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1 October 2020

Which pressure washer brand to buy

Exclusive Which? reliability and customer satisfaction data can help you choose a pressure washer that lasts. We survey owners of Bosch, Nilfisk and Karcher pressure washers to find out which develop the fewest faults over time, and which brands customers are happiest with and would recommend.
Cleaning a path with a pressure washer
AW
Alice Williams

Water leaking within the pressure washer is the most likely fault to befall your pressure washer, accounting for 16% of faults overall.

Several survey respondents who experienced a fault also found that their hose split and the lance broke on their pressure washer.

Knowing which brands develop the most faults, and how quickly, is vital when buying a new pressure washer. That’s why each year we asked more than 1,800 Which? members to tell us whether they're happy, or have experienced problems with their barbecues in our unique reliability and customer satisfaction survey.

Our survey data takes into account the reported fault rates, the severity of these faults 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 reliability rating and customer score for each one, so you know which brands to choose and which to avoid.

Head to our Best Buy pressure washers to make sure you buy a barbecue that won't leave you disappointed.

Best vs worst pressure washer brands compared

We’ve found huge differences between how satisfied owners are with their pressure washers.

The most reliable pressure washer brands

The table below summarises our latest reliability results. Brands are ranked by their overall reliability but also have their customer satisfaction scores listed, which relate to whether their customers would recommend that brand. The higher the percentage score for reliability, the fewer the problems reported.

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

Brand Reliability score Customer satisfaction score
Brand 1 91% 67%
Brand 2 85% 60%
Brand 3 84% 82%
Table notes

The above data is based on a survey conducted on 1,809 Which? members in January 2020.

Which pressure washer brand stays fault-free for longest?

The graph above shows how the brand that stays fault-free for the longest compares with the worst brand and the overall average. Which? members can see how brands compare for faults over a six-year period in the table below.

Common pressure washer problems

Leaking is the biggest issue for pressure washers. Luckily, it's often avoidable. Make sure you drain your pressure washer before storing it for the winter. If the worst does happen, it might be possible to buy a replacement for the pump and plastic components through the manufacturer's website.

Top three common pressure washer faults

1. 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.



2. Hose split (11%) -

This is a fairly major fault, though you can usually buy a replacement hose to avoid throwing out the whole pressure washer.



3. Lance broke (11%) -

This could be due to a blocked nozzle, the plastic splitting or the deal breaking down. Try to clean out the nozzle and assemble the lance properly before using.

For the best chance of buying a pressure washer that doesn't break down, choose from one of the more reliable brands in the table below.

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

Brand name % fault-free after six years
Brand 1 87%
Brand 2 81%
Brand 3 75%
Table notes

Results based on feedback from 1,089 pressure washer owners, surveyed in January 2020.

How long will my pressure washer last?

On average, people keep their pressure washers for just over seven years before replacing them. That's according to the experiences of Which? members who told us how long they kept their previous pressure washer from a brand before they replaced it, either due to a fault, or because it wasn’t working as well as when they first bought it.

As you can see from the graph below, there’s a big difference between how long the best and the worst pressure washer brands last.

Which? members can log in to view which pressure washer brands last the longest before they need to be replaced. If you're not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

How we measure faults and reliability in pressure washers

Our data takes into account minor, major and catastrophic faults:

  • Minor faults don't affect the product's performance significantly, or only occur occasionally with minimal impact. This issue may be irritating or annoying, but isn't frequently problematic, and you can easily work around it.
  • Major faults have a noticeable effect on the product’s performance. They affect how you use the product and can be problematic.
  • Catastrophic faults will render the product unusable, with the fault needing to be repaired or parts replaced before it can be used again.

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.

Only logged-in members can view the hidden results in the tables below. If you’re not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Bosch pressure washers overview table
Number tested7
Number of Best Buys
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Average test score
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Brand reliability rating
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Customer score (%)
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Typical spend
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Table notesAverage test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 1 June 2020). The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey conducted in January 2020 of 64 Bosch pressure washer owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated June 2020.
  • Find out whether Bosch pressure washers are more or less reliable than other brands
  • See how Bosch owners rate their pressure washers
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.
Karcher pressure washers overview table
Number tested10
Number of Best Buys
Member icon
Average test score
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Brand reliability rating
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Customer score (%)
Member icon
Typical spend
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Table notesAverage test scores based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 1 June 2020). The customer scores and brand reliability ratings are based on a Which? member survey conducted in January 2020 of 1412 Karcher pressure washer owners. The customer scores are based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated June 2020.
  • Find out how likely a Karcher pressure washer is to develop a fault
  • See how much people typically spend when buying a Karcher barbecue
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.
Nilfisk pressure washers table
Number tested15
Number of Best Buys
Member icon
Average test score
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Brand reliability rating
Member icon
Customer score (%)
Member icon
Typical spend
Member icon
Table notesAverage test score based on results of models tested in the past three years (as of 1 June 2020). The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey conducted in January 2020 of 158 Nilfisk pressure washer owners. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend, and reliability is based on members’ experience of that brand. Table last updated June 2020.
  • Find out how likely a Nilfisk pressure washer is to develop a fault
  • See how Nilfisk pressure washers perform in our tests and how many earn our coveted Best Buy recommendation
  • Only logged-in Which? members can view our exclusive reliability ratings and verdicts. If you're not yet a member, Join Which? to get instant access.

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:

  • Bosch pressure washer reviews
  • Karcher pressure washer reviews
  • Nilfisk pressure washer reviews

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 likely they would be to recommend a brand, to how reliable the products are once you get them home. This year, almost 5,000 members told us about more than 11,000 products. We calculate a brand's reliability and its customer score based on the results of our biennial survey.

Our reliability 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 reliability is shown.

View all Pressure washers