Car Advice

REVIEW: Kärcher K5 Premium Full Control pressure washer

By Nick Watkins Published

pressure washer | products | Karcher | K5

Karcher K5

Price at time of writing £449.99

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Ease of use ★★★☆☆

One of the things Kärcher has improved on is the position of the hose. On previous models, when you walked around your car, with the hose positioned high up on the unit, the presser washer would topple over, (and nearly always spill your detergent). Now, the hose position is lower down, meaning the unit doesn’t fall over at the slightest tug. The (8m) hose reel is simple to use too, so you only use the amount you need instead of having a long hose trailing behind you. That also means you don’t have to wind the whole thing up again when you’ve finished, which is handy.

Installation ★★★☆☆

It’s pretty straight-forward to get started, you attach it to your water supply and attach the spray lance to the trigger gun. Kärcher nozzles all use the same, simple, twist and pull-style attachments,  and work with their entire range of pressure washers. You should note that the K5 Premium is on wheels but it is on the heavy side if you need to pick it up, or need to carry it up and down stairs. Once it’s in position however, you shouldn’t need to move it round too much as the hose does the hard work. Pressure is adjusted by turning the spray lance left to right and right to left, which will then automatically shows which setting you have it on via the LED screen (see below).

Functions ★★★★★

What’s most impressive about the K5 Premium is the LED display on the trigger handle. In the past, motorists have taken the paint off their cars with a Karcher by using a fierce setting (we did it ourselves with an older model). Now the LED has a Vario Power setting (2) for cars, which gives you the ideal water pressure to clean your car with.


DO NOT attempt to use the Vario Power setting (3) on your vehicle as it’s designed for cleaning hard surfaces, like patios, not expensive paintwork. Detergent Mode (1), is great fun providing you’ve got the correct detergent (sold separately) and works wonders removing mud and dirt. The soap bottles sit in the unit themselves,  whereas on the cheaper models you have a sort of mini-hose which goes into the bottle and sucks the detergent up into the pressure washer.

Effectiveness ★★★★☆

It’s hard to fault in terms of effectiveness as the K5 Premium can tackle pretty much any dirt and mud you’ll have on your car. It’s particularly effective around the wheel arches as you can stick the hose right around the whole area and get your car looking as new. A bucket and sponge would literally take hours to get the same results. The hose reel means it’s easy to wind and unwind, which saves time faffing around when you’re finished, which we were pleased about during our test, and the trigger gun and spray lance can be stored in the unit saving space too.

Our routine was to lightly spray the car with water first to remove any excess mud and dirt, before applying a layer of ultra foam detergent (sold separately), allowed to soak for a few minutes, before spraying off using a higher setting, with water.


It’s very impressive. There’s no doubt the Kärcher K5 Premium will get your car sparkling clean, but it does come with a hefty price tag. The LED screen is a great way on making sure you’re on the correct setting and should mean you don’t take the paint off your car, which is usually a big concern when using a pressure washer on a vehicle. If there’s one downside it’s the weight of the unit. It’s fine on flat surfaces but carrying it up stairs to our back gate was tiring.

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