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Best pressure washers to buy in 2021

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Last updated: 26 October 2021

Before we go any further, something has to be said: pressure washers are incredible fun. Yes, they’re also sensible tools we need to clean various bits and pieces, but using one is reminiscent of childhood water gun fights. As an adult, things feel like they have to be dull and boring. By using a pressure washer, you can bring a little excitement into keeping your car, bike and patio clean.
 
Right, now that’s off our chest, we can get down to business: How do you choose which pressure washer to buy? We’ve picked out a few choice models that each rank highly in different categories. Have a look through our reviews and see which one sounds like the best fit for you.
 
If you’re also interested in the technical aspects of everything we’ve listed below, we’ve put together a handy comparison table. Remember that statistics aren’t everything, and some pressure washers may offer additional functionality which makes them more useful to own. 

Pressure washer comparison table

Pressure (Bar) Waterflow (L/hr) Motor (Watts) Hose (m)
Kärcher K7 Full Control 160 600 2800 10
Kärcher Pro 400 170 486 2400 10
Kärcher K5 Full Control 145 500 2100 8
BOSCH AdvancedAquatak 160 160 570 2600 8
Kärcher K4 Full Control 130 420 1800 6
BOSCH AdvancedAquatak 140 140 450 2100 8

Kärcher Premium Full Control Plus K7 Corded

Our favourite

This is a great, all-round bit of kit.

Straight out of the box, it’s easy to assemble with all the connecting pieces easily clicking together. The aluminium handle makes it incredibly easy to move around, and its 18kg weight means that it’ll definitely be sturdy enough to stay standing if you accidentally knock it into anything.

It’s also extremely easy to keep tidy, with its handy self-retracting 10m hose. Never be afraid of a long hose tripping you up again, while the self-winding mechanism only let’s out as much as you need.

You also don’t need to be afraid about the washer overheating, thanks to its intelligent water-cooling system. The pipes which the water is forced through are carefully threaded throughout the motor. This successfully removes any excess heat which could cause damage to the machine, and allows prolonged usage without consequence. A remarkable and potentially necessary feature if you have a lot to clean.

It is an expensive pressure washer, however. As one of the most expensive washers you can buy, it’s good to be certain that you will get the use out of it. If you are unsure of how often you will use it, you may be much better off buying one of the more affordable pressure washers available.

This is an excellent product, and contains amazing functionality - but the high price does make it inaccessible to those with a stricter budget. If you need a washer to simply clean your car, you may want to look at others. If there is extensive cleaning that needs to be done, however, then the Kärcher K7 is the pressure washer for you.

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble: All Kärcher pressure washers and attachments click together for easy assembly, so you can use them minutes after opening.
  • 10m hose reel: At the back of the K7, you will find a long 10m high-pressure hose reel. Perfect for moving around when in use, and then packing away tightly when you’re done.
  • Water cooling: To prevent the motor from overheating, the K7 pressure washer has a built-in water cooling system. This is incredibly useful at keeping the washer in tip-top shape, even during use on a hot summer day.
  • Pressure control: If the highest power setting is too strong for your needs, you can easily adjust it by twisting the nozzle.

Cons:

  • Very expensive: One of the most expensive domestic pressure washers you can buy, the Full Control K7 may hurt your wallet.
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Kärcher ProHD 400 Corded Pressure washer

Best functionality

In terms of functionality alone, the Kärcher ProHD 400 is probably the best pressure washer on this list. Unlike most pressure washers, it can safely operate in either a vertical or horizontal position. This allows it to reach areas other washers may not be able to do.

It’s also highly ergonomic. The EASY! Force Trigger makes cleaning with the ProHD 400 remarkably comfortable, and helps to minimise any aches you may typically experience after using a pressure washer for prolonged periods.

Manoeuvring the ProHD 400 is also relatively easy due to its telescopic handle. The fact it retracts means it can be easily stowed away in areas which would ordinarily be too small for other pressure washers.

The ProHD 400 is also built to last. Thanks to an automatic pressure relief system, the components are more suitably protected from the intensity of the water rushing through the machine, and are less likely give out with repeated use..

The one area where this pressure washer does fall down is the price to feature ratio. Despite the fact this is an incredible machine, alternatives such as the K7 Full Control are almost as capable but for a lower price. If the extra functionality isn’t completely necessary, then you may wish to consider cheaper alternatives.

Pros:

  • Automatic pressure relief: The special pressure relief system has been designed to protect various components, and ensure that your pressure washer lasts as long as it possibly can.
  • EASY! Force Trigger: The ergonomic trigger makes using this pressure washer much more comfortable than other pressure washers, meaning you can clean for longer.
  • Telescopic push handle: The extendable handle allows you to easily move the pressure washer when necessary, while also allowing it to be stored away in a more compact area when not in use.
  • Vertical or horizontal: While most pressure washers need to be kept in an upright position, that is not the case with the Kärcher ProHD 400. Able to provide excellent cleaning power either upright or on its side, you can orientate the pressure washer whichever way suits the task at hand.

Cons:

  • Poor value for money: Despite being a fantastic pressure washer, the ProHD 400 costs a lot more than its nearest alternative (the K7) and only possesses slightly more functionality.
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Kärcher K5 Premium Full Control Plus Corded

Best all-rounder

Perhaps one of the best-looking pressure washers available, the Kärcher K5 also boasts impressive functionality that makes it easy to recommend to anyone. It’ll handle almost any cleaning task you throw at it, from bicycles, to cars, to masonry. This pressure washer is a great all-rounder.

It may lack some of the bells and whistles of the more expensive models, but the K5 is still extremely capable at cleaning almost anything put in front of it. The on-board storage will ensure you’re never caught short without the kit you need for any surprise jobs. Whether you want to use the patio cleaning attachment or tuck it away, you can easily store your Kärcher attachments on the K5 without any hassle.

There’s also a range of pressures available to you when using your K5. The new model makes use of the LED Power Gun. This is especially useful at ensuring the correct level of water power is being used for each specific clean (medium power for car cleaning, for instance). Also included is the fully adjustable Vario Lance. Twisting it can apply different effects to the water, from a high-pressure jet to a fine spray, depending on what you require.

The connected hose is 8m long which, although not quite the K7’s retractable 10m long hose, will still reach most places you need it to.

This is a truly capable pressure washer, and while it may not possess all the power of the K7, it’s available for a considerably lower price.

Pros:

  • Looks sleek: It’s not often you get to say a pressure washer looks good, but the K5 does look sleek and sophisticated. You’ll definitely feel proud when you use it, and for good reason. If only all pressure washers looked this good!
  • Great all-rounder: Whether you need to clean your car, patio, or bike, the K5 will manage.
  • On-board storage: The K5 pressure washer has many additional attachments that you can use. Fortunately, there is also an extremely useful place to store them. On the machine itself. This makes it incredibly easy to retrieve and access any additional things you may need while using your pressure washer.
  • High pressure optional: Being sold alongside a high-pressure hose means that if you need the Kärcher K5 to clean some stubborn grit and grime, you’ll be able to do just that.
  • Water cooling: Just like the K7, the Kärcher K5 is equipped with its own water-cooling feature. Before it is sprayed, the water is wound through the machine and removes any excess heat, letting you clean for as long as you need to.

Cons:

  • Shorter hose: Compared to the K7, the hose of the K5 is 2m shorter. It’s still usable and gets almost every job done, but the extra length is extremely useful for cleaning those hard to reach places.
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BOSCH AdvancedAquatak 160 Pressure Washer

A high-powered pressure washer with the ability to clean difficult-to-remove dirt and grime. The Bosch AdvancedAquatak 160 pressure washer is an incredible machine. Its large capacity is able to clean a variety of surfaces in a remarkably short time.

The on-board hose storage is a very useful feature, as it lets you keep everything neat and tidy while in use. Of course, you do have to wind the storage in yourself (whereas the Kärcher K7 auto-retracts), but this shouldn’t cause too much hassle.

The fact that the Aquatak 160 doesn’t need to be connected to a mains water supply is astonishing. It really allows you to cut down on water usage, by replacing the mains water with rainwater, for example. This is also much better for the environment, as treated water doesn’t need to be used.

One thing you must be aware of is the Aquatak 160’s weight. It does come with large wheels and a strong handle to allow for ease of movement. In situations where it must be picked up, however, caution should be applied - especially if it contains water.

It’s a fairly easy pressure washer to set up, and thanks to the push-fit connectors, it’s ready to use almost immediately after unpacking it. If you’ve got a difficult job to complete, and you need to start quickly, this could be the ideal pressure washer for you.

Pros:

  • Good mobility: The metal telescopic handle and large wheels make the Aquatak 160 easy to manoeuvre. You’ll have no trouble wheeling it around your driveway, patio, or garden.
  • Easy set-up: Push-fit connectors allow you to set up the 160 with ease, moments after unpacking it from the box.
  • On-board hose storage: There’s no need to be concerned about lengthy hoses getting under your feet and tripping you up. The on-board hose storage lets you wind up whatever excess you have, and easily unwind when you need it.
  • Mains water not needed: Remarkably, you don’t even need to connect the AdvancedAquatak 160 into the mains water supply. External sources such as a rainwater tank are just as compatible.

Cons:

  • Astonishingly heavy: Thankfully, the Aquatak 160 pressure washer has a handle and wheels, since it is extremely heavy and difficult to carry. Be careful when removing it from the box.
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Kärcher K4 Full Control Corded Pressure washer

The Kärcher K4 Full Control is a commendable pressure washer available at a much lower price than some of the others on this list.

The Dirt Blaster Lance is a fantastic addition to the kit and makes cleaning any sort of mud extremely easy. Whether it’s wet or dry, any mud you blast will quickly get detached from cars and stonework. Before you know it your surfaces will look as good as new.

Adjustable power is also something that is integral to any good pressure washer, allowing you to avoid damaging whatever it is you’re cleaning. Whether you adjust the power via the lance, or via the LED screen, you can be sure that you can set the pressure at a safe level while still getting a thorough clean..

Using a pressure washer for extended periods can be tiring. If that’s the case, then you may find it comforting to know that the Kärcher K4 has on-board storage. Simply put the lance and gun in their compartments and take a quick break. When you’re ready, pick it back up and continue. It looks neater, and means your pressure washer is less likely to get damaged than if you simply left it lying on the floor. The plastic is a little flimsy, however, so be careful to ensure you don’t accidentally break it.

Pros:

  • Dirt blaster lance: Regardless of whether your tyres are covered in wet or dry mud, the dirt blaster lance will be able to remove it with ease.
  • Adjustable Vario power spray: By twisting the barrel of the Vario lance, you can adjust the pressure of the water so that it is perfectly suited to clean whatever you need.
  • LED screen: If you are unsure of which pressure is best suited to a particular item (car, brick, etc), there are options available on-screen that will help you work it out..
  • Take a break with ease: Both the lance and the trigger gun can easily be stored on the pressure washer itself, to allow for breaks whilst cleaning. It’s a fantastic way to keep everything organised, and prevents any damage to expensive equipment left lying on the ground.

Cons:

  • Storage section isn’t secure: While the Kärcher K4 has a storage section for the attachments, the section which they’re kept in feels a little fragile. When using, make sure to do so carefully.
  • The screen is superfluous: Since you can already change the pressure by twisting the Vario lance, there is no real need to include another way to adjust the water pressure.
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BOSCH AdvancedAquatak 140 Pressure Washer

Best on a budget

The AdvancedAquatak 140 by Bosch is a superb pressure washer. It is both easy to use and quite affordable, which makes it an excellent option when you need to get started as soon as possible.

The utility efficiency feature is also particularly useful, especially if you’re looking to keep costs down wherever possible. When using the Aquatak 140, you won’t use any more water or power than necessary, thanks to its efficient shut-off mechanism, designed to stop all flow the moment you release the trigger.

If you’re looking to alter the spray for different jobs, the Aquatak 140 does have interchangeable quick-connect tips that are designed to do this. It may not be as efficient as twisting the nozzle of the Kärcher K5 or K7, but it’s still useful.

One area where it does fall down, however, is the non adjustable power output. Some pressure washers are able to adjust the intensity which the water is expelled at, to prevent you from damaging more delicate items you may be trying to clean. The Bosch AdvancedAquatak 140 is not one of them.

This doesn’t detract from its uses though. The 140 is a powerful and useful pressure washer, and is far more affordable than others on this list. If you’re looking for a solid pressure washer that will get the job done, without taking a big hit to your wallet - this could be the one for you.

Pros:

  • Utility-efficient: Using steady water flow mechanisms, the AdvancedAquatak 140 is able to stop drawing water the second you release the trigger.
  • Easy to use: Needing very little set-up, you can start using the Bosch 140 almost as soon as it’s out of the box.
  • Affordable: This is an excellent option for those who may be looking for a high power pressure washer, without wanting to pay for a more professional piece of equipment.
  • Interchangeable tips: You can easily change the stream of water that comes out by swapping to different dispersal tips.

Cons:

  • Can’t change power: Unlike other models on this list, the output power of the AdvancedAquatak 140 cannot be changed. That means if a water stream is too strong, or too weak for the job you need, then there is little you can do about it.
  • Heavy: The AdvancedAquatak 140 is a weighty piece of kit, so be careful when unboxing it and try to use its wheels wherever possible.

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So, what do you think? Do any of the pressure washers listed above spark any interest? Maybe we’ve listed one that you think blasts away the competition? If you do go out and get one, make sure you test it in the garden first. Just to make sure it works properly, and definitely not to mess around with it when nobody is looking.

Is everything working properly?

Okay, now you can go clean everything.

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Fergus Cole

Author: Fergus Cole

Fergus is a journalist specialising in the personal finance, energy and broadband sectors. He also has a passion for travel and adventure so tries to make the most of this in any spare time he gets.