Tje Karcher K2 and K3 are the brand’s entry-level pressure washers that offer good value for money. But what is the difference between them? And is the K3 worth the extra money?
In this article, I’ll directly compare the Karcher K2 and K3 so you can decide which pressure washer is most suitable for your requirements and budget.
K2 vs K3 Overview
The Karcher K3 is a more powerful and expensive pressure washer compared to the Karcher K2. The Karcher K2 has a maximum pressure of 110 bar whereas the K3 has a maximum pressure of 120 bar. The K3 also has a longer hose and weighs slightly more.
|Feature||Karcher K2||Karcher K3|
|Max Pressure||110 bar||120 bar|
|Max Flow Rate||360 L/ hour||380 L/ hour|
|Power Rating||1400 W||1600 W|
|Hose Length||4 meter for K2 Compact|
5 meter for K2 Power Control
| 6 meter for K3 Compact|
7 meter for K3 Power Control
|Weight||3.7 kg for K2 Compact|
4.0 kg for K2 Power Control
|4.2 kg for K3 Compact|
4.4 kg for K3 Power Control
Product images below link to Amazon
Still considering other Karcher models? Make sure you check out my guide to the Karcher pressure washer range to make sure you’re choosing the best option for your requirements.
Performance and Applications
The Karcher K3 is a more expensive, and hence more powerful model compared to the Karcher K2. There are two main specifications to consider here:
- Flow rate
- Maximum pressure
The Karcher K2 has a maximum pressure of 110 bar, whereas the K3 has a maximum pressure of 120 bar. This means the K3 is around 9% more powerful in terms of pressure compared to the K2.
The K2 has a maximum flow rate of 360 L/ hour whereas the K3 has a maximum flow rate of 380 L/ hour. Hence the K3’s maximum flow rate is roughly 5.5% times higher than that of the K2.
In a practical sense, although the K3 is more powerful, both machines can still be used for the same applications. K2 and K3 pressure washers are great for cleaning cars and even outdoor furniture, fences and flagstones. However, the extra kick that the K3 provides will help to speed up the process slightly.
Both the Karcher K2 and K3 are available in different versions. I’ll explain the specification differences between each version later on in this article, but one of the most significant differences is the size.
- There are two versions of the K2: Compact and Power Control
- There are three versions of the K3: Compact, Home and Power Control
All K3 models are larger and heavier than the K2 models. however, there isn’t much of a difference between the size and weight of the K2 Power Control and the K3 Compact models.
Here are some tables showing the dimensions and weights of each pressure washer in the range.
|K2 Compact||18.0 cm||21.9 cm||38.9 cm||3.7 kg|
|K2 Power Control||24.6 cm||28.0 cm||58.6 cm||4.0 kg|
|K3 Compact||26.4 cm||25.6 cm||45.0 cm||4.2 kg|
|K3 Home||27.5 cm||27.9 cm||80.2 cm||6.5 kg|
|K3 Power Control||29.7 cm||29.0 cm||67.7 cm||4.4 kg|
|K2 Compact||7”||8.6”||15.3”||8.2 lbs|
|K2 Power Control||9.7”||11.0”||23.1”||8.8 lbs|
|K3 Compact||10.4″||10.1″||17.7″||9.3 lbs|
|K3 Home||10.8″||11.0″||31.6″||14.3 lbs|
|K3 Power Control||11.7″||11.4″||26.7″||9.7 lbs|
Other Key Differences
Aside from the differences in size, flow rate and maximum pressure between the K2 and K3, there are also some other notable differences.
- The K2 models have a power rating of 1.4 kW whereas the K3 models have a power rating of 1.6 kW. This means the K3 will use slightly more electricity.
- The hose lengths are different for each model (see table below)
|Karcher Model||Hose Length|
|K2 Compact||4 meters|
|K2 Power Control||5 meters|
|K3 Compact||6 meters|
|K3 Home||6 meters|
|K3 Power Control||7 meters|
The longer hose on the K3 models is a welcome improvement compared to the K2 models. However, in my opinion the hoses on all these pressure washers is too short and makes them inconvenient for certain applications such as cleaning cars.
The hoses are also very stiff and have a tendency to bend and become tangled when in use which can be very annoying.
I think it’s well worth picking up an aftermarket hose for all of these pressure washers. I currently use a wire-braided aftermarket Karcher hose which is 10 meters in length and doesn’t become tangled nearly as much.
Here is a link to the In2Detailing Wire Braided Karcher Hose which I use.
Model Variations (e.g. Compact, Home etc.)
If you’ve already had a look on Karcher’s website at the K2 and K3 models, you’ll notice that there are several versions.
- K2 Compact
- K2 Compact Home
- K2 Compact Car & Home
- K2 Power Control
- K2 Power Control Home
There are two versions of the pressure washer itself (Compact and Power Control). The other variants (Home and Care & Home) refer to the accessory packs.
All K2 pressure washer versions have the same power rating, maximum flow rate, maximum pressure and an air-cooled motor. What varies is the size (as discussed above) and hose length. K2 Compact models have a 4 meter hose whereas K2 Power Control models have a 5 meter hose.
In terms of the accessory packs, “Home” versions come with a patio cleaner tool and detergent and “Home & Car” versions come with patio cleaner tool and detergent, rotating car wash brush, foam jet and shampoo.
I’ve found the patio cleaner to be quite useful, but I strongly advise against buying the “car kit”. These accessories are poor quality and the brush in particular will cause scratches in the paintwork. I always recommend using a microfiber wash mitt instead of a sponge or brush if you don’t want to ruin the car’s finish!
You can also find much better quality aftermarket foam cannons and car shampoos from dedicated car cleaning stores. Check out my car cleaning product recommendations if you’re looking for some suggestions.
- K3 Compact
- K3 Compact Home
- K3 Home
- K3 Power Control
- K3 Premium Power Control Home
There are three variants of the pressure washer itself: K3 Compact, K3 Home and K3 Power Control. All these models have the same power rating, maximum pressure rating, flow rate and an air-cooled motor.
What varies between them is the size, hose length, detergent application method, handle and hose storage system.
Again, the “Home” version of the K3 Compact and the standard “K3 Home” model comes with a patio cleaner and detergent.
Here is a table highlighting the differences between them.
|Feature||K3 Compact||K3 Compact Home||K3 Home||K3 Power Control||K3 Premium Power Control|
|Hose Length||6 meters||6 meters||6 meters||7 meters||7 meters|
|Weight (without accessories)||4.2 kg||4.2 kg||6.5 kg||4.4 kg||5.6 kg|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||26.4 x 25.6 x 45.0 cm||26.4 x 25.6 x 45.0 cm||27.5 x 27.9 x 80.2 cm||29.7 x 28.0 x 67.7 cm||34.0 x 28.1 x 67.7 cm|
|Integrated Hose Reel||No||No||No||No||Yes|
|LED Trigger Display||No||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Accessories Included||Vario Lance Dirt Blaster||Vario Lance Dirt Blaster|
Dirt Blaster Patio Cleaner
|Vario Lance Dirt Blaster||Vario Lance|
K2 and K3 Similarities
- Air-cooled motor
- 5 meter mains cable
- 40°C max water feed temperature
- Current type: 220-240 V
Which Karcher Model is Best?
In my opinion, the Karcher K2 Compact offers the best value for money out of this selection.
The only real drawback of this machine is the shorter hose, but it’s cheaper to purchase a better quality one from an aftermarket provider than to get a more expensive pressure washer with a hose that’s only slightly longer and still very stiff.
The K2 Compact is easy to store and carry and the more expensive K3 models and K2 Power Control do not offer a significant increase in performance or features to justify the price in my opinion.
Here is a link to the Karcher K2 on Amazon so you can check the current price.
Full Specification List
|Feature||K2 Compact||K2 Power Control||K3 Compact||K3 Home||K3 Power Control|
|Current Type||220-240 V||220-240 V||220-240 V||220-240 V||220-240 V|
|Minimum Pressure||20 bar||20 bar||20 bar||20 bar||20 bar|
|Maximum Pressure||110 bar||110 bar||120 bar||120 bar||120 bar|
|Max Flow Rate||360 L/ hour||360 L/ hour||380 L/ hour||380 L/ hour||380 L/ hour|
|Area Performance||20 m2/ hour||20 m2/ hour||25 m2/ hour||25 m2/ hour||25 m2/ hour|
|Water Feed Max Temp||40°C||40°C||40°C||40°C||40°C|
|Power Rating||1400 W||1400 W||1600 W||1600 W||1600 W|
|Power Cable Length||5 meters||5 meters||5 meters||5 meters||5 meters|
|Hose Length||4 meters||5 meters||6 meters||6 meters||7 meters|
|Weight (without accessories)||3.7 kg||4.0 kg||4.2 kg||6.5 kg||4.4 kg|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||18.0 x 21.9 x 38.9 cm||24.6 x 28.0 x 58.6 cm||26.4 x 25.6 x 45.0 cm||27.5 x 27.9 x 80.2 cm||29.7 x 28.0 x 67.7 cm|
|LED Display on Trigger||No||No||No||No||Yes|
Still not sure which Karcher model to go for? Check out my complete guide to the Karcher Pressure Washer range for more information.
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