Saving water and at the same time cleaning your patio, house and paving stones literally is not a contradiction in terms of high pressure cleaner. While 3,500 litres of water rush through a normal garden hose per hour at 4 bar pressure, a high-pressure washer only uses 500 litres. But they’ve got a lot of power! With over 100 bar, the hard water jet removes dirt from patio slabs, house facades and even bicycles and cars in no time. No chance even for hard-boiled dirt and algae. If you need it even more thorough, many models allow you to add fine sand or cleaning agent to the water jet.
The trade offers a large selection of different high-pressure cleaners. Dozens of models from numerous brands and all price ranges can be found on the shelves. My product comparison presents 10 best pressure washers under £200, which are compared with each other in terms of features and performance.
10 Best Pressure Washers under £200
The following guide provides information on important technical criteria that are important when buying a pressure washer under £200 and gives tips on how to use the high-pressure cleaner correctly.
What is a pressure washer?
With the help of a high-pressure cleaner, surfaces can be cleaned quickly, thoroughly and without much effort. The very hard water jet removes even stubborn dirt. One of the great advantages: Cleaning with a high-pressure water jet is environmentally friendly because chemical cleaning agents are not usually added. In addition, the water consumption of a high-pressure cleaner is much lower than that of a conventional garden hose, for example.
A pressure washer works with water pressure and is usually equipped with an electric or petrol engine. Most models receive fresh water via a water connection. The pump, often made of aluminium, pumps the fresh water into the device while the pistons press the water to the nozzle. You can find out everything else about how a modern high-pressure cleaner works in the next paragraph.
How does a pressure washer work?
A pressure washer is a device that is powered by an electric, diesel or petrol engine or alternatively by a rechargeable battery. In private use, consumers mostly use the electrically powered high pressure cleaners. Apart from the housing, these devices mainly consist of four parts with different functions:
- An electric motor sets the pump in motion.
- The high-pressure pump sucks in water from the water pipe via a normal garden hose and generates a water pressure of up to 180 bar with the help of a reciprocating piston.
The water enters the unit via a water connection.
- Via a high-pressure hose of an average length of almost 5 metres or a steel pipe, the water is fed directly into a spray gun. The water flow is compressed by an outlet valve.
- Consumers can attach various spray nozzles or lances to the spray gun. From there, the water is discharged to the outside under high pressure.
- A high-pressure cleaner ejects a sharply focused jet of water under high pressure. The pump builds up this pressure and the spray nozzles release the pressure to the outside. The thinner the water jet and the higher the pressure, the higher the water discharge speed or cleaning efficiency. Some models on the market can adjust the water pressure individually. In this way, surfaces can be cleaned with a softer or harder water jet, depending on the degree of soiling.
The areas of application of pressure washers
The areas of application are manifold. A pressure washer can be used to remove grey film, moss, lichen and other deep-seated dirt from facades. Weeds or dirt on paving stones can also be removed with little effort using a pressure washer. With special attachments, a high-pressure cleaner can even unclog pipes such as drains.
Other surfaces that consumers can clean with such a device include:
- Cars, motorbikes and bicycles
- Roofs and driveways
- Garden furniture and planters
- Blinds and dustbins
- Patios and balconies
The advantages and disadvantages of a pressure washer
There are several advantages to using a high-pressure device. The biggest advantage is probably the saving of power. Stubborn dirt can only be removed with laborious scrubbing and cleaning agents. Working with a high-pressure cleaner puts much less strain on the body because users do not have to bend down or get on their knees to scrub. And it is also faster. The water jet removes even large areas of dirt in a short time and without additional cleaning chemicals.
Besides the advantages, there are also disadvantages. If the device is not handled properly, the structure of sensitive surfaces can be permanently destroyed. For example, the hard water jet has a negative effect on car paintwork, impregnations can be unintentionally removed or soft surfaces destroyed. If handled incorrectly in the garden, consumers can damage flower beds or shrubs.
These are the main advantages and disadvantages of pressure washers:
- Fast and efficient cleaning of stubborn dirt
- Gentle on the body
- Saves time and effort compared to scrubbing by hand
- Better hygiene when using hot water
- Environmentally friendly cleaning without the use of chemicals
- Damage to surfaces if used incorrectly
- Risk of destruction of plants and flowers in the garden by the jet
- Risk of injury if used incorrectly
What types of pressure washers are there?
The pumps of most high-pressure cleaners are driven by an electric motor. Such models work either via a rechargeable battery or via classic mains electricity. There are also some high-pressure cleaners with petrol engines for professional use.
The private sector is the domain of the electric pressure washer. A socket inside the building with an extension cable or an outdoor socket is almost always within reach, maintenance is low, they are lightweight, compact in size and much easier to handle than their petrol competitors.
The smaller radius of movement can be a disadvantage, as a power socket must be nearby or a corresponding extension cable must be available. Especially in the case of units with shorter cables without a cable reel. In addition, the high-pressure cleaners with electric drive usually have a lower power output than petrol models. However, the most powerful electric models are easily sufficient for all cleaning tasks around the house.
These are the advantages and disadvantages of electric pressure washers in summary:
- Available in many performance classes and variants
- More compact and lighter than petrol or diesel models
- No petrol smell
- Less noise
- No handling of petrol or diesel
- Can also be used indoors
- More environmentally friendly than petrol pressure washers
- Dependent on a power source
- Less radius of action
- Power cable as a possible source of tripping
- Not as powerful as petrol or diesel units
Pressure washers with rechargeable battery – for low levels of soiling
With battery-powered pressure washers, consumers are more flexible on the road because there is no limited range due to a power cable. If the battery is strong enough and the soiling is not too great, a good cleaning performance can still be achieved. The water tanks of these devices are not too large, so they work with a fairly low pressure so that the water is not used up too quickly. This makes sense if you usually work on surfaces that do not tolerate high water pressure. The price is usually lower than other models and the noise level is low.
A charged battery is necessary for the use of a cordless pressure washer – but this usually has only a limited capacity. Another disadvantage is that models with a rechargeable battery are less powerful and many devices have a lower maximum working pressure. For these reasons, a high-pressure cleaner with a rechargeable battery is not suitable for stubborn dirt or large areas.
Here is an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of battery-powered high-pressure cleaners:
- Can be used independently of a power source
- More mobile than electric pressure washers
- Can be used in hard-to-reach places
- No power cable in the way
- Works without a water hose
- Lower working pressure
- Lower performance
- Limited battery charge
Petrol or diesel powered pressure washers for commercial use
The advantage of these devices is their flexibility of use and their long range. This is why petrol or diesel-powered high-pressure cleaners are often used in commercial or professional applications. These devices often deliver high power to effectively remove heavy soiling. They are not dependent on mains power and are therefore much more flexible than high-pressure cleaners with an electric motor.
At the same time, there is a certain danger associated with these devices due to the fire and explosion hazard of the fuel. They have a higher weight and larger dimensions and are therefore much more cumbersome than the models presented above. Other disadvantages are the usually higher purchase costs and the high noise level. They are also much more harmful to the environment than electric models.
The advantages and disadvantages of spray pressure washers are summarised:
- Flexible use
- Large radius of movement
- Powerful performance
- No annoying power cable
- Danger due to use of petrol or diesel
- Usage time depends on amount of petrol
- Less environmentally friendly
- Usually heavier and larger than electric pressure washers
- Higher noise level
Cold water or hot water? The differences explained
Interested parties can divide the models on the market into cold-water pressure washers and – hot-water devices. Which device is suitable for a user depends on the preferred area of application. We will describe both variants in more detail in these paragraphs:
- Cold-water pressure washers: Compared to hot-water devices, cold-water devices offer more compact dimensions, a lower weight and a lower purchase price. For private use, such a model is usually sufficient. With its help, vehicles, pavements and other surfaces can be freed from more easily adhering dirt or dust.
- Hot water pressure washers: These models are also known as steam cleaners and heat the water to a temperature of sometimes 150 degrees Celsius and more. Thanks to the hot water, consumers have the opportunity to clean the surface more easily and quickly. No or at least a small amount of cleaning agent needs to be used. If necessary, these devices can be used with a weaker water jet. The hot water can kill bacteria and germs. Disadvantages are the high power consumption, the higher purchase price and the higher weight.
Due to the above-mentioned areas of application and properties, hot water high-pressure cleaners are more suitable for the professional sector. These models are used in agriculture, industry or swimming pools, among other places. With their help, even oils and paints can be removed easily.
How can you save electricity with a pressure washer?
Depending on what consumers want to use their pressure washer for, there are various products on the market. These range from private use in the home to cleaning cars to the compact class for high-performance use. If you want to save electricity in the process, you should read the following tips:
- Benefit/cost ratio: For the user, the cost/benefit ratio is important. For example, if you only want to clean the garden paths, patio and occasionally the bicycle, you can do little with a high-performance class appliance. The larger and more powerful the appliance, the higher the energy and water consumption. In such a case, the costs are hardly in proportion to the benefits. A practical and universal cleaning appliance is usually sufficient for normal household use.
- Hot water cleaner: Energy can be saved with a hot water high-pressure cleaner. A higher temperature provides more power: The warm water allows better cleaning results in cleaning processes than the cold water. Users can break down oils, soot or grease more quickly with hot water; these contaminants dissolve better. The hot water reduces the cleaning time by up to 35 percent, which reduces water consumption. The hot water high-pressure cleaner guarantees savings in water, energy and labour time. Consumers get a better cleaning performance and the use of cleaning agents is reduced.
- Battery operation: Modern high-pressure cleaners with battery drive are also favourable in terms of power consumption. The running time of the devices with this drive differs depending on the input power. Battery-powered devices are flexible in use and can also be used in hard-to-reach places. Consumers can take advantage of the drive and use such devices where there is no power connection.
- Suitable cleaning agents: Using the right cleaning agents also saves energy. Stubborn dirt cannot always be removed effectively with clear water and water pressure alone. Using a special cleaning agent for the appropriate application shortens the working time, which reduces energy consumption. The different cleaning agents have different concentrations and should be used according to the dosage instructions. On the market, consumers can get special products for removing oil and grease or for removing algae, moss and green cover in the garden.
What do I have to consider when choosing the right pressure washer under £200?
The choice of a right pressure washer should be made taking into account different criteria and product features. Before prospective customers decide on a product, they should take a look at the following points:
The place of use and the object of the cleaning tasks
With a high-pressure cleaner, even heavy soiling can be removed without problems. It is irrelevant whether users want to clean the pavement, the terrace, the car or the house facade. However, consumers should make sure that there is a power socket nearby if they decide to use an electric pressure washer. Most cleaners have only a very short power cable, so extension cables or splash-proof cable drums are useful accessories for pressure washers. Petrol-powered cleaners only show their advantages under two conditions: The place of use does not offer a power connection or the soiling is so severe that cleaning only needs to be done at over 180 bar with the addition of abrasives such as shell lime for hours.
The size of the area
The size of the area: When cleaning larger areas of more than 20 square metres, such as the patio or the front of the house, buyers should ideally choose a more powerful high-pressure cleaner model. For simpler applications such as pavements or vehicles, a low-priced model will perform well.
The amount of water pressure in bar
The cleaning performance of the pressure washer depends directly on the amount of water pressure. Simple and inexpensive models usually have a water pressure between 100 and 140 bar. This allows simple jobs to be done – for example, washing the car or cleaning the pavement. For larger surfaces, users should opt for devices with a higher water pressure. It is important to note which surfaces are involved in order to avoid damage. Users can usually find important information on this in the manufacturer’s operating instructions.
Delivery rate/water volume per hour in litres
Stubborn and extensive soiling requires a high-pressure cleaner with a high water flow rate. A guideline is 500 litres per hour. On the one hand, this makes the work more efficient; on the other hand, consumers also save energy in this way.
Motor power in watts
A powerful motor with a high wattage is important to achieve the necessary water pressure. The motor power of a good high-pressure cleaner starts at just under 1,500 watts and can reach up to 3,000 watts.
For many types of dirt, a temperature of 40 to 50 degrees Celsius is sufficient. Most cold water devices work at these temperatures. If consumers prefer warmer water, an appliance that can handle hot water is usually required. Consumers should take care not to exceed the specified inlet temperature, otherwise individual components of the cleaner may be damaged.
Use of cleaning agents
Those who want to use cleaning agents for work should make sure when choosing a pressure washer that he or she has an integrated cleaning container or a separate connection point for appropriate cleaning agents. This is to prevent contact with the chemical agents.
Size and weight
The most popular models for private use usually do not require much storage space. Nevertheless, consumers should first make sure that the chosen pressure washer is given a suitable place and that sufficient storage space is available. The weight plays a role if users have to transport the device frequently and lift it into and out of the car, for example. Otherwise, most pressure washers are equipped with large castors and a practical handle so that they can be moved easily and comfortably. Units for private use usually weigh between 4 and 15 kilograms.
Length of cable and hose
This aspect can be important if consumers need a greater range of movement for their cleaning work. If the cable is too short, an extension cord can help. However, the high-pressure hose is less flexible in length. Therefore, it is important to ensure that there is sufficient leeway. Most hoses are between 5 and 15 metres long.
Most high-pressure cleaners come with a combination nozzle, a rotor nozzle or a dirt cutter. Consumers can find more information on how these parts work later in this guide.
What else can be important: It can be useful if prospective buyers pay attention to the following criteria when buying a high-pressure cleaner:
- Adjustable pressure output
- As many accessories and additional nozzles as possible in the scope of delivery
- Comfortable and easy handling
- Manufacturer’s warranty on the motor
- Spare parts such as hoses or nozzles can be purchased as accessories.
What can I clean with a high-pressure cleaner?
A pressure washer is a versatile device that can provide good service around the house, car and floor cleaning. Users can use it to work on all objects that can withstand the pressure of the device. Depending on the type of device, a pressure washer can be used to clean vehicles of all kinds, garage entrances, facades, gutters, kitchen appliances, cupboards, carpets, interior areas, tiles and grout, fences, walkways, gutters, pools, garden furniture, patios or balconies.
As an alternative, the areas of application can also be classified according to the degree of soiling. We would like to give a few examples here:
- Minor soiling – e.g. garden furniture, barbecue, bicycle or car
- Medium soiling – e.g. pavement, fence, balcony or terrace
- Heavy soiling – e.g. house wall, driveway or gazebo.
When should consumers not use a pressure washer?
Not everything can be cleaned with a pressure washer. The power of highly compressed water is enormous and is used in industry to cut hard materials. Even the power of a commercial high-pressure cleaner can be destructive on delicate surfaces such as wood, sandstone or certain facades. Care should also be taken when cleaning tyres because they are made of a pressure-sensitive rubber compound. In addition, brake dust in aluminium rims is often so stuck that the high-pressure cleaner cannot help.
If you hold the water jet of the high-pressure cleaner on one spot for too long, you can damage the tyre. Electrical appliances are not suitable for cleaning with a high-pressure cleaner because the sensitive circuit boards would not withstand the load and the escaping water. In addition, the appliance cannot be used after contact with water.
What do I have to pay attention to when working with high-pressure cleaners?
We have already given some tips on what is important when working with high-pressure cleaners. First and foremost, you have to pay attention to the materials to be cleaned as well as certain safety instructions from the manufacturers. We have briefly summarised some of these below:
- When using the device, make sure that the mains cable or the extension cable is not run over or crushed. Cables must be protected from sharp edges, heat and oily contamination.
- If an extension cable is used, the plug and coupling must be watertight and the extension cable must be protected against splashing water.
- Only hoses, couplings and fittings recommended by the manufacturer may be used.
- The water jet must not be directed at animals, electrical appliances or people, for example to clean clothes or shoes.
- When in use, the high-pressure cleaner must have a secure footing.
- When using the equipment in closed rooms, these should be sufficiently ventilated.
- Only cleaning agents recommended by the manufacturer may be used.
- If necessary, protective equipment, such as goggles or a dust mask, must be worn to protect against water, particles and/or aerosols.
Are there alternatives to pressure washers?
An alternative to a high-pressure cleaner is, for example, the steam jet, which works similarly to a high-pressure cleaner and whose mode of operation we have already explained above in the guide. The difference is that the water in these devices is heated to over 100 degrees Celsius and the steam escapes at a high pressure.
An alternative to a high-pressure cleaner is the so-called low-pressure hot cleaning system. It is also used manually with a lance or gun, but the pressure is only 3 to 8 bar or a maximum of 14 bar and the water volume is only 1.8 litres per minute. During cleaning, the water is heated to about 95 degrees Celsius within one minute in an electric flow heater.
Overview of well-known manufacturers and brands
Consumers still have a choice of only 5 to a maximum of 10 reliable suppliers of pressure washer in UK. These have been established on the market for years and improve their products from year to year. In addition to nationally known brands such as Bosch or Kärcher, there are other manufacturers that have established themselves as reliable suppliers. We present 5 well-known manufacturers and brands here:
Kärcher: Alfred Kärcher SE & Co. KG, Kärcher for short, is a manufacturer of cleaning systems and equipment with its headquarters in Winnenden in Baden-Württemberg. It is a family business that was founded by Alfred Kärcher in Stuttgart in 1935. According to its own figures, the company has a turnover of almost 2.5 billion euros and employs around 13,500 people worldwide. It is considered the world market leader in its field.
Bosch: Robert Bosch GmbH is a German company founded in 1886 by Robert Bosch, who gave the company its name. It has its legal seat in Stuttgart and its headquarters in Gerlingen in Baden-Württemberg. The company is known, among other things, as an automotive supplier, as a manufacturer of industrial technology, energy and building technology and of consumer goods such as high-pressure cleaners for private use. According to its own figures, Bosch employs around 400,000 people and generated sales of almost 80 billion euros in 2018.
Makita: Makita is a Japanese company that manufactures power tools. It was founded in 1915 by Mosaburo Makita, who gave the company its name. According to Makita, it has production facilities in ten countries, including Germany, the USA, Brazil, China and Thailand. Makita’s product range includes over 1,000 petrol, electric, cordless and pneumatic tools and garden equipment worldwide. The company says it employs almost 16,500 people and generated sales of around €4 billion in 2019.
Deuba: Deuba GmbH & Co. KG was founded in 2002 under the name “Deutschbauer e.K.” as a pure online distributor. With over 100,000 square metres of storage space, a product portfolio of more than 3,000 articles and more than one million customers per year, Deuba is one of the largest online retailers in Germany. The company’s product range includes garden, furniture & living, household, DIY and sports & leisure products.
Einhell: Einhell Germany AG is a German tool manufacturer based in Landau an der Isar. According to its own information, Einhell is divided into two business segments: Tools and Garden & Leisure. The group employs around 1,600 people worldwide and generated sales of €605 million in 2019. Also in 2019, according to Einhell, the company had 39 subsidiaries worldwide.
In addition, there are of course other manufacturers of pressure washers, such as Kränzle, Nilfisk or Stihl.
In the following paragraphs, we provide compact and competent answers to questions that consumers ask time and again about pressure washers:
Which is the best pressure washers?
It is difficult to give a blanket answer to this question, as it depends heavily on the individual user’s requirements for a high-pressure cleaner. While an environmentally conscious consumer wants to rely on an electric cleaner, a user from the catering industry or industry needs a powerful petrol model. For this reason, it is important that prospective buyers are clear about their requirements for a pressure washer before making a purchase. Afterwards, you can take a look at our product descriptions further up on the website and crown your personal test winner.
Where can I buy a pressure washer?
Consumers can buy high-pressure cleaners in almost any DIY store and, in the best case, will receive expert and comprehensive advice there. However, the selection is often limited. Sometimes supermarket chains offer individual models on special offer. In contrast, consumers can find a very large variety of high-pressure cleaners on the internet. Online dealers and manufacturers offer numerous devices on the World Wide Web. These can be compared conveniently from home. Consumers can also get opinions from numerous customer reviews and guides.
Can I rent a pressure washer?
Yes, this is possible. Many DIY stores offer this option, but special local suppliers and individual manufacturers also rent out high-pressure cleaners to consumers. This option is useful for anyone planning a one-off cleaning operation. Another option is to try out a device “in action” in this way and decide whether the purchase is worthwhile. How high the rental fee is depends on the type of appliance and the provider. Mostly, the prices range between 10 and 70 pounds for one day.
How much water does a pressure washer use?
How much water a high-pressure cleaner uses depends on various factors – including how large the surface to be cleaned is and how dirty it is. The larger the surface and the more soiled it is, the more time and thus more water consumers will need to clean it. For example, if you use a pressure washer with 145 bar pressure, you will use almost 500 litres of water in one hour.
Is a cleaning agent necessary?
A high-pressure cleaner is an appliance that is easy on the environment because it does not use chemicals for most of the work. In some cases, however, it is necessary to use cleaning agents, for example to rinse off or remove rust, paint residues and stubborn dirt. For this purpose, most manufacturers offer special cleaning agent tanks that are integrated in the housing.
Work faster and save electricity: Consumers can save a lot of energy with a cleaning agent because clear water and water pressure are often not sufficient to remove heavy soiling. A special cleaning agent for the corresponding application area shortens the working time and thus also the energy consumption.
How many bars should a high-pressure cleaner have?
Since pressure washers are made to remove any kind of dirt with pure water pressure, the cleaners usually have some reserves. In professional devices, consumers can work with up to 1,000 bar. In the private sector, however, for garden and home, high-pressure cleaners are usually only between 80 and 200 bar. For garden tools, this pressure is perfectly adequate, as consumers do not want to cut stone slabs, but only clean them.
Are water filters necessary?
If you only connect your high-pressure cleaner to clean drinking water pipes, you usually do not need a separate water filter. These are intended to protect the cleaner from dirt particles and impurities in the water. This may be the case, for example, when using unpurified groundwater or rainwater. In this case, a water filter prevents the interior from sticking and clogging. It can increase the service life of the high-pressure cleaner.