Karcher K2 vs K4 Pressure Washer: All the Differences


If you’re looking for a decent pressure washer but don’t want to spend an absolute fortune, then the Karcher K2 and K4 models are two solid options to consider. But which is the best choice? In this article, I’ll directly compare these two pressure washers and their variants (power control, compact, home etc.) so you can figure out which is the best option for you.

Karcher K2 vs K4 Summary

The Karcher K4 has a higher flow rate, maximum pressure rating and longer hose compared to the Karcher K2. The Karcher K4 Power Control also uses a water-cooled motor which is more durable compared to the air-cooled motor on the K2. The Karcher K2 is smaller, lighter and cheaper than the K4 pressure washer.

SpecificationKarcher K2Karcher K4
Maximum Pressure110 bar130 bar
Maximum Flow Rate360 litres/ hour420 litres/ hour
MotorAir-CooledWater-Cooled
Hose Length4m for Compact and 5m for Power Control Model6m for Compact and 8m for Power Control Model
Compact Version Weight3.7 kg4.7 kg
Power Control Version Weight4.0 kg11.5 kg
Karcher K2 vs Karcher K4 Pressure Washer

Karcher K2 Power Control

Karcher K4 Power Control

Images link to Amazon

Pressure and Flow Rate

The Karcher K4 is a more powerful machine than the Karcher K2. The K2 has a maximum pressure rating of 110 bar and a maximum flow rate of 360 L/ hour. The K4 on the other hand has a maximum pressure rating of 130 bar and a maximum flow rate of 420 L/ hour.

This means the K4 has around 18% more pressure and a 17% higher flow rate compared to the K4.

Both machines are powerful, but if you plan on using the pressure washer for more heavy duty tasks such as cleaning outdoor furniture, fences or flagstones.

If you plan on using the pressure washer to clean a car or bicycle, then either machine is capable, but of course the K4 is more effective. I have personally used both machines to clean a car and have not struggled at all using the K2 despite this application not being explicitly listed by Karcher on their website.

You will notice a difference between the two models if you are using a snow foam cannon though. You’ll be able to get better quality, thicker foam from the K4 due to it’s higher pressure and flow rate. However, it’s still possible to get thick snow foam from a K2 if you pair it with a good quality foam cannon.

Dimensions and Weight

The Karcher K2 is smaller and lighter than the Karcher K4. There are 4 models to consider here though as there are “compact” and “power control” variants of both the K2 and K4.

The Karcher K2 Compact, K2 Power Control and K4 Compact are all a fairly similar size, with the K4 Compact being the heaviest and longest, and the K2 Power Control being the widest and tallest. The Karcher K4 Power Control however is much larger than the other three units and weighs more than double.

Here are some tables to show the differences between each model in terms of their size.

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
K4 Compact27.3 cm25.6 cm45.7 cm4.7 kg
K4 Power Control40.2 cm30.6 cm58.8 cm11.5 kg
Karcher K2 vs K4 Power Control and Compact Pressure Washer Dimensions (Metric Units)

Imperial Units

Karcher ModelLengthWidthHeightWeight
K2 Compact7”8.6”15.3”8.2 lbs
K2 Power Control9.7”11.0”23.1”8.8 lbs
K4 Compact10.7”10.1”18.0”10.4 lbs
K4 Power Control15.8”12.0”23.1”25.4 lbs
Karcher K2 vs K4 Power Control and Compact Pressure Washer Dimensions (Imperial Units)

Other Key Differences

In addition to the differences in size and power between the K2 and K4, there are also several other notable differences between these models.

  • Hose Length: the K2 Compact has a 4m hose, the K2 Power Control has a 5m hose, the K4 Compact has a 6m hose and the K4 Power Control has an 8m hose.
  • Motor: the K2 Compact/ Power Control, and K4 Compact models have air-cooled motors whereas the K4 Power Control has a water-cooled motor which are designed to be more durable.
  • Power Rating: the K2 has a power rating of 1400W whereas the K4 has a power rating of 1800W so will use more electricity.
  • Detergent Application: the K2 Power Control/ Compact and K4 Compact use suction to apply the detergent whereas the K4 Power Control uses the more advanced plug and clean system.
  • Trigger: the K4 Power Control has a more premium trigger with LED display compared to the K2 model.

Model Variants

I’ve already touched on a couple of variants of the K2 and K4, but in this section I’ll go into a bit more detail about the differences.

Both the Karcher K2 and Karcher K4 have two main versions: power control and compact.

Power control models have longer hoses and are larger and heavier compared to the compact models. All Compact models use suction to apply the detergents whereas the K4 Power Control uses the “plug and clean” system. The K4 Power Control also has an LED display on the trigger, unlike the K4 Compact version. Finally, the Compact versions all use air-cooled motors, whereas the K4 Power Control (and higher priced models) have a water-cooled motor.

However, there is no difference between the flow rate and pressure rating between the power control and compact versions of the Karcher pressure washers and they both have a 5 meter mains cable.

Pressure WasherCompact Model HosePower Control Model Hose
Karcher K24 meters5 meters
Karcher K46 meters8 meters

The short hoses on the the K2 models, and even the K4 compact can be a bit limiting when washing a car and you’ll likely need to move the pressure washer at least once to get around the entire vehicle which can be a bit inconvenient. The 8 meter hose on the K4 Power Control is a bit more freeing but not overly long so doesn’t cause problems when packing it away.

Here are images which link to Amazon for these four main pressure washer models.

Karcher K2 Compact

Karcher K2 Power Control

Karcher K2 Compact

Karcher K4 Power Control

There are also two other model variants “home” and “car and home”. These simply refer to the extra accessories that come with the pressure washer:

  • Home: patio cleaner and detergent also included.
  • Car and Home: patio cleaner 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.

Similarities

Despite there being numerous differences between the Karcher K2 and K4 models, there are also some features that both these pressure washers and their variants (Compact and Power Control) share. Here’s a list:

  • Both the K2 and K4 Power Control and Compact models include two nozzles: the vario lance and dirt blaster lance.
  • All models have a telescopic handle.
  • All models have a quick connect on the machine for the hose.
  • All models have a 5 meter main cable.
  • The maximum water feed temperature is 40°C.
  • The minimum pressure is 20 bar.

Specification Comparison Table

Here is a table comparing the specifications of the K2 Power Control and K4 Power Control.

Check out the Karcher K2 Power Control and Karcher K4 Power Control on Amazon.

FeatureK2 Power ControlK4 Power Control
Current Type220-240 V230-240 V
Minimum Pressure20 bar20 bar
Maximum Pressure110 bar130 bar
Max Flow Rate360 L/ hour420 L/ hour
Area Performance20 m2/ hour30 m2/ hour
Water Feed Max Temp40°C40°C
Power Rating1400 W1800 W
Power Cable Length5 meters5 meters
Hose Length5 meters8 meters
Weight (without accessories)4 kg11.5 kg
Dimensions (L x W x H)24.6 x 28.0 x 58.6 cm40.2 x 30.6 x 58.8 cm
MotorAir CooledWater Cooled
Detergent ApplicationSuctionPlug and Clean System
LED Display on TriggerNoYes
Telescopic HandleYesYes
Quick Connect on MachineYesYes
Karcher K2 vs K4 (Power Control) Specifications

Check out my complete guide to the Karcher pressure washer range to find out all the differences between each model.

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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