High pressure is not enough when choosing the best pressure washer


A strong motor does not help when the pressure washer stops working after 27 out of 300 cleanings and a stiff and difficult-to-handle hose makes hosing down challenging.




Håkan Lövström Published: 5 May, 2022

Now that the sun is finally starting to show, it also becomes clear that both the terrace and the driveway would need a refresh. For those who do not want to hassle with soap and scrubbing brush, it is often the pressure washing that comes to use.

Testfakta assigned the accredited laboratory SLG Prüf- und Zertifizierungs GmbH to test eight simpler models of pressure washers.

-   Our tests show that the engine performance itself and the declared maximum pressure are not decisive. A good nozzle is much more important for the end result, explains Andreas Müller, test engineer at SLG in Hartmannsdorf.




The laboratory test included, among other things, an endurance test where each machine would pass 300 test cycles. Each test cycle consists of the machine running at maximum power for 15 minutes and then resting for three minutes. The procedure is repeated but now with 12 minutes at maximum and ten minutes of rest before the next cycle takes over. It may be worth noting that 300 cycles would correspond to very frequent use in practice.


Only three (Husqvarna, Ava and Ryobi), of the eight pressure washers, survived all 300 cycles. In the middle of the field were Kärcher and Nilfisk. Things went worse for Bosch and Jula, which passed 174 and 126 test cycles respectively before they collapsed. In an indisputable last place in the endurance test, we find Biltema where the handle itself stopped working after 27 test cycles.


Husqvarna received the best overall rating, but no one is the best at everything. The laboratory reacted to the fact that several of the washers had hoses that were not optimal for the task.

-   I am disappointed that such a prestigious brand as Kärcher has a hard and difficult to handle hose. And Husqvarna, which has a construction where the entire hose must be rolled out to be used. Come on, it's 2022 now, says Andreas Müller, who explains that a difficult-to-handle hose can make the machine stand still and collect dust.


At Andreas Müller's home, the pressure washer only appears a couple of times a year.

-   In the spring, I usually rinse off the outdoor furniture. But otherwise it will only be sometime that I wash the driveway with the machine if it is really dirty. You have to be careful so that the strong jet of water does not dig out more and more into the concrete base. Then the dirt can get a foothold and it becomes necessary to clean every other week instead of once a year, explains test leader Andreas Müller.


Tips from the lab on use:

* The pressure washers that have an adjustable nozzle should never be set in the most "pointed" position. In this position, the jet can, for example, damage the tire sides of your car. - If the rubber is damaged enough, it can pose a traffic hazard, says Andreas Müller.

* Do not use the rotating nozzle or a pointed jet on your wooden deck. The wood fibers are roughened up and it is unprotected for both water and various funghi or the like. However, there are various accessories for most washes that are adapted for wood washing.

* The rotating nozzle should also not be used for car washing as this can damage the paint.

* Regardless of pressure washing, you should wash the car by rinsing from the bottom up, this makes the dirt drain off easier.

* Different surfaces require different tactics. For those who want to supplement, there are often several different special nozzles and brushes to choose from.


In addition to the mandatory cleaning of outdoor furniture and patio decks, the adventurous who wants to get a little more out of their high pressure washer can also use it to peel fish. Or why not use the beam if you need to bring down the children's frisbee or ball that is stuck high up in a tree? Necessity is the mother of invention.



Facts about the test

Testfakta's editorial team has carried out a comparative laboratory test of pressure washers on behalf of Nordic media. The laboratory test has been performed by the laboratory SLG Testing and Certification GmbH in Hartmansdorf, Germany.

The criterion for the selection is pressure washers with a price below SEK 2,000.

The following products have been selected for the test:

Biltema HPW 150
Bosch Universal Aquatak 135
Husqvarna PW 235
Meec Tools 160 bar 2200 W 420 l/h
Ryobi RY130PWA

Samples of each make have been procured during the month of February 2022.

The laboratory test
Before the test, the laboratory checks that all devices are working as they should and makes an inventory of the included accessories, weighs and measures the length of the hose and electric cable, and notes the indicated power (Watt) and water pressure (bar).

The test scope includes the following main points:
* Technical performance
* Cleaning performance
* Quality and endurance
* Ergonomics and ease of use

The technical performance and cleaning performance of the high-pressure washers are tested with nozzles for fixed and rotating jets. In the event that only one of these nozzles is included in the package, the performance of both has been assessed based on the results of the nozzle available.

Technical performance:
Flow rate (liters per minute) and force on the jet are measured from a distance of 4 cm. The measurement is carried out with nozzles for fixed jet and rotating jet.

Cleaning performance:
Cleaning performance is tested by removing paint from polyurethane foam with fixed and rotating jet nozzles. The test is carried out in a specially designed rig that moves the nozzle in a predetermined movement pattern and at a given distance from the surface. Performance is assessed based on the width of the cleaned surface, how clean the surface has become (color remaining) and how the cleaning has affected the substrate. In the overall assessment, the cleanliness of the surface and the impact on the substrate weigh the most.

Quality and durability:
In the endurance test, the high-pressure washer is allowed to run for 300 cycles. Each cycle lasts 40 minutes where it runs at maximum power for 15 minutes, rests for 3 minutes with the nozzle closed, followed by another 12 minutes at maximum power and then finally rests with the nozzle closed for 10 minutes. In cases where the pressure washer stops working before 300 cycles are reached, the number of approved cycles and the reason why they stopped working are noted. To find out more details about which component caused the failure, the pressure washer is opened up and internal components such as the pump, motor and couplings are examined.

Ergonomics and ease of use:
The laboratory assesses how easily the high-pressure washers are assembled using the supplied assembly instructions and how easy it is to get started with use. The assessment evaluates and takes into account how clear the assembly instructions are, if tools are needed, the fit of various components and the force required for assembly.

The laboratory evaluates the ergonomics of the handle and assesses the ease of use with regard to the flexibility of the hose, changing nozzles, adjusting the effect, adjusting the jet on the nozzle, storing accessories, refilling cleaning agents and how easy the pressure washer is to move both during work and for storage. The assessment also includes how easily the pressure washer is cleaned after use.

Grading and weighting:
Technical performance 10%
Cleaning performance 35%
Quality and Endurance 35%
Ergonomics and ease of use 20%