The Mac Allister 1,800W is a cheap and powerful pressure washer with only a few flaws
- Good performance
- Simple to assemble
- Cheaper than rivals
- Brush attachments don't add much
- Pull handle isn't height-adjustable
- Hose adapter shattered
Now that the days are longer and the weather has warmed up a bit, there’s no excuse not to tackle those al fresco chores that you kept putting off over the winter. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a conservatory roof that needs cleaning, a wheelie bin that needs scrubbing and a car sitting on the drive that’s crying out for a good wash.
Fortunately, although it has its flaws, the £128 Mac Allister 1,800W is well suited for such a range of cleaning jobs. For everything you need to know about the mid-range B&Q pressure washer, read on.
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Mac Allister 1,800W review: What you need to know
The 1,800W machine is one of three pressure washers in B&Q’s extensive Mac Allister range of equipment for the home and garden. Weighing 10kg, it provides a maximum pressure of 130 bar and a flow rate of 440l/h, making it direct competition for Kärcher’s popular K4 Full Control.
In short, it’s best used for medium-sized cleaning tasks such as cleaning your car, wheelie bin, garden furniture, patio and more. For comparison, the 2,100W model (19.2kg) – which B&Q says is suited to cleaning larger patios, paths and garden stone walls – offers a maximum pressure of 140 bar and a 450l/h flow rate. Meanwhile, the low-end 1,300W model (9.6kg) gives you a 100-bar maximum pressure and a 390l/h flow rate. All three machines work with water up to a maximum temperature of 50°C.
Packaged with the 1,800W model is a 6m high-pressure hose, a spray gun, an extension lance, vario and rotary nozzles, fixed and rotary brush attachments, and a patio cleaner.
The Mac Allister 1,800W comes with a two-year guarantee.
Mac Allister 1,800W review: Price and competition
The 1,800W machine sits in the middle of the Mac Allister pressure-washer range, with a price tag of £128. The top-end 2,100W variant comes in at £188, while the 1,300W model costs just £58 – although this one doesn’t come with any brushes or a patio cleaner.
While all of the models can be used with detergent (the 1,300W model requires an external detergent pump), none come with any in the box.
For a similar price to the 1,800W model, you can buy the Nilfisk Compact 120 High-Pressure Washer (£110), a 1,400W machine that offers a maximum pressure of 120 bar, as well as two cleaning nozzles and a foaming lance. Alternatively, there’s the Spear & Jackson S2011PW (£150), a powerful 2,000W unit that boasts a maximum pressure of 160 bar and onboard storage for stashing away its wide variety of attachments.
Last, but by no means least, for a little extra, you could opt for the Kärcher K4 Full Control (£165), which offers 1,800W of power, a maximum pressure of 130 bar and a choice of nozzles.
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Mac Allister 1,800W review: Design and features
As with all Mac Allister products, this pressure washer sports a utilitarian grey-and-blue livery. It’s not particularly attractive, but it’s not offensive either. The pull handle’s lack of height adjustment could become a slight annoyance for some, but for me the biggest irritant was the cable spaghetti. With a power lead, a 6m high-pressure hose and your water hose to contend with, the chances of getting tangled up are high.
To be fair, that problem isn’t exclusive to this particular pressure washer, but at least with the Mac Allister 2,100W you get a built-in cable winder to help keep things tidy.
My other main gripe with this Mac Allister pressure washer is that the adapter that connects the water hose to the machine shattered the first time I turned on the tap. It’s possible I hadn’t connected it properly, but you’d still hope it would be more robust than that.
And if you don’t have access to a tap, it’s important to note that there’s no option to draw rainwater from a water butt. There is, however, a built-in detergent tank – not something you find with every affordable pressure washer.
Mac Allister 1,800W review: Cleaning performance
Having recently cleaned my patio while testing the Kärcher K4 Full Control, I decided to put the Mac Allister through its paces by cleaning my car, my wheelie bin and my conservatory roof.
Starting with the car, I attached the rotary brush to the spray gun, pulled the trigger and starting tackling my mud-caked wheel rims. I found the experience frustrating: not only did I have to arch my back uncomfortably to carry out the job, but the shape of the rotary brush meant that the bristles failed to reach the desired nooks and crannies. Sadly, the fixed brush was just as disappointing.
In the end, I abandoned the brushes in favour of the vario nozzle, twisting it to the high-powered pencil jet spray (it also offers a wider, gentler spray). The impact was immediate, and within moments all the ingrained mud, oil and bird poo was nowhere to be seen.
Next up was my wheelie bin. Keeping the vario nozzle on, I stood well back and blasted away at the putrid detritus that had been left to congeal in the bottom for months. As with my car, the Mac Allister 1,800W pressure washer handled the job quickly and efficiently, and within a couple of minutes I could almost see my face in the shiny plastic.
My third and final challenge was the conservatory roof, which had accumulated plenty of muck. Climbing a ladder, I expected to be back on terra firma within a minute or two, having left the glass gleaming like a diamond. However, for the Mac Allister to work at its dirt-blasting best, you really need to position the nozzle within inches of the offending muck – and, even with the extension lance attached, that wasn’t possible with the panes that were furthest away.
As a result, I left the patio roof looking like an unfinished job. Again, that’s not a problem that’s exclusive to the Mac Allister 1,800W, but if you’re looking to buy a pressure washer for the purpose of cleaning your conservatory roof, you might want to reconsider.
Mac Allister 1,800W review: Verdict
For the money, the Mac Allister 1,800W is undeniably a powerful machine. Having also tried out the more-expensive Kärcher K4 Full Control, I’d say the two machines blast away dirt with similar gusto.
It undoubtedly has its faults – that broken adapter left me tearing my hair out and I doubt I’ll ever use the brushes out again – but if you’re looking for a pressure washer on a strict budget, it’s not a bad option.
|Mac Allister 1,800W pressure washer – Specifications|
|Dimensions (HWD)||860 x 380 x 380mm|