Best pressure washers for boats: 8 top quality products for a thorough clean-down

The best pressure washers for boats allow you to clean the hull without damaging the finish. Read on before pulling the trigger in your search for the right machine.

A pressure washer is the best way to remove marine life, algae, oil stains, water discoloration, and other types of grime that threaten your boat’s finish. These powerful tools are generally classified by either pounds per square inch of pressure (PSI) or gallons per minute (GPM) of water flow.

PSI is the most important stat for boat owners to consider. Light-duty jet washers put out between 500 and 1,500 PSI of pressurized water. Medium-duty units range from about 1,500 to 2,800 PSI. Anything more than that is considered heavy duty.

Around 1,500 to 2,000 PSI is best for general cleaning of boat hulls, which can be vulnerable to damage as they age.

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Two exceptions include tasks that involve scraping a hull that has accumulated marine growth and cleaning a boat whose bottom paint must be blasted in preparation for a new coat. Those often require heavy-duty jet washing.

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The advantage of a heavy-duty pressure washer is that you can also use it for a variety of domestic chores, from cleaning the house to stripping dirt off a concrete driveway. But they are generally too powerful for a boat’s finish.

8 of the best pressure washers for boats

Karcher K4 Power Control Pressure Washer

Specifications : Pressure (bar/MPa) 20 – max. 130 / 2 – max. 13, Flow Rate max. 420 l/h, Power rating 1.8Kw, Power Cable 5m, High-pressure gun: G 160 Q Power Control Gun, Vario Power spray lance, Dirt Blaster spray lance, High-pressure hose: 8 m, Detergent application via: Plug and Clean system, Telescopic handle, Water-cooled motor, Integrated water filter, Adapter garden hose A3/4″, Weight without accessories – 11.5kg, Dimensions (L × W × H) 402mm x 306mm x 588mm

Reasons to Buy: adjustable power, good build quality, comes with good range of tools as standard

Reasons to Avoid: larger and heavier than a lower priced/lower specified pressure washer, premium price tag

This Karcher K4 pressure washer has three levels of pressure adjustment for a range of items. So rather than just holding the wand a bit further away and hoping for the best, with this one, you can really get in there accurately and not blast the thing you’re cleaning to pieces.

There’s lots of really nicely designed elements to this one. I love the extending handle which allows it to be easily wheeled about, but it tucks away back in my van or car boot easily with the handle stowed.

The lance and wand storage is robust and allows the tools and attachments to be neatly stored onboard the unit. I especially like the bit of netting over the back (see pictures in gallery) which is a really handy place to stash bits.

The high pressure hose attachment is a sturdy metal quick release click in under the hose stowage hanger and the low pressure water inlet is the standard screw fit attachment for a clicklock hose fitting or other fitting of your choice. it comes with the hoselock fitting as standard but the thread is compatible with more heavy duty metal fasteners.

This is by far the best pressure washer I own, or have ever owned as it happens and I’ve had quite a few over the years.

You can read the full review here: Karcher K4 Pressure Washer Review

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Nilfisk C 110 Pressure Washer

Specifications : pressure power : 110bar max/ 1595psi, weight : 6kg, size : width 29cm, Height 66cm, depth 26cm, noise level : 88Db

Reasons to Buy: comes with a soaping bottle, good value for money, lightweight/small footprint

Reasons to Avoid: some may not like the tall vertical unit shape as it can be easily toppled over, some of the fittings feel quite light and low budget, may not be heavy duty enough for daily use

On test with Tech Editor Fox Morgan, this pressure washer has been put through some moderate use and abuse for two years.

You can read the full review: Nilfisk C 110.7 pressure washer reviewed

Using the Nilfisk C 110.7 pressure washer is easy. Just plug in the water, click on the trigger handle and a choice of nozzle and power up to the mains.
It’s not obnoxiously loud when whirring away, though it’s certainly not the quietest.
The unit stands tall with the fixed plastic handle also acting as a hanger for the hoses and a rest support for nozzles. The wheels are kind of handy, though they add bulk and that big plastic handle is really quite big. That’s great if you have somewhere easy to store this, but if you need to squeeze it into a tight space, you might find yourself unscrewing the handle.
The vertical stance of the unit makes it easy to wheel about but I’ve found when immersed in the job of actual pressure washing, the unit can be easily toppled by the flick of a hose.

Fox Morgan says “I’ve successfully washed a variety of things with this pressure washer, from horse rugs to my Dehler 36 weedy bottom and recently it has been powerful enough to remove the loose deck paint from my Rustler 31, speeding the process of deck peeling/sanding/repainting considerably.”

I do recommend the Nilfisk, but buyer beware that this isn’t an industrially constructed high powered unit and should be treated with a little care to prolong its lifespan.

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Best Pressure Washers for Boats_Greenworks GPW1501

Greenworks GPW1501 1500 PSI Pressure Washer

Best light-duty pressure washer for boats

Specifications: Weight – 7.14kg | Dimensions – ‎17.2 x 38 x 27.69 cm | Max pressure – 1,500PSI | Tank volume – 5.4L

Reasons to buy

• No fuel is necessary. Plug in and power wash.
• Puts out 1500 PSI in a relatively small unit.
• Compact and portable.
• Push-button operation in a streamlined package.

Reasons to avoid

• The soap dispenser attaches to the wand, which is awkward.
• Comes with only two tips (25° and 40°).
• Does not have an onboard hose reel.

Not every task calls for a firehose of pressurized water. A flow of 1,500 PSI is plenty for all but the toughest boat jobs and still enough to clean a deck or house siding.

The Greenworks GPW 1501 has the added advantage of being super portable. At only 17 pounds, it is light enough to transport by hand and will operate in either the vertical or horizontal position, depending on your task.

This is an electric power washer, and it is considerably quieter than gas machines. The unit has a 20-foot hose, which is shorter than most gas power washers.

The 35-foot electric cord includes an inline GFCI breaker for safety, which makes it a great option for boat owners who want to keep a washer stored onboard or in a dock box. Just plug it in and get busy cleaning!

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Best Pressure Washers for Boats_Sun Joe SPX3000

Sun Joe SPX3000 2030 Max 2030 PSI Pressure Washer

Best electric pressure washer for boats

Specifications: Weight – 11kgs | Dimensions – ‎39.6 x 34.3 x 86.1cm | Max pressure – 2,030PSI | Tank volume – 1.8L

Reasons to buy

• Lightweight and sleek design.
• Relatively quiet compared to gas engines.
• Moderately priced power washer.
• Highly rated by Amazon reviewers.

Reasons to avoid

• Must have a nearby power source.
• Not as rugged as heavy-duty gas power washers.

If you want the convenience of an electric pressure washer but need more power, check out the Sun Joe SPX3000. It pumps out 2,030 PSI of pressure, enough to clean any surface and right in the zone for boat cleaning.

This highly rated machine operates on a vertical chassis for easy maneuvering. It comes with five quick-connect tips, which is more than most other washers.

Two onboard soap dispensers detach for easy filling. Each can hold a different detergent for switching between tasks, such as house siding and boat cleaning.

At only 31 pounds, it is lighter than most gas-powered boat pressure washers yet with comparable pressure.

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Karcher Cube Power Cleaner

Karcher K1700 Cube

Best budget pressure washer for boats

Specs: Weight – 7.03kgs | Dimensions – ‎103.2 x 83.9 x 74.2 cms | Max pressure – 1,700PSI | Tank volume – 5.4L

Reasons to buy

• Space-saving design with plenty of pressure.
• Moderately priced.
• Foot-activated on/off switch.
• Available in several configurations and PSI ratings.

Reasons to avoid

• Nowhere to store extra hose.
• Must have a power source to operate.

Larger boats with the capacity to store a power washer onboard still need a space-saving design. The Karcher K1700 Cube comes in a range of sizes and power ratings, but the 1,700 PSI version is the most compact.

The spray gun breaks down and stows neatly alongside the hose coil. In addition, available accessories include extra hoses, wand extensions, and deck scrubbers or brushes.

A built-in soap reservoir can be removed for filling, and the washer comes with three tips ranging from a wide-angle soap applicator to a high-pressure “turbo” nozzle.

Since the machine rests on the ground, the foot-pedal on/off switch is very convenient. The Karcher has all-metal hose connections as well as a metal handle for transport.

It is slightly more expensive than the Greenworks 1501, but at only twelve inches tall and 18 pounds, and with 1,700 PSI, it gets our nod for the best budget pressure washer for boats.

Dewalt Cordless Power Cleaner

Dewalt Cordless Electric Power Cleaner

Best cordless pressure washer for boats

Specs: Weight – 4.54kgs | Dimensions – ‎63.5 x 12.7 x 27.9 cms | Max pressure – 500PSI | Tank volume – 4.5L

Reasons to buy

• Cordless design for ease of use.
• No external power source required.
• Enough pressure to wash any boat without harming the finish.
• Available as “tool only” for consumers who already own DeWalt batteries and charger.

Reasons to avoid

• Not as powerful as electric or gas washers.
• An expensive tool for relatively low PSI.

DeWalt has built an entire brand around its line of cordless tools. While its hammer drills, impact drivers, and saws are well known to tradesmen and homeowners alike, the DeWalt Cordless Electric Pressure Washer may be less familiar.

At only 500 PSI, you are not going to scrub the oil stains off an entire driveway.

But the upside is that the pressure you do get comes in an extremely portable, handheld package. In other words, there is no cord or hose other than the water source.

That makes it easy to maneuver around decks, topsides, trailers and anything else boat related without tripping over a tangle of cords and hoses.

A 20-volt rechargeable battery offers nearly 40 minutes of run time, and of course the battery can be switched out with another power pack if you are already on the DeWalt platform.

If you are looking for maximum portability in a power washer that is certainly adequate for boat cleaning, the DeWalt cordless version is worth checking out.

Best Pressure Washers for Boats_Simpson MSH3125

Simpson MSH3125 MegaShot

Best heavy-duty gas pressure washer for boats

Specs: Weight – 30kg | Dimensions – ‎53.3 x  61 x 86.4 cms | Max pressure – 3,200PSI

Reasons to buy

• Powered by a Honda gas engine.
• Time-tested and rugged design.
• Will handle any job that requires a pressure washer

Reasons to avoid

• May be too powerful for some boat finishes except with low-pressure tips.
• Louder and heavier than electric engines.

You only need a boat pressure washer this powerful if you are doing bottom work or use it regularly around the home for siding, decks, and other tough-to-clean surfaces.

Otherwise, it’s probably too powerful for simple boat cleaning, especially on older boats. For those who do need the power, Simpson’s MegaShot boasts 3,200 PSI of pressure at 2.5 gallons per minute.

A Honda engine is considered high-end in the pressure washer industry and is known for providing years of trouble-free service. I have a Honda engine on my 10-ten-old DeWalt power washer and can attest to their reliability.

The Simpson MegaShot is built for transport on a powder-coated frame with oversized tires, making it easy to move around the yard (or boat yard).

The cart, side hose rack, spray gun and engine configuration are a standard design in heavy-duty boat pressure washers, one that has been repeated from brand to brand for decades.

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Best Pressure Washers for Boats_Generac Electric Start

Generac Electric Start Pressure Washer

Best adjustable pressure washer for boats

Specs: Weight – 26.3kg | Dimensions – ‎90.2 x 48.3 x 62 cms | Max pressure – 3,100PSI

Reasons to buy

• Both electric and recoil start.
• Adjustable pressure knob.
• The reliability and power of a gas engine.
• Upright configuration is easy to move around.

Reasons to avoid

• Heavy but rolls easily on oversized tires.
• One of the more expensive washers in its class.

This jet washer comes with an adjustable pressure knob for a wider range of applications – just dial it up for household chores, or down for boat and car cleaning.

The Generac Electric start offers a maximum pressure of 3,100 PSI. It features a one-push electric starter, as well as a backup recoil pull-cord.

This is a more upright chassis, which is easier to push or pull around than the shorter, blockier frames like the Simpson. A built-in soap tank makes dispensing cleansers a breeze.

Quick-connect hoses and tips allow you to easily add hose length or change the spray pattern. The unit comes with four tips that ride securely in the frame’s headboard.

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How to choose the best pressure washer for your boat

The best pressure washers for boats have an adjustable range that allows you to dial back the pressure to protect older gel coats, fiberglass, and wood. High pressure can gouge wood, leaving it pitted and vulnerable to rot.

On the other end of the spectrum, a light-duty machine will suffice for your boat, but how much else are you going to get done with it?

A medium-duty power washer in the range of 1,500 to 2,800 PSI will handle most tasks around the house and still allow you to confidently wash your boat when using wide-angle tips, which apply lower pressure.

The other major consideration is whether you want a gas or electric engine. Gas is more powerful and more durable, but noisier. Electric is quieter and lightweight, but electric units require a power cord, and that can be cumbersome.

Some gas engines have an electric-start function, which is very convenient. Just make sure it also has a recoil start for backup. Other accessories that make boat pressure washing easier include a built-in soap dispenser, a hose rack or coil, and multiple tips for different applications.

Solid wheels on a sturdy chassis are a must for gas-powered pressure washers that will see duty beyond the boat yard.

Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Head to Amazon’s dedicated boating page for more marine products.


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