Written by: Becky Matthews
The best portable pressure washers help make life a lot easier (and cleaner!).
They’re particularly useful for taking with you on the go – on camping trips or walks – and for cleaning cars and bikes without being tethered to mains power.
There are a few things to bear in mind if you’re looking at buying a cordless pressure washer. Here are a few things to consider, to help you make an informed purchase:
What Do You Want to Clean With Your Cordless Pressure Washer?
This is something that’s important to consider. What do you want to use your cordless portable pressure washer for?
Some models are better suited to hosing down the bikes after going down a muddy trail, whilst others might be too powerful for this job. Equally, you might be keen to remove dried-on stains, in which case you’ll want a lot of power.
A washer with more than 22 bar should be capable of removing most types of dirt. A good pressure washer with this power can usually remove algae on patios using a fine ‘pencil’ jet.
If you want to use your cordless pressure washer for more delicate tasks, such as cleaning a grubby dog after a walk, you should look for something much gentler, around 5 bar.
Depending on how important portability is, you might want to look for a cordless pressure washer with a built-in water tank. Many of the best cordless pressure washers need an external water source – often this can be a bucket, bottle of water, or stream. However, there are some washers that can contain the water ‘on board’.
An on-board water reservoir will make the unit more compact, and quicker to use. For certain jobs, this could be desirable.
Finally, if you will be doing a lot of window cleaning with your cordless power washer, you will benefit from a longer reach. In this case you should look for a washer with an extension lance.
How Easy is it To Use?
With cordless power washers there are no cables to worry about tripping over or getting wet.
Their compact size also makes them easy to use. Standard mains power pressure washers can be quite heavy and get tiring. The best cordless pressure washers weigh between 1 – 4 kg and can be easily carried around.
Of course, there is still quite a different between 1 kg and 4 kg, so bear in mind what jobs you’ll be doing and how long you’ll need to hold it for.
When buying a cordless pressure washer, double check that it comes with a hose that will allow you to draw water from any water source not just a mains tap (of course, this doesn’t apply if it has a built-in reservoir).
Being able to carry around the washer and the water source, without being connected to any mains power or tap, makes a lot of jobs much easier.
If you want to take your cordless pressure washer in the car, and hose down your mountain bike or dog after a day of fun in the great outdoors, consider a smaller model which can be transported easily.
Remember, if it isn’t quick and simple – you won’t use it. If a model is too big or heavy, you might be put off using it often, even if it is powerful. Sometimes it’s better to go for a slightly lighter often, with marginally less power, if you’ll actually get more use from it.
You should also look for a cordless pressure washer that has a simple gun and various attachments. This will make it more versatile and mean you can clean different things. A fine mist, pulsating jet and pencil jet are really helpful.
Follow the care instructions carefully because these will extend its life. Pay particular attention to the advice about charging – overheating a battery does it no favours, and it may benefit from being charged before it has 100% run down.
Make Sure You Consider The Battery Power
Battery power is something you must consider with portable cordless pressure washers. There’s no way they can compete with petrol pressure washer or mains powered pressure output when it comes to run-time and power. However, they can push out a fair amount of strength and come into their own in certain situations.
The biggest problem is always going to be how long your battery powered pressure washer will last. This can vary quite dramatically between cordless pressure washers, and the charging time is also worth bearing in mind.
Using the tools featured on this page as an example, batteries may last for as little as 10 minutes, or a maximum of around 30 minutes. Portable cordless pressure washers with a shorter battery life may be more powerful, but you have to take a methodical approach to tasks to use them efficiently.
Remember: battery life only refers to the time when the washer is on. Washing the car might take a total of 30 minutes, but you may only sporadically use the power washer for 10 minutes of that time.
Some high-power washers have ECO settings which produce a lower-pressure jet. This allows their battery to last for longer and you can switch to high pressure only when it’s necessary.
Another option to consider is ‘interchangeable batteries’. Several brands, like WORX, have products that work on compatible batteries. This means you can use the same battery in your drill and your cordless pressure washer.
If you have any products from a particular brand already, it’s worth checking if their batteries are interchangeable. This would allow you to can charge one whilst using the other, and double the amount of time you can use the washer for.
Getting Enough Pressure to Your Washer
Too little pressure and the job takes hours, too much pressure and you can damage paintwork and pointing. Pressure is all-important when you’re trying to choose the best portable pressure washer for your needs.
By nature, cordless portable pressure washers have lower bar pressure than electric and petrol model. However, this ‘low’ bar pressure isn’t useless, and can even make them suitable for a greater range of jobs.
As seen with the products featured on this page, water pressure of 22 bar or more is enough for washing the car, removing stubborn dirt and general cleaning tasks. The only thing that isn’t possible is cleaning large areas of paving of built-up grime.
The benefit of cordless pressure washers, with their lower bar pressure, is that they tend to have a range of gentler pressure settings, so you’ll be less likely to damage paintwork with them.
It’s possible to buy cordless pressure washers with less pressure, of around 5 bar. These have the same pressure as a garden hose, but can still be useful due to their portable nature. Whereas you mustn’t use a 20 bar pressure washer to clean a pet, you could use a 5-bar option to hose them down.
You may have to get more ‘hands on’ with a lower pressure portable washer than you would with a mains-powered pressure washer. For example, using a brush attachment can help shift dirt.
How Easy is Transportation?
Not all of the best cordless pressure washers are as easy to transport as others. Most models are great for using around the house, but if you want to take them camping, or store them in the car, there are a couple of useful features to look out for.
Primarily, it helps if all of the attachments store on the washer itself.
When keeping items in the car boot for a long time, it’s easy for them to roll around and for small parts to get lost in the melee.
Finding a cordless pressure washer that stores all accessories ‘on board’ helps avoid this problem. Equally, you may find it easier if a water reservoir is also built in, so you can fill up with water before you leave the house.
Alternatively, of course, you can buy a jerrycan for a few pounds to store water in, and a clip box can keep the accessories from rolling around in the car boot. So there are solutions!
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