Incredibly powerful and easy to use, the auto-dosing Karcher EWM 2 makes short work of hard floors, getting even the grubbiest back to pristine condition. With 20-minutes of runtime, the fast-acting floor cleaner can cover a surprising amount of space, although home owners with lots of hard floors that want to clean in one session may be better off with a plug-in model.
- Simple to use
- Frugal use of detergent
- Very powerful
- Short(ish) battery life
- Can leave mess on walls
- UKRRP: £199.99
- USARRP: $200
- EuropeRRP: €199.99
- TypeThis is a cordless hard floor cleaner, which uses dual spinning microfibre rollers to clean up mess.
- Battery lifeYou can 20 minutes of run time from a charge, and it then takes four hours to recharge.
The Karcher FC5 was one of my favourite hard floor cleaners, getting even the toughest of stains off of floors thanks to the immense power on tap. Here, with the Karcher EWM 2, you get the same kind of action, only in a smaller cordless body, which makes this cleaner easier to lug around.
Previously sold as the FC3 (Floor Cleaner 3), the product is now marketed under its new name, the Electric Wiping Mop 2 (EWM2), which I’m not sure is any better. Still, you ignore the name, as here you get the same quality cleaning results via a device that uses barely any water or detergent, and sucks up the filth to leave your floors sparkling.
Design and features
- Tiny detergent and dirty water tanks
- Useful stand
- Plug-in charging
Externally, the EWM 2 looks similar to the FC5. Both devices use twin spinning microfibre rollers to clean up even stubborn stains. The clear difference is that the EWM 2 is a cordless device, running from its internal battery.
That makes it far easier to use, as there’s no cable to run over. I also think it makes the EWM 2 more likely to be used, as it’s easy to grab and go, rather than having to faff about plugging in a power cable.
It’s also light at 2.4kg, although you don’t even feel much of that in the hand, as the EWM 2 is used with the rollers firmly on the floor. All you need to do is hold the weight of the handle, while the hard floor cleaner pulls itself around the floor. It’s a super manoeuvrable mop, and can even get almost horizontal with the floor, so you can clean right under sofas and other furniture.
What I love about this cleaner, and the FC5, is the simplicity of operation. First, you have to fill the clean water tank, which takes 360ml of water plus you top it up with a capful or two of Karcher’s detergent. Be careful if you use other detergents, as this may invalidate the machine’s warranty.
There’s also a small 140ml dirty water tank, located underneath the removable flap just above the twin rollers.
Neither tanks sound particularly big, but that’s because this machine works differently to other hard floor cleaners, such as the Beldray Clean and Dry. Here, you have just a single on/off button. Once turned on, the EWM 2 self-doses the rollers with detergent, using it sparingly.
The result is that I found the EWM 2 gave excellent results while using very little water. And, as it puts little water onto the floor, that small dirty water tank takes a surprising amount of time to fill up.
With this set-up, I found that I could clean my entire downstairs on a single tank; a second tank was enough to tackle the two floors above. That makes the EWM 2 a very efficient cleaner.
Once you’ve finished, the dirty water tank should be removed and rinsed out. Both rollers can be removed for cleaning, either under a tap or in a washing machine.
Karcher ships the cleaner with a dock, although this is really just to keep the EWM 2 upright in a cupboard, with a couple of slots that can hold the microfibre rollers while they dry. There’s no charging contact on this dock, so charging is via the adaptor plugged directly into the rear of the
- Very quiet
- Quickly cleans stains
- Can’t pick up larger debris
To test the Karcher EWM 2 out, I put it through its paces on a hard floor, traipsing mud around it, right up to the edges of the skirting board. I left the stains to dry on the floor, before attempting to clean with the mop.
It takes the EWM 2 around 10 to 20 seconds for the rollers to become sufficiently wet to start cleaning. As the manual suggests, you should give the EWM 2 a few backwards and forwards movements until you notice that the rollers are putting moisture onto the floor.
Once it’s in full operation, the EWM 2 does an excellent job. Running over the tough mud stain that I’d left, it took the EWM 2 just a swipes to clear everything, sucking up the dirty water. It then only took a couple of minutes for the floor to fully dry.
Thanks to the roller design, the EWM 2 lets you get right up to an edge and into corners, too.
There is one thing to look out for: if the rollers are quite dirty, then they can transfer mess onto skirting boards, kitchen plinths and the like, as you can see from the pictures below.
It’s also important to point out that the EWM 2 has a mild vacuuming action. That is, it will pull up dirty water and smaller bits of debris, but it’s not a vacuum cleaner in the way that the Bissell CrossWave Cordless Max is.
In other words, you can’t really tackle wet messes, such as a kitchen accident with this floor mop, and should vacuum dry messes before you mop. To be fair, that’s similar to using a steam mop.
Battery life is rated at 20 minutes, which doesn’t sound like a huge amount of time. However, here, as the rollers are quite powerful, this short amount of battery life is enough to clean a relatively large area. I found it enough to tackle my entire downstairs, although a second charge was needed to deal with the rest of the house.
After the battery has been emptied, it takes four hours to fully recharge it. If you want to clean your house in one go, then a plug-in cleaner will make more sense.
I measured the Karcher EWM 2 at just 76.3dB – similar to your average cordless vacuum cleaner on its standard power mode.
Should you buy it?
If you want a powerful cordless hard floor cleaner that uses detergent, then this is a powerful choice.
If you want longer runtimes or a device that can act as a vacuum cleaner at the same time as it cleans, you may want an alternative.
If you want something that can vacuum or a cleaner with longer run times, then you’re better off checking out my list of the best hard floor cleaners, or looking at the larger, heavier FC5 cordless. If you can clean your house in sections and want a simple grab-and-go device, then the Karcher EWM 2 brings everything that made the FC5 so good, just in a more portable and convenient package.
For those that want to use detergent on their floors, the EWM 2 is an excellent choice, particularly as it’s frugal with its water usage and sucks the dirt up off the floor.
How we test
We test every hard floor cleaner we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Find out more about how we test in our ethics policy.
Used as our main hard floor cleaner for the review period
Tested with real-world dirt in real-world situations for fair comparisons with other steam cleaners
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Yes, Karcher has just renamed the FC 3 to the EWM 2.
Yes, it does. Dirty water is removed to a separate tank.