With summer on the horizon, I got a Ryobi 2800 PSI pressure washer with a Honda GCV160 engine. The work on my plate is mostly light to medium duty, so 2800 PSI is more than enough power for my needs. While not all pros actually consider the Ryobi when looking for a pressure washer, the Honda engine gave me the confidence to pull the trigger.
I met with Walt Benner, a professional painter of talent and work whose work often goes beyond painting to address a range of tasks from homeowner needs to property maintenance. But before we jump too far, let's put the Ryobi RY802800 in place.
Check out our best pressure washers article for our top picks
Where the Ryobi RY802800 fits
2800 PSI is not peak when it comes to the gas performance of a pressure washer. Professional commercial models can reach over 4000 PSI. But you need to look at more than just PSI. And the amount of water it delivers. The Ryobi handles up to 2.3 gallons per minute (GPM), but the Pro business model can push 4 GPM and beyond.
Therefore, this Ryobi 2800 PSI pressure washer fits in the upper-middle range of medium-sized pressure washers. This will be a reliable level of performance for cleaning patio furniture, siding, vehicles and boats. You can also work on concrete surfaces like driveways and sidewalks. Stay away from some light work, and you can tackle lumber applications that are difficult for sub-2000 PSI models, such as decking and fencing.
Where you lose out in this category is in the paint prep of building exteriors – a professional painter like Walt has to take this into account.
Ryobi 2800 PSI Pressure Washer Key Features
Honda GCV160 engine is the focus of consideration for Rimei RY802800. Adding to the dependable reputation that Honda has brought to OPE, the GCV160 is a 4-stroke engine, so you don't have to mix gasoline and oil. Always check the oil level before each use. It requires SAE 30 or SAE 10W30 motor oil, which can be found anywhere you buy auto parts. The engine puts out 161 cc to produce 2800 PSI.
In terms of fuel, avoid e85 fuel, but you can use standard 10% ethanol gasoline. If you're like me and have an ethanol-free fuel station nearby, paying higher gas prices may extend the life of your engine, but it's not a guarantee.
Pro Tip: Use a pump protector regularly to reduce hard water deposits and keep seals and pistons lubricated. If there is no other time, add before winter storage. A fuel stabilizer is also a good idea before winter storage or if you don't use your pressure washer very often.
The motor can heat the water to dangerous levels, so there is a pressure relief valve that will automatically reduce the pressure if it gets too high.
axial flow pump
Most pressure washers are equipped with axial or triplex pumps. Axial pumps are simpler, but triplex pumps tend to be more efficient and last longer. Because of this, you'll find triple cylinders on most commercial-grade pressure washers. Professionals and homeowners who frequently use pressure washers will want to pay attention to the axial flow pump when considering this model. If you only use your pressure washer a few times a month or less, the axial pump you've found is not a problem.
car detergent tank
The detergent tank is automatically mixed with water downstream in a 20:1 ratio. According to the manual, you can convert it to an upstream mix, but you'll need to contact customer service for more information.
There is a stern warning to only use detergents with a specific rating for your pressure washer. There's also a special note not to use bleach—a favorite chemical of many professionals.
On-board accessory storage
You'll find that all your accessories have a home in your pressure washer. The nozzle is attached to the front. If you're new to pressure washing, after these you'll find a handy guide to nozzle selection. Ryobi includes four nozzles – 0, 25 and 40 degrees and a soap nozzle.
The 25' hose is wrapped and stored using the hook and loop strap. I don't have a lot of confidence in using it long term, so I'll probably assign a bungee cord to do the job in the near future. Still, it held up well, at least for the first few weeks of use.
When it comes to storage, gun racks are another concern. It holds the spear in place, but the plastic isn't strong enough that it often slipped when I rolled over bumps.
While it's not a storage issue, there's a foam grip around the handle. It's fine in my hands, but I don't expect it to last more than a few summers in the Florida sun.
control and connection
There are no surprises when it comes to the connectivity of this model. Source hose and high pressure hose have standard connections that are easy to find and use.
To start the pressure washer, toggle the fuel valve to "on," the on/off switch to "on," and the choke to the "start" position. A quick pull on the drawcord and you're ready to race. So far, the Ryobi 2800 PSI pressure washer will fire every time on the first or second pull — but you should expect this to happen with any new unit.
Pro Tip: Before starting the motor, prime the water pump by running water from the water source hose through the high pressure hose with the gun trigger pulled until water starts to flow. Make sure the source valve is fully open.
To adjust the water pressure, there is a power control dial on the gun that is easily turned to adjust the pressure you want.
Ryobi 2800 PSI Pressure Washer Performance
Most of the work Walter and I had to do was exterior building and cement cleaning. Those jobs are easy enough for this model, and 2800 PSI is more than enough to handle concrete. Where the extra power comes into play are buildings. Instead of climbing up a ladder to the top, we were able to tackle everything from the ground. This will be a much more difficult task for lower powered installations.
Walter has a commercial-grade pressure washer that he uses to prep paint and some of the larger cleaning jobs he contracts. But even from his Pro perspective, the appeal of the Ryobi RY802800 is its lightweight portability. Of course, light weight is relative, as the unit still weighs 62 pounds. But any of us could get it in and out of the truck with relative ease. Just like a 12V drill, why use a heavier model if the lighter, easier-to-use model will still get the job done effectively and efficiently?
This is a valid question, and it can be answered simply by the number of times Walt has used this model for smaller jobs.
the bottom line
This Ryobi 2800 PSI Pressure Washer is perfect for any homeowner or owner looking to keep concrete and wood surfaces as well as building exteriors and vehicles clean. But it doesn't stop there. The reliability of the Honda engine makes it a legitimate addition for professionals to pressure washers for small jobs and punch list jobs.
Where Pros may need to find a workaround is with the gun and hose storage. An axial pump is a bigger problem unless you only turn it occasionally. Beyond that, the unit's compact, lightweight frame makes it an attractive option for light to medium-duty applications.
It's $329 at your local Home Depot. This puts it in the same price range as models from Briggs & Stratton, Simpson, Generac and Powerhorse (Northern Tool). There are also options that target lower price points but come with lower-quality engines. If you really need to hit the 3000 PSI numbers, Ryobi has another model for an extra $20.
Ryobi 2800 PSI Pressure Washer Key Features
- 2800 psi; 2.3-GPM
- Powerful Honda GCV160 engine
- Power control gauge rotates for easy pressure adjustment
- On-board detergent tank for hassle-free cleaning
- Onboard accessory storage for user convenience
Ryobi 2800 PSI Pressure Washer Specifications
- Model: Rimei RY802800
- Engine: Honda GCV160 engine
- Fuel Capacity: 0.25 gallon
- PSI: 2800
- Gross Margin: 2.3
- Pump: axial cam
- Hose Length: 25'
- Weight: 62 lbs
- Includes: 25ft High Pressure Hose, Trigger Handle Bracket, Spray Boom, 4 Quick Connect Nozzles (0*, 25*, 40* and Soap), Operator Manual, Quick Reference Guide
- Warranty: 3-year limited
- Price: $329