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Karcher Vacuum SE and MV Series Review

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Karcher is one of the leading European companies when it comes to vacuum cleaners for both industrial and home use.

You may have not heard of this brand before because you can’t really find this in your ordinary electronics shop. There, you will find only those fancy looking household vacuums which you use for a few years and someday out of the blue, they die on you… Why you may ask? Because they are designed that way. They are designed to die as soon as warranty expires so that you buy a new vacuum every few years as if you buy new socks.

Main disadvantages of fancy-looking household vacuums

The problem with the normal vacuums such as Samsung, LG, Daewoo, Electrolux, Bosch, Phillips and all other brands (except for Dyson and Dirt Devil but which are both very expensive) is that they all use the same principle… Changeable filters! Most of these vacuums are equipped with at least 2 filters, HEPA filter, which is basically just a useless paper which goes at the air exhaust on your vacuum with the purpose of “catching dust and releasing fresh air”. The main problem with the stupid HEPA filter is that it’s usually made of paper and is not washable, therefore you will have to buy new HEPA filters every 3 to 6 months, depending on how often you clean with your vacuum. These filters aren’t cheap either, they cost anywhere between $10 to $30 depending on the model of your vacuum.

Ignoring this filter and not changing it will burn your vacuum motor because it won’t be able to release the air normally like it should and it will get hotter and hotter until it dies.

To add more salt on the wound, there’s also an engine filter which stops dust from reaching the engine in case your bag won’t capture all the dust… and it won’t! Fine dust will get through your bag and will clog the engine filter. This filter is typically also made of paper and isn’t washable, so you also have to buy new engine filters every 3 to 6 months. This is a little cheaper however but still expensive when combining all of them together. It usually costs anywhere from $5 to $20 depending on your model.

Don’t forget the bags….. most of these vacuums also come with replaceable paper bags which you have to buy every now and then with the exception of those vacuums which use boxes that you only need to empty and reuse. The paper bags usually cost $1 to $2 per bag.

So in a few words your average vacuum comes with a contract, a monthly fee that you can get rid of. It does you harm as you spend money on it but companies are happy this way as they fill their pockets with your money!

It’s not as if we’re paranoid or something, but here’s what Dyson says on their website about this: “No bags or filters to buy. No extra costs. Other vacuums are designed to use consumables – so their manufacturers can make profits selling replacement bags and filters. Dyson vacuums don’t use bags, and they have lifetime washable filters. There are no consumables – so there are no extra costs.”

Click on the image to enlarge it

Just for adding that text on their website, we definitely look up to Dyson as a company that respects its customers and some day we will definitely review a Dyson vacuum cleaner.

Besides everything already mentioned above, it is also highly possible that the motor from your new vacuum to fail on you right after it goes out of warranty even if you took care of the filters and always replaced them on time. So these household vacuums are really nothing more than just a scam to get you to buy and buy and buy and buy more just to clean your home.

Basically that’s all there is to these fancy-looking household vacuums, their design, they look good…

Karcher advantages that simply can’t be overlooked

Karcher is by no means anything special when it comes to this type of vacuums. There are plenty of brands out on the market for similar purpose, the industrial use, Hitachi, Makita, Stern, ShopVac, Bosch, Gisowatt and more but we chose to review Karcher because it is claimed by almost everyone as being the leader in this field, even beating the good old American ShopVacs which are nowadays Made in China. Karcher on the other hand is a German company which builds their products in only 3 countries, all of them European. Their low-end products such as MV2, MV3 and MV4 are Made in Romania while the Mid-Range MV5 and MV6 are Made in Italy. The high end NT series which is different from the MV series and really expensive is Made in Germany but don’t get yourself disappointing as Romanians are known to make some really fine quality products at affordable prices. Romanian built products are definitely superior to Chinese products. As for the Italian line… there’s no need to further describe the Italian product quality as Italy is one of the best in the entire world when it comes to product quality, directly competing with Germany. Should we remind you that the best super-sports cars in the world are made in Italy and not in Germany? Ferrari, Lamborghini, Bugatti and Maserati are all Italian companies.

Karcher vacuums are widely used in car-washing shops so we’ve asked some of them how are these vacuums holding up and they said that they were using these vacuums for 3 years and never had a problem with one of them and never had to send their Karcher vacuums into warranty services. The most interesting part was that one of those powerful vacs was a tiny low-budget Romanian made Karcher WD3.200 model which costs only about $100. This definitely got us intrigued so we decided to make our own review of them especially because there are so few of them throughout the whole internet.

So, when we started to research on Karcher WD3.200, we found out that this is an old series which is no longer being manufactured but which you can still find in some shops who overstocked with them. The WD3.200 is really a beast even though it’s a small one, it’s still a beast! It can suck all sorts of dust and it can also suck liquids! Yup, it’s a $100 wet-dry bagless vacuum built to last for years! It does come with an engine filter but the good news is that its completely washable!!! No more stupid replacements with stupid paper filters!

While the WD series is definitely a great series, the MV series is even better! Everything is basically the same, with the exception of motors which are more powerful and more green on the MV series.

As an example, the WD2.200 consumes 1200 Watt while MV2 consumes 1000 Watt and has the same suction power (1200 Watt)!

WD3 line and all its variants (WD3200, WD3.300, etc) consumes 1400 Watt while MV3 consumes 1000 Watt and has the same suction power (1400 Watt).

WD4 line consumes 1400 Watt while MV4 also consumes 1000 Watt and has the suction power similar to a WD of 1600 Watt.

WD5 line consumes 1600 Watt while MV5 consumes 1100 Watt and has the suction power similar to a WD of 1800 Watt.

The MV6 line is new and doesn’t have an older WD6 line as an ancestor. The MV6 consumes 1300 Watt but has the suction power of 2000 Watt.

So definitely a huge upgrade here, powerful suction power and low power consumption. It’s also worth mentioning that these vacuums aren’t much louder than your typical home vacuum.

There are also other differences between the MV lines which you need to know about.

The MV2 is designed to clean houses, suck liquids and your car.

The MV3 does all of that, plus sucking workshop dusts and blow air which is useful for cleaning computer parts or blowing leafs away from your porch.

MV4 unfortunately doesn’t have a blowing function but it can do all mentioned in the other previous models, plus cleaning your garage. Now MV4 also comes with a new type of filter which we haven’t seen before in any other vacuum and which Karcher says its better. But don’t worry, this new filter is also washable so you don’t need to spend money on it unless you’re too damn lazy to wash a filter every now and then.

MV5 also uses the brand new improved filter and does everything the previous lines do, including the blowing function, plus it can suck real heavy duty debree from construction sites, it can suck leaves and clean your yard and it can even suck detergent contaminated water from your washing machine in case you have a leak but we advise not to do that because it’s risky…

The MV5 also has an auto-clean filter button on its top which we also haven’t seen on any other brand of vacuums. So maybe Karcher does stand up for its name as being the leader.

MV6 does everything as MV5 but its bigger, more powerful and it has a switch mounted on it so you can plug your workshop tools directly into the vacuum. This is quite clever and even useful actually. All you need to do is to power-on your tool and the vacuum will automatically start along with your tool. Stop your tool and 5 seconds later MV6 will also stop. Brilliant! This is made for working in a clean environment in your workshop, so it can suck the dust right out of your electric jigsaw for example.

Both MV5 and MV6 are the true definition of industrial vacuums. They can be used in car-washing shops, construction sites, your own home, hotels and just about everywhere.

MV3, SE4001 and SE5001 quick test and review

MV3 is a really powerful vacuum and its size is no more bigger than the size of your ordinary household vacuum cleaner but even so, it has quite a large container of 17L when compared to an average of 2L to 7L found on your typical vacuum. It’s not nosy and it’s quite powerful. It also features a wet&dry mode. For those who want a small compact vacuum this right here should be the best choice or you could even go for the MV2 which is even smaller in size and still packs a large 12L container but you should definitely ignore MV2 and go for MV3 because it does much more than MV2, plus it has a blowing air function.

The Karcher SE series is also interesting. This series features a washing mode. In this mode the vacuum blows water with carpet cleaning chemicals such as BioCarpet and not only it vacuums the dust out of your carpets but it can also wash them.

The SE4001 exterior water tank is somewhat small and therefore empties too fast and you will basically have to refill it a couple of times before you get to clean 2 or 3 rooms of your house.

Even though the SE4001 has a washing feature, it can also vacuum in dry mode, using an ordinary bag. However SE 4001 comes only with a washable sponge filter for wet use and you might want to buy a dry filter if you want to use it in dry mode because the sponge filter isn’t capable of retaining fine dust.

We’ve tested the SE 4001 and the vacuum was working quite alright actually but unfortunately the whole thing is kind of messy and maintenance with SE 4001 may be a pain in your dorso.

The SE series also lacks a lot of features that the MV series have, such as vacuuming hard objects, being able to be used in harsh conditions and all.

There’s also the SE 5001 model which we only had a quick look at. The SE5001 has bigger containers and its easier to use and maintain. It also features the new “improved” filter found on MV4, MV5 and MV6. SE5001 is definitely better than SE4001 but that comes of course at a higher price.

Unless you spill liquids too often on your carpets such as juices, coffee, beer and other liquids that may stain, you should definitely buy an MV series model because its more practical in a normal house. Besides don’t forget that the entire MV series can also suck liquids, including the cheapest MV2 model, so in case you want to do some carpet washes, you could just wash your carpets by manually pouring some water plus BioCarpet in your plastic washing up bowl and simply brush it. Afterwards you can start vacuuming it with your MV vacuum so it can dry faster! And there, you now have a SE function on your MV. Just don’t forget to remove your bag from your MV when you are vacuuming liquids.

In conclusion, the SE series might be useful for lazy people who can’t brush their carpets.

Karcher MV5 Premium Full Review

Initially we wanted to do a detailed review on the MV4 but instead we decided to go for the MV5 because of that usefull auto-clean filter function. We didn’t really considered the MV6 because all it does as a plus to MV5 is to have that switch for workshops. You can also use the MV5 for jigsaw suction but you will have to manually start and stop the vacuum since it doesn’t have that front switch.

The MV5 comes in two versions, MV5 which has a plastic 25L container and the MV5 Premium which as a stainless steel 25L container. The stainless steel container is definitely more durable especially if you’re planning to vacuum rocks and it doesn’t rust when in contact with water.

The MV5 Premium comes with a few accessories which are really expensive so be sure not to break them or loose them. If you do loose them or break them you should probably look for alternative accessories produced by other brands and which are compatible with your Karcher. Unlike MV2, MV3 and even MV4 which come with paper bags, the MV5 comes with an interesting non-reusable but synthetic cloth-like bag.

You can take this bag when its new and unused to your local tailor and ask him/her to add a zipper to it so you can empty it and reuse it over and over again as much as you can. Or you could just buy a Rock Professional reusable Karcher bag. This company is the only company in the world which makes reusable cloth bags for Karcher vacuums. The company is based in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, but don’t worry they ship internationally and their prices are in Euros also, not just in Russian Rubles. We already bought a bag from them which we received in 3 weeks and we can say that they are trustworthy.

We’ve tested the MV5 Premium bagless and we were very disappointed to find out that all the dust from your carpet goes directly into the filter as if you don’t even have a container. We’ve tried the auto-clean function but it simply doesn’t work as expected… It wasn’t able to remove that thick layer of dust formed on top of the filter.

So in our next test, we’ve added 3-4 liters of water into the container and hoped that the dust would get stuck in the water instead of going directly into the filter… and that’s exactly what happened. Most of the dust got stuck into the water but however, some of the dust also got into the filter again and if the layer isn’t too thick, the auto-clean was actually able to remove some of the dust but still not as we hoped.

After adding our zipper customized bag, everything changed, not one dust particle escaped into the filter. Even though the vacuum should supposedly work as bagless it simply doesn’t work as expected and it can destroy its filter if you use it too much as bagless. It can even destroy your motor as some of the dust can eventually bypass the filter which is even worse.

You can of course use this vacuum bagless for liquids and for heavy-weight dirt but definitely don’t use it bagless with fine dust.

The suction power on this 1100 Watt vacuum is monster powerful. It’s a beast! Don’t use this to suck the dust from your computer components or any other electronic boards because it has the power to rip capacitors right off your electronics. That’s how powerful it is! It’s a monster, a beast! When you’re cleaning carpets with an empty bag and a clean filter, this beast will lift up your carpet and if you’re vacuuming small carpets, it’s gonna be kind of hard as your carpet will always get lifted by this vacuum. To counter this issue, all you need to do is just to stand (put your feet) on the carpet while cleaning it.

MV5’s suction power is similar to a household vacuum cleaner of 2300-2800 Watt. That’s how powerful it is.

MV5 costs somewhere between $250-$300 depending on the store you buy it from.

+A heavy duty machine, it can work for hours and suck a lot of stuff
+Xtrem suction power
+Built with high-quality materials
+Very durable
+Energy efficient, insane low power consumption
+Long vacuum hose
+Long power cord

-Karcher doesn’t make reusable bags, forces you to buy their expensive bags
-Filter auto-clean works ok but definitely not as expected
-Only 2 nozzles included
-Expensive accessories
-No button for suction power change from minimum to maximum
-No telescopic wand
-No built-in retractable power cord reel

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