Car washing: either you love it or hate it. For some people, the thought of spending a Sunday morning pampering their car with a wash mitt and shampoo is what dreams are made of. For others, it’s the stuff of nightmares. It’s easy to spot the latter: they’ll be queuing for the hand car wash on the outskirts of town.
Lather or loather, a good car pressure washer will save you time and get the best results. Abrasive dirt and mud will be washed away in seconds, with a pressure washer able to tackle those hard-to-reach places. In the long run, it will even save you money, as you won’t be forking out for the hand car wash. Here are our favourite car pressure washers.
CAR's favourite pressure washers for cars
WORX WG630E.1 Cordless Brushless Hydroshot Portable Pressure Cleaner
Best cordless pressure washer
Ditching the power cord is a clever idea for a more portable pressure washer, perfect for awkward places. While the 120 litres per hour (l/h) and pressure of 22 bar aren't the best, they are ideal figures for cleaning a car. The 1.7 kg weight is deeply impressive, as is the refined brushless motor.
While it may not be as powerful as a corded option, it'll still be excellent for most domestic jobs. The battery pack is also compatible with other WORX products. We've reviewed this pressure washer and found it to be excellent.
Turtle Wax TW110 Pressure Washer
Best compact pressure washer
Turtle Wax has a produced a great compact machine with the TW110 for people who want a portable machine for cars and light domestic use. It also comes with the useful cannister attachments for foam cleaning, in addition to the regular lance.
Output is 335 litres per hour (l/h) flow rate, 110 bar maximum pressure, and 1400W. It will therefore make quick work of lighter jobs. While the Norse TW110 is indeed nice and light at under six kilograms, bear in the mind the hose length is only five metres.
Ku00e4rcher K4 Premium Power Control Car & Home
Best heavy duty pressure washer
For those perhaps wanting something a bit more serious, the K4 from household brand Ku00e4rcher will do the trick. On first impressions, you may be taken aback by the jump in price. However, while you do indeed pay a bit extra for the name, you do get a fantastic piece of kit that will be all you'll need for around your property. Power (1800W), pressure (130 bar), and flow rate (420 l/h) get an increase from the Turtle Wax unit but there is more than that.
There is an LED display on the trigger gun that lets you choose what pressure you'd like, plus a collection of Karcher's excellent T5 Surface Cleaner, Vario Power lance, and car cleaning kit. Therefore, it's extremely versatile both for delicate and heavier jobs. What's more, with its water cooled motor, along with quality components, you can expect your K4 to last you for many years. The higher price up front will pay dividends in the long run.
Nilfisk Compact 105 Pressure Washer
Best tiny pressure washer
The Caterham Seven of the pressure washer world, the Nilfisk Compact 105 offers plenty of power and a small lightweight body. It only weighs 5.1 kg but features a powerful 1400 watt motor and is good for a maximum pressure of 105 bar and 440 l/h, not bad for something not much bigger than a backpack.
It comes with three nozzles for cleaning; a standard lance, extended lance and a low pressure detergent gun. It also comes with a five metre hose and a five metre electrical cord giving it a large cleaning radius.
Nilfisk Core 140 Bike & Auto Pressure Washer
Most stylish pressure washer
Nilfisk has an enormous range of cleaning equipment for both commercial and domestic use. This model is compact and fairly light, yet still packs plenty of power: 140 bar, 1800W, 465 l/h. Naturally, one of the major advantages here is that you get a full collection of accessories: a foam sprayer, gentle nozzle, rough nozzle, 90-degree nozzle, short fixed brush as well as a shammy glove and polishing rag.
You can relax about reliability too. Nilfisk has a great reputation for quality; the pump head on this unit is aluminium and has an auto stop-start function.
We've tested this product and can recommend it as an impressive, and cleverly designed piece of kit. You can read our full review here.
Ku00e4rcher K7 Premium Full Control Plus Home Pressure Washer
The ultimate pressure washer
Ku00e4rcher is a name synonymous with pressure washers. The German company is to pressure washing what JCB is to excavating, or Ferrari is to supercars. The K7 Premium isn't the cheapest Ku00e4rcher pressure washer you can buy, but if you're after something that can tackle your car, home and garden, it could be just the ticket.
Thanks to a mighty 180 bar of pressure, the K7 can tackle the hardest tasks, and you get a full range of attachments. Features include a three-in-one spray lance, a patio and decking cleaner, plus a stone and facade cleaner.
Car pressure washers: what you need to know
What features should I look for?
There’s more to buying a car pressure washer than simply choosing the cheapest or most expensive option. Too much pressure and you could strip the paint from the bodywork. Too little pressure, and you could be better off with a wash mitt and bucket. A good product will enable you to select a nozzle setting that’s appropriate for washing a car. A pressure washer that comes with a lance with adjustable pressure, foam gun, or brush makes the whole exercise faster and more effective.
You need to consider the proximity to a power supply. Check the length of the power cord and hose before adding a pressure washer to your basket. Most units work from a standard hosepipe, but others can draw water from almost any container, including rain water collected in a butt or bucket. These are ideal if you haven’t got access to a tap.
Finally, you should take into account the flow rate and pressure. A higher flow rate will ensure you’re not spending too long cleaning the car, while a higher pressure will make it easier to remove dirt and grime. As a guide, 110 to 130 maximum bar should be fine for most people – without the fear of damaging your precious paintwork.
How often should I use it?
Every time you wash your car if you want your moneys worth. Used correctly, a pressure washer is the fastest way to wash a car. It will remove dirt, grime and mud without damaging the paintwork, and remove soap suds without leaving a residue. In short, it'll give you a very deep clean every time you use it.
What grade should I go for?
There are different variants of pressure washers that are designed for different tasks. If you want to wash your car and maybe give your patio a jet wash every now and again, you'll be fine with a light duty pressure washer.
Medium duty options will make cleaning larger areas quicker but will come with a noticeable price hike. You only really need of of these if you have multiple cars to clean.
Heavy duty options can be very expensive but can be used to clean just about anything, including moss-ridden static homes. These pressure washers can even come with petrol engines, which are for commercial use and overkill for most domestic applications.
What else can I use a pressure washer for?
After you've cleaned your car you can turn your pressure washer onto pretty much anything outdoors. Fence panels, sheds, patios, even garden chairs can be cleaned with a pressure washer. If they're looking grimy you can easily blast away the caked on mud and moss. It's really satisfying to cut through years of dirt in seconds!