Pros: Cheap, strong enough, portable, fuel efficient, quality build
Cons: Occasionally salty when it comes to starting, exposed hot areas
As Ive mentioned in a number of previous columns many of the humor variety, on account of the blatant idiocy and indignity involved in my blunderful summer my roommate and I are spending our post-graduate summer pressure-washing decks for a living. We are, however, quick to remind clients that this is merely a brief stop on our path to the Pulitzer (in this scribes case), real estate mogul-atry and general world domination. Bafflingly, these same clients often respond with smirks. Bastards.
Even though we technically have a job at least, when we have jobs its still safe to call Voetsch Voetsch (the roommate) and myself unemployed, as theres very little job security in an industry that has you advertising via mailbox-bound flyers (and the post offices sauciness toward the flyers has turned out to be an occupational hazard). Thus, being poor and not wanting to sink a considerable investment into our trade, the primary consideration when we were looking for our pressure washer was obvious: it had better be cheap as hell.
Enter: the Craftsman 3.75 hp gas pressure washer, which has a model number too long and useless to note. The moment we saw this device and the $260 tag sitting atop it, which was the cheapest we had seen we knew it had to be ours. When the Sears salesman sauntered over to tell us that it was a floor model and an unused one, to boot and therefore $60 cheaper, well . . . we really knew it had to be ours. And so, it is.
Though the 3.75 horsepower rating of the Briggs and Stratton engine was the least powerful of all of the pressure washers we saw, I quickly found out that it still has enough muscle to do a number to the wood on decks and hurt like the dickens when you accidentally laser it across your foot (mind you, I dont know for sure just how painful the dickens are, but Ive been told by a number of reliable fake sources that its roughly equivalent to a pressure washer across the foot). In fact, its hard for me to imagine doing our job with anything more power, as Voetsch and I need to be particularly mindful not to cut apart the decks with just our 3.75 marauder. This is a daunting task, as mindfulness is not a talent youll find listed with a bullet point on my resume.
But, even if it does require more attention to detail than I can tolerate, our 3.75 hp stallion has been just what the doctor ordered. With its titanium-piercing (I assume) 2000 psi power and adjustable turbo-nozzle (thats a Craftsman website term, and a hot one), the washer has the strength and versatility to take care of any of the small decks that Voetsch and I face. Its light and apparently fuel-efficient, as the one-quart tank lasts us a solid round of washing wildness. As the name and mention of fuel economy would suggest, this is a gas powered model; electric washers had been looked into, but our research found that they have a tendency to kick the electrical supply of a house in the teeth, thus forcing a number of trips down to the circuit breaker. Since Voetsch and I are especially inefficient, we figured that nineteen trips to someones basement during a single job would be . . . too much.
The one thing that mightve been nice about an electric is that it would start reliably, which is something that our Craftsman here, with its Briggs and Stratton Sprint series motor, occasionally has trouble doing. The engines of the recoil-start variety, and many times Voetsch and I have found ourselves with both feet planted upon the machine and our right arm threatening to hyperextend backwards as we explosively yank at this recalcitrant commie. Were still not entirely sure why its so reluctant; we have, after all, done all of the normal engine-related things: oiled er up, gassed er up and primed er up. In the end, the problem usually passes if we let the surly girl sit for a few moments, but it still proves to be an inconvenience.
Also potentially inconvenient is the number of hot surfaces exposed on the washer. While searing hot metal does make for unique opportunity for hardcore octagonal brands on ones forearm yeah, that was me it also sets the stage for your pressure washers hose to get wrapped around and melted through, and yeah, that also happened to us. But as long as youre not an idiot (theres a self-indictment), you should be fine.
Ultimately, despite those minor setbacks, you cant ask for much more from a $200 pressure washer. Its build quality is great: the wand / gun are mechanical sound and strong, and the included 25 ft hose is thick enough to withstand any beating outside of some jerks touching it to the engine. Indeed, with deck-ripping 2000 psi power and enough portability to be easily tossed around, the 3.75 Craftsman pressure washer has proven to be just what we needed.
Well, aside from jobs, that is. Anyone need their deck washed?
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