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The best pressure washers in 2024

A selection of the best pressure washers against a blue background

Washing the car, cleaning your patio or blasting mud from your bike? The best pressure washers make the job quick and easy

There’s something deeply satisfying about watching dirt being blasted away by a pressure washer. These handy tools transform the mains water supply from a simple outside tap into a powerful cleaning jet, and the best pressure washers can make light work of all the intensive cleaning tasks around your home and garden.

We’ve tested a wide variety of pressure washers, and here you’ll find our top recommendations for washers which offer the best balance of power, value for money and brilliant design, ranging from affordable models around the £60 mark to hefty £500 models that weigh the best part of 30kg.

Deal of the week

Our favourite pressure washer overall, the Kärcher K4 Power Control, is cheaper for a limited time at £185 on Amazon, down from an average of £199 on the site.

View deal at Amazon

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Our expert picks

The best pressure washer

Kärcher K4 Power Control with two attachments alongside on a white background

Kärcher K4 Power Control

Price: ~£220

“Our favourite all-rounder. The adjustable pressure settings and standard pair of lances make for a brilliantly versatile package, but spend ~£150 extra on the Car and Home Kit and you also get a rotating car brush, foam jet nozzle and T5 Surface Cleanser attachments for even better results.”  Read our review

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The best cheap pressure washer

Bosch EasyAquatak 110 pressure washer and accessories on a white background

Bosch EasyAquatak 110

Price: ~£67

“This light, compact Bosch model outmuscled its arch-rival, the Karcher K2, in our tests. It’s simple to use, comes with useful attachments and passed all of our challenges with flying colours. The suitcase design is easy to carry around and store away, too. ”  Read our review

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The best smart pressure washer

Karcher K5 Premium Smart Control pressure washer with lance alongside on a white background

Kärcher K5 Premium Smart Control

Price: ~£486

“The bigger, more powerful, Bluetooth-enabled version of the K4, the K5 provides more adjustability both on its upgraded lance and via its genuinely useful smartphone app. We were seriously impressed by its balance of grime-defeating power and all round ease-of-use. The compatibility with all of Karcher’s accessories is an added bonus. ”  Read our review

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How we test pressure washers

Testing the Bosch EasyAquatak 110 pressure washer
For these reviews, we test every aspect of a pressure washer’s performance so that we can provide a definitive answer to all the key buying questions:

  • Is it easy to assemble, drain down and put away? No one wants to spend ages fiddling with awkward connectors or assembling attachments before they use their pressure washer, and easy storage is always a welcome benefit.
  • Is it easy to to use? We think about whether the controls are logically laid out and intuitive to use, and make note of whether it’s easy to adjust the settings when required.
  • Is it effective at a range of different cleaning tasks? We test its cleaning power with a wide variety of tasks around the home and garden while paying particular attention to how useful the range of supplied attachments are.
  • Is it good value for money? We balance all of these factors against a pressure washer’s price, manufacturer warranty and its comparable competitors before reaching our final verdict.

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The best pressure washer

Kärcher K4 Power Control | ~£210

Pros and Cons icon - tick inside circlePowerful enough for most jobs; Great design; Wide range of accessories available
Pros and Cons icon - cross inside circleSome rivals offer more power for the money

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Weight: 11.5kg | Max pressure: 130 bar | Water flow rate: max 420l/hr | Hose length: 8m; Cable length: 5m | Motor power: 1,800W | Size: 31 x 40 x 59cm (WDH) | Warranty: 2 years (5 years with free extension)

Replacing the K4 Full Control in Kärcher’s lineup, the K4 Power Control is a superb pressure washer, with everything you need to clear the grime from all around your home. Its secret weapon is its Power Control Gun and matching Power Control Vario lance. You can switch between three different pressure settings and adjust the spray pattern with a twist of the nozzle, going from a high-powered jet to a softer, flatter spray. Whether you’re washing mud off the car or trying to blast mould and algae from your patio, you get what you need without having to lug around a bunch of different tools.

Of course, since this is a Kärcher pressure washer, there are extra tools available if you want them. We also tested the K4 with the Power Control car and home kit (~£350), which comes with the standard Power Control Vario and Dirt Blaster lances, plus a rotating car brush and a foam jet nozzle. What’s more, it throws in the T5 Surface cleaner for sweeping all the grime from your decking, patio or driveway. It’s worth the extra if you crave extra cleaning power and precision for your car or outdoor spaces, although the basic kit will easily handle all but the toughest washing jobs.

There are a couple of things to bear in mind, however. The Core 130 and Core 140 models from Nilfisk offer more raw power for slightly less cash – and their equivalent of the car and home kit cost significantly less. If you don’t mind a slightly fiddlier design, they’re a superb alternative.

One final thing to bear in mind when shopping for the best deal is that you get an extra year of warranty (3 as standard, 6 after free registration) if you buy direct from Karcher.

The best cheap pressure washer

Bosch EasyAquatak 110 | ~£67

Pros and Cons icon - tick inside circleMore powerful than specs would suggest; Compact design; Easy to use
Pros and Cons icon - cross inside circleNot enough power or flow rate for bigger jobs

Weight: 3.8kg | Max pressure: 110 bar | Water flow rate: 330l/hr | Hose length: 3m | Cable length: 5m | Motor power: 1,300W | Size: 38 x 20 x 40cm (WDH) | Warranty: 2 years (3 years with free extension)

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While it’s one of the cheapest models in Bosch’s EasyAquatak range, the EasyAquatak 110 has many positives. It’s a compact unit that looks a little like a mini suitcase, with the high-pressure pipe emerging from the back and the hosepipe connector at the front. It’s incredibly simple to set up and operate, with just a single rotary on/off switch at the front and a trigger and a lock on the handle; it’s pretty much point and shoot from there on in. It comes with three nozzles – an adjustable fan/jet nozzle, a high-power rotary nozzle and a detergent nozzle for cleaning foams and detergents.

Despite its diminutive size and max pressure, it’s a surprisingly powerful washer. We had no problems removing caked-on grime from the bodywork and wheels of our car, nor clearing stains, moss and lichen from concrete slabs. In fact, the blast from the rotary nozzle proved impressively fierce. The downside here, which is something you’ll find with most sub-£100 pressure washers, is that the flow rate isn’t high enough to tackle really big jobs at a decent pace, so you’ll want something bigger for those king-sized patios or fleets of Range Rovers.

Nevertheless, it’s hard to complain at this price. The Bosch is cheap, relatively quiet and easy to stow away, and offers a balance of power and adjustability that makes it useful all around the home, garden and garage.

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The best cheap Karcher pressure washer

Karcher K2 Horizontal review - Primed for action on a grey patio

Kärcher K2 Horizontal | ~£90

Pros and Cons icon - tick inside circleCompact design; effective cleaning; smart storage features
Pros and Cons icon - cross inside circleShort hose and power cable; Limited pressure and single spray

Weight: 3.5kg | Max pressure: 110 bar | Water flow rate: 360l/hr | Hose length: 3m | Cable length: 5m | Motor power: 1,400W | Size: 24.8 x 19.7 x 38cm (WDH) | Warranty: 2 years (5 years with free extension)

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Kärcher’s latest revamp of its entry-level K2 washer is a compact, suitcase-style unit that’s even smaller than the Bosch EasyAquatak 100. Despite its diminutive size, the K2 Horizontal is pretty smart when it comes to storage, with space to wind round the power cable and spots where the trigger gun and spray lance can lock into place. With just the one on/off dial and the single, non-variable spray, it’s incredibly straightforward, and there’s a transparent pipe that sucks up snow foams and detergents, if you want to apply them to your target.

With a maximum 110 bars of pressure, this isn’t the most powerful pressure washer around; but I found it had enough oomph to apply snow foam and blast mud and dirt from my car, and clear surface grime from my patio and driveway. And while the single narrow spray won’t be ideal for every purpose, you can always upgrade later with a variable spray wand or dirt blaster from Kärcher’s extensive range. You may also be frustrated by the short 5m cable and even shorter 3m high-pressure hose; but this basic pressure washer is great value, and a real contender if you’re short of storage space.

Read our full Kärcher K2 Horizontal review

A great value pressure washer – but not quite the best

halfords pw20 pressure washer in blue how to clean your decking with a pressure washer

Halfords PW20 | ~£75

Pros and Cons icon - tick inside circleReasonably powerful for the price; Snow foam bottle included
Pros and Cons icon - cross inside circleLoud; Relatively heavy; Lowest flow rate on test

Weight: 6.3kg | Max pressure: 115 bar | Water flow rate: 300l/hr | Hose length: 5m | Cable length: 5m | Motor power: 1,600W | Size: 27 x 25 x 69cm (WDH) | Warranty: 1 year

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With such a tiny price tag, it’s easy to dismiss the Halfords PW20 as being too cheap to be a credible alternative to £100-plus machines. But within minutes of plugging it in, it’s clear that this is a quality product. As well as an adjustable fan nozzle for the lance, it comes with a snow foam bottle – not always a given, even with far more expensive pressure washers. Even its 1,600-watt motor is, on paper at least, more powerful than several other pricier alternatives on this list.

It performed well in our tests, too. It’s a little louder than some of the other units here, but it isn’t unbearable – and was more than up to the job of blasting brake dust from alloy wheels and cleaning a film of algae and lichen from a patio. It took a little more effort than some here, because its 115 bar pressure rating and relatively low flow rate put it at the lower end of the washers on this list, but it still got the job done eventually.

The PW20 is easy to operate: the 5m hose has metal fittings that are easy to attach, and there’s a single on/off control on the front. The lance adjusts from a spot to a fan by twisting the nozzle.  We found the adjustable nozzle a little tricky to remove, but unless you’re a snow foam aficionado, you can probably leave it attached.

Where the PW20 loses out is weight: at 6.3kg, it’s much heavier than the similarly-priced models we’ve tested from Bosch and Karcher. For that reason, the Bosch Aquatak 110 (~£59) remains our top budget pick, but don’t discount the PW20 completely – it could make a worthy alternative with a big enough discount.

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The best for cleaning cars and bicycles

Nilfisk Core 130 Bike & Auto | ~£203

Pros and Cons icon - tick inside circlePower on a par with pricier machines; Great car cleaning attachments; Great value
Pros and Cons icon - cross inside circleQuite a lot of assembly required; Warranty shorter than some alternatives

Weight: 6.6kg; Max pressure: 130 bar; Water flow rate: 462l/hr; Hose length: 6m; Cable length: 5m; Cleaning area: 35m2/hour; Motor power: 1,500W | Size: 29 x 30 x 72cm (WDH) | Warranty: 2 years (3 years with free extension)

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If you’re looking for a pressure washer to purge the mud and grime from your bike or car, you won’t do better than the Core 130 Bike & Auto kit. For one thing, the Core 130 is another well-built, high-performance pressure washer from the Danish firm, with a choice of three power settings and two nozzles. As with the P180 and Core 140, one gives you more of a tough spray, while the other delivers the full-on rotary jet, perfect for blasting the black stuff off your alloy wheels or removing algae or dried paint from your driveway.

This kit comes with everything you need for a proper clean, including a wide-angled nozzle for the bonnet, windscreen and paintwork, a soft car brush attachment, an under-chassis nozzle and a foam sprayer – all of which would normally set you back another £40 to £50. There are a few niggles, such as the slightly awkward housing for the high-pressure hose at the front, or the fact that there’s quite a lot of assembly involved before you get it going, but when your car gets cleaned this quickly and this well, it’s hard to grumble.

A great value option for cleaning cars and bicycles

Ryobi 130 Electric Pressure Washer | ~£159

Pros and Cons icon - tick inside circlePower on a par with pricier machines; Integrated 0.9l detergent tank; Comes with brush attachment
Pros and Cons icon - cross inside circleNot vastly cheaper than the superior Nilfisk Core 130

Weight: 8.3kg | Max pressure: 130 bar | Water flow rate: 420l/hr | Hose length: 5m | Cable length: 5m | Motor power: 1,600W | Size: 27 x 25 x 92cm (WDH) | Warranty: 3 years

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While there are other pressure washers – or optional packages – designed for cleaning cars, few offer the all-round ability of the Ryobi 130. That’s because rather than requiring a separate detergent bottle to be attached to the lance, or car shampoo to be sucked from a standalone bottle, the Ryobi has a built-in 0.9l detergent tank in the main body. Once filled, to activate it you simply twist the end of the vario lance, which reduces the pressure and allows you to coat your car quickly, easily and evenly.

Its suitability for the task doesn’t end there. The vario lance adjusts from a focused spot spray for removing alloy wheel grime to a fan for a gentle final spray, and everything in between. A brush attachment and non-adjustable lance are also supplied, along with a filter. The tough yet flexible 5m, steel-braided hose resists tangling well, and comes with tough metal quick-release fittings at both ends.

Delivering 130 bar and a flow rate of 420l/hr, it’s plenty powerful enough for cleaning patios, driveways and decking, too. The only criticism is the hose release catch on the main unit is a little fiddly.

If you can’t quite stretch to the Nilfisk Core 130 Bike & Auto (~£195), this is almost as powerful – and slightly easier to assemble – for a little less cash.

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The best lightweight pressure washer for performance

Karcher K4 Classic pressure watcher on stone patio in front of flowerpot with lance lying in front

Kärcher K4 Classic | ~£180

Pros and Cons icon - tick inside circleCompact; lightweight body; excellent performance
Pros and Cons icon - cross inside circleLimited hose and cable management

Weight: 5.6kg | Max pressure: 130 bar | Water flow rate: 420l/hr | Hose length: 6m | Cable length: 5m | Motor power: 1,800W | Size: 45 x 25.6 x 26.4cm (WDH) | Warranty: 2 years (5 years with free extension)

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Say you want the performance of the brilliant Kärcher K4 Power Control, but you can’t quite stretch to its £200-plus price tag. Enter the K4 Classic. This simplified version has the same 130 bar max pressure and 420l per hour flow rate, but does without the Power Control trigger gun and more advanced cable and hose storage features.

You might not miss these features too much, except perhaps the advanced cable. Good luck getting the high-pressure hose to wind around the space provided – it springs off at the slightest opportunity. You also have to rely on plastic clips to connect the high-pressure hose at either end, which I found tricky to lock and near-impossible to unlock. However, you still get both an adjustable Vario Power spray lance and a Dirt Blaster lance for tackling stubborn grime, and you get a smaller and much lighter pressure washer. As a result, I’ve found the K4 Classic a pleasure to use, especially if you need to carry it down steps, move around your car or get it to the end of a long driveway, where the wheels and telescopic carrying handle give you a little extra help.

What’s more, the K4 Classic has all the power you need for regular cleaning. It made short work of caked-on dirt, mud and hardened seagull droppings stuck to the surface of my compact SUV, not to mention moss and lichen from a garden pathway and patches of my driveway. For the toughest stuff you can bring out the Dirt Blaster; but it needs to be used with care, since it can tear off loose stone or tarmac. Go for the Power Control or Nilfisk Core 140 if you need more features, but if you’re after serious performance at a lower price, the K4 Classic is a winner.

Read our full Kärcher K4 Classic review

The best cordless pressure washer

Worx HydroShot WG630E cordless pressure washer with attachements on a white background

Worx Hydroshot WG630E | ~£195

Pros and Cons icon - tick inside circleCordless; Can be fed from a bucket or jerry can; Powerful enough for cleaning cars or bikes
Pros and Cons icon - cross inside circleVery limited power

Weight: 2.4kg; Max pressure: 24 bar | Water flow rate: 200l/hr | Hose length: 6m | Motor power: 20V brushless motor | Size: 24 x 13 x 93cm (WDH) | Warranty: 1 year

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Sure, it might seem weedy from the specs, but the Worx Hydroshot WG630E can go places where you’d never take another pressure washer. That’s because it’s cordless, running from one of Worx’s 20v 4A lithium-ion batteries, and because it doesn’t need a conventional mains water supply – just drop the end of the bundled hose into a watering can or bucket and it will run until it drains it dry. It has a normal power mode and a battery-saving eco mode, and a choice of five jet patterns courtesy of the rotating nozzle.

There isn’t enough power here to blast off ground-in, dried-on dirt, but it’s fantastic for rinsing down a muddy bike, your car or removing surface grime and bird droppings. The battery takes around 45 minutes to charge and runs for around 30 to 40 minutes, and the only hassle is having to refill your can or bucket, with the WG630E getting through 10 litres in around 3 minutes of solid squirting. Even then, a quick car clean took only two cans to complete. This isn’t the last word in cleaning power, but it’s unbeatable for sheer convenience.

A more powerful alternative to the Karcher K4

Nilfisk Core 140 | ~£226

Pros and Cons icon - tick inside circleMore powerful than Karcher K4; Tackles serious jobs with ease; Car Kit bundle is amazing value
Pros and Cons icon - cross inside circleQuite a lot of assembly required

Weight: 9.2kg | Max pressure: 140 bar | Water flow rate: 474l/hr | Hose length: 8m | Cable length: 5m | Cleaning area: 40m2/hour | Motor power: 1,800W | Size: 37 x 31 x 88cm (WDH) | Warranty: 2 years (5 years with free extension)

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As the step-up model from the Core 130, the Core 140 can tackle pretty much anything you throw at it, from a muddy quad-bike to larger cars and campervans, and algae and moss-stained decking, too. In fact, you need to be a little more careful about its power settings when you’re using the rough, rotary jet attachment, since it can chew through soft timbers or old tarmac.

Whether you buy it solo or pay a little extra for the Car Edition bundle (~£270), you’re getting a great pressure washer, with the latter option adding foam sprayer, wide-angle car nozzle, car brush and under-chassis nozzle attachments.

Like the Core 130, the Core 140 takes a fair bit of time and effort to assemble – and this is why we narrowly prefer the Karcher K4 Power Control.

That said, the Core 140 has a couple of key improvements over the Core 130 model which make it easier to use and store, including a longer high-pressure hose pipe and a reel at the front to keep it tidy, along with an even more robust frame, sprayer lance and handle.

With a bit more welly than the budget models, but a lower price tag than the premium washers from rival manufacturers, the Core 140 is one of the best value mid-range pressure washers. If you can find it going for less than the Karcher K4, then this is the model to choose.

The best value heavy-duty pressure washer

Karcher K5 Power Control review kit on a grey patio

Kärcher K5 Power Control | ~£340

Pros and Cons icon - tick inside circleBig and heavy; high-pressure hose is prone to tangling
Pros and Cons icon - cross inside circleBig and heavy; high-pressure hose is prone to tangling

Weight: 137kg | Max pressure: 145 bar | Water flow rate: 500l/hr | Hose length: 10m | Cable length: 5m | Motor power: 2,100W | Size: 30.6 x 40.2 x 58.8cm (WDH) | Warranty: 2 years (5 years with free extension)

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If you’re not too bothered with the connected app features of the K5 Premium Smart Control, the K5 Power Control delivers the same cleaning performance at a lower price point. You also lose the wind-up hose reel – and it can be a challenge to keep the thick and springy 10m high-pressure pipe under control – but, otherwise, the K5 Power Control doesn’t feel at all restricted. Its Power Control trigger gun and Vario Power spray lance still allow you to adjust the intensity and pattern of its fearsome water jet, while Kärcher bundles in its Dirt Blaster lance, with a focused rotary jet that can remove thick mud, baked-on grime and even spilt paint from many surfaces. Handle it with care.

You can also plug Kärcher’s triangular detergent bottles directly into the specially placed spot. Switch to the low-power mixer setting, and you’re good to spray snow foam or decking and patio cleaner. With or without the extra help, I found the K5 Power Control superb when it comes to cleaning filthy cars, dirty, mossy driveways and grimy paving – and the ability to vary the power quickly is a real bonus while you’re working. Make sure you wear some old shoes and jeans, though – your lower half is going to get splattered; but if you’re looking for a heavy-duty cleaner, this is one of Kärcher’s best.

The best smart pressure washer

Kärcher K5 Premium Smart Control Home | ~£486

Pros and Cons icon - tick inside circleVery powerful; Hugely adjustable; Great smart features; Integrated hose reel
Pros and Cons icon - cross inside circleExpensive; Not vastly more powerful than the Nilfisk Core 140

Weight: 13.9kg | Max pressure: 145 bar | Water flow rate: max 500l/hr | Hose length: 10m | Cable length: 5m | Motor power: 2,100W | Size: 31 x 41 x 59cm (WDH) | Warranty: 2 years (5 years with free extension)

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The K5 Premium Smart Control is a little bigger and more powerful than the K4, and comes with the bonus of a built-in, wind-up hose reel to keep its longer 10m high-pressure pipe under control.

Yet the real advantage is its Smart Control system, comprising a new trigger gun with a built-in LCD panel and Bluetooth connectivity that hooks into a smartphone app. On its own, the trigger gun allows you to turn the pressure up and down, with six levels and a boost setting to deal with the most persistent grime. Meanwhile, Kärcher’s 3-in-1 multi jet lance can switch spray patterns, so that you can change from a wider spray to a focused, rotating jet within seconds.

Connect the app, and you can tell the K5 what you’re trying to clean. It will then set the required pressure and tell you how to adjust the lance for every stage, so that, as you clean the car or power-wash the driveway, you’re using the right spray pattern and setting for every step. Buy the Home version and Kärcher also bundles in the T5 Surface cleaner for a thorough clean of any hard surfaces in your garden.

In truth, you pay a lot for the smart features, and we’re not sure that using the app to control the lance is really all that convenient, even if it does help to guarantee the best results. If you want the ultimate in high-tech pressure washers, the K5 is a superb pick – but if it’s raw power you care more about, then we’d opt for the far cheaper Nilfisk Core 140 (~£226) or go the whole hog and set your sights on the monstrously powerful Nilfisk Premium P180 (~£500) instead.

The best heavy-duty pressure washer

Nilfisk Premium 180 | ~£460

Pros and Cons icon - tick inside circleSturdy build quality; Tackles the toughest jobs with ease
Pros and Cons icon - cross inside circleBig and heavy

Weight: 29.5kg | Max pressure: 180 bar | Water flow rate: 610l/hr | Hose length: 10m | Cable length: 5m | Motor power: 2.9kW | Size: 38 x 39 x 96cm (WDH) | Warranty: 2 years (5 years with free extension)

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For most home applications, the Nilfisk Premium 180 is going to be overkill; but if you need to clean something big – a swimming pool, terrace, boat, or caravan, for example – this is the washer for the job. It’s a massive unit, standing nearly 1m tall, and weighing 26.8kg, which makes you glad of the built-in trolley. Much of that comes down to the robust build and all-aluminium pump. The 10m high-pressure pipe that connects the lance winds onto an internal reel at the top, and there are even points for winding up the 5m mains cable. The Premium 180 is built for serious use.

That’s also reflected in the performance. Even with the Gentle nozzle, which adjusts from a wide fan to a fearsome jet, it can blast through the toughest dirt and grime in seconds. On some surfaces, it might even be too tough, so it’s good that you can ramp back the pressure with a quick turn of the dial. Switch to the Rough nozzle with its rotary jet and there’s very little this won’t get through; it effortlessly cleaned paint marks and stains from concrete that lesser pressure washers couldn’t shift. This is a practical, pro-level tool that’s built to work hard.

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How to choose the right pressure washer for you

What do the specifications mean?

While specifications such as size, weight, hose and cable length are all self-explanatory, the importance of others such as max pressure and water flow rate is less obvious. In short, though, a washer’s maximum pressure and its flow rate are the key metrics you need to understand to judge its theoretical cleaning power.

Max pressure: This gives you a rough idea of how powerful a washer’s water jet is and is normally measured in the metric unit of pressure, bar. Budget pressure washers tend to top out around 100 bar of pressure, while high-end models can exceed 150 bar. The higher the pressure, the more easily a washer can shift dirt.

Water flow rate: This is measured in litres per hour and gives you an idea of how quickly a washer can clean and rinse away dirt. If a washer has a high pressure, but a low flow rate, its jet of water will be smaller than a washer with the same pressure but a higher flow rate. High pressure plus high flow rate means a bigger jet of water to clean the surface and rinse away the dirt afterwards, so allows for speedier cleaning.

Motor power: This is the power of the pressure washer’s water pump measured in watts. All things being equal, a more powerful motor should be able to pump more water at a higher pressure than a lower-rated pump. That said, the max pressure and water flow rate are the only metrics worth focussing on, as not all pumps are created equal.

Things to know: It’s worth noting that manufacturers do not always quote an in-use maximum pressure, but sometimes quote the maximum pressure that a pump can generate before you actually hit the trigger, at which point the real pressure drops significantly. If the manufacturer publishes it, look for the washer’s “bar-rated pressure” in the manual or specifications, which is the average pressure that each washer can maintain over a long period. In practice, only way to really measure a pressure washer’s cleaning abilities is to test it thoroughly, and that’s why we’ve taken the time to properly test every model we recommend here.

Is more power always a good thing?

When it comes to power, more isn’t necessarily better: the last thing you’ll want to do is bore holes in timber or blast off car paintwork. Most of the more powerful pressure washers offer the ability to dial down the maximum pressure for more delicate work, and where the increased pressure and flow rate of pricier models really comes into its own is when you have really big areas to clean, really heavy soiling to remove, or lots of cleaning to do on a regular basis.

Sometimes, though, it’s more about having the right accessories or attachments than out-and-out power. If, for instance, you mostly just want a pressure washer to make lighter work of cleaning cars or bicycles, and you want to get the absolute best possible results with the least concerns about damaging paint work, rubber seals or pushing water into bearings and so on, then it’s more about choosing a pressure washer with specialised attachments. For instance, many popular models are available in specific car- or patio-cleaning bundles which add the relevant accessories. Or, alternatively, you can just buy the standard model to start with and add the accessories later as your budget dictates.

Which is the best pressure washer for you?

With all these factors in mind, the table below splits the various models we recommend into categories based around what kind of user they might suit best.

Which pressure washer is best for….

Smaller jobs

Occasional cleaning of smaller patios and driveways; garden furniture, barbeques; cars and bicycles

Bosch AquaTak 110 (~£67) – Light, cheap, surprisingly powerful

Karcher K2 Horizontal (~£90) – Less powerful than Bosch; compatible with all Karcher’s specialised accessories

Medium-sized jobs

More frequent cleaning of medium-sized patios, driveways and fencing; cars and bicycles

Karcher K4 Power Control (~£210) – Increased power, wide range of accessories

Nilfisk Core 130 Car & Auto (~£203) – Comparable power to K4 but much cheaper; Bundled with car/bike cleaning accessories; Slightly fiddly to assemble

Big jobs

Regular cleans of large patios, driveway#KarcherK5s and fencing with severe staining; all cleaning jobs 

Nilfisk Core 140 (~£226) – Very powerful for the money; 8m long hose and integrated reel; more robust accessories than Core 130

Karcher K5 Premium Smart Control (~£486) – Only outpowered here by the Nilfisk Premium 180; adjustability and smart features are superb

Nilfisk Premium 180 (~£460) – Hugely powerful; tackles regular gargantuan cleaning jobs with ease; large and very heavy


Awkward to reach/away from home jobs

No easy access to power/water supplies

Worx Powershot G630E (~£200) – Cordless; ~40 mins battery life; Water can be fed from bucket/jerry can; Limited power
Primarily cleaning cars (and bicycles)

Models that come with specific features or attachments for more gentle and/or more precise cleaning and detailing of cars/vehicles

Nilfisk Core 130 Car & Auto (~£195) – Loads of power for the money; Useful attachments; Great value

Ryobi 130 (~£159) – Surprisingly powerful; Integrated detergent tank; Easily adjustable pressure on lance; Brush attachment included

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What accessories do you need for different cleaning tasks?

Before you hit the Buy Now button, it pays to stop and check which tools are included. Most pressure washers arrive in a variety of bundles, all with different tools in the box – rather confusingly, similar product names also make it easy to pick up the wrong model by mistake.

If the hose is short, perhaps you’ll need an extension wand. Maybe you need an angled wand to clean gutters. If you want to tackle specific cleaning tasks, such as patios or cars, then you’ll get the best results with brushes and nozzles that are purpose-built for the task at hand. If you want to clean your car using snow foam, you’ll need a snow foam bottle that attaches to the lance.

A few models may even come with special multi-purpose nozzles, designed to deliver different spray patterns for different jobs, which save you from having to carry the whole kit around. While you can usually buy a specific accessory later, getting the right bundle at the start will save you some money in the long-term.

It’s worth noting whether spare parts or accessories are available for your pressure washer of choice. You might find it hard to track down a new hose, for example, from a relatively unknown brand, while something from a household name might only be a click away.

Other things to consider include the length of both the mains cable and hose. A shorter hose can make it more difficult to get the jet where it’s needed, or reaching around the back of the car to get it clean. Of course, the longer the hose, the more likely it is to get in the way or become tangled, so it’s worth having a spool or reel to keep it under control when it isn’t fully extended. Also consider the flexibility of the hose; something that’s overly rigid can be unwieldy to use. Metal fittings on the hose are better than (cheaper) plastic ones, too.

If your pressure washer’s cable is too short, you can use an extension lead, but it’s essential to opt for one that offers a suitable amperage (13 amps minimum) and is designed for outdoor use. Water and electricity aren’t the best of bedfellows.

How dangerous are pressure washers?

Pressure washers can be extremely dangerous, so always wear protective goggles, proper footwear – a jet of water against bare toes is going to result in a hospital visit – and never spray them at yourself or someone nearby. The high-pressure water jets are capable of causing severe injuries to skin and soft tissue; these are anything but big boys’ toys.

What do we look for when testing pressure washers?

We focus on a wide range of factors, including the following:

Design: We look to see how well-designed each pressure washer is. We assemble and disassemble each model, noting both how easy and sturdy everything feels, and get a feel for how easy the washer is to move around and operate during each cleaning task. Ease of use is paramount, and clearly labelled controls and attachments which don’t require you to constantly refer to the manual are preferred.

Cleaning performance: We put every pressure washer to the test across a range of tough, everyday cleaning tasks:

  • Cars: Here we focus on the washer’s ability to remove dirt and debris from the body surfaces and wheels, while still controlling the pressure to avoid causing any damage.
  • Surfaces around the home and garden: We clean a range of tarmac, concrete, plastic and timber surfaces to see how it handles walls, driveways, paths, patios and decking. During this process, we pay close attention to how easy it is to control the pressure and the jet, and any additional features designed to make pressure-washing easier.

Attachments and accessories: The quality and range of supplied accessories can greatly enhance the usefulness of a pressure washer. We test any and all accessories which come with a pressure washer, including foam spray bottles, additional nozzles, driveway brushes and car kits. These extras are often more nice-to-haves than essentials – you can easily clean most surfaces with a plain pressure washer lance – but dedicated tools can often save effort, get a deeper clean or avoid causing damage to softer surfaces or items such as wood, plastics or car bodywork and paint.

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