Karcher OC-3 review – a travelling cleaning solution for a folding bike?

I’ve had my Karcher OC-3 for a few months now. It’s a fairly compact little unit housing a water reservoir with a capacity of 4 litres, a battery pack with a run time of about 15 minutes, and a jet washing nozzle and hose that’s permanently connected into the control unit but all stores inside.

It’s a tidy little solution to the never ending problem of putting a muddy bike into a car. You don’t want to do it, you know you shouldn’t do it, and you definitely will regret it later.

The unit comes with a charger brick. Non standard of course, but it is 12V and a car charger is available. Again non standard. The connector is a two pin job. Why they couldn’t have standardised on one of the existing ones, heaven only knows! I presume so they can charge a silly amount for car chargers (£24 in case you’re wondering).

The unit itself is just a washer. You can’t put soap in it. Well, they tell you not to. The universe won’t end if you do but you’ll probably clog it up – so be prepared to carry a spray bottle of Muc-off or similar. The supplied nozzle gives a low pressure flat spray which does a fine job of even fairly hefty mud.

The Karcher made short work of this.

The spray unit itself is light enough to hold if you want, but works mighty fine on the floor too. A couple of minutes rinsing, followed by an application of Muc-off and a second couple of minutes rinsing is enough to clean pretty much any state of bike.

So what’s the good?

Well having a portable jet wash is stunningly good. Having a clean bike when you get home is even better.

The bad?

Over £110 for a rather low powered jet wash is a lot to swallow; and then the insult that the 12V charger costs almost a fifth the price of the unit.

The inability to use soap is another bad point – more stuff to carry – although the battery life didn’t cause problems. 15 minutes gets a wash done on three bikes.

The biggest problem, however, is the 4 litre capacity. You’ll be forever filling it, although you can get a part to drop into a bucket or even a stream if you want a more consistent flow of water. You’ll need a big container of water to keep with you. Even more load to carry!

The verdict 🟡🟡🟡🟡🟡🟡🔵🔵🔵🔵 6/10. A nice idea, but expensive and with a few limitations. If you’re rolling in money, it’s a good idea, but if you’re not use the local stream!

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