9 best pressure washers to tackle the grimiest patios, bikes and decking
Whether it’s a motorcycle or a driveway, leave it sparkling clean with a powerful machine
Pressure washers are available at pretty much every price point, but don’t assume you always get what you pay for. Some of the mid-range machines we tested outdid top-of-the-range pressure washers hands-down. In any case, if you only need a pressure washer for the basics, such as cleaning bicycles or outdoor furniture, there’s no point in splashing out on a premium machine – a decent entry-level pressure washer should do you proud.
When choosing which washer to go for, check which accessories are included – a patio brush or car-wash brush can make or break your pressure washer’s results. Also consider manoeuvrability and storage – some machines are cumbersome and heavy, while others are compact and light. Hose lengths can be dramatically different too.
Also think about the pressure you need. Generally speaking, mid-range machines have a pressure of around 110 bar – a good level for tackling patios, fencing, cars, guttering and exterior paintwork.
Machines with high pressure rates of 120 bar or more are better suited to large areas of paving, driveways, wooden decking, stonework, really grubby 4x4s or caravans. Probably your best starting point is to think about what you’ll be cleaning and how often, and work from there.
With all that considered, here are our favourite pressure washers that worked wonders on our patios, cars and everything in between.
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Kärcher K4 full control home pressure washer: £230, Amazon
Bar pressure: 130
This is a well built, powerful and very fast machine that excels at cleaning the likes of large driveways and cars but will also cope with more delicate jobs such as wood and bicycles. The unique trigger gun design helps you to move seamlessly between gentle and more powerful spray settings, with an LED light in the handle showing which level you’re on. We like the plug-in detergent bottle and your neighbours will be pleased to know this high-end all-rounder is surprisingly quiet. But it’s heavy, pricey and there’s no hose reel.
Karcher K5 compact home high-pressure washer with home kit: £287.38, Amazon
Bar pressure: 145
True to its name, this is smaller than most pressure washers. Together with the two carry handles and the fact that it’s very light at 11.5kg (without accessories), this makes it very easy to move around and store. But you don’t have to compromise on oomph as it’s robust, well made and powerful, cleaning everything from bins to really dirty driveways and cars with ease. It’s pretty much good to go out of the box, with standout features including the “quick connect” connection system (for the lance or hose), two types of lance, filtered suction capability and auto stop.
Bosch Universal Aquatak 135 high pressure washer: £149.95, Amazon
Bar pressure: 135
This has noticeably more force than the entry-level machines reviewed here, meaning it can cope with bigger cars and outside areas, and yet Bosch has managed to keep it light and compact, as well as being very easy to store thanks to the fold-down handle. It works straight out of the box – no assembly required – and the three-in-one nozzle means you can switch between different types of spray, depending on your needs, while the high-pressure detergent nozzle means you can apply soap quickly. But you’ll need a premium machine to tackle really stubborn grime and we’d like the hose to have been longer.
Nilfisk compact 110 home and car pressure washer: £66.99, Amazon
Bar pressure: 80-110
Nilfisk is one of the best-known names in the pressure-washer business, so you’d expect this small machine to be good – and it is. Despite being one of the cheaper models in our round-up, it has five cleaning accessories and three nozzles, and it’s intuitive to use and cleans quickly and thoroughly. A great choice for windows and cars, it can be filled up straight from the tap and has lots of safety features and well-thought-out design features such as the large wheels for easy manoeuvring.
Nilfisk Dynamic 140 pressure washer/patio cleaner: £300, Argos
Bar pressure: 140
This is a serious bit of kit is aimed at people who have large homes or serious grime to remove. It’s fast, stores away easily (including cable storage, a retractable handle and wheels) and has oodles of accessories. The precision control means you can use it on more delicate surfaces right up to getting grimy filth off driveways, and you can use it with water up to 40C. The handle is particularly comfortable and the upgraded nozzle gives it 15 per cent more efficiency. It’s also surprisingly quiet. There are other versions of the same model, depending on which accessories you need, but this is our favourite due to the patio cleaner attachment. However, it’s expensive, big and heavy.
Hozelock Pico power pressure washer: £110, Amazon
Bar pressure: 140
This packs a punch for its small size, getting top marks for our car and driveway tests, although for very large driveways or patios you’d need a more powerful machine. The nozzle and trigger gun didn’t quite live up to its promises, with the spray staying pretty much the same, and the handle starts to feel slightly uncomfortable after a while, but neither are deal breakers. It’s pretty small, so easy to store away, and it has integrated space for all the accessories. And it’s effortless to move around too.
Mac Allister pressure washer 1800W: £128, B&Q
Bar pressure: 130
The standout point for this B&Q own-brand machine is the impressive array of accessories that tackle a wide range of jobs, from bikes to smaller cars and tools to outside furniture. It has a nice long hose and, for the price, is pretty high powered, though offering nowhere near the gusto of the top pressure washers on the market. The downsides of this versatile machine, however, are that it’s not the easiest to build, it’s quite cumbersome and loud, and moss and decking grime don’t shift easily.
Stihl RE 88: £115, Just Lawnmowers
Bar pressure: 10-100
This entry-level machine from Stihl has big wheels and integrated handles, both of which make it easy to transport (a good job as it’s heavy), while its slim design makes it simple to store. It’s quiet and we found it good at driveways, patios and decking – provided they aren’t too entrenched with dirt. Nifty features include an anti-twist mechanism to prevent the common problem of hose twisting and the special nozzle for blitzing dirt. But it vibrates a lot, you can damage delicate surfaces if you don’t use the right nozzle and there’s no hose reel for tidy storage.
Nilfisk P150.2-10 Power X-tra pressure washer with patio cleaner: £399.99, Costco
Bar pressure: 140
This top-spec model from household name Nilfisk has a 2900W motor with a top-notch brass pump unit that gives 150 bar max pressure. It’s ideal for heavy-duty use such as huge driveways, big cars or caravans and getting rid of dirt from building work. The driveway and trailer we cleaned looked brand new. There are plenty of handy features including precision pressure regulation, a long hose (with excellent hose reel and storage) and a removable integrated detergent tank. All this, and it’s easy to set up. But the power cable could be longer and you’ll need some major cleaning jobs on your list to make it worth the investment.
The verdict: Pressure washers
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