Power washers, also known as pressure washers or “magnificent cleaning machines,” are magnificent cleaning machines. They can be used for a ton of cleaning jobs outside of the home. Dirty windowsPressure-wash the grime away. Dirty vehiclePressure-wash the oil and dirt stains away. Fallen leaves littering your previous front yardEliminate Mother Nature’s mess by press-washing the leaves onto your neighbor’s yard.
You might think that since power washers are indeed one of the best outdoor-cleaning tools that they will come with expensive price tags. However, you might be surprised to learn that some power washers designed for use around the home can be quite budget-friendly. There are several models that don’t even hit the $100 mark.
Are “cheap” power washers any good?
For a majority of your outdoor cleaning jobs like washing patios, outdoor furniture, cleaning driveways, and washing vehicles, the answer to this question is a resounding YES. However, there are some models out there that attract buyers with tantalizingly low price tags but aren’t even worth considering.
Power Washer Under $100 Buying Guide
To help you find the right pressure washer at a low price, we’ve compiled a list of the most important specs to look out for. Just remember that even though these cost-efficient machines do offer amazing cleaning capabilities, you’re not going to get the same bone-shattering pressure that you’d get with an industrial-grade, gas-powered, behemoth of a power washer.
There are three main sources of power that can run a power washer: gas, electricity, and batteries. Since gas-powered models are the Rolls Royce of the power washer industry, we’re not even going to bother looking at these.
Corded-electric models are arguably the most favored type of power washer since if your home has running water; it most likely has electricity. Furthermore, electric pressure washers are also friendlier to the environment since they don’t blast out large amounts of toxic fumes into the air (another reason to disregard gas-powered models). The only downside of using a corded-electric power washer is that your range of movement is limited by the length of the power cord.
There are also some cost-efficient battery-powered power washers on the market. These are amazing since you can power wash anything anywhere at any time provided that you the batteries still have some juice in them. Your cleaning capacity is limited only by the runtime of the batteries and the location of a source of running water. However, there aren’t any reliable cordless power washers that are priced under $100.
Pounds-per-square-inch (PSI) measure how much force the power washer can produce. The higher the PSI rating, the stronger the flow of water exiting from the spray gun’s nozzle. A budget-friendly, corded-electric power washer usually has a maximum PSI of 1,500, but there are some models out there that surpass the 2,000-PSI mark.
Keep in mind even the weakest power washer (around 800 PSI) can cause some nasty damage to windows, car paint, and especially body parts if you aren’t careful.
What makes a power washer superior to a regular garden hose is that a power washer produces significantly more pressure (compared to a garden hose’s 40- to 70-PSI rating) while using up considerably less water. A standard, budget-friendly power washer uses a maximum of 1.8 gallons-per-minute (GPM) of water. A garden hose uses up to 24 GPM. There are even some power washers priced under $100 that use as little as 1.2 GPM.
Pressure Hose Length
Since corded-electric power washers already tie you down with their power cords, you’ll want to look for a unit that comes with a long pressure hose. Pressure hoses are generally between 20 and 35 feet long, but some manufacturers provide extensions. One thing to consider regarding the length of the pressure hose is that a longer hose will usually produce less pressure.
Since you most likely won’t be using your power washer at its maximum 1,000- or 2,000-PSI potential, especially when pressure-washing windows and vehicles, you’ll want to adjust how much pressure comes out of the spray gun’s nozzle.
There are three ways to do this: using quick-connect nozzle tips, twisting an adjustable wand, or changing the pressure setting using a variable pressure dial. Unfortunately, you won’t find any cheap models that come with a variable pressure dial. You have to decide whether you’re more comfortable connecting and swapping QC nozzle tips or prefer simple twisty wands.
Detergent Tank vs Soap Applicator
There’s no point in getting a power washer if it can’t dispense soap. Applying a thick layer of suds and bubbles on outdoor surfaces is half the fun of using a power washer.
There are two ways that a budget-friendly pressure washer applies soap: through a soap applicator (a separate gun designed for shooting soap) and using onboard soap tanks. Once again, you’ll need to decide which one you’re more comfortable with using. You should note that cheaper power washer models may have some problems dispensing high-viscosity soap so diluting it might be necessary.
Several factors affect how portable a power washer is, including weight, size, and shape. Some models even come with wheels, so you simply need to cart the unit around your lawn.
Wheel-less models aren’t less portable than their wheeled counterparts. In fact, their lightweight and compact size mean you can lift the unit from place to place without pulling a muscle. Choose whichever design fascinates you more. We personally like non-wheeled types since there are fewer balance issues to deal with.
There are several power washer models that are priced under $100, but it’ll take some time to figure out which of them is actually a great purchase. Basically, as long as a pressure washer fulfills the three main criteria – around 1,500 PSI, less than 2 GPM, and pressure adjustability – you’ll be fine. Secondary considerations to make include how the machine dispenses soap and how portable it is, but any power worthwhile power washer will be easy to use and easier to adjust.