Pressure washers may well be the greatest tool ever invented. There’s something deeply satisfying about using one, whether it’s to get the mud off your mountain bike or to reveal the colour your paving is supposed to be. There are even social media accounts dedicated to nothing but pressure washing, and some of them – such as Gotdatpressure on TikTok – have more than 1.5 million followers.
Pressure washers may look more or less the same as they always have, but they’re much smarter than they used to be: it’s possible to get models with attachments to clean absolutely anything, with pressure control that means there’s no danger of damaging anything delicate.
What to look for in a pressure washer
The most important features are the water pressure and the length of the hose. The former is measured in bars or pounds per square inch (PSI), and the more bars or PSI the more powerful the washer. If you intend to use your washer for a variety of jobs it’s important to consider what tools and lances are included.
1. Worx PowerShare HydroShot Pressure Cleaner
This is brilliant. Worx has taken the same PowerShare swappable battery technology that it uses in its power tools such as leaf blowers and drill drivers, and it’s put it in a pressure washer so you can use the device anywhere without worrying about plugging it into the mains. You don’t even need a hose: it will happily draw and spray water from a bucket or a pond.
The HydroShot can’t match the power of mains-powered pressure washers, but it’s much lighter and much more convenient – and its 22 bar pressure is still up to 10 times more than you’ll get from a garden hose. There are five nozzle settings – 0º, 25º, 40º, shower and mist – and you can also use it as a garden waterer.
2. Karcher K7 Premium Smart Control
If money’s no object, this incredibly clever Karcher pressure washer ticks all the boxes. Its 3-in-1 lance enables you to adjust the pressure for any kind of cleaning, and there’s a boost mode that adds an extra 15 bar to the flow. It’s rated for 180 bar, has a 10m hose and has a built-in hose reel for easy storage. You also get a deck/patio cleaner.
We’ve saved the best bit until last. The Karcher is smart: it has a built-in display and Bluetooth compatibility so you can control it from your phone, finding the right settings for the particular thing you want to clean and sending them directly to the washer.
Is it overkill? It absolutely is. Do we want one? We absolutely do.
3. Wilks-USA TX750i
This is a beast of a pressure washer, pumping out 3,950PSI (272 bar) from its 12 litre tank and 30 meters of hose (1x 10m and 1 x 20m). It’s petrol-powered for maximum portability and sits on all-terrain wheels, and it comes with stacks of accessories including straight and curved lances, a turbo nozzle and a self-propelled drain cleaner. It also comes with five colour-coded “click and go” nozzles: red for blasting, yellow for stripping, green for cleaning, white for washing and black for applying detergent. It’s not going to make you very popular with the neighbours but if you need to clean big things quickly, such as motorhomes or boats, you’ll appreciate its power.
4. Karcher K4 Full Control
The number in a Karcher pressure washer’s name tells you where it fits in the range: the top of the range is 7, so you can see that the K4 sits right in the middle. It’s an excellent all-rounder that includes some of the whizzy features of the K7 including Bluetooth capability, and it delivers a useful 130 bar. There are two lances, one variable and one for plastic dirt, and there’s an LED display on the trigger to help you use the right pressure for the task. It may not be as powerful as its top of the range sibling, but for the vast majority of people it’s the better buy.
5. Karcher K2
If all you need is a simple, straightforward and effective pressure washer this is worth considering. It pumps out 110 bar of pressure, which is still enough to clean patios and other hard-to-shift dirt, and it’s lightweight and easy to store. The downsides? It has a shorter hose than its more expensive siblings at just 4m and the gun is smaller than the one you get with more powerful Karchers. It includes a detergent bottle and car brush, and you can also use Karcher’s other accessories if you need specific tools for specific tasks. It’s not particularly exciting but it’s not particularly expensive either: it’s a straightforward, no-frills option that’s fine for occasional use.
6. Bosch Universal Aquatak 135
You know what you’re getting with a Bosch: solid construction, high-quality engineering and no-fuss operation. This model delivers a useful 135 bar – there’s a cheaper 125-bar version if you don’t need so much power – and the 3-in-1 nozzle switches between fan, rotary and point jets. It’s portable too, with an extra carrying handle as well as the obligatory wheels. The hose here is 7m long and the package also includes a high-pressure detergent nozzle and container. In a useful touch the Bosch is also self-priming, so you can use a water tank or other container for your water supply if you can’t use a hose.
7. Muc-off Pressure Washer
Designed specifically for bikes and motorbikes, the Muc-Off Pressure Washer’s lance has a wider spread and specific settings for both types of vehicle to ensure that you don’t damage sensitive bits such as bearings, suspension and other components. It’s rated for 70 bar with a maximum pressure of 100 bar, which is quite low compared to some rivals, but that’s deliberate: this washer is purely for vehicles and has been designed to ensure that you can’t accidentally damage them no matter how enthusiastically you spray them. It’s generally sold in bundles that also include Muc-off cleaning products which, like the washer, won’t damage brake pads, seals or cables.
8. Streetwize Portable Power Washer
If you want to be able to wash things but don’t have power and/or a hose to connect to, there are lots of manual pressure washers to choose from. This is a good example, with 10L capacity, a soft bristle brush and a long reach lance that together make it a good option for cleaning vehicles and bikes. Don’t expect incredible pressure from this – it’s completely manual and pumped by hand, so it’s closer to a Super Soaker than a Worx or Karcher – but it is incredibly portable and a good option when what you need to wash isn’t close enough for a mains-powered washer.