When it comes to cleaning your car, your patio, bikes or driveway, few things get the job done as well as a pressure washer. Specifically, one made by Karcher. The latest range continues that trend of offering great performance and versatility, while also adding a neat new feature to the trigger handle.
We tried out the Karcher K5 Premium Full Control home pressure washer, and were mightily impressed by its performance.
In terms of Karcher’s product lineup, the K5 Premium is right near the top end of the scale. It sits one rung below the K7, and has a handsome RRP of £449, although you can find it for about £100 less online. Whether or not you want to pay that money depends very much on how much you actually need to clean, and on your budget.
There are several other options ranging from the £85 K2 Compact all the way up to the £569 K7 Premium. In other words, if the K5 Premium doesn’t fit in your budget, but you need a pressure washer, there are other options, and most will do the job you need them to.
Like most of the manufacturer's products, the K5 Premium is build from a tough, sturdy plastic, with a more than generous splashing of yellow and black. It stands at just over half a metre tall, 30cm wide, weighs just over 13 kilograms and ships in a few separate parts.
The main body is a single unit with a hose reel on the back for winding up the 8-metre long high pressure hose. There’s telescopic handle made of aluminium. The handle itself needs screwing on, as does the front storage unit and the base. There are also a couple of wheels, so you don’t have to lift it up and carry it at all (unless you need to move up some steps).
The top plays home to the plug and clean dock, which is where you place the bottle of detergent. This particular kit comes with the stone-washing solution, but you can purchase other cleaning fluids for your car, for wood and for plastic.
All the important parts are on the front. To the right you’ll find the power dial for switching on the high-pressure motor, and to the left you’ll find both the hose - which feeds through a hole - and the hose adapter. Hook up your machine to a garden hose, turn on the water and power supplies and you’re practically ready to go.
This particular model ships with three different cleaning tools which attach to the trigger/handle. There’s a high-pressure dirt blaster and the mop-like surface cleaning tool, as well as the Vario Power spray lance which has adjustable pressure. This means you can use it when you just want to rinse something off, or blast it off. Adjusting pressure is as simple as turning the end of the lance clockwise or anticlockwise.
Once you’ve chosen your desired cleaning tool, and switched on the machine, you’re ready to go. Squeezing the trigger shoots the water jet, while the easily visible LED icons on the handle help you select the right flow-rate, if you have an adjustable cleaning tool.
Spec-wise, the K5 Premium has a maximum flow-rate of 500 litres per hour, can use water up to 40 degrees Celsius, and clean areas up to 40 metres squared per hour. In other words: it’s bloody good.
We tested all three cleaner accessories on concrete, bricks and tarmac and were left mightily impressed by the results. It cleaned off long-standing surface muck, thick moss and practically strimmed crevice-dwelling weeds and grass without even trying.
The high-pressure lance and the high-pressure surface cleaner are so powerful, they come with recoil warnings. Put another way, if you don’t hold the lance tightly, it will push you back. Like-wise, the two high-pressure nozzles spinning on the underside of the surface cleaner will push upwards, spraying everything around it like some crazy garden sprinkler.
One thing that has to be said about the Surface Cleaner is that, because it's made up of three parts interlocking together, it does feel a bit clunky. Pushing down too hard bends it at the joins, but in testing it held up well despite its multi-part plastic build.
The entire system has been designed in a way to make it as easy as possible to store without having loads of parts all over the place. A hose real on the back keeps the hose neatly wound up, although it can be a pain to wind. The power cable can be wound up and tucked inside the net on the back. When you’re done cleaning, you can fit trigger gun and attached lance on the front of the cleaner, and pop the other lance in the other storage space on the front, pull up the handle and wheel it back to your garage, shed, or wherever else you might keep it.
Cleaning outdoor areas and hard surfaces can be tough, but the K5 Premium makes it stupidly easy. The hardest part is winding up the hose when you're done, and that's saying something.