A Guide To Pressure Washers | SLMan
A Guide To Pressure Washers
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With summer on the way and guests finally allowed in your garden, now is the time to sort out your outside space. A pressure washer is the easiest – and let’s face it, one of the most satisfying – ways to spruce things up. We asked the pros what to know and rounded up several models we rate...
All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.

What exactly is a pressure washer and what do you use it for?
“Pressure washers, also known as power washers or jet washers, are one of the most invaluable garden power tools you can own. They are essentially more powerful versions of a garden hose, normally powered by an electric motor. However, unlike the garden hose, they use considerably less water, helping you reduce your water usage as well as the amount of time you spend on outdoor cleaning tasks. A pressure washer can be used for cleaning anything from cars to bikes and garden furniture to garden tools. They can also be used to keep paving, decking and garden patios in good condition too.” – Christopher Ray, B&Q

Are there different types?
“Yes. Look at the water pressure and the water flow of the potential pressure washers you are considering – these are the two most important factors to consider. The pressure of the water, measured in bar, determines whether you are buying a light, medium or heavy-duty pressure washer – the higher the bar the more powerful the washer.

Light-Duty Pressure Washer: Any model up to 100 bar would be considered light duty, and is suitable for very basic light cleaning jobs, such as soiled paving stones, bicycles, BBQ grills, outdoor furniture such as tables and chairs, and other small jobs that do not require intense pressure to remove dirt or grime build-up.

Medium-Duty Pressure Washer: Any model around 110-130 bar would be considered medium duty, and suits slightly more intensive, longer-usage work such as cleaning your entire driveway, patio, decking or fencing panels.

Heavy-Duty Pressure Washer: Any model that is 130+ bar is considered heavy duty and suited to cleaning pretty much anything around your home that is very grimy. These are the ones to use to tackle intense dirt, such as driveways or your garage floor. Heavy-duty pressure washers are also best used against large vehicles such as vans, lorries or caravans, as well as being handy for cars that have seen all types of weather and are extremely filthy.

Of course, it is worth noting that almost all pressure washers will allow you to choose the level of water pressure you want to use, so even if you do buy a heavy-duty pressure washer, you can choose to have it set at the lowest pressure it allows for.” – Christopher

Any important differences between petrol and electric pressure washers?
“Electric pressure washers are ideal for use around the home and garden and are very easy to use: simply plug it into the mains and you’re set. With petrol pressure washers, you have the freedom of not having to be connected to a mains supply, but have to deal with a heavier and noisier device.” – Clair Albone, Wickes

What accessories do you need to look out for?
“All pressure washers come with a standard spray head, but specialist attachments and accessories will make all the difference to how you clean. Some of the most popular and helpful accessories include:

Wash Brushes: Most suitable for washing bikes and cars, they make light work of wheels, arches, hubcaps and more.

Patio Cleaners: These can reduce mess when washing extremely dirty patios. Patio cleaner attachments concentrate the power and water flow, reducing time taken and mess made when cleaning your patio.

Suction Hoses: This accessory is ideal for reducing your home water usage, as it allows you to draw water from a water butt rather than a tap. Having this accessory to hand means you can continue to use your pressure washer during a hosepipe ban.

Detergents: Water detergents ensure more efficient cleaning, and are invaluable when cleaning substances such as oil and grease from cars, bicycles or driveways.” – Christopher

How do you care for a pressure washer?
“Along with wiping it down after use, I’d suggest that before storing your pressure washer away, always make sure you drain it down and that it is stored in an area that will not be affected by frost. If you can raise the pressure washer off the ground, that is advisable. Be particularly wary of this in winter: if water freezes in the pump, it will expand and the machine can break.” – Clair

Finally, anything to avoid?
“Pressure washers are not designed to clean brickwork or glass due to the likelihood that the water pressure could cause long-lasting damage.” – Christopher

Shop The Models We Rate Below...

BEST FOR: VALUE FOR MONEY

Karcher K2 Premium Full Control Car & Home Pressure Washer

Coming in at just under £250, this reliable model from Karcher is one of the best on the market when it comes to value for money. It features four predefined settings – from a light spray to a forceful flat jet – meaning it can shift all types of stubborn dirt from a variety of surfaces. Pour detergent into the specially designed tank for a foam wash that will leave your patio spotless. 

Visit Kaercher.com

BEST FOR: A CORDLESS MODEL

Worx WG625E 18V 20V Max Hydroshort Cordless Pressure Washer

A cordless model will give you more flexibility than a wired device, allowing you to get to all those hard-to-reach areas. Featuring a five-in-one pressure nozzle and five varying spray angles, use this for anything from light spray downs to high-powered, targeted cleaning. Worx’s device doesn't need to be connected to a power or water source – just ensure it is fully charged and refilled before use.

Available at Argos.co.uk

BEST FOR: HEAVY-DUTY CLEANING

Spear & Jackson Pressure Washer

Spear & Jackson’s powerful device is a solid option for those with areas that need a thorough, deep clean. It comes with a collection of convenient accessories, such as a specialised patio cleaner, variable lance – which allows you to easily adjust the water pressure – turbo lance and a dry brush. There’s also the benefit of a built-in detergent tank which lets you switch between soap and water easily.

Available at Argos.co.uk

BEST FOR: LIGHT PRESSURE

Nilfisk Core 125 PCA Car & Home Pressure Washer

Opt for this pressure washer if you’re cleaning fragile surfaces or focusing on areas that just need a light wash. Along with a patio cleaner, it features a soft bristle brush ideal for cleaning cars, bikes and garden furniture. Select the gentle fan jet nozzle feature – which is controlled by an easy-to-use twist cap – to wash away grime and mud, and use the 10m-long hose to get to all those awkward spots.

Available at Amazon.co.uk

BEST FOR: A COMPACT MODEL

Stihl RE 88

This compact pressure washer is a good choice if storage space is tight. At under 10kg it’s one of the lightest models on this list, but still comes with a 6m hose, adjustable fan jet and a rotary nozzle in order to change the spray based on the task at hand. The transport handle ensures it's easy to carry while the wheels and automatic park position keeps it upright when not in use.

Available at FRJonesAndSon.co.uk

BEST FOR: A SOLID ALL-ROUNDER

Karcher K4 Full Control Pressure Washer

Karcher’s Full Control Pressure Washer is a great all-rounder. Use the LED display to adjust the pressure depending on the targeted surface, before switching between the vario and dirt lances for different cleaning jobs. This model also benefits from the brand’s Plug N Clean feature, which allows you to use detergent during the clean for added shine. A retractable pulling handle and wheels make it easy to transport around the garden or down a driveway.

Available at DIY.com

BEST FOR: AFFORDABILITY

Bosch Home And Garden EasyAquatak 120 High-Pressure Washer

Bosch’s pressure washer comes in at just under £100, meaning it’s a solid option for those not looking to commit to a pricier model just yet. Use it for a variety of tasks from patio and car cleaning to self-priming. It’s lightweight, making it easy to move around, but note that it does need to be connected to a power and water source at all times.

Available at Currys.co.uk

For more about pressure washers, check out Wickes.com and DIY.com

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