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The perfect “budget” pressure washer setup for washing cars

I’ve searched for resources on the perfect budget pressure washer setup for a couple of years now and without finding a definitive answer. So I decided to take a chance and come up with my own configuration.

Requirements

I don’t own a home, I rent. I need a setup that I can take from one home to another with the only requirements of that configuration being access to a garden hose and electricity.

Niceties

I want an extensible system. I know that I’m a bit more limited because of the above requirements with how custom the configuration can be, but I still want to use a good foam cannon and have a decent sprayer. If I can have a system that does not need to be picked up and moved to wash the car, that’s ideal.

My setup

Here’s what I landed on:

Pressure washer

Link

Personally, I went with the Sun Joe SPX3001 but if I were to purchase a unit over again, I recommend going with the Sun Joe SPX4000. The SPX4000 has the same motor as the SPX3001 but it is in a less top-heavy design therefor it is less prone to falling over if you need to move the unit around.

It also lacks the reel mechanism from the SPX3001. I originally thought I would enjoy the reel mechanism but it’s low quality and made entirely of plastic. It feels like it’s going to break. Not to mention that with the extension hose I can’t use the reel for the entire hose. The SPX4000 is also cheaper at the time of writing this than the SPX3001!

My setup alone is enough to pair with a foam cannon and call it a day but the other items I purchased take the kit to the next level.

Pressure washer extension hose

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Because I went with a Sun Joe pressure washer I now have an array of Sun Joe/Snow Joe accessories to choose from. One of which I saw while browsing Amazon is a 25ft hose extension.

This extension allows me to keep my pressure washer in a static location in my garage. Now I can route my power cord along the wall without worrying about moving the unit and tripping over the cord or potentially getting it wet (even though this is OK on most units – within reason). This is a luxury purchase, but at ~$25 or so, totally worth it.

Short gun + quick release couplings

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This is the only thing that I didn’t buy from Amazon. I’ve watched Matt’s videos (from Obsessed Garage) for a while and I’ve casually followed his channel and his store. When I saw that Matt had an adapter to use some of his recommended products with the Sun Joe line, I was ready to fork over some money.

The short sprayer is super handy for use with a foam cannon and without. In both cases you are eliminating the long barrel of the first party Sun Joe sprayer. You have the option of adding a longer barrel or other attachments through the quick release mechanism at the end of the gun or using different nozzles at a pistol length.

I love this setup because I can easily be sitting at the wheels and spray them off without having to stand up and walk backwards. This sounds minor, but it makes the job more enjoyable and I prefer my car washing experience to be theraputic if I can help it.

M22 adapter for the Sun Joe

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If you’re purchasing the short gun kit noted above and you’re using the Sun Joe pressure washer that I am also recommending, you will want to pick up the M22 adapter from Obsessed Garage. There is another option on eBay which costs the same amount and is not as nice (I have both). I highly recommend you buy the one from Matt.

Foam cannon

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I opted for the newer/upgraded model of MTM’s foam cannon. It’s only slightly more expensive than the original version (which is also great) but allows for a bit more adjustability. And frankly, I had the original and just wanted to see what the upgraded version was all about. I think it looks a little nicer and the adjustability is improved, but I think you’ll be happy with either option.

If you’re using the pressure washer recommended in this article or another electric pressure washer, consider replacing the included orifice in the PF22 with the 1.1mm MTM orifice. It significantly changes the thickness of foam that you will produce and you will go through soap more slowly. It’s a win-win!

Footnotes

I will likely be revisiting and updating this post as I add to my setup. There are certain things that I know taht I want to add, like a quick release connection from the pressure washer to my garden hose and a decent reel for my garden hose.

If you use the Amazon links here to purchase, I will receive a small kickback from Amazon at no expense to you. Using these links will enable me to keep making posts like this and trying out new products in pursuit of the perfect budget setup for renters and money conscious homeowners.

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Published inDetailing