The best pressure washers in 2022 are a godsend if you have to clean things that get grubby: instead of getting down on your hands and knees, scrubbing until your skin's gone wrinkly and your whole body hates you, you can simply invest in one of the best pressure washers and blast the grime away. If you're like us, you might also use the finest mist setting to cool down on a hot summer's day.
The best pressure washers today are powerful and efficient, and considerably quieter than the models of old: some of them are also seriously smart with pro-spec technology at home-spec prices.
They've improved in another important way too: you can use them on more delicate items now, so for example some of the best pressure washers are safe to use on bikes and motorbikes and won't cut through the paint if you get too close to your car.
The best three pressure washers in a nutshell
The best pressure washer for most people is the Kärcher K4 Power Control Home. Reliable and packs a punch, making for quick and easy cleaning jobs for most things around the home.
The best premium pressure washer is the Kärcher K7 Premium Smart Control Home. One of Karcher’s most industrial options on the market, making it ideal for tough dirty jobs.
The best small pressure washer is the Kärcher K2 Compact Car & Home. Affordable and a great entry level pressure washer for basic jobs around the home and garden.
If you need other tools to start getting summer ready, you can also take a look at our guide to the best cordless lawnmowers, the best lawn sprinklers, the best secateurs and the best garden shears to keep your garden looking its best.
The best pressure washers you can buy today in 2022
The all-singing K7 reviewed below is clearly the best option for regular, wide-scale blasting but, given that pressure washers aren’t used that often, the smaller, lighter and cheaper K4 Full Control Home reviewed here is almost as efficient, though it does come with a moderately lower 130 bar pressure rating and a smaller patio attachment. Like its larger stablemate, it’s also a bit clunky to pull around.
We tried the spray lance at close quarters on a very grubby garden path and watched in amazement as a spotlessly clean stripe appeared in mere seconds. We also tested the patio brush using the plug-in detergent dispenser and it tackled the dirt almost as efficiently.
On one especially hot day, the K4 also served as an awesome mist atomizer when sprayed from about 10 feet away; the garden was literally filled with a super fine plume of cool mist. The K4 also accepts a multitude of other accessories, most notably a handy car brush, which you can be sure your neighbours will want to borrow.
• Read our Kärcher K4 Full Control review
If you want the best pressure washer out there, you’ll struggle to do better than the Kärcher K7 Premium Smart Control Home. It’s powerful, capable of cleaning a large range of items with multiple pressure layers, and the fastest we tested, too.
The Kärcher K7 is attractively designed and it was easy to put together out of the box. Also, the LED display on the handle makes it easy to keep an eye on how high the pressure is.
This is a sizeable pressure washer and that means you get plenty of on-board storage for its accessories, which include a telescopic handle, full control lances and patio cleaner.
The 3-in-1 multi-jet lance is the star of the show – simply twist it to select the perfect mode for any cleaning application. When used along with the K7's Plus 'n' Clean system, this lance will also allow delicate items like cycles to be cleaned without ruining the paintwork of purging grease from the hubs.
In terms of price, this model is at the premium end of the market, but if you want a pressure washer that will last for years and perform better than most others in all disciplines, then this is the model to grab.
To see how this pressure washer stacks up against our number one choice for most people, then check out T3's Kärcher K4 vs Kärcher K7 comparison feature.
• Read our Kärcher K7 Premium Smart Control review
If you’re looking for a small, budget pressure washer, this model is very easy to recommend. Crucially, the Kärcher K2 Compact Car & Home is a well-made unit and the lightweight design makes it a perfect model for lugging around the garden or the car when cleaning – the portability helps make up for the rather short four-metre hose. Although this model is lower powered than some of its stablemates, it still performs exceptionally well. It just takes a little longer to perform the same task.
Despite it being the baby of the Kärcher family, the K2 does comes with support for all Kärcher pressure washer accessories, and included in the box is a detergent bottle and Car Kit with car brush, which is ideal for keeping the pride and joy looking brand new.
For smaller homes and car-owners who like to keep their wheels in tip-top condition, this model is a great choice.
To compare this model to our number one choice, then check out T3's Kärcher K4 vs. Kärcher K2 comparison feature.
And, for information on this pressure washer’s stablemate, the standard-sized K2 Power Control Home, consult our detailed Kärcher K2 guide.
The Nilfisk Core 140 is a solid performer for not very much money, so if you're looking for a cheap, lightweight pressure washer it is well worth checking out.
It has three different power levels, which are selected via the control knob on the front of the machine. These are 100%, 80% and 60% respectively, and it makes it easy to alter the power depending on what you're cleaning. For example, when cleaning a cycle with delicate parts, you can opt for the 60% power option, and when blasting dirty patios you can crank things up to 100%.
The Core 140 also features an internal hose reel that is 6 metres in length, as well as a plug and play sprayer detergent system. The spray gun can also be attached with two heads, one for "gentle" application and one for “rough".
Portability is easy thanks to the Core 140's light weight (only 8.6kg) and the fact that it has a raised grab bar handle and built-in wheels. In the pantheon of pressure washers, it’s actually rather attractive looking, too.
Now read our full review of the Nilfisk Core 140
For most people who are buying a pressure we would recommend a mains powered model. However, if you need a pressure washer that can be used for both home and commercial applications, then a petrol pressure washer is a good shout.
Wilks-USA is a petrol pressure washer master, and of the company’s range we think the TX750i is the best choice right now. It is powered by a 8HP 210cc four-stroke engine, which is advertised as having "stubborn reliability" as well as good fuel efficiency, too.
The TX750i has a peak power output of 3,950psi, which is serious levels of cleaning gumption, and thanks to five different nozzles supplied in the box, every sort of cleaning job can be tackled with ease.
Despite its imposing looks, this model is actually quite portable and boot friendly. Moreover, its wheels are really sturdy and its grab bar makes positioning and navigation straight forward. The obvious downside to all this power and portability is that you need to feed this pressure washer unleaded fuel or, better still, Aspen 4 alkylate petrol which is better for smaller engines (you can read more about Aspen fuel in our guide to the Best Petrol Lawn Mowers). But for those without access to an electricity supply, the TX750i is a solid choice.
You have to hand it to Muc-Off for creating a pressure washer that actually looks cool. Its rowdy pink and black paint job makes it stand out from a crowd of dull yellow and green lumps, while a neat bag (sold separately) helps to keep things orderly.
But the real coup for bicycle and motorcycle owners is the inclusion of specific lances that have been designed and tested against water ingress on bearings and the prevention of surface damage on frames, forks and components.
Other rival products may offer a multitude of lances or varying power settings, but very few have been tested by those with a passion for two wheels. When coupled with an optional snow foam lance and Muc-Off's amazing bike cleaning products, this model makes for a quick and efficient way to rid a mountain bike of caked-on filth.
Although plenty powerful enough for cleaning cars and patios, it lacks some of the specific lances and connections for tackling such grimy jobs. But it will still give it a ruddy good shot. The only problem with this pressure washer is that it's been such a success that it's often sold out.
How to choose the best pressure washer for you
When it comes to choosing a new pressure washer, you need to decide what you want it to do. If it’s just clean a small pathway once a year, then you’ll likely be OK with a simple, low-cost model for as little as £100.
However, if you want a wide variety of pressures, enabling you to clean everything from trainers to a multi-car driveway, you’ll need to invest a few hundred pounds to make sure you’re getting the right accessories and power options on offer.
It can be tricky to work out what the specs actually mean, but in our testing, we found only two different things really matter: the power of the motor (and therefore pressure), which is measured in bars, and the length of the hose. Of course, you will also need an outdoor tap and preferably an outdoor power supply, too, or it just won’t work.
Most pressure washers will do the job of cleaning up brickwork, patios, driveways and pathways, which is the traditional use for these units – it’s just that the more expensive models will cover more ground in less time, so it’s your back that you’re saving.
We should add that, in some instances, a pressure washer can actually make things look worse. For instance, we tested one on a well-trodden but fake York stone garden path that was covered in green algae and it immediately restored it to its original like-new appearance which was never that great in the first place. Some folk may want their pathway to look like the day they installed it but there are just as many that prefer the weathered, well-worn look. So, just remember that once you start pressure washing something like a pathway or a patio (especially one using cheap stone slabs), there’s no turning back.
Should you consider petrol pressure washers?
Petrol pressure washers do exist (see the excellent Wilks-USA TX750i Petrol Power Pressure Washer above), and they deliver buckets of power and portability for serious pressure washing tasks. They're also not really much more expensive than quality electric pressure washers, too.
However, they do need a supply of petrol to operate, which adds in an extra stage in getting one up and running, and truth be told the performance they deliver is likely overkill for most people who just want to clean their car every month or two.
If you do want a petrol pressure washer, though, then we consider Wilks-USA to be the best petrol pressure washer maker.
What are pressure washers best for?
It doesn't matter what time of year it is, anytime is a great time to buy a pressure washer and clean that horrible grime off your stuff. And this is especially true in the spring, summer and autumn months, as there are simply so many tasks that are made easier with one.
For example, after the grim winter months cleaning the accumulated grime off a patio or driveway is a doddle with a pressure washer. You simply point and shoot, then stand back and enjoy a pristine, new-looking surface.
Equally, if you need to clean outdoor furniture, cycles, cars, motorbikes, gutters, windows, brickwork, garage doors and much more than doing so with a pressure washer is quicker and far easier than even attempting the same with a hose. For truly immaculate results you need to invest in the correct equipment.
And that is what T3's buying guide here is designed to help with. It has been crafted like our best garden hose, best BBQ and best cordless lawnmowers guides to help people find the perfect product for them.
How we test pressure washers
The applications of pressure washers are wide-ranging, and at T3 we try to use each pressure washer we review in multiple applications before bestowing a score on it.
However, from our extensive testing of pressure washers over the years we've learned that the two primary uses of a pressure washer are cleaning patios and decking, as well as cleaning vehicles such as cars and motorbikes.
As such, we always use a pressure washer for both of these things, as they are what the vast majority of buyers will use the kit for. It helps us give the prospective buyer the most accurate take on a pressure washer that is possible.
In terms of each piece of hardware, we first evaluate how easy it is to setup the pressure washer, which includes the clarity of instructions. Once the pressure washer is setup we take a look at design and build quality. Here we're looking to see what the fit and finish is like on the main body, as well as how well-made any spray lance or included accessories are.
From there we move on to performance, which involves using and moving the system in a cleaning scenario. We're looking at effectiveness of cleaning, reach and power of the spray gun, what different spray modes are on offer, and how the washer handles any detergent or cleaning agent.
Some sample cleaning scenarios we undertake include: patio cleaning, decking cleaning, masonry cleaning, window cleaning, automobile cleaning, push bike cleaning and gutter cleaning, among others.
Next we have look at any included accessories included in the pressure washer package, such as dedicated patio cleaners or spray gun extenders. We also test out any companion app at this stage to see what it offers in terms of unit control and customisation.
Finally, we compare the pressure washers to others on the market at a similar price point, or those that offer the same sort of functionality. With all this considered we then bestow a star score on the pressure washer and, if it is high, consider it for our best pressure washers buying guide.