Fair enough…the tiled seating area at outside my back door was getting a bit grubby.
And I am improving my garden a small task at a time. Even better…I’ll have to get a new gadget!
I never lose my enthusiasm for buying stuff to sort out problems, even though the success rate is low – I usually just end up with loads of unused stuff and get an expert out.
With that in mind, I went for the bottom of the range Kärcher K2 Compact Air-Cooled Pressure Washer. (You can see it above).
I looked through the online reviews and the reviews were good, though there were some complaints that a pressure washer they bought for under £50 turned out to be ‘plasticky.’ Mindful that I too prefer budget light industrial equipment to be composed of ivory or maybe bakelite I went ahead anyway. I had nothing to lose but my algae!
Talking of which: here’s the patio before it was attacked by the cheapo Kärcher (my affection for the washer is now so strong that it feels harsh and disloyal for me to use such a pejorative phrase).
I should point out that to get the pressure washer started you’ll also need:
- access to either a household outside tap or a water butt tap
- an accessible power socket
The Kärcher’s cable is 5m in length, and its hose lead stretches to 4m, so if your garden is quite large you might also need:
- a cable reel – but please do take great care when using an electrical device that emits a lot of water
- a garden hose (Kärcher’s hose is all very nice but costs more than the pressure washer itself – I have a more er…spartan garden hose and it did the trick perfectly)
I was dazzled by the performance of the ‘one way lance’ (which produces a ‘constant high-pressure jet ideal for cleaning a variety of surfaces including cars, patios and decking‘), which is one of two attachments provided with the cleaner…
…only to find that the ‘dirtblaster’ (a powerful rotary nozzle designed with a rotating pencil jet which provides up to 50% greater cleaning power than a standard high pressure lance, for instance used for removing stubborn dirt on moss covered or weathered surfaces’) was even better.
I foolishly started the process on a late November afternoon at around 4pm. Though it only took about an hour and a half to do the whole thing, the light quality wasn’t great by the end, so even though you can see this is only a ‘once over’:
…here it is a couple of days later, in the daylight:
Turns out the tiles were cream and brick red! They’ll get cleaner when I go over them again.
It really did only take 90 minutes – that’s just as long as it took for Tottenham’s European Champions League dreams to end. The manual says you can cover about 20 square metres an hour with it, and I’d say that’s about right.
What I haven’t mentioned though is…how much fun it all was! Really – time flew by and before I knew it I was looking forward to cleaning my car! Though I haven’t got round to it quite yet – saving that as a treat. 😉
- Incredibly cheap
- Easy and quick to operate
- Easy to carry
- Loads of fun
- Made out of plastic. I don’t know why, but this seems to disturb some people
- You’ll get more than a bit grubby and/or wet
- Those of you who remember Chas and Dave might find yourselves singing the brand name ‘Kärcher’ in the style of their classic ‘Gertcha.’*
So, in short: This pressure washer is perfect for what I need it for – cleaning the greenhouse, the patio and paths, grubby rendering on the lower part of the house (though I’ll need to take care with the paintwork) and the car.
Which left me thinking…what on earth do the other models do? Advise you on tax-efficient pension arrangements? Cook breakfast?
I know they differ in the power of the motor and number of attachments and so on…but really, how much better can it get? I’m not really very good on doing my homework on comparisons with products but since the K7 Premium Pressure Washer is, at the time of writing, over £500, I really had to put the stats side by side:
Kärcher K2 Home Air-Cooled Pressure Washer = under £50 – 110 bar pressure, 180 watts, water-cooled, suction intake (detergent tube), 4m hose length, 380 litre/hour water flow, 2 attachments
Kärcher K7 Premium Full Control Home Pressure Washer = over £500 – 160 bar pressure, 2800 watts, water-colled, plug and clean detergent intake), 10m hose length,600 litre/hour water flow, 5 attachments
Admittedly, the K7 looks lovely (less ‘plasticky’!) and has all the bells and whistles, I’m sure the extra power and pressure counts when you’re working on larger areas (a park or country estate?) and is probably quite a bit sturdier which might show over time but… Please do tell me if you’ve tried the other ranges…I’d be more than happy for an excuse to buy another gadget…
*Pro or Con? It’s up to you.