Review: under pressure! (with the Karcher K4 Compact pressure washer)

As part of the Karcher ambassador programme, I’m testing a Karcher K4 Compactpressure washer at the moment. It’s fun. Almost too much fun, especially when the kids are about and I can shoot a quick one second burst of high pressure water in their direction without looking and judge whether I’ve found my target by the volume of squeals. If you point the jet straight up in the air and give the trigger a quick squeeze, the mist seems to fall for ages.

Still, pressure washing is a serious undertaking but first a myth to bust. You don’t use any more water than you would by simply using a hose. Think about it- the flow rate into the device is limited by mains pressure. All the washer does is up the output by pumping the water out of a much smaller nozzle. So when you use a pressure washer, you’re not going to have the local water companies bailiffs banging on your door because you’ve suddenly run up a bill equivalent to the national debt of El Salvador or something. So basically as you get up the range and get higher pressure, the washer is simply forcing the mains pressure water through smaller and smaller nozzles to make the actual end pressure higher.

With that public information broadcast out of the way, on to using my new bright yellow toy. The Karcher K4 Compact is designed much like a pull along vacuum cleaner in so much as it is a little box on wheels with a hose attached to it. Rather than sucking though, it blows and it’s water not air that’s getting ejected at speed. It’s a heavy little fellow though, but given the internal pump and power supply, that’s perhaps understandable. We’ve used the Karcher to clean the Saharan sands off our cars, to wash the kids plastic garden toys and to give the patio a bit of a clean. In all three instances it worked well. It comes with a special attachment for patio cleaning and there are other additional bits and bobs you can get, including extension arms and window cleaning attachments- this would let you clean your upstairs windows without the need for a ladder if you have a steady arm.

The car cleaning was fun, if a little messy. We need some practice if we’re going to get up to the standards of the lads in the hand carwash at Sainsburys after all. You can see how cleaning the plastic garden toys went from the video below.

Overall we were extremely pleased with the results we had from the Karcher K4 Compact, cleaning at up to 130bar meant the water pressure was very high- high enough to remove a lot of ground in grime from the garden toys and shift all the bird poo off the car.

The Karcher K4 Compact costs, £189.99 and is available from all good hardware stores.