Pressure washers are an easy and effective way to clean almost any outdoor surface – say goodbye to scrubbing your patio on your hands and knees, and hello to blasting away dirt, moss and algae in seconds.
Pressure washers can be powered by battery, mains electricity or gas. They also need a water source to work, such as an outdoor tap, or in some cases, they can draw water from a container. Once connected, you simply turn the machine on and pull the trigger to release a powerful stream of water.
It is the force of this jet stream that gives a pressure washer its cleaning power – it literally blasts dirt and grime from your surfaces. You can also use it with a suitable detergent, such as decking cleaner, for even better results. Pressure washers can be dangerous, so you should always exercise caution, and never direct the jet towards a person.
Last update on 2021-09-23 / All Pricing & Imagery from Amazon Product Advertising API
To help you choose the right pressure washer for you, we’ve selected our 6 best pressure washers, based on factors such as power, adjustability, portability, and of course, value for money. Your garden surfaces will be looking shiny and new in no time.
Our best pressure washer – powerful, fully adjustable and with an LED display to advise on pressure
Karcher is one of the leaders in the field of pressure washers, and this K4 Full Control model shows us why. It features a high maximum pressure of 130 bar, that’s more than capable of blasting your patio clean. As the name suggests, you have full control with this pressure washer – simply turn the nozzle to adjust the jet stream.
Other notable features include an on-board detergent dispenser, which enables you to easily apply cleaner to your surfaces, before pressure washing it off. It comes with a patio cleaner and a 3-in-1 stone cleaner, or you can use your own detergent.
Although this is one of the heaviest options on our list, it still has features which make it easy to transport, including an extendable handle, and a built-in hose reel. The advantage of the heavier weight and stability foot is that you get a solid product, that will stay put whilst you clean.
What really sets this model apart from the rest is the LED display on the trigger, which tells you whether the water pressure you’re applying is suitable for the surface. This helps to prevent damage to your surfaces from an excessively high pressure – no other pressure washer on our list includes such an impressive, high-tech feature.
It does come at a cost, as this is also the most expensive option on our list – but for such a user-friendly product, that should last for years to come, we think it’s more than worth the slightly higher investment.
- Fully adjustable nozzle and high 130 bar maximum pressure.
- LED trigger display tells you the correct pressure for your surface.
- On-board detergent dispenser – includes cleaner.
- Extendable handle for easy transportation.
- Built-in hose reel for convenient storage.
- Solid, stable construction.
- 5m power cable is quite short – you may require a hose extension.
- Heavier than similar designs (11.9kg).
- Our priciest option.
Our most affordable pressure washer is ultra-portable and still packs a punch
If you’re looking for a more portable design, and for a better price, this WORX WG625E is a battery-powered pressure washer with 5 nozzle settings, that weighs in at just 3kg. This easily makes it our most lightweight and portable pressure washer.
The cordless design removes the tripping hazard of a power cable and allows you full flexibility. This is extended by the fact that it can draw water from any source, including a bucket or container, so you don’t have to be in close proximity to a tap.
As a rechargeable pressure washer, it’s understandably less powerful than other mains-powered options. However, it still provides 10x the pressure of a standard garden hose, which is enough for most day-to-day cleaning jobs. The 30-minute run-time should be fine for cleaning a car or patio but might be insufficient for bigger tasks, such as the exterior of your home.
One of the other drawbacks of this one is that it requires a 20V battery for recharging. That’s fine if you already own one, but if not you’ll need to purchase it separately, pushing the price up. It is part of the WORX 20V Powershare battery system, so if you already have a WORX tool collection, you don’t need to worry.
Providing you don’t want to spend more than 30 minutes pressure washing (and let’s face it, who does?) this low-cost option could be just perfect.
- Rechargeable, the cordless design is easier and safer to use.
- Draws water from any source – ideal if you don’t have an outdoor water supply nearby.
- 5 adjustable nozzle settings.
- Lightweight and portable.
- Not as powerful as mains-powered designs.
- Requires a 20V battery for recharging.
- 30-minute run-time might not be enough for larger jobs.
This pressure washer boasts almost as much power as the K4, for a considerably lower price
The 120 bar maximum water pressure of this mains-powered Bosch Aquatak is almost on a par with the Karcher K4, and makes light work of most cleaning tasks. It includes multiple nozzle styles for different jobs, including a rotary nozzle for stubborn dirt, and a foam nozzle for applying cleaner.
This is another option which can be powered from a container of water – although it has to be said that it works better when it’s attached to a tap. The lightweight and compact design also make it very easy to transport – more so than the K4.
It has a built-in detergent dispenser, and the hose and lance can be stored on the body of the machine, allowing you to keep everything in one place, for convenient storage.
There aren’t many negatives to be found with this one – the 5-metre power cable is frustratingly short, which seems to be a common problem with these pressure washers (the K4 is the same). It means you’ll probably require a hose extension, unless your patio is very small/ close to your house. These are easy to find and are a safer option than an extension lead.
The Aquatak 120 is also a little louder when running than similar models – although this should by no means put you off purchasing it. Overall, this is a powerful and portable design, from a reputable manufacturer, and for a very reasonable price.
- Fully adjustable, max. 120 bar water pressure.
- Includes multiple nozzles for different jobs.
- Can draw water from a container.
- Built-in cleaning fluid dispenser.
- Lightweight (5kg) and compact design.
- Short (5m) power cable and hose.
- Louder than some similar models.
This high-pressure jet washer features our longest power cable and hose yet, for an easier cleaning experience
The Paxcess Electric Jet Washer has a high output of 2150 PSI, with a fully adjustable nozzle, to give you good control over the pressure. It’s ideal for use on tough lichen on your patio or driveway.
The machine is mains-powered, but the power cable is an impressive 10 metres long – twice that of most of the other options here. It also features an 8-metre long hose, so this is one that will be perfect for large gardens and bigger spaces.
It has a built-in detergent tank, and one of the best features is the Total Stop System (TSS), which causes the pump to cut-out when the trigger isn’t engaged, preserving the condition of the pump, and saving electricity.
As this one has a particularly high pressure, we would advise caution when using it to wash painted or wood surfaces, as high pressures can cause damage and splintering.
Choose this pressure washer if you need a longer power cable and hose, to offer you more flexibility in where and how you can use it.
- 10m power cable and 8m hose is longer than most.
- High pressure with an adjustable nozzle to give you full control.
- Built-in detergent tank for quick and easy soaping.
- Total Stop System (TSS) turns off the pump when not in use, to save power.
- Best for use on patios and driveways – high pressure could damage painted or wooden surfaces.
Our second model from Karcher is smaller, lighter, and more affordable
Karcher’s K2 Washer is the predecessor of the K4, and has many of the same features, including an on-board detergent tank, and included patio cleaner. Rather than the fully adjustable pressure nozzle, the K2 features 4 distinct pressure settings on the lance, from detergent to flat spray jet – but this still offers you a decent amount of control over the spray.
It is smaller than the K4, and has a lower maximum pressure of 110 bar. This is still plenty for most standard cleaning tasks, and it also comes with a foam nozzle and wash brush, to help you effectively clean your home and vehicles.
As you’d expect, it’s much lighter than the K4, weighing in at just 4.6kg without accessories. Everything can be stored on the machine, including the lance, trigger gun and hose, so it’s easy to transport and store.
Upon first use, it can be tricky to figure out to clip in the hoses, but once you know how it works, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem in future. The cable is only 5 metres long, so you’ll want to be close to a mains power supply, or consider an extension hose.
Other than that, this is another great option from Karcher, and perfect if you want the trusted brand, but not the high-tech features and accompanying high price tag of the K4.
- 4 lance pressure settings for full control.
- Includes foam nozzle and wash brush, to help with a variety of jobs.
- On-board detergent tank – includes car shampoo and patio wash.
- All accessories can be easily stored on the machine.
- Lightweight (4.6kg).
- Can be difficult to clip in the hoses.
- Short 5m power cord.
Tacklife 2000W Pressure Washer
Our biggest and most powerful pressure washer, for the toughest stonework cleaning tasks
Last (but by no means least) on our list of the best pressure washers is this 2000W model from Tacklife. We’ve saved the biggest until last – this one weighs in at a hefty 14.6kg.
It’s also our most powerful pressure washer, with a maximum pressure of 160 bar, and will have no trouble blasting your stonework or concrete surfaces clean. You should, however, exercise extreme caution if using it on more vulnerable surfaces, such as wood – only use the lowest pressure settings, to avoid damage.
There are multiple nozzle attachments, to help you tackle a variety of cleaning situations, and the nozzle rotates 360°. It also features TSS automatic shut-down when not in use, and includes an on-board detergent tank. The machine has a 6-metre hose (not too bad), and the usual, but not particularly helpful, 5-metre power cord.
Other drawbacks include the heavier weight, which makes it less easy to move around the garden, and the stiff plastic hose, which can be difficult to uncoil. Ultimately, this is definitely not the most portable design, but if you’re looking for a no-nonsense, high-pressure jet washer to get jobs done, this is the one.
- High maximum water pressure of 160 bar.
- TSS automatic shut-down when not in use – protects the pump and saves power.
- Includes multiple nozzles for various situations.
- 0.9L on-board detergent tank.
- Very powerful – exercise caution around wood or painted surfaces.
- Heavier (14.6kg) and bulkier than many similar designs.
- The stiff plastic hose can be difficult to uncoil.
- Short 5m power cord.
How To Clean Garden Objects With A Pressure Washer
A pressure washer is a very effective way of removing dirt, moss and algae from your patio or decking – and is much easier than scrubbing. To pressure wash your patio, you should first clear the area, removing any garden furniture or plants, and sweep with a broom to clear any leaves or debris.
If you have stubborn dirt or lichen, you may wish to apply a patio cleaner to improve your results. Prep the surrounding area by removing any trip hazards, and closing any nearby windows. Once your area is ready, connect your pressure washer to your water source, and fully unwind the hose.
Now it’s time to put on your safety gear – pressure washing can be dangerous. Wear long trousers and enclosed shoes, as well as thick gloves and safety goggles. Make sure never to point a pressure washer at yourself, or anyone else, and never allow children to operate it.
When you’re ready, plug your pressure washer into the power source and set it up. Making sure it is on the lowest pressure setting, point the nozzle towards your patio, and switch it on. Move from side to side in even strokes to avoid streaks, and don’t pause too long in one spot.
Do a few test strokes initially, to see whether the jet stream is removing the dirt and algae. If it’s not shifting, try moving closer (never closer than 20cm), and if this still doesn’t work, twist or change up a nozzle to slightly increase the power of the jet stream.
To clean decking, follow the same procedure as for patios, except that you should avoid increasing the pressure, as this could damage the wood – instead, try applying a specialised decking cleaner, and leaving it to develop, before continuing pressure washing. Worst case scenario, you may need to scrub!
You can use a pressure washer to clean rubbish bins, outdoor equipment and patio furniture, such as that made from plastic, metal or wicker. Follow the above safety precautions, and make sure to use a cleaner that’s specifically designed for that material. Apply the cleaner, leave it to develop, and then lightly pressure wash off.
Sheds & Wood Furniture
You should exercise caution when using a pressure washer to clean wood furniture, such as sheds or teak benches. The pressure can strip paint from wood, and cause damage or splintering. If you do use a pressure washer, make sure it’s on the lowest setting, and use a wide spray nozzle. Test a non-visible area first, for example on the underside of the bench, to check the results.
Your pressure washer may come with a gutter cleaning attachment, or alternatively you can purchase one separately. It consists of a wand with a curved end, that fits onto the nozzle of the pressure washer, extending your reach, and allowing you to reach into your gutters.
This is all whilst keeping two feet firmly on the ground – for safety reasons, it is essential that you never attempt to operate a pressure washer from a ladder, or any other unstable position. The kickback from the washer could cause you to be knocked backwards, resulting in grave injury (we like to end on a high!)
April is a freelance writer who specialises in writing about home and garden design and the environment. She is an avid wildlife-enthusiast and adventure-seeker, and feels happiest when in the Great Outdoors.