Do you find it difficult to wash windows? We’ve tested a number of window vacuums from Kärcher. In order for an electric window vacuum to be named Best in Test, it must be easy to use, have a good battery life and, most importantly, it must get your windows really clean.
We carry out our tests ourselves and test all products as they are intended to be used in reality. A window vacuum is a machine a bit like a vacuum cleaner for your floor, which sucks up the water after you use the supplied spray bottle and cleaning cloth to wet and wash the window.
In our test of window vacuums, we washed different types of windows, in ordinary houses and apartments. All electric window vacuums were used on several occasions over a period of about a month. In the test we focused on the following characteristics:
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Flexible window vacuum with long operating time, suitable for those with lots of windows to clean
Price class: Premium Accessories included: Spray bottle with microfibre cloths and one dose of detergent Nozzle width: 28 cm Container volume: 150 ml Specified operating time: 100 min
At first it’s not entirely clear why the WV 6 Plus has fewer accessories than cheaper window vacuums from Kärcher. With this machine you only get one nozzle, 28 cm wide. On the other hand, the included spray bottle is a little bit more advanced. But after using the vacuum for a while, it becomes clear why the WV 6 Plus costs as much as it does.
Getting started with the Kärcher WV 6 Plus is very easy. You plug it in to start charging and about an hour later you can clean your windows. One dose of detergent is included with the purchase and, according to Kärcher, this is enough to fill the spray bottle once. But we didn’t notice any difference in the result if you dilute this with twice as much water. Then you just clean the window and then turn on the window vacuum, which automatically sucks up the water as you sweep it over the glass.
The spray bottle attachment for the microfibre cloth can be adjusted between two different widths using the extension included. In the narrower position, you fold the excess cloth around the back. It would be practical to be able to adjust the width when you wash the windows. But since you can’t do that with the window vacuum itself – which is often the bit that’s hardest to get into corners and edges – there’s not much point to the idea.
However, one thing that works very well is the digital display on the WV 6 Plus. Clear numbers indicate the remaining battery life in minutes as soon as you switch on the window vacuum. This means you get a decent idea of how many windows you’ll have time for. Since the operating time is a generous 100 minutes, for most homes one charge is enough for several rounds of window washing. You should even have time to clean the shower cubicle or glazed patio.
The Kärcher WV 6 Plus is very easy to use. The large container for dirty water is easy to remove, empty and rinse clean. But the best detail, and the one that most facilitates washing your windows, is the fact that the nozzle has a softer, rubberised edge. This means the window vacuum requires much less manual force when you press it into the lower edges of the windows. It’s also easier to get into angles and corners. Since you don’t have to press as hard, you can also hold the WV 6 Plus in your hand for a longer period of time.
In terms of the end result, our assessment is that the WV 6 Plus is comparable to other window vacuums from Kärcher. If you don’t wipe the nozzle off after each pass, there’s a risk of streaky windows – especially at the top of the glass where you first start to suck up water with the scraper. But if you don’t mind standing with a cloth in your other hand, the WV 6 Plus produces windows that are nice and clean. If you find cleaning windows a drag, the Kärcher WV 6 Plus will make the process faster, easier and more fun.
Fast-charging window vacuum for people with windows of different sizes
Price class: Intermediate Accessories included: Spray bottle with microfibre cloth, one dose of detergent and a small nozzle Nozzle width: 28 cm and 17 cm Container volume: 100 ml Specified operating time: 35 min
Kärcher's WV 2 Plus N comes with two nozzles. It’s easy to switch between nozzles on the machine, but it takes a fair bit of finger strength to press the button in properly. Usually you have to use both hands. The small spray bottle is handy in size but needs to be refilled a few times to clean all the windows in a normal-sized house.
With the microfibre cloth attached to the spray bottle, the window can be wetted and washed in one movement. The microfibre cloth is attached with Velcro so it’s easy to remove for machine washing. On the first use, some fibres come loose and produce streaks when the window dries. After the first wash of the microfibre cloth, that problem goes away.
It’s really fast to charge the Kärcher WV 2 Plus N battery, and after just over an hour the window vacuum is ready to use. The specified operating time is 35 minutes. That doesn’t sounds a lot, but considering the short periods you use the machine, it does go quite a long way. A normal-sized window dries quickly with the wider nozzle. However, the narrow nozzle is really handy when you need to dry smaller glass sections such as windows in an exterior door, or windows with glazing bars.
There is some difference in the suction ability of the two nozzles. The smaller one sometimes leaves a strip of liquid at the edge, even if you apply extra pressure. That’s something that doesn’t happen with the larger nozzle. The rubberised edge of both nozzles is quite hard, which makes it difficult to get into the lower edge of a window.
After cleaning, the water collector must be emptied. There’s an opening on the outside, but this is in the middle and so it’s almost impossible to get the last drops out. It’s more efficient to remove the collector completely and empty the water through the larger opening and then rinse it clean.
The WV 2 Plus N requires a fair amount of force to perform. But considering that the model is in the lower half of the price range for Kärcher’s window vacuums, it has all the features you could wish for. Of course, the result won’t be as good as when a professional cleans your windows. But it’s good enough and it’s also pretty quick.
A window vacuum with extra battery for lots of windows
Price class: Premium Accessories included: Spray bottle with microfibre cloth, one dose of detergent and a small nozzle Nozzle width: 28 cm Container volume: 100 ml Specified operating time: 35 min
It’s kind of natural to wonder what distinguishes the different window vacuums from Kärcher. The Kärcher WV 5 Plus N differs from the other machines in this test in that it has a replaceable battery – something the other two vacuums don’t have. The battery is, of course, rechargeable, but even rechargeable batteries can sometimes reach the end of the road. The battery life is quite good, but if you have many windows to clean, this machine allows you to have a spare charged battery on hand – so you don’t have to wait for the machine to recharge before you can finish cleaning the windows.
You can quickly charge the Kärcher WV5 Plus N so that just half an hour after unpacking the vacuum, you can start to clean your windows with it. Together with the machine, you get a small bag of detergent that you dilute with water in the spray bottle. If you’re going to clean lots of windows, make sure you get extra detergent when you buy the vacuum. Because if you live in a house with lots of windows, this small bag probably won’t be enough.
A slightly streaky result
You can adjust the width of the scraper on the Kärcher WV5 Plus N. This should make it easier to access the corners. There’s also a smaller nozzle, which makes it easier to clean things like vent lights. Adjusting the width of the scraper is a bit fiddly, but once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier.
But regardless of whether the width is adjusted or not, it’s impossible to avoid the windows coming out somewhat streaky. Despite the fact that we tested different angles at different temperatures and several times over, and that the pressure was varied, the scraper still created narrow streaks. It also spatters around drops of the detergent, which also leaves marks on the glass.
All of these problems can be solved if you equip yourself with a microfibre cloth and quickly follow the vacuum around with that. But for close to £100, we’d have liked the Kärcher WV5 Plus N to live up to its promises on the packaging of “streak free” washing, three times faster than normal window cleaning. There are clearly streaks, and by the time you’ve got rid of them with a microfibre cloth, you’re back to the same sort of length of time as if you’d washed them with a more traditional method.
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