Nilfisk Core 140 pressure washer review: a decent budget buy

The Nilfisk Core 140 pressure washer promises plenty of power at a low price, but does it deliver? Here's our review

Nilfisk Core 140 pressure washer review
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

The Nilfisk Core 140 isn't as powerful or as high quality as pricier competitors' models, but behind those basic looks is a pressure washer that will do a perfectly decent job of getting your patio sparkling again.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Range of different heads for different surfaces

  • +

    Low price

  • +

    Relatively light and easy to move around

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not the highest build quality

  • -

    Instructions could be clearer

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The Nilfisk Core 140 is a pressure washer designed to make light work of all blasting the packed-in dirt from your patio, garden furniture, and almost anything else you care to direct it at. You can adjust the pressure to suit different surfaces, and it comes with a few heads to swap out depending on what you're cleaning.  

The Nilfisk Core 140 comes in two sightly different versions: the 140-6 and the 140-8. They're identical, except the -8 has a longer hose (8m rather than 6m) and the ability to adjust the pressure using the hand grip. At the smaller, less powerful end of the range are the Core 125 and Core 130.

The pricey but powerful Karcher range dominates T3's best pressure washer – so is this competitor model good enough to get a look in? I tested one out to see – read on for my full Nilfisk Core 140-6 pressure washer review.

Nilfisk Core 140 pressure washer review: design and setup

Like some other outdoor tools, the Nilfisk Core 140 comes in a number of parts, and you're required to assemble it yourself. Not the main mechanism, of course, but the wheels and handles and so on. It's not too taxing – if you can manage an IKEA bookcase you'll absolutely smash through this. 

The design is smart and pretty effective, but not especially stylish or premium looking. The knob on the integrated hose reel kept falling off my review model, and there's only one hook on the back for the power cable, which makes winding it back up a bit fiddly, but neither of these things make too much of a difference when you're actually using the washer.

Nilfisk Core 140 pressure washer review

(Image credit: Nilfisk)

The Nilfisk Core 140's unassuming body hides an 'ultra torque engine and long life metal pump', and packs enough power to blast away dirt at up to 40m2/hour. For more sensitive surfaces, you can adjust between three power levels via a knob on the front of the machine. With the 140-8 version, there's also on-handle power control, which enables you to adjust the power level without hiking all the way back to the machine, but this wasn't included on the 140-6 version I tested.

There's a range of hose heads that can be swapped in for different surfaces: 'rough' and 'smooth' nozzles, and mine also came with a patio brush (I'd double-check which accessories are included with your model, because these seem to vary). The heads click easily into the end of the handle, and there's a helpful-ish guide printed on the washer itself to tell you what head and power level to use for each type of surface.

Nilfisk Core 140 pressure washer review

(Image credit: Future)

The pressure washer itself is on a trolley with a big handle, which makes it nice and easy to move about, and it's not especially heavy or bulky, either. There's a lengthy, flexible hose that means for smaller areas you won't need to shift it around much at all. 

The instructions that come with the Nilfisk Core 140 are entirely picture-based, and while parts are easy to follow, there are some gaps in information that you'll need to fill in with your own knowledge or research. There's nothing on troubleshooting if you run into issues, and I'm still none the wiser around what the bottle on the back is for, for instance. 

Nilfisk Core 140 pressure washer review: features and usability

So now to the important part of my Nilfisk Core 140 review – does it actually work? I tried it out first on my bumpy concrete courtyard, and it was not a wholly successful experience. Targeting the hose at the concrete caused the caked-in dirt to be blasted high into the air, to shower down in a fine mist on everything in the vicinity. Yes, the concrete does look brighter and significantly cleaner now. Yes, I did also ruin my neighbour's washing.

Much more successful was round two, on my sister's patio. With absolutely minimal effort, the dirt was cleaned efficiently off, and for some reason – perhaps the smoother surface doesn't allow as much dirt to get trapped in the first place – it was all round a much less of a mud-shower experience. 

That's not to say the process was entirely reliable. As you can see in the video above, at points the water didn't come out properly, although this issue tended to sort itself out fairly quickly, and the majority of the time everything worked as expected (check out how satisfying the cleaning is by the third flagstone). I have a feeling that these sporadic issues could be do with a setup error on my part, but the minimal instructions mean I'm in dark about what that error might be. 

Initially the muddy water can fool you into thinking you've been left with a patio that's dirtier than when you started, but you need to leave it to drain and dry out to see the true results. And in this case that was a patio that – aside from the need to do a bit of between-slab weeding – looks almost like new. The before/after pics don't quite do it justice.

Wheeling the pressure washer around is simple, but you've got three different cords to deal with, so it pays to keep those tidy or you'll end up in a tangle. The covered cable wheel helps with this. One other minor complaint is that I wish there was an on/off setting on the hose – your fingers do get tired after 20 minutes of holding the hose trigger down.

Nilfisk Core 140 pressure washer review: specs

  • Pump pressure (bar/MPa): Max 140 / max 14
  • Rated power: 1,8kW
  • Water flow Qmax/Qiec (l/h): 474 / 348
  • Hose length: 6m
  • Max. inlet temperature: 40°C
  • Weight: 8.7kg
  • Voltage/phase/frequency/current (V/~/Hz/A): 220 - 240 / 1~/ 50-60 / 7
  • Cable length: 5m
  • Size (L x W x H): 88.2 x 37.1 x 30cm

Nilfisk Core 140 pressure washer review: alternatives to consider

As I mentioned before, the T3 best pressure washer guide is dominated by Karcher machines, which look more premium and generally higher quality than the Nilfisk – although for many models that's reflected in the price tag. Judging by the hugely satifsying videos in the Karcher K4 Full Control home pressure washer review, this Nilfisk model not as efficient or as powerful as that model. 

The Nilfisk is around the same price as Karcher's most basic model, the Karcher K2, although the latter is slightly less powerful (the K2 will do a maximum of 110 bar, while the Core 140 will reach 140). 

Nilfisk Core 140 pressure washer review: verdict

If you're on a tighter budget, the Nilfisk Core 140 pressure washer is well worth a look. While it's not quite as powerful or high quality as pricier models, it still does a perfectly respectable job of getting ingrained dirt out, and comes with a decent range of accessories that make it pretty versatile. It falls down slightly on its basic looks and poor instructions, but if you can get past that, this is a solid budget buy.

Ruth Hamilton

Ruth is a lifestyle journalist specialising in sleep and wellbeing. She has tested more mattresses than her small flat can handle and will talk at length about them to anyone who shows even a passing interest, and has had to implement a one-in-one-out pillow policy for fear of getting smothered in the night. As well as following all the industry trends and advancements in the mattress and bedding world, she regularly speaks to certified experts to delve into the science behind a great night's sleep, and offer you advice to help you get there. She's currently Sleep Editor on Tom's Guide and TechRadar, and prior to that ran the Outdoors and Wellness channels on T3 (now covered by Matt Kollat and Beth Girdler-Maslen respectively).