After testing a number of different machines as well as plenty of research, we found that the best pressure washer for cars is the Kärcher K4 Full Control. Although the brand offer newer models, the K4 provides all the performance you require for car valeting and great value for the money at the same time.
In terms of rating the car pressure washers within this article, we based our recommendations upon testing various machines as well as multiple factors. The factors that were considered included performance, available attachments, features, warranty, weight, portability, hose length and value for money.
Best Car Pressure Washer Overview
- Best Overall: Kärcher K4
- Best All-Rounder: Nilfisk C 110
- Best Performance For The Money: Bosch Aquatak 135
- Best Budget: Hozelock 140 Small & Mighty
- Best Budget Complete Package: Wilks RX510
- Best Compact: Makita HW101
It’s important to note that you aren’t looking for the most powerful machine when looking for a car pressure washer. Too much pressure has the potential to cause damage to the paintwork, rubber or other components of the car. Instead, you should look at car pressure washers that produce between 100 to 140 bar and provide a range of additional features.
Below is a list of the best car pressure washers that are safe to use for valeting and are packed with intuitive features.
The Best Pressure Washer For Cars
1. Best Overall: Kärcher K4 Car Pressure Washer
Kärcher is one of the most well-known brands for pressure washers in the UK and they produce a range of models. The K4 pressure washer is by far the most popular and is ideal for car valeting with a max flow rate of 420 l/h.
A standout feature of this pressure washer is the LED display upon the trigger gun. It allows you to select the pressure you require as well as view the current status of the machine.
The Kärcher K4 Full Control is a high quality pressure washer that ticks all the boxes and is perfect for washing cars. It’s also backed by a three year warranty for complete peace of mind.
Although Kärcher offer a range of high performing pressure washers, the K4 offers the best bang for your buck. It provides more than enough pressure and flow rate as well as variable settings for tackling other tasks such as the patio.
2. Best All-Rounder: Nilfisk C 110 Compact Pressure Washer
Nilfisk are a brand that specialize in pressure washers and offer a huge selection. The C 110 model is their budget model that offers excellent performance when compared to many of the premium alternatives.
In terms of the performance, it provides a flow rate of up to 440 litres per hour and a max pressure output of 110 bar.
If the Karcher K4 is out of your price range, the Nilfisk C 110 is the best alternative that won’t disappoint. The brand also offer a number of more powerful alternatives but for use as a car pressure washer, the Nilfisk C 110 is perfect.
3. Best Performance For The Money: Bosch Aquatak 135 Jet Wash
The Bosch Aquatak series is available in a number of variations but the 135 model is the best for car valeting. It offers a flow rate of 410 litres per hour and 135 bar of pressure for blasting dirt away from the car.
Depending upon the type of cleaning you are trying to achieve, you can adjust the nozzle to either a fan, rotary or point jet. It’s a versatile 3-in-1 nozzle that takes seconds to adjust by simply spinning the end of the lance.
Overall, the Bosch Aquatak is a high performing car pressure washer that comes pre-assembled out of the box and is ready to use straight away. The brand also offer lower priced models but the 135 provides a far greater flow rate at 410 l/h, which is required for efficient car washing.
4. Best Budget: Hozelock 140 Small & Mighty Power Washer
Hozelock are a brand that are well-known for their garden hoses but they also produce a few pressure washers. The compact 140 model is the best machine they offer as it include a long life aluminium motor with a 1,700 watt output.
Although it’s small in size, the Hozelock 140 packs quite a punch in terms of its performance. It provides a maximum flow rate of 438 litres per hour and the pressure is rated up to 140 bar.
The Hozelock 140 is an excellent all-round pressure washer for cars that provides plenty of performance for such a small machine. Although it does lack certain features, it’s far cheaper than the likes of Karcher or Bosch machines.
5. Best Budget Complete Package: Wilks RX510 Car Pressure Washer
One of the cheapest car pressure washers that’s actually worth buying is the Wilks RX510. It’s a lightweight electric machine that’s capable of producing a max pressure output of 135 bar and a flow rate of 450 litres per hour.
Although this particular model is the brand’s budget option, it shares many components with their premium machines. Such features include the high quality copper wound motor as well as a high performance “Vari-Nozzle” design.
Although the brand offer more powerful machines, the RX510 is perfect for car valeting and you cannot go wrong with this budget option. The RX510 offers great value and far superior build quality when compared to similar priced models.
6. Best Compact: Makita HW101 Pressure Washer
Another compact unit that provides plenty of performance for car valeting is the Makita HW101. It’s powered by a 1,300 watt electric motor and features a total stop system that switches the motor on or off via the lance trigger.
In order to improve the longevity of the pressure washer, it features stainless steel pistons and an aluminium pump head, which work inline with the reliable electric motor.
Although small in size, the Makita HW101 provides plenty of cleaning power for tackling even the dirtiest of cars. It’s also far cheaper than many of the premium brands that offer similar size machines.
How We Rated The Car Pressure Washers
A car pressure washer is a big investment for many people and it’s worthwhile spending your time to find the best. To help you choose, our recommendations have been rated based upon our own experience as well as multiple factors. We have tried and tested pressure washers from all the big brands but the Karcher K4 is certainly the best. I am sure the newer models by the brand are just as good but the K4 model is all that you need and much cheaper.
As well as testing, we also based our recommendations on multiple factors. These factors included their performance, available attachments, features, warranty, weight, portability, hose length and value for money.
Below are some photos and videos on our Instagram page of us testing pressure washers whilst cleaning a few cars.
Investing into a pressure washer for car valeting allows you to be more thorough with your car cleaning. It also gives you the opportunity to use some of the best rated snow foams, which covers your car in foam and acts as a pre-wash.
To avoid disappointment, we advise that you purchase from reputable brands in the UK that provide warranties. In terms of the power output, you will want to avoid excessively powerful machines unless they provide multiple power modes. As a general rule, we recommend car pressure washers that provide between 100 to 140 bar of pressure.
Car Pressure Washer FAQ's
Using a pressure washer to wash your car is slightly more time consuming to setup but it makes the cleaning process much easier.
To begin, you’ll want to setup the pressure washer by putting it near the car, attaching a water supply and powering it up with an extension lead. You then have the choice of using a snow foam attachment and covering the car in snow foam as a pre-wash.
Regardless to whether you use snow foam or not, you can begin to use the pressure washer by rinsing the car down from top to bottom.
Afterwards, begin to wash your car as normal or insert a detergent into the machine to use instead of a standard car shampoo. Once you’ve covered the car in shampoo or detergent, put the pressure washer on a rinse setting and clear the car.
Using a pressure washer is really that easy and it gives you far more cleaning power for a deeper clean.
When it comes to cleaning cars, you don’t want to use a pressure washer that’s too powerful because you run the risk of damaging the clear coat or paint. Therefore, as a general rule, it’s recommended that you use a pressure washer that’s rated to a maximum of 2,000 PSI. Alternatively, if your machine is more powerful, you’ll want to set it to a “car” safe mode upon the trigger, which can be found on most Karcher pressure washers.
The average pressure washer for cars doesn’t use as much water as you would think and it actually uses less water than a standard hose pipe. This is because they have clever features such as automatic shut off valves that prevent the continuous flow of water as you are washing your car.
In terms of how much water pressure washers use, you’ll want to pay attention to the GPM (gallons per minute) rating of the machine. Most standard car pressure washers have a GPM rating of 2 to 3 GPM and on average, a pressure washer may run for at least 20 minutes per wash. Therefore, based upon these assumptions, a pressure washer can use up to 40 to 60 gallons of water per wash.