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Pressure cleaner buying guide

Compare models from Bosch, Briggs & Stratton, RYOBI, Kärcher and more to find the perfect pressure washer for heavy-duty home cleaning.

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Active Senior Man Cleaning the Terrace with High Pressure

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Quick facts about pressure cleaner:

  • Whether you're cleaning your patio, driveway, car or something else, a pressure washer is a handy tool to have in your garage.
  • With a whole lot more power than your average garden hose, pressure cleaners can help you blast moss, dirt, mud and grime off a variety of surfaces.
  • The cost of a pressure cleaner ranges from $50 to over $1,000.

Compare some of the best pressure cleaners

Data obtained December 2018. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
Name Product Average Price (AUD) Max Pressure (PSI) Max Flow Rate (litres/min) Detergent Tank/Bottle Weight (kg) Purchase Today
Gerni Classic 110.5
Gerni Classic 110.5
$201.50
1,590
5.17
Yes
6
Gerni’s Classic 110.5 is compact and handy for basic outdoor cleaning.
Ryobi RPW140-G
Ryobi RPW140-G
$210
2,000
6.67
Yes
7.7
The Ryobi RPW140-G has a 5m long hose and an adjustable lance to make it easy to clean difficult to reach places.
Karcher K2 Plus
Karcher K2 Plus
$212.99
1,600
6
Yes
5
The Karcher K2 Plus is ideal for cleaning cars, bicycles, garden tools and garden furniture.
Hitachi AW130
Hitachi AW130
$273.48
1,885
6
Yes
8.3
The Hitachi AW130 features an automatic start/stop, a durable metal pump and a built-in thermal protector to prevent overheating.
Briggs & Stratton BWS018
Briggs & Stratton BWS018
$423.95
1,880
6.6
Yes
6.5
Briggs & Stratton’s BWS018 is ideal for light residential cleaning and includes a turbo nozzle for faster cleaning.
Bosch AQT 45-14 X
Bosch AQT 45-14 X
$499
2,030
7.5
Yes
22
The Bosch AQT 45-14 X is designed for powerful and flexible cleaning with specially coordinated nozzles, all-terrain wheels and telescopic handles.
Karcher K4 Premium
Karcher K4 Premium
$499.08
1,900
7
Yes
12
The Karcher K4 Premium lets you have full control with a hose reel featuring a built-in pressure indicator.
Gerni Super 130.3
Gerni Super 130.3
$535
1,885
7.5
Yes
17.8
The Gerni Super 130.3 is tailored for home use, with a hose, foam sprayer, turbo and tornado nozzles.
Briggs & Stratton BWS020
Briggs & Stratton BWS020
$588.95
2,030
7.5
Yes
8.7
The Briggs & Stratton BWS020 is a premium pressure washer with an adjustable fan-jet nozzle for greater flexibility and easy cleaning.
Ryobi RPW3600
Ryobi RPW3600
$610.99
1,800
6
Yes
12
Ryobi’s RPW3600 is a portable pressure washer console designed for outdoor cleaning.
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What is a pressure cleaner?

A pressure cleaner is a tool that connects to your garden tap and delivers a powerful, high-pressure stream of water through a cleaning nozzle. Also known as pressure washers and water blasters, these cleaners provide a fast and efficient way to clean driveways, patios, tiles, concrete, cars, bikes and more.

Why should I consider a pressure cleaner?

The main advantage of using a pressure cleaner is that if you need to give a dirty, muddy or mouldy area a deep clean, a pressure cleaner is much quicker and easier than a hose, bucket and scrubbing brush.

You can use a pressure washer for a wide range of cleaning jobs, including the following:

  • Removing oil stains and dirt from concrete
  • Blasting moss and slime from tiles and patios
  • Hosing dried mud off your car
  • Cleaning outdoor furniture
  • Prepping surfaces for painting

Why shouldn't I consider a pressure cleaner?

If you only really need a pressure washer for a one-off job, you might be better off renting one for a day from an equipment hire service like Kennards Hire. Check the daily rates in your area before deciding whether hiring might be a more sensible option.

Also, you don't always need to spend a lot to get the cleaning power you want. If you only want a pressure cleaner for basic jobs, for example blasting mud off your bicycle and getting your outdoor furniture looking new, an entry-level model for less than $200 should have all the power you need.

What types are available?

You have three main options when choosing a pressure cleaner:

Electric pressure cleaners
  • As they're generally easier to use and maintain than petrol-powered washers, electric pressure cleaners are usually a good choice for most homeowners. They're affordable, don't require too much maintenance and have enough power to tackle a wide range of cleaning jobs around the home. However, as they plug into your home power points, you'll need to deal with the hassle of lugging around a power cord (and possibly an extension cord as well).
Petrol-powered pressure cleaners
  • If you want extra power to tackle bigger cleaning tasks or you simply don't fancy being tethered to an extension cord, a petrol-powered washer may be worth considering. More portable and more durable than electric washers, they're suitable for heavy-duty work and use in remote areas. However, they're noisier and heavier than electric models, need fuel and require more upkeep.
Battery-powered pressure cleaners
  • Though less popular than the first two options, there are a few manufacturers that offer battery-powered models. They can be convenient and easy to use, and the battery which powers your pressure cleaner may also be able to run several other garden tools from the same manufacturer. However, battery-powered models often can't offer the same power as other options.

How to compare pressure cleaners

Cost will always be a major consideration when buying a pressure cleaner. You can pick up an entry-level electric-powered model for around $50, but most units sit within the $100-$600 price range. As a general rule, the more money you spend, the more cleaning power you'll get. Petrol-powered pressure cleaners start at $300 and go up to around $2,000 for an industrial-grade model.

There are many additional factors you should take into account when buying a pressure cleaner. Here's what you need to consider:

Nozzles and attachments

Some manufacturers provide an all-in-one adjustable nozzle to change the angle and force of the spray, while others provide a set of interchangeable nozzles. Check what nozzles and attachments are included as standard to suit different surfaces. Regular options include pinpoint spray, a wide fan nozzle and turbo (or rotary) nozzle.

Also consider what brushes the pressure washer comes with to help you scrub your back deck, wash your car, clean drains or perform other specialist tasks. For example, a patio cleaner attachment can be an extremely useful inclusion if you have a large outdoor area to clean.

Pressure and flow rate

There are two key factors that determine the cleaning power of a pressure washer: water pressure and flow rate. Check the maximum water pressure for any unit you're considering – 1,600-2,500psi is a common range for electric-powered pressure cleaners. Some models feature an LED display to allow you to easily check the pressure setting you are using.

Also, check the maximum rated flow (measured in litres/minute, or gallons/minute if shopping with a US retailer) of the unit you're considering – electric units are commonly between 5 and 7.5L/minute.

Lance

Also known as the spray wand, this directs the spray onto whatever surface you're cleaning. Metal wands are more durable than plastic ones, and it's also important that the wand is long enough for you to reach the ground without stooping.

Some models come with extension wands for jobs like cleaning second-storey windows, and angled wands that can work with an extension wand to clean gutters.

Hose length

Check the length of the hose that runs from the body of the cleaner to the spray lance. The longer it is, the easier the machine will be to use.

Storage

Some models incorporate storage space for the lance and hose into the unit so they take up less room in your shed.

Detergent

Most pressure cleaners feature some sort of detergent injection system for increased cleaning power.

Additional features

  • Portability. Most electric and battery-powered pressure cleaners weigh somewhere between 5kg and 20kg, but petrol-powered models are heavier. Check the weight quoted on the specs sheet to make sure you'll be able to comfortably manoeuvre the unit around as you clean.A unit with large, sturdy wheels will make it easier to move around and negotiate obstacles as you clean.Also, the longer the power cord on an electric model, the easier it is to clean without having to change power points or grapple with an extension cord. Most cords are five metres or longer.
  • Automatic cut-off. This feature ensures that the washer only sprays water while you depress the trigger, allowing you to move from place to place and shift obstacles without spraying water this way and that. A safety lock on the trigger will also ensure that you don't accidentally start spraying.
  • Running time. If you're considering a battery- or petrol-powered model, check how much cleaning you can expect to finish before you run out of juice.
  • Warranty. Check the length of the manufacturer's warranty – most will offer at least two years of protection – and exactly what it covers.

Which pressure cleaner is best for me?

To decide on the best pressure cleaner for your needs, you'll need to consider exactly how you plan on using it. What type of cleaning will you be doing? Do you want electric, petrol or battery power? How much are you willing to spend? Once you know what sort of cleaner you want, you can then start comparing your options.

To help simplify the shopping process, we've compared the pros and cons of five popular pressure washers in the table below:

The goodThe bad
Bosch AQT 45-14 X
  • Sturdy and durable
  • High pressure and excellent flow rate
  • A little heavy
  • More power than some users will need
Briggs & Stratton BWS020
  • Powerful
  • Impressive flow rate
  • Not cheap
  • Not as many attachments as some other models
Ryobi RPW140-G
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use and manoeuvre
  • Trigger uncomfortable on longer jobs
  • Difficulty working out how to use detergent dispenser
Kärcher K4 Premium
  • Easy to use
  • Powerful
  • Unnecessary LED display
  • No patio brush
Gerni Classic 110.5
  • Affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Reduced water flow compared to some other models
  • Low maximum pressure

Pressure cleaner tips

There are a couple of important things to remember before using a pressure cleaner:

  • Stay safe. Pressure cleaners are seriously powerful machines and should always be used with caution. Getting in the way of a misdirected spray, particularly when the nozzle is on the narrowest setting, could do serious damage and lead to a trip to the emergency room.
  • Be careful with paintwork. When using a pressure cleaner on your home or car, be very wary of damaging paintwork. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and always err on the side of caution when setting water pressure.

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