Which pressure washer brand?
Karcher pressure washers - should I buy one?
By Victoria Pearson
Article 4 of 5
Is a Karcher pressure washer the right choice for you? Get the Which? expert verdict, based on our independent field tests.
Karcher invented the pressure washer, so it is no surprise that Which? members own more Karcher pressure washers than any other brand.
The German company produces a range of pressure washers, from small, lightweight models with short hoses that are fine for cleaning bicycles, to large professional machines that will keep your caravan sparkling. The more you pay, the more power and helpful accessories you get.
As well as testing pressure washers in the lab, we've surveyed hundreds of pressure washer owners to find out how reliable each brand is, as well as the views of people who actually own them.
|Karcher pressure washers - brand data|
|Number tested since 2014||12|
|Number of current Best Buys|
|Average test score|
|Number of current Best Buys|
|Number of current Don't Buys|
|Brand reliability rating|
|Should I buy a Karcher pressure washer?|
Table correct at 15 July 2017. Range of test scores and average test score based on results of all models tested January 2014 to July 2017. The customer score and brand reliability rating are based on a Which? member survey conducted in May 2015. The customer score is based on whether members would recommend the brand to a friend and reliability is based on members' experience of that brand.
How much do Karcher pressure washers cost?
Karcher is the leading pressure washer brand, dominating the market and successfully fighting off competition from cheap own-brands at the bottom of its range, and professional tool brands at the premium end.
There are 16 models in the current Karcher pressure washer range, starting with the entry-level Karcher K2 compact which costs around £70.
At least half the range is high-powered, semi-professional models that can tackle heavy-duty tasks. Many of these may be over-powered for the typical home user, so we concentrate on testing those costing up to about £250, which covers the K2 Compact, K2 Full Control, and K4 Compact and K4 Full Control ranges.
Visit our pressure washer reviews to see how Karcher models performed in our tests.
It’s worth bearing in mind that Karcher pressure washers are often discounted, both online and in stores. Try buying one in December or January to bag the best bargain.
Choosing the best Karcher pressure washer
The more you pay, the higher power, water-flow rate and water pressure you get, as well as improved hose storage and more accessories.
In January 2016 Karcher refreshed the mid-level and premium models in its range, introducing six new models that feature its 'Full Control' concept.
This concept introduces LED displays in the trigger handle that help you to know what settings you're using and to choose the correct spray lance depending on the surface you want to clean. 'Mix mode' allows you to use detergent and there are 'soft', 'medium' and 'hard' settings for cleaning different surface materials in the way they need to be cleaned to avoid damaging them.
'Full Control' reached the cheaper K2 range in 2017, but it a far more basic version that uses pictures on the lances to help you choose the right one for your surface.
Karcher recommends each of its ranges for progressively heavier-duty tasks, depending on their power:
- K2 For cleaning bicycles, tools and garden furniture.
- K3 (Europe only) Surfaces and motorbikes, plus the K2 recommendations.
- K4 Cars, plus the K3 recommendations.
- K5 4x4 vehicles and walls, plus the K4 recommendations.
- K7 Caravans and swimming pools, plus the K5 recommendations
Karcher pressure washer accessories
Karcher offers a huge selection of accessories as optional extras for its pressure washers, but those supplied with many of the models may well be enough to suit your needs.
Most Karchers come with at least two lances. These are usually a 'vario power spray lance', a variable pressure lance for cleaning easily damaged surfaces such as decking and cars; and a 'dirt blaster', a rotary lance with a rotating jet for shifting stubborn grime.
Other popular and potentially useful accessories supplied as standard with some Karcher machines, and as optional extras for others, include brush attachments (useful for car cleaning) and patio cleaner attachments.
Visit our Karcher pressure washer reviews to find out how Karcher models have performed in our tests.