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Pressure washers - Buyer's Guide

Eight of the best pressure washers

Clean dirt from the patio, car and garden furniture with these pressure washer models.

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.

Investing in a garden power tool like a pressure washer can be a great way to save water, as they use less than a garden hose, and get through tiresome cleaning tasks such as washing the car or decking.

Choosing the right pressure washer for your garden will depend on the size of your space, how quickly grime builds up and, of course, your budget. We’ve collated a list of eight of the best pressure washers that we’ve tested, which should cover a range of price points and suit a variety of gardening tasks, surfaces and garden sizes.

To make the buying process as painless as possible, we’ve also put together a buyer’s guide filled with advice on key features to look out for, how much you should be spending and suggestions on which models are best to clean a car and patio.

If you’re looking to invest in more power tools and machinery, read our reviews of the best hedge trimmers and cordless lawn mowers.

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Pressure washers – Buyer’s Guide video

Many thanks to Rosie Yeomans for making this video.


How to choose the best pressure washer

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.

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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.


Types of pressure washer

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 rough 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.


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.

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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.


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.

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What’s the best pressure washer for cars?

For a standard car, a mid-range 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.


How to use a pressure washer

A pressure washer can be used for a whole host of cleaning tasks and this will affect which attachments and settings you use.

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.

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.

Although some pressure washers are cordless and come with their own fitted water tank, many do not. If this is the case, the pressure washer will need to be connected to a water source such as an outdoor tap.

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


Best pressure washers at a glance


Eight of the best pressure washers to buy in 2021

From budget models to top-of-the-range machines, here is our selection of the best pressure washers.

1

Bosch Universal Aquatak 135 Pressure Washer

Our rating: 4.8 out of 5

Bosch Universal Aquatak 135 pressure washer review BBC Gardeners' World magazine
Bosch Universal Aquatak 135 Pressure Washer

Pros:

  • Simple, with no nozzles to swap
  • Comfortable to use
  • Powerful, effective cleaning
  • Excellent stability

Cons:

  • Accessories expensive

Ideal for bigger gardens, the Bosch Universal Aquatak 135 Pressure Washer has a long hose reach of seven metres. It has sturdy wheels and two handles that make it easy to move around the garden as you clean and the upright handle folds down for easy storage. The pressure washer is supplied with three nozzles – pencil, jet and fan nozzle – and additional accessories such as a wash brush or patio cleaner can be bought, although they are a little expensive.

Read the full Bosch Universal Aquatak 135 Pressure Washer review.


2

Greenworks G30 Pressure Washer

Our rating: 4.8 out of 5

Greenworks G30 pressure washer review BBC Gardeners' World magazine
Greenworks G30 pressure washer review BBC Gardeners’ World magazine

Pros:

  • Good features and accessories
  • Fast cleaning
  • Solid and stable
  • Handy extension arm

Cons:

  • Wheels fiddly to attach

This Greenworks pressure washer has a six metre house and comes with a variety of accessories including two nozzles, a wash brush, an extension lance and a patio cleaner. It is one of the heavier models we tested but the sturdy wheels and trolley handle make it easy to manoeuvre and we did find it to be powerful, making light work of algae on garden furniture.

Read the full Greenworks G30 Pressure Washer review.


3

Karcher K3 Home Pressure Washer

Our rating: 4.8 out of 5

Karcher K3 Home pressure washer review BBC Gardeners' World magazine
Karcher K3 Home Pressure Washer

Pros:

  • Powerful patio and surface cleaner
  • Comfortable to use
  • Integrated detergent feed
  • Good choice of sprays

Cons:

  • Needs more assembly than many

This pressure washer is lightweight and has wheels and two handles to make it easy to move around the garden. It has a powerful 1600w engine and its patio cleaner had no problem clearing any dirt in our test. There is an integrated detergent tank and onboard storage in the body of the pressure washer to tuck away the cable, hose and lances. A range of accessories are available including a dirt blaster spray and an extension lance to limit the strain on your back.

Read the full Karcher K3 Home Pressure Washer review.


4

Nilfisk Core 140 Pressure Washer

2048-1365-gw-pressurewasher-nilfiskcore140

Our rating: 4.8 out of 5

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Responsive trigger gun
  • Compact design for easy storage
  • Solid and sturdy

Cons:

  • Limited accessories

A fast, efficient pressure washer, which tackled my patio, decking, furniture and car with ease. Three different power levels, combined with two nozzles provide plenty of variation to suit delicate tasks as well as those tougher jobs. Small and compact, it has great storage features, while sturdy wheels and handle make it conveniently portable.

Read the full Nilfisk Core 140 Pressure Washer review.


5

Ryobi RPW110B Pressure Washer

Our rating: 4.5 out of 5

Ryobi 110 bar pressure washer review BBC Gardeners' World magazine
Ryobi 110 Bar Pressure Washer

Pros:

  • Light and compact
  • Storage space
  • Cleans well
  • Choice of sprays
  • Great value and warranty

Cons:

  • No wheels
  • Lacks safety button

A good option for lighter cleaning, this Ryobi pressure washer is small and compact. With a five metre hose, the model comes with a selection of accessories including a variable fan spray and a pencil jet. More accessories including a wash brush and patio cleaner are also available for an additional cost. There are no wheels but it’s light enough to lift and move around the garden as needed.

Read the full Ryobi RPW110B Pressure Washer review.


6

Stihl RE100 Pressure Washer

Our rating: 4.25 out of 5

Stihl RE100 Pressure Washer – BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine
Stihl RE100 Pressure Washer

Pros:

  • Powerful cleaning
  • Quiet
  • Good storage features

Cons:

  • Heavy to move and lift
  • Accessories expensive

A good option for large areas, the Stihl RE100 cleans well and quietly. It’s stable when in use and although it was a little heavy to move, it does have a trolley handle and wheels to help. With in-built storage features, the accessories and cable fit nicely onto the main body.


7

Yard Force EW U15 Pressure Washer

Our rating: 4 out of 5

Yard Force EW U15 Pressure Washer – BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine
Yard Force EW U15 Pressure Washer

Pros:

  • Good cleaning power
  • Long hose reach
  • Useful features including winding hose reel

Cons:

  • Vibrations uncomfortable
  • Heavy
  • Sprays hard to change

The Yard Force EW U15 is a compact pressure washer with two carry handles. It has a number of storage features including a hose reel and it has a good choice of sprays. It needs very little assembly to set up but sprays can be difficult to adjust and cause some vibrations. Best suited for small areas and quick jobs.


8

Makita HW111 Pressure Washer

Our rating: 4 out of 5

Makita HW111 Pressure Washer – BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine
Makita HW111 Pressure Washer

Pros:

  • Cleans well
  • Compact and stable
  • Handy hose reel

Cons:

  • Lacks accessories
  • Lance feels short

A good option for cars, fences and driveways, the Makita HW111 is compact, stable and has wheels to help make manoeuvring easy despite its weight. The pressure washer is relatively simple but cleans well and is supplied with a choice of sprays, integrated hose reel and foam sprayer.

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