What we like – Our Karcher K2 review has proven this machine is brilliantly priced (when discounted) and performs impressively for a budget machine. The unit is lightweight, especially when compared to other units in the range. It’s compact and is easy to store. It also comes with patio cleaning attachments and a garden hose adapter as standard.
Not so good: It’s not as portable as other machines as this one has no wheels. For larger areas or tougher cleaning jobs, you may need a more powerful machine.
Our verdict: A very good budget machine for everyday cleaning jobs. No frills but great price.
The Karcher K2 Compact is one of the best selling pressure washers right now, even after being on sale for several years. So what makes it so great? Read our review to see if this model really is worthy of a “best seller” title.
The famous little yellow cleaning machines are very well known in the UK and the Karcher K2 Compact is the cheapest of Karcher’s extensive UK range with a retail price (RRP) of £85. What makes it more attractive though is that we have seen the price discounted by as much as 35%.
Last update on 2021-12-02 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The next model up is the K2 Full Control which has the same motor and performance but comes with the Full Control Click Vario adjustable lance along with a telescopic handle and wheels. Moving up again to the Full Control Home version sees the addition of a patio cleaner. It’s worth shopping around as there is quite often not much difference in price between these K2 models.
We describe on this page the differences between the K2, K4, K5 and K7 Karcher models. The K2 is the budget end of Karcher’s range and features a 1400w power output motor (the same as in the rest of the K2 range) and while this isn’t the most powerful of pressure washer motors we have reviewed, it will certainly be enough for light to mid cleaning duties such as patio/driveway cleaning or car washing.
The Karcher K2 Compact power washer delivers 110bar water pressure and again, while this is the lowest of all the models in the range (all K2 have 110bar pressure by the way) it will still be enough to shift most dirt and grime. It’s only when you go to the more expensive K4 range that pressure increases by 18% to 130bar.
The water flow rate on this (and all K2 models) is 360 litres per hour, or equivalent to 6 litres a minute which, while not the highest, is a reasonable amount of water flow for light duties.
Possibly one of the most attractive features of the K2 Compact pressure washer is its lighter weight, weighing in at only 4kg. To put this into perspective, the K4 models weigh around 11-12kg. The K2 does need to be light though as you will need to carry it into position as the K2 Compact does not have wheels (you will have move up to the K2 Full Control for wheels).
The K2 Compact does have a neat carrying handle built in so portability should not be too much of a problem. As with other K2 models, the water hose length is 4 metres long, so you should not actually need to move the machine around too much anyway when in use.
As a budget pressure washer, the K2 Compact does not come with loads of accessories, but you do get the essentials. This model comes with a full control lance which has four settings designed to allow the user to adjust the pressure accurately for the task in hand.
Additionally, it comes with a Dirt Blaster, which by the companies own admission provides 50% more power. The rotating head can cut through thicker grim and dirt where the standard lance has failed to do so.
Both these attachments and the electric cable can be stored neatly on the unit itself.
Well, this model is great for cleaning cars and bicycles. Still, unless you opt for the slightly improved versions, heavily soiled areas like oil and moss on the patio might be a little too much to ask of the base model K2, and therefore you may feel like it is letting you down. We have found it to be a great patio cleaner. We have tried it on the plastic furniture and it had no problems with cleaning stubborn bird poo from the conservatory windows either.
However, to cut a long story short, if you use this pressure washer as it was intended, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and are not overly ambitious with it, then this bit of kit will work wonders. It isn’t perfect, for example, the hose could be longer, but the Karcher K2 will serve you faithfully for years to come if you do not abuse it.
Choose your Karcher wisely or push yourself to buy the Full Control Home version or the K4 as they come with increased power and the necessary attachments to complete the task at hand.
The bottom line is that on the whole, the K2 is easy to use, lightweight, powerful enough and decently priced. Its main strength lies in its versatility. We have used it for all kinds of jobs around the home.
Looking at various forums, we can see an obvious pattern. Many people just buy the wrong model. From the start, they are doomed to failure. They expect far too much from the base model. Choosing the right Karcher that lives up to your expectations takes some serious planning.
If you simply want to clean the car from time to time (which for many pressure washer owners that is all they need it for), then the K2 is more than capable. If you want a decent patio cleaner, then again this machine is more than powerful enough. But if you wish to remove paint or ingrained oil then you should opt for a more powerful unit like the K4. Another thing to note is that if you use your Karcher incorrectly, ask too much of it or generally don’t take care of it then it is likely to break on you.
We suggest that people take a thorough look at our pressure washer review and other forums beforehand to decide which jobs they need their Karcher to carry out specifically and then decide (before they buy it) if the K2 is enough for them.
The K2 and K4 are both brilliant options; they are priced well and perform as expected. Karcher is famous for producing market-leading machines and many retailers offer guarantees and warranties. You really can’t go wrong with any Karcher machine. However, it is important to know about the main differences between the K2 and K4 before you go and spend your hard-earned cash.
The K4 comes with a Vario Power spray lance and extended hose (6m instead of 4m), a telescopic handle and a motor that is water-cooled. So, on the surface of things, it looks like Karcher answered the gripes of previous K2 owners as all of those improvements are exactly what a K2 owner would have asked for. In our opinion, this makes the K4 a smarter option. Its components are more versatile and the machine is better built for longevity.
In pure performance terms, the K4 has a definite edge. It has a bigger flow rate of 420L/hour and coverage area of 30sqm, and when you compare the power outputs between the separate unit the difference is definitely noticeable. (the K2 has a maximum output of 1.4KW and the K4 max output of 1.8KW)
However, all that extra gear does increase the weight of the unit significantly. The K2 is 6.6 Kg lighter, which makes it far easier to manoeuvre. The K4 does come with some nifty wheels which helps you to steer it out of the way but the K2 can be picked up and operated at the same time which makes it much more mobile.
Again if you need a pressure washer with a little more backbone, then the K4 is for you, but it does come with a higher price tag. So, as ever, the choice is yours, but we believe the K4 might just edge it in performance terms but mobility and price are in favour of the K2.
Read more Karcher K2 pressure washer reviews here.
For further information on pressure washers, including best sellers and what to look for when buying, take a look at our full Buying Guide.