Updated 9 March 2022
Do you want to keep your house, car and drive clean? With the right pressure washer, it's easy. We tested pressure washers and name the AVA Master P60 as our Best Choice, because you get the most power and functionality for your money.
Our best budget choice is its smaller sibling, the Husqvarna PW 235, from the same manufacturer, which has a long cord and plenty of power for its price class.
Our tests are independently conducted and reflect the test editor's honest and objective opinions. Selection of products and test results are in no way influenced by manufacturers, retailers or other internal or external parties.
We carry out our tests ourselves and test all products as they are intended to be used in reality. We retain the models that perform well for longer-term testing, in many cases for several years, and continuously add updates to the reviews. In our assessment we have focused on the following characteristics:
Performance: What's the working pressure and water quantity? What level of water temperature can the pressure washer cope with? How quickly does it work?
Ease of use: How easy is the pressure washer to handle? How mobile is it? Is the hose long enough? Does the hose get tangled? How easily does the pressure washer topple over? How ergonomic is it? How noisy is it?
Design: What material is the pressure washer made from? What storage options does it have?
Construction quality/durability: How well designed is the pressure washer? How much stress and wear should the construction tolerate? Is the material sufficiently durable? Can the pressure washer tolerate falling over? What guarantee does it have?
Functionality: What accessories are included? What type of nozzles do you get with the pressure washer, and what tasks are they intended for? Does the pressure washer have any unique functions?
We have scored each pressure washer according to its value for money; in other words how good it is in each area in relation to its price tag. An expensive product thus has higher expectations than a cheaper one, and vice versa. The pressure washers have been used over several months for traditional tasks such as cleaning patios, façades and cars. In addition to this, we have also tested specific areas with more extreme challenges. For example, we have tested performance at different distances by washing off paint residues and stickers from different materials, moss from garden walls and algae from shed roofs and trampolines. Mobility has also been assessed by washing roofs and vans.
Amazingly multi-faceted and well designed
Water pressure: 145 Hose length: 8 m Power: 2100 W Hose type: Steel reinforced high pressure hose Hose reel: Yes Weight: 21 kg Water capacity min-max: 500 l/h Water temperature (max): 40 degrees Noise level: Medium (Measured mean value: 76.3 dB) Accessories included: 15° nozzle 20°/60°, Vario nozzle, Zoom lance
The AVA Master P60 is very well designed and easy to understand. And the end result is also extremely good.
It’s obvious that the manufacturer has focused on user-friendliness. For example, there’s a solution that means the pressure washer is very stable regardless of how you pull it around. This solution takes the form of a metal bracket that provides support, and a rotating upper section. But the rotating section can even be locked in place so it doesn’t rotate when you're moving the machine. The pressure washer is also easy to roll around and has a pull-out lifting handle.
Another user-friendly detail is the crank you use to roll the hose up. You can press this in to lock the hose reel when the reel is fully wound in, which also keeps the crank out of the way.
You can use the pistol both with and without a lance, and the lance can be extended. You have a maximum of 1.2 m to play with, which is really good. You can also store the attachments you need on the pressure washer for quick access.
The only other thing we'd have liked to see is somewhere to suspend the power cable on the machine itself.
In addition to being well-designed, the pressure washer also comes with a wide range of equally effective accessories. You can easily connect the nozzle of the foam cannon to a PET bottle, allowing you to have a number of different chemicals ready for use without having to buy several separate bottles.
The foam cannon has a very clear marking in the form of a line that gets longer when you rotate it. The more detergent you're adding, the longer the line. There are also symbols to provide further clarification, which are very easy to understand.
Even the chemical bottles are well designed. They are constructed so you can easily stack them on top of each other in your shed or garage.
The pressure washer hose is flexible and gives a high quality impression. However, it’s only 8 metres long. For the price class this is OK, but not the best on the market. You can buy a 12 m extension hose with a quick coupling.
The working pressure is good, but it’s not actually the pressure that's the thing with this pressure washer. AVA think you should always foam everything you wash, from your garden trellis or the façade of your house to your car or carpets. This means you don't need high pressure, but instead work with different widths of nozzle. When we tested this for washing a car, we never even needed to lay a hand on the bodywork. First we applied foam degreaser to the entire car, then premium wash and foam, and finally foam wax. The result was sparkling clean without us having to touch the car once.
There are pressure washers in this price class that have a higher working pressure with foam that also produce good results, but we've never had results of this quality without having to apply elbow grease as well.
The AVA Master P60 is a very good value pressure washer for anyone looking for a very good result using a gentle method. You get an extremely well-designed product that's easy to use, and a system that's easy to expand.
AVA Master P60 Pressure Washer, High Power Jet Washer For Car Washing, Garden & Patio Cleaning, 145 Bar 500 L/H 2100 W, Incl Zero-Force Gun, Follow-Me Hose Reel, Zoom Lance & Foam Cannon
Ava Master P60 Large Bundle
AVA Pressure Washer, Master P60 with Zero Force Pistol and "Follow-Me" hose reel - 145 Bar 500 L/H 2100 W - Includes Patio Cleaner - Power cleaner for car cleaning, patio cleaning
Versatile workhorse with several advantages
Water pressure: 135 bar Hose length: 8 m Power: 1800 W Hose type: High-pressure hose Weight: 9.6 kg Length: 275 mm Width: 265 mm Height: 845 mm Min-max water capacity: 350-520 l/hr Hose reel: Yes Water temperature (max): 40 degrees Remote control: No Noise level: Medium (Measured mean value: 82.2 dB) Accessories included: Fan jet nozzle, rotary nozzle, foam sprayer
The Husqvarna PW 235 is our best budget choice as a very good value for money pressure washer that copes with several tough tasks despite its compact size. For example, you can remove moss with the rotary nozzle. With the fan jet nozzle you can quickly wash the car.
There's no skimping on hose length
The high-pressure hose isn't steel reinforced, but of a soft and relatively flexible type. For example, you can stretch it out straight without the machine body overbalancing. The hose remains very flexible as long as it isn't too cold out. The hose is also quite long. This means that you can easily move around even larger objects and can wash them from all sides.
The hose rolls neatly onto the reel again when you have finished. The pressure washer is easy to lift and transport as a result of its moderate weight and compact format when the handle is folded down and the spray gun dismantled.
The Husqvarna PW 235 is easy to assemble but comes with the hose separate - in other words you need to roll it onto the reel yourself. There are no good instructions for this in the manual which makes the installation unnecessarily time-consuming. Otherwise, however, the manual is of high quality. If you buy the pressure washer via a specialist shop, they should install the hose for you.
Lots of pressure washer for the money
The noise level that the machine emits is no higher than equivalent competitors, but the noise profile is rather unpleasant. The handle is also rather resistant, which makes it uncomfortable to use for longer periods. But these are just small details.
Overall, the PW 235 performs at a very high level. And it's also very light, so you don't need to worry about the weight when you carry it. In brief, you get a great deal of pressure washer for your money. The PW 235 is the ideal choice if you want a light pressure washer that goes a long way for a good price.
A well-thought-out design with lots of functions
Water pressure: 20 bar Battery: 18 V, tested with 2.5 Ah Battery life: 22 mins (8.8 mins/Ah) Hose: PVC Hose length: 4 m (measured value) Weight: 7.5 kg Tank capacity: Just over 15 l (measured value)
Bosch Fontus is the manufacturer's series of mobile pressure washers, and what sets them apart from the competition is that they are slightly larger and that they have a water tank. This means you can fill up the tank, then use the washer even in places where there’s no access to water. So you could, for example, take it to the furthest corner of your garden or plot and use it even if there’s no water supply there.
The model we tested was the Bosch Fontus gen 2. This model has a slightly higher pressure and lower weight than its predecessor with almost the same name. The two kg weight it has lost do make a big difference if you need to carry the pressure washer any sort of distance, because it will weigh even more when the water tank of 15 litres is filled to the brim.
This washer has a strap at the front that is designed as a carrying handle. This makes it easy to lift with a two-handed grip even when the water tank is full. When the machine is on the ground, the built-in stand keeps it stable on the ground even if you jerk the hose.
The hose is a bit on the short side at only four metres. So you can’t get it all the way around a car or similar. However, you can roll the machine body with you if you want. The hose is also quite stiff, which is a bit of a shame for an otherwise good mobile washer.
The Bosch Fontus isn’t really suited to washing the car as the pressure is a bit too low for the type of dirt a car normally has. However, it does work well for rinsing grass from the lawnmower, mud from your bike or for rinsing off dirty boots.
The battery lasts for 22 minutes in the most powerful mode. In this mode, the jet is quite thin and can even handle dried-on dirt quite well. The intermediate position has a wider jet which is better if you’re going to rinse larger areas. The least powerful mode is more for watering flowers and the like. This mode provides 10 litres of water in just over 3.5 minutes.
There are several practical functions we appreciate with the Bosch Fontus. The water tank holds 15 litres and it takes 6 minutes and 5 seconds to finish the whole tank. But if you want more water, you can connect it to a hose. On the lid for the tank is another small lid, and if you unscrew it you’ll find a connection for a hose. There is also a filter on the lid that ensures the water that passes through the machine is free of dirt. The filter is a little difficult to get out when you clean it because it is quite a tight fit.
When you use this washer with the hose connected, you have a level sensor that ensures you never have too much or too little water in the tank itself. If there’s too much water and there is a risk of overflowing, it closes the opening, then opens it again when the water level has gone down a bit. This gives you nice constant operation.
The pistol has both a childproof catch and cruise control so you can lock it in the active position. Next to the pistol is a brush nozzle, which allows you to scrub at whatever it is you’re washing. The brush is soft enough to get rid of slightly more stubborn dirt.
When you are done, wind the hose up and clamp it to the back of the machine. There’s no hose reel, but the hose is so short that this isn’t much of an issue.
The cover for the battery protects it from moisture. The battery is easy to insert and remove. It belongs to the Bosch green 18V series so you can share batteries with tools from the same manufacturer. The machine also has a battery indicator.
The Bosch Fontus Gen 2 is a good buy if you need a mobile washer for places where there’s no power outlet or poor access to water. It’s suitable for simpler cleaning jobs such as washing your bike or washing the dirt off a wheelbarrow. But it isn’t suitable for ingrained dirt.
Bosch Home and Garden Fontus GEN II Baretool
Bosch Home and Garden Fontus Gen II BT Pressure washer 20 bar Cold water
Bosch 06008B6000 Fontus Battery Outdoor Cleaner (1 Battery (2.5 Ah), Max. Pressure: 15 Bar, 15 L Water Tank, 18 Volt System, in Box), Green, 64.5 cm*32.0 cm*39.5 cm
A lot of performance and user-friendliness for your money
Water pressure: 160 bar Hose length: 10 m Power: 2300 W Hose type: Steel reinforced high-pressure hose Weight: 20.8 kg Min-max water capacity: 410-500 l/hr Hose reel: Yes Water temperature (max): 40 degrees Electric cable length: 5 m Noise level: Medium (Measured mean value: 84.3 dB) Accessories included: Fan jet nozzle, rotary nozzle, foam sprayer
The Husqvarna PW 360 is our best pressure washer of 2020 because it is a substantial yet light pressure washer that gives you the best of two worlds. It looks relatively neat and is easy to move around. But it's a very powerful machine and the long, steel reinforced high-pressure hose is very flexible.
It's long enough to go all around the car, and the hose is easy to reel back in when it's time to move the pressure washer.
The PW 360 has a relatively low water capacity given its high pressure, but this doesn't actually cause problems in practice. However, it's a bit of a shame that it can't cope with a higher water temperature given the price. A higher water temperature would have made it easier to remove tough dirt such as oil.
The manufacturer has chosen an interesting configuration
The accessories included are standard in terms of the competition, and the design is so similar to many other brands that several of them are interchangeable. In fact, the construction of the PW 360 is essentially identical to that in several competitors.
However, the machine is specified slightly differently, and the combination which has been chosen gives a very good result. We can wash lighter coverings of moss from patios etc. without problems. It's also user-friendly in that it's easy to assemble and also to fold up after use.
Thumbs up for the fact that it's possible to suspend the power cable.
Given the power, the construction and the slightly lower price than similar models from other brands, this is a very good buy for anyone seeking a pressure washer that can cope with a wide range of tasks.
The best portable pressure washer
Water pressure: 140 bar Hose length: 8 m Power: 2000 W Hose type: Steel reinforced high pressure hose Hose reel: No Water capacity min-max: 450 l/h Water temperature (max): 40 degrees Noise level: Medium (Measured mean value: 78.4 dB) Accessories included: Water filter, 15° nozzle 20°/60° Vario nozzle, Zoom lance, façade brush
The AVA Go P55 is a portable pressure washer that's easy to carry and just as easy to store. In terms of size it fits on a garage shelf without any problems. You roll up the hose and push it in between the handle and the body of the machine, then simply lift the entire thing up.
The P55 resembles its smaller sibling, the P40, to a very large extent, but the difference is that it has a hose that's two metres longer and a higher working pressure – and the kit we test includes a façade brush too. The working pressure is just right for the average home owner, particularly because the product uses foam. In fact, all the chemicals are foamed. So you actually don’t need a very high pressure at all to achieve good results. And this pressure washer's performance really leaves nothing to be desired on that level.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t include a holder for the foam cannon, but it does include a case and holders for the three nozzles. You attach the lance to the top of the handle.
The fact that the hose is a bit longer than the one on the P40 makes a big difference to ease of use. You can easily get all the way round the car, boat or whatever else it is that you're washing. And you often don’t even have to move the machine body when you’re washing the façade, because the hose reaches all the way along your house (unless you live in a palace!)
The hose is very soft and flexible, while simultaneously being strong and sturdy. Even in cold weather, it’s easy to get it to follow along nicely when you move with it.
A major advantage with the Go P55 is that it can draw water out of watercourses, rainwater butts etc. Because it’s portable and can draw water like this, it’s just as convenient for use at your summer home or the canoe club as it is when you're washing your car at home. To protect the interior of the machine when using this type of water source, you insert a plastic filter into an adapter which prevents dirt from entering machine. We'd have preferred the filter to be made from more durable material, given the price of the P55.
Something we think is lacking in AVA's larger models is the spring in the pistol that means you don't have to use much force when you press the handle. This is a bit of a luxury function, but we'd have liked to see even their portable models being equipped with it. It isn’t too difficult to press the handle as it is, but on the larger models they've resolved this well, and once you've got used to the function you miss it when it's not there.
But the AVA Go P55 is a very good buy. It’s incredibly portable, can draw water and produces a really good result.
Water pressure: 130 bar Hose length: 8.1 m Hose type: High-pressure hose Hose reel: Yes Weight: 11.2 kg Length: 280 mm Width: 250 mm Height: 850 mm Water quantity min-max-: 350-520 l/hr Water temperature (max): 40 degrees Remote control: No Electric cable length: 4.5 m Noise level: Less than average (Measured mean value: 81.7 dB) Accessories included: Fan jet nozzle and rotary nozzle together with foam sprayer, cleaning tool and patio accessory.
The Nilfisk C-PG 130.2-8 PCDI X-TRA is a handy, compact pressure washer. It's not the most powerful model on the market, but given its neat size and weight it outperforms our expectations.
It's undoubtedly capable of basic tasks such as keeping the car clean, washing the façade of your house or cleaning the patio. You can also easily set the pressure using buttons on the handle.
Long range cleaning
The ample hose length means that you can easily clean the whole car without having to move the machine. The hose is semi-rigid, but still follows the user's movements well even in colder weather. This is important because the machine doesn't weigh very much, which means that it easily tips over if you jerk the hose when it's fully extended. Fortunately, the hose length and flexibility means that this doesn't happen very often.
The C-PG 130.2 includes a number of accessories. In addition to the spray and rotary nozzle, you also get a patio accessory and a dosing nozzle. The latter can be used for things like car shampoo, degreaser and soft soap. The pressure washer also includes a drain hose for flushing out blockages and a hose for collecting water from a water butt.
Changing the nozzles and connecting other accessories is very quick and easy. It's also possible to store the majority of accessories on the machine, and it has a hose reel on the top.
Its comfortable handle, minimal vibrations and moderate noise level makes the C-PG 130.2 pleasant to use. It may initially feel a little plasticky, but you soon forget this given all the included accessories and ease-of-use. The neat size of the C-PG 130.2 also makes it easy to pack up and store out of the way when not in use.
Long hose and tough performance in a reasonably priced package
Water pressure: 180 bar (max working pressure 140 bar) Hose length: 12.8 m Power: 2900 W Hose type: Steel-reinforced pressure washer hose Hose reel: Yes Weight: 27.8 kg Water quantity min-max: 540-610 l/h Water temperature (max): 60 degrees Noise level: 89 dB Accessories included: Two nozzles, cleaning needle
The Husqvarna PW 480 is a very powerful pressure washer for those who prioritise performance, a really long hose and the option to wash with hot water.
The washer has adjustable pressure. Unfortunately, it lacks a pressure gauge so you’ve got no idea what you’ve set it to. Instead, you just have to see how it goes.
Despite that, the pressure on the PW 480 is really good. The maximum working pressure is stated as 140 bar, but it can handle the same tasks as machines that are slightly more powerful. It manages to both loosen ingrained dirt, and rinse it off in an efficient manner. In addition, you can use it with hot water, which is better for stuff such as oil stains and the like.
This pressure washer has an unusually long and at the same time flexible hose, which can be wound up on a hose reel. Two nozzles are included, and these are stored loose in cavities on the machine body – fair enough as a solution but not quite as good as some others where you store them in a closed compartment.
This machine is easy to move over different types of surfaces. You can also fold the handle up or down, and thus get a good grip when moving it or make it more compact when storing it.
At the back is a fairly hefty cleaning tank, instead of the small bottle that normally comes with pressure washers.
The power cable is wound up around two pegs on the machine body. The cable is a bit stiff, but that’s not much of an issue. You can quickly undo slacken it by turning one of the pegs, and then the entire length of the cable can then be removed at once.
The Husqvarna PW 480 is excellent for washing a car, rinsing a façade, washing the patio free of moss and other such things. You should buy a surface cleaner to go with the machine if you’re going to wash the patio. If you want a really high-performance pressure washer, where pressure, water flow and water temperature are important, the PW480 is a good value choice. Especially since you can adjust the pressure for different tasks. If the temperature isn’t really important, however, the smaller PW360 is an even more affordable alternative.
Standard machine with good performance
Water pressure: 140 bar Hose length: 8 m Power: 2100 W Hose type: Steel reinforced high-pressure hose Hose reel: Yes Weight: 17.55 kg Min-max water capacity: 450 l/hr Water temperature (max): 40 degrees Electric cable length: 5 m Accessories included: Fan jet nozzle, rotary nozzle, foam sprayer
The Bosch Advanced Aquatak 140 is a traditional pressure washer with a standard construction and quick couplings for removable parts, a hose reel and space on the machine to attach nozzles that aren’t in use.
Two advantages of the construction are that the hose reel can be locked and that the machine body has a plate you can put your foot on so the machine doesn’t move when you pull on the hose. The weight of just over 17 kg means that it’s fairly stable anyway.
In purely design terms, we like the idea that Bosch have made all the parts that interact red so you can see where you should attach the nozzles, press buttons and so on.
The pressure washer comes with a standard accessory kit. One nozzle gives a hard jet, and you can rotate the nozzle to make the jet broader. The other nozzle is a rotor nozzle which makes the water behave like a rotating ball – ideal for removing tough dirt.
You even get a separate bottle to use when mixing detergent. This solution works very well, including for thicker chemicals.
The pressure washer hose is quite flexible, but not as good as the best we’ve tested. It becomes a bit stiffer at low temperatures, and tends to be difficult to stretch out completely. But it’s far from bad. The hose is made from high quality material, and we’ve tested many models with significantly less flexible hoses.
The Aquatak 140 comes with a plastic tube with a filter you can connect to ensure that no dirt emerges from the nozzle when you're using it. This is really practical, and it’s easy to remove and clean the plastic tube.
There’s plenty of pressure in the jet, and it works fine for cleaning most things in a domestic environment – everything from rinsing off decking to washing the car. Of course it doesn’t make any impression on tougher dirt such as oil where you’d need hotter water – and nor can it remove moss with cold water. But neither of these are the intended application for this machine.
The Bosch Advanced Aquatak 140 is definitely a good pressure washer. But it’s a little expensive compared to the competitors’ models, which means higher expectations. For example it could have included more accessories, intelligent extra functions or provided better pressure.
The Aquatak 140 is ideal for anyone who wants a well designed, user-friendly pressure washer for all-round use that provides good performance.
Bosch AdvancedAquatak 240V Pressure Washer
Bosch High Pressure Washer AdvancedAquatak 140 (2100 W, 140 Bar Pressure, Max. Flow Rate 450 l/h, Max. Flow Temperature: 40 °C, Hose Length 5 Metres, in Carton Packaging)
Bosch Corded Pressure washer 2.1kW
Great mobile pressure washer that produces excellent results
Water pressure: 120 bar Hose length: 6 m Power: 1700 W Hose type: Steel reinforced high pressure hose Hose reel: No Water capacity min-max: 390 l/h Water temperature (max): 40 degrees Noise level: Medium (Measured mean value: 80.2 dB) Accessories included: Water filter, 15° nozzle 20°/60° Vario nozzle, Zoom lance
The AVA Go P40 is a highly mobile pressure washer with two obvious advantages. One is that it can draw water, which means for example, that you can take it to your summer home and draw water out of a stream to get water to wash your patio, façade, roof etc. There’s a filter at the hose connection that ensures you don’t suck up debris that clogs the system. The other major advantage is how small, light and compact machine is.
This combination of a highly mobile pressure washer with the possibility of drawing up water from other sources means the entire product feels very well-designed for a clear target group. Unfortunately the filter is made of plastic instead of a more long-lasting material, but it still does the job.
Because the Go P40 foams everything, you don’t need particularly high pressure to wash things. The pressure washer has a working pressure of 120 bar, but the results are what you'd expect from a machine with a higher pressure. If you use the system correctly, you rarely even need to use a sponge. Unfortunately, there’s no holder for the foam cannon, but you do get a case with the pressure washer.
Another thing we’d have liked to see is the springs that you get on the pistols in AVA’s stationary pressure washers. These mean you can pretty much keep the handle pressed in using your little finger! But the Go P40 is like other manufacturers’ models – there’s no spring and you have to press the handle with your whole hand. It isn’t too hard, but nor does it give a feeling of refinement in the construction.
The construction is generally very efficient. There's a holder for the pistol nozzle on the machine body, and for the three other nozzles. You place the lance in the carrying handle. When you’ve finished using the pressure washer, you roll up the hose and push it in between the carrying handle and the machine body, which works really well.
Unfortunately the Go P40 has quite a short hose, so this isn't the model to buy if you need a longer working radius. Or alternatively you’ll need to buy an extension hose. But the hose is very soft and flexible, while still being robust.
The price of the AVA Go P40 seems rather high if you only check the working pressure. But given the great results you get from this pressure washer, this is actually a no-brainer. With this machine it's more about whether or not the hose is long enough for what you intend to wash with it. If you’re looking for a highly portable and easily stored pressure washer for washing your boat, summer home patio or similar things, this is an excellent choice.
Stable pressure washer with useful space for storing nozzles
Water pressure: 135 Hose length: 8.8 m (measured) Power: 2300 W Hose type: Steel reinforced high pressure hose Hose reel: Yes Weight: 21.2 kg Water quantity min-max: 420-500 l/h Water temperature (max): 40 degrees Noise level: Medium (Measured mean value: 79.1 dB) Accessories: Jug, rotary nozzle, flat jet nozzle, needle
The Stihl RE 130 Plus is the successor to the popular RE 129. It’s a high-pressure washer with reasonable working pressure according to the specifications, but which in practice feels stronger than it’s claimed to be. Especially when we tested it with the rotary nozzle, it gave a really good impression, for example, when we washed a paved patio. Overall, this washer gives a good result on most surfaces, but we had to use a sponge and hand power when we washed a very dirty car.
Something we did appreciate with the RE 130 Plus is that you can set the amount of chemical to be mixed directly on the jug. We tested different chemicals with reasonable results.
The hose is both long and easy to work with. It bends and twists without being damaged. The hose reel moves smoothly when you pull out the hose, and the machine remains stable on a slope as long as you don’t pull too hard on the hose. Unfortunately, the hose reel isn’t lockable. However, you can fold down the handle so the washer takes up less space during storage.
The Stihl RE 130 Plus is pretty heavy and not very portable. But if you only use it in your garden, and you have a good surface on any paths, it’s easy to pull it between different places. However, this isn’t the sort of machine you’ll want to lift up far or take to your summer home.
There’s a hatch on the machine body which allows you to store cable and nozzles. There’s also a needle for cleaning the gun if it gets blocked.
The Stihl RE 130 Plus is a pressure washer that gives a good result, is stable and has a handy space for storage of nozzles and things you aren’t currently using. It may be a bit expensive in terms of performance, but you also get a long hose and quality material on the pump and handle.
Premium pressure washer with metal pump
Water pressure: 160 bar Hose length: 10 m Power: 2800 W Hose type: Steel reinforced high pressure hose Hose reel: Yes Weight: 23 kg Water capacity min-max: 600 l/h Water temperature (max): 40 degrees Noise level: Medium (Measured mean value: X dB) Accessories included: 15° nozzle 20°/60°, Vario nozzle, Zoom lance, patio washer
The AVA Master P80 is a very user-friendly pressure washer with several innovative solutions that – once you’re used to them – are hard to live without. For example, it’s very stable because it has a system where the top rotates when you move the hose sideways, together with a pull-out bracket that keeps the machine stable on the ground.
This pressure washer includes what AVA call a Zoom lance. This means that the extension you add before the actual pistol can be pulled out and made longer. We measure the pistol and extension to 1.2 m in extended position. Another good function is that you can connect the pistol directly to the hose, skipping the lance, when you don’t need it.
Another nice detail is the foam spray. The marking on this shows clearly how much foam you’ve chosen as you rotate the nozzle. Nor are you locked into using the container that comes with the pressure washer, because you can just as easily attach a PET bottle.
AVA also have a large range of accessories you can buy separately. The ones that come with it are good, but there could have been more given the price of the pressure washer. You can also attach the accessories you’re currently using directly to the pistol and lance so you have quick access to them when you need to swap them.
Unfortunately there's nowhere to hang the electric cable, but there are dedicated spaces for the other accessories. The P80 also has a crank on the hose reel that locks the reel so the hose doesn’t roll out by mistake when you’re transporting or storing the pressure washer between uses.
The Master P80 is quite an expensive pressure washer, but at the same time it has very good specifications. For example, you get a 10 m steel reinforced, flexible hose that easily reaches around anything most people would want to wash. It also gives you really good performance, with both power and a high flow of water. We'd have liked it to have a higher tolerance for hot water. You want to be able to use a pressure washer in this price class with really hot water to remove oil and other tough dirt.
The chemicals do a very good job of getting things clean on their own, however. You don't have to be aggressive at all, as the foam method that AVA recommend works better than expected. It’s often sufficient to simply go over the object with the pressure washer – in other words, you don't have to manually clean it with a sponge – to achieve perfect results.
The P80 is equipped with a metal pump and has a very good build quality overall, with metal used in the most sensitive parts.
There's no doubt that the AVA Master P80 is a very good pressure washer. But the price is rather high given how it compares to its competitors in the same price class, and even to its smaller siblings. For example, we'd have liked it to come with a few more accessories.
Lots of power for tough jobs
Water pressure: 150 bar Hose length: 10 m Power: 2900 W Hose type: Steel reinforced high-pressure hose Weight: 26.8 kg Min-max water capacity: 540-610 l/hr Hose reel: Yes Water temperature (max): 60 degrees Electric cable length: 5 m Noise level: Medium (Measured mean value: 85 dB) Accessories included: Fan jet nozzle, rotary nozzle, foam sprayer
The Nilfisk 150.2-10 X-TRA is a powerful pressure washer with a high maximum water temperature, which means that you can easily remove even ground in dirt. The steel reinforced high-pressure hose is very flexible, and the 10 m length is plenty to allow you to move freely.
The design of the machine is similar to that of several competitors. It's a tried and tested design that works well. For example, it's easy to replace the nozzle, fold the machine up and hang up both hose and power cable.
Easy to assemble!
The entire assembly consists of click fit functions, so you don't need to dig out a screwdriver. The hose is already rolled onto the hose reel, which is also a nice feature.
Easy to handle
The Nilfisk 150.2-10 X-TRA is easy to move even though it does weigh quite a bit. The hose reel runs smoothly when winding in the hose.
This pressure washer falls into the slightly more expensive price segment, which means that we have extra high expectations in terms of performance. However, we feel that the difference between this and its somewhat cheaper competitors isn't sufficient to justify the higher price. For example, we'd have liked it to include more accessories, a particular special function or a more robust build quality. Even something as simple as a rubber clad handle would have made it feel more premium.
But it's still a good buy. The 150.2-10 X-TRA is ideal if you want high water temperature and a well considered combination of water quantity and pressure. This means you can more easily clean tougher surfaces such as paved patios or spillages on drives.
Versatile and powerful package
**Water pressure:**145 bar Hose length: 10 m Hose type: Steel reinforced superflex high pressure hose Hose reel: Yes Weight: 19.8 kg Length: 345 mm Width: 395 mm Height: 900 mm Water quantity min-max-: 400-500 l/hr Water temperature (max): 60 degrees Remote control: No Electric cable length: 5 m Noise level: Medium (Measured mean value: 87.0 dB) Accessories included: Fan jet nozzle and rotary nozzle, foam sprayer, cleaning tool
The Nilfisk E145.3-10H X-TRA is a substantial pressure washer with a good hose. The thickness and textile-like material of the hose - together with the pressure washer's carefully considered design - make the entire construction feel substantial.
You can store nozzles which aren't in use and they're easy to change.
The hose is on a hose reel on the top of the pressure washer and easily goes all the way around a car. The positioning is advantageous as it means the hose unrolls smoothly when you pull on it. At the same time, the high weight of the machine means that the E145.3-10H X-TRA remains solidly on the ground during use.
Despite this weight, the pressure washer is easy to manoeuvre. As long as you aren't after a pressure washer that you can carry up onto the roof, the weight isn't a problem.
Nilfisk have been clever in their placement of the dosing container. This is located on the nozzle, which means that you can constantly keep track of how much detergent you have left. And it's also easy to regulate the quantity. The fact that the container is an accessory included with the pressure washer is another clear plus.
Quite a lot of vibration
The E145.3-10H X-TRA has only one flaw, and this becomes apparent when you're using it at full power. It produces extremely powerful vibrations and a very loud noise. Even if you aren't normally sensitive to this, after just a few minutes the pistol can hurt your hand from the vibrations caused by the high pressure. At the same time, the washing result isn't any better than comparable models in the same price class, which makes these disadvantages even more evident.
Apart from this, however, the Nilfisk E145.3-10H X-TRA is a high performance and affordable pressure washer.
Maximum performance but at a maximum price
Water pressure: 180 bar (150 bar working pressure) Hose length: 11.8 m (measured value excl. lance) Power: 3300 W Hose type: Steel-reinforced pressure washer hose Hose reel: Yes Weight: 31 kg Water quantity min-max: 570-648 l/h Water temperature (max): 60 degrees Accessories included: Two nozzles, cleaning needle
The Stihl RE 170 Plus is a pressure washer with a very high pressure and flow, so be careful what you aim the water jet at. Fortunately, the pressure is adjustable, and you can see clearly which pressure setting you’ve chosen. This, together with the fact that there is a closed storage space for the spare nozzles, makes this pressure washer very user-friendly.
You set the working pressure via a knob on the side. It starts at 50 bar and can go up to 150 bar. At the maximum position, you can easily wash away stuff like moss, as this is a pretty powerful setting. If you lower the force a little, it becomes ideal for rinsing off ingrained mud from your bike and so on.
We also managed to wash away paint from a boat trailer, as well as blasting clean a concrete slab.
Stihl have certainly invested in quality with this machine. The hose is reinforced, long and flexible. The machine easily stays in place even if you’re moving around the car or garden and pulling on the hose. Even the power cable is of higher quality than usual. It is rubberised and a little thicker than normal. You can easily detach it from its bracket by turning one of the plastic pegs it’s wound around.
There’s a child lock on the pistol itself, which is a good idea because there’s such enormously high pressure in the machine.
When you’ve finished washing, you wind the electric cable around the two pegs, reel in the hose onto the hose reel and lower the pull handle so that the machine takes up less space during storage. You can also disassemble the gun and lance part.
This pressure washer also gets a plus when we look at the cleaning tank. The tank is significantly larger than on slightly cheaper pressure washers and makes for easier use. It says that it should hold two litres, but if you fill it up normally, it will hold just over 1.5 litres.
But the Stihl RE 170 Plus does cost a fair bit. And although it does a really good job, and can also wash with hot water as well, for the price we would have expected more. For example, only two nozzles are included. We would have liked to see more accessories included at this price. The positive functions you do get, compared to other models with roughly the same performance and build quality don’t justify the higher price tag. So it primarily stands out in that you can see the pressure you have chosen and that you can store the nozzles behind a hatch.
However, we did appreciate the comfortable handle. It’s not rough, and does have sufficient rubber to give a nice, stable grip.
The Stihl RE 170 Plus has a slightly misleading name, as it maxes out at 150 bar. But since it’s very powerful, has adjustable pressure and can handle hot water, it’s still enough to meet most people's needs. If you can afford it, and if you need such a powerful machine, it is a good buy.
Easy to use and fairly standard for homeowners who use a pressure washer sparingly
Water pressure: 135 bar Hose length: 8.9 m (measured) Power: 2100 W Hose type: Steel reinforced high-pressure hose Hose reel: Yes Min-max water capacity: 420-500 l/hr Water temperature (max): 40 degrees Noise level: Medium (Measured mean value: 77.1 dB) Accessories included: 15° nozzle 20°/60°, Vario nozzle, Zoom lance
The Husqvarna PW 350 is a well-built high-pressure washer with a metal pump and a long, flexible hose. The hose is easy to roll up and it isn’t heavy so you can easily lift it into your car if you want to take it elsewhere.
Although the PW 350 should be a fairly powerful high-pressure washer, we didn’t really feel we got the best out of it. When we used the rotary nozzle, the result wasn’t as good a competitor's model with the same performance. But that’s a bit strange, because both machines have very similar construction, almost the same specifications and the nozzles can be swapped between them. We couldn’t figure out why the performance was less good, but we certainly didn’t feel that there was enough power from the PW 350.
That issue aside, this is a fairly standard high-pressure washer. You have holders for two nozzles on the machine body, a fold-down aluminium handle and a jug that comes with it so you can mix chemicals. The washer also comes with a needle you can use to clean the nozzle if you get dirt in it.
The winder for the power cable works very well. You roll up the cable as usual, but when you want to use the machine again, you fold down the holder and remove the whole cable, so you don’t have to unreel it. This is very convenient and allows you to get started quickly.
The PW 350 has no filter for incoming water, nor any other particular refinements other than those we’ve mentioned above. It’s fine for the average homeowner who wants to wash the outside of the house or the car from time to time. But if you want to shift serious dirt there are probably better models out there.
Having said that, the price is very reasonable. We’d recommend the Husqvarna PW 350 to anyone who wants a high-pressure washer for simpler tasks around the house.
Good all round machine for simple to medium tough jobs
Water pressure: 145 bar Hose length: 8 m Power: 2100 W Hose type: High-pressure hose Weight: 26.8 kg Min-max water capacity: 500 l/hr Hose reel: Yes Water temperature (max): 40 degrees Electric cable length: 5 m **Noise level:**Medium (Measured mean value: 79.5 dB) Accessories included: Multijet lance
The Kärcher K5 Premium Full Control Plus is a medium strong pressure washer with an interesting pressure control solution. The pressure washer has an intelligent spray gun solution where you rotate the nozzle to get different types of strength and water movement. This makes bigger jobs easier as you'd otherwise have had to change nozzle often. Now you simply have to rotate it to get a completely different effect. For example, if you're washing the car you can quickly change between mix mode where you mix in detergent, to lance mode where you rinse off the car with lighter jets.
However, we found that lance mode was weak and ineffective and more in line with the pressure from a normal hose. But dirt blaster mode gives full pressure, which is ideal for washing patio furniture, the patio itself or removing lighter coverings of moss.
Given the price, however, we would have liked a little more power and even a higher maximum water temperature.
Very few accessories
The Kärcher K5 Premium Full Control Plus comes without accessories. This is partly because the different nozzles are integrated into the spray gun from the start. But another difference from its competitors is that it doesn't include a foam sprayer. Instead you have to buy a container of detergent that you connect directly to the machine body. The liquid then runs through the machine. This is useful in that you can control the quantity of detergent that comes out at the other end. But it's a pain that you have to then clean out the machine before you can use it for jobs where you don't want to use detergent.
You're also locked into Kärcher's range of detergents, as the bottle is a specific shape.
Another disadvantage is the hose. This works fine as long as it's warm out. Even though it gets a bit tangled, it extends without overturning the machine. But when the outdoor temperature is cooler, it becomes quite difficult to handle. In this respect, it's reminiscent of cheaper pressure washers. The hose could also have been longer.
However we liked the handle on the top of the machine body. This is easy to pull up and push down, and has an intelligent lock so that you can carry the pressure washer, although the machine is rather heavy.
The Kärcher K5 Premium Full Control Plus is best for somebody who needs a pressure washer during the warmer months, for example to keep the decking and car clean.
Smaller pressure washer for small surfaces
Water pressure: 120 bar Hose length: 6 m Power: 1700 W Hose type: High-pressure hose Weight: 16.2 kg Min-max water capacity: 380-440 l/hr Hose reel: No Water temperature (max): 40 degrees Remote control: No Electric cable length: 5 m Noise level: Medium (Measured mean value: 86.3 dB) Accessories included: Fan jet nozzle, rotary nozzle, foam sprayer
The Stihl RE 98 is a compact pressure washer with an inviting price tag. It's easy to assemble and has a useful bracket on the side for the power cable.
Quite awkward to handle
However, the hose is one of the worst we tested. It's neither flexible nor particularly long. At the same time the machine is relatively light. The result is that when you try to extend the hose, the machine topples over. It's hard to straighten out the hose even when someone holds the machine still.
Perhaps it's because of the hose that Stihl have used a standard hook arrangement on the back of the machine, instead of rolling up the hose on a hose reel. This works OK as long as you don't need to move the pressure washer. If you need to carry it, however, the hose can easily slide off and get tangled. This means that despite its neat size, the pressure washer is fiddly to handle.
And when it comes time to put it away, you unfortunately can't fold the handle down.
Strong for its size
The Stihl RE 98 provides a good amount of pressure. If you attach the rotary nozzle, you can even remove lighter moss growth. But this isn't a machine for those who want to be able to wash away oily patches or anything else that requires hot water. Or for tougher tasks such as removing stubborn roof coatings.
The noise level is normal for this type of machine.
Given the size of the machine it's quite heavy, but still relatively easy to carry. It also rolls easily even on an uneven lawn.
The included foam nozzle is attached to the front of the spray gun. This means that the detergent never runs through the machine and you constantly have a good overview of the quantity remaining. The 6 m hose is rather short, particularly given that it's difficult to extend.
Overall, this pressure washer is suitable for people washing smaller areas with a less powerful jet. For example, it's ideal for washing patio furniture or paved areas.
Effective and powerful
Water pressure: 20-145 bar Hose length: 7.7 m Hose type: High-pressure hose Hose reel: Yes Weight: 13.1 kg Length: 411 mm Width: 305 mm Height: 584 mm Water quantity min-max-: 500 l/hr** Water temperature (max):** 40 degrees Remote control: No Electric cable length: 4.9 m Noise level: Average (Measured mean value: 85.8 dB) Accessories included: Rotary and fan jet nozzle, adapter for garden hose
The Kärcher K5 Full Control is a powerful machine that easily removes dirt from both wood and metal. It's just as easy to clean your patio as it is your dirty alloy wheels. Everything from stickers to old paint residues quickly disappears.
The K5 is an upmarket version of its smaller sibling, the K4. It has slightly higher water pressure, which produces a better effect. The hose is a couple of metres longer, which definitely improves user-friendliness and means you have to move the machine much less often, for example when washing the car.
At the same time the hose is quite stiff, especially in cold conditions, which makes it fiddly to handle. Situations often occur where it's easier to move the pressure washer than it is to roll out more hose.
Given the price class, the number of included accessories feels rather stingy. There are only two nozzles in the standard packet and no special accessories for car washing, attaching cleaning products or patio cleaning.
However, the machine is well equipped to deal with such accessories. There are places to store nozzles which are not currently in use, and changing between them is a quick process. The included rotary nozzle is very effective, but creates vibrations which can be unpleasant if you use it for a long time. This problem doesn't occur with the fan jet nozzle.
Otherwise the machine is both attractive and well designed. The telescopic handle makes the Kärcher K5 easy to move while also being easy to store. On the nozzle there's an LED display that shows the pressure, although this is somewhat unnecessary as you can feel what the pressure is as you use it.
Given Kärcher's strong brand and the price tag, we expected more of the K5 Premium Full Control pressure washer.
Angled nozzle for easy access
Water pressure: 130 bar max pressure/115 bar rated pressure Hose length: 8 m Power: 2200 W Hose type: Steel reinforced hose Hose reel: No Weight: 19.4 kg Max water capacity: 520 l/hr Water temperature (max): 50 degrees Electric cable length: 5 m Accessories included: Fan jet nozzle, rotary nozzle, foam sprayer
The Bosch GHP 5-55 Professional is a pressure washer in Bosch’s blue range, which means it’s classified as a professional machine. This meant we had high expectations of the product, which it unfortunately failed to live up to.
The pressure washer also has no quick couplings (click connectors, for example). Instead you have to screw the hose on, and you need to have adjustable pliers handy for this to make sure it’s properly attached.
But there are a few good things about the GHP 5-55 Professional. For example, it performs well and is easily good enough for domestic use. It has good pressure, and one nozzle is slightly angled so you can easily access things like the underside of your car chassis or under the wheel arches. You can set the flow. But if you're going to change to another nozzle, you have to undo a nut and unscrew the entire front 50 cm of the pistol.
The hose is 8 m long, robust and sufficiently flexible – although it’s stiffer than the best hoses in our test.
One major advantage of the GHP 5-55 is that it has self-suction, which means it can draw water from unpressurised sources.
The pressure washer sits firmly on the ground and is easy to move, even though it is quite heavy. But that’s about it for this machine’s main advantages.
The design of the GHP 5-55 Professional is similar to other models on the market, except for the lack of quick couplings or a hose reel. For example, you can raise and lower the handle.
It includes a small bottle that you can fill with chemicals and attach to the nozzle. The chemicals are then automatically mixed into the flow. Some cleaning products must be diluted first as they're a little bit too thick to mix effectively.
Unfortunately there aren’t many accessories with this machine given the price. But we do like the fact that it can cope with water temperatures of up to 50 degrees.
The Bosch GHP 5-55 Professional is ideal for anyone who wants to easily wash beneath low level objects without having to bend too much. The angled nozzle – and the fact that it has self-suction – are its primary advantages. The major disadvantage is the price, given what you get for your money. There are many products with similar specifications and power that are significantly cheaper and are more user-friendly.
Mobile pressure washer with LED display
Water pressure: 20-130 bar Hose length: 5.8 m Hose type: High-pressure hose Hose reel: Yes Weight: 11.9 kg **Length: 411 mm **Width: 305 mm Height: 584 mm Water quantity min-max-: X-420 l/hr Water temperature (max): 40 °C Remote control: No Electric cable length: 4.9 m Noise level: Average (Measured mean value: 83.9 dB) Accessories included: Supplied with rotary and fan jet nozzle, adapter for garden hose
The Kärcher K4 Full Control is easy to use and understand. It's simple to change nozzles, and accessories you aren't using can be stored on the machine itself.
The pressure washer has good pressure levels and cleans well using both the shower and rotary nozzles. However, quite a lot of vibration arises when you use the rotary nozzle, which can be unpleasant over a longer session.
A stiff hose
The hose leaves a lot to be desired. Despite the fact that it is quite short and stiff, it easily gets tangled. Nor can you disconnect the nozzle from the hose, which makes it time-consuming to untangle it.
The short length and stiff material reduce user-friendliness. For example, if you're going to wash your car you need to move the machine several times, which is a bit of a pain.
Easy to move
However, the Kärcher K4's wheels are very good. There are quite substantial and make it easy to move because it can be rolled without problems across even difficult surfaces.
The machine is stable and easy to store as a result of the hose reel and telescopic handle.
The spray pressure is regulated by rotating the spray pipe. An LED display on the handle shows the current pressure, which is undoubtedly impressive but not very much practical use.
The included accessories consist of just two nozzles. We would have liked to have also seen a dosing nozzle or a patio cleaning nozzle included.
If you aren't going to use your pressure washer for washing the car, but for smaller jobs such as cleaning the barbecue and outdoor furniture, the Kärcher K4 Full Control is perfectly adequate.
Handy battery washer for smaller jobs
Water pressure: 22 bar Battery: 18 V, tested with 4 Ah Battery life: 45 mins (11.25 mins/Ah) Hose: No information Hose length: 6.1 m (measured value, incl. filter and float) Weight: 2 kg (excl. battery) Tank capacity: No tank
The Ryobi RY18PW22A is essentially an advanced, battery-powered water pistol. It has three strengths, of which one is turbo mode with rotating jet, a 15-degree position and a shower jet.
Unfortunately, the shower jet gives too high a pressure for watering flowers with. It blasts soil out of the pot, so you have to stand well back. Turbo mode does give you more power. When we measured how long it took to fill a bucket with ten litres of water, it took 3 minutes and 43 seconds. What does it mean? In practice, you get enough power to wash things as long as the dirt hasn’t yet dried on. So you can rinse the mud off your bike after a ride, or rinse grass clippings from the lawnmower before they have dried.
However, the RY18PW22A is not suitable for washing your car or the equivalent. The hose is too short and far too stiff, so it’s difficult to use for a car. Likewise, unless it’s a hot, sunny day and the hose has heated up and become more flexible, it tends to jump out of the water barrel (or equivalent water source) – even if you use the plastic clip that comes with it. With the clip on, it does pop out a little less often, but still so often that it’s very frustrating. If the hose had been more flexible, this wouldn’t have happened as much.
Another major disadvantage is that the filter on the hose clogs very easily compared to competitors. If we use water from a barrel that has been outdoors, where the water isn’t completely clean, it soon clogs up and the machine stops. So you have to make sure the water you use is clean.
The construction consists of a pistol part with a battery that’s protected from water splashes, a lance attached to the pistol and a hose that you immerse in the nearest water source.
The handle is rubberised and gives a good grip. In terms of design, it is reminiscent of the grip you find on some other Ryobi products – in other words, it is a fairly large handle that fits a large hand. It also has a child lock.
Then you reach the lance. We measure the lance to be 67 cm, which is fine if you’re standing outside and spraying something, but a lot less practical in a greenhouse. You can split the lance in the middle and spray water, but the pressure then becomes really poor.
The battery life, on the other hand, is good. We tested it with a battery of 4 Ah and could pump water for 45 minutes. Which is more than enough to water flowers or rinse off a dirty lawn mower. You can also use the battery from tools from the same manufacturer.
The Ryobi RY18PW22A is ideal for anyone who needs a battery-powered pressure washer to rinse gadgets where the dirt hasn’t yet dried on and who also has access to clean water.
The pressure washer is the king of outdoor cleaning, and for good reason. Using a pressure washer you can quickly clean large areas without any great effort. The applications are endless. Façades, patios, cars, outdoor furniture, boats and pools, but also garden walls and barbecue grills are examples of objects that can easily be cleaned with a pressure washer.
Instead of rinsing off dirt and grease, pressure washers essentially just strip the surface using very high pressure water. The pressure washer takes water - normally from your household supply - and increases the pressure using a built-in pump.
While the water pressure in a house is normally around 4 bar, in an average pressure washer it's around 130-160 bar. However, it isn't merely the water pressure that's important, but also the water quantity, and this is normally around 300-500 litres an hour.
The price of pressure washers varies widely. The very cheapest models cost less than £100, while more expensive domestic models can be more than £1000. What primarily distinguishes the more expensive from the cheaper pressure washers is performance and functionality. More expensive models are characterised by higher water pressure, water flow and motor power, together with more functions and a variety of nozzles. This provides a higher cleaning capacity, which means you can clean more types of surface - and do so more quickly. The durability often varies too, and cheaper models generally have simpler components with a shorter lifetime and often a correspondingly short warranty period. Remember that regardless of the price tag on your pressure washer, the guarantee doesn't cover the machine if it is exposed to freezing temperatures. It's therefore important that you store the pressure washer where this can't happen.
To choose the right price class, it's important that you consider the tasks you plan to use it for and how often. You don't want to buy an unnecessarily powerful model, as this will probably be unnecessarily expensive. At the same time it can also be expensive to purchase a model that's too weak for the job, particularly in terms of your time, as weaker pressure washers are considerably slower. More powerful pressure washers tend to be used more regularly as you realise how much time you can save by washing everything with it. If you have the budget, it may therefore pay to buy a more powerful model in the long run.
When you decide to buy a pressure washer, there's a whole load of things you should think about before deciding which one to go for. You need to think about your needs, and also understand how a pressure washer works and what functions are essential. Then you can avoid buying a pressure washer that doesn't do what you want. When you have the right information, it's easier to choose a couple of models and compare them.
Below is a list of the most important parameters to bear in mind when choosing a pressure washer.
Water pressure is measured in bar and is important because it's a key factor in how well your pressure washer carries out its tasks. The higher the water pressure, the higher the speed (and therefore the higher the kinetic energy) the water will have when it encounters the surface to be cleaned, and the greater the power the surface will be subjected to. And of course the greater the power the surface is subjected to, the more powerful the cleaning effect.
In other words, it's important that the water pressure is sufficiently high for the pressure washer to be able to cope with the tasks you bought it for.
In general, budget models have a water pressure of less than 120 bar, while premium models have at least 140 bar, and often more. And in between there is a wide range of models in the medium segment.
One standard function is a nozzle or function to adjust the pressure. On the simpler models, the pressure is adjusted by rotating the nozzle and restricting the water flow. You can compare this with a hose pipe where you pinch the end to get a stronger jet, while at the same time less water comes out. It works the same way if you rotate the nozzle of a pressure washer to reduce the pressure - the hole becomes bigger, which results in lower pressure but a larger quantity of water.
On slightly more advanced models, the pressure is instead adjusted via buttons, and on some models you can read the pressure on a display on the handle. There are even models where you can adjust both pressure and flow remotely.
The water flow in a pressure washer is normally measured in litres per hour. This gives you a good idea of how much water is used up per session. Together with the water pressure, the water flow determines the intensity of the water hitting the surface. The greater the intensity, the more drops of water hit the surface and the quicker it is cleaned.
Budget models often have a flow of approx. 300-350 litres per hour, while premium models usually have a flow of 450-500 litres per hour.
Providing that the water pressure is sufficiently high, the water flow multiplied by the water pressure determines, at least theoretically, the cleaning effect of the pressure washer. And the better the cleaning effect, the larger the area you can clean in a given period of time.
The cleaning effect should therefore be the primary parameter when you buy a pressure washer. Unfortunately, you can't really determine the cleaning effect simply by multiplying the stated values for water flow and water pressure - it has to be evaluated by actually using the pressure washer. But higher pressure and flow often go hand-in-hand with a better cleaning effect.
Similarly, the cleaning effect can't be determined by the motor power of the machine, even though a higher power usually also means a better cleaning effect.
For an average homeowner, a pressure of around 130 bar and a flow of around 450 litres an hour is often sufficient for the broad range of tasks around a domestic home. It should also be possible to reduce the pressure for tasks requiring less brute force, such as washing your decking.
Domestic pressure washers generally have electric motors that you connect to a normal earthed wall outlet. The motor drives the internal pump that increases the water pressure. In general, a higher motor power means higher water pressure and a bigger water flow. Often it's important to turn on the water to the pressure washer before starting the motor. Otherwise the pump can create a vacuum, which can damage the machine.
The hose is an important component, both in terms of length and material. The hose should be sufficiently long, but also sufficiently flexible. A short, stiff hose makes the work more of an effort and takes more time. Common hose problems include it continuing to coil up during use after being stored for a while and the pressure washer tipping over every time you try to extend the hose.
Ergonomics play a major role in pressure washer handles. They must be comfortable to hold for long periods. You must also be able to stand upright and still be able to clean things like patio tiles from close up.
The modern standard is a telescopic handle, which means that you can maintain a distance of about 20 cm from the surface you’re standing on without having to stoop over. However, in some situations a shorter handle is better – such as when you’re standing on a ladder cleaning something very close to you. Another important factor is how easy it is to attach and remove accessories from handle. The current standard is a straightforward click in/click out function.
The design is above all important from a user perspective. How stable is the pressure washer? How easy is it to store out of the way when it's not in use? Is it possible to hang accessories and nozzles on the pressure washer itself when they aren't in use?
Pressure washers make a fair amount of noise, and more powerful models are usually louder. The higher the noise level, the worse it is for your hearing and comfort levels. However, noise levels don't usually vary greatly for pressure washers intended for domestic use.
Pressure washers are generally so noisy that some type of hearing protection should be worn. If you follow this recommendation, it is less important how noisy the pressure washer is.
The motor power and water pressure and flow settings determine the energy consumption. A pressure washer which is ineffective doesn’t simply mean that you spend more time on cleaning tasks, but also that you consume more energy. Even though a more powerful model consumes more energy per second, it can still be more energy-efficient if it works sufficiently quickly.
Guarantees on pressure washers are often divided between the machine itself and the sprayer equipment. Note that damage due to freezing is not normally covered by the manufacturer’s guarantee. You should therefore make sure you store the pressure washer where it will never be exposed to temperatures below zero.
Some manufacturers and models support the use of an alternative water source. This can be practical if you have access to free water from a well or from collected rainwater, and is particularly important if you live in an area where you have to be sparing with water.
The number of accessories included with the machine varies widely, and more expensive pressure washers tend to include more accessories.
The big manufacturers normally include a nozzle with a rinsing effect for more delicate tasks and a rotating nozzle with a "cutting" effect for tasks where more power is required. For example, you don't want to have water penetrate into the façade of your house or risk causing splinters on your decking by using too high a water pressure.
Some manufacturers include a foam nozzle intended for fitting at the very end of the spray attachment. This means that cleaning products are at the very end of the flow and don't go through the machine. You then avoid the inconvenience of cleaning products remaining in the machine after it has been used.
The major manufacturers also have a wide range of other accessories to purchase separately. These include packets for cleaning vehicles and different types of brushes and handles.