A pressure washer can help make light work of keeping your mountain bike mud-free during the winter months. After a sloppy ride, it’s essential to make sure you get the muck off your frame before it solidifies because when dry it's harder to break than a diamond.
There is a fair bit of controversy when it comes to pressure washing bikes based on the fear of blasting the grease out of bearings, pushing water past suspension seals and peeling off paint and low-friction coatings. As long as you use your head and don’t direct a stream of high-velocity water at the bearings or suspension seals at close range, there is no need to worry.
The best pressure washers for mountain bikers
With a 2-gallon/7.5-litre capacity, the Rinse Kit requires no battery or pumps, instead, it utilizes an internal pressure chamber to drive water through the end of the nozzle. When it's time to spray, the Rinse Kit will give you about two minutes at full blast before the pressure starts to drop off — about enough time to de-mud a bike. If you’re cleaning multiple bikes by yourself, there is a pump accessory that allows you to top up the pressure.
The tank is insulated (Rinse Kit also offers a car cigarette-lighter-powered heater), so you don’t need to freeze cleaning up in a trailhead parking lot, and the washer can be filled either using a garden hose or your kitchen sink.
Roughly the size of a small cooler, it comes with a 6-foot hose, meaning it can be left in the back of your car while spraying off bikes.
The Mobi V-15 utilizes a 12v accessory plug to power the pump, which pushes water from its 3-gallon/15-litre reservoir out the end of the spray nozzle at up to 135psi. From full to empty, the washer will spray for just under seven minutes at full bore.
The hose is long enough to leave the reservoir in the back of your car, and the washer uses a clever anti-lag system to deliver a constant stream from the moment you press the trigger until it runs out, preventing air from finding its way into the pump.
Mobi also includes a showerhead and brush attachment, though neither are particularly useful for bike cleaning.
With the pump located inside the lance, Worx claims the Hydro Shot offers about 350psi of pressure on tap, and the multi-spray nozzle allows you to customize the stream.
It comes with a hose, a collapsible bucket, and works with fittings from a standard garden hose — you can even screw a bottle into the bottom.
Worx makes an extensive range of power tools, and the Hydro Shot uses the same batteries as the drills, saws, grinders, and leaf blowers, so if you’ve already bought into the ecosystem, all your gadgets will be compatible.
The Aqua 2 Go pressure washer holds 4.5-gallons/17-liters of water and runs off of an internal 110v rechargeable battery, allowing for about 12min of spray time. With the included ‘pistol’ sprayer, the pressure can be adjusted from 44psi up to 116psi, and the 19-foot hose means you’re not tethered directly to the unit.
It’s one of the denser portable washers with the fixed battery tipping the scales at 7kg before it's filled with water, and the washer does have wheels for easy portability though.
The washer also comes with a showerhead and brush with an inline mount for soap or bike wash.
Roughly the size of a piece of carry-on luggage, the Bosch Fontus is a fully self-contained unit that runs on the brand’s standard 18v cordless power tool batteries.
For a portable unit, the Fontus has a sizable 4-gallon/15-liter water tank, and weighs nearly 10kg empty — luckily there are wheels and an extendable handle, so you don’t have to lift and carry the hefty unit.
The spray gun looks like a garden hose head and offers four spray patterns and four levels of pressure topping out a 218psi.
Muc-Off’s take on the jet wash isn't all that different from a light-duty unit from your local hardware store requiring both a power and water source. It has a flow rate of 1.7-gallons/6.5-liters per minute and a max pressure of 1450 psi.
It comes with three lances, including a low-power head specifically for bikes — Muc-Off is also offering a snow-foam head, which has an inline mount for a bottle of your favorite bike wash which gives your bike a bubble bath.
For the time being, the Muc-Off Pressure washer is only available as a part of the Bicycle Bundle, which includes the pressure washer itself, Nano Tech bike cleaner, bike cleaner concentrate, Bio Drivetrain cleaner, Bike Protect, C3 dry lube, and a microfiber polishing cloth
When it comes to electric power washers, there is a whole hardware store full of units that will turn your water tap into a concentrated stream. For bike cleaning (and general domestic use) we like the Karcher K2 Full Control.
It's a bit more powerful than the Muc-Off unit with 1600psi on tap but included is a Vario Power Spray Wand, which allows you to adjust the water pressure with a twist.
Karcher also includes a foam nozzle that allows you to attach a bottle of bike wash and cover your bike in a layer of foam.
The Sun Joe Xtream pressure washer boasts a whopping 2200psi so be careful about where you spray it at.
This model can serve many purposes, from outdoor home cleaning to grills and bikes. It comes with a stainless steel lance, which features a foaming soap cannon, and four nozzles ranging from zero to 40-degrees.
There are also two different brushes included in the bundle, and the company offers free shipping plus a three-year warranty.
Worx offers a high-pressure washer at a fair price. All you need to do is hook up the hose and plug the unit to a power outlet, although an extension cord is not included.
You'll be able to spray at a max psi of 2,000, and it comes with two different nozzles. The lance can break down into separate pieces for ease of storage and transport too.
At under $100, this is a great budget pressure washer option.
GreenWorks pressure washer comes with the option of 1500psi or 2000psi. It also requires mains power, but an extension cord is included.
The kit includes a lance that breaks into two pieces for better storage, two different nozzles for 25 or 40-degrees of spray, and a soap applicator attachment so your bike can get nice and clean.
The cost of this washer sits around $100, and it's readily available on Amazon. Since it requires electrical power, this could be a smart product to keep at home to break out after those muddy rides.
Best pressure washers: everything you need to know
1. How much power?
If you are looking at a power washer for your bike, you only need enough power to unstick stubborn mud.
When it comes to flow rate, the lower end of the spectrum will be more than enough to clean your bike; look for a jet washer with a max pressure below ~100-bar or about 1400 psi — even then you won’t need the full power — and a low flow rate to minimize water usage.
2. Stand back
Even with a light-duty pressure washer, at point-blank range, you can still strip the paint off your frame, not to mention grease from the inside of bearings. Take a step back and start at the distance where the stream begins to transition to mist, and only move closer for really tough mud.
3. Spray nozzle and lance
Look for a nozzle that fans the water out into a sheet as this will help to get rid of the stickiest mud while also spreading the water pressure out over a wider area.