Karcher Rechargeable Window Vac WV50 Review
When it comes to cleaning windows everyone has their own idea or system that is simply the best way to have shiny clean windows with no messiness or having any streaks left behind, the Karcher window vac puts them all to shame especially when it comes to simplicity and ease of use.
Most systems for cleaning your windows to a streak free finish follow the same lines, the windows are washed using some form of water and detergent mix and then either wiped with a rubber blade or dried in some way or another. Lots of methods exist for keeping then streak free, adding vinegar to the water, lemon juice is another favourite, drying them with newspaper rather than a cloth is another often mentioned way of maintain the clarity of the glass. The problem with all these systems is not that they do not work but more about the complexity and general inefficiency of the whole process add to that the fact that you can spend as much time clearing up the mess you have made as you spent cleaning the windows and it all becomes a bit of a burden.
Karcher Window Vacuum
The Karcher window vac changes all that as it is simplicity itself in use and how it works, it does away with the need to have different cloths or newspapers for drying and it completely removes any mess involved, no drips or smears just perfectly clean and smear free windows every time, so how does it work?
It is actually simplicity itself, basically it consists or a rechargeable cordless handheld vacuum designed to suck the dirty water off your windows into a containing tank eliminating the dripping of dirty water associated with wiping surfaces. This vacuuming action as opposed to the traditional wiping action ensures the windows are hygienically clean without leaving streaks or smears. See the video below to see how simple it really is.
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The vac itself is extremely comfortable to use due to its lightweight nature making for easy working without effort even for people who have moderately restricted motion, the small and lightweight nature of it also means that it is easy to store and does not require a lot of storage space which is very important to a lot of people.
With the unit being cordless and lightweight you might expect the battery life to be an issue but our own findings here and the experience of users reporting both here and on other sites is unanimously that it is not a consideration. Our unit here runs very well for over 30 minutes on a full charge (which takes about 2 hours) which is more than enough time to do an average houseful of windows and doors. The stated running time by Karcher is 20 minutes which is less than we actually get but still ample for most household’s needs which basically means that there is no sacrifice of usability for the convenience of cordless operation.
The bad bits.
We do not see these problems with our machine, however these are taken from our reviewers and various other reviews from product users elsewhere. There seems to be three recurring complaints about the Karcher window vac, one is about the battery life one about the water reservoir and one about the accessory pack, we will deal with each one individually here.
Karcher claim a battery life of 20 minutes of usage on a full charge cleaning around 10-15 windows, our own experience is of about 30 minutes of usage. Some people seem to be finding that the battery life gets nowhere near this and having spent a lot of time researching this we think we know why that is. As far as we can determine nearly all of the negative reviewers had purchased their products from online sources other than Karcher or Amazon and those that did so via Amazon did so through a marketplace seller (not from Amazon themselves). on further investigation these sellers appear to be selling returns or ‘A’ grade or ‘B’ grade electronics. These are generally considered to be as good as perfect but with potential problems like missing instruction booklets or packaging in the case of A grade and some minor faults or marks in the case of ‘B’ grade. Our impression is that these products have been sold as perfect but have manifested the battery problem, this is entirely based on our own observations and those of literally hundreds of user reviews around the web.
The complaints around the water reservoir tank are that it is simply too small, we would agree with that sentiment but also understand that a larger tank would impede portability and add weight as the tank filled. In our opinion we think that Karcher have got this about right in balance, emptying the tank is not difficult, it does not require the removal of the tank or any other complex operation and the pay off in portability and comfort is without doubt a price worth paying.
The Karcher window vac (WV50) plus comes with additional equipment which includes a detergent spray bottle with a cleaning cloth that fits to the top to make the cleaning part easy and a one handed operation, in our model this works just fine although we have since dispensed with it and use an independent spray bottle and cloth. There are a number of complaints that the bottle does not fit securely into the cap and will fall out on occasion spilling water and detergent everywhere as the open top bottle hits the floor. We can find no evidence of this being only from suppliers that may be selling sub standard (although legitimate) products and seems like it may be something that should be dealt with. Our suggestion is that if this worries you then do not buy the ‘plus’ version of the vacuum but stick only to the basics and get the vacuum alone, this does not affect how it works in anyway and in fact we dispensed with the bottle and attachments pretty quickly anyway.
The battery charger
We disliked the battery charger immensely, having what amounted to a plug, cable and connector we felt was a bit rubbish, some of us felt it would have been better with a cradle type of charger that the unit sat in to recharge, perhaps the unlikely possibility of a water spill means they were not allowed to use such a unit, we don’t know but will give that as a possibility. The other option is to have the battery external a bit like a cordless drill where it can be removed from the unit to be recharged, this allows for the possibility of having additional batteries so one can be charging whilst the other is in use extending the usage time by double if not more – Are you listening Karcher?
The Karcher Window Vac (WV50) is an outstanding piece of kit and a game changer for cleaning windows. The finish gained by using this product is without doubt as perfect as you can get and out performs any other system we have tried between us here, in fact it is better than the way most professional window cleaners leave your windows (I have long suspected window cleaners deliberately leave at least one smear on every window they clean just to show they have been!). It allows you to get those perfect results quickly, easily and conveniently with its cordless power and simple design making it a breeze for anyone to use. There is no dripping of dirty water and the user has no contact with the dirty water and streaks on the finished window become a thing of the past.
The WV50 can be used for more than just windows, it can cope perfectly with..
- tiled walls or surfaces
- glass surfaces like tables
- shower cubicles
- any flat solid surfaces (non porous)
Do you own a Karcher window vac or have you bought one because of this review?
Let us and other potential purchasers know what you think of it by either leaving a comment below or by posting your own review, just click the ‘comment’ or ‘Submit a Review’ button below – it only takes a minute…
UK Stockists of the Karcher window vac…
Buy it from Argos £59.99 – Currently Out of Stock 26/04/2012.
all links go direct to product pages.
If you need any more info, check out this video courtesy of youtube.com.
UPDATE – October 2018
Just wanted to clarify a point that has been emailed to us several times and has been mentioned in the reviews and comments below. The water reservoir is removable so you can wipe over the whole machine and in theory you can clean the inside of the water tank by filling it through the inlet our outlet holes, giving it a shake then empty via the rubber bung outlet. This is not ideal by any stretch of the imagination for cleaning the vac water tank but it is possible. We felt that people were saying the water tank is not removable when it clearly is as can be seen in the first of the videos in this post.
Hope that clarifies the situation for anyone wondering
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We are on our third Karcher window vac. It's wonderful when it works, but after three months or so the green light flashes very rapidly, and it dies. We sent two back and Karcher have replaced them, but this third one has gone the same way. I have tried a variety of screwdrivers, to have a look inside, but can't find one that will lock onto the screws. Help please?
Thanks for the review. In common with lots of people you find the vac just dies after a while. It is good that Karcher replaced 2 for you but it is just not good enough. It seems to us here that it is a superb idea, badly executed as it seems you either have one that works or you don't. Ours lasted around 18 months with a gradula decline in battery efficiency before it became to weak to be of use. I didn't mind that to be honest as a rechargeable product it is to be expected. But the overwhelming view of contributors here is that it really sucks.
I have tried speaking to karcher about this but i get the same run around as everyone else.
Thank you for your contribution though. we appreciate it.
Delivered from Amazon on Saturday. Used twice. Cut out today after 10 minutes - plugged charger in - rapid flashing green light on switch. Now nothing. Expected better from karcher. Will be retuning for a refund. Back to windowlene for me
I used the Karcher window vac for about 8 months for cleaning a chalet I have to let. It was great and saved me time and having to run up ladders. However the unit wont charge now, I have replaced the battery but to no avail. Rubbish quality. A good idea badly delivered.
On off switch is suspect, when it's on it won't switch off, and vice versa
I have just been woken up by my new window cleaner switching itself on. When I switch it off it comes on again after a short while very strange. This is a shame because I also still have the earlier model and that's working ok. That's progress for you. As the saying goes " if it ain't bust don't fix it"
Wonderful when it works. We are on our 5th replacement vac in 4 months.. They all suffer either charging, self switching on or faulty switch problems. Are the public being used as development engineers/Guinea pigs?
i bought mine after being highly recommended by my daughter. Hers is fantastic, but mine no matter what i do leaves lines (streaks) where the pivot edge blade moves down the window. I kept thinking there must be a knack to it. and even swapped with my daughter for a while, to no avail, she wanted hers back after her first use of mine. I would return it but unfortunately have lost the receipt. Very disappointing.
I have a holiday cottage on the coast and have to clean the windows every week. its a brilliantly easy piece of kit to use but each of my 3 in the last 7 months stop charging and the on / off switch ceases up. i keep buying them but why cant karcher sort the problem out and quickly. BTW, the extension pole is a miracle invention
Can't get to grips with this thing at all. Windows look clean at first but after a few days streaks appear. Very disappointed.
When working this is a great item. The first one we received worked great for four occasions (cleaned the windows of a 3 bedroom bungalow & three times cleaned our glass dining table) before it began to cut out after 3 seconds. It would require a full charge to get another three seconds out of it.
John Lewis sent a second one that after one use no longer works at all!
Awaiting the third from John Lewis...