Karcher has dramatically boosted the number of its cordless products, releasing a series of products from lawnmowers and chainsaws to wet and dry vacuum cleaners. As different as the physical products are, they each use Karcher’s removable batteries.
Products are available across two battery platforms: the entry-level 18V system and the more powerful 36V. The two platforms share common DNA, setting Karcher’s battery-powered equipment apart from the competition.
For starters, the batteries all have spray water protection (IPX5 certification), so they’re capable of being used in Karcher’s line-up of pressure washers. All of the batteries have an LCD screen, too. When charging, this LCD shows you the charge time remaining, and when stored it shows you the percentage remaining.
It’s the intelligence built into the batteries and products that really impresses. First, the batteries have storage mode, which lets them discharge down to 70% from a higher charge for safer storage. Secondly, that LCD screen displays live runtime information that adapts to the product it’s installed in.
Plug a battery into a pressure washer, for example, and you may see a runtime of 12-minutes; plug the same battery into a grass trimmer and you’ll see 30-minutes. The display can also adapt to show information specific to a product: for example, the cordless chainsaws measure battery life by the number of cuts remaining.
We’ve seen the technology in operation on the existing battery-powered pressure washer, the Karcher KHB 5 Battery. In particular, seeing the amount of time left from a charge is far more useful than seeing a percentage value.
Karcher will sell products as both a kit, with a bundled battery, and some retailers will have bare models without a battery. Spare batteries will also be available, along with fast chargers. Having such a variety of products makes a lot of sense, as once you have enough batteries, additional products can be bought for less.
Announcing more than 40 products that will use the system, here’s an overview of the range’s highlights. Release dates and prices are to come.
We were impressed with the Karcher WD 4 wet and dry vacuum cleaner’s ability to deal with all types of spills from liquids to DIY mess. Now, the company has two cordless options. The WD 1 Battery is a small portable model that runs on the 18V platform, offering runtimes of 10-minutes (2.5Ah) and 20-minutes (5Ah). It can switch from dry to wet mode without having to change filter making it a versatile tool, whether you’re cleaning up your car or need help unblocking a washing machine.
At the high-end is the WD 3 Battery, which replaces the older corded WD 3 model. This model runs on the more powerful 36V system, with runtimes of 15-minutes (2.5Ah) and 30-minutes (3Ah). Again, it can switch from dry to wet mode without having to change the filter, making this a versatile performer where you need a bit more suction.
Wet and dry vacuum cleaners aren’t as popular in the UK as in other places, but they deserve a place in your home, as they can tackle harsher spills than traditional vacuum cleaners, such as damp brick dust or sawdust, rubble or even a dropped wine bottle.
Related: Best cordless vacuum cleaner
The KHB 5 Battery was an impressive battery-powered pressure washer that’s ideal for smaller jobs, but we had a few minor complaints. First, the unit was a touch heavy (3.5kg) and the balance was a touch off. With the KHB 6, these problems are addressed. The new model has the same 24 bar pressure, but weighs just 2.2kg and is better balanced making it far more comfortable to use. Runtime has been increased by 20% to 12-minutes, too.
Joining this handheld model is the K2 Battery, a traditional pressure washer with a maximum pressure of 110 bar, powered by a 36V battery. Running on a 5aH battery, the pressure washer will last for 14 minutes but will give cleaning performance akin to the plugin models.
Related: Best pressure washer
Karcher is moving into the cordless lawn care market, with a range of grass trimmers and lawnmowers, spread across the 18V and 36V platforms.
For grass trimmers, there are three models. For 18V, there’s the LTR 18-25 Battery, which has a 250mm cutting width and can cut up to 300m of edging with a 2.5Ah battery, and there’s the larger LTR 18-30 Battery, which has a 300mm cutting width and can cut up to 350m of edging on a charge. Both have rotating heads for edge trimming and take a 1.6mm line. Stepping up, the 36V LTR 36-33 Battery has a 330mm cutting width and is designed for larger gardens, able to cut up to 600m of edging and has a thicker 2mm line. Optional plastic trimmer blades are available for all three models.
Related: Best grass trimmer
The lawnmower range is impressively diverse, taking in models for small gardens up to much larger areas. In the 18V range, there are two models. The LMO 18-33 has a 330mm cutting width, a 35-litre grass box and can mow up to 250m² of grass on a charge; the LMO 18-36 has a 360mm cutting width, a 45-litre grass box and can mow up to 350m² on a single charge. Both models have adjustable cutting heights.
Moving up to the 36V platform and you get more powerful and larger lawnmowers. The LMO 36-40 Battery has a 400mm cutting width, a 50-litre grass box and can cut up to 550m² on a single charge. The LMO 36-46 has a 460mm cutting width, 56-litre grass box and can cut up to 650m² on a single charge, it also has a push-assist feature, giving motor-assisted drive support at the touch of a button. Both models have adjustable cutting heights and fold down neatly for storage.
Helpfully, all four models ship with both a grass bin and a mulching plug.
Related: Best lawnmower
Two new leaf blowers are available, too. The 18V BLV 18-200 Battery is for smaller lawns and is very light and easy to store. The more powerful 36V BLV 36-240 Battery also has a suction mode, shredding leafs ready to use for mulching.
Related: Best leaf blower
Chainsaws and pruning
Karcher has also introduced two battery-powered chainsaws for tree maintenance, cutting up firewood and other jobs. The 18V CNS 18-30 Battery has a 300mm blade, can cope with a 10cm trunk diameter and lasts for up to 25 cuts; the 36V CNS 36-35 Battery has a 350mm blade, can cope with a 10cm trunk diameter and lasts for up to 100 cuts on a single charge.
These models are joined by a collection of pole saws, tree loppers and hedge trimmers.
Karcher’s battery technology certainly looks impressive, and the range of products makes buying into the system a worthy investment, giving you everything from vacuuming to lawn care and chainsaws. We’ll be reviewing products as they’re launched.