Best Pressure Washers 2018

Blast away grime with our pick of the best powerful cleaners on sale

There’s nothing like a pressure washer to take the strain out of car cleaning, but even if you own one, a stream of new models can tempt you to upgrade.

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Makers aren’t just chasing higher outputs, but also safety; too much power can damage a car. Kärcher has its own pressure monitoring and guide system, and rivals are offering more compact units, hoping to draw buyers with limited storage. So which of the class of 2018 should you buy to make cleaning easy? We tried eight of them to decide which was best.

How we tested them

We checked cleaning power on paving, but grunt isn’t key for car cleaning; our test was more about ease of use. Hose lengths were measured and storage for leads and hoses rated. We also wanted on-board accessory storage and detergent reservoirs, plus good-length lances. Prices from online sources were also a factor.

Verdict

GMC’s GPW165 wins because it’s a well-priced, complete package. The tiny Hozelock Pico Power is close behind, and our previous champ – the Kärcher K4 – still manages to stay on the podium.

  • 1. GMC GPW165
  • 2. Hozelock Pico Power
  • 3. Kärcher K4 Full Control Home 1.324-005.0
  • ResultsGMC GPW165

    Price: £173
    Rating: 5.0
    Accessories: rota nozzle; spot-jet nozzle, fan nozzle, low-pressure nozzle, flow-through brush, rotary brush, integral detergent tank

    Silverline’s power tools sister company, GMC, packs a winning combination with its new, heavy-duty GPW165. Cleaning performance is solid rather than test leading, but the machine is more than powerful enough for car cleaning tasks, and the turbo nozzle ensures fast progress for tougher jobs. You’re getting a lot of machine for the sub-£200 price, too, when you factor in the reel-mounted eight-metre hose, the generous 10-metre power lead with cast-in storage reel and the low-slung, stable design. Slick click-together couplings are used throughout, too, and flow-through and rotary brushes complete the package.

    Hozelock Pico Power

    Price: £149.99
    Rating: 4.5
    Accessories: Rota nozzle, spot-fan nozzle, patio cleaner, clip-on detergent bottle

    If Dyson were to make a pressure washer, we guess the results might look a lot like this. Standing only a little higher than a watering can, the mighty midget from Hozelock is both surprisingly punchy and amazingly well designed. There are spaces and slots for the standard and turbo nozzles, the clip-on detergent gun, the six-metre hose and even the five-metre power lead. Only the free patio cleaner, also supplied, requires a separate home. The lance even doubles as a handle to keep the unit easily portable when walking. Output is impressive rather than staggering, but it’s easily good enough for automotive cleaning.

    Kärcher K4 Full Control Home 1.324-005.0

    Price: £233.38
    Rating: 4.5
    Accessories: Fan nozzle, rota lance, patio cleaner, detergent pod

    Our previous Best Buy slips down the ratings slightly because of a substantial price increase and the fact it faces cheaper, more capable, competition in this test. But the Kärcher is still well worth considering, not least because of the neat pressure indicator on the lance that tells you what task the current pressure output can tackle safely, thanks to nozzle choice and settings. The inclusion of a patio cleaner, turbo nozzle and detergent pod partially helps to justify the premium price tag. But the lack of a storage reel, and the fact that the hose is only six metres long, all seem a little mean at this price level.

    Makita HW111

    Price: £132
    Rating: 4.0
    Accessories: Rota nozzle, spot-fan nozzle, flow through brush, integral detergent tank

    Although it’s nowhere near as compact as the Hozelock Pico, this veteran washer from Makita is still much more squat than most here. So the HW111 is easier to store, and inherently more stable when tugging the five-metre hose off the built-in reel. Despite the compact dimensions, on-board storage is available for three lances at the rear, meaning you can always keep the standard fan nozzle, rota jet and flow-through brush close to hand. This is also a much more effective cleaner than its modest ratings suggest. Overall quality – particularly the super-durable high-pressure hose – is the best on test as well.

    Nilfisk E145.4-9 X-TRA

    Price: £287.99
    Rating: 4.0
    Accessories: Rota nozzle, fan nozzle, clip-on detergent bottle

    Winner of our money-no-object award. Performance is staggering and everything about the Nilfisk unit is ergonomically brilliant, simple and durable – such as the bar in front of the nine-metre hose’s reel, which prevents it from being unwound unless you tug downwards, stopping the machine tipping forward. It also straightens out loops and twists when you draw the hose back onto the reel. The perfectly graduated pressure control on the lance is another excellent feature, making setting it a doddle. But for nearly £300, we’d expect more than just a turbo and detergent nozzle to be included.

    Clarke JET9500

    Price: £215.98
    Rating:  3.5
    Accessories: Spot-fan nozzle, integral detergent tank

    The Jet9500 replaces the Jet9000 we included in our 2016 test and, at first glance, it seems that Clarke hasn’t addressed our biggest criticism of the old machine: the stark package only comes with a single adjustable fan nozzle. However, the 9500’s extra cleaning bite makes turbo nozzles and patio cleaners redundant, such is the awesome power from the standard lance. The trouble is, we found the pressure control on the lance pretty ineffective, meaning the only way of taming the machine – for safer car cleaning duties – is to select a ridiculously wide, and rather messy, fan.

    Silverline 2100 Watt Pressure Washer

    Price: £112
    Rating: 3.0
    Accessories: Spot-fan lance, integral detergent tank

    The Silverline is the cheapest pressure washer in the group, so it’s a surprise that the five-metre hose has a built-in reel, that you get a three-year warranty and that there’s a thumping 2,100-Watt motor. Budget models don’t usually come so well specified. And overall build quality is far better than you’d expect for a machine at this price level. So how has the maker kept the cost so low? Well, extras are non-existent; you only get the standard lance. And this will be problematic for anybody tackling tougher jobs around the home because the unit lacks enough bite to handle such surfaces effectively without the aid of a turbo nozzle.

    Bosch AQT 42-13

    Price: £169
    Rating: 3.0
    Accessories: Fan nozzle, rota nozzle, 90-degree corner nozzle, patio cleaner, clip-on detergent bottle

    A surprise slide down the ratings for this Bosch model compared with the last time we tested pressure washers, even if it is still a good all-round choice. As with the Makita HW111, cleaning output is punchier than its modest ratings suggest, and Bosch hasn’t been stingy with the extras. As well as the standard and rota nozzles, it includes a patio cleaner and a jet mounted at 90 degrees that’s perfect for cleaning under sills. But with hose reels almost standard on most models, this one’s clip arrangement – to retain the seven-metre hose – is fiddly. And in use that hose is surprisingly easy to kink.

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