Outdoor stuff gets dirty – cars, driveways, garden furniture, stonework… you name it – there’s no way to avoid it.
You can, however, keep things super clean around the garden with the power of pressurised water. Gone are the days when brushes, mops, sponges, and rags floating in buckets of increasingly scummy water were to go-to cleaning tools.
Today, there’s a better, more efficient way to clean – by using a pressure washer to blast dirt away with ease. Take your outdoor cleaning to the next level with our 2020 list of the top 5 best pressure washers available to buy online, and a helpful buying guide to boot.
1. Karcher K4: Best All-Round Pressure Washer
First up – the new Karcher K4 Full Control Home Pressure Washer – a powerful, advanced machine from the world’s leading pressure washer brand. It tops the list for its power, accessories, performance, reliability, and value.
At the core of the Karcher K4 is a German engineered water-cooled motor that generates up to 130bar of pressure and a water flow rate of over 400L per hour. In simple terms, this is one powerful pressure washer that’ll make light work of dirty cars, decking, driveways, slabs, garden furniture, garden tools, or any tough outdoor cleaning job.
One of the great features with this machine is the design of the trigger gun when combined with the Vario Power Spray lance. Most pressure washers in this price range have a point and blast design, but the Karcher K4 has a digital LED display on the trigger where you can select the optimal pressure output to best suit the job at hand.
For example, you might want maximum pressure for cleaning patios, flagstone, brick walls, or driveways, but not so much for cleaning the car, bicycle, wooden bench, or delicate fence panelling – the K4 puts you in “Full Control” of power.
You also get a Dirt Blaster Lance that projects a rotating spray pattern of water at maximum pressure, designed to obliterate the hardest of ground-in dirt.
Outdoor stonework can suffer from algae, lichens, and moss growth, which can be hard to remove, even with a high-powered pressure washer. The dirt blaster lance works superb on paved areas such as patios and drives that are overrun with moss, mud, and algae.
Another great thing with this pressure washer is the “Plug and Clean” detergent system. Karcher have a range of bottled detergents that plug directing into the machine, where its mixed with the water as you spray.
Their range of specially formulated detergents include car shampoo, wood cleaner, plastic cleaner, and stone cleaner, so you’re equipped with the right cleaning fluid for the job. There’s also a snow foam nozzle available that allows you to cover surfaces in a thick coating of foam that will break down dirt and grime, before jet washing away to a perfect finish.
Lances and trigger gun all store neatly onboard the front of the K4 machine, and the lengthy 6m high-pressure hose winds around a section at the back of the machines, where it can be extended from the hose guidance system.
All in, you won’t find a better pressure washer than the Karcher K4 at this price range. It packs a punch, has amazing features, and is backed by Karcher’s 3 years guarantee. There’s also a load of high-quality accessories and connectors that are compatible with the K4, so you can make lots of useful upgrades.
2. Nilfisk C 110 – 110.7-5 PC X-TRA: Best Compact Pressure Washer
They say great things come in small packages, well that’s true when it comes to the Nilfisk C 110 Compact Pressure Washer. It’s lightweight, compact, packs a sizable punch at 110 bar of pressure, has a bunch of useful accessories and is a bargain at under £100.
It can clean up to 25 m2 per hour, and at only 6 kilograms, it can easily be moved around the garden. The Nilfisk C 110 has a pressure regulating nozzle and its range of included accessories make it ideal for cleaning cars, bikes, barbeque grills, garden tools, decking, tiles, patios, and garden furniture.
The kit includes a high-pressure gun, lance, and two nozzles: Tornado for general cleaning and Powerspeed for more aggressive cleaning. You get a patio cleaner that’s great for thorough cleaning of large flat areas, and a detergent sprayer that you can use to completely cover your car, caravan, or motorbike in a frothy shower of soap.
It uses an auto start/stop feature which means the pump will activate and start working only when the trigger is pressed, instead of running constantly, which prolongs motor life and saves power.
As standard, you get a durable 5 metre hose, and if you need some more length, there are extensions available from Nilfisk.
Overall, this sporty blue compact pressure washer by Nilfisk has been around for a few years now and has garnered hundreds of positive reviews – it’s a great addition for your outdoor cleaning activities.
3. Karcher K7 Premium Full Control Plus Home Pressure Washer
You just need to take one look at the Karcher K7 and you know you’re dealing with something extra special. It’s a premium heavy-duty pressure washer for your toughest jobs. In fact, it’s Karchers top of the line power washer and with a massive 180 bar and a flow rate of 550, you won’t find anything electric with this kind of power for home use.
It requires no assembly, it’s ready to use right out of the box and features an intuitive Karcher Full Control LCD trigger to control pressure and detergent dispensing.
Sure, it’s better than the K4 in terms of features and power, but it’s almost double the price, and that’s the only reason that it’s not in the number one spot. If you’ve got the cash to splurge and you’re looking for the best-of-the-best electric power washer, the K7 is the one.
It comes with an extra lengthy integrated hose stretching 10 metres, which is easily wound in and out using the built-in hose reel. This machine also comes with a home cleaning kit that includes a 3-in1 lance, patio cleaner, and plug ‘n’ clean detergent.
4. Bosch High Pressure Washer AdvancedAquatak
Bosch is one of the UK’s best-known brands, their reputation is built from their impressive range of trusted power tools, garden tools, and home appliances.
The Bosch AdvancedAquatak is a no-nonsense pressure washer that runs on a 2,100W motor to produce a powerful 140 bar pressure with blasts dirt clean off any surface.
It comes with a generous 8m hose that winds neatly into a reel on top of the machine, so you don’t need to battle a tangled hose as you clean – simple unwind what you need. Connected to the hose is an ergonomic lance with interchangeable nozzles – Variable fan jet, Rotary, and high-pressure detergent nozzles give great cleaning versatility.
A solid, powerful machine built by a trusted UK brand, it offers great all-round cleaning performance.
5. Spear & Jackson S2011PW Pressure Washer
The S2011PW is the most powerful Spear & Jackson pressure washer, with a bar of 110 and a flow rate of 330L per hour. What makes this machine so special is its built-in detergent tank – no separate bottle that needs to be changed out – and its range of included accessories.
It 7m, the hose provide good length for free movement around a large garden or driveway. The S2011PW comes with every accessory that you could possibly need – which include a standard lance as well as a pressure adjustable lance that gives you the ability to adjust the level of the water pressure. It also comes with a car wash brush, a second wash brush, a quick connector, a patio cleaner, and a low-pressure detergent gun, and is backed with a 3-year warranty.
How do Pressure Washers Work?
These extraordinarily useful machines belong in every garden – they save time, prevent back-breaking labour and do a far superior job to hand-scrubbing. Keep reading this quick guide – you’ll learn exactly what to look for and be ready to choose the right pressure washer to match your needs.
Pressure washers either connect to your home’s water supply, a rainwater butt or their own water supply. When a pressure washer is turned on, water is forced into a hose by a strong electric motor. The water is “compressed” – pressurized – and emitted as a powerful stream that which blasts away tough dirt and grime.
Most models come with a variety of attachment nozzles, allowing anything from a narrow, highly concentrated jet of water to a broader stream which can “sweep” larger areas of dirt away.
Did you know that using a power pressure washer dramatically cuts down water wastage?
That’s right, a garden hose can use over 3,000 Ltr of water every hour, compared to a 100 bar pressure washer only using around 400 – 500L an hour. The powerful, and highly rated Karcher K4 Pressure Washer has a bar pressure of 130, and a water flow rate of around 420 Ltr per hour. It’s a very powerful cleaning machine with minimal water wastage.
Furthermore, some models don’t even require water from a main supply. They have the option of using a suction hose, so you’re able to pump water directly from a bucket of water, or water butt, so you’re not limited to being close to a garden tap. This allows for extra portability and you’re able to use natural rainwater.
What Can You Clean With a Pressure Washer?
A pressure washer can clean just about anything which resides outside the home – muddy patio stones and walkways, mud-caked garden tools, outdoor furniture, decrepit railings and filthy door handles, clogged drains – and of course, boats, caravans, cars and bicycles. Really, you can let your imagination run wild, or walk around just looking for things bring some life back into with a jet wash clean.
How to Choose the Best Pressure Washer From Your Home
Not every job requires the same amount of cleaning power – lighter-duty tasks such as removing a bit of dirt from outdoor furniture might need only 100 bars of pressure, whereas a vehicle might need 110. If you anticipate removing loads of grime – for example, from a driveway, between patio stones or from agricultural equipment – look for a washer which can put out 120 bars or more of water pressure. The ideal pressure washer uses a “vario lance” which allows the pressure to be adjusted as you work.
A few extras can greatly increase the functionality of your pressure washer. Different nozzle types create a variety of spray patterns; using manufacturer-approved cleaning agents ensures compatibility with the pressure washer and maximizes performance; and extender hoses allow you to work further away from the water supply, if the washer doesn’t have its own tank. (Note: It’s not always necessary to use a cleaning agent. For environmental reasons, use plain water whenever possible.)
Other accessories that can be included with your pressure washer, or bought separately include; brushes, telescopic spray lance, patio cleaner, gutter cleaner, multi power jet nozzle, extension hose, trigger gun, drain cleaner, foam bottle.
With that said, most model come with a detergent attachment, ideal for cleaning cars. Some of the more expensive models can actually heat that water, allowing you to use the power of hot soupy pressurized water for ultimate cleaning power.
Power cables and hoses can easily become tangled – look for a pressure washer which keeps them neat, protected and right where you need them at all times. If you haven’t much room to store the machine itself, consider a vertical unit which stands upright.
Pressure washers, particularly heavy duty models, can weigh a lot. Wheels and handles which can be used to both push and pull the washer to and fro are helpful to have.
Good Water Flow and Auto-start/stop.
Though water pressure is very important – if it’s insufficient, you won’t blast away dirt no matter how long you try – also look for a pressure washer with a good flow rate of at least 400 litres per hour. This may seem like a lot of water, but it’s much less than a garden hose would use for the equivalent task, because the stream of water is concentrated and optimized for cleaning. A feature which automatically starts and shuts off the washer will prolong motor life by reducing engine wear and stress.
How Much Pressure Do I really Need?
Following are guidelines which will help you choose and most effectively use your pressure washer for different cleaning tasks. Generally a 100 bar pressure washer will be sufficient for all cleaning tasks. But the more pressure the machine can produce then the more cleaning power you have for tough dirt removal.
- 100 bar: Best for outdoor furniture; garden tools; barbecues; bicycles; outdoor toys; compost and rubbish bins.
- 110 bar: Best for motor vehicles (slowly increase pressure to avoid damaging paint); pools and hot tubs; boats; gutters; wood fences; walls and objects coated in outdoor-rated paint (again, use caution and increase pressure slowly.)
- 120 bar and higher: Best pressure washer for driveways; bricks; stone patios; agricultural equipment.
As spring approaches, the filth left behind by winter – courtesy of melting snow and ice, salt and sand – will make its annual appearance; and as summer turns to fall, the inevitable dirt left on your tools and patio furniture after months of enjoyment will sully their functionality and appearance – so don’t put off getting a pressure washer any longer.
Once you try one, you’ll wonder how you ever managed to keep things clean without it!