The range: Karcher Window Vac compared
Over the years Karcher has carved out a reputation for selling exceptional products at reasonable prices and if you are looking for a window vac, you can’t go far wrong with a Karcher. There are three models/kits to choose from; the entry-level device (and cheapest) WV1, the mid-range WV2 and the range-topping WV5 Premium. Retail prices range from £40 to £80. The table below shows a comparison between the different window vac models.
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In a hurry? Watch our in-depth video review of the Karcher WV2 Plus Window Vac
The Karcher WV2 Plus Reviewed
The Karcher range currently has three models to choose from and the WV2 is the middle option. The WV2 is the model we have chosen to extensively review and the RRP is £60 (we paid £50 from Amazon). The WV1 is £10 cheaper and because it is the older model it does not come with the spray bottle.
The range-topping WV5 Premium is the more expensive option and for the extra £30 you pay, you will get an additional smaller suction nozzle and the ability to change the battery. However, the charging station and lithium-ion battery are extras and will set you back an additional £50. It may be a little expensive for some but in our opinion, it is a very useful upgrade.
So, what can the window vac be used for? Well obviously, the main use is for cleaning windows but in our experience, it can also be used for cleaning shower doors and removing condensation from surfaces. The window vac is extremely versatile and we found it particularly useful for cleaning up liquid spills but you may find it handy for other applications. In fact, it will perform great on all smooth surfaces.
What’s in the box?
The WV2 Plus is supplied with the main vac unit, a 11″ (28cm) wide suction blade head, a spray bottle/microfibre cloth cleaning tool, charger plug and a small sample sachet of cleaning solution.
You may have experienced the frustration at trying to decipher the instructions that most international brands supply with their products. However, we found the pictorial diagrams really easy to follow and we had the appliance put together in no time. The suction blade was really easy to click into the body and overall the unit was quite light and easy to handle. There is an easy to reach power button with LED indicator light on the back of the main unit.
The water tank/collection bottle can be easily emptied by undoing the rubber bung and the whole water tank can be removed for cleaning (although you have to detach the vac head to do this). The cleaning cloth is attached by Velcro so can easily be removed for washing (in a washing machine).
However, the WV2 does have some minor disadvantages. We found that the spray bottle/cleaning head tool was a little bit fiddly to put together and on the first attempt we did not screw the trigger head on correctly and ended up with a wet floor. Most of the issues seem to be surrounding the water bottle. It has a tiny capacity which may be annoying for extended cleaning periods or if you live in a larger house. Additionally, there are no volume lines to measure out the mixture of cleaning fluid to water. We think that volume lines would be a useful feature as the instructions provided state that you should add 230ml water to the 20ml of cleaning fluid. All said and done we managed perfectly fine in our small window cleaning test and we think we could live with the small problems that we have discovered.
Test no.1: Window cleaning
After a good charge of around two hours, we used the Karcher for cleaning windows (a set of small French doors). It took us around two minutes to clean the windows which involved first spraying them with the cleaning tool then going over a couple of times with the vac.
The spray tool is very easy to use and the vac did a good job of cleaning up the dirty water first time. We only had to re-do a few small areas. We only used washing up liquid in the cleaning bottle but overall the windows looked clean and streak-free when we’d finished. We must mention that there was some stubborn bird poo on the window and we had to redo this area. We feel that if your windows are extremely dirty then some preparation might be needed beforehand to ensure the vac is as efficient as possible.
We eventually realised that if you were organised then the 25 to 35 minutes of battery life is more than sufficient to clean the windows on an entire house. It should only takes a few minutes per window. So if you charge the battery after each use you should not need to purchase an expensive spare.
We found that the window vac is relatively quiet when operational as the motor generates hardly any noise. We imagine this will keep the neighbour’s happy.
The unit is lightweight and we felt no tiredness or strain in our wrists, arms or back. It feels nimble and well balanced and we could have used it for longer without needing a break. Of course, it reminds us of a cordless vacuum and is used in a similar manner.
Test no.2: Removing water from a shower door
Having made use of the Karcher Window vacuum for a couple of weeks now we’ve found that one of its most useful applications is in the bathroom. We use regularly after a shower to remove water from the door and tiles. We were surprised to find that it can even remove condensation from the large mirror we have above the sink.
In the quick shower door cleaning test, it took well under one minute to remove all of the dirty water from the door and it was entirely streak-free. Previously we would have used a cloth to do this, which can be quite laborious, so using the WV2 is quicker and more convenient.
Test No.3: Cleaning up spills
Another good use for the window vac is cleaning up liquid spills from hard floor surfaces, such as laminate, tiles or hardwood flooring. For this test, we simply poured water on the laminate/tile floor surface and the window vac handled this with ease. Again the surface was left clean and streak-free but we were surprised to find that the floor was almost entirely dry to the touch.
We recommend that when cleaning up dirty water or other liquids, such as milk for example, then you should remove the water collection bottle from the main unit to give the bottle a good rinse out to stop it from smelling the next time you use it.
The Karcher WV2 Plus Review: In summary
- Wide variety of uses around the home
- Lightweight and extremely versatile
- Good battery life and run time
- The wide suction head ensures smooth operation
- Reasonably quiet
- Easy to empty the water container
- Cleaning/spray tool works well
- Not too expensive if bought on offer (we have seen prices as low as £40)
- Water container and spray bottle capacity could be larger
- Quite a big unit to store
- Only comes with the one size blade attachment
- No volume measurement on bottle
Karcher has a strategy of offering “basic” products alongside “premium” versions with extra (admittedly useful) accessories; this is common with their pressure washer range as well as their window vac range. It can sometimes be frustrating to choose which is better because it’s the tools and attachments that are useful to us and not really the base unit.
The WV2 Plus and WV5 Premium models are pretty much the same base unit, the only difference being that the WV5 has a removable rechargeable lithium-ion battery for even extra run time. The WV1 uses the older, bulkier and heavier, base unit.The difference is mainly in the accessories you are supplied. We recommend that you avoid the WV1 model as it only comes with a standard wide nozzle and has no cleaning tool (plus it’s the old base unit). The best bet is to go with the WV2.
The WV5 Premium does have a better battery and therefore a longer run time which guarantees 35 minutes of cleaning. Also, it has an additional smaller suction nozzle but in everyday situations, you can easily live without these extra features. We do not believe you get much extra benefit for the extra £30 you pay (although the battery is a good option).
Kärcher claims that using a window vac for cleaning windows is three times faster than a manual cleaning method. They also point out that having a water tank that is easily cleanable means that you will never have to come into contact with dirty water. Their products have proven successful in our tests and therefore we find ourselves thoroughly recommend their products. Our reviews are unbiased and we only vouch for quality products that do the job.
Ultimately, we think you should go for the WV2. There are stores out there selling the WV2 for only slightly more than the base WV1 model. The WV2 is the more modern version and includes a very useful cleaning tool. The battery life and run-time are more than sufficient for everyday use and overall it performed very well on our windows. The process was quick and the final result was streak-free. Exactly what you would expect from a Karcher.
We would like to point out that lowe have stumbled upon some forum posts that seem to highlight that the Karcher Vac does seem to have a vulnerability when it comes to the battery. People have mentioned that after only a few months the battery life has significantly decreased. While we can’t vouch for that as that hasn’t been our experience the battery on the WV2 is not interchangeable. Therefore, if you are worried about this potential problem then maybe the WV5 premium with the interchangeable batteries might be the better option for you. We recommend you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to help protect and prolong the battery life of your window vac.
Karcher Window Vac Accessories
There are several accessories available including replacement pads, belt holders, cleaning liquid and extra battery chargers.
However, perhaps the most useful accessory is the extension pole set for window cleaning.
The set consists of two extending poles; one for the window vac and a separate one that has a washable cleaning head attachment. Each pole is 1.2 metres in length but can be extended to 1.9 metres. Your Karcher window cleaner can be securely mounted on the base plate and attached with the rubber strap.
These high-quality extension poles allow you to clean harder to reach windows and are ideal for cleaning conservatory glass. If you are looking to use them on 1st-floor windows then you will definitely need a step ladder to aid you. This window cleaning pole set has an RRP of around £35 and would be a particularly useful purchase if you plan to regularly clean windows.
Karcher Window Vac Accessories
There are several accessories available for the Karcher window vac including replacement pads, belt holders, cleaning liquid and extra battery chargers.
However, perhaps the most useful accessory is the extension pole set for cleaning windows.
The set consist of 2 extending poles; one for the window vac and a separate one that has a washable cleaning head attachment. Each pole is 1.2 metres in length but can be extended to 1.9 metres. Your Karcher window vac can be securely mounted on the base plate and attached with the rubber strap.
These high quality extension poles allow you to clean taller or hard to reach ground floor windows and are ideal for cleaning conservatory glass. If you are looking to use on 1st floor windows then you will definitely need a step ladder to gain better access. The Karcher window cleaning pole set has an RRP of around £35 so makes a great purchase if you plan to regularly clean windows.