezza of Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports recently tested 24 pressure washers. After the tests, gas pressure washers were found to be the most powerful. They clean faster than electric models, but they are not as cost efficient.

Consumer Reports’ top-rated Cub Cadet costs $500. For $300, the Troy-Bilt wasn’t tested as powerful, but it cleans almost as well.

Trezza said most people don’t need the more powerful washers to accomplish their daily needs.

“For most jobs, you can get by with an electric pressure washer, such as cleaning your car, pressure- washing your siding, or cleaning your deck,” Trezza said.

The top-rated electric model—a Briggs and Stratton—costs $230 and offers different spray angles without changing the nozzle.