Karcher FC 7

Karcher FC 7 cordless mop cleans like no other (review)

9.7

Owning a Karcher FC 7 cordless mop makes you seek out dirty hard floors, just because you can. It is quick, ruthlessly efficient, and effortless. I won’t go as far as to say it makes mopping fun, but it sure as hell beats manual labour or robomops.

The concept is simple. A clean water tank, four power rollers, dual squeegees to remove dirty water to another tank – all housed in the traditional Karcher yellow, battery-operated mop. It is well-made, reflecting clever industrial design.

Now there is a science to mopping, and believe me, I have tried enough power and robomops to understand this.

Rule 1: I thought there was no substitute for elbow grease, a quality Vileda mop and squeeze bucket – until now. Karcher FC 7 greatly outdoes the $30 mop, although, at $799, it should.

Rule 2: The barefoot test – a really clean floor – doesn’t happen. Karcher aced it. The closest I have come is the Hobot Legee 7 robomop with vibrating pads (review here 9.1/10) which does a vastly better than cursory robomop job. Karcher leaves hard surfaces squeaky clean.

Rule 3: It is easy to forget mopping because it is tedious. The Karcher FC 7 changes that.

Rule 4: Always vacuum before you mop. Even though the Karcher FC 7 says you don’t have to, avoidance will lead to dirtier water sooner!

We will tell you the only downside – you have to clean the rollers after use. Oh, just use the clean tray or chuck them into the washing machine!

Karcher FC 7 Cordless hard floor cleaner (mop)

Websitehere
PriceBase unit as tested $799 with free shipping and value pack bundle $899
From Kärcher online, Harvey Norman, and authorised Kärcher Centers
Warranty2-year ACL and 60-day money-back guarantee
AboutAlfred Kärcher SE & Co. KG is a German family-owned company that operates worldwide and is known for its high-pressure cleaners, floor care equipment, parts cleaning systems, wash water treatment, military decontamination equipment and window vacuum cleaners
Country of ManufactureLikely Germany

First impression

Slightly daunting – all the instructions are in about 30 languages, and as tech-savvy as I am, I wanted to make sure what all the bits were for. After reading the manual (who does that any more?) I was happy that the bits all served a purpose and fitted piece A to piece B etc. The main bits are

  • 400ml clean water/detergent tank
  • 30ml sample of RM536 multi-purpose floor cleaner concentrate
  • Mop body
  • Four colour-coded rollers (matching the colour coded motorised spindles)
  • 200ml 2-part dirty water tank and squeegee
  • Black rectangular floor stand when not in use
  • Black cleaning station (a big tray and cleaning brush)
  • Power pack

Setup

  • Plug in the 30V/.6A/18W charger – a full charge takes about four hours
  • Install (click on) the dirty water tank (underneath)
  • Slip on the rollers
  • Put half a cap of RM536 concentrate with water into the clean water tank and clip under the handle
  • Stand it up on the Floor stand (which prevents any water from dripping onto the floor)
  • Press power on and go

Use

The unit weighs 4.6kg, it is effortless to move over hard floors. The front two rollers spin the opposite way to the rear, so the unit simply glides over the floor.

Like all mopping, you need to plan a path to avoid walking over the mopped areas.

The first run covered about 50m2 on one clean tank before I discovered one minor weakness.

I decided to mop the stone-tiled entry stairwell and foyer, so I picked the device up and traipsed down the stairs. All the way, leaving a trail of dirty water as it spilt out of the dirty water container. Now it is my fault – but there is no warning to keep the device ‘horizontal’ and don’t swing it around, especially down the stairs. Once I realised what had happened, a quick empty of the dirty water tank and all was well. This is the only operational issue encountered.

The unit has warning lights for low clean water and high dirty water – I was not quite there yet. Later I realised that the clean water tank is 400ml and the dirty water tank is 200ml. In subsequent tests, we half filled the clean water tank and changed the dirty water one when the clean water was empty.

Mopping efficiency

I first vacuumed with the Dyson V15 Detect (review here 9.6/10) because its laser light head and particulate matter readout make vacuuming a game – let’s find that offending dirt. Result? The floors were clean! Normally we run Hobot Legee 7 robomop over after, but we knew we would have to test the Karcher FC 7, so ‘Legs’ got the weekend off.

As mentioned earlier, the waste water was quite dirty. The Karcher FC 7 does an excellent job – far more than a hand mop or robovac.

But two other things were obvious. First, it had taken a lot less time than a manual mop (estimate 50%) and second, I did not have a sore back from stooping or tiredness from manually mopping – fresh as a daisy.

I also like the turbo boost button that momentarily speeds up the rollers to remove stubborn stains – and it works like a charm. The mop path is 30cm wide, and the water distribution is very even. Edge cleaning is very good.

There are two water settings. On the standard setting, the floor was dry within a minute or so of mopping. On the higher setting, there was too much water for this floor, leaving little pools. That would be good for more porous stone surfaces.

Battery

Four-hour charge and about 45 minutes running time – only impacted by excessive use of the boost button.

There is no app, and therefore you must rely on a three-bar LED to tell you charge levels. I estimate -130-150m2 from one charge.

It uses six lithium-ion cells in parallel. The battery assembly and batteries are spare parts. Or you could use a battery repack if it is not available. Even if you use it weekly, at worst, it should last 800-1000 full charge cycles – that is a long time!

Maintenance

Karcher has an excellent reputation for several years of spare parts availability. Almost every part is available to order.

I have no idea how long the multi-surface micro-fibre rollers will last, but at $29 a set, this won’t be an issue. A stone roller set at $34.90 is available. It presumably has longer fibres and some more tensile resistance for stone floors.

The universal cleaner and stone cleaner concentrate are $14.90 for 500ml (use a few drops), and there are specialist detergents for wood oil/waxed (RM535) and wood sealed (RM534). Or use tap water – it is free.

The kit bundle has four extra Universal Rollers, a 1L Universal Detergent and 1L Stone Detergent.

Maintenance otherwise is to wash the rollers after use (up to 60°) in a washing machine. Or use the three-minute roller clean program and tray – that is it.

Noise

<55dB even on turbo boost. Conversation volume.

Commercial use

It is a domestic device, but it can stand far heavier use – hard surface showroom floors etc.

But you need to look at Karcher’s commercial range of stream vacuums if you need to remove grease and grime, e.g., a take way or café kitchen or disinfect to kill Coronavirus on hard surfaces.

GadgetGuy’s take

 The barefoot test says it all. It is so clean you could eat your dinner off it! And it is so easy you won’t conveniently forget to mop anymore.

Karcher is so far ahead of manual mopping and even the best robomop that it has no peer.

Which made me think about what else Karcher could do. The FC 7 is the dual-roller is the logical replacement to the single roller FC 5 at $649 and the FC 3 at $449.

I could suggest steam or water heating; then I realised that it would be just as easy to use warm water in the clean tank. Steam is very dangerous if your hard floor is laminated or faux wood.

Rating

OK, you can buy a $399 Bissell SpinWave, but its battery life will leave you wanting on larger areas. It also requires some effort to use, it has no dirty water tank (pushes dirty water around the floor), it uses a front spray, and the uniformity of clean now where near the Karcher roller system.

Bissell has just released the $699 Cross Wave single roller with a dirty water tank. It is a closer competitor, but its single roller cannot compete with Karcher’s dual rollers. It is also heavier and less manoeuvrable.

Then there are the plethora of generic mops that may look good and work for a while, but parts are impossible to get.

So apart from being careful when you lift it down the stairs, Karcher has nailed the design and the clean factor. And I would still vacuum first for a perfect clean – healthy home.

Karcher FC 7 cordless mop
The Karcher FC 7 cordless mop is so far ahead of manual mopping and even the best robomop that it has no peer.
Features
9.9
Value for money
9
Performance
10
Ease of use
9.5
Design
10
Positives
The best mop yet – bar none
Squeaky clean floors – timber, tiles, stone
Faster and less strenuous than hand mopping
Not pushing dirty water around like other mops – goes into a tank
Great battery life
Terrific after-sales service and spare parts for years
Easy to clean
If you hate mopping, this may change your mind
Negatives
Take care when moving it downstairs – keep it level
Finding a place to put another floor cleaner device!
9.7

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Features
Value for money
Performance
Ease of use
Design
Final Score

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