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Home & garden.

Updated: 14 Apr 2022

Which pressure washer brand to buy

We survey owners of Bosch, Nilfisk and Karcher pressure washers to find out the reliable brands that customers are happiest with
Verity Mann
Someone using a pressure washer

Losing pressure is the most likely fault your corded pressure washer will suffer, accounting for 19% of faults overall, according to our latest survey.

Water leaking from inside the washer (16%) and the motor failing (12%) are next most common.

For petrol pressure washers, the most common faults are the choke failing and the motor failing (both 17%).

Knowing which brands develop the most faults, and how quickly, is vital when buying a pressure washer. That’s why each year, we ask Which? members to tell us whether they're happy or have experienced problems with their pressure washer, in our unique gardening product experience survey.

Our January 2022 survey data takes into account the reported fault rates and the speed with which they occurred. In our latest analysis, we've looked at the performance of some of the biggest manufacturers – including Nilfisk and Karcher – and have calculated a customer score for each, so you know which brands to choose and which to avoid.

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Best vs worst pressure washer brands compared 

The below table shows how satisfied owners are with their pressure washer factoring in whether they would happily recommend that brand.

Only logged-in members can view which brands members are most and least satisfied with. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Which pressure washer brand stays fault-free for longest?

The below table shows which brands remain fault-free for the longest during the first seven years of ownership.

Only logged-in members can view what percentage of respondents said their brand of pressure washer remained fault-free during the first seven years of ownership. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Brand% Fault-Free
Brand 194%
Brand 292%
Brand 392%
Brand 489%
Brand 584%
Brand 684%
Brand 784%

Table notes: Based on products purchased between 2015-2021.

To see the brands in the table log in now - if you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access. 

Top three common pressure washer faults

  1. Loss of pressure (19%) There can be a number of problems that cause this, such as a blocked nozzle or water inlet, inadequate water supply, or air in the inlet water supply hose or the pump. Follow the steps below to help you diagnose the root cause.
  2. Leaking within the pressure washer (16%) This is often due to water freezing then expanding inside the washer. Make sure it's drained and stored properly after use.
  3. Motor failed (12%) Frozen and cracked pump components are the chief suspect here, but another culprit could be running the pump without the water flowing, or ignoring other problems that cause the pressure washer to run incorrectly. Store the pressure washer in a frost-free place, such as a cupboard in the house, and make sure the water is turned on and at adequate pressure before running the pump.

How to fix a loss of pressure

Loss of pressure is the biggest issue for pressure washers. There could be various reasons causing this but before taking it to a repair shop or replacing it, consider the following:

  • If the pressure is pulsing, check the water supply is fully turned on and the hose is not kinked, which could stall pressure.
  • Inspect for leaks, holes or tears in your garden hose. If you find any, plug the holes or replace the hose.
  • Clean the water filter. To get rid of air run the pressure washer with an open spray handle and nozzle at low pressure until regular working pressure resumes. If the pressure is steady but low it can indicate a worn stop/start valve – squeeze the trigger five times in quick succession to get it working again.
  • Check for blockages in the nozzles by shining a torch through them. If you can't see through, use a small tool such as a toothpick to remove any clogs.
  • If you rely on one nozzle the most, it may be that it has worn out. Attach a nozzle you use the least to see if the pressure increases. If it does, it may just mean it's time to replace your other one.  

How long will my pressure washer last?

On average, five and a half years passed before those who bought their corded pressure washer between 2015-2021 experienced the first fault out of a sample size of 3,203 people. Of those that reported a faulty product, 39% carried on using it as normal and 19% had it repaired by someone they know.

Nearly five years passed before owners of petrol pressure washers experienced their first fault out of a sample size of 80 people. 57% carried on using it as normal and 50% said their pressure washer was replaced by the manufacturer or retailer where they bought it.

Pressure washer brands rated

Choose a brand from the list below to find out more about how good it is, including the number of Best Buys it has received and the average score of its pressure washers in our reviews.

Head to our pressure washer reviews

Know which pressure washer brand you want? Use the links to go straight to our reviews and find your ideal model:​​​​

How we calculate the best and worst brands

Which? has a wealth of information on the UK’s favourite garden product brands. Every two years, we ask Which? members to tell us about the garden products they own – from how satisfied they are with their product, to the faults they experience with them once they get them home. This year, 8,881 members told us about their products. We calculate a brand's customer score based on the results of our biennial survey.

Our Product Experience surveys, combined with our extensive lab tests, mean we can recommend the best pressure washer you should buy.

This data is crucial for our testing, too. If a brand falls far below the category average, we take away the manufacturer's Best Buy recommendations and won’t recommend any of its products unless a marked improvement in satisfaction is shown.

This article uses insights from the Which? Connect panel, collected from research activities with our members. Find out how to get involved