Kärcher K2 review: an excellent highly portable pressure washer

The Kärcher K2 Power Control eradicates mould, moss, mud and stains with ease

Karcher K2 Power Control man cleaning patio
(Image credit: Karcher)
T3 Verdict

There are numerous pressure washers on the market but most of them are too big, too heavy and too ungainly when all you want to do is blast a few paving stones. That’s why I think the Kärcher K2 Power Control is the perfect pressure washer for most needs. It’s small, light in the hand and a doddle to store. But more importantly it blasts moss to smithereens, removes mould in seconds and even keeps you cool in a heatwave. What’s not to like?

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Enough power for most household tasks

  • +

    Easy to use and even easier to store

  • +

    Comes with two lances

  • +

    Really light and portable

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    It’s not as powerful as its larger stablemates

  • -

    It doesn’t come with many extras

  • -

    A bit of a faff to set up

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Welcome to our review of the entry-level Kärcher K2 Power Control Pressure Washer, a demon cleaner of paving stones, patios, brickwork, garden furniture and cars.

Kärcher has a huge range of pressure washers which you can read about in our handy guide to the best pressure washers. Indeed, some of the Teutonic behemoth's models quite rightly hog the top three spots.

The Kärcher K2 Power Control is the perfect machine for most people because it’s keenly priced, light and portable and small enough to store in even the smallest of sheds.

Let’s dig a little deeper.

Kärcher K2 Power Control Pressure Washer review: design

Karcher K2 Power Control review

Small but effective

(Image credit: Future)

I’ve tried quite a few Kärcher pressure washers over the years and, for me, the bigger models are overkill for what I need a pressure washer to do – namely blasting moss and mould off paving, washing down the patio, gently purging mould from rattan and wooden garden furniture and, at times, giving the car a prewash blast to remove bird poo, tar marks and mud. This K2 model will perform all these tasks and more with consummate ease.

The very best thing about this particular model is its size. At just 59cm in height, 28cm in width and 20cm in depth and 4.4kgs in weight, it’s the easiest model to store and carry, and that’s a major consideration since all pressure washers are a bit of a pain to set up and I shall tell you why right away.

Kärcher K2 Power Control Pressure Washer review: setting it up

The vast majority of pressure washers require three sets of cables and pipes and this one’s no different. First, there’s a 5-metre mains lead that needs to be plugged into an outdoor outlet or a suitable extension lead. Then you need to plug a garden hose into the unit using the supplied standard screw-in hose fitting. And just when you thought that’s enough hoses and cables for one day, you need to join the hand unit to the machine using the supplied – and rather stiff – 5-metre pressure hose.

So, as you can see, there are quite a few ancillary things that need to be connected before you even start. And it’s just as much of a malarky packing it away because you will need to pull out the garden hose, wind up the mains cable, hang it on the unit’s side hook and then wrestle with the springy high pressure hose that will positively refuse to adopt the tidy shape it was when you first got it out of the box. It’s not a spoiler, granted, but don’t expect your pressure washer to look tidy once you’ve packed it all up.

Kärcher K2 Power Control Pressure Washer review: features

Karcher K2 Power Control on white background

The Kärcher K2 Power Control comes with just two lances – more than enough for most of us

(Image credit: Karcher K2)

This model is perfectly good for most cleaning tasks and, mercifully, it only comes with two lances and no extra bits like car and patio brushes which you will almost certainly lose somewhere in the manshed. 

The main flat-headed lance is designed for the majority of jobs because the pressure can be adjusted on the lance itself. It comes with four main settings – Mix, Soft, Medium and Hard. The Mix setting is mostly just water that’s ejected in a wide-ish arc. This is a good setting for sweeping mud off the patio, gently washing windows and pre-soaking the car. The Soft, Medium and Hard settings eject water mist at different levels of fineness. The Hard setting on the flat-headed lance is a good one to use for light patio cleaning but only if the nozzle tip is a few inches away from the surface. Any closer and it will perform a much deeper clean, albeit by just an inch or two at a time.

If you want to perform a deeper clean much more quickly, the pointy ended lance is the one to use because it produces a rotating vortex of high-pressure mist to annihilate moss, dirt and every other conceivable element. Use this nozzle on patio slabs and paving and it will restore them to near-new condition in quick-ish shrift.

Kärcher K2 Power Control Pressure Washer review: think before using the highest pressure setting

Karcher K2 Power Control demonstration

Be careful what you wish for. If you want your paths to look brand new, go ahead. But if you want to retain a weathered look, be cautious with the strongest jet 

(Image credit: Future)

If you intend to clean your patio stones or pathway slabs, first try cleaning a small corner that’s out of plain sight. This is because the K2 – and indeed any decent pressure washer – will remove all grime right before your eyes, restoring the stone or paving to its original condition.

But here’s the thing. If you quite like the well-worn look of your paving or patio, then don’t use the most powerful lance or it will quite literally make everything look brand new. And if your paving stones are from the cheaper, paler end of the scale and you never really liked the look of them in the first place, a pressure washer will only make them look worse.

Personally speaking, if I had good quality York stone, I might consider a deep and thorough clean but I’ve learned the hard way by cleaning my cheap slabs and regretting it. I’m now waiting for them to slowly develop a weathered look again.

Kärcher K2 Power Control Pressure Washer review: performance

The K2 Power Control is an ideal pressure washer for most of us because it’s light, small and compact. Make no mistake, if used with the pointy-tipped lance, this little titan will easily restore paving, patios and stonework to their original splendour, although it will take a long time to complete an entire patio. That said, I’d say that the machine’s 110 bar pressure is more than enough for most smaller household duties. Granted, it doesn’t come with a raft of extra tools like car and patio brushes but I consider that a good thing because I’d never use them anyway.

Before finishing up, I should also mention how great a pressure washer like this for keeping cool in the sort of heatwave we’re experiencing right now. Simply grab the flat-headed lance, turn the dial to the Hard setting, point it into the air, squeeze the trigger and the whole area will be bathed in a fine cloud-like mist which will provide instant cooling. However, be sure to keep a good distance of at least 10 feet from people and never ever blast someone with the lance from close quarters or it will likely end in a visit to A&E and a possible skin graft. You see, despite being made for serious cleaning tasks, pressure washers can be fun, too.

Kärcher K2 Power Control Pressure Washer review: verdict

Karcher K2 Power Control on white background

(Image credit: Karcher)

If all you want from a pressure washer is the ability to remove slippery mould and unsightly moss from a pathway and perhaps give the car a gentle blast to remove bird droppings and caked-on mud before giving it a hand wash, the K2 will more than suffice for your needs. It’s a cracking little powerhouse that delivers on all front and it doesn’t cost the earth to buy.

Derek Adams

Derek (aka Delbert, Delvis, Delphinium, Delboy etc) specialises in home and outdoor wares, from coffee machines, white appliances and vacs to drones, garden gear and BBQs. He has been writing for more years than anyone can remember, starting at the legendary Time Out magazine – the original, London version – on a typewriter! He now writes for T3 between playing drums with his bandmates in Red Box (redboxmusic).