The Karcher SC2.500C is a powerful cylinder-style steam cleaner with twin tanks: one stores cold water, the other boils it to create steam. That means that it offers non-stop cleaning – you can top up the water tank at any time without disrupting the boiler.
Design is impressive, but for the price it would have been nice to get more tools included. However it does a great jobs on floors and more with the tools supplied, so it’s worth considering if you have lots of floor to clean – or as an upgrade to an existing machine.
The Karcher has a cylinder, not upright, design. This means it's equally capable of cleaning floors or using tools to tackle curtains, upholstery and more. It comes with a small selection of tools and enough onboard storage space for more – Karcher offers a long list of optional extra accessories.
Build quality is very sturdy, in Karcher's iconic yellow, and while the machine is heavy, this matters less than it would in an upright cleaner because you're not lifting it all the time – it trails behind you on wheels as you clean.
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The 4m long cable is disappointing, though – as you move round the house you'll need to unplug it and move to another socket more often than you would with a longer cable, some steam cleaner cables are twice as long.
The steam lance, which you can use with the mop or tools, is modular in two sections, so you can use one or both. The mop head is hard plastic, with no brushes, for carpets and rugs.
For hard floors you clip a cloth onto this – two terry cloths are supplied, but you could use any cloth. The cloth is gripped firmly by teeth at each side. Tools include a large brush, small brush and concentration nozzle.
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Filling can either be from a jug or you can pop out the reservoir and take it to the tap. Then switch on and wait: the water is pumped into the second tank and then takes six minutes to come to the boil.
After each use, more water is pumped across, which is noisy. But in return, you can top up the water at any time without stopping steam (it beeps to remind you when the tank is running low). This system delivers consistent steam at pressure and it's far more powerful than most steam cleaners.
The handle has convenient controls: high steam, low steam or child lock. But unless you use the latter to prevent use completely, there is no safety catch on the trigger. Forget to put on the child lock and it's too easy to trigger the steam accidentally while you're disconnecting the lance – we nearly got scalded.
As expected given the price, cleaning is impressive. The head is flat enough to fit well under furniture and it makes quick work of floors and more. But for the price it would have been good to get more accessories included. Also, the open top of the water tank means that if you lug the cleaner around too quickly it can spill.
If money's no object, absolutely. It's more powerful and effective than most and can clean non-stop – it’s great choice for large homes and anyone who likes to steam clean often.
But if you'd prefer a bargain, the Polti Vaporetto GO does pretty much the same job – with more tools but without twin tanks – for a fraction of the price. Head to our steam cleaner reviews for more options.
The Karcher SC 2.500 C won't disappoint, but its excellent performance comes at a price and we'd like a longer cable.