Consumer Reports warns of pressure-washer dangers

Consumer Reports no longer recommends those with super-narrow settings


Pressure washers can cause serious injuries including lacerations, punctures, and eye damage. Based on the latest data, it’s estimated they send more than 6,000 people per year to emergency rooms.

Pressure washers are usually sold with a set of interchangeable colored nozzles or a wand tip that adjusts to different settings. The most powerful setting is zero degrees and is usually a red nozzle. Consumer Reports is particularly concerned about zero-degree nozzles because they concentrate all of that power and pressure into a single pinpoint blast.

Consumer Reports no longer recommends pressure washers that come with nozzles or adjustable wand tips that produce sprays of less than 15 degrees.

Consumer Reports is asking manufacturers to make products without the zero-degree setting. The Pressure Washer Manufacturers’ Association says the instruction manuals and markings on the products show how to use them safely, and it stands by the use of zero-degree nozzles for tough jobs and for reaching longer distances.

If you’re buying a pressure washer, Consumer Reports recommends the $190 electric one from GreenWorks GPW1951.

If you already own a pressure washer, Consumer Reports recommends that you get rid of the red zero-degree nozzle if it has one. And if you have a spray tip with a zero-degree setting, don’t use it.

And no matter which type of spray nozzle you are using, wear safety goggles and protective shoes. And never point it at a person or pet.