Written by Terry Smith

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UK’s best compact portable pressure washers rated for power to weight ratio, size, and price

This article was last updated on April 23rd, 2022 at 5:34 am

A portable pressure washer lay somewhere between a cordless pressure washer and an electric pressure washer with the added benefit that they are 5 times or more powerful than a cordless version – you may still want one without a power lead so please follow the link provided. Portable versions also very much more mobile than a large, bulky electric pressure washer. This makes a portable washer ideal for someone looking to do reasonably heavy work (like cleaning Algae off furniture or patio with the ability to move about the garden and outdoors quickly without too much weight. Of course, there’s a balance of power and manoeuvrability but some of these latest portable pressure washers are really packing a punch.

So in this review we’ve rated the best portable pressure washers on compactness, weight, price, build quality, and ability to really lift dirt:

Best portable pressure washer: Norse SK90 Portable Pressure Washer – won it on weight to power ratio – the best for sure and value.
Most compact washer: Kärcher K2 Compact Pressure Washer – lovely design and easy to carry and use
Budget pick: Kärcher K2 Compact Pressure Washer incredible value for a known brand since making the new model of K2 but a worth opponent is the Turtle Wax
Proven long term reliability: Bosch EasyAquatak 120 High Pressure Washer

What to look for when buying a compact portable pressure washer

There are a few key factors when looking for a portable pressure washer. There’s small and there’s small. One small is powerful the other not so. Sometimes compact can mean it gives up some of its performance, and other models not so much. So what you really need to consider is how easy the unit is to carry around, how much power that unit has, and how easy the lance and hose are to operate / put away when finished. Does it take much effort to put the lance away and break it down so that it can fit neatly back into the unit itself?

Many of the most well-known brands have portable pressure washer models available in the UK. Bosch have the EasyAquatak range, Karcher have the Kärcher K2 Compact Pressure Washer, and there are others such as Yard Force and Hoselock too. In addition to these, there are also a ton of products from lesser known companies, a lot of junk from China, and some up and coming brands.

To help you sift through all of these, we have put together this page of reviews for the best UK portable pressure washers. Enjoy.

Power to weight ratio

I think we will agree the power to weight ratio is almost the key factor when picking a compact pressure washer that easy to carry and very portable. In this respect I think the max output of the Norse SK90 Portable Pressure Washer is a super buy as far as compact pressure washers go. The Bosch is second spot with 120 bar at 5kg. The Kärcher is just slightly behind that but I feel like I prefer the overall design of the Karcher that little bit more.

How easy to assemble and disassemble the washer?

I have to say in the olden days this was more of a problem than now. Since the birth of reviews we have this situation whereby if something is rubbish, it’s quickly highlighted and therefore products develop quickly to meet customers expectations. So with these compact pressure washers, you just don’t find that many issues in terms of setup – I’d say they all take less than a couple of minutes in this review.

Karcher K2 Pressure Washer is easy to assemble just plug in the hose and twist clock the lance

Value

These little compact portable pressure washers are all lovely value if I’m honest the Turtle Wax is proving to be a real winner, that and the newer model Kärcher K2 Compact Pressure Washer – they know exactly what they’ve done with this model – try to price everyone out of the compact pressure washer market, and to be honest the record number of sales prove the strategy worked. I personally also feel the Norse is also a great buy.

What can a portable compact pressure washer actually clean?

When it comes to the compact pressure washers you are buying them for their portability and free manoeuvrability. So the drawback or cost if you like is the power. You can reasonably expect a small pressure washer to pull algae and moss off of walls and decking. From there on down it can manage window and conservatory cleaning. Washing vehicles is no problem at all either – but there’s no way you’ll strip a patio of oily stains or a pathway of the rubber tyre marks – I know well as I’ve personally tested compact pressure washers and it sent me around the twist – to the point I bought a petrol jet washer.

Decking after its been blasted by a compact pressure washer

Best compact pressure washer reviews

I start my reviews with what in my mind is the best portable pressure washer. It’s well built, priced sensibly, reliable, and delivers loads of cleaning power. What more could you ask for from a portable pressure washer after all? It has a couple of niggles but we will go through that in detail just now.

Specification: Warranty: 2 years, Motor: 1800 w, Pressure: 131 bar, Flow Rate: 435 l/h, Hose Length: 3 m, Weight: 7 kg,

The Norse SK90 is everything you could want in a portable pressure washer, combining very compact dimensions with excellent cleaning performance. I have to say putting it together was pleasantly surprised how easy and I’ve literally done this with about 15 different compact portable pressure washers in my lifetime – they just keep getting better and better – here’s a look at how easy it is to operate first, then lets talk about the good and bad together:

When I say compact, I really mean it. The SK990 can be carried in one hand, and that is with the hose and wand in their storage spot on the main unit. Weighing only 7kg, it is even possible to hold while spraying with the other hand, thus avoiding the whole ‘pulling the machine over’ complaint that I’ve heard so many times.

Not that I would worry if the SK90 did topple over. This thing is solidly built with some heavy-duty plastics and gives no concerns over robustness and durability. The same can be said for the connectors, wand, and hose, but I did feel like the car washing attachment didn’t seem to be as well-made.

Speaking of attachments, this portable pressure washer comes with a triangle brush, a rotary brush, a multi-jet nozzle, and a powerful 90-degree turbo nozzle. All of these are easy to swap over thanks to the quick connect system, and there wasn’t any leaking that I could detect while under operation, although I did drip water while changing from one to another.

Despite its small size, the SK90 contains a powerful 1800-watt motor, and this helps it produce some pretty impressive specs. For example, this mighty little machine has a maximum pressure of 131 bar, or 1900psi, and a max water flow rate of 435 litres per hour, allowing you to use it to clean the car, blast moss of the patio, wall, or fence, and other tough tasks that would be too much for most cordless pressure washers.

When it comes to water sources, you have options with this product, and it can be fed directly from the mains supply, or you can simply use a bucket or other standing source. I was actually impressed by the suction of this machine when working from a bucket, and it makes it a viable alternative when needed.

Things that could be improved upon with this model are the length of the hose and the size of the shampoo bottle. In my opinion, both are on the small side, and could do with an upgrade. I know, I’m picking at little things, but I just think that these small changes would make this product hard to beat for the price.

Specification: Warranty: 2 years, Motor: 1400 w, Pressure: 110 bar, Flow Rate: 330 l/h, Hose Length: 5 m, Weight: 6.5 kg,

Turtle Wax might be best known for their car cleaning products, but this portable pressure washer of theirs shows that they are far from being a one-trick-pony.

But first, let’s address the elephant in the room. This product looks strikingly similar to the Norse SK90, right down to the way the hose, spray gun, and cable are stored on the main unit. In fact, looking at it from the outside, the only real difference is the colour scheme. Let’s take a look at how this works:

None of this is a bad thing, as this kind of design keeps everything very compact, and just what you want in a portable pressure washer.  The Turtle Wax TW110 is also incredibly light, even more so than the SK90, weighing not much over six and a half kilograms with everything attached.

Another area where the TW110 outshines the SK90 is the length of the spray gun hose. While I was disappointed with the range I got from Norse’s product, I’m happy to say that Turtle Wax’s offering gives you an extra 2 metres over its rival, bringing the total hose length to 5 metres, a far more practical size.

However, the 1400-watt motor in this product is smaller than the SK90, and this equates to less overall pressure at 110 bar, and a lower water flow rate of 330 litres per hour. On paper, that seems like quite a significant drop, but in real life usage, the gap between the performance of the two products didn’t seem to be that large to me.

There are no extra attachments other than the shampoo bottle and jet nozzle, although I’m pretty sure that you can buy special brushes and other accessories separately. What attachments there are all make good use of the quick connectors and changing between nozzle types and connecting hoses is really swift, smooth, and easy. The one that really stood out for me was the angle nozzle that allows you to blast into gutters. I cleaned my gutters with my petrol pressure washer which was overkill – this made life really easy I have to say.

All the connectors are plastic, but they don’t feel fragile. However, in the instructions it tells you to clean them out after every use due to there being some kind of filter inside. Personally, I usually swap plastic fittings for brass ones on any of my hose and pressure washers as I find them much more reliable and they only cost a few quid.

The Turtle Wax TW110 is yet another good quality portable pressure washer available to you that offers you a longer hose than its main rival, the SK90. It might not have as impressive a spec sheet, but I didn’t notice a massive difference between the two products as far as cleaning performance goes.

Specification: Warranty: 2 years, Motor: 1500 w, Pressure: 120 bar, Flow Rate: 350 l/h, Hose Length: 5 m, Weight: 4.7 kg,

I first reviewed the Bosch a few years ago – in my mind this has proven itself to be the most reliable of all the compact portable pressure washers.

Resembling a small suitcase or even a large handbag, at first glance the Bosch EasyAquatak 120 doesn’t look like it could produce anything more than a squirt, but plug it in, select high pressure and squeeze the trigger. You’ll be very pleasantly surprised at how much cleaning power this little gem has. In fact it has a smaller sister model, the Bosch EasyAquatak 110 High Pressure Washer which performed brilliantly in tests. This model is the step up in power so don’t be surprised by how much of a punch this packs. It’s easily the best portable pressure washer in this range and delivers huge power – it comes with an added bonus that its also easy to put together – literally a couple of minutes so getting it out isn’t a hassle, unlike my massive petrol pressure washer, which I have to admit – the only displeasure I take from it is the getting it out/putting it back! Here’s a look at that setup process:

Granted, it’s nothing like the Bosch AQT 45-14 X High-Pressure Washer that would take the skin off your back, literally, but when you’re looking for a little pressure washer the expectations are to clean the car comfortably and other light duties. This model delivers beautifully. It’s really easy to hookup as you can see and very compact:

Bosch EasyAquatak 120 High Pressure Washer

The 1500 watt electric motor gives this portable pressure washer the drive to produce 120 bar of pressure. Of course, pressure is nothing without a good water flow rate to feed it, and Bosch have come up trumps there to with the EasyAquatek having a maximum flow of 350 litres per hour. With those specs you can be sure that this portable pressure washer can wash your car, patio, driveway, and more with ease.

The Bosch EasyAquatek couldn’t be called portable if it wasn’t easy to carry, and the combination of a good sized handle and a total weight of around 5kg ensures that it ticks the box in that category.

With dimensions of 40 x 20 x 37.5 cm, this portable pressure washer is indeed compact but its wide base makes it very stable while sitting on the ground. Even if you did accidentally pull it over, this is a Bosch, and they are known for being robust, solid machines. I like the lance holder – it’s well balanced and balances nicely when not in use:

Bosch EasyAquatak 120 High Pressure Washer – sits nicely in holder when not in use

The spray gun is also a solid construction, as are the nozzles that are included with the pressure washer. There are 3 nozzles- a foam nozzle for using detergent which is good for getting the car or motorbike extra clean, a variable fan nozzle that allows to control the pressure of the spray so you don’t accidentally damage something fragile, and the rotary nozzle that is meant for blasting away stubborn dirt.

There is storage space on the main unit for the accessories, and all of them use the quick fit connector fittings so you can swap and change between them swiftly and without effort.

Alas, nothing is perfect, especially not in the world of power tools, and the Bosch has a couple of setbacks.

They are actually both the same problem- both the hose and power cord are only 5 metres long. Now that might not be a problem for most people and will probably be enough for most gardens, but I have a pretty long driveway so I had to use an extension lead.

Since then I have seen online that you can actually by an official Bosch 6 metre extension hose, so that might be something to look into if you’re after a bit more range.

Bosch EasyAquatak 120 High Pressure Washer Review

Best Bosch EasyAquatak 120 High Pressure Washer Features

What needs work on the Bosch EasyAquatak 120 High Pressure Washer

1500W electric motor Hose and power cord could be longer than 5 metres
120 bar of pressure
350 litres per hour water flow rate
Lightweight and mobile at only 5kg
Solid and robust
3 good quality spray nozzles
Quick fit connectors
Compact for easy storage
Storage space for accessories on main unit
Easy to use detergent nozzle
Variable power settings

No best pressure washers list would be complete without a Karcher product mentioned, and we won’t disappoint you here. Here is the compact version of the Karcher K2…

Specification: Warranty: 2 years, Motor: 1400 w, Pressure: 110 bar, Flow Rate: 360 l/h, Hose Length: 4 m, Weight: 5 kg,

Since I first wrote this review Karcher have upgraded the K2 Compact – it’s got all the same power but for far less money and is now the new bargain compact portable pressure washer! Here’s the old model:

Old Karcher K2

And here’s the new one:

New Karcher K2 compact

German manufacturer Karcher is one of the best known brands when it comes to pressure washers and is often the first name people look to when buying one. We reviewed this models big brother the Kärcher K2 Full Control Pressure Washer and as you would expect it did very well. Kärcher are known to produce performance for the price tag. And literally out the box you’ll be up and running in less than 5 minutes – the lance comes apart and goes together easily for storage which is important to me. Here’s there video – not as helpful as the others but certainly worth inclusion:

As the name implies, this is the compact version of the already very popular Karcher K2 electric pressure washer. Like the Bosch EasyAquatek, it weighs around 5 kilograms with accessories attached, and is also designed to be easily carried around, measuring just 17.6 x 28 x 44.3 cm.

The 1400W air cooled motor in this portable pressure washer is capable of producing 110 bar of pressure, which is only a little less than the Bosch EasyAquatek, and it actually has a slightly higher water flow rate at 360 litres per hour.

The Karcher K2 compact pressure washer comes with 2 lances- a dirt blaster spray lance with a rotary pencil nozzle for tougher cleaning jobs and a one way spray lance for your everyday tasks. Both of these connect to the high pressure water gun using quick connect fittings.

When you want to use detergent, the free suction tube will draw detergent into the water flow for you. It’s very easy to use, but I still prefer the Bosh EasyAquatek 120’s method of applying detergent.

To prolong the life of the motor, Karcher have given this portable pressure washer an auto start/stop function that cuts out the motor when the trigger on the spray gun is released.

Also, to protect the pump, there is an integrated water inlet filter to keep unwanted debris out of there.

In general, the Karcher K2 compact portable pressure washer doesn’t feel quite as robust as the Bosch model we just reviewed, but it won’t be falling apart on you immediately either. All lightweight models have to give a little away in durability, it’s just the way it is.

The 4 metre hose that comes with this Karcher is a little on the short side, even shorter than the Bosch easyAquatek that I griped about in the above review. The hose doesn’t feel as durable as the Bosch hose either.

The thing I don’t like about the Karcher K2 compact portable pressure washer is the handle. It’s a good size and made of decent plastic, but the problem is- it’s not fixed in place and can come off in your hand if you’re not careful. I’m sure there is an easy fix to this, and maybe it was just my model, but I found it very annoying.

Apart from that, this is a very good little Karcher pressure washer and comes at a good price.

Kärcher K2 Compact Pressure Washer Review

Best Kärcher K2 Compact Pressure Washer Features

What needs work on the Kärcher K2 Compact Pressure Washer

Compact and lightweight Handle isn’t integrated into the main unit
1400W air cooled motor Would have liked a longer hose
110 bar max pressure
360 litres per hour flow rate
2 lances included
Quick connect fittings
Auto stop/start function to protect motor
Water inlet feature to keep debris out of the pump
Suction tube for drawing in detergent
Storage space for lances
2 year warranty

Kärcher K2 Compact Pressure Washer

Next up on our list of best portable pressure washers is a model that has an impressive water pressure output as well as a few other nice features…

Specification: Warranty: 3 years, Motor: 1800 w, Pressure: 135 bar, Flow Rate: 360 l/h, Hose Length: 6 m, Weight: 9.2 kg,

This Yard Force portable pressure washer is probably the most powerful on paper with 135 bar of pressure and a water flow rate of 360 litres per hour, however in practical application, I have to say that the Bosch EasyAquatek had more ‘blast for your buck’.

That’s not to say this portable pressure washer is underpowered, as it certainly isn’t and will do a excellent job of keeping the car clean.

I like the compact block design if this Yard Force product, it is very compact and easy to find a place in the garage to store it. It also has some nice design features keeping up with the whole ‘compact’ theme such as a space in the side for keeping attachments in, and an integrated detergent tank and foldable handle.

This Yard Force portable pressure washer is heavier than our two previous reviews at around 9 kilograms but it is still light enough to carry around for most people, and if your arms get tired there are a couple of small wheels on the base of the machine.

The extra weight seems to be a tradeoff for the extra sturdiness of this model, and the casing does feel stronger than the Karcher K2 compact. How good the fittings and smaller parts are, only time will tell.

Yard Force are confident about this model’s durability and are offering a 3 year warranty if you register within the first 28 days after your purchase.

Accessories that come with the Yard Force portable pressure washer are a spray gun, lance, high pressure nozzle, turbo nozzle for more powerful water output, and a 6 metre high pressure hose. The extra metre or so of hose that you get may not be a lot but it’s still an improvement on our other portable pressure washer reviews. There is also a 5 metre power cable attached.

This product is easy to assemble which is a good thing because the instructions are really not up to much, however attachment changes are nice and easy thanks to quick connect fittings.

All in all, this is a decent portable pressure washer that has enough power and water flow for you to get your garden cleaning jobs done in quick time.

Yard Force 135 Bar 1800W High-Pressure Washer Review

Best Yard Force 135 Bar 1800W High-Pressure Washer Features

What needs work on the Yard Force 135 Bar 1800W High-Pressure Washer

1800w motor It’s heavier than its competitors
135 bar of pressure Poor instructions
360 water flow rate
Integrated detergent tank with large opening
Foldaway handle
Storage compartment for hose
2 different spray nozzles
6 metre hose
Quick connect fittings
Small wheels on the base
Won’t damage your paint work

Well, that’s it for now, our top 5 portable pressure washer reviews.

There are other products out there, but after taking a close look at them, I chose not to include them here as I really didn’t think they could come close to being a viable option when compared to these three.

What is a portable compact pressure washer?

First, let me explain what a pressure washer is. These cleaning tools use high pressure streams of water to blast off dirt, grime, and all sorts of other unwanted things. The pressure is supplied by a built-in pump of some kind, and that pump is powered by either an electric motor or a petrol engine.

So, what is the difference between a standard pressure washer and a portable one? Well, the name is a bit of a give-away really, isn’t it? Portable pressure washers are just that, and are designed to be compact, lightweight, and a lot easier to move around than standard pressure washers.

There are also cordless pressure washers, and some people class these as portable, which they definitely are, but I prefer to categorise them separately to the corded models featured here in this article. Cordless pressure washers are powered by lithium-ion batteries rather than the mains electricity supply, so I like to treat them as separate entities to portable models.

Portable pressure washers are sort of an in-between product, offering you more mobility than a large unit, and more power than a cordless washer. Some models can also work from a standing water source like a bucket or pond, as well as from a tap, and this can come in handy in certain situations.

Because of their compact designs, portable pressure washers are a great choice if you are worried about storage space. After all, not everyone has a large garage or shed to keep things in, and being able to pop your portable pressure washer in the cupboard, or even in your car boot, is something that entices a lot of people to put their hands in their pockets and buy one of these products.

Possible problems with portable pressure washers

If used properly and carefully, and kept clean and maintained, you shouldn’t run into too many problems with modern portable pressure washers, but there are some things that could potentially go wrong, so we thought we’d highlight them here.

One thing that can annoy people about any kind of pressure washer is leaking. Some products will leak far more than others, and these are usually the cheaper, Chinese brand stuff. However, a lot of the time, leaking occurs from the connectors and fittings, and these are easily swapped out for better ones. So, if you find that your hose connectors are leaking, there’s no need to panic and ditch the whole machine, simply buy some hozelock, or other trusted brand’s connectors and change them over.

Buy a hose connector that is quality and doesn’t leak when using a pressure washer

Another thing to check before you buy is the length of the power cable. To really be portable, the pressure washer needs to give you a decent bit of range. You can hardly say your product is portable if you have to stay 2 meters from the socket now, can you? Of course, you can always use extension leads or a cable reel, but you have to be careful not to get the things wet while you are working.

As portable pressure washers are designed to be lightweight, I have heard complaints from some people about the main unit getting pulled over too often when the person using the machine tugs on the hose. All I can say about that is, you just need to be a bit more careful when using one of these machines, and to be honest, if you buy a durable, well-made product, it shouldn’t get hurt if it topples over.

Example of using a compact portable pressure washer

I’ll be completely honest, when portable pressure washers started coming out, back in the day, I didn’t really see the point in them. To my way of thinking, they still had to be connected to the mains water and electricity, so I never bothered buying one.

Quite a few years later, my son and his friends were really into mountain biking or go karts so most weekends we’d throw the bikes and tent into the back of my trusty van and head into the country for some camping and biking the trails.

We always had a great time while we were there, but the bikes used to get blathered in mud, and then thrown in the back of the van to be brought home. This resulted in my truck getting very dirty, plus by the time we’d driven multiple hours back home, the mud would be dried onto the bikes and everything else, and would take a while to clean it all off when we got back.

I’d pretty much accepted this as routine until on one trip, another group were in the same spot as us doing the same thing, so of course, we got chatting and everything. Anyway, the following day, after the boys came back covered in mud again, this bloke gets out his portable pressure washer and connects it to a small generator he’d brought along. He filled a bucket with water from the nearby river, and then blasted all the dirt off the bikes.

This really opened my eyes. Sure, it was a bit of extra work to bring a portable generator and a bucket, but to be able to clean off the bikes, and the kids’ clothes, before they went in the van, saved me so much hassle and time afterwards. Needless to say, I went out and bought myself a portable pressure washer the very next day.


About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from gardentoolbox.co.uk, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message: info@gardentoolbox.co.uk

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