A powerful, portable vacuum cleaner, the Karcher Wet & Dry WD1 Battery Vacuum can cope with wet and dry spills alike. Convenience comes at a cost, however, in terms of price and the short battery life. If you already own other Karcher tools that use the same battery, then this cleaner is easier to justify. If you don't, then it's expensive given the short run-time.
- Large capacity
- Filter works in wet and dry mode
- Short battery life
- Provided charger is very slow
- Review Price: £169.99
- Cordless wet and dry
- 312 x 279 x 386mm, 6kg
- Crevice tool, upholstery tool
- 7-litre capacity
- Bags for dry mode; bagless for wet
- 10-minute run time
A wet and dry vacuum cleaner can be a great addition to any household, sucking up everything from water to mud and beyond. Getting such a vacuum to where you can want it can prove tricky, with size and cables often limiting your reach – unless you opt for the Karcher Wet & Dry WD1 Battery Vacuum.
The first cordless wet and dry vacuum cleaner I’ve tested, this model is both convenient and powerful. However, it’s relatively expensive and battery life doesn’t last long from a single charge, which will limit its appeal.
Karcher Wet & Dry WD1 Battery Vacuum – What you need to know
- General vacuuming – Easy to move around and carry, with a simple on/off control. The hose is a little short and you get only two accessories in the box.
- Carpet test – Powerful suction makes it easy to pick up dust from carpets, although you don’t get a lot of coverage.
- Hard floor test – Similar to the carpet test, the vacuum is powerful enough to deal with any mess, although you don’t get much coverage with the provided tools.
- Wet spills – Quickly sucks up water and muck, while the 7-litre tank means you don’t have to keep stopping to empty the cleaner.
Related: Best cordless vacuum cleaner
Karcher Wet & Dry WD1 design and features – Neat, compact and functional
Decked out in Karcher’s usual yellow and black livery, the WD1 is a great-looking vacuum cleaner. It’s also relatively compact, at 386 x 279 x 31mm. It weighs 6kg, but the handle on top makes it easy to get the vacuum where you need it, after which you can drop it to the floor and clean up using the hose.
The hose is a little short, however, so if you need to vacuum anything off the floor – such as a work surface – then you’ll need to lift the vacuum cleaner closer. Karcher provides two accessories in the box: a crevice tool and an upholstery tool, but you don’t get a wider floor head. Neatly, both accessories can clip into the slots at the front.
You can choose to pay extra for a range of accessories available for the WD1, including a vacuum kit for power tools, car kit and additional brushes.
You’ll notice that the vacuum cleaner has two ports for the hose: one is for suction and one is a blower. Just unplug the hose and clip it into the slot you want to use.
There’s a simple on/off control, which is large and robust, so you can easily tap it while wearing thick work gloves.
You’ll find the rest of the vacuum cleaner just as easy to use. Unclip the top and remove the elasticated bands holding it together and you get into the large 7-litre interior. There’s a paper disposable dust bag provided, with replacements costing around £20 for five.
You should only use the paper bags for dry dust, removing them when you want to pick up wet spills. Karcher has installed a filter that works for both wet and dry cleaning; however, you should remove, clean and dry it before switching from wet to dry, or you can damage the vacuum.
This model runs on Karcher’s 18V batteries and accepts either the included 2.5A battery or the larger 5A battery. Batteries slot into the back of the cleaner and have to be removed to be charged.
Karcher has some cool tech on the battery, including a screen that shows you how long is left in minutes. Cleverly, the batteries adapt to the device they’re plugged into, so you’ll see different run-times if you hook the battery into a different product, such as the Karcher KHB 5 Multi Jet pressure washer.
Karcher Wet & Dry WD1 performance – Powerful suction, but battery life is short
I started by measuring the suction and airflow of the WD1, calculating it as producing 72AW. That’s above average for the middle setting on most cordless vacuum cleaners. This suction power translates well to dirt and water pick-up.
Starting out, I cleaned up a patio that had just been pressure-washed, removing the remaining water and dirt. It took a while to cover the area, given the small vacuum accessories, but I was able to complete the job easily.
Next, I tackled leaves around the garden, with the vacuum sucking them up without issue at all, pulling the damp leaves into the main container. It’s handy being able to clean up the garden in this way, saving you from having to bend down to pick things up.
At the end of testing, the main compartment was pretty much full of dirty water and leaves. It was easy to pour everything away and clean out the mess inside.
I also ran the vacuum cleaner through my usual set of tests. I started by sprinkling a teaspoon of flour on the carpet. The upholstery head made short work of clearing it.
Likewise, a teaspoon of rice on a hard floor was sucked up with a single sweep-through with the crevice tool, picking up the grains without letting any fall back to the floor.
Switching the hose around, I measured the blower power at 1515ft/s (7.64m/s), which is more powerful than your average fan. While this is enough force to blow the dust off objects, if you’re clearing up after DIY, for example, you’ll struggle to blow leaves around.
This level of suction results in pretty short battery life, with the WD1 lasting just 10 minutes with the 2.5Ah battery, and 20 minutes with the 5Ah battery. However, it’s charging times that are the most painful: 4hrs 50mins for a full charge of the 2.5Ah battery, as you only get the slow charger in the box. Upgrading to the 5A battery will cost £99.99, while the fast-charger (80% charge of the 2.5A battery in 44 minutes) costs £39.99.
It’s a shame, then, that the fast charger isn’t included the box.
Should you buy the Karcher Wet & Dry WD1 Battery Vacuum?
In terms of size and performance, the Karcher Wet & Dry WD1 Battery Vacuum is very good. Having a compact wet and dry vacuum cleaner is genuinely useful, from clearing wet spills to clean-up after DIY jobs, including sucking water out of a blocked washing machine or drain.
Yet, as good as the vacuum cleaner is technically, the short run-times and long charge times of its batteries hold it back. Upgrading to a faster battery charger will help, but this comes at a significant cost, which is in addition to the purchase price – which isn’t exactly cheap.
Things change slightly if you have other tools in the Karcher range – and there are a lot of them, including garden tools such as lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, grass trimmers and more – that use the same batteries,. And in this scenario it makes sense to invest in the fast charger as you’ll be able to extend run-time by swapping cells.
For most people, however, this model doesn’t quite cut it. The cheaper plug-in Karcher WD4 is a better buy for the types of jobs for which wet and dry vacuum cleaners are best suited.