Which pressure washer brand to buy
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.
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.
|Brand||Reliability score||Customer satisfaction score|
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.
|Brand name||% fault-free after six years|
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.
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.
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.