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singleslammer
singleslammer Dork
3/20/14 2:47 p.m.

So I am in the market for a cheap pressure washer, apparently. SWMBO says she wants one and since I mentioned that I wouldn't mind one for washing dirt bikes off at home, it is now my b-day present. Hers too though so it isn't a huge loss. Anyway. I was originally thinking that one of those cheap electric washers (under $250) but I have yet to find one that doesn't have 20 reviews saying how it didn't last a year before dying. This isn't acceptable. So I am setting a soft limit of $400 dollars and want to know who makes the best washer in the low price category. I have researched Campbell H, Karcher, and some others with very little success. What say the group mind??

Tom_Spangler
Tom_Spangler Dork
3/20/14 2:59 p.m.
singleslammer wrote: So I am in the market for a cheap pressure washer, apparently. SWMBO says she wants one and since I mentioned that I wouldn't mind one for washing dirt bikes off at home, it is now my b-day present. Hers too though so it isn't a huge loss. Anyway. I was originally thinking that one of those cheap electric washers (under $250) but I have yet to find one that doesn't have 20 reviews saying how it didn't last a year before dying. This isn't acceptable. So I am setting a soft limit of $400 dollars and want to know who makes the best washer in the low price category. I have researched Campbell H, Karcher, and some others with very little success. What say the group mind??

I picked up a Homelite brand with a Honda engine for $300 at Home Depot a couple of years ago. I've used the hell out of it, so far so good. It's one of those tools where you never knew how many uses it would have until you have it.

Woody
Woody MegaDork
3/20/14 3:09 p.m.

I've had an electric for years, but I'd love to own a gas powered one. Karchers are very good.

singleslammer
singleslammer UberDork
3/20/14 3:17 p.m.

Considering the difference between a "decent" electric with a plastic pump and a cheap gas with a metal pump is less than $100 bucks sometimes, it is hard to justify the electric...

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
3/20/14 3:44 p.m.

It's not great... but it is CHEAP.

singleslammer
singleslammer Dork
3/21/14 3:23 p.m.

I ordered a Northstar from Northern Tool. It has a comet pump and a honda motor. I think this is as good as it gets for under $500.

CaptRandy
CaptRandy New Reader
3/22/14 4:04 p.m.

Get one with a Honda GC(non commercial) engine and a Comet pump. Northern Tools have some decent units. Best pumps are Cat General and A/R then Comet.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltraDork
3/23/14 11:45 a.m.

Damn, was hoping to come in here and seem some good info on electrics. I've dealt with the gas ones before... no thanks.

singleslammer
singleslammer Dork
3/24/14 8:18 a.m.

Pro- My research says that there are really good electric ones out there but they are commercial grade and cost a bunch. Really powerful though.

Zomby Woof
Zomby Woof PowerDork
3/24/14 8:29 a.m.
ProDarwin wrote: Damn, was hoping to come in here and seem some good info on electrics. I've dealt with the gas ones before... no thanks.

You have to spend a lot of $$ in an electric to beat an inexpensive gas PW. I've had the same $200 B&S PW for the last four years, and never had a problem, and I use it a lot.

singleslammer
singleslammer Dork
3/24/14 8:35 a.m.
Zomby Woof wrote: and I use it a lot.

Here is probably part of the reason that you haven't had any problems with it.

singleslammer
singleslammer Dork
3/24/14 8:36 a.m.

In reply to CaptRandy:

This is the one I said I bought in the post right above yours:

http://www.northerntool.com/shop/tools/product_200594734_200594734

Honda with Comet pump

GameboyRMH
GameboyRMH MegaDork
3/24/14 9:08 a.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: It's not great... but it is CHEAP.

Along these lines:

Zomby Woof
Zomby Woof PowerDork
3/24/14 9:42 a.m.

Most important thing to remember if you're using a residential type (cheap) gas pressure washer, NEVER let it idle. If the motor is running, you should be spraying. If the motor is running and you're not spraying, you are destroying the pump. Commercial pumps can handle this.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
3/24/14 9:45 a.m.

If you are just washing muddy vehicles, I say get the cheapest electric washer you can, and replace it when it grenades. I got 6-7 years out of my first Karcher, and and now I am on year two of my $89 AR unit. Lots of car washing and washing outdoor furniture and toys.

I figure for $400, I can get 24 years of service. You might do that with a $500 gas powered washer, but you'd have to do regular maintenance. This little electric unit puts out maybe 1/8 of the power of even a cheap gas unit though. It will not strip paint or skin a bear, so know what you want to use it for before you buy.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin UltraDork
3/24/14 12:14 p.m.
Zomby Woof wrote:
ProDarwin wrote: Damn, was hoping to come in here and seem some good info on electrics. I've dealt with the gas ones before... no thanks.

You have to spend a lot of $$ in an electric to beat an inexpensive gas PW. I've had the same $200 B&S PW for the last four years, and never had a problem, and I use it a lot.

Well, one main reason is what you mentioned later... never let it idle. Its just annoying on many projects to start/stop the PW every time you want to take a break, scrub something by hand, or set the nozzle down for some reason.

Also, being gas, its one more thing to maintain, change the oil on, buy gas for, winterize, etc. Its also inherently dirtier and harder to store in my garage.

Zomby Woof
Zomby Woof PowerDork
3/24/14 4:46 p.m.

I'm fanatical about keeping my MX bikes clean, and I do it regularly enough that I have a routine. I almost never have to stop in the middle of cleaning a bike, but if I do, I just shut it off, and it always starts first pull because it's warmed up. Premix is always handy, and I think I've changed the oil twice since I've owned it.

It's a small price to pay for a powerful machine with a cheap buy in. That, and I bet they're more reliable than the consumer electric's.

old_
old_ Reader
4/10/14 10:15 p.m.

Look for a Honda engine and CAT pump. CAT pumps are superior to other offerings.

HAZZARD
HAZZARD New Reader
4/10/14 10:24 p.m.

I'd look at some Craigslist options. I almost bought one for 400$ with a Honda motor and brand new pump. 4000 psi and 3.5gpm. You'd be surprised how many people bought really nice pressure washers only to barely use them and ask themselves 'why the hell do I need this?'. Also a good number of people who thought they could start a washing business... Only reason I didn't buy it was because it was 2.5 hours away a pretty overkill for what I needed. I settled on a used Dewalt for 300

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy HalfDork
11/23/15 5:45 p.m.

I got a $300 Troy Bilt with a Briggs at Lowes a couple of years ago 95% the machine of washers costing double. This after many electric washer fails. Lots of use, Good tool.

68TR250
68TR250 New Reader
11/23/15 5:51 p.m.

In reply to wheelsmithy:

Has your pump held up? I have a troy Built from Lowes with the AR pump and the housing cracked at one of the bypass plugs. I don't see a way to 'fix' it. A new pump is going to run about $90-120.

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy HalfDork
11/23/15 5:58 p.m.
68TR250 wrote: In reply to wheelsmithy: Has your pump held up? I have a troy Built from Lowes with the AR pump and the housing cracked at one of the bypass plugs. I don't see a way to 'fix' it. A new pump is going to run about $90-120.

EGAD!, I have had no problems. I appreciate the info, and offer my sympathies.

jones998
jones998 None
11/24/15 11:10 p.m.

yeah karchers are the best pressure washer from all.. price is also reasonable...

jere
jere HalfDork
12/1/15 8:37 p.m.

I suggest looking for a used one with a honda or briggs n stratton motor.

Craigslist has loads of pressure washers popping up now in my area. I picked up one for $20 in the summer and should have waited.( There are better ones now for less money.) The one i bought just needed the pump screen cleaned and couple cents worth of O rings. Its a home use model though so i pulled the aforementioned gun trigger that stops the flow of water and kills the pump. I control the flow with the throttle on the motor instead. It works pretty well but i have to watch to not get the cartoon flailing fire hose effect

singleslammer
singleslammer UberDork
12/2/15 8:35 a.m.

Well, I have had my Northstar for over 6 months now so I am sort of out of the market.

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