Pressure washers are one of the most adaptable tools a person can own. They produce a powerful jet of water that will clean dirt, mould and mildew from your windows, bikes, cars, driveways and even the exterior of your house if they’re strong enough!
Yet, choosing the right washer for you can be difficult. How much bar pressure do you actually need? Should you choose petrol or gas? And do you require hot water functions? To help you answer these questions and more, we've created an easy-to-follow buying guide. We've even included a ranking list of our top 10 favourites in the UK from Amazon, John Lewis, Argos and eBay.
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Table of Contents
Here, we’ll take a look at the different styles of pressure washers available; discussing the most important factors such as pressure power, what nozzles to look for and the various other aspects that are well worth considering when making your choice.
The first choice you'll have to make is whether you want a petrol or electric pressure washer. We’ll take a look at both types individually, to help you assess their specific pros and cons.
Petrol washers quickly clean large areas and driveways, as they deliver higher power pressure. The higher pressure means that the nozzle can be set at a wider angle to clean just as well as an electric model on a narrower angle. If you're unsure what that means, we’ll discuss more about nozzles in a moment.
The downside is that these pressure washers are far larger and noisier, so your neighbours may not appreciate them as much as an electric option. As this style is generally used for larger properties or commercial use, it’ll probably be overkill for most homes. Further, they will require regular tune-ups and care.
Without a doubt, the best bet for most UK homes will be an electric pressure washer as they are generally lighter and quieter than petrol options. These work perfectly on decks and patios, outdoor furniture and other smaller cleaning jobs that don't require stain removal.
The only real negative is that they have lower water pressure, so it will take you longer to get things clean. The main reason they’re lighter than petrol models too is that they tend to be made from less durable and robust materials, often switching out metals for plastics.
The pressure a washer can maintain is indicated by the ‘Bar’ measurement. Each model will have a standard running bar and a maximum bar. However, we’ll be focussing on the maximum bar as it’s at this pressure that you'll be tackling the toughest of stains, splotches and blotches.
Firstly, identify what you plan on cleaning, as this will determine how much pressure you need. Generally speaking, the lowest bar pressure you’ll require is around 90 - 130 bar. This is best for use on objects such as outdoor furniture, grills, vehicles and smaller decks or patios.
35 – 195 bar is considered medium-duty and is the best bar pressure for home or light commercial use. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a commercial-sized machine for cleaning warehouses or the exterior of a large barn, then you’ll want to look for a washer that's capable of producing 200 bars or more.
Pressure washer nozzles direct the spray at different angles - these are generally 15°, 25° and 40°. The wider the angle, the less concentrated the power will be through the nozzle, therefore, the lower the number, the better it will be for tougher jobs.
All-in-one nozzles allow you to change the spray width or pattern by simply twisting the top. These are more convenient as they don't need to be replaced or removed, which will save you time. That said, replaceable nozzles have their benefits too as they give you more flexibility with spray patterns and angles.
When choosing a pressure washer, look if the machine has cold or hot water pressure options. The chances are you’ll only need cold water because you’re unlikely to be cleaning things that require sterilisation as well. However, if you’re cleaning industrial or farm spaces, then the hot water function may come in handy.
Note that cleaning at high temperatures can be complicated and potentially dangerous. However, if you are already confident in pressure washing with hot water and this is something you require, be sure to check the maximum temperature as it can range anywhere between 40 - 50 °C depending on the model.
Finally, you’ll want to check the portability of your purchase. These days, many pressure washers come with wheels so they can be easily carted around. However, this isn’t always the case, so if you have a fair bit of ground to cover, this may be an important feature to look for.
Regardless of whether it has wheels or not, you’ll want to check the length of the hose and cable. Most average UK gardens measure around 15 metres squared, so unless it's a cordless model, you’ll need to make sure it's long enough to reach where you need it to!
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This pressure washer from Nilfisk is an update of an older model. It's safe to say, they've listened to the customer feedback and built upon the previous iteration to create a truly brilliant piece of kit! It has two replaceable nozzles, a hot water function up to 40°C and a generous cord length.
If that isn't enough, it's also surprisingly lightweight. The bar pressure is a little low, but it will competently tackle the majority of tasks your average joe uses it for, all for a very affordable price.
Here is a dependable pressure washer set from VonHaus that comes with multiple nozzles that are extremely easy to attach and remove. The set also includes accessories such as brushes and a detergent bottle, all of which will help you effectively tackle everyday tasks.
In addition to this, it's capable of maintaining a water pressure of up to 165 bar with 5 meters of mains cable and a further 5-meter long hose. This guarantees you'll have a reasonable amount of movement when using the washer, which is easily done thanks to the wheels and top handle.
This machine has a whopping 272 bars of pressure, which is sure to remove even the most stubborn dirt and gunk from very large surface areas. It can also be used with hot water, making it ideal for large farm warehouses that also require sterilisation.
Although it's on the heavier side, the sturdy wheels will see that you don't need too much strength to drag it around. It even comes with the option of two 8 and 12 m long hoses.
This is a brilliant all-rounder from Kärcher. It's equally adept at cleaning everything, from the car to the garden furniture. We particularly like the LED display that allows you to see the water pressure at a glance, so you'll always be in control.
Additionally, it features handy built-in storage with spaces for the lances, trigger gun and all the cables. That way it can be easily tucked away in the garage untill the next time you need to use it.
If that mouldy driveway is driving you mad, and you're on a tight budget, you might want to consider this offering from McGregor. It's not quite the same standard as higher-end models, but the bar pressure is powerful enough to get the job done, even if it's on the lower side.
This pressure washer weighs just under 6 kg and is compatible with all the major hose brands. So you could always upgrade the shorter 3 m option that comes included if you so wish.
Fitted with a highly-effective three-cylinder motor pump, this pressure washer from Bosch offers effortless and rapid cleaning. The small and compact design means that the weight is kept at a minimum, making it much more comfortable to use for longer cleaning jobs.
The included accessories have a simple push-fit connection, so you should have no issues switching between nozzles. The only downside is that it isn't very portable. Still, if space is at a premium and transportation isn't an issue, it should hold up just fine.
Nice and lightweight, this mid-range model is sure to tackle a variety of household cleaning tasks, so rest assured those flagstones will sparkling in no time! The all-in-one nozzle allows you to effortlessly choose different angles, making sure there'll be no damage to delicate outdoor furniture.
The simple and straightforward design makes this a good choice if you're new to working with pressure washers. We just wish they'd provided a slightly longer cable as you'll probably need an extension to effectively move around the garden.
Built from stainless steel and guaranteed to last at least five years, this petrol pressure washer from Waspper is one for those who are serious about cleaning. The tremendous pressure ensures that you'll spend less time labouring away, and more time enjoying your weekend!
The petrol motor means there are no mains cables to worry about and the 7.5 m hose is more than adequate for most jobs. Some users have questioned the quality of the hose supplied though, so you might want to supplement your purchase with a new one.
This is the strongest pressure washer from Spear & Jackson and comes with a highly respectable maximum pressure of 160 bars. Better yet, it comes with a bunch of additional accessories such as a patio cleaning tool, rotary brush and fixed brush, which are great for cleaning those hard to reach places.
However, there are some concerns regarding the design. You'll need to disconnect the hose from the reeling drum when storing it away, which can make the process of packing up slightly more laborious.
The USP of this little guy? It's an electric pressure washer that's completely cordless. You'll get between 30 - 60 minutes of use from one charge depending on the setting, and if you have other Bosch equipment that uses an 18V battery, then this tool is compatible with that charger too.
Unfortunately, the bar pressure is on the lower side. So it's probably better to think of this as a powerful hose, rather than a pressure washer.
Once you've decided what it is that you plan on cleaning, follow our easy to remember advice and you'll find the perfect pressure washer in no time. Who knows, you might even be offering to help the neighbours if you enjoy your new toy that much!
Author: Lewis Clark
No. 1: Nilfisk｜Core 125
No. 2: VonHaus｜Pressure Washer With Accessories
No. 3: Wilks USA｜Petrol Pressure Washer｜TX625
No. 4: Kärcher ｜K4 Power Control Pressure Washer
No. 5: McGregor｜Pressure Washer
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