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

At 20.3kg on the scale, the Stihl RE 130 Plus is one of the heavyweights in its class. The imposing construction is clad in very serious finishes. Plastic is very much present, but these are plastics that seem perfectly robust.

The wheels are big enough that moving the RE 130 Plus around isn’t an ordeal. They make it possible to cross small steps without too much effort. The telescopic handle lifts high enough so that a 1.75m user won’t have to bend too much to tow the machine. By locking the handle, the robot can also be pushed in front of you. The water inlet connection and the hose outlet are made from the front. The different pipes do not impede the movement.

More than 20 kg is not an invitation to carry the RE 130 Plus over long distances. Nevertheless, an aluminum handle at the base of the robot facilitates grip; all that’s left is to get the muscles working. This weight has an advantage, it makes the Stihl cleaner particularly stable. Once installed, it does not move, despite the high position of the hose outlet. Even if it pulls a little hard on the latter, the RE 130 Plus doesn’t 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, preventing accidental use, especially when moving the robot. Simple, of course, the handle still shows a very good finish and apparent robustness. Too bad that no power adjustment is offered directly on the handle, which is very practical on K5 Power Control and Kärcher K7 Smart Control

The lance is simply attached to the handle, which itself is easily attached to the high-pressure hose. At the end of the lance, Stihl offers to attach 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. Anyway, adjusting the power of the mouthpiece is rather tricky compared to the practicality of competitor Kärcher’s Vario lances.

While most pressure washers of a comparable category are equipped with 10 m long hoses, the Stihl RE 130 Plus is satisfied with 9 m. However, we must acknowledge the high quality of said hose, which twists very little and unrolls or coils very easily, which is rarely the case is. 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 clever storage for the power cable and nozzles, hidden behind a lid. A location is also provided to place the spear when not in use. When all the elements are stowed away, nothing sticks out.

Finally, Stihl offers a practical accessory for vehicle washing: the detergent atomizer. The latter offers a limited capacity, but can easily be stored in the back of the device.

As almost always in the pressure washer market, Stihl communicates a maximum pressure of 170 bar, which we can’t really enjoy. The “true” pressure, at the nozzle outlet, is called the operating pressure and is set here at 135 bar. A difference of about 20% which is in the average. However, such maximum pressure guarantees that the vast majority of uses that a person could have are covered.

We measured the effective width at which the beam can abrade a hard surface. The flat jet works best at 10cm wide, while the rotating nozzle is much more effective and can effectively cover 17cm wide strips. The latter performs just as well as that of our current reference, the Kärcher K7.

On our test area of ​​2 m², the Stihl RE 130 Plus took 2 min 16 sec to completely remove the dirt with its flat jet. The Kärcher K7 only needed 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, compared to 1 min 30 s for its compatriot. The water consumption for exercise is 18 l and 25.2 l, ie flow rates of 334 and 370 l/h, lower than that of the K7 Premium Smart Control (500 l/h).

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

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