The Kärcher K2 Power Control is the perfect starter pressure washer

The foundation of all car cleaning, see how we got on with the Kärcher K2 Pressure Washer.

from Kärcher
RRP  £119.99
The Karcher K2 Power Control

by Ryan Gilmore |
Updated on

The Kärcher K2 is an excellent pressure washer for domestic car and garden cleaning. Offering just enough power and an adjustable nozzle in something lightweight and very compact, it does represent a solid offering for someone wanting to clean their car thoroughly, so long as you're happy to spend a few extra pounds on upgrades.

The K2 is the entry-level pressure washer series from Kärcher, and this is the Power Control model. This ships with two swappable lances, a Vairo lance for adjustable power and a Dirt blaster lance for cutting through the worst grime.

Serious detailers will look at top-of-the-range units packed with enough power to blast a hole through a classic Alfa Romeo and enough gadgetry to rival Inspector Gadget, but this isn't essential for most people. Could the Kärcher K2 Pressure Washer be the perfect tool for car care? I've been finding out.

Kärcher K2 Pressure Washer Via Kärcher


  • Excellent value for money
  • Perfect for domestic car and garden cleaning
  • Easy to store and move around


  • Where's the foam cannon?
  • Won't tackle the worst baked-on grime

Kärcher K2: what's good?

Karcher K2 full set

Right out of the box, the Kärcher scores points for quality. It's not Land Cruiser-levels of rough and tumble, but the plastics all have a tactile feel. Everything feels well put together, from the body-mounted dial to the trigger. What's more impressive is that it's managed to maintain such a low weight of just 4kg.

This is achieved by keeping the K2 as small as possible, which is also a huge plus point for storing the device. At just 58.9 cm tall and 28 cm wide, it's a compact pressure washer easily stowed away. The small size and weight also make it easy to position while in use, aided by the two small wheels.

As the baby of the Kärcher range, you'd be forgiven for assuming it would be out of its depth cleaning the muckiest of cars. However, the K2 performed exceptionally well for almost any task we could throw at it.

With a collection of cars to clean, ranging from a mild muck through to near bio-hazard levels of road film, the K2 took almost all of it in its stride. Mud and general grime were dealt with in moments, and a quick blast of a weathered brick also proved its prowess for freshening up a patio and other stonework.

The only area it struggled was blasting away the greasy road film that all cars build up over winter. Car cleaning chemicals would often be deployed to help degrease these panels, but the lack of a foam lance left me with no choice but to see if I could jet the muck away, with mixed results. If nothing else, it represents excellent value for money. Stumped by only the worst muck, it can't be criticised for ordinary cleaning duties.

Kärcher K2: what's okay?

Karcher K2 spraying Jaguar wheel

You'll need to dig out the screwdrivers to assemble the K2 properly. Assembly isn't anywhere near as involved as other pressure washers, but the two handles need attaching. The smaller example is a simple affair, it clips into place.

The telescopic handle on the other hand stumped our screwdrivers, the screw holes being just too narrow to properly tighten for the test. Instead a separate long-reach screwdriver had to be deployed to get the screws tightened comfortably.

Kärcher K2: any negatives?

Karcher K2 snow foam VW Bus

As the entry-level of the Kärcher pressure washer range, there are no bells and whistles other than the two lances. The Dirt Blaster is a little too aggressive for paintwork, leaving you a single lance for all car cleaning duties.

The issue with this scrimping is that it limits much of what's possible with a pressure washer. If you want to deep clean a patio or blast the underside of your car, you'll need to buy an appropriate optional attachment, and then you'll need somewhere to store it.

Even the always-fun task of snow-foaming a car will require you to shell out some extra money and buy a snow foam cannon. We tried a compatible aftermarket example and found the K2 was capable of snow foaming, it just needs some extra money thrown at it beforehand.

Karcher K2 close-up

Other items to consider

Best pressure washer for compactness

Nilfisk Core 125 bar High Pressure WasherVia Nilfisk

The biggest rival to the Kärcher comes in the form of the Danish Nilfisk Core 125. Requiring more assembly than the K2, this 125 makes up for that with outstanding styling, metal internals and more power.


  • Exceptional build-quality
  • Powerful water pump


  • Assembly required

Most versatile compact pressure washer

Bosch Home and Garden High Pressure WasherVia Bosch

Even smaller than the Kärcher, the 120 ships with a raft of attachments and a more powerful motor. Bear in mind it has no wheels, and there's limited onboard storage for the attachments.


  • Very compact
  • Usual Bosch build-quality


  • No wheels

Best compact pressure washer for warranty

AVA P40 Pressure WasherVia AVA of Norway

A fair bit more expensive than the Kärcher, the AVA really is the perfect choice for serious car cleaners. Again, it's small in size and lightweight but also packs a metal internal pump and some useful attachments.


  • Superb 10-year warranty
  • Perfect for car cleaning


  • Extras can become costly

Who tested it?

Ryan Gilmore is the Deputy Commercial Content Editor for CAR, overseeing all product testing for the website. With three years under his belt testing car care equipment, he knows his way around a pressure washer and has tested several along with their attachments.

How this product was tested

The Kärcher K2 Power Control took on a fleet of mucky press cars in need of snapping, the perfect test for its cleaning abilities, versatility and durability. With six cars cleaned in a two-hour window, it has since been used to test snow foam, clean brickwork and for general garden cleaning duties. A huge ask for a budget pressure washer.

Ryan Gilmore is the Deputy Autos and Tools Editor for CAR, specialising in car cleaning and hand tools. With an MA in Automotive Journalism, when he's not testing buckets he can be found looking at old Porsches.

For verdicts, scoops, news and analysis from the team, delivered direct to your inbox, subscribe to the CAR newsletter.

You can enjoy CAR in its traditional print format, or one of the swelling number of digital editions, optimised for Apple iPhones, Android devices, iPads, tablets and desktop computers.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us