You might know Karcher for its pressure washers or other cleaning gadgets but the firm also makes plenty of other devices, including a new range of stick vacuum cleaners. We’ve put the VC 6 Cordless Premium through its paces to see if it’s a worthy rival to the Dysons and Sharks of the world.
This top-of-the-line model offers a lightweight design, a spare battery and a range of attachments, giving you a versatile cleaning package. But does it have enough power and prowess to justify its £379.99 asking price?
Design & Build
Karcher products are well-known for being bright yellow and black but the firm’s Premium models of vacuum cleaners are predominantly white and black, with small yellow highlights.
The VC 6 Cordless Premium follows Dyson’s lead where design is concerned. That is to say, it’s a handheld, trigger-gun style main unit, to which you can attach various parts.
This main unit has a trigger to turn the vacuum on but if you’re going to be cleaning a large floor you can flick a physical switch round to hold it down permanently, thus avoiding having to keep pressure on it.
When you need more power, the easy-to-reach boost button is right in front of you. On top is the main power light, along with a set of three LEDs to indicate battery level. At 2.6kg, the main unit is somewhere in the middle weight-wise – we’ve tested heavier but also lighter options.
It’s slightly less than the Dyson Cyclone V10 and I didn’t find it particularly heavy in use, though I’m used to a 3kg stick vacuum.
The battery slots in at the bottom and is easy to swap out for the extra one thanks to the quick-release buttons on either side. On the underside (as you’d expect) is the dust container, which has a one-button system to empty it, like most rivals.
Like many stick vacuums, a wall bracket is provided and this can not only hold the main unit but also has slots for two tools. It will charge the vacuum via two metal contact points while it’s docked.
Features & Performance
The VC 6 Cordless Premium comes with a decent array of attachments/tools, including the ones you’d expect, such as a long metal tube and floor nozzle complete with LEDs so you can see where you’re going and highlight dirt.
There’s also a classic crevice tool and one with a brush so you’re fairly well covered, although I’d like a smaller rotating floor tool for things like stairs, rugs and car seats. Something the Premium model has over the regular VC 6 is a spare filter, as well as a filter cleaning tool.
All these are easy to clip into place and remove and I found the VC 6 Cordless Premium easy to use overall. It’s nice and quiet in the normal mode but gets much louder when you turn Boost mode on.
Suction in the regular mode is reasonable for hard floors but in my experience, many situations required additional power.
While it’s a good vacuum, I found a few downsides while testing it. In full vacuum mode with the tube and floor tool, the VC 6 has good manoeuvrability but if you need to get really far underneath something, it will eventually do a wheely, bringing the tool off the floor.
It can also get stuck, as I found using it on a deep pile rug (the one in the pictures). It struggled so much that the roller stopped spinning, presumably to prevent the vacuum from damaging itself.
I also had an issue while cleaning cleaning the stairs and other places with small tools attached: the exhaust vents on the sides of the main unit blew dirt dramatically away from each stair, so I had to make sure not to tilt the vacuum in a way that meant this would happen.
With an official runtime of 50 minutes, the VC 6 Cordless Premium sits between Dyson and Shark rivals which offer 60 and 40 minutes respectively.
Whether this translates to real-world performance is another matter. I often found myself needing the boost mode – partly as I have a dog leaving hair everywhere – so I found it ran out long before that time, which I assume is based on the normal mode.
If you think you’ll need the boost mode a lot, this is where the Premium model is handy as you get a spare battery. Like a cordless drill, these are quickly swapped over. The main difficulty is making sure both are fully charged as you’ll need to either swap them round in the docking station or remove the cable and plug it directly into the battery.
If you don’t need the spare battery, the regular VC 6 will be a better value option for you.
The VC 6 Cordless Premium costs £379.99. You can only buy it directly at the time of writing but you get free delivery and an extra year of guarantee.
This puts it in the mid-range of the stick vacuum world, with rivals such as the Shark Anti Hair Wrap Duo Clean IZ201 (£349) and Dyson Cyclone V10 (£399).
If you need something cheaper then Karcher has the VC 4, VC 4 Premium, VC 6 at £199, £229 and £299 respectively and you should consider the likes of Halo Capsule at £249 and Hoover H-Free 500 at £199.
You can’t get the VC 6 Cordless Premium, or the other mentioned Karcher models, in the US but you can get a similar VC 4s Cordless Premium for $319.99.
Check out our chart of the best vacuum cleaners for more options.
There’s lots to like about the VC 6 Cordless Premium, including its nice design that’s easy to use, along with the quiet running in normal mode and the option to switch Boost mode on when you need more power.
Having a second battery will be a real boon for some users, if you can remember to keep it charged up. There is a good range of tools included, even an unusual one specifically for cleaning the filters.
However, its fairly high price and a couple of design flaws – mainly the vacuum doing unwanted wheelies and blowing the dust that you’re trying to suck up around the house – hold it back. If you don’t need the extra battery, spare filter and filter cleaner, then the regular VC 6 is a better value option.
Karcher VC 6 Cordless Premium: Specs
Universal floor nozzle with LEDs
2-in-1 dusting brush
Filter cleaning tool (spare filter included)
Metal suction tube
Up to 50 min runtime
Battery satus indicator
Spare battery included
245 mins charging time
Wall charging bracket
Trigger with power lock
2.6kg (main unit)
Note: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site, at no extra cost to you. This doesn’t affect our editorial independence. Learn more.