The best Kärcher pressure washers to buy in 2022

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Kärcher has a wide range of pressure washers, but which is the best one for you?

Kärcher isn’t the only brand in the pressure washer business, but it’s definitely the biggest, with more of its bright yellow machines sold into UK homes than any rival manufacturer. The only problem is that the range can get pretty confusing, with several different core models with different specs and capabilities, each appearing in several bundles with different 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?

Your choice is going to depend on what you’re trying to clean, how much of it there is and – most of all – your budget, but even if you work that out you might have trouble making up your mind. That’s where we can help, by guiding you through the different pressure washer lines and what they mean, and where the different bundles come in.

Best Kärcher pressure washer: At a glance

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’ll spend, with the K2 series starting at under £100 and the K7 series at over £400. However, you’ll 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’ll 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’ll 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’ll 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’ll 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’ll 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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The best Kärcher pressure washers you can buy in 2022

1. Kärcher K2 Compact: The best Kärcher pressure washer on a budget

Price: £111 | Buy now from Amazon

Kärcher’s smallest, cheapest pressure washer definitely earns its compact title. Less than 40cm high and 22cm wide, it weighs only just over 4kg unfilled, with accessories attached. While it hasn’t got wheels, you can hold the body in one hand and move it as you work. As you might expect, it doesn’t have the power to blast heavy-duty stains from concrete, but it will happily scourge your patio or decking of ground-in grime and algae, and it’s great for cleaning up garden furniture, muddy bikes or even cars. It comes bundled with Kärcher’s basic high-pressure gun and two lances: a basic spray lance for everyday cleaning and a dirt blaster lance for tackling algae-covered stonework and persistent dirt. What’s more, it’s compatible with Kärcher’s wide range of accessories.

There’s no detergent foam sprayer included, but it does have a little tube that sits inside a bottle of detergent and sucks the stuff up, which is great as long as you can avoid knocking over the bottle while you’re cleaning. It’s also worth mentioning that, for its size, it makes an awful lot of noise. Have modest needs and a matching budget? This the best budget pressure washer you can buy.

Key specs – Size: 39 x 22 x 18cm (HWL); Weight: 3.7kg; Max pressure: 110 bar; Water flow rate: 360l/hr; High-pressure gun: G-180-Q Quick Connect; Lances: Spray Lance, Dirt Blaster; Hose length: 4m; Cable length: 5m; Cleaning area: 20m² per hour; Motor power: 1,400W

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

Price: £129 (washer only), £190 (Premium Home kit) | Buy now from Amazon

You can save some cash by buying the K3 in its Compact version, but for our money it makes sense to spend a little more and grab the K3 Power Control. The Power Control high-pressure gun is broadly 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, or switch to the dirt grinder lance when you’ve got some fiendish dirt and debris to get rid of.

With a maximum pressure of 120 bar and water flow of 380 litres per hour, the K3 Power Control gives you a step up in power from the K2 Compact, with enough welly to handle muddy bikes, decking or patio, or even the average family car. Shop around, and you can also find it 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 asking you to break the bank.

Key specs – Size: 29.7 x 28 x 67.7cm (LWH); Weight: 5.4kg; Max pressure: 120 bar; Water flow rate: Max 380l/hr; High-pressure gun: G-120-Q Power Control; Lances: Spray Lance, Dirt Blaster; Hose length: 7m; Cable length: 5m; Cleaning area: 25m² per hour; Motor power: 1,600W

3. Kärcher K4 Power Control: The best all-round pressure washer

Price: £151 (washer only), £387 (Car and Home kit) | Buy now from Amazon

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 420 litres per hour flow, it will happily tackle areas of up to 30 square metres in an hour – and experience tells us that’s a conservative estimate.

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; you can switch from a high-powered jet to a softer, flatter spray in a jiffy. 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 we’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. What’s more, it throws in the T5 Surface cleaner for sweeping all the grime from your decking, patio or driveway. Buying the kit can double the price, however, so it might make sense to buy the bits you need individually instead.

Key specs – Size: 40.2 x 30.6 x 58.8cm (LWH); Weight: 11.5kg; Max pressure: 130 bar; Water flow rate: Max 420l/hr; High-pressure gun: G-160-Q Power Control; Lances: Vario Power, Dirt Blaster; Hose length: 8m; Cable length: 5m; Cleaning area: 30m² per hour; Motor power: 1,800W

4. Kärcher K5 Compact: The mighty little monster of the range

Price: £230 | Buy now from Amazon

Short of storage space but still in need of some serious cleaning power? Head straight for the K5 Compact. This is Kärcher’s second most powerful pressure washer shrunk down to a compact format, although it still has wheels and a pull-out handle to make its 13.9kg weight easier to manage. There’s still (just) about enough storage at the front to wind and stow the 8m-long high-pressure hose, while holders at the back can contain the Power Control gun and Vario Power and Dirt Blaster lances.

With these to choose from, plus the Power Control gun, you can tackle most jobs easily, with the Vario Power lance able to change the output in seconds from a wider, softer spray to a moss- and mud-obliterating jet. Watch where you point that Dirt Blaster, as with this much power behind it, it can do some serious damage to old tarmac or softwood decking. You’ll be glad of its cleaning capabilities, however, when it strips dried-on paint and cement from concrete. The K5 Power Control has a few more storage options, while the Smart Control has advanced smart features, but this is a brilliant pint-sized pressure washer at a significantly cheaper price.

Key specs – Size: 35.4 x 30.8 x 52cm (LWH); Weight: 13.9kg; Max pressure: 145 bar; Water flow rate: Max 500l/hr; High-pressure gun: G-180-Q Power Control; Lances: Vario Power, Dirt Blaster; Hose length: 8m; Cable length: 5m; Cleaning area: 40m² per hour; Motor power: 2,100W

5. Kärcher K5 Premium Smart Control Home: The ultimate smart pressure washer

Price: £280 | Buy now from B&Q

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. Buy the Home version and Kärcher also bundles the T5 Surface cleaner for a thorough clean of any hard surfaces 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. Still, if you want the ultimate in high-tech pressure washers, nothing else even comes close.

Key specs – Size: 41.4 x 30.6 x 58.8cm (LWH); Weight: 13.9kg; Max pressure: 145 bar; Water flow rate: Max 500l/hr; High-pressure gun: G-180-Q Smart Control; Lances: 3-in-1 multijet; Hose length: 10m; Cable length: 5m; Cleaning area: N/A; Motor power: 2,100W

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