The Karcher K5.740's water-cooled induction motor, long-lasting pump and convenient hose reel are part of the reason editors at PressureWashersDirect.com name it the best electric pressure washer. As one of the largest pressure washer manufacturers in the world, this brand has a solid reputation for high customer satisfaction and backs the K5.740 with a one-year rapid exchange warranty. Some reviews counter that this pressure washer is overpriced with an inferior axial cam pump.
Powers through many house chores. Hundreds of owners at PressureWashersDirect.com and Amazon.com say the K5.740 is powerful, with impressive cleaning performance. Though it doesn't work as fast as a gas pressure washer, users say it cleans just as well. With 2,000 psi and 1.4 gpm, the K5.740 falls just under the cleaning units for the AR Blue Clean AR383 (Est. $190) . The adjustable spray wand allows for lower pressure to about 1,600 psi, according to expert Bill Mikenis at PressureWashersDirect.com. It "has just the right amount of pressure for automobile washing, and is plenty strong enough to remove the buildup and dirt from my driveway," says an owner at the site. Karcher claims the K5.740's induction motor is 50 percent quieter, and many owners agree it's very quiet in comparison to other electric pressure washers.
Extra features are icing on the cake. Brand reliability and solid construction are the main factors that drive most owners to the K5.740, but extra features add to its convenience. Reviews say the long 25-foot hose isn't prone to kinking. The pressurized hose reel "can be used while the unit is running (instead of just for storage)," says Mikenis.
At 35 pounds, the K5.740 is easy to move, but owners say it's not always well balanced. "The pressure washer will tip over when pulling on the hose, so be aware," says a PressureWashersDirect.com user. The detergent tank is removable to easily fill and rinse, and a dial on the tank lets you control how much detergent you are using.
Durable machine with a solid reputation. Karcher's K5.740 uses an induction motor "that runs quieter and lasts longer than previous models," Mikenis says. Though the pump is an axial cam pump (unlike AR383's triplex pump), he says it's well built with a "corrosion resistant polymer." The self-priming feature also allows users to pull water from a pond or a tank.
With the one-year rapid exchange warranty, users can swap a malfunctioning K5.740 for a new unit, bypassing a long wait for warranty repair. A few users say contacting the manufacturer can be frustrating for warranty repairs; overall the Karcher brand has very high customer satisfaction, according to one professional testing organization.
1. PressureWashers Direct.com
Editors say this is the best electric pressure washer, giving the K5.740 high marks for the water-cooled induction motor and upgraded axial cam pump. Most owners here agree, with more than 200 reviews rating it at 4.4 stars. Good performance and ease of use are often praised.
Review: Karcher X Series 2000 PSI (Electric-Cold Water) Pressure Washer, Editors of and contributors to PressureWashersDirect.com, As of July 2013
These reviews are for Karcher's K5.540; the 5.740 is practically identical to this unit, but includes an upgraded housing. About 120 owners review the 5.540 here, giving it an average of 3.8 stars (out of 5). Most are pleased with its overall performance, low noise and user-friendly operation.
Review: Karcher X-Series Featuring the Industry's First Water Cooled Induction Motor 2000PSI Electric Pressure Washer with 25-Foot Hose and Hose Reel, K5.540, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of July 2013
Almost all of the three-dozen owners reviewing the K5.740 here say they would recommend it to friend. Most say it's powerful enough to thoroughly clean their cars, tractors and decks without causing damage. More users here say the plastic hose connector breaks too easily.
Review: Karcher X-Series Water-Cooled Electric Pressure Washer -- 2000 PSI, 1.4 GPM, Model# K5.740, Contributors to NorthernTool.com, As of July 2013
4. Which? magazine
Editors of this U.K. professional consumer organization survey more than 7,100 members to find out which brand of pressure washer they are happiest with. Nine different brands are rated for storability, usability, performance, quality and value.
Review: Pressure Washer Reviews: Owners' Views, Editors of Which? magazine, November 2011