The challenge was to find the least expensive, gas powered pressure washer available to us locally. Since these tend to be a little on the heavy side of things, we opted to forgo an on-line deal because of the shipping cost and to fulfill our need for instant purchase gratification. On a cleaning whim, the concrete driveway needed to be washed along with the vinyl siding on our three year old single level home. The mildew likes to grow on the vinyl, especially on the side of the house that never sees the sun. For this task, the Troy Bilt pressure washer seemed like a great fit and a tool that was more than up to the task.
With a tight budget and some spare time on a Saturday morning, we set out. The first store we came to had an orange and white paint job and on the shelves were several different units. For us the one to check out was easy because we were on the cheap and there was only one under our $300 budget. With a price tag of $279 we took a quick tally of the specs of this Husky: 2300 PSI, OHV engine, sturdy welded frame and all made in China. The unit caught our attention because it was about twenty bucks under our budget but there were no sales or other discounts available at the time so we figured we needed to see what some of the other competition had.
Our next stop was an equipment sales and rental store. We did not stay long since their least expensive offering was a 2400 PSI Honda for almost $600 bucks. Yeah it looked nice, probably would last as long as a Civic but it was out of our reach for today.
Continuing up the road, we came to a Lowes. The selection was similar to the first store we came to. Their least expensive gas powered unit was a Troy Bilt pressure washer, 2200 PSI for only $259. Upon closer inspection we saw that it had a Briggs & Stratton engine and was proudly made in the USA. This was the one and there was no need for us to spend more time looking. To sweeten the deal we had a 10% off coupon for any purchase. Our final cost was nearly sixty bucks less then we set out to spend.
Ergonomics and Use
Once we got the Troy Bilt pressure washer home we unpacked it and attached the steel handle to the base and put the plastic tip and gun holder in its place. With the included engine oil, we filled up the crank case then topped off the gas tank. After a quick review of the instructions we saw that we needed to connect the water hose to the pump and have the water on before we attempted to start the engine. This is important with any pressure washer because the pump can be damaged if there is no water flowing though it. The wand is pretty sturdy and is made of stainless steel with a quick detach end so tip changes are easy. The pressure hose is 25 ft long so you can work a pretty good size area without having to move the motor/pump unit around much.
With the water running, we primed the carburetor bulb three times, set the choke to fast and gave the pull cord a quick pull and the engine started right up. Since we got this pressure washer for such a good price we decided to pick up some special cleaners to help aid in our cleaning endeavors. One of the solutions by Krud Cutter was for sidewalks and driveways and the other was for plastic and vinyl products. Using the cleaning solution injection system we were able to first spray everything down with the right cleaning agent. After letting the cleaner set for 10 minutes or so, we changed the tip to the 25 Deg angle and went to town on the vinyl siding first. Since my house is a single level home, this washer had no trouble reaching up into the gable end roof peeks. It is amazing how dirty a new house can get in just three years and this pressure washer did a world of wonders to make it look like new again. I had an similar experience with the drive way. Being a project kind of guy, I had some paint, oil and other things that were on the surface. Once again we pre-washed the driveway with the concrete cleaning solution. The results were the same as the house, and the drive way looks new again. We did have to work a little harder at the concrete since this is not the most powerful pressure washer; we had to go over some areas several times before we got the drive way cleaned to a level we liked.
As for overall build quality and performance, what can we say; you get an American made product, with a name brand engine for less then a comparable Chinese made unit, even without using a 10% off coupon. The Troy Bilt pressure washer frame is sturdy yet compact so it does not take up a real lot of space in your garage or shed when not in use. The quick detach tips are standard to most brands of pressure washers to they can be swapped out easy and the want and pressure hoes are also standard sizes should replacements be necessary.
The saying goes that you pay for what you get and that usually has a negative connotation to. If you cheap out, you will probably get a junky tool but in this case we feel that for the price, there is terrific value and many great features. Sure you will not be cleaning a three story house with it but for most home owners the Troy Bilt Pressure Washer is a great tool to have around. We gave it a performance rating of 6 because it is does have some limitation to its usefulness on large houses and for things like cleaning concrete, but we gave it an 8 in our value rating because of the low cost, quality features and ease of use.