Tuesday, 22 August 2017 09:02

Karcher OC3 Portable Cleaner tested and reviewed

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As Summer turns to Autumn and trails turn to mud we take a look at the Karcher OC3 Portable Cleaner, a portable solution with uses for everything from mountain biking to dog walking.

 What Karcher say:

Whether you're a mountain biker, a dog walker, a camper or simply love spending time in the great outdoors, trailing mud into your car, tent or caravan is never a happy end to the day. What's more, leaving dried-on dirt on your outdoor equipment doesn't do it any favours - it's much better to rinse it off as soon as possible. That's where the Kärcher Portable Cleaner comes in - a simple and lightweight solution for cleaning on the go. The Portable Cleaner is easy to store in your car boot or caravan, with a 4 litre water tank and a 5 bar pressure that's perfect for rinsing off your bike, wellies, dog or pushchair at the end of a muddy day. When you're finished, the spray gun and hose stores away tidily, with extra accessory kits available for efficient ad thorough cleaning of bikes, pets and outdoor equipment. This machine comes with a 2 year warranty.


  • Integrated water filter
  • Water tank volume, 4 l
  • Lithium ion battery
  • Spiral hose, 2.8 m
  • Flat jet nozzle
  • Battery charging cable

Pressure range - Low pressure / Low pressure

Max. flow rate (l/min)  - max. 2

Weight without accessories (kg) - 2.2

Dimensions (L x W x H) (mm) - 277 x 234 x 201

Battery running time (min.) - 15

Battery charging time (min.) - 180

Karcher OC3 10 

Karcher OC3 Portable Cleaner on test:

When Halfords approached us with the offer of reviewing a portable cleaner it was a no-brainer. From dog paws to mountain bikes and muddy boots mud is never far away when you have an outdoor life and any way of keeping the mud away from the car interior is bound to be attractive - if it works. For anyone familiar pressure washers the Karcher name and logo inspires confidence and naturally the OC3 comes in the familiar Karcher yellow and black colour scheme.

The OC3 consists of a base that supplies the power and the cleaner's nozzle, and a reservoir that holds up to 4 litres of water. To fill the reservoir you simply slide the handle forwards and detach the tank from the base.

Karcher OC3 6

With the reservoir tank filled simply replace it on the base and slide the top handle back into place to carry the cleaner or for storing in the car boot ready to go.

Inside the base unit you have a coiled tube and a nozzle "gun" which, when not in use, stores neatly into one corner and a small filter mounted in the middle of the base unit. In use the coiled tube is routed through the slot at the rear of the unit and the reservoir tank is mounted on top. A positive "click" as the twin handles align means the cleaner's ready to go.

Karcher OC3 3

On the front of the OC3 you have two obvious, rubberised, patches. The lower is a removable seal that covers the power supply input used for charging while the larger patch is the single on/off power button.

Karcher OC3 8

while the water tube and nozzle emerge from the cleaner on the rear.

Karcher OC3 9

In use the first essential feature was build quality and it passed with flying colours. Quite simply the water in the reservoir stays in the reservoir until you want to use it. The rubber cap on the top of the tank gives a quality seal and the hadles lock the tank securely to the base. In close to 1000 miles of driving with a full tank in the OC3 we haven't seen a single drop of water escape.

Setting up the cleaner really couldn't be simpler and it's ready to go in second and in practice we've found the quoted 15 minute run time of the lithium-ion battery pretty much spot on. Of course over 15 minutes you'll work your way through multiple tanks of water, but to date we've found that 2 tanks have been more than enough for the majority of cleaning jobs.

Karcher OC3 5

While the water is forced through a narrow tube and nozzle under pressure the OC3 is by no means a high-pressure washer and you have to take that into account if you're more used to Karcher's car/patio high pressure washers. The OC3 will remove the majority of mud from your boots and bikes but to get the more ingrained dirt off you'll need the optional brush fitting (not supplied). The low pressure of the system does have the advantage of being safe to use for younger adventurers where a high-pressure unit wouldn't be and a great way to start them off early in taking care of their kit. For the same reasons the OC3 can be used on dirty dog paws without fear of hurting them.

The OC3 isn't a replacement for a dedicated pressure washer of the type you'll find at some outdoor venues but where it really scores is when you return to your car at the end of the day and you really don't want that fresh, wet, mud all over the inside of your car on the journey home. A single tank will take off pretty much all the loose mud from a bike without the brush attachment and a quick post-spray towel will have your bike, boots or dog ready for the journey home.

Karcher OC3 4


With a list price of £129 it's not the cheapest washer but you get the Karcher build quality, with a 2 year warranty, and the knowledge that a full tank on setting off will be a full tank at the end of the day when you need it rather than half a tank and a wet boot carpet. It's enough to remove the surface mud that's likely to detach on the way home on a single tank and with the optional brush and additional water available you can do achieve a fairly deep clean on-site.