I’m always amazed at how my patio looks before and after using a pressure washer. Freshly cleaned, it looks new again; plus the satisfaction of a job well done! Whether you’re looking to clean your patio, decking, car or garden furniture, there are a lot of options on the market. But when we start talking about water pressure and flow rate, it can all get a bit unnecessarily technical. In this article, I’m going to try and simplify the process of buying a pressure washer. I’ve significantly researched and tested the leading models, and given my recommendations as to which may be the best for you. Let’s jump in…
What is the Best Pressure Washer For You?
- Best high-end pressure washer: Kärcher K7 Premium Full Control Plus Home Pressure Washer
- Best high pressure for large areas: Wilks-USA RX550i Electric Pressure Washer
- Best all-rounder for home use: Kärcher K5 Premium Full Control Plus Home Pressure Washer
- Best lightweight pressure washer: Bosch EasyAquatak 120 Pressure Washer
- Best pressure washer for car cleaning: Norse SK125 Electric Pressure Washer
- Best mid-range option: Kärcher K4 Full Control Home Pressure Washer
- Best for sturdiness & heavy duty jobs: Wilks-USA RX525 Pressure Washer
- Best budget all-rounder: Nilfisk C110 Pressure Washer
- Best for small patios & decking: VonHaus Home Pressure Washer
- Best cheap option: Makita HW101 Compact Pressure Washer
Comparing The Best Pressure Washers
Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that's most important to you.
- Best For
- Max Water Pressure
- Max Flow Rate (litres per hour)
- Motor Power
- Hose Length
- Our score
- Best high-end pressure washer
- 180 bars
- 550 l/h
- CHECK PRICE →
- Best high pressure for large areas
- 262 bars
- 510 l/h
- CHECK PRICE →
- Best all-rounder for home use
- 145 bars
- 500 l/h
- CHECK PRICE →
- Best lightweight pressure washer
- 120 bars
- 300 l/h
- CHECK PRICE →
- Best pressure washer for car cleaning
- 205 bars
- 500 l/h
- CHECK PRICE →
- Best mid-range option
- 130 bars
- 420 l/h
- CHECK PRICE →
- Best for sturdiness & heavy duty jobs
- 165 bar
- 450 l/h
- CHECK PRICE →
- Best budget all-rounder
- 110 bars
- 440 l/h
- CHECK PRICE →
- Best for small patios & decking
- 90 bar
- 330 l/h
- CHECK PRICE →
- Best cheap option
- 100 bars
- 360 l/h
- CHECK PRICE →
In-Depth Reviews of Our Recommended Pressure Washers
Best high-end pressure washer
- Ease of Use
- Value for Money
Kärcher K7 Premium Full Control Plus Home Pressure Washer review
- Max Water Pressure: 180 bars
- Max Flow Rate (litres per hour): 550 l/h
- Motor Power: 2800W
- Hose Length: 10m
- Weight: 17.7kg
Whether you’re looking to dislodge dirt from the patio, clean up your car’s wheel arches, or hose down garden furniture, the Kärcher K7 Premium Full Control Plus is an all-round powerful pressure washer with a range of settings for different jobs.
Reliably providing 180 bars of pressure, creating a flow of 550 L per hour, this K7 washer has a well-designed LCD display and lance tool which make it easy to select the right power for the job. You can choose soft, medium and heavy pressure settings, helping to prevent blasting all the pointing from your house by accident.
Setting 1 is suitable for cleaning wood, setting 2 is for washing cars, and setting 3 for clearing paving and brickwork. There is even one further ‘dirt blaster’ option, designed for sluicing really thick grime off paving slabs and bricks, which can be selected by twisting the jet nozzle.
The ‘dirt blaster’ setting provides up to 80% additional power with impressive results. A word of warning though: do be careful to test the settings carefully before using them. With all the power that this washer is capable of, you don’t want to accidentally end up cleaning your car on the highest setting – the paintwork won’t thank you!
Unlike many pressure washers, the K7 has a long 10 m hose. This makes it much easier to do jobs without having to move the whole unit. Being able to reach around the car, or across the entire patio, without carting around the main pressure washer (weighing in at 17.7 kg) can really speed things up. Plus, the hose can be easily wound back onto the unit after use, saving time and heartache when it comes to packing the washer away.
No worries about overheating either as there is an internal water-cooling system to prevent this from happening.
Finally, this K7 unit comes with a T450 patio cleaner included – this is an attachment which you move around in a similar fashion to a small hoover. It’s specifically designed for cleaning the patio and helps direct the spray more accurately than a jet.
- Plenty of pressure options means you can avoid damaging paving, stone, painted surfaces, etc.
- The 10 m hose is a good length so you don't have to drag the washer around with you too much.
- Extremely powerful washer so no need to worry about not having enough pressure.
- More stable with less vibration than previous Karcher models.
- The hose can be wound in which makes for neat storage and no messy hose.
- Pretty heavy - wouldn't be suitable for taking up and down ladders.
- Care needs to be taken to choose the right settings, because this unit's power could easily cause damage on the wrong surface.
- Goes through detergent quickly - but other detergent can be used an applied directly to surfaces.
- Many have found the provided instructions to be lacking - YouTube videos can help.
Wilks-USA RX550i Electric Pressure Washer review
- Max Water Pressure: 262 bars
- Max Flow Rate (litres per hour): 510 l/h
- Motor Power: 3000W
- Hose Length: 26m
- Weight: 30kg
For a powerful pressure washer at a reasonable price, the Wilks-USA RX550i Electric Pressure Washer offers a decent amount of power but isn’t as expensive as the Kärcher K7. Offering 155 bars of continuous pressure, it isn’t quite as strong as the Kärcher either (which works at 160 bars), but for many this results in a very manageable washer system which is well suited to domestic use.
With its initial pressurised burst of water, this Wilks-USA model can reach a maximum pressure of 262 bar, which is extremely powerful; however, as it isn’t capable of producing this the whole time, it’s more realistic to view it as a 155-bar unit.
The number of accessories included is fairly substantial, certainly more than come with most pressure washers. These include brush-head attachments, various nozzles, and an additional extra-long 26 m hose. The extra hose length is easy to attach when the standard 8 m hose isn’t long enough, meaning tasks can be completed without even having to move the pressure washer unit.
Speaking of the pressure washer unit itself, this is perhaps one place where the Wilks-USA RX550i lets itself down – it’s a lot heavier than the majority of other pressure washers, at 30 kg. This weight can make the extra-long hose something of a necessity, because it’s not very comfortable to keep moving the unit itself. It does have wheels though, so over a flat surface it can be rolled fairly easily.
By using the different nozzles, jets and lances, this pressure washer can clean gutters and cars, and even strip moss, algae and grime from paving slabs. In fact, the finest jet is so powerful that it can visibly ‘write’ in the dirt.
That said, the included patio cleaning attachment is not particularly efficient, which isn’t all that uncommon, so if you’ve got heavy stains to remove, you’ll be better off using some of the included nozzles instead.
There is also an on-board detergent tank for mixing in the solution whilst you’re spraying, and all of the accessories store neatly on the unit too. This includes the hose, which can be wound onto the washer as well.
- Unit feels very robust and has metal fittings, not plastic.
- Comes with two hoses - the pressure is still maintained through the extra long one and unit doesn't have to be moved as much.
- The wheels help to move the unit around easily.
- For this price paid it has a good amount of 'extras' included.
- Powerful enough to remove moss, algae, and stains from patio.
- The included instructions are rather brief and could be clearer.
- The hose supplied is quite stiff and can be prone to kinking.
- The patio washing attachment isn't strong enough to tackle a really grimy patio.
- A lot heavier than most pressure washers and is challenging to lift/carry.
- Not as powerful as the Karcher K7 (for some people, this might be a positive).
Best all-rounder for home use
- Ease of Use
- Value for Money
Kärcher K5 Premium Full Control Plus Home Pressure Washer review
- Max Water Pressure: 145 bars
- Max Flow Rate (litres per hour): 500 l/h
- Motor Power: 2100W
- Hose Length: 8m
- Weight: 13.6kg
One thing that can really slow down cleaning jobs is having to keep stopping to change the spray nozzle. Fortunately, the Kärcher K5 Premium Home Pressure Washer has a 3-in-1 lance that makes it very straightforward to flip between settings. This makes car washing a much simpler job; you don’t need to change any attachments when going from washing the windscreen, to the body, to the hubcaps.
Pressure can be adjusted by using the +/- symbols on the LCD screen, and the K5 is more than up to the task of cleaning algae and mould from walls and paving. In fact, its ‘dirt blast’ function (which can be found by twisting the lance) is even capable of stripping loose paint from walls – this really speeds up the process if you’re planning to refresh your garden decor!
With an 8 m mains-power cable, the K5 is well designed to be suitable for most jobs. Whilst it doesn’t come with many additional attachments, just a lance and patio-cleaning unit, other compatible Kärcher accessories can be bought separately, meaning this pressure washer can be customised for any job you require.
The hose and lance attachment are stored neatly on the body of the unit. The hose is easy to wind back onto the reel, but the electricity cable needs to be tucked into a netted mesh which can be a bit more time consuming than necessary.
Weighing 13.6 kg, this is a midweight pressure washer – capable of being lifted when required, but best suited to being wheeled around. The telescopic handle compacts down well for storage, although it does not click into place during use; this is fine when pulling the unit, but can cause the handle to retract if you’d rather push it around.
- The 3-in-1 wand means you can change between detergent/fan spray/dirt blast mode without changing attachments (K4 can't do this).
- Dirt blast mode can even be used to strip loose paint from a wall.
- The hose reel works well to neatly store the hose.
- Many compatible accessories are available for Karcher models.
- Will work to clear layers of grime from a patio.
- The mains cable storage on the unit is just a net mesh which you tuck the cable into - a bit time consuming and cumbersome.
- The telescopic handle doesn't lock into place so you may find it retracts if you push the unit.
- Some assembly is required and the related instructions are not as detailed as they should be.
- LCD screen is slightly unnecessary (could function without display) yet requires batteries.
Bosch EasyAquatak 120 Pressure Washer review
- Max Water Pressure: 120 bars
- Max Flow Rate (litres per hour): 300 l/h
- Motor Power: 1500W
- Hose Length: 5m
- Weight: 4kg
The Bosch EasyAquatak 120 is powerful yet compact, owning a niche in the market as a very lightweight pressure washer.
Weighing just 4 kg, it would be easy to not expect much from this little machine; however, Bosch have in fact created a small pressure washer that can still dish out 120 bars of pressure and clean for hours.
With many pressure washers it can be very time consuming and annoying to have to keep moving the heavy base unit around whilst in the middle of a task. Yet, with the Easy Aquatak 120 this isn’t such a problem; it’s not difficult to move the washer, and you can even hold it with you as you go. The only thing that can hinder this slightly is the relatively short mains connection cable – using an extension lead or buying the hose extension can provide a bit more flexibility.
The design of this unit is a bit different. It’s made with a low centre of gravity so it looks pretty quirky, but that design feature stops it toppling over. The wide base means you can tug it and it won’t fall down like the majority of pressure washers do. You can even set it on a table, or store it on a shelf, and it won’t fall off easily.
In general, the Aquatak 120 is pretty powerful, capable of clearing moss and algae from walls, and cleaning cars. It might not have the super patio cleaning strength of some other models, but it will do a good job to tackle the majority of grime.
This model draws water from either a garden hose or an unpressurised source (bucket, water bottle, etc.), but you do need to buy a separate ‘Bosch self-priming kit’ to use this function.
When it comes to accessories, there is a fixed fan jet nozzle for basics, a rotary nozzle for stubborn dirt in hard-to-reach places, and a high-pressure detergent nozzle to blast away built-up grime that needs a proper wash. All the accessories store on the machine which is a real perk as it keeps things tidy. Having all the accessories easily to hand is a real time saver, and they simply click in and out of place when required.
- Variable nozzle makes it quick to change between settings without detaching/reattaching anything.
- Very lightweight and therefore easy to move around/lift/carry.
- Because of compact design with no wheels, can be stored on a shelf.
- Powerful enough to clean grime and algae from walls and wash car.
- Metal connectors on the hose are generally considered more durable than plastic ones.
- The mains lead may be a little short in some situations - some users recommend purchasing the extension hose or using with extension cable.
- The hose doesn't store very easily on the unit.
- The instructions are not very informative and can leave a few things open to interpretation.
- Requires additional purchase of Bosch self priming kit to be able to use non-tap water source.
Norse SK125 Electric Pressure Washer review
- Max Water Pressure: 205 bars
- Max Flow Rate (litres per hour): 500 l/h
- Motor Power: 2400W
- Hose Length: 12m
- Weight: 16.7kg
For completing jobs when you don’t have access to an outdoor tap, the Norse SK125 Electric Pressure Washer can pull water from any source whilst still delivering 160 bars of pressure.
Designed by a team of Norwegian engineers, this powerful unit is ideal for those who can’t get to a tap but still need a pressure washer; it’s great for cleaning cars, driveways and paving. Just one of the situations where the Norse SK125 can come into its own is if you live in a flat but like to clean your car regularly (without taking it to a car wash every time!). You do still need access to a mains power source though.
The good thing is, unlike the Bosch EasyAquatak120, the Norse SK125 pressure washer doesn’t require an additional hose to draw water from a standing water source such as a bucket or barrel. Its self-priming feature easily takes care of that without requiring any extra purchases first.
Powerful enough to cut through built-up grime, moss and mould, this pressure washer will clear patios, wash fences, and sluice dirt off bikes. Plus, thanks to its compact design, it’s practical to use, and easy enough to transport at 16.7 kg, meaning you won’t be put off from getting it out when you need it.
Coming with a patio cleaner, detergent nozzle, turbo nozzle and triangular brush, there are a lot of attachments available, and the power cable winds easily onto the unit.
This is predominantly a plastic unit, with plastic hose connectors as well, so it’s a good idea to avoid knocking it around too much in order to avoid damage.
- Minimal assembly required and process is well explained in the manual.
- Helps with car cleaning for those who don't have tap in front garden - can use bucket as water source.
- Cuts through built up grime, moss and mould.
- Compact and powerful enough to be very practical - easy to get out to use on bikes, cars, and patios.
- No extra hose required to use static water source.
- Hose connector to unit is plastic, metal is generally considered more robust.
- The quality of the brush accessory is not as good as the rest of the unit.
Kärcher K4 Full Control Home Pressure Washer review
- Max Water Pressure: 130 bars
- Max Flow Rate (litres per hour): 420 l/h
- Motor Power: 1800W
- Hose Length: 6m
- Weight: 12kg
Kärcher is a well-known brand for creating powerful pressure washers; however, their price tags can be pretty steep due to the quality and performance of their products. They always offer value for money, but understandably we’re all working to different budgets.
The Kärcher K4 Full Control Home Pressure Washer is a great ‘middle’ option, working well in most situations without breaking the bank. It is especially well suited to cleaning patios and sluicing dirt off outdoor surfaces; a firm all-rounder that produces good results across the board.
Working at 1800 W, the K4 pressure washer can spray 420 L of water per hour with 130 bars of pressure. As a result, it’s slightly less powerful than the K5 model (145 bars) but still capable of performing well to complete domestic tasks.
Power output depends on the attachment that you have connected, and the twist-setting selected, meaning this machine offers slightly less in the way of control over performance than some other models. The LED screen lets you know which setting you are working with, but does not interactively allow you to change settings from the display, and required 2 x AAA batteries.
Coming with a dirt-blasting lance with a rotating head the K4 is well equipped to clean dirt from tyres or wheel rims. It also has a water butt attachment to help cut water consumption, a patio cleaning attachment, patio cleaner, vario lance, and a spray lance too.
The hose is only 6 m long which isn’t quite long enough to reach around a whole car when cleaning it, but at 11.9 kg it’s easy enough to move this particular Kärcher model around for better positioning during jobs.
- Dirt blaster setting will help lift moss from driveways.
- Easy assembly in less than 15 minutes.
- Patio cleaning attachment works well to clean patio without creating mess from jet splash.
- Well balanced, well weighted unit doesn't topple over easily.
- The length of the power cable may be a little short - an extension lead might be needed.
- It can be difficult to store the hose neatly without persuasion - a cable tie may be required.
- Patio cleaner attachment does not automatically dispense detergent - detergent needs to be applied separately first.
- Hose isn't quite long enough to get around whole car when washing - unit needs to be moved during job.
- Hose can kink easily which makes it difficult to feed through the hole it needs to come through.
Wilks-USA RX525 Pressure Washer review
- Max Water Pressure: 165 bar
- Max Flow Rate (litres per hour): 450 l/h
- Motor Power: 2400W
- Hose Length: 8m
- Weight: 8.2kg
If you’re after high power, and plenty of accessories, the Wilks-USA RX525 Pressure Washer offers a maximum pressure of 165 bars, with a continuous pressure output of 125 bars. To put this into perspective, the Kärcher K7 delivers 160 bars of continuous pressure.
When it comes to accessories, this Wilks-USA RX525 offers several, including a brush head, gutter-cleaning attachment and 5 different spray-nozzle attachments. It lends itself well to completing lots of different jobs and is impressively priced for such a well-equipped unit.
With a 2400 W motor, driving out 450 L of water per hour, you can clean an area of around 40 m² in one hour. As a result, this is a decent tool for medium-sized patios, and it can be wheeled around to facilitate tasks.
The 8 m hose is longer than that included with a lot of smaller units, compensating for the heavier 16 kg weight; although heavier than some other models, the hose length means it doesn’t need to be moved as frequently mid-job. With a sturdy base, there’s also less chance of the RX525 toppling over compared to lighter washers.
The extendable handle and built-in hose reel make this Wilks-USA model easy to pack away, plus the nozzle attachments, lance, spray gun and electrical cable can all be stored on the unit.
A patio-cleaning attachment comes included, although it does slightly lack in power. Ultimately, the jet may be a better tool for washing the patio, although it might take slightly longer than an effective patio-cleaner would.
- The adaptors have metal connectors which tend to be more durable than plastic ones.
- Powerful enough to clean algae from paving slabs.
- Storage of the nozzles on the machine itself means they do not get lost.
- Casing is robust and the whole unit feels sturdy.
- The two brush attachments help for gentle car cleaning if you are worried about damaging the paint.
- The patio cleaning tool lacks power and you may have better results using a jet.
- Not a lot of instructions which can make initial set up/first use more difficult than necessary.
- The mains cable may be a little short depending on socket position; an extension cable may be required.
- With no adjustable head, you need to change the attachment each time which can be a bit time consuming.
Nilfisk C110 Pressure Washer review
- Max Water Pressure: 110 bars
- Max Flow Rate (litres per hour): 440 l/h
- Motor Power: 1400W
- Hose Length: 5m
- Weight: 7.3kg
The Nilfisk C110 Pressure Washer is a compact machine that delivers more power than you would expect from such a small pressure washer. Measuring just 28 x 24 x 50.5 cm it’s easy to store, doesn’t take up valuable space, and is practical enough to grab and use at a moment’s notice.
Weighing 7.3 kg, this 1400-watt washer can produce 110 bars of water pressure. This may not sound particularly powerful when compared with some other models featured on this list, but 110 bars is considered more than adequate for cleaning cars and patio furniture.
In fact, the Nilfisk C110 washer can also tackle grimy paving stones, but detergent might be required to shift the dirt.
With a 5-metre hose, as well as a lance and gun attachment, this unit is both compact and sufficiently equipped. The hose is a little short for reaching around a whole car, but this isn’t too disruptive as the unit can be easily carried or wheeled without being overly heavy.
This pressure washer doesn’t come with all the attachments of larger, more expensive machines, and it doesn’t have a detergent spray system, but it delivers a good compromise between price and quality.
Best suited to semi-frequent use, this may not be the best pressure washer if you’re looking for something you can use daily; however, it’s an excellent machine that will clean the car, or even the patio, much faster than other methods.
One of the best accessories is the click and clean tornado nozzle that gives you fan jet power for cleaning and rinsing average surfaces such as patio furniture and plant pots.
There’s also the powerspeed nozzle that works well on tougher stains and dirt – the kind you might find on muddy patios or smudged shed walls.
- Easy assembly - you just need to attach the wheels, handle, and spray gun.
- Will lift dirt even from patios with built-up grime.
- Very lightweight meaning it can be moved easily in the middle of jobs.
- Compact enough to be simple to manoeuvre around small gardens and tight spaces.
- Many users feel it offers a good price-to-quality ratio.
- The hose that connects the unit and the lance can twist easily and often requires straightening out.
- Nozzle may need to be cleaned regularly as dirt can flick up and get stuck, blocking the water output.
- The instructions are not very clear so you mostly have to work out how to use it.
- The hose is too short to reach all the way round a car without moving the unit.
- May require detergent to be used to achieve a better clean on more stubborn stains/marks.
VonHaus Home Pressure Washer review
- Max Water Pressure: 90 bar
- Max Flow Rate (litres per hour): 330 l/h
- Motor Power: 1600W
- Hose Length: 5m
- Weight: 5.8kg
For a compact pressure washer that is budget friendly yet still capable of lifting dirt from the patio, the VonHaus Home Pressure Washer produces 330 L of water per hour at 90 bars of pressure.
It works at 1600 W which helps get deep cleaning done quickly, despite having the lowest bar pressure featured here. The adjustable spray nozzle also assists cleaning, allowing you to easily change from a concentrated jet to wider spray, depending on the task at hand.
Including a 5 m hose and 5 m power cable, this pressure washer permits a reasonable reach around the garden. For a medium-size patio, or standard driveway, you’re unlikely to have to move this VonHaus unit as you work.
However, if you do need to change its position occasionally, at 6.8 kg this pressure washer is light enough to move without difficulty, and the carry-handle is securely affixed; you can even carry it round with you as you work, if you prefer.
Whilst not the most powerful machine, this model still works well to spruce up the patio, clean decking, and hose down garden furniture. It will also do a good job cleaning the car, but you may wish to apply detergent directly to the surface first; the VonHaus is quite a thirsty machine, and it uses up the detergent mix quickly when the soap is connected to the lance.
As a budget option, there aren’t so many ‘thoughtful touches’ on this machine; it isn’t possible to store the accessories on board, and the mains cable may not store perfectly neatly over the plastic hook. Yet, even so, the VonHaus 1600 W unit offers good value, keeping things simple whilst providing enough power to be a decent pressure washer.
- Powerful enough to remove mould and stains from paving.
- Can be used to clean bikes, cars and motorcycles without causing damage.
- The mains cable is long enough that you likely won't need an extension to clean the patio.
- Adjustable nozzle allows you to adjust width of spray whilst you work.
- The detergent bottle empties quite quickly so should be diluted to avoid wasting product.
- Storage isn't that neat as there isn't place to store accessories on the unit itself.
- The snow foam lance is not very efficient for cleaning the car and is not adjustable.
- Can make quite a lot of noise, especially when releasing trigger, so you may not want to use it early morning/evening.
Makita HW101 Compact Pressure Washer review
- Max Water Pressure: 100 bars
- Max Flow Rate (litres per hour): 360 l/h
- Motor Power: 1300W
- Hose Length: 3m
- Weight: 6.3kg
Sometimes you just need a simple tool that will do the basics well. The Makita HW101 Compact Pressure Washer is just that; it may not have all the bells and whistles of a more expensive model, but it will clean paving, wash the car, and hose off grime with minimal effort from you.
With 100 bars of pressure, it will remove algae from a small patio in around an hour. Plus, if you aren’t interested in having lots of add-ons, the provided accessories are basic but functional; the spray nozzle can be twisted to achieve a range of different powers from a concentrated spray to a wide fan.
Weighing just 6.3 kg, it’s one of the lightest pressure washers featured here, and, at 24 x 24 x 47 cm, it’s very compact. Perfect for storage in a shed, bike shed, or even car boot, the HW101 washer can be quickly brought out for any job.
A detergent-bottle attachment also comes included, mixing soap in with the water whilst spraying. It does go through product quite quickly, but soap can also be applied directly to the surface.
The 3 m hose comes up a little short, not long enough to reach all the way around the car whilst cleaning it, but if an extension cable is used then it’s possible to move the unit around easily using the built-in handle.
- Trigger can be locked 'on' to stop hands from feeling fatigued.
- Extremely compact and easy to store away without taking up too much space.
- Can clean paving slabs of algae, helping them look new.
- The adjustable lance is practical as it avoids stopping mid-job to change attachments.
- The assembly instructions are not very clear - you may find it
- The hose is too short to fully reach around a car, requiring the unit to be moved.
- The wide fan spray loses pressure, so it can take a long time to clean larger spaces on smaller jet.
- The detergent attachment goes through soap quite quickly.
Things to Know Before Buying a Pressure Washer
Pressure washers are excellent tools for getting cleaning jobs done fast (and effectively!). If thoughts of tedious tasks, like de-griming the wheel arches of your car, have you running for the hills, you’ll love how much easier a pressure washer will make your life.
If you want to take the plunge and buy a pressure washer, check out the tips below to help you make an informed purchase.
The Benefits of Having a Home Pressure Washer
There are several benefits to using a pressure washer. Pressure washers draw water from a tap or bucket and shoot it out at high speed to blast away dirt, dust, and grime. They also use less water than a standard hose to do the same job. What’s not to love!
Using water alone is such a great way to clean things; it’s non-abrasive and gentle on surfaces like car paint or the grouting between patio slabs. Some models also have a little compartment for detergent if you want to add some to the cleansing mix.
Some models allow you to use water from different sources, like buckets and water bottles. This is great because you can use them away from home, or use recycled water from your water butt keeping bills low!
The most popular uses for a pressure washer are cleaning the car, patio, decking, driveway and washing down brick or concrete walls.
Other uses are cleaning bikes, lawnmowers, animal pens, tools, caravans and trailers, making portable pressure washers a good option.
Here are a few other more unusual uses:
- Prepare outside surfaces for painting
- Clean kids play equipment
- Clean outdoor furniture
- Clean up garage or shed floors
- De-slip the front door entrance steps
- Clean mouldy fencing
- Collect leaf fall
- Spot-clean mould
- Clean out wheelie bins
- Wash encrusted garden tools
- Clear guttering and unblock drains (with the right accessories)
- Clean the BBQ
And, more imaginatively, blast a stuck football from a tree or peel your new potatoes!
How To Safely Use A Pressure Washer
First up, read the instructions. This is important because brand models vary, but here’s the standard way to use a pressure washer:
- Attach the machine’s high-pressure hose to the lance. Let your garden hose run for a bit to clear any debris in the pipe (you won’t want high-velocity gravel flying into your car paint!).
- Connect the hose to your garden tap or place the suction hose into a body of water such as a water butt. Check all the fittings are nice and tight – important!
- Plug it in, or in the case of a petrol pressure washer, start the engine. Turn the pressure washer to its lowest setting and let it warm up a little
- Squeeze the trigger handle gently. If water sprays out it’s time to clean. If it doesn’t, check your connections.
- Hold the nozzle at 45 degrees to the surface and begin cleaning. Start at the top of vertical surfaces and keep moving the lance.
- Add detergent now if you’re using it.
- Rinse with plain water and spray surfaces at the pressure washer’s widest setting for a final rinse down.
Connecting a Garden Hose to a Pressure Washer
This sounds simple, but it can be tricky. What makes things more complicated is that different models use varying methods! Here’s the standard method, but do check the manufacturer’s instructions:
- Fully unwind the hose so that kinks don’t prevent water flow. Let it run for a minute to clear out any debris. Turn it off and let water drain free.
- Now you need to attach the garden hose to the water inlet port on the pressure washer. It’s often colour-coded, or labelled ‘screw attachment’ or ‘free flow connector’. It basically a hole through which water can flow into the machine (and ultimately blasting out jet hose on the other side!).
- Screw it in tightly making sure the connectors are straight. If it won’t screw on, check to see if there’s a pull back valve. These clip the hose into place rather than screwing it in.
If you can’t get it working working, the manual is a good place to search for help. Some pressure washer companies, like Wilks, even have a customer service line to call so don’t hesitate to contact them if you’re having problems.
Choosing the Correct Power
It’s no good choosing a low-strength pressure washer with only 22 bars if you need to clean tough algae or a mould spotted patio. Equally, going overboard with an industrial petrol fired 440 bar washer just to clean the car on Sundays will only lead to tears and shredded paint.
Consider the jobs you will be using your pressure washer for, and use the following guide to help choose the best pressure washer power for your needs:
100 bars and below
- Wheelie bins
- Garden furniture
- Guttering and facias
- Car cleaning plus caravans and boats
A lot of people use a pressure washer for car cleaning AND patios – so, is this safe? If you need it for a mixture of jobs it’s about how much time you have to spare. You could choose a higher pressure but use it on the lower settings – just be careful and always pay attention; too high a pressure can strip paint.
Alternatively, you could go mid-range and spend longer on the heavy duty jobs. A 120 bar pressure washer will also clean your decking – it’ll just take longer than one with 130+ bars.
How to Use a Pressure Washer With Detergent
In general, you won’t need much (if any!) detergent because the sheer force of plain water is usually enough to dislodge most grim; however, sometimes maybe you’ll want to give your car a good foamy wash down, or polish up the patio slabs. It’s a good idea to use detergent on mouldy patios as plain water can spread mould spores.
Detergent directions will differ from model to model, so always read the instructions. Some units have built-in detergent compartments, or a corresponding accessory, which you might look out for if you’re thinking about using detergent with your pressure washer more often.
Alternatively, you can use a spray bottle or sponge to apply detergent to the surface and then pressure wash it clean. You should always remove the majority of dirt before applying detergent so it can really get into the stains.
Its best to buy purpose-made pressure washer detergent as soap, laundry liquid, or washing up liquid can foam up into huge amounts that just won’t wash away.
Good Accessories For Specific Jobs
You may have a particular task in mind for your new pressure washer, such as cleaning a gutter – a job which needs a handy tool. Here are a few pressure washer accessories currently on the market for completing different jobs:
- Drain and gutter cleaning kits – helps you clean without ladders or opening up a drainpipe.
- Patio cleaner – These are fast, splash-free attachments that often have several rotating heads.
- Telescopic lance – Get high-pressure water to high places such as shutters, fascia boards and eaves.
- Extension Hose – An extension hose gives you more reach.
- Under chassis nozzle – this helps you clean the wheel arches beneath your car
- Soft Pressure Washer Brush – a large brush with an outer ring to prevent scratches on glass or caravans
- One Way Lance – for spot cleaning high-pressure areas.
Electric vs. Petrol Pressure Washers
Whether you buy an electric pressure washer or a petrol one depends on what you want to use it for.
Electric pressure washers are usually better for home use, as they require an electrical socket, whereas petrol pressure washers are noisy but can go anywhere.
Should I buy an electric pressure washer?
They are quieter than petrol ones and easy to start with the flick of a button. Electric pressure washers are now powerful enough to clean encrusted patios and driveways and can tackle any outside townhouse job.
They are more lightweight than their petrol-powered cousins, and simply plug into a power source and outside tap. Some will even draw water from a bottle or bucket.
The disadvantage of electric pressure washers is that they have to be plugged in. This is a problem if the object or area you want to clean isn’t near a socket.
There is one more choice for lighter jobs – a battery-powered pressure washer like the WORX model featured in the review above. This runs from an interchangeable lithium battery which is perfect if you have lighter jobs to do without a power supply nearby.
Should I buy a petrol pressure washer?
These are best for regular- to large-scale jobs and heavy-duty use. Farmers, landscape gardeners and other professionals tend to use petrol pressure washers as they are incredibly powerful and don’t need to be connected to a power socket.
If you have a big outdoor space, a petrol pressure washer gives you portability and power. On the downside they are noisy, smelly and often heavy.
Pressure Washer Safety Advice
As with all tools you must keep yourself safe. Always keep in mind that electricity and water are not a good mix so stay alert.
Poorly maintained cables
If you need to move your pressure washer, pick it up. Don’t drag it by the hose or cable – this leads to wear and tear on the power supply, and potentially electric shocks. If you notice damage to your pressure washer don’t use it. Whip out that warranty and get the problem sorted.
Power cables and hoses are serial offenders for ‘tripping people up’. When cables are trailing around, watch where you step and keep pets or children well away.
Water is slippery. So is detergent. Always use the right amount of detergent to avoid unnecessary soap suds.
You will get wet using a pressure washer so dress accordingly with sturdy shoes. Wearing eye protection is a good idea as it will protect you from any water and filth that splash back from walls, fences and patios.
Pressure washers blast out water so fast it can seriously hurt a person. The eyes, ears and mouth are particularly vulnerable, but even tougher body parts can get horribly bruised – it is not the same as a garden hose. Keep the lance pointing downward.
Never fire water at electrical cables, into open windows, or at living creatures.
A Handy Guide to Pressure Washer Terminology
There’s lots of terminology when it comes to pressure washers. It can make it hard to understand what you’re looking at.
Here’s a quick guide to the main terms:
- Bar Pressure: The higher the bar measurement, the more force the water sprays out with. The numbers – for example ‘220’ – mean its 220 times more powerful than the air pressure around you. It’s also called PSI which is ‘pounds per square inch’.
- Water Flow L/h: Water flow in litres per hour. This indicates how much water the pressure washer can deal with. It’s usually measured in litres and hours but sometimes per minute and on occasion gallons per minute. The more water flows the quicker and more forceful the pressure washer is. A higher litre per hour means less time cleaning.
- Detergent Intake: This is the container or pipe that soap travels down before spraying out.
- High Pressure Hose: The hose that runs from your machine and holds the nozzle and attachments. A standard hose would explode from the pressure so don’t use one there. If you need to replace a high-pressure hose get one that can withstand more pressure than the machine pumps out.
- Water inlet: A hose that connects the pressure washer to the main water supply
- High Pressure Outlet: This is the connection for a high-pressure hose.
- High-Pressure Pump: The pump is the part that pushes water from the washer. It’s driven by the electric or petrol motor, so the more powerful the motor the higher the pressure.
Pressure Washer FAQs
Is it worth buying a pressure washer?
Yes. If your time is valuable, and you’d like to cut down the time you spend on cleaning tasks, it’s well worth buying a pressure washer. Pressure washers cut cleaning time significantly. Think about it; instead of scrubbing at the wheel arches of your car with a sponge for hours, that grime could be gone in a few swift blasts.
Can I use a pressure washer to wash my car?
Yes. You can use a pressure washer to wash your car and you can be sure that it will do a great job as well! Don’t use a pressure washer with more than 130 bars of pressure for car cleaning. Pressure higher than 130 could start to strip the paint.
Always be vigilant when using a pressure washer to clean your car. Keep an eye on the paint to make sure it is not getting damaged.
Can I use a pressure washer without detergent?
Yes, pressure washers work extremely effectively even without detergent. The benefit of detergent is that it can help kill germs and bacteria, and create more of a shine. If you’re cleaning mouldy areas, you should consider using detergent to kill the mould spores and stop them spreading.