Stihl RE 130 Plus test: a well thought out and efficient pressure washer

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With 20.3 kg on the scale, the Stihl RE 130 Plus is one of the heavyweights in its class. Its imposing build is lined with very serious finishes. Plastic is very present, but these are plastics that seem perfectly robust.

The wheels are large enough that moving the RE 130 Plus is not an ordeal. They allow you to cross small steps without too much difficulty. The telescopic handle goes up high enough so that a user of 1.75 m does not have to arch too much to tow the machine. Locking the handle allows the cleaner to be pushed in front of you as well. The water inlet connection and the hose outlet are made from the front. The various pipes therefore do not interfere with movement.

More than 20 kg does not encourage carrying the RE 130 Plus over long distances. Nevertheless, an aluminum handle placed at the foot of the cleaner facilitates the grip; all that remains is to make the muscles work. This weight has an advantage, it makes the Stihl cleaner particularly stable. Once positioned, it no longer moves, despite the high position of the hose outlet. Even pulling a little hard on the latter, the RE 130 Plus does not tip over.

Where Kärcher stands out with its sophisticated and even connected handles for the Smart Control models, the RE 130 Plus makes do with the minimum. There is simply a latch to lock the handle, thus avoiding accidental uses, especially when moving the cleaner. Simple, of course, the handle still displays very good finishes and apparent robustness. Too bad, however, that no power adjustment is offered directly on the handle, which is very practical on the K5 Power Control and K7 Smart Control from Kärcher.

The lance attaches quite simply to the handle which itself easily attaches to the high pressure hose. At the end of the lance, Stihl offers to attach either a flat jet nozzle or a rotary jet nozzle. The first allows you to adjust the outlet pressure by turning it, the second offers no adjustment. Either way, adjusting the power from the nozzle is quite a pain compared to the practicality of competitor Kärcher’s Vario lances.

While most pressure washers of equivalent category are equipped with 10 m long hoses, the Stihl RE 130 Plus is content with 9 m. However, we must recognize the high quality of said hose, which twists very little and unrolls or rolls up very simply, which is rarely the case. The hose reel is very easy to handle, the hose is guided without any problems. The RE 130 Plus stands out positively from its competitors with a clever storage for the power cable and the nozzles, hidden behind a cover. A location is also provided to put the spear when not in use. When all the elements are put away, nothing sticks out.

Finally, Stihl offers a practical accessory for washing vehicles: the detergent sprayer. The latter offers limited capacity, but it stores easily in the back of the device.

As almost always on the pressure washer market, Stihl communicates a maximum pressure of 170 bars which is not the one that we can really enjoy. The “true” pressure, at the nozzle outlet, is called service pressure and is established here at 135 bars. A difference of about 20% which is in the average. However, such a maximum pressure guarantees to cover the vast majority of uses that an individual could have.

We measured the effective width at which the jet is able to scour a hard surface. The flat jet can work best on 10 cm wide, while the rotating nozzle is much more effective and can effectively cover strips of 17 cm wide. The latter does as well as that of our current reference, the Kärcher K7.

On our 2 m² test area, the Stihl RE 130 Plus needed 2 min 16 sec to completely remove the dirt using its flat jet. The Kärcher K7 only took 1 min 45 s to achieve the same result. With its rotating nozzle, the RE 130 Plus reduces the gap and brings the time to 1 min 46 s for the same surface, against 1 min 30 s for its compatriot. Water consumption for exercise is 18 l and 25.2 l, i.e. flow rates of 334 and 370 l/h, lower than those of the K7 Premium Smart Control (500 l/h).

Stihl has not chosen to actively cool the engine of its pressure washer. A cooling that is found on the K5 and K7 and which guarantees longer sessions of use without overheating of the induction motor. The RE 130 Plus, on the other hand, benefits from an aluminum pump head, just like its competitor’s models.

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