Written on: 06/05/2010
I bought the Powercraft PCPW-160 from Aldi for £60 and it's fantastic.
It's very powerful and cleans floors and walls even without applying any cleaner first. It's powerful enough to cause damage in the wrong hands! It can carve up the surface of wood or dissolve old mortar. And while it won't strip paint fully, it certainly blasts it until the surface is ruined and patchy.
Use the nozzle on a wide angle and hold it a foot away and it will clean patios and tarmac very quickly without damaging them. I has some old weathered wood that was badly in need of repainting but because there grain was so rough I couldn't work out how to clean it and remove the silvered top layer. Sanding wouldn't have got into the grain. But the power washer got right back to bare wood in one pass, though as I said earlier, it was hardly a smooth finish so you wouldn't want to do this on good wood. But for my makeshift repair to a very old window sill, it left me able to fill the rough grain and repaint as soon as it dried.
The one I bought was blue, though I was recently in Aldi and they had a new batch of them in green, possibly with a different model number. But they were clearly the same unit with the same power rating. Mine was labeled as 160-bar whereas the green one was labelled as 2000w. But my one is 2000w too, so it's just a change in labelling.
They're also rated at 97db. It is louder than I'd like, when using in a terraced back garden or to clean the front of a terraced house. I wouldn't like to use it on a Sunday morning or late at night. Or to wash a car regularly outside the house. But if you want to wash the patio or walls on a weekday or Saturday afternoon every few months, or live somewhere where noise doesn't matter, it'll be fine.
The hose is 5M long, so you can put the pressure washer well away from you as you use it.
One potential problem though. If you have those hose connectors that cut the water supply when you pull out the attachment then they won't work with this. The connector sits loosely on the inlet of the pressure washer to allow excess water to spill out before it goes into the machine. This means the hose doesn't attach tightly enough to open the valve in the hose connector and let the water flow freely, so you either get no water or it just splutters, which can damage the machine. Get a hose connector that lets the water pour out if no attachment is connected to it and it will be perfect for this. It does also mean that there will be a lot of water leaking all around the machine, so be careful where you place it.
The box came with the machine, gun, gun hose, dispenser bottle for cleaners, and two nozzles. One is an adjustable nozzle that lets you vary the angle from quite wide down to a fine point. The other just fires in a fine point. I'm not really sure what the point of that one is since it's the same as turning the variable one to a fine point.