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The best Kärcher pressure washers we’ve tested in 2024

A selection of the best Karcher pressure washers against a blue backdrop

We’ve tested all of the best Kärcher pressure washers to help you pick the right one

Kärcher isn’t the only brand in the pressure washer business, but it’s the biggest, with more of its bright yellow machines sold into UK homes than any rival manufacturer. The only problem is that its range can be quite confusing, with several different core models with different specs and capabilities, each appearing in several bundles with various accessories to help you clean. Do you go, for example, for the K3 Compact, the K4 Power Control or the K5 Power Control Car and Home?

Over the last five years, I’ve tested models from across Kärcher’s range, including variants of the K2, K3, K4 and K5 and a selection of home and car bundles. Here you’ll find short reviews of the Kärcher pressure washers that I recommend, covering different needs and price points. If you need more detailed guidance on what to look for in a Kärcher pressure washer, you’ll find it in the buying guide at the bottom of this page.

Our expert picks

Best Kärcher pressure washer

Kärcher K4 Power Control

Price when reviewed: ~ £220

“Our favourite all-rounder. The adjustable pressure settings and standard pair of lances make for a brilliantly versatile package, but spend extra on the Car and Home Kit and you also get a rotating car brush, foam jet nozzle and T5 Surface Cleanser attachments for even better results.” Read our review

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Best value Kärcher pressure washer

Kärcher K3 Power Control

“The K3 Power Control sits in a sweet spot, giving you more cleaning power and features than the brand’s budget models, but in a smaller, lighter and still very affordable unit. The Power Control pressure gun, Vario Power Jet spray lance and built-in detergent tank mean it’s ready for anything, out of the box.”

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How we test Kärcher pressure washers

We give pressure washers an extreme workout in a range of home and garden cleaning tasks. We use them to wash and clean dirty cars and mud-encrusted bikes, and to remove moss, mould and debris from patches of tarmac, stone paving, concrete and wooden decking.

Testing a pressure washer on composite decking

We also use them to remove ash and caked-on grease from a dirty barbecue and dried-on exterior paint from a concrete slab. Throughout testing, we note how easy the pressure washer is to assemble and the features provided to store and manage the electric cable and high-pressure hose.

Finally, we evaluate the spray lance and any extra features or accessories provided, to see how well they help you clean the items you want to clean.

READ NEXT: Best pressure washers

The best Kärcher pressure washers you can buy in 2024

1. Kärcher K2 Horizontal: Best budget Kärcher pressure washer

Price when reviewed: £63| Check price at AmazonKarcher K2 header Horizontal review - Primed for action

  • Pros: Compact design, effective cleaning, smart storage features
  • Cons: Short hose and power cable, limited pressure, single spray

Kärcher’s latest revamp of its entry-level K2 washer is a compact, suitcase-style unit even smaller than the Bosch EasyAquatak 100. Despite its diminutive size, the K2 Horizontal is pretty smart when it comes to storage, with space to wind the power cable and spots where the trigger gun and spray lance can lock into place. With just the one on/off dial and the single, non-variable spray, it’s incredibly straightforward, and there’s a transparent pipe that sucks up snow foams and detergents if you want to apply them to your target.

With a maximum of 110 bars of pressure, this isn’t the most powerful pressure washer, but I found it still had enough oomph to apply snow foam and blast mud and dirt from my car, or clear surface grime from my patio and driveway. And while the single narrow spray won’t be ideal for every purpose, you can always upgrade later with a variable spray wand or dirt blaster from Kärcher’s extensive range. You may also be frustrated by the short 5m cable and even shorter 3m high-pressure hose, but this basic pressure washer is great value, and a real contender if you’re short of storage space.

Read our full Kärcher K2 Horizontal review

Key specs: Weight: 3.5kg; Max pressure: 110 bar; Flow rate: 360l/hr; Hose length: 3m; Cable length: 5m; Motor power: 1,400W; Size (WDH): 38 x 19.7 x 24.8cm; Warranty: 2 years (5 years with free extension)

2. Kärcher K3 Power Control: Best entry-level Kärcher pressure washer

Price when reviewed: £130 | Check price at Amazon

  • Pros: Variable spray and dirt blaster lances, good cleaning performance, relatively lightweight
  • Cons: Not as powerful as K4 and K5 models

You can save some cash by buying the K3 in its Compact version, but for your money, it would be smarter to spend a little more and grab the K3 Power Control. The Power Control high-pressure gun is similar to the one supplied with the K4 version, using an illuminated meter for the pressure levels, making it easy to adjust the pressure level and the spray just by twisting the nozzle. You can always switch to the ferocious dirt blaster lance when you’ve got some tougher dirt and debris to get rid of.

With a maximum pressure of 120 bar and water flow of 380l/hr, the K3 Power Control gives you a step up in power from the K2 Compact. I found it had more than enough welly to handle muddy bikes and clean surface dirt from decking or patio, while it did a fine job of removing caked-on mud from the family car. There’s even a built-in detergent tank to make easy work of adding snow foam or a stone and patio cleaner.

Shop around, and you can also find this model in a Premium Home bundle with the Patio Cleaner accessory and accompanying detergent. Move up the range if you need to tackle bigger, dirtier vehicles or a larger patio or driveway, but this pressure washer gives you all the fundamentals without expecting you to break the bank.

Key specs: Weight: 5.4kg; Max pressure: 120 bar; Flow rate: 380l/hr; Hose length: 7m; Cable length: 5m; Motor power: 1,600W; Size (WDH): 28 x 29.7 x 67.7cm; Warranty: 2 years (5 years with free extension)

3. Kärcher K4 Classic: Best-value Kärcher pressure washer

Price when reviewed: £155 | Check price at AmazonKarcher K4 Classic pressure washer on stone patio with lance lying in front of the washer

  • Pros: Compact, lightweight body, excellent performance
  • Cons: Limited hose and cable management

Say you want the performance of the brilliant Kärcher K4 Power Control, but you can’t quite stretch to its heftier price tag. Enter the K4 Classic. This simplified version has the same 130 bar max pressure and 420l/hr flow rate but does without the Power Control trigger gun and more advanced cable and hose storage features.

You might not miss these features too much, though good luck getting the high-pressure hose to wind around the space provided – it springs off at the smallest opportunity. You also have to rely on plastic clips to connect the high-pressure hose at either end, which I found tricky to lock and near-impossible to unlock. However, you still get both an adjustable Vario Power spray lance and a Dirt Blaster lance for tackling stubborn grime, and you get a smaller and much lighter pressure washer. As a result, I found the K4 Classic a pleasure to use, especially if you need to carry it down steps, move around your car or get it to the end of a long driveway, where the wheels and telescopic carrying handle give you a little extra help.

The K4 Classic has all the power you need for regular cleaning. It made short work of caked-on dirt, mud and hardened seagull droppings stuck to the surface of my compact SUV, not to mention moss and lichen from a garden pathway and patches of my driveway. For the toughest stuff, you can bring out the Dirt Blaster, though it needs to be used with care, as it can tear off loose stone or tarmac. Go for the Power Control if you need more features, but if you’re after serious performance at a lower price, the K4 Classic is a winner.

Read our full Kärcher K4 Classic review

Key specs: Weight: 5.6kg;  Max pressure: 130 bar; Flow rate: 420l/hr; Hose length: 6m; Cable length: 5m; Motor power: 1,800W; Size (WDH): 25.6 x 26.4cm x 45; Warranty: 2 years (5 years with free extension)

4. Kärcher K4 Power Control: Best all-round pressure washer

Price when reviewed: £209 | Check price at Amazon

  • Pros: Powerful enough for most jobs, great design, wide range of accessories available
  • Cons: Limited hose and cable management

The K4 Power Control is another step up in price, but it’s a superb pressure washer, with everything you need to clear the grime from all around your home. With 130 bar pressure and a 420l/hr flow, it will happily tackle areas of up to 30 square metres in an hour – a conservative estimate in my experience.

Its secret weapon is its Power Control Gun and matching Vario Power spray lance. You can switch between three different pressure settings and adjust the spray pattern with a twist of the nozzle. With its aid, I could shift from a high-powered jet to a softer, flatter spray in a jiffy. I found this speeded up the whole cleaning process. Whether you’re washing mud off the car or trying to blast mould and algae from your patio, you get what you need without having to lug around a bunch of different tools.

Of course, you can have extra tools if you want them and I’ve also tested the K4 with the Power Control Car and Home kit, which comes with the standard Power Control Vario and Dirt Blaster lances, plus a rotating car brush and a foam jet nozzle. If you’re looking to give your motor the showroom-ready treatment, it gives you everything you need. It also throws in the T5 Surface cleaner for sweeping all the grime from your decking, patio or driveway, and this makes a real difference when you’ve got a lot of dirt and debris cluttering the surface. Buying the kit can double the price, however, so it might make sense to buy the bits you need individually instead.

Read our full Kärcher K4 Power Control review

Key specs: Weight: 11.5kg; Max pressure: 130 bar; Flow rate: 420l/hr; Hose length: 8m; Cable length: 5m; Motor power: 1,800W; Size (WDH): 40 x 31 x 59cm; Warranty: 2 years (5 years with free extension)

5. Kärcher K5 Power Control: Best value high-performance Kärcher pressure washer

Price when reviewed: £310 | Check price at AmazonKarcher K5 Power Control review kit on a grey patio

  • Pros: Awesome cleaning power, versatile spray gun and lances
  • Cons: Big and heavy, high-pressure hose is prone to tangling

If you need more power than the K4 offers but you’re not too bothered with smart features, take a good look at the K5 Power Control. It gives you the same cleaning performance as the flagship K5 Premium Smart Control but for roughly £100 less. You also lose the wind-up hose reel – and it can be a challenge to keep the thick and springy 10m high-pressure pipe under control – but otherwise, the K5 Power Control doesn’t feel second-best.

Its Power Control trigger gun and Vario Power spray lance still allow you to adjust the intensity and pattern of its fearsome water jet, while Kärcher bundles in its Dirt Blaster lance, with a focused rotary jet that can remove thick mud, baked-on grime and even spilt paint from many surfaces. Handle it with care.

You can also plug Kärcher’s triangular detergent bottles directly into the specially placed spot. Switch to the low-power mixer setting, and you’re good to spray snow foam or decking and patio cleaner. With or without the extra help, I found the K5 Power Control superb at cleaning filthy cars, dirty, mossy driveways and grimy paving – and the ability to vary the power quickly is a real bonus while you’re working, as you can tighten the spray to clean mud and black deposits from your wheels then switch to a lighter, wider spray to rinse the bodywork. Make sure you wear some old shoes and jeans – your lower half is going to get splattered – but if you’re looking for a heavy-duty cleaner, this is one of Kärcher’s best.

Read our full Kärcher K5 Power Control review

Key specs: Weight: 13.7kg; Max pressure: 145 bar; Flow rate: 500l/hr; Hose length: 10m; Cable length: 5m; Motor power: 2,100W; Size (WDH): 40.2 x 30.6 x 58.8cm; Warranty: 2 years (5 years with free extension)

6. Kärcher K5 Premium Smart Control: The ultimate Kärcher pressure washer

Price when reviewed: £450 | Check price at Kärcher

  • Pros: Hugely powerful and adjustable, effective smart features, integrated hose reel
  • Cons: Expensive; do you really want your phone out with all that water flying around?

The K5 Premium Smart Control is a little bigger and more powerful than the K4 and comes with the bonus of a built-in, wind-up hose reel to keep its longer 10m high-pressure pipe under control. Yet the real advantage is its Smart Control system, comprising a new trigger gun with a built-in LCD display and Bluetooth connectivity that hooks into a smartphone app. On its own, the trigger gun allows you to turn the pressure up and down, with six levels and a boost setting to deal with the most persistent grime. Meanwhile, Kärcher’s 3-in-1 multi-jet lance can switch spray patterns, so you can switch from a wider spray to a focused, rotating jet within seconds without reaching for another nozzle.

Connect the app, however, and you can tell the K5 what you’re trying to clean, and it will set the required pressure and tell you how to adjust the lance for every stage, so as you clean the car or power-wash the driveway, you’re using the right spray pattern and setting for every step. Experienced users might not need this, but the step-by-step approach can be helpful if you’re not familiar with using pressure washers. And the K5 Premium Smart Control is hardly short on power, blasting even the toughest mud and moss deposits from my driveway and removing some seriously stubborn dirt from my car bodywork and wheels. In fact, you need to be careful if you’re using it on loose or more fragile surfaces at anything near its maximum settings.

Buy the Home version and Kärcher also bundles the T5 Surface cleaner for a thorough clean of any steps, decking or paving in your garden. You pay a lot for the smart features, and we’re not sure that using the app to control the lance is really that convenient. But, if you want the ultimate in high-tech pressure washers, nothing else even comes close.

Read our full Kärcher K5 Premium Smart Control review

Key specs: Weight: 13.9kg; Max pressure: 145 bar; Flow rate: 500l/hr; Hose length: 10m; Cable length: 5m; Motor power: 2,100W; Size (WDH): 41.4 x 30.6 x 58.8cm; Warranty: 2 years (5 years with free extension)

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How to choose the best Kärcher pressure washer for you

Kärcher has five main lines of washer, starting with the K2 series then running through the K3, K4 and K5 series to the high-end K7 series. The main difference as you move up through the range is increasingly powerful motors, giving you more pressure and a higher flow-rate, although you may also get additional features such as a choice of spray lances (the long section of hard tube with the nozzle) or a more advanced high-pressure gun (the section with the handle, trigger and controls to adjust the power and spray). You might also get better storage features for the hose, spray lance and power cable.

The higher the line, the more you will spend, with the K2 series starting at under £100 and the K7 series at over £400. However, you will also have more power to clean larger areas. Where the K2 is designed to clean around 20 square metres per hour, the K7 can handle up to 60.

Each line also comes in several different form factors. The Compact models are smaller and lighter, but don’t have the same storage features or built-in detergent holders or tanks that you will find in the more expensive Home or Power Control versions. What’s more, they don’t have the Power Control lance, with its LCD screen and variable power settings, or the Smart Control lance with Bluetooth support and connectivity to Kärcher’s smartphone app. As you might expect, the Power Control and Smart Control versions come with a price premium, so go Compact or Home if you’re sticking to a tight budget.

What about the bundles?

To make things slightly more complicated, the Home and Power Control versions come in different packages, each with different bundled accessories. The Home versions come with a revolving patio cleaner brush and wood and stone cleaner detergents, while the Car and Home versions come with a spray foam adaptor, car shampoo and polish products, plus a rotating washing brush. The more accessories you get, the pricier the package, so it’s really a question of working out what you’re going to need.

How much do you need to spend?

If you’re just planning to clean a hatchback and a small-ish driveway, decking or patio, then you will be surprised what you can do with even the more affordable compact pressure washers. You can budget around £90 to £190 for something in the K2 or K3 lines. For larger areas, family cars, a bunch of filthy bikes or a mud-spattered SUV, then you might want to up your spend and go for a K4 or K5 with the Power Control lance. For large courtyard gardens, patios, caravans and motorhomes, go for a K5 or K7 Power Control and you will have the power you need to get the job done.

What should you look out for?

The key specs are the pressure (in bar or megapascals) and the flow rate (in litres per hour), but it’s also worth checking the power rating (in kW), as the more powerful washers use more energy as well as water, making them more expensive to run. Of course, you don’t need to use them at maximum power all the time, reducing consumption and flow rate, but it’s worth remembering how much energy and water you’re using while you’re cheerfully blasting away.

Beyond these key specs and the bundled lances and accessories, check out the practicalities. Storage for the hose and cable might seem unimportant, but you will reconsider if you leave both lying in a tangle in your garage. And while most if not all models have the same 5m power cable, you will find that the cheaper Compact models will come with a 4m or 6m hose, while the higher-end models will have 8m or even 10m, making them easier to work with if you’re washing a large vehicle or trying to reach a distant corner of your decking.

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