After testing several 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 offers newer models, the K4 provides all the performance you require for car valeting and great value for the money at the same time. However, to provide you with a selection of car pressure washers to choose from, we’ve also recommended other machines based on our testing and research.
In terms of rating the car pressure washers within this article, we based our recommendations on testing various machines, the latest research and several factors. Some of the factors that were considered included the machine’s 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 searching for a car pressure washer. This is because too much pressure has the potential to cause damage to the car. Instead, you should look at car pressure washers that produce between 100 to 140 bar and offer a range of useful features.
Below is a list of the best car pressure washers that are safe to use 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 on 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 offers 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 is a brand that specializes in pressure washers and they have a huge selection up for offer. The C 110 model is their budget model that offers excellent performance when compared to many of the premium alternatives.
In terms of 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 offers several 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 several 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 offers 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 is a brand that’s well-known for its garden hoses but they also produce a few pressure washers. The compact 140 model is the best machine they offer and it includes 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 offers 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 machine 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.
To improve the longevity of the pressure washer, it features stainless steel pistons and an aluminium pump head, which work in line 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
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 on our own experience, the latest research 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 but much cheaper.
During our testing, we tested all the settings of the pressure washer as well as various attachments (as shown in the images below) to see how it performed. We also judged how easy they were to set up and use for car valeting. This is important because many pressure washers are designed to be used as “regular” machines and not just for cleaning cars.
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 is a video we posted on our YouTube channel that shows us testing one of our recommendations (Karcher K4). As you can see in the video, you can select multiple modes on the Karcher K4 and easily blast away dirt. It’s worth pointing out that before using the pressure washer in our video, we had used snow foam on the car as a pre-wash solution.
Investing in a pressure washer for car valeting allows you to be more thorough with your car cleaning. It also allows you to use some of the best-rated snow foams, which cover your car in foam and acts as a pre-wash.
To avoid disappointment, we advise that you purchase a machine from a reputable brand that provides warranties. In terms of power output, you’ll 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 pressure.
If you require further information with regards to the pressure washers we’ve recommended, feel free to get in touch and we will try to help out where possible.
Car Pressure Washer FAQ's
Using a pressure washer to wash your car is slightly more time-consuming to set up but it makes the cleaning process much easier.
To begin, you’ll want to set up 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 of 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 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 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 on these assumptions, a pressure washer can use up to 40 to 60 gallons of water per wash.