Karcher K5 Premium Smart Control pressure washer: Blasts through your cleaning jobs, but the Bluetooth extras won’t be for everyone

If you’re new to power washers, the app provides a bit of hand-holding through the process

Karcher K5 Premium Smart Control pressure washer
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Price: €500
Where To Buy: Karcher

Of all the devices that could benefit from Bluetooth, a pressure washer would have been low on my list. But over the course of the past decade or so, “smart” devices have become even more prevalent.

In my kitchen, I have a connected coffee maker, a smart oven and a dishwasher with a wifi connection. The washing machine has a feature that allows it to link with an app to decipher diagnostic codes; the dryer has NFC to add custom programmes. And that is before you get to the Bluetooth bulbs and wifi plugs throughout the house.

But some of these things are better than others. The ability to tweak cooking settings or add new coffee drinks is handy, but not necessary. The smart oven features rarely get used, unless I need to check exactly how long it has been turned on. The question is not whether we can build things to be smarter, but whether we should.

Which is what I find myself asking when the Karcher K5 Premium Smart Control pressure washer lands for review. A smart robot vacuum cleaner I can understand, but why would you need Bluetooth in a pressure washer? It’s a pressure washer; you turn it on and point it at things, and it blasts off grime. If you need more pressure, you dial it up; if it starts to strip the paint off the wall, maybe you’ve gone a little too far.


The majority of jobs can be completed without detergent. That’s good, considering the K5 isn’t cheap

But I’m also a newcomer to power washers. Surely there are very few jobs that couldn’t be done with a bit of elbow grease? It seems like once you hit a certain age, everyone suddenly seems to have one. They are an essential piece of suburban home equipment, like a car that can comfortably fit the kids and the dog, or an airfryer. At a certain time of year, the pressure washers get wheeled out to wash cars, blast grime off driveways or wash down walls. It has even inspired its own game, PowerWash Simulator.

Bearing that in mind, a smart pressure washer doesn’t seem like as much of a leap as it initially did.

Despite the addition of what you might consider an unnecessary Bluetooth connection, the K5 Smart Control keeps things relatively simple. It comes with a three-in-one lance that clicks on easily and can be adjusted for different types of cleaning, from flat jet to a setting that will blast dirt in a rotating pattern. You don’t need any extras – although there are many you can buy – and the majority of jobs can be completed without detergent. That’s good, considering the K5 isn’t cheap. It also has a 10m high-pressure hose that can be reeled in when not in use, will pump out up to 500 litres of water and hour and has a maximum pressure of 145 bar.

The gun control has a digital display that shows the pressure level – from soft, which it recommends for wooden terraces and bikes, to level three, which will blitz the grime that has been building all winter in that shady spot on your patio or leave your glass sparkling. That pressure level can be adjusted with some big plus and minus buttons, with an option for a temporary boost for the really filthy jobs.

The K5 requires a little assembly, and although there is an instruction book also included in the box, the app walks you through the process in full colour, making it a little easier to follow than the black and white diagrams.

That isn’t exclusive to the K5 Premium Smart Control; Karcher’s other pressure washers without a Bluetooth connection have the same advantage.

Using the app can be a bit clunky at times, requiring you to switch between the cleaner and your phone to navigate the steps

Let’s talk about that Bluetooth feature. Strictly speaking, you don’t need to use it. You can get by without ever having to connect your phone and your pressure washer won’t be useless without it.

You might find it useful if you are a beginner to power washers, like me. It provides a bit of hand-holding through the process, and without it, you might find yourself looking at a small section of your house that has been accidentally stripped of paint. Again, like me.

It not only tells you what settings to use for cleaning your specific object – car, caravan, stone walls, house – it will send them directly to the machine so there is no room for error. And it will guide you through the cleaning process step by step if you need it.

This can be a bit clunky at times, requiring you to switch between the cleaner and your phone to navigate the steps. And there are only so many times you will need babysitting through this process.

But as a complete newcomer, it was very, very useful. You can add in the accessories you buy too to personalise the instructions, from brushes to wash the car to the different detergents you can add.

You can also use the app to adjust the pressure without touching the buttons on the gun, although I can’t see any real benefit to this in 99 per cent of scenarios, considering the buttons are right in front of you.


As a pressure washer, the Karcher K5 Smart Control can’t be faulted. It is powerful – the small circle of blasted paint on my wall will attest to that – and it easily blitzed away a winter of grime from the patio. Plus it will tell you how much water you save by using a pressure washer over a regular garden hose.

If you need a bit of hand-holding, the Bluetooth guide comes into its own, easing you through the steps and giving you the correct settings to use so you get the best pressure for the job.


For most people, the Bluetooth connection is an extra rather than a necessary feature. Guiding you through cleaning will require you to stop and pay attention to an app rather than just getting on with things.

It is more expensive than the non-smart options in the Karcher range, although it does have a bit of extra power, too.

Everything else

You can add all manner of accessories to the K5, from patio brushes and telescopic poles to a very handy pipe and gutter-cleaning kit.


The K5 Premium Control is a powerful device that will tackle almost every cleaning situation you can think of with ease. Consider me converted, to the usefulness of pressure washers at the very least.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist