RYOBI 1800 PSI/1.2 GPM compact power washer

By ralph mroz on Tool and Product Reviews

RYOBI 1800 PSI/1.2 GPM Electric Pressure Washer

At over eight pounds per gallon, moving water is a very effective energy transfer medium, which is why something like the RYOBI 1800 PSI/1.2 GPM compact pressure washer is so effective.  Water was the first power source for industry, and still today powers much of the electricity produced.

Water is powerful

You really have no idea how powerful water is until you get trapped by it—in my case, pinned against a boulder in my whitewater kayak.

That’s why plain old everyday water, out of a pressure washer, is so effective for so many tasks, even without the addition of any cleaning agent.  Every contractor and homeowner needs one.  We aren’t going to be using the water to erode mountains—most of our jobs have completion deadlines closer in than that, but we will find countless other uses for it.  We’ll use it for cleaning driveways, stoops, decks, outdoor furniture, cars and trucks, machinery…the list goes on and on.

Pressure washers are essential

Now, if pressure washing is a routine part of your trade, then you know best what type (gas or electric) of pressure washer you need, and what pressure (PSI) and flow rate (GPM) you need.  Many construction pros use a 3300 PSI model, for example, for these kinds of jobs.  You’ll also need a washer that is built to run high duty cycles for years.  For homeowners and other construction pros, I’ve always thought that a smaller, portable, unit would be more suitable.  Homeowners, for example, don’t too often need more than 1800 or so PSI to clean up; in fact, 3200 PSI can cause damage to many household surfaces…as I learned first-hand many years ago, fortunately on my own house.  Also, why take up all the extra storage space of a larger unit?

But what about contractors?  My argument here is pretty much the same as it was for contractors having a small battery-powered chain saw.  There is two main reasons for every contractor to have a small compact pressure washer in the shop and available to take to job sites.  First and most obviously, the job may actually require you to clean something.  Second, because by power cleaning something that you didn’t need to but that’s related to the job you were hired for, by going that extra step (which only takes a few minutes), you over-deliver for the client which translates into good reviews and recommendations.

Let’s say that you’re installing a new front door, and before you leave you also power clean the front stoop.  Not only does that make the newly installed door look better, but you’ve over-delivered for the client with only a few extra minutes on site.  Likewise, think of adding a deck extension; by power cleaning the existing deck at the end of the job you’ve not only made your own work look better, you’ve made the client much happier.  You get the idea.  Think of the power washing as a lagniappe for the client.  Like the 13th donut in a baker’s dozen, it costs you almost nothing, but you get a lot of goodwill as a result.For both these purposes, the RYOBI 1800PSA/1.2 GPM compact power washer (model RY141820VNM) is ideal.

RYOBI 1800 PSI/1.2 GPM compact power washer basic specs:

  • Lightweight, portable, compact design
  • Tested and rated in accordance with PWMA standard PW101
  • 1,800 PSI, 1.2 GPM
  • 13 amp electric motor
  • Turbo nozzle for up to 50% more cleaning power
  • 20 foot high pressure hose
  • Includes 3 quick-connect nozzles (15°, soap, and turbo) for cleaning a variety of surfaces
  • 35 foot electric cord
  • 16 pounds
  • Locking trigger


This unit is indeed compact.  The accompanying picture will show that it’s about 3/8 of a pit bull in volume (if you want that in cubic inches, just consult any of the online pit bull to cubic inch calculators <smile>).  Carrying the light 16-pound washer is easy with the carrying handle.  The three nozzles are the basic ones that you’ll need for most jobs.  The turbo nozzle will clean stone and masonry, the soap nozzle is appropriate for car washing, and the 15-degree nozzle useful for siding, decks, and so on.  The trigger lock is handy for saving your forearm, and the unit’s controls are intuitive and standard.

In the field

I’ve used the RYOBI 1800 PSI washer on a concrete stoop that was black with grime and mold and it blasted all of it off with the water pressure alone (no cleaning agent).  Likewise on north-facing vinyl siding covered in green mold, for washing my vehicles, and more.  If you want to use a cleaning agent, this washer comes supplied with a filtered hose that inserts into the cleaning agent’s container and mixes with the output water at a 20:1 ratio.

All in all, the RYOBI 1800 PSI/1.2 GPM compact power washer is just the ticket for a homeowner, and for the contractor who wants a small unit to easily fit into the truck for those nice-to-do little extras at the client’s site.  It doesn’t take up hardly any room in the truck or shop, It’ll also do just fine for washing the company truck and machinery.

This is one of those handy tools that everyone needs.  Even if you already have a larger pressure washer, you’ll find lots of uses for this smaller one, especially given its convenience and portability.  Going for only $150 at The Home Depot.

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About the author

ralph mroz

Ralph Mroz grew up in an extended family of tradesmen, and worked at the trades summers and weekends through school. He put those skills to good use in renovating the five houses he and his wife have owned. Even while working in the white-collar and law enforcement worlds, he's always had one foot in the construction trades.

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