Designed to speed up and reduce the effort of sweeping, the Karcher S650 push sweeper uses rotating brushheads to quickly collect the muck from your patio or drive, dumping it straight into a collection bin, ready to throw away – no more dustpans and brushes. It’s very effective in certain circumstance though as we’ll see, it is only suited to very particular tasks.
Straight out the box it’s clear this is a well built bit of kit. Coming almost complete, with just the handles and side sweepers to attach, every inch feels sturdy and finished to a high level of quality.
A slight annoyance if your tool kit isn’t all that well stocked is that the side brushes screw in with three torx screws each, and no bit is provided in the box. The handles meanwhile are held in place with chunky bolts and oversized plastic hand-tightened nuts.
Setup is very simple. Just attach the parts and pop the collection bin in place – a manoeuvre that’s thankfully really easily – and away you go.
The unit is powered by your own pushing force, like an old lawn mower, with a cylindrical brush at the back picking up and throwing the dust into the collection bin and the two front brushes spinning inwards to broaden the collection zone and reach right into edges. A central trolley wheel sits between the two brushes to keep the front from dragging on the ground.
The chunky rear wheels that drive it have a rubber tread so easily make good purchase on most surfaces, which is a good thing as it does require quite a push to get going.
The metre long handle attaches to a pivot, which not only allows for adjustable height to use the machine but also allows the device to fold upwards for either standing or hanging on a wall. The main brush unit measures 60 x 54 x 22cm (D x W x H), so when folded up it’s only 22cm deep. The whole thing weighs a fairly hefty 10.7kg but a nice chunky handle on the front edge (the top when folded up) makes for easy carrying.
Thanks to the use of two side brushes the overall working width is 650mm – so that’s where the name came from – which is about the same reach as a typical large yard brush.
One thing becomes immediately clear upon using the Karcher S650: it’s not a very versatile tool. This is a tool designed for clearing large areas of smooth and hard outdoor flooring of small, dry dirt and dust and anything outside this remit it singularly fails to do.
If the surface you’re brushing is rough or uneven it struggles to move across it and keep rotating its brushes. If the ground is a bit wet it gets clogged up. If the dirt is too large – i.e. leaves – it gets clogged up. If the space you’re sweeping is small the push-driven nature of its brushes means it struggles to get into the corners.
All told, we simply wouldn’t even consider it unless you’ve an even surface that’s at least 50m2 and even then only if it’s free of too many tight corners, clear of clutter (i.e. garden furniture and cars) and if your trees don’t shed large leaves.
Within the confines of its remit, though, the S650 excels. It quickly and quietly scoops up everything in its path, while kicking up a minimum of dust and reaching easily into edges thanks to its side brushes.
Assuming the volume of dust and dirt is small the collection bin also does a great job as it’s very easy to remove and empty. However, with no compressing action it quickly fills if you’re sweeping up things like leaves, pine needles and other low-density vegetation. Part of the problem is that a row of fins sits in front of the rotating brush and limits its throwing power. This is also what gets clogged if you try and sweep up larger leaves or damp waste and frankly we’re not entirely convinced it’s needed.
The Karcher S650 is excellent at a very specific job. That is, if you have a very large outdoor flooring surface then it is a quick and easy way to rid it of small, dry dirt and dust. It’s perfect for the weekly sweep up of your large driveway or the paths round an office building perhaps.
However, if your patio/drive is anything below 50m2 or so then it simply isn’t a practical option and you’d be far better off with a normal broom and dust pan, especially if you’ve any trees with large leaves for which a leaf blower is a far better option.
Costing around £100, it’s expensive for such a specific tool though build quality and overall design is excellent and we can see it giving many years of reliable service.
A great tool for keeping driveways and patios clean, but it's limited to just that.