It has been a year since I purchased the Karcher OC3 and it is overdue for a review.
I had been drawn to portable cleaners and in particularly the Karcher OC3 after visiting the Forest of Dean with my son. After a day of riding I went to grab a couple of quid from my pocket to fire up the the washer in the bike cleaning area, only to find I had no change. The bikes were loaded on the roof again and taken back to where we were staying. By this point the mud had baked its self on beautifully and a full scrub down in my friends garden ensued. Not ideal.
I did notice some very interesting tech that was being used before I left the car park. This is the first time I had seen portable jet washers such as the Karcher OC3. My impulsive urge to buy new kit had triggered again.
Researching portable pressure washers led me to select the Karcher OC 3 as an ideal tool for the job. The reason for selecting the Karcher OC 3 was simple. I was looking at cost, portability, size of tank, battery life and extras. I wanted a washer with low pressure which would allow me to safely wash components such as bearings without losing the grease. It needed to be powerful enough to remove dirt built up from a day’s riding.
So how does the Karcher OC 3 measure up in these departments?
Things to consider
Let’s start with battery life. Karcher describes the OC3 as: “Long battery runtime, meaning it can be used several times before it must be recharged. Karcher do not give a figure in mh when specifying their lithium ion battery. They only state that is 6 volts and 45 watts which isn’t particularly useful in understanding how many washes you will get from the unit before the battery runs out. Having used it for the last year I have found that the Karcher OC3 will give 8 to 10 bike washes between charges. The Karcher OC3 will pause supplying power to the pump when the battery is running low. You can switch it on and off again and override this feature allowing you to finish washing your bike before the battery is empty.
When it comes to portability, the unit comes in at just under 3 kilos making it very easy to throw into the back of the car. The biggest challenge with the Karcher OC 3 is the volume of water it can contain within a tank. The tank holds enough water to clean a single bike and in an ideal world the tank would be bigger. I get around this problem by carrying around a 5 litre container which combined with the tank being full, is enough to clean three bikes comfortably. If you regularly clean more than one mountain bike when you’re out riding then Karcher do a higher volume portable version which I would fully recommend. So far I have not needed to buy any extras for the Karcher OC3. If I were to buy extras the 12 Volt charging cable to enable the OC3 to be charged on the go would be useful.
Since having the Karcher OC3 I have explored other ways of using it to drive value for money. The Karcher OC 3 is not is a patio cleaner. It does not have the power or capacity to do this job. The Karcher OC 3 is however very useful for cleaning barbecues. It can be used for cleaning down dogs and comes with a useful attachment to reduce the power for this purpose. I have taken the Karcher OC3 to the beach as an effective portable shower when removing sand and salt water.
The Karcher OC3 is a fantastic portable pressure washer with great battery life. It has plenty of power to clean a freshly ridden bike. Add in its other uses like dog and barbecue cleaning as well as operating as an excellent portable shower. The drawback of the Karcher OC3 is the capacity it has within its water tank. If I was to look at buying the Karcher OC3 again I would look at the OC3 plus with its bigger tank. I’ve included links to both versions below.
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