While the regular vacuum cleaner market has plenty of competing brands, Karcher dominates window vacs in the UK. Their WV series is powerful, lightweight and easy to use – not to mention available for great prices. In fact, the company’s models currently occupy both #1 and #2 positions on our list of the best window vacs. Which is the best Karcher window vacuum though? the Karcher Window Cleaner Best Price? And which provides the greatest value for money? Let’s find out by reviewing the WV1, WV2 Plus, WV5 Premium and WV Anniversary edition.
Cleaning windows can be a frustrating job – especially without the right tools. Drying a glass window pane with a cloth is likely to leave smears, but letting the window dry naturally causes streaks.
That’s why window vacs are so useful. These handheld appliances suck surfaces dry, so you don’t get ugly smears after cleaning. They make it easy to get crystal clear windows without paying a professional cleaner, and can also be useful for removing condensation.
Karcher Window Vac Model Comparison & Review – Which is the Best?
The four models in the WV range – WV1, WV2 Plus, WV5 Premium and WV Anniversary Edition – share many of the same features.
They all have a 100ml dirty water tank, quick-emptying system, rechargeable lithium-ion battery and relatively powerful suction. All WV vacs also have a similar design, with a built-in handle and curved neck, and are built to clean everything from windows to shower screens.
There are some important differences between the various models though. The run-time, working nozzle width and weight vary depending on which you buy. There’s also a reasonable difference in price between the cheapest and most expensive options.
So, while all WV models provide excellent performance and value for money, make sure you read each review to choose the right model for your requirements.
If You’re in a Hurry…
We’ve reviewed each model below, but here are our top picks depending on your requirements:
- We think the best Karcher vac is the WV5 Premium. It comes with all the features of the Anniversary Edition, but with a 3-step LED charge display, removable battery and adjustable edge cleaning system. If you want the best for your home, go for the WV5.
- If you need maximum run-time, the WV5 Premium is also the top choice. It has a long 35-minute life, along with a removable battery. The Anniversary Edition has the same run-time but lacks some of the advanced features found on the WV5.
- When it comes to value for money, the WV2 Plus is probably the best option. It’s cheaper than the WV5, yet still provides a 25-minute run-time and excellent performance.
- If you’re on a tight budget, the WV1 is the cheapest Karcher window vacuum cleaner. It has the same basic design, so it’s great for cleaning windows and tiles – although the 20-minute run-time is considerably shorter than the WV5.
Karcher Window Cleaner Best Price
1. Karcher WV Anniversary Edition
The newest Karcher window vacuum is the WV Anniversary Edition. Released for the 10th anniversary of the company’s original window vac, it has a 35-minute run-time, lithium-ion battery and a slick black design.
Like all Karcher home window vacs, the Anniversary Edition provides excellent cleaning performance. Glass windows, mirrors, tiles and worktops are left clear and streak-free, and most water is sucked up with a single pass. There’s also an exchangeable head with small or large options, which isn’t included with the WV1 or WV2 Plus. This is useful for cleaning tight windows or small shower screens.
Is it really an upgrade to the WV5 though? Or is it just a different colour?
While the WV5 and Anniversary Edition are similar, there are a few key differences. The Anniversary Edition is slightly lighter than the WV5, which may be an advantage when cleaning lots of windows, although the difference is minimal. More importantly, the Anniversary Edition doesn’t have a removable battery or edge cleaning guidance.
This means the WV5 is clearly the superior vacuum – especially if you need the option of swapping the battery for double the run-time. We also think that the WV Anniversary Edition is less convenient to empty than the WV1.
If you just want a longer run-time than the WV2 Plus, or need the option of cleaning with the smaller 170mm blade, the Anniversary Edition is an excellent choice though (especially as it’s often on sale for less than the WV5).
- Run-Time / Charging Time: 35 minutes / 2 hours approx.
- Weight: 0.65kg
- Dirt Water Capacity: 100ml
- Removable Battery: No
- Both 280mm and 170mm blades for greater versatility
- Stylish black window cleaner vac
- Includes spray bottle kit
2. Karcher WV5 Premium (Top Pick)
The most feature-packed WV vacuum cleaner is the WV5 Premium. It comes with all the features of the Anniversary Edition, including the two blade sizes, 35-minute run-time and powerful suction, but adds some useful extras.
One of the most important additions is the removable battery. The WV5 is the only WV window vac to include this feature, which allows you to swap the battery and continue cleaning (you’ll need to buy another battery though). The edge guidance function, which is effectively an adjustable roller so you can get right up to the edge of frames, is another welcome addition.
The WV5 also has a more advanced charge indicator. Instead of a simple LED, there’s a 3-step charge level on the handle so you can quickly estimate how much run-time is remaining. It also does a brilliant job of cleaning windows.
If you’re looking for the best window vac, the WV5 Premium is the one to get. It ties with the Anniversary Edition for run-time and versatility, but adds several important features that make it worth the small extra cost.
- Run-Time / Charging Time: 35 minutes / 2 hours approx.
- Weight: 0.65kg
- Dirt Water Capacity: 100ml
- Removable Battery: Yes
- Removable lithium-ion battery
- Edge guidance function & 2 blade sizes
- 3-stage charge indicator
3. Karcher WV2 Plus (Great Value)
If the WV5 is the most advanced Karcher window vac, the WV2 Plus provides a balance between performance and affordability. It’s not the cheapest – that title goes to the WV1 – but has a 25-minute run-time and excellent window cleaning performance.
As with all the WV range, the WV2 Plus is great for cleaning windows, tiles, mirrors and other surfaces around the home. It’s relatively lightweight, has an LED charge display, includes a spray bottle set and is simple to empty. The lithium-ion battery also means it doesn’t lose suction power as the charge runs out.
We’re big fans of the WV2 Plus. For most people, it provides the best value of any models in the WV range. If you don’t need the smaller nozzle or 35-minute run-time, it provides better value than the WV5.
Note: There is also a WV2 Premium version that we haven’t included in these reviews. The main difference is the Premium includes the smaller 170mm blade. If you don’t need this blade, go for the cheaper WV2 Plus.
- Run-Time / Charging Time: 25 minutes / 2 hours approx.
- Weight: 0.7kg
- Dirt Water Capacity: 100ml
- Removable Battery: No
- Great balance between price and performance
- LED battery display
- Lightweight design
4. Karcher WV1 (Cheapest Karcher Window Vac)
The cheapest WV vacuum cleaner is the WV1. While it doesn’t include many of the features found on the WV5, it provides great value for money and is perfect for smaller homes.
Let’s start with the similarities between this model and the others. It features the same basic design, 100ml dirty water tank and LED charge display. The 250mm cleaning head does an excellent job of leaving streak-free windows and other surfaces, while the lithium battery doesn’t lose suction as it gets low on charge.
There are several key differences between the WV1 and WV5 though. The WV1 only has a 20-minute run-time and no option to swap the battery, so it may not be the right choice for cleaning lots of windows at the same time. It also only has a single 250mm cleaning head – the smaller 170mm head isn’t included.
Even so, the WV1 is an excellent window vac that provides great value for money. If you don’t need the advanced features or longer battery life of the WV2 and Wv5, the WV1 won’t let you down.
- Run-Time / Charging Time: 20 minutes / 1.5 hours approx.
- Weight: 0.6kg
- Dirt Water Capacity: 100ml
- Removable Battery: No
- The cheapest WV model
- Still provides excellent cleaning performance
- Slightly lighter than the others on this list
How Do They Work?
A common complaint about Karcher vacuum cleaners is that their instruction manuals don’t clearly explain how to use a window vac. Perhaps Karcher assumes everyone knows how to use one, but this doesn’t help if you’re buying your first window vac and would like detailed instructions.
If you’re not sure how they work, here’s a quick review video showing one in action. The process is similar whether you’re cleaning windows, bathroom tiles, car windows or mirrors:
What Accessories Are Available?
Karcher sells a number of accessories to make cleaning surfaces in your home easier. Most of these fit all models of the WV range, although check before you buy. Some of the most useful accessories include:
- Extension Poles. These attach to the body of the window vac so you can clean taller windows without a ladder. If you have skylights or large windows, an extension pole is a useful accessory to buy.
- Smaller Suction Blades. The WV5 comes with both a large and small blade, but Karcher also sells blades separately.
- Holster Belt. This bag holds your window vac while you’re using the spray bottle or cleaning manually.
You can also buy replacement parts for the WV series. These include charger packs, rubber lips, spray bottle sets and microfibre cloths.
Where Should I Buy One?
The WV window vac range is available on most major online stores, including Amazon, Argos and Tesco. If you want to find the cheapest deals, make sure you shop around. You may also be able to find second-hand or used models on sites such as eBay.
Things to Consider When Buying a Vacuum Cleaner
The old vacuum cleaner has “bitten the dust” and you need a replacement. One quick look online is all it takes to realize that choosing a new machine might be more challenging than you thought. It’s easy to get caught up in the “latest and greatest” when perusing vacuums online or in magazines and end up with a machine that is either too much or not enough, or just doesn’t fit your needs.
We’ve put together a few questions for consideration to help focus your search efforts before purchasing that new vacuum cleaner. Maybe you’ve already thought about some of these, so please use the following list to quickly navigate to the concerns most important to you.
What Flooring Types Do I Have?
Probably the most obvious consideration is whether you have mainly carpeting, hard floors, or a fairly even combination of both. Generally speaking, for homes with a lot of carpeting, especially in large areas, an upright vacuum cleaner is a good choice. However, if your personal preference tends toward canister style vacuums, there are quite a few excellent choices available. You will want to be sure that it has a floor nozzle with a motorized brushroll and height adjustment options for various pile carpets.
If you love hardwood or tile flooring with a few rugs here and there, or enjoy low-pile carpeting, a canister style vacuum is a great option. Using a specialized floor brush, these are usually very maneuverable for working quickly around and underneath furniture. Some are equipped with combination floor tools that easily switch to effectively clean scatter rugs. For true canister vacuum lovers, there are machines that feature high quality motorized floor nozzles that can effectively handle deep-pile carpets.
Most people have a combination of both carpeting and hard floors. At this point, style preference will be your guide. However, be sure to check for convenience features such as on/off brushroll control, height adjustment, and suction control. Be sure to note whether the brushroll is air-powered or electrically powered as this affects the effectiveness of deep-pile carpet cleaning.
Do I Need to Control Allergens?
This is a key question to consider since we spend, on average, about 90% of our time indoors where pollutants can be 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. This is especially important to ponder if you or someone in your family has asthma or allergies. A vacuum cleaner that provides HEPA filtration can be an important contributor to improving your indoor air quality. HEPA filters capture particulate matter down to 0.3 microns so that the exhausted air is actually cleaner than what was sucked into the vacuum. There are also machines that include some level of charcoal filtration to help control odors—great for pet owners.
An additional consideration is a vacuum that not only uses HEPA filters but does so in a completely sealed system. This means that there is virtually no leakage of air through the housing or fittings of the machine and all air (along with pollutants) is forced through the filtration system, leaving your indoor air allergen free. See this article for more information about allergies and vacuums.
How Often Do I Vacuum?
Something you may not have thought about, the frequency of your cleaning schedule can be impacted by the ease or difficulty of storing and accessing your vacuum. For those folks who shed their shoes the minute they hit the door, walking on floors that quickly accumulate pet fur, crumbs, and tracked-in dirt or sand, daily vacuuming is standard operating procedure. In that case, a vacuum that is difficult to access and use quickly can make this routine a real chore. Consider a robotic vacuum that can be scheduled to clean while you’re at work or running errands so you return to grit-free floors, really nice if you frequently bring home company.
If your debris tends to concentrate in specific areas, a stick vacuum is a champ at quickly taking care of daily messes whether on hard floors or carpets, as well as effectively handling more extensive weekly cleaning. There are also light-weight uprights and compact canisters with parking features that make them easy to store and use at a moment’s notice.
How Many Levels are in My Home?
In other words, how many stairs do you have to carry your vacuum up and down? There are many maneuverable, light-weight cordless vacuums that have great suction power and long run times that can handle multiple floor types. There are also lightweight vacuums in both upright and canister styles that make transporting them between floors easy.
An additional thought is the type of flooring on each level. While it sounds crazy, sometimes more than one vacuum is a very good idea. If you have a main floor that really benefits from a machine that can handle a variety of floor types, your upper floor may only require a vacuum best for carpets or hard floors. Or, the reverse may be true. In either case, consider purchasing a smaller stick vacuum for the space best suited for it, and save yourself grueling trips up and down stairs with your larger machine.
What Additional Surfaces will I be Cleaning?
If you like vacuuming away all the accumulated dust from furniture, curtains, moldings, and baseboards instead of dusting, you’ll want a vacuum that includes a variety of accessory tools. Most include at least a combination brush and crevice tool, while others have additional floor nozzles, an upholstery tool, and specialized accessories for specific types of cleaning. If you own pets, or have a lot of stairs, consider a vacuum that includes a mini-motorized tool for easy cleaning. Some offer an even wider variety of specialized tools and extension wands which you can purchase separately as you need them.
How Much Noise Can I Stand?
Given the technology, if you will, of vacuums, there is a certain amount of expected sound generated during use. Typically, the larger and more heavy-duty the machine for the job, the louder it is. For homes, and for office spaces where a quieter sound level is desired, there are vacuums that have been designed with insulated motor housings as well as newer low-noise motors for quieter operation. Some can run as lows as 47 dB at maximum power while still delivering 120 CFM. Vacuum manufacturers such as NaceCare, Miele, and Sebo have recently redesigned some of their machines for quieter operation. Check specifications for your selection before buying.
How Much Maintenance is Required?
This is a question that really depends on your definition of “a lot” and how tedious different kinds of maintenance are for you. Bagless vacuums don’t have bags that need to be changed, but dust bins still need to be emptied and washed periodically, especially if your home includes allergy-sufferers. Any vacuum with a HEPA filter will need that filter to be replaced when necessary, depending on individual home environments. The same is true for any other type of filter unless it is specified as a washable filter.
Brushrolls will collect pet fur, hair, threads and other debris and will need to be cleaned to maintain top operating capabilities. Ease of access to it should be a consideration. For quality vacuums that last for years, sometimes accessory tools like dusting brushes may need to be replaced. Check to see if these are available for purchase either at retail or from the manufacturer.
The Main Vacuum Types
There are five primary shapes of vacuum cleaners, each performing a slightly different function, although some combine those forms in order to provide more bang for your buck. Being aware of the expectations you have of your vacuum cleaner can help you more intelligently and decisively pick one of the following.
Handheld vacuums are perfect for getting those painfully hard-to-reach areas that desperately need a cleaning. The most common example for use is in vacuuming cars, since, as the name suggests, this model can be held in only one hand. Its versatility makes it a dream for suctioning up dirt and debris in a variety of tight places, but it would not serve well for general flooring cleaning, which would take a long time to clean with a handheld. This type of vacuum cleaner comes in all sorts of different forms with equally different price tags.
Canister vacuum cleaners are a happy medium between the upright model and the stick model. They are powerful like the upright cleaners, but feature a slender frame, like the stick cleaners. In this case, a separate canister is attached to a long wand which can be used to maintain not only carpeted areas but also bare flooring as well. This style of vacuum cleaner tends to be one of the most expensive options, given its technologically-forward and multi-functional design.
These cleaners are perhaps the most popular and sought-after forms of vacuum cleaners. When you imagine a vacuum cleaner or see one advertised in media, the image you picture is probably that of an upright machine. These models provide the most powerful clean-up for your house, and offer the comforting benefit of usually easy-to-understand functions and accessories, since most people have used an upright vacuum cleaner at least once in their lifetime. Most models provide settings that allow these vacuum cleaners to be used not only on carpeted surfaces but also bare floors.
While perhaps the least powerful of the vacuum models, stick vacuums have a knack for getting into narrow places and doing a tremendous job on hardwood floors, area rugs and light carpeting. This type of vacuum features a long stick-like handle and a slender construction. The slimness of this model makes it a perfect addition to any closet space, as it tucks neatly into most corners after its purpose has been served.
5. Autonomous / Robot
Robot vacuum cleaners have gained a lot of popularity in recent years, mainly due to the fact that they require little effort on your end. These vacuums are able to roam freely around your home, sucking up any small mess in its way. They not only save you time, but they are also able to reach places that larger vacuums wouldn’t be able to, such as under the couch. One main drawback of robot vacuums is that they typically come at a steep price.
Location, Location, Location
Do you have primarily hardwood floors throughout your house? Are these floors covered with area rugs, or are they bare? Is your home filled with wall-to-wall carpeting? These are considerations you must make before taking the leap and purchasing your very own vacuum cleaner.
If you have bare floors, you’re better off with models that provide a number of attachments and which don’t have quite as much heft as some of the others. Using a regular upright vacuum on flooring like hardwood poses a number of problems, which includes scratching your smooth and coveted floors and being counterproductive by scattering debris across their surfaces. Some upright vacuums do provide settings that function better on non-carpeted areas, but for the most part your best bet would be with a model like the canister vacuum, which can also take care of your area rugs if you have any. These vacuums usually come with a bare-floor brush, which makes keeping your floors squeaky clean and scratch-free a piece of cake.
On the other hand, if you have wall-to-wall carpeting, it’s definitely worth considering a model with different advantages than a vacuum cleaner suited for hardwood flooring and tiling. You won’t need to worry about scratching the surface of your carpet, and in fact, you’ll want something powerful that pulls up all the lingering debris from the carpet strands. In this instance, an upright cleaner is a great way to go. There are all sorts of extra conveniences that upright vacuums have recently come out with, including a dirt sensor which makes sure you get that last speck of grime.
Know the layout of your flooring and what sorts of surfaces you’ll be dealing with to ensure your needs will be met with your new vacuum cleaner.
To Bag or Not To Bag
The general consensus is that, whether you have a bagged vacuum or a bagless vacuum, your house will be clean either way (as long as you keep using it). However, there are a few small differences that may make or break your decision to buy one or the other.
If you or any of your family members are sensitive to allergens or have asthma, the bagged vacuum is probably more for you. Dust exposure is minimized when the bag is emptied and most bags are guaranteed to trap all but .03% of the dust and pollen in your carpeting. You do have to replace the bags on a regular basis, although these are typically available at most supermarkets.
If you are environmentally-minded and prefer to not have to deal with replacing bags, the bagless vacuum is more for you. These vacuums usually have a see-through canister which gives you perfect access to seeing how full the vacuum is, which can help you determine when you need to empty it out.
Karcher window vacs – also known as the WV range – are amongst the top products on the market. All WV models are powerful, come with lithiumbatteries to prevent suction loss, and are great for streak-free windows, tiles and mirrors.
We think the #1 model is the WV5 Premium. It has the longest run-time, along with several other useful features that aren’t included on cheaper models. If you’re looking for the best value, however, then the WV2 is a great choice if you’re happy with a 25-minute run-time.