More brands have been releasing cordless pressure washers that look to almost match the performance of popular electric models.
A reader asked a good question recently – are they any good? Or rather, the reader (thank you, AK!) mentioned struggling to see the point.
Pressure washers aren’t exactly grab-and-go type of tools or equipment, right? Most users will tether them to a water spigot via a hose. So if you’ve got to use a garden hose, is there really cordless convenience?
Many cordless pressure washers can be fed via portable water source, such as a filled bucket.
At least one brand’s cordless pressure washer features a built-in water reservoir, eliminating the need for separate buckets or containers.
There’s an entire class of power cleaners and washers, and to me those make more sense as cordless cleaning tools.
But cordless pressure washers can have their place.
For one, many older homes might not have many outside or outside-accessible electric outlets. Being able to use battery power in a cordless tool can eliminate a major frustration for many users.
It has been pointed out (thanks Big Richard!) that one of the newest cordless pressure washers – the dual battery-powered Craftsman, can only be operated at its maximum PSI mode for up to 8 minutes, after which it needs a cool down period.
Looking at one of Craftsman’s newer electric pressure washers, there’s no mention of any duty cycle or cool down period in the user manual.
With a self-priming pump, no garden hose is necessary. You can find ways to power electric pressure washers via portable water sources as well, as opposed to a garden hose, but it’s not as straightforward if their pumps require water to have some pressure already at the inlet.
It all comes down to cordless convenience.
Across the power tool industry, the concept of a “cordless jobsite” has been heavily promoted over the years
We’re nowhere near the point where cordless pressure washers can replace electric models for most users. For some, yes, there are going to be benefits.
It’s a bit surprising. There are cordless lawn mowers, air blowers, snow throwers, trimmers, chainsaws, and more, not to mention all of the handheld cordless power tools that outperform older corded models.
But we’re not at the point where cordless pressure washers are going to offer superior or matching performance. This is just talking about electric models – forget about gas engine pressure washers for now.
However, we’re only seeing first-generation products in a lot of cases. I wonder what the cordless pressure washer landscape will look like in 5 years.
I don’t expect for many readers to have an “oh, I can use that!” mindset. I’ll keep reporting on them, not because I think they’re great buys, but because it’s good to know what’s out there, and what they offer.
What’s your take on cordless pressure washers?
Here are the 2023 releases we talked about recently:
Makita announced an 18V X2 model in 2021, but so far has not launched this or other models in the USA.
Dewalt launched a cordless power cleaner in 2021, as did a couple of other brands. That – to me – is a better example where cordless power and high mobility can provide bigger user benefits.
Do you want us to test out any cordless pressure washer models? Which one(s)?
In my opinion it really comes down to what people’s needs are. A cordless washer is great if you want to wash off dirt bikes or a boat before loading up to go home, especially if you can use a lake or whatever as a water source. I could also see them being handy for farm chores: you could run it out of a water trough or a barrel in your loader bucket. But other than small jobs like that I dont think they’re very useful. For other tasks you are left wanting in runtime, power, or both. In my opinion you want either gas or big-boy electric (240v, perhaps 3 phase) for serious power washing jobs.
I borrowed the Dewalt “gun” style one from a neighbor to try it out. In my opinion it was too weak to be worthwhile but it wasn’t too far off. If someone came out with a similar unit but with a bit more pressure I’d buy it. I’m not too interested in a “base station with high-pressure hose” sort of unit, that’s too much hassle to get out for small jobs and it’s not powerful enough for big jobs. The Dewalt “gun” style would great for small jobs if it was just a bit more powerful. Being able to just stick it on the end of the garden hose without fooling around with a base station is attractive.
I would agree with pretty much all you said. I could see it as rinsing off the kayaks with a bucket of water or a quick rinse of something, but to really clean something even most 120V plug in units are marginal. Add to that a short runtime and I think as of now they are a niche tool for the person who is otherwise all cordless and doesn’t want to string a cord for a quick jobsite cleanup. I will be curious what the next generation will bring. A friend tried what I would assume to be the same DeWalt gun you did and commented if it were a FlexVolt with about half again more pressure, he would likely recommend it.
I have the DeWalt gun. I use it for car washes (hose is already going to be out) or washing house windows and spot cleaning things around the yard.
If he had 8-900 psi instead of 550 it would be really nice since it has a high/low switch. This is a perfect tool for them to have made as flexvolt and not 20v. Ryobi has an 18 and a 40v and the 40v kids out more psi.
Run time seems fine running a 6ah or larger battery, but since the pressure is low it’s not like you are going to be doing any extended cleaning jobs anyway.
I have the Dewalt gun too. It works fine, I agree with the idea that you couldn’t really use it for any sizable product which to me makes it kind of useless. I later bought a Kranzle, which mostly was my reaction in the opposite direction.
That use case is the same one I have in mind. It’s easiest to wash my dirt bike right after riding as opposed to driving home for a couple hours and giving the dirt time to really dry up and stick. However, a bigger pressure washer quickly becomes a chore to load, then secure while I’m away from the truck riding.
If I’m at home – forget cordless, I’ll just drag out the gas washer.
I think your comments are spot on. I’ve had a worx model for years and it’s great for cleaning off deck and patio chairs, quickly, and washing the car. For a period of time I lived in an apartment where there was no access to a hose and using the works model with a 5 gallon bucket I was able to routinely wash my car.
I’ve been in the pressure washing business for 55+ years now and I’ve seen a significant amount of changes in the near half century I’ve been in this industry. Bluntly put these cordless pressure washers AREN’T for serious work and are home owner grade. Absolutely no legitimate professional would ever use these as they severely lack the power and run time isn’t nearly as good as the tried and true gasoline and or electric.
In the 55+ years I’ve been in this industry gasoline and even some electric pressure washers have always worked well for me. All this fancy cordless technology sounds great on paper; but if the run time and demanding power isn’t behind it then it’s all marketing.
At my age and this is true with any legitimate professional; I don’t have time for marketing. This either works or it doesn’t.
True, but for someone that has to do some gutters on a ladder, the PSI and reach of the gun from a gas powered model can be limiting.
Having a cordless option, and enough hose, one doesn’t need alot of PSI to wash some small gutters. Heck, even the city water pressure to the right hose nozzle, can wash out the gutter.
But commercially, nope. I would stick with gas until the big batteries like Milwaukee or Hilti packs, have a 3000psi with 4 hour runtime.
I think something cool would be to have a water tank (like the Makita) in the back of a truck, and use the hybrid pickup models to connect like air and water to wash tools or the truck itself. Bring Yer Own Water.
Even if the battery source is good, long running…you still need water. Washing a house, or deck, or even car…
I disagree. Why wouldn’t a professional want a cordless model for punchlist type items. Perhaps they just missed a spot or need a quick cleanup of overspray from paint or other.
I have a feeling that this goes just like any other debate about battery power versus corded versus gas: it depends!
Just like you might be in Milwaukee, Makita, and/or DeWalt batteries, we simply aren’t invested in gasoline power. Not to be smug, but we are 100% renewable electric, we don’t own a car, and the lawn only justifies a push mower.
That option eliminated, battery would have to equal or exceed corded to command any premium at all. It just doesn’t seem like much of a convenience if you have to drag around a water tank or hose anyway.
I’m pretty sure gasoline powered pressure washers have all been cordless.
I have the Dewalt 20v one. Good for washing vehicles, travel trailer, tractor, etc. We have horrible water pressure here, so it helps knock the heavy dirt off prior to hand washing. Works just fine.
I have no need for any more power, really. If I pressure washed our house, it would fall down. The moss on the roof is doubling as an adhesive. Our driveway is gravel and dirt, which responds poorly to pressure washing.
Are you able to recommend 2-3 electric (120V plug-in) power washers ?
I’m a homeowner but have outdoor patios (bluestone) that need cleaning (then sealing), so I guess I need 2,500 psi or higher. I’d prefer electic for convenience and my neighbors prefer low noise.
Unless it’s attached to a water tank or can be. Say a wheeled water tank. What have you. Otherwise cordless doesn’t have much use. Electric corded is very useful.
I think worx and DeWalt hit the right idea for cordless.
This is pretty timely. I was working on a solution for cleaning kids after the beach. I was going to build a small RV pump system, then I saw the Ryobi EZ clean. A lof of people complained that it was barely better than a garden hose, which is what I need. Figure the Ryobi 600 PSI EZClean with the shower head will have enough power to clean off the sand without causing any pain.
Hart has a portable shower ”rinser” unit thing, looked interesting when I saw it once, I keep hoping they’ll improve it a bit and bring it over to Ryobi, but it would be better for this use case and like camping showers and such.
If you need to pressure wash kids and pets, have a look at the Hart Rinser. I hope Ryobi, Ridgid and maybe Milwaukee releases a similar version.
If you need corded electric, I recommend Sun Joe. They also have a cordless model with a reservoir, but I don’t know if it is any good.
I have had a Ryobi EzClean for probably 3 years now. It’s good for cleaning mud off of shoes, bird droppings off of a freshly washed car and have even used it to clean out a shower. Stuff that I can do quickly by using the 2 liter bottle attachment, or putting some water in a 5 gallon bucket. IMO the biggest drawback of it, and pretty much all of the cordless units that I’ve seen is that the water per minute is very low. It might clean stuff off, but there isn’t always enough flow to really wash it away. And it’s one of the main reasons that I will get out the corded pressure washer for bigger jobs. It doesn’t do a whole lot of good to pressure wash something if the dirty water is just going to sit there on the “cleaned” surface.
I’m of the adage that the less cords the better.
Pressure washers aren’t exactly grab-and-go type of tools or equipment, right? Most users will tether ***then*** to a water spigot via a hose. So if you’ve got to use a garden hose, is there really cordless convenience?
Thank you! *fixed*
Same as my take on cordless air compressors, while there still is a hose involved making them not truly “cordless” their portability and convenience makes them great for small jobs or off the grid (MM had some great examples above). For the occasional user they get it done, for a more regular user they supplement rather than replace a traditional model.
To me, it’s too high of a demand item for batteries to be effective. Maybe in 5 years like Stewart said. There are a few applications where the current models can have some benefit, but I’ll stick to an electric/gas model for now…
That’s like asking if Phillips screwdrivers are any good. For Phillips screws – yes.
I’ve got the cordless 20v Dewalt version and it’s fairly wimpy. No comparison at all to even the lowest posted gas or electric versions. But I like it for pressure washing (out if a bucket ) my vehicles in the driveway during salty periods (drive old Toyotas – the frames will crumble away if you don’t keep them cleaned off…). It’s much handier than driving to a car wash, it won’t strip away any anti-rust film I treat them with in the fall and – you can use hot water with them so that’s a plus.
Using them with hot water for greasy things like engine parts is great too, compared to the ice cold water coming out of your hose.
First thing I did with my Dewalt was to remove the silly clunky battery compartment add-on.
I also use it to pressure wash my auto taping tools onsite.
I was considering getting the new Ryobi RY40306BTLVNM but it’s still not available. I already had a Ryobi lawnmower that used the same batteries, so it would have made sense if available.
I ended up getting the Ryobi 2000 PSI 1.2 GPM Cold Water Electric Pressure Washer, seems to work pretty well for my needs.
Any decent Milwaukee or Kobalt battery-powered pressure washers? I have a large gas one for big projects but want one for quick small jobs.
For the people in the back row, are you still hitching up horses to stay away from technology?
I have a friend on IG that uses a cordless sprayer for cleaning coils on rooftop ac units.
I have coredrilled out of a bucket,ponds,and rivers .
The technology will come with higher pressure.
For a lower pressure higher volume,since 2004 have been running marine 12 v bilge pumps off cordless batteries..and yes coredrilled with them as well.
500gph is 8 gallon per minute for the smallest, my 3500 will keep a 2 inch lay flat fully flopping.
I have the ryobi 18v. I use it at least once a week at work. Industrial/commercial Hvac service, and these things come in absolutely clutch when you’ve got clogged coils and no water access within hundreds of feet or at all. Fill up a 5 gallon bucket (2 usually required) , pull it up, and have at it.
I remember in the 60’s & 70’s, they had come out with “turbo” washers, which were simply the water powering the pressurizing of the output. Novelty items that would advertise on TV and looked “amazing”…till you got one.
These cordless models are just a step above those gadgets. And at the price they charge + how much work you can do with a given battery + the minimal PSI, they will remain a very niche product.
At this price, if they had the power of a lower end gas model and respectable runtime, then they would broaden their appeal to a larger audience.
Remember, a gas (some models can work out of a bucket or pond) unit will do everything a cordless will do; no electricity needed, no water source needed, endless runtime, 5-10 time more pressure and at half (or less) the price
As it stands, their market appeal is incredibly small.
About 15 years ago I bought a 1700 PSI pressure washer (Karcher) from Costco. It did a decent job. About 3 years ago I decided that I wanted something more powerful, but didn’t want to deal with gasoline. I sold the Karcher and bought a GreenWorks (or something like that from Lowe’s) for about $350. It was rated at 2700 PSI and was still a plug in electric. It was much more powerful than the Karcher. It was big and looked like a gas model and after less than a year, I got tired of how big it was and decided to sell it. Around that time Dewalt had come out with an electric pressure washer that looked like a hand-carry piece of luggage (DWPW2100). It was only 2100 PSI but everything could get folded up and it was easy to transport and store. I decided that this was more important and so I bought it. I wish it was more powerful but it still gets the job done and the portability I gain makes it worth it.
I also bought the Dewalt DCPW550 and while it is anemic, it also has its place. I’m happy with both of them and their size make them both worthwhile to me.
I’d be interested in a cordless pressure washer if I could throw in enough batteries (4 flexvolts?) to try and match what gas can do. Even if it is for a short amount of time.
I also want a 220 volt pressure washer. And a wood chipper.
p.s. I wonder if 4 batteries could provide the “electric buffering” to enable stronger 120v pressure washers that can approach gas. The batteries charge when the trigger isn’t pulled and they provide power when it is pulled. Yes, there would have to be a duty cycle.
Yes but would you be interested if a PW that takes 4 x 60v batteries would cost you close to a $1000, and maybe put out 1000 to 1500 PSI?
40V PWs are already in the 1500 PSI range; for 4x60V, you’d want >2500 PSI.
You might be right, but how much $$$ for a unit that puts out 2500 psi + $$$ for 4 x 60v? Then how much runtime can all this get you running at 2500 psi?
You may have a legitimate reason for wanting to spend so much, for such little return, but I think before Dewalt or other MFR design something like this, they need to have more than 3 people in the US that would cough up the money for what a gas unit can do at a fraction of the cost + much more psi + lots & lots of runtime.
How many PSIs are the current electric PWs doing? 2100PSI? That is from an 1800watt outlet.
An 18650 cell can supply 20 amps (and a 21700 cell can do 35amps.) 60volts * 20amps = 1200 watts. Okay we’re now two-thirds of the way there with _one_ battery with basic 18650 cells. I’m suggesting 4x that.
Yes it would be expensive, but I’ve accumulated batteries over the years. I understand that most people haven’t. But certain states don’t care about expense and how that impacts their residents…
With California making small engines illegal some company needs to eventually find a way to jump the performance of electric PWs to match gas. Maybe that’s lots of basic batteries. Maybe that’s 220 volts. Maybe it’s batteries that can supplement 120v for small/medium durations, etc.
I laugh at toro’s biggest electric two stage snow blower, but I respect that they swapped a gas engine for an electric motor + chassis that can take 3 batteries. There is no finesse.
Finally, my preferred solution is a 220v A/C pressure washer.
okay, not so final, regarding cost. Current electric PWs are $350ish for 1800 or so PSI. So spend another $150 or $200 for beefier parts and add a bay for a bunch of batteries. I’d pay $600 for that. Not very many people would. But certain states are making life expensive regardless. So maybe a goofball company like Ryobi will make it.
Decent enough specs with two batteries. 18 minutes on high isnt great, but I was expecting lower.
I believe we will get there as the need arises, the Cali law definitely is an incentive. A lot of this has to do with the consumers (and pros) needs. If people ask and want battery and are willing to pay, it won’t be long before there will be more power, & more runtime.
If people balk at the price and sacrifices of battery versus what a plug in the wall will do, then you are going to wait a long time.