All products were chosen independently by our editorial team. This review contains affiliate links and we may receive a commission for purchases made. Please read our affiliates FAQ page to find out more.

How to choose the best pressure washer

Find out what you need to consider when buying a pressure washer and watch our expert video guide.

If you’re planning to spruce up outdoor areas in desperate need of a clean, a pressure washer could save you a great deal of hard work.

The model of pressure washer you need will be determined by the size of your space, how dirty it gets and, of course, your budget.
Depending on your needs, there are budget, intermediate and premium models to choose from.

Choose the right pressure washer for you, your garden and your budget, with the help of our video Buyer’s Guide.

Brands featured in this video: B&Q, Bosch, Briggs and Stratton, Draper, Greenworks, HozelockKarcher, McAllister, Makita, Nilfisk, Qualcast, Stihl, Vax

Many thanks to Rosie Yeomans for her help in making this video.

What to consider when buying the best pressure washer for your needs

There are a number of things to consider before buying your washer, as outlined in our video guide. The tougher the job, the more power you’ll want from your machine. The smaller or more delicate the area, the less power you’ll need.

Three factors determine the power of your machine:

  • Wattage of the motor – measured in watts
  • Water pressure – measured in bars
  • Maximum water flow rate – measured in litres per hour

The higher the power, the harder the machine will be able to work on tough areas, but some surfaces may require a lighter touch.
If you have smaller surface areas, wooden decking or block paving, a lower flow rate should be able to clean effectively without damaging the surface. For large paved areas such as a driveway, a higher flow rate will be more effective.

Attachments and add-on equipment

There are lots of different models for different tasks as well as a range of attachments and optional extras available. These include:

  • Patio cleaner attachments
  • Brushes for cars and glass
  • 90° nozzles for cleaning under cars
  • Drain-blasting hoses.

Some models come with attachments included while others will be available to buy as add-ons. Make sure you consider which attachments you’ll need to suit the surface you’re cleaning. Adjustable settings are also useful to tailor the cleaning power to different areas.

In our video guide, we outline all of the above points and demonstrate how to use a pressure washer on both vulnerable, easily damaged surfaces and larger areas, such as paths and patios.

How much should I spend on a pressure washer?

Pressure washers range in price from around £70 for a budget model, useful for lighter work, and rise to as much as £700 for expert level machines suitable for heavy duty cleaning. How much you spend depends on what you need the machine for.

Budget pressure washers

A basic, lower powered machine is best for smaller garden tasks such as cleaning gardening equipment and washing down bikes. If you’re planning to tackle a lot of built up grime on tough surfaces, this isn’t the machine for you.

For a lower powered, budget model you’ll be looking at a lower flow rate plus:

  • Motor wattage – 1200 to 1600 watts
  • Water pressure – 90 bar or under

While budget brands are more likely to fit this price-tag, some mid-range manufacturers also offer a basic model:

The distinctive yellow Karcher pressure washers range from around £100 up to full kits in excess of £400, but they do have a “K2 Basic” model for around £70.

See Karcher pressure washers on Amazon

A low powered pressure washer from Mac Allister could set you back as little as £58, with the 1300 watt model.

See Mac Allister pressure washers at B&Q

Nilfisk offer a wide range of pressure washing machines and accessories and they do a budget 1400 watt model which can be bought for just £85.

See Nilfisk pressure washers at Argos

Greenworks offer budget pressure washers, sitting roughly in the £100 to £150 price range. There’s a cordless model which is more compact, with a built in water tank for around £140 as well as a more traditional upright for around £125.

See Greenworks pressure washers on Amazon

Mid-range pressure washers

These pressure washers are ideal for most households. Machines in this range should be able to cope with cleaning paving and garden furniture as well as cars.

For a medium powered model you’ll be looking at a reasonable flow rate plus:

  • Motor wattage – 1600 to 2000 watts
  • Water pressure – 90 to 130 bar

Models cost between £100 and £200 or slightly more, depending on the accessories and attachments included and there’s lots to choose from. Even the biggest names have a pressure washer model in this price bracket.

Brands include:

Nilfisk – see Nilfisk pressure washers at Argos

Karcher – see Karcher pressure washers on Amazon

Bosch – see Bosch pressure washers on Amazon

Draper – see Draper pressure washers on Amazon

Mac Allister – see McAllister pressure washers at B&Q

Top of the range and semi-professional pressure washers

If you’ve got a large or commercial area to clean or some seriously built up grime, you’ll be looking for a high powered pressure washer. These pressure washers should be able to clean large areas of paving as well as vehicles, such as 4x4s and caravans.

For a top of the range machine, you’ll want a high flow rate plus:

  • Motor wattage – 2000 to 2500 watts
  • Water pressure – 130 to 150 bar

For high-end machines, prices range from £200 to £700 for a professional standard washer.

Brands include:

Draper – see Draper pressure washers on Amazon

Briggs and Stratton – See Briggs and Stratton pressure washers on Amazon

Karcher – see Karcher pressure washers on Amazon

Bosch – See Bosch pressure washers on Amazon

Nilfisk – see Nilfisk pressure washers at Argos

What’s the best pressure washer for a patio?

To clean a paved patio, you’ll need at least a mid-range, medium power pressure washer, although a lower pressure machine is more suitable for block paving or wooden decking.

To make it easier to clean larger areas, look for a long hose that will be kinder on your back and opt for a washer with specific patio cleaning attachment tools. Similar to an indoor floor cleaner, the brush head and rotating jets diffuse the pressure across the surface to clean flat surfaces evenly, rather than concentrating the water in a single stream at a time, as a hose would.

What’s the best pressure washer for cars?

For a standard car, a midrange pressure washer should do the job. 4x4s that see a lot of heavy duty use, caravans or commercial vehicles may need a higher end model.

Specific car cleaning attachments are also available, including angled tools for reaching beneath the body of the car and brushes to softly clean the bodywork.

Tips for effective pressure washing

Before you buy, check you’ve got the attachments you need, such as a patio cleaner or car tools. Some models come with them included but others will require you to purchase them separately.

Consider access to water. Is your washer cordless with a water tank or do you need to connect it to a water source? If so, check it’s compatible with your outdoor tap or buy an adapter.

Each model has different settings which vary the power and spray of water. Using a powerful setting on a delicate surface like wooden decking, could risk causing damage, so adjust your settings to suit the job. The instructions should explain which setting is the right one.

Finally, consider how water will drain away when you’re working and remember not to use a pressure washer in freezing temperatures.

On the forum: talk garden tools and techniques for cleaning slippery decking