Garden & Lawn

Karcher K5 Review 2021 – Full Control Model vs Compact K5

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KARCHER K5 PRESSURE WASHER REVIEW

Karcher K5 Compact vs Karcher K5 Full Control Pressure Washer

The Karcher K5 Pressure Washer is one of Karcher’s most powerful pressure washers for home use and is only beaten by the larger K7 pressure washer but to be honest, I think the K7 doesn’t offer much more for the extra price when compared to the K5 but it offers much more than the smaller K4 model. Basically, by considering a K5, I think you’re on the right track.

The two main models include the full control model with its LED trigger and plug n clean detergent system but there are a few variants of this model (I now have the K5 Premium Smart Control version for example shown below). I have got to say, what an amazing machine.

Karcher K5 Premium Smart Pressure Washer
Karcher K5 Premium Smart Pressure Washer

Then there is the K5 Compact which is designed to fit into small storage areas and to be more manoeuvrable but it’s much more basic. I will tell it straight, I think the Full control models are what you want to invest in, the question is which model do you go for but more in this further down. What I will say though, if your looking for an exceptional compact pressure washer and don’t mind having the shorter 8-meter hose, a suction tube for the detergent and several separate lances, this could be worth considering, for me though, it simply wasn’t the best option.

Karcher K5 Compact Pressure Washer 145 Bar New 2019 Model 240v

What you will get from this review

Below I compare both the Karcher K5 Premium Smart Full Control Pressure Washer (this is the highest spec version with the App, built-in hose reel and longer 10-meter hose) and the Karcher K5 Compact Pressure Washer in more detail and find out what the differences are, in terms of features and which model might be the best choice for you.

Karcher K5 compared to other models
This is my K5 Premium against my K2 the smaller model Karcher sell

Personally, I do think the K5 models offer the best value, in terms of performance, features and price.

All though both models produce the same pressure and flow rating and have the same water cooled motor, they both have different features which may suit better to different situations.

Below we will start by reviewing and looking into the Karcher K5 Premium Smart Full Control Pressure Washer pros & cons, what features it has, and all that good stuff and then we will review the cheaper, but just as powerful, more affordable Compact Pressure Washer.


Karcher K5 Premium Smart Full Control Pressure Washer Review

So first, you need to know the difference between K5 premium home pressure washer and the Karcher premium Smart Pressure washer?

First, I want to explain the difference between the standard Karcher K5 Full Control pressure washer and the Premium and the Smart versions as they all look identical.

Performance-wise, there pretty much the same but the premium models have a build-in hose reel which is super handy.

Built-in hose reel on Karcher K5 Premium models
Built-in hose reel on Karcher K5 Premium models

Then the smart premium version also has a longer 10-meter hose instead of 8 meters and it can also be used with the APP but I personally don’t really use this but I can see why some people might.

Mobile APP you get with premium smart version
Mobile APP you get with premium smart version

The smart version also has a BOOST mode that gives you an extra 15 bar for a short burst of time for removing the toughest stains.

BOOST model which give you an extra 15 bar of pressure for a short period of time
BOOST model which give you an extra 15 bar of pressure for a short period of time

All the models with ‘home’ in the name also include the T5 surface cleaner which I’m using below and a bottle of plug n play detergent too.

T5 Surface cleaner that came with my premium smart home pressure washer

My Rating

Quick Summary: Karcher has some of the best pressure washers on the market and the K5 range are the more sophisticated models along with the much more expensive K7 model. The Karcher K5 Full Control versions in particular are such a good quality pressure washer, packed with plenty of features that make it very convenient in use.

Using it with the dirtblaster lance model to clean paving slabs

It’s a big upgrade when compared to the Karcher K5 Compact Home Pressure Washer. I personally own the premium version with the smart APP control and absolutely love the build-in hose reel, the extra 2 meters hose length gives me a total of 10 meters, this makes life much easier as does the built-in hose reel.

This has been designed with pure convenience in mind. I highly recommend you go with the newest premium spec full control model, you get the Vario lance for switching between fan, dirtblaster and soap mode easily and the LCD screen on the gun for controlling the pressure. For me, if you have space and the extra budget, the full control is the model to get.

PROS

  • Designed with on-board storage for keeping the trigger gun, 2 lances and hose neatly stored together on the unit.
  • Has a convenient extendable pulling handle and wheels, which make it easy to manoeuvre within the job area, whether you’re washing the patio, car, deck, and more.
  • Comes with a powerful motor – 2100 watts – which features a patented cooling system for increased longevity.
  • Features LED display on power gun which allows you to ensure that you’ve selected the right power level for a particular application.
  • Comes with quite a substantial hose of 8m length, making it ideal for washing large areas.
  • Includes a T5 patio cleaner and a 1L bottle of 3-in-1 stone and facade cleaner.
  • Uses Karcher’s Plug and Clean Detergent system which makes for quick replacement of detergent with one simple movement.
  • 3 year warranty

The premium smart version also comes with

  • Build in hose reel to make winding and unwinding the hose easier.
  • An extra 2 meters of hose for a total of 10 meters.
  • One vario lance so you can switch between fan, dirtblaster and soap by turning the lance.
  • BOOST model – gives you an extra 15 bar or pressure on the standard k5 models.

CONS

  • Not as compact as the compact model in terms of dimentions.

Specifications and Features

  • Maximum pressure bar – 145 bar
  • Maximum flow rate – 500l/hr
  • Area cleaned in square metres per hour – 40
  • High pressure hose length – 8 standard -10 metres for premium smart version
  • Motor type – water cooled
  • Detergent application method – Plug and Clean system
  • Includes high impact wheels and adjustable aluminium handle
  • Premium models have built in hose reel.
  • Smart Premium has 10 meters hose and Bluetooth connection to APP
  • All home models include the T5 Surface cleaner
Karcher K5 Smart Control model
Karcher K5 Smart Control model

From the figures above (and my own real-life testing), I can confirm that the Karcher K5 Full Control Premium Pressure Washer is a fantastic model. This pressure washer will handle the job of smaller pressure washers better and quicker. After all, you don’t want to spend a full hour washing the driveway when it can be done in half an hour.

Includes T5 Surface Cleaner which makes cleaning large patios and driveways such more quickly than using the gun

Now the surface cleaner only comes with the Karcher with this model and not the compact version, let’s just say it’s well worth having the T5 surface cleaner if you a patio to keep clean.

TheT5 Surface cleaner has two powerful spinning jets and a brush rim top help remove dirt quickly
TheT5 Surface cleaner has two powerful spinning jets and a brush rim top help remove dirt quickly

I found that if you use it on full power to clean the patio and then use the standard lance on low to rinse the dirt and water away it works great and comes up well while avoiding all the splashback.

Using the included T5 Surface cleaner to clean my patio and remove the dirt
Using the included T5 Surface cleaner to clean my patio and remove the dirt
Powerful water cooled 2100w motor

The major advantage of the K5 pressure washer over smaller models is that it integrates a water-cooled motor instead of an air-cooled motor. Delivering an unbelievable 2100 watts of power, this motor offers a superior benefit of longevity compared to an air-cooled motor type. However, since I’m comparing the two K5 Models, they do all come with the water-cooled motor even the compact version.

LED display trigger to select correct pressure setting

One feature of this pressure washer that I really like and actually use is the LED display on the power gun and you don’t get this with the compact model.

Simply use the + and - button on the gun to increase or decrease the power, no need to turn the end of the nozzle like most other models.
Simply use the + and – button on the gun to increase or decrease the power, no need to turn the end of the nozzle like most other models.

The LED display basically shows you the power output you’re using for the job and will always let you select the convenient programmed setting to suit the job at hand.

Boost mode gives you that extra 15 bar to remove stubborn stains
Boost mode gives you that extra 15 bar to remove stubborn stains

It also has a nice BOOST mode that comes only with the premium smart model and this gives you an extra 15 bar of pressure you can use on stubborn stains. This is on top of the power the other models provide on full power.

Plug n Play detergent system

So another feature I like is the new plug n play system, so basically you insert the detergent bottle upside down into the top of the pressure wash as shown below.

Inserting the detergent bottle into the top of the pressure washer using the Plug n Play system.
Inserting the detergent bottle into the top of the pressure washer using the Plug n Play system.

I like this design as it means I no longer knock the detergent bottle over when using the pressure washer which was nearly every time with my older model that had a suction tube. It’s important to know, the Karcher compact model still uses a suction tube which I don’t like.

Now this means you have to buy at least a couple of Karcher’s own ‘plug n play’ detergent bottles but once you have used them, you can just reuse the bottles and fill them back up with your own choice of detergent or snow foam.

This is important as I didn’t want to have to use Karcher’s brand of snow foam, or be tied down to Karcher cleaner products for that matter as it was exceptionally poor when I tried their snow foam and I purchased this separately from B&Q. The home models come with patio detergent included and this worked great, I just wouldn’t recommend the car cleaning products at this point.

Now let’s talk about the lances

Dirtblaster lance
Dirtblaster lance
Fan lance
Fan lance

The Karcher k5 Premium models come with the Vario lance, so instead of having two separate lances for the fan and dirtblaster nozzles, you just have the one lance and you can turn the shaft to switch between the two lance type, you also have a third soap lance option for applying detergent and snow foam.

Vario lance makes switching between fan, dirtblaster and soap quick and easy
Vario lance makes switching between fan, dirtblaster and soap quick and easy

This saves you from having to manually keep switching between three different lances which is much more convenient.

What about the APP

So I will say upfront, I do not use the APP, however the first time you use the Karcher K5 Premium Smart Pressure Washer. You still need to connect the app to get the LCD screen on the gun to work. It’s very easy to do with any smartphone and once you have done this, you can not use the app ever again if you so wish like I don’t.

So what the APP actually does, you can choose what you’re going to clean, for example, a car or a driveway and then it will select the correct pressure and transfer these settings to the gun. It will also tell you which lance type to choose and give you a step by step guide on how to best clean your car.

One feature on the APP that is super useful, if you install the app first before assembling it, it gives you step by step instructions on how to assemble the pressure washer. Now, this is useful and could stop you from attaching the parts in the wrong order or using the wrong screws.


Final Conclusion

The Karcher K5 Full Premium Smart Pressure Washer is a heavy-duty machine that would make most outdoor washing jobs a breeze. It beats most other pressure washers in its class in several aspects including power output, flow rate and bar pressure but so does the compact model too.

While the K5 Premium Smart model might be expensive for some, the benefits cannot be overlooked. These include faster completion of tasks, flexible operation and enhanced durability of its water-cooled motor. When compared to the compact model, the built-in hose reel, longer hose, plug n play detergent system, LCD screen and Vario lance are all features that make it a much easier machine to use.

My Karcher K5 Premium Smart Model
My Karcher K5 Premium Smart Model

With that said, it’s hard to point out any faults of this pressure washer. Perhaps the price is the only drawback and it’s obviously slightly bulkier but it’s smaller than you might expect with the handle down.

I would highly recommend this model on the basis of quality, performance and how useful the extra features really are. I would highly recommend it if it’s within budget.

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 Karcher K5 Compact Home High Pressure Washer Review

Karcher K5 Compact Pressure Washer 145 Bar New 2019 Model 240v

My Rating

Karcher introduced the K5 range into the market earlier this year and the response so far is amazing. Among them was the Karcher K5 Compact Home High Pressure Washer which has become very popular with homeowners. We’ve done our best research and below we tell you why this pressure washer is one of the best on the market.

Quick Summary: The Karcher K5 Compact is an excellent choice for those looking for a powerful but compact pressure washer that is easy to store and has great mobility. We actually prefer the K5 Compact over the K5 Full Control Pressure Washer despite it lacking the LED trigger gun and detergent ‘plug n clean’ system. If you need a model that can be store easily, is powerful and can easily be moved around then this model ticks all the boxes and comes with 3 years warranty. 

Let’s start with the summary of the good? and bad.

PROS

  • Very powerful 1800w water cooled motor that produces 145 bar.
  • Compact design making it easy to store and transport.
  • Has a water-cooled motor which tends to last longer and its quitter than air-cooled motors.
  • Designed for easy manoeuvrability and transportation due to its compact body with two carrying handles.
  • Allows easy attaching of the lance and high pressure hose via Quick Connect connection device.
  • Can source water from tanks and water butts and filter it to eliminate large particles.
  • Has an Auto Stop function which helps save electricity by stopping operations every time the trigger is released.
  • Offers on-board tool storage for gun and lances.
  • 3 years warranty for full peace of mind.

CONS

  • Uses a detergent suction tube you need to insert into a container. Would be more convenient with the plug n clean system or on-board tank.

Specifications and Features

  • Maximum power output – 2100 watts
  • Flow rate – 500 litres/hour
  • Maximum pressure – 145 bar
  • Area cleaned (m²/h) – 40
  • Weight: 11.5kg
  • Includes detergent suction hose for detergent injection
  • Made with a telescopic handle for easy use and storage
  • Dimensions: 516 x 295 x 282mm
Karcher K5 Compact Pressure Washer 145 Bar New 2019 Model 240v
Light weight and easy to store thanks to its compact design

As the title suggests, the Karcher K5 Compact Home High Pressure Washer really stands out due to its ‘compact design’. This machine can be carried to and from the job area using two integrated carry handles. At 11.5kg (without accessories), a large majority of the physically fit population will find it easy to lift, whilst others can find it easy lifting it side by side. Still, it’s fitted with two large wheels which enhance mobility.

Karcher K5 Compact Pressure Washer 145 Bar New 2019 Model 240v

The dimensions of the pressure washer are 46.8 x 39.7 x 59.1cm and they make for easy storage.

Water cooled motor increases the life span

It benefits from a water-cooled motor that leads a longer life compared to an air-cooled motor due to tougher tolerances. A water-cooled motor runs quietly and is the kind installed in high grade pressure washers.

Quick connect hose connectors for easy setup in minutes

Featuring a Quick Connect system, the pressure washer allows easy connection of the high-pressure hose as well as other accessories. As a matter of fact, the hose has a decent 8m length which is more than 6ft longer than the K4 which helps cover wide areas in less time.

Karcher K5 Compact Pressure Washer 145 Bar New 2019 Model 240v

The Karcher K5 Compact Home pressure washer comes with two types of lances; the vario lance and dirtblaster lance. The former allows you to change the power of the water stream from soft to high pressure jet, whilst the latter provides a rotating water jet for maximum cleaning capability.

Karcher K5 Compact Pressure Washer 145 Bar New 2019 Model 240v

An impressive feature of the K5 Compact Home machine is its filtered suction capability. This allows filtering of all incoming water to remove large particles that may clog the hose and cause damage. In addition, there’s an Auto Stop feature which basically halts operations whenever the trigger is released. The pressure washer will resume operations once the trigger is pushed again. This functionality will help enhance the durability of the motor which means it will last longer.

Karcher K5 Compact Pressure Washer 145 Bar New 2019 Model 240v

With this machine, you can expect to wash an area of up to 40 square metres in an hour as determined by its bar pressure and flow rate. Karcher knows they have an outstanding product and they are confident enough to cover this pressure washer with a 3-year warranty. Some other brands will give a maximum of two years, so Karcher sets the bar in the market.


Final Conclusion

This is a great kit for various washing jobs at home. Anyone looking for a compact pressure washer with plenty of power will find joy in the Karcher K5 Compact Home High Pressure Washer.

There’s so much to celebrate in this product, including a patented water-cooled motor, quick connect system, ease of use and on-board storage. With this pressure washer, you’ll save a lot of time cleaning the patio and driveway, and get better results than using a less powerful model.

Karcher K5 Compact Pressure Washer 145 Bar New 2019 Model 240v

Even more, it’s fairly priced when you consider what it comes with, the washer power it offers and the longer 3-year warranty.

Now, this model is around £100 cheaper than the Karcher K5 Full Control Pressure Washer and produces the same results, the only real difference is that it does not have a LED trigger so you can see the pressure setting you have it on and it uses a detergent suction tube instead of the plug n clean system which we do love but it not essential.

Personally would invest in the compact version and same the extra money to buy some usefull attachments which are available.

That being said, the more expensive K5 model is just as good and has some interesting features which, if within budget, are worth investing in. 

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Karcher Full Control vs Karcher Compact

I hope you have found our Karcher K5 Review helpful, as you can see both models offer the same cleaning performance and will give the same outcome.

All you need to decide is whether you would prefer to splash out the extra expense on the extra features of the Premium Smart Control model such as the ‘Plug n Clean’ detergent system the LED Trigger so you know instantly what pressure setting you have as well as the hose reel, longer hose and Vario lance. Or do you prefer the compact lay-flat design, better mobility and a more attractive price.

Once you decide this you should have your answer to which Karcher K5 model is the best choice for you.


Last update on 2021-07-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

1 Comment

  1. Well done, very informative and unbiased review. Helped me make an educated choice in which model was best suited to me.

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