5 Best Pressure Washers for Car Cleaning: All Budgets Included


Using a pressure washer is pretty much essential if you want to do a good job at cleaning your car. There are tonnes on the market though, so it can be hard to narrow it down to one that suits your budget and specs.

In this article, I’ll be comparing the top pressure washers for car cleaning and giving my overall recommendation as to which is the best. So let’s get started.

Best Options

Here are the best pressure washers for car cleaning:

  • Nilfisk Compact C135i (best overall)
  • Karcher K4 Power Control
  • Bosch AQT 45-14 X
  • Kranzle K1050 TS (best premium option)
  • Karcher K2 Compact (best budget option)

Overall Comparison

I’ll be giving a more detailed explanation of the specifications of each pressure washer on this list, but here is a quick comparison of the main pressure washers available for car cleaning.

FeatureKärcher K4 Power ControlNilfisk Compact C135iBosch AQT 45-14 XKranzle K1050 TSKärcher K2 Compact
Max Pressure130 bar135 bar140 bar160 bar110 bar
Max flow rate420 L/ hour440 L/hour450 L/ hour450 L/ hour360 L/ hour
Hose length8 meters8 meters5 meters8 meters4 meters 
Weight11.5 kg15.8 kg22 kg21 kg3.7 kg
WarrantyUp to 3 years*2 year home useUp to 3 years*2 year home useUp to 3 years*
Average Price£200 / $270£170 / $240£160 / $220£475 / $650£70/ $129
* 2 years standard warranty with an extra year available if purchased through Karcher directly for Karcher models. 3 year warranty for Bosch model if register with MyBosch-Tools within 28 days of purchase

As you can see, there are quite a few options in this list to suit certain budgets and requirements. I’ll next go through the pros and cons of each pressure washer individually.

Nilfisk Compact C135i

Nilfisk are another very popular pressure washer manufacturer which caters for home use offering very good value for money. Although not quite as renowned as Karcher K4, the Nilfisk Compact C135i has marginally better specs at a lower cost.

Specifications:

  • 135 bar max pressure
  • 440 L/ hour flow rate
  • 8 meter cable
  • 305 x 295 x 885 mm
  • 15.8 kg
  • 2 year warranty

Click image to view on Amazon

Advantages

  • Relatively low price compared to other similar models
  • Solid max pressure and flow rate
  • 8 meter hose is plenty

Disadvantages

  • Few extras
  • Reasonably heavy compared to other models of similar spec
  • Mainly plastic construction

Overall Thoughts

The Nilfisk Compact C135i offers the best value for money in a pressure washer on this list.

Find the Nilfisk C Series on Amazon.

Karcher K4 Power Control

This is one of the most popular pressure washers out there due to it’s solid specifications and excellent warranty offering. I personally use a Karcher K4 at the moment, and it does an excellent job at both car cleaning and taking care of patios and flagstones too.

Specifications:

  • 140 bar max pressure
  • 420 L/ hour flow rate
  • 8 meter hose
  • 11.3 kg weight
  • 397 x 305 x 584 mm dimensions
  • Up to 3 year warranty when purchased directly through Karcher

Click image to view on Amazon

Advantages

  • 8 meter hose is more than enough
  • Fairly lightweight and compact compared to other models of similar pressure/ flow rate
  • Up to 3 year warranty is above market average
  • Easy to control pressure on the lance itself

Disadvantages

  • Few extras
  • Mostly plastic construction
  • No quick release system as standard
  • Slightly more expensive than other pressure washers of similar max pressure/ flow rate

Overall Thoughts

The Karcher K4 Power Control is very good option offering an excellent warranty and solid specification.

Find the Karcher K4 on Amazon.

Bosch AQT 45-14 X

Bosch are less known for producing pressure washers than the other brands on this list, but they’ve delivered a very good all-round option and a great price. Overall, this pressure washer has solid specifications making it a great option for car washing, however it’s let down by a couple of features compared to the K4 and C135i.

Specifications:

  • 140 bar max pressure
  • 450 L/ hour flow rate
  • 5 meter hose length
  • 404 x 370 x 808 mm dimensions
  • 22 kg
  • 3 year warranty

Click image to view on Amazon

Advantages

  • Excellent max pressure/ flow rate for the price
  • Very good value for money
  • Metal water filter is a premium feature compared to Nilfisk and Karcher
  • 3 year warranty option

Disadvantages

  • Aftermarket upgrade options are limited
  • Relatively short hose length
  • Significantly heavier compared to models of similar pressure/ flow rate

Overall Thoughts

Exellent value for money however slightly let down by the hose length, weight and fewer options for aftermarket upgrades compared to Karcher, Kranzle and Nilfisk models.

Find the Bosch AQT on Amazon

Kranzle K1050 TS

Kranzle are well known for producing very high quality pressure washers, and top Karcher and Nilfisk when it comes to construction. This is by far the most premium, and most expensive option for the list and would suit car owners looking for something top of the range, that’s still catered price-wise for home use.

Specifications:

  • 160 bar max pressure
  • 450 L/ hour flow rate
  • 8 meter hose length
  • 365 x 360 x 750 mm dimensions
  • 21 kg
  • 2 year warranty

Click image to view on Amazon

Advantages

  • Brass and stainless steel construction/ lance offers better durability
  • High pressure makes it suitable for more than just car washing
  • Rapid change system for triggers

Disadvantages

  • I would expect a longer warranty considering the price
  • Expensive considering it has similar pressure/ flow rate to Nilfisk and Karcher models
  • Heavy

Overall Thoughts

The best option if you are looking for a top-of-the-line domestic pressure washer with great durability and specifications.

Find the Kranzel K1050 on Amazon

Karcher K2 Compact

The final pressure washer on this list is best suited to those looking for a budget option, without having to sacrifice too much. Karcher is well known for producing high quality jet washers, and this entry-level model is a solid option that doesn’t break the bank.

Specifications:

  • 110 bar max pressure
  • 360 L/ hour flow rate
  • 4 meter hose length
  • 180 x 219 x 389 mm dimensions
  • 3.7 kg
  • Up to 3 years warranty

Click image to view on Amazon

Advantages

  • Very lightweight and compact
  • Low cost
  • Up to 3 years warranty

Disadvantages

  • Relatively weak pressure and flow rate
  • Short hose length

Overall Thoughts

The Karcher K2 Compact is a really good budget option, however some may find the max pressure and hose length a bit limiting.

Find the Karcher K2 Compact on Amazon

What Do You Need in a Pressure Washer?

To choose which pressure washer is most suitable for you, it’s best to know what pressure/ flow rate and other features are most important.

For car cleaning, the following specifications are recommended:

  • Pressure: 110-150 Bar
  • Flow Rate: 350-500 litres/ hour (LPM)

A jet washer with a pressure of much lower than 110 Bar is usually not strong enough to remove dirt effectively from the vehicle. There is not much of a benefit of going above 150 bar pressure when cleaning a car, and if the pressure is too high, it can damage the paintwork.

There are other factors you may want to consider as well.

  • Weight and shape
  • Hose length
  • Cable length
  • Controls and ease if use
  • Warranty
  • Extras and accessories

Thanks for reading! I hope you’ve found this article helpful. Don’t forget to check out these other guides you may find useful.

Heather

I first became interested in car detailing around 3 years ago and learnt all the main techniques on my very first car. I spend a lot of time detailing my current car, and trying to keep my family's cars looking presentable too!

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