Without an electric power washer, the best you can hope when cleaning your driveways, paved walkways, and vehicles is spending hours and hours under the hot, punishing sun. Admittedly, a garden hose can speed up the cleaning process, but it’s not exactly an efficient way of doing so. First of all, there’s hardly any pressure from garden hoses, and they use up tremendous amounts of water – up to 24 gallons per minute.
Instead, why not invest in an electric pressure washer and reduce your cleaning time to a fraction of what it’d normally take?
There are hundreds of different electric pressure washers to choose from. One of the most popular brands of residential-grade pressure washers is Karcher, a family-owned company based in Germany that is well-known for their high-quality cleaning tools. In this article, we’re going to compare two of their most simple and most budget-friendly electric pressure washers: the Karcher K2 and K3. They have more overlapping specs than differences, but let’s see how they compare.
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PSI and GPM
Before deciding which pressure washer to get, it’s important to know how much pressure it can provide and how much water it uses in doing so. The K2 can deliver up to 1,600 PSI while consuming 1.25 GPM of water. Needless to say, this is considerably more power and water-efficiency than garden hoses.
The K3 is slightly more powerful than the K2. It produces up to 1,800 PSI and uses 1.3 GPM of water. We can see a slight increase in water consumption compared to the K2, but this is normal if you’re getting more pressurized force out of your machine.
Conclusion: It’s believed that more force is better when it comes to a pressure washer. In that case, the K3’s 1,800-PSI force delivery would be the better option. However, we feel that there really isn’t that much difference in power when we’re only looking at only 200 PSI. To conclude this segment, both of these machines, PSI-wise and GPM-wise, are great.
Karcher K2 and K3
Since we’re dealing with thousands of PSI rather than just tens or even hundreds, there’s a huge risk of accidentally shattering windows or stripping your home’s walls or car’s bodies of their delicate paint. In order to overcome this risk, you’ll need to adjust the amount of force and spray area. Both the K2 and K3 come with Vario spray wands which let users adjust the spray’s force and area by twisting the nozzle. You can get 0° pencil-like precision and a wide 40° fan for quick cleaning.
Karcher K2 and K3
The weight of a pressure washer is important since it can indicate how maneuverable it is. We generally favor lightweight machines, but if they’re too light, then it can cause some balance issues (more on this later). The K2 and K3 weight less than 17 pounds each, so it’s fair to classify these machines as “lightweight.” There is hardly any risk of fatigue when transporting these units to and fro, especially since they come with wheels.
One of the most frustrating things about using a portable generator is when you’re more than 30 feet away from the machine and it tips over. Stand-up models have this problem, and it’s mainly due to their extreme lightweight and two-wheel design. The K2 is the perfect example of a portable generator having balance issues.
You might think that the four-wheel – the first-ever portable generator to sit on two front and back wheels – wouldn’t have balance issues like the K2, but unfortunately the opposite is true. Since the K3 is so lightweight, even the slightest tug can rock the unit back and forth. We admit, however, that it does a better job at maintaining balance than the K2.
Conclusion: It’s unfortunate to see two extremely promising pressure washers fail to maintain their balance when tugging slightly at their cords and pressure hoses. We will admit that the four-wheel design of the K3 is impressive and does well when traveling on uneven surfaces like on grass or rocky pathways, but it does tend to tip over far too often.
Dirtblaster Spray Wand
Karcher K2 and K3
Both the K2 and K3 come with an attachable Dirtblaster Spray Wand. What makes this wand unique is that it’s designed to shoot greater blasts of water, increasing the tool’s cleaning power by up to 50% its original effectiveness. Be sure never to use this tool when washing your vehicles or home windows since it will undoubtedly shatter the windows.
The K2 is unique in the sense that it doesn’t come with its own detergent tank or applicator. Instead, you need to drop the end of the pressure hose into a separate container of soap and set the Vario wand to low-pressure mode. There have been many complaints about this tool’s method of drawing in and shooting out soap as the engine seems to struggle with viscous detergents.
The K3 has its own built-in soap tank. Like the K2, you need to adjust the Vario wand to low-pressure before it can draw in soap. However, just like the K2, this unit has a problem with drawing in enough soap to leave a noticeable layer on whatever surface you’re power-cleaning.
Conclusion: Once again, we’re saddened to see that these machines fail another of the most basic tasks you’d expect from a pressure washer. Their inability to pull in enough soap for a satisfactory layer of foam leaves their users wondering whether these machines are actually worth the investment.
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Karcher K2 vs K3: Verdict
We have some mixed feelings about both the Karcher K2 and K3. They’re great tools for regular pressure-washing all sorts of surfaces – e.g. getting rid of grime from your patio furniture, eliminating slippery mildew and moss – but their inability to properly apply a thick layer of soap on surfaces leave us questioning the quality of these German-made products.
If your driveway is free of motor oil spills and other slippery messes, then you won’t need soap. But if you’re looking to super-clean every surface around your home, you should take a look at other brands and models.
After comparing the two products to each other, we can safely conclude that the K3 is the better option. You get more power, better water efficiency, and a better mix of lightweight and balance. However, if we were to recommend an electric pressure washer, we’d advise taking a look at Sun Joe’s and Greenworks’ pieces of pressure washer art.
|Best of the Best||Most Popular||Also Great|
|Sun Joe SPX3500||Sun Joe SPX3000||Karcher K5|
| • 2300 PSI
• 1.2L tank
• 1.48 GPM
• 46.5 lbs
| • 2030 PSI
• 0.9L tank
• 1.76 GPM
• 31 lbs
| • 2000 PSI
• 1.0L tank
• 1.4 GPM
• 32 lbs