Karcher K2 vs K3: Pressure Washer Comparison


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.

FeatureKarcher K2Karcher K3
 Max Pressure110 bar120 bar
 Max Flow Rate 360 L/ hour380 L/ hour 
 Power Rating1400 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   
Karcher K2 vs K3

Product images below link to Amazon

Karcher K2 Compact

Karcher K2 Power Control

Karcher K3 Compact

Karcher K3 Power Control

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.

Comparing Sizes

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.

Metric Units

Karcher ModelLengthWidthHeightWeight
K2 Compact18.0 cm21.9 cm38.9 cm3.7 kg
K2 Power Control24.6 cm28.0 cm58.6 cm4.0 kg
K3 Compact26.4 cm25.6 cm45.0 cm4.2 kg
K3 Home27.5 cm27.9 cm80.2 cm6.5 kg
K3 Power Control29.7 cm29.0 cm67.7 cm4.4 kg

Imperial Units

Karcher ModelLengthWidthHeightWeight
K2 Compact7”8.6”15.3”8.2 lbs
K2 Power Control9.7”11.0”23.1”8.8 lbs
K3 Compact10.4″10.1″17.7″9.3 lbs
K3 Home10.8″11.0″31.6″14.3 lbs
K3 Power Control11.7″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 ModelHose Length
K2 Compact4 meters
K2 Power Control5 meters
K3 Compact6 meters
K3 Home6 meters
K3 Power Control7 meters
Hose length on Karcher K2 and K3 pressure washers

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 Variants

  • 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 Variants

  • 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.

FeatureK3 CompactK3 Compact HomeK3 HomeK3 Power ControlK3 Premium Power Control
Hose Length6 meters6 meters6 meters7 meters7 meters
Weight (without accessories)4.2 kg4.2 kg6.5 kg4.4 kg5.6 kg
Dimensions (L x W x H)26.4 x 25.6 x 45.0 cm26.4 x 25.6 x 45.0 cm27.5 x 27.9 x 80.2 cm29.7 x 28.0 x 67.7 cm34.0 x 28.1 x 67.7 cm
Detergent ApplicationSuctionSuctionTankTankTank
Telescopic HandleYesYesNoYesYes
Integrated Hose ReelNoNoNoNoYes
LED Trigger DisplayNoNoNoYesYes
Accessories IncludedVario Lance Dirt BlasterVario Lance Dirt Blaster
Patio Cleaner
Vario Lance
Dirt Blaster Patio Cleaner
Vario Lance Dirt BlasterVario Lance
Dirt Blaster
Patio Cleaner
Karcher K3 versions compared

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

FeatureK2 CompactK2 Power ControlK3 CompactK3 HomeK3 Power Control
Current Type220-240 V220-240 V220-240 V220-240 V220-240 V
Minimum Pressure20 bar20 bar20 bar20 bar20 bar
Maximum Pressure110 bar110 bar120 bar120 bar120 bar
Max Flow Rate360 L/ hour360 L/ hour380 L/ hour380 L/ hour380 L/ hour
Area Performance20 m2/ hour20 m2/ hour25 m2/ hour25 m2/ hour25 m2/ hour
Water Feed Max Temp40°C40°C40°C40°C40°C
Power Rating1400 W1400 W1600 W1600 W1600 W
Power Cable Length5 meters5 meters5 meters5 meters5 meters
Hose Length4 meters5 meters6 meters6 meters7 meters
Weight (without accessories)3.7 kg4.0 kg4.2 kg6.5 kg4.4 kg
Dimensions (L x W x H)18.0 x 21.9 x 38.9 cm24.6 x 28.0 x 58.6 cm26.4 x 25.6 x 45.0 cm27.5 x 27.9 x 80.2 cm29.7 x 28.0 x 67.7 cm
MotorAir-CooledAir-CooledAir-CooledAir-CooledAir-Cooled
Detergent ApplicationSuctionSuctionSuctionTankTank
LED Display on TriggerNoNoNoNoYes
Telescopic HandleYesYesYesNoYes
Karcher K2 vs K3 Specifications

Still not sure which Karcher model to go for? Check out my complete guide to the Karcher Pressure Washer range for more information.

Here are some more articles you might find useful:

Heather

I first became interested in car detailing around 3 years ago and learnt all the main techniques on my very first car. I spend a lot of time detailing my current car, and trying to keep my family's cars looking presentable too!

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