10 best pressure washers for 2021

20 April 2021

woman pressure washing deck

If you want to get your garden ready for spring and summer, a pressure washer could whip it into shape in no time.

With lockdown restrictions easing, we can finally start inviting people over for those long-awaited outdoor meet-ups.

But if the thought of (gasp) other people venturing past your garden gate catching sight of your grimy garden furniture or moss covered patio fills you with dread, you might want to get cracking on a spring clean.

Scrubbing tiles for hours is no fun. But a pressure washer could lighten the load and get your cleaning jobs licked in a jiffy, leaving you time to enjoy a chilled glass of something on your newly sparkling patio.

So what exactly is a pressure washer? Simply put, a pressure washer is a water pump powered by an electric motor. The washer takes in tap water, which the pump accelerates to high pressure before shooting it out from a nozzle at speed. When water is directed at surfaces in this way, it quickly zaps even the most encrusted dirt and gunk.

You can get different attachments and can attach bottles of detergent for more effective, speedy cleaning of various objects from mucky scooters and plant pots to entire driveways.

As one Mumsnetter enthused on our forums: “It really is the gift that keeps giving as you can buy all sorts of attachments as well. We (and I do mean ‘we’ as the kids love using it) have used it to wash the patio, decking, trampoline, outside toys, cars, driveway, bikes and garden furniture.”

However, it’s probably best to heed this, ahem, warning from another Mumsnetter: “Pro tip: don't stand in front of it to see how it works while somebody turns it on. Especially not wearing light coloured clothing.”

Wise words indeed.

Here are the best pressure washers to buy in 2021.

1. Best overall pressure washer: Kärcher K4 Power Control

“I LOVE my Kärcher. The difference it makes to the patio and drive is outstanding, and we have also used it on the cars.”

1. Best overall pressure washer: Kärcher K4 Power Control

This is the best Kärcher pressure washer that we’ve found – and that’s saying something, given that Karcher pressure washers score consistently and reliably highly with reviewers and Mumsnetters alike.

The Kärcher K4 Power Control Pressure Washer uses an 800-watt water-cooled induction motor. We rate it for being versatile and simple to use – just select the right pressure for the job using the LED display.

There's even a specialist Kärcher app, offering extra cleaning tips, and the handy Plug 'n' Clean system allows you to click in a bottle of detergent and start cleaning straightaway.

Key specs

  • Power: 800 watts
  • Weight: 11.48kg
  • Max pressure: 130 bar
  • Max flow rate: 420 litres/hour
  • Hose length: 8m
  • Cord length: 5m

2. Best budget pressure washer: Halfords PW20 Pressure Washer

2. Best budget pressure washer: Halfords PW20 Pressure Washer

One of the smaller, lighter pressure washers on our list, the Halfords PW20 Pressure Washer is considerably cheaper than the competition, making it the best value pressure washer on our list.

At just over 6kg, it’s light enough to carry around – a bonus given that the hose, at five metres, is shorter than on many other pressure washers.

But with a max pressure of 115 bar, it offers enough power to fulfil a range of cleaning jobs, from cleaning patios to zapping dirt off garden furniture and toys.

If you’re planning on cleaning a car with it, you might need to refill the snow-foam bottle a few times. That said, for smaller jobs and for first-time pressure washer buyers, this is a wise budget choice.

Key specs

  • Power: 1600 watts
  • Weight: 6.3kg
  • Max pressure: 115 bar
  • Max flow rate: 300 litres/hour
  • Hose length: 5m
  • Cord length: 5m

3. Best pressure washer for cars: Nilfisk C135 Pressure Washer

“I bought a Nilfisk as it came with a guarantee. It also had a special nozzle for washing cars (not so harsh).”

3. Best pressure washer for cars: Nilfisk C135 Pressure Washer

Powerful enough to clean patios and fences but gentle enough not to wreck your car’s paintwork, the Nilfisk C135 is a good all-rounder, as you’d expect for the price tag.

The 135 bar max and 440l/hr provides a speedy and efficient clean, and the various attachments allow you to tackle wide surfaces such as driveways as well as more targeted areas.

Pressure control, for firm or gentle cleaning, is controlled by the fan jet Tornado PR nozzle which means that you can stay in control whatever you’re cleaning – something that’s especially important when you’re tackling a mud-covered car.

Nilfisk includes a free two-year warranty for extra peace of mind, which is a bonus.

Key specs

  • Power: 1400 watts
  • Weight: 3.7kg
  • Max pressure: 110 bar
  • Max flow rate: 360 litres/hour
  • Hose length: 4m
  • Cord length: 5m

4. Best pressure washer for smaller items: Makita HW111 Compact Pressure Washer

“Makita is a good brand.”

4. Best pressure washer for smaller items: Makita HW111 Compact Pressure Washer

Mumsnetters rate Makita as a maker of quality power tools and this pressure washer is ideal for cleaning smaller items.

The Makita HW111 doesn't have the power of some of the other pressure washers on our list. Neither does it offer a range of attachments. However, it’s simple to use and offers a perfectly adequate 5.5-metre hose.

If you’re on a budget, you’ll be pleased to hear that this value pressure washer won’t break the bank. It’s a wise option if you’re just looking to clean scooters and bikes or the odd garden chair.

Key specs

  • Power: 1700 watts
  • Weight: 13kg
  • Max pressure: 110 bar
  • Max flow rate: 360 litres/hour
  • Hose length: 5.5m
  • Cord length: 5m

5. Best mini pressure washer: Kärcher K2 Compact Pressure Washer

“We have a Kärcher and it cleans our patio beautifully.”

5. Best mini pressure washer: Kärcher K2 Compact Pressure Washer

Lighter than the Halfords PW20 Pressure Washer, this is Kärcher’s most compact pressure washer and it’s the best portable pressure washer we’ve found.

Less than 40cm high and 22cm wide, it weighs just over 4kg unfilled – handy because it doesn’t have wheels so you’ll have to carry it as you clean.

The Kärcher K2 Compact isn’t a heavy-duty pressure washer, but it’s ideal for zapping dirt from mud-encrusted bikes and garden furniture. Rather than offering a detergent foam sprayer, you’ll get a little tube that can sit inside a bottle of detergent and suck it into the machine – you just need to be careful not to knock the bottle over.

Reviewers criticise this pressure washer for being noisy despite its small stature and the hose is only 4m. However, if you’re set on owning a Kärcher but don’t have the funds for a full size model, this is a great compromise.

Key specs

  • Power: 1400 watts
  • Weight: 3.7kg
  • Max pressure: 110 bar
  • Max flow rate: 360 litres/hour
  • Hose length: 4m
  • Cord length: 5m

6. Best pressure washer under £100: Andrew James Pressure Washer

6. Best pressure washer under £100: Andrew James Pressure Washer

If you don’t want to spend more than £100, you can still find a suitably powerful, efficient pressure washer – and this Andrew James model fits the bill nicely.

Featuring a 1500W motor and up to 105 bar of pressure, this chunky grey pressure washer has a six-metre hose and five-metre power cable, allowing you enough reach for cleaning a car.

Accessories include a brush, turbo nozzle, angled nozzle and adjustable nozzle, which should cover most cleaning tasks. It’s a great option for those not wishing to splash too much cash on a pressure washer.

Key specs

  • Power: 1400 watts
  • Weight: 5kg
  • Max pressure: 105 bar
  • Max flow rate: 330 litres/hour
  • Hose length: 6m
  • Cord length: 5m

7. Best smart pressure washer: Kärcher K5 Premium Smart Control Pressure Washer

“We have a Kärcher that’s about 15 years old and still going strong.”

7. Best smart pressure washer: Kärcher K5 Premium Smart Control Pressure Washer

Yes, it’s another Kärcher pressure washer – the third on our list. This is the best hi-tech pressure washer we’ve found and it comes with a price tag to match.

If you’re really, really serious about pressure washing and are prepared to pay top dollar, the K5 Premium Smart Control may tick your boxes.

It’s bigger, heavier and offers more power than the Kärcher K4 Power Control. But the feature which sets K5 Premium Smart Control apart from other pressure washers is its Control system, comprising a trigger gun with a built-in LCD display and Bluetooth connectivity that hooks into a smartphone app. Simply tell the app what you’re trying to clean and it will work out the tricky business of choosing the correct pressure for every stage of the job.

You’ll also get a 3-in-1 multi-jet lance, allowing you to switch spray patterns in seconds rather than switching nozzles. In addition, there’s a handy wind-up reel to keep the 10-metre hose in check. However, there’s no escaping the fact that this is one expensive pressure washer.

Key specs

  • Power: 2100 watts
  • Weight: 13.9kg
  • Max pressure: 145 bar
  • Max flow rate: 500 litres/hour
  • Hose length: 10m
  • Cord length: 5m

8. Best high-power pressure washer: Bosch Universal Aquatak 130 High Pressure Washer

8. Best high-power pressure washer: Bosch Universal Aquatak 130 High Pressure Washer

Offering 130 bar max pressure, this powerful industrial-strength pressure washer will get any cleaning job done.

Whether you’re renovating an old property or have a wide surface to clean, the Bosch Universal Aquatak 130 is guaranteed to be tough enough for the task. It’s the best heavy-duty pressure washer we’ve found.

The 3-in-1 nozzle allows you to flick between three jets – rotary, wide fan and pencil – meaning you can zap through even the toughest dirt on your driveway or decking. At six metres, the hose is longer than on most other pressure washers too.

It’s heavy – at nearly 8kg – but it’s easy to move around thanks to the robust wheels. Coming in at just over £200, it’s expensive but certainly won’t disappoint and is the best heavy-duty pressure washer on our list.

Key specs

  • Power: 1700 watts
  • Weight: 7.8kg
  • Max pressure: 130 bar
  • Max flow rate: 380 litres/hour
  • Hose length: 6m
  • Cord length: 5m

9. Best pressure washer for bikes and motorbikes: Muc-Off Pressure Washer

9. Best pressure washer for bikes and motorbikes: Muc-Off Pressure Washer

This pressure washer wins all the style points for its hot pink, snazzy looks. Never thought you’d get excited about the appearance of a pressure washer? Well, think again.

Aesthetics aside, this lightweight mains electric powered pressure washer uses a carbon brush motor and has been specifically designed to clean bikes. The various attachments have been tried and tested to ensure they won’t damage delicate bicycle components.

The whole unit has a waterproof rating of IPX5 so it’s pretty indestructible. The Muc-Off won’t get the muck off your patio, but it will leave your Brompton looking sparkling fresh. You’ll also get a cool bag for storage so you can keep everything neat and tidy, even your pressure washer.

Key specs

  • Power: 1200 watts
  • Weight: 6.2kg
  • Max pressure: 100 bar
  • Max flow rate: 390 litres/hour
  • Hose length: 5m
  • Cord length: 5m

10. Best handheld pressure washer: Kärcher KHB 5 Multi Jet Battery Handheld Cleaner

10. Best handheld pressure washer: Kärcher KHB 5 Multi Jet Battery Handheld Cleaner

Yes, it’s another Kärcher pressure washer but, as you’ve probably realised, Kärcher is the leading name and produces a wide range of excellent pressure washers.

This cordless pressure washer is less powerful than a corded pressure washer, but it’s ideal for cleaning cars and bikes and you won’t have to lug around a pesky cord. It can handle cleaning wider, dirtier surfaces but it’ll take you longer.

It offers flexibility and ease of use because you don’t have to plug your water hose into a base station – you can plug it directly into the lance’s handle, which we think is pretty nifty.

Powered by a removable battery pack that should last 10 hours, there’s an LED screen to update you on battery charge level. Just remember to keep it fully charged.

Ultra lightweight and easy to carry, the Kärcher KHB 5 Multi Jet Battery Handheld Cleaner is a convenient, space-saving choice.

Key specs

  • Power: 1200 watts
  • Weight: 2.9kg
  • Max pressure: 24 bar
  • Max flow rate: 390 litres/hour
  • Hose length: No hose
  • Cord length: No cable

What can I use a pressure washer for?

A pressure washer can tackle large areas of hard, outdoor surfaces including patios, wooden decking, concrete, tarmac along with objects such as cars, vans, trucks, bikes, scooters and garden furniture, zapping dirt and grime effectively and speedily. A pressure washer is a great time-saving alternative to scrubbing with a brush and soapy water.

What should I look for when buying a pressure washer?

You can choose from three different ‘strengths’ of pressure washer:

Light strength

These sorts of light-duty pressure washers are best for cleaning smaller objects such as garden furniture, bikes, small cars and patches of slightly soiled outdoor flooring.

Own-brand, budget models with low-powered motors (1200W to 1600W), lower water pressure (less than 90-bar) and low flow rates will cover you for light-duty cleaning work.

Some are light enough to be carried while others have wheels and handles for easy transportation. These models tend to have shorter hoses – be aware that a hose under three metres won’t be long enough to clean most cars.

Medium strength

These will suit cleaning patios and decking with moderate soiling, although they may not be able to clear all weeds and dirt. You should also be able to tackle cleaning most cars and 4×4s.

You’ll find that these models are a mix of either own-brand or cheaper branded models. Look for a medium-powered motor (1600W to 2000W), mid-range water pressure (100- to 130-bar) and medium flow rates.

Medium power pressure washers may come with various attachments and may be too heavy and bulky to store and carry around so should come with a handle and wheels. Hoses tend to be five or six metres, and some may have hose reels for easy tidying.

Heavy strength

Heavy-duty pressure washers tend to be produced by well-known machinery brands such as Kärcher, Bosch and Nilfisk. They are ideal for cleaning large areas of grimy paving and larger vehicles such as 4×4s, vans, trucks and caravans.

These types of pressure washers tend to be the most expensive on the market, and are large and heavy. They offer high-powered motors (1800W to 2500W), high water pressure (130- to 150-bar), and high flow rates enabling them to clean efficiently and quickly.

For most general domestic cleaning tasks, these sorts of semi-professional water pressure cleaners will be too high-spec and it’s important to know how to use them properly to avoid damaging the surfaces you’re cleaning. Large wheels, telescopic handles, multiple lances and industrial-level cleaning accessories are standard features.

Most pressure washers are powered by electric but some are petrol-powered, although these tend to be produced for industrial use. For domestic cleaning jobs, electric pressure washers are best.

Handy features

There are some useful attachment features to look out for on pressure washers including:

  • Brush attachment – ideal for cleaning more delicate surfaces, such as your car paintwork, conservatory or greenhouse
  • Angled lance – this is useful for cleaning those tricky, hard-to-reach areas
  • Patio cleaner attachment – this is very useful for cleaning your patio or terrace

What is a good PSI for a pressure washer?

PSI is also referred to as ‘bar pressure’, which is what we have used in our reviews. PSI and bar pressure measure the same thing but in a different way. One bar is equal to 14.5037738 PSI. To convert bar to PSI, multiply the bar value by 14.5037738.

Confused? Don’t be. A minimum of 2000 PSI is generally needed to power washing most surfaces effectively and 3000 PSI will zap stubborn grime from tricky surfaces such as tarmac or concrete.

Which is the best pressure washer to buy?

The best budget pressure washer to buy is the Halfords PW20 Pressure Washer, which offers good all-round cleaning power at a very reasonable price.

The best overall pressure washer is the Kärcher K4 Power Control made by a leading name in the pressure washer market, and offering very effective cleaning and useful attachments, which should tackle most domestic cleaning tasks with ease and speed.

How we chose our recommendations

Our pressure washer suggestion came from recommendations on the Mumsnet forums and from consumer reviews on the web. We consulted independent review sites to ensure we were bringing you an honest summary of pressure washers in 2021

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