Craftsman 1300 Psi electric
Pressure Washer Review

Written by Mustangworld.

Craftsman 1300 PSI Electric Pressure washer system
Cost around $99 - $190 (depends if on sale, etc).

Here is the system fully assembled. Comes with accessories.

First here is some basic info on pressure washers:

What is a pressure washer ?
A pressure washer is a unit electric or gasoline powered that raises the water pressure from your hose (or water tank) and blasts it onto a surface for cleaning. Pressure washers have different PSI ratings generally 1000 to 5000 PSI.

How does this compare to a regular garden hose ?
A regular garden hose puts out about 40 PSI of water pressure and flows 8 gallons of water per minute. This Craftsman electric unit we are reviewing for example is rated at 1300 PSI at 1.5 gallons per minute. You can see this translates to less waste of water and a drastic boost in water pressure. For higher pressure applications, you need to go to a gasoline powered unit.

What are cleaning units ?
Ok, pressure washers are often rated using "Cleaning Units" a cleaning unit is figured by taking the PSI and multiplying by the gallon of water flow per minute (GPM). So this means: PSI x GPM = CLEANING UNITS. A cleaning unit helps measure combined PSI and flow specs. This means this unit is rated at 1300 x 1.5 = 1950 Cleaning units or C.U.'s.

How strong a pressure washer do I need ?
For washing say 2 cars and for home use generally a light duty electric unit will be fine. Remember that to go above 3000 CUs will usually mean you will need a gas powered pressure washer. If you need to clean 10 to 100 cars in a huge dealer parking lot, then you will need an industrial unit you can take along with you and can run continuously for hours. If you only need to clean 2 cars in a driveway on the weekends, then a light duty electric unit might be best for you.

Here is a rough chart showing CLEANING UNITS and cleaning jobs:
Up to 3000 CUs Light Duty Autos
Lawn Furniture
Small Decks
3000 - 5000 CUs Medium Duty Autos
Lawn Mowers
5000 to 8000 CUs Heavy Duty Exterior Siding
Store fronts
8000 C.U.s and up Industrial Duty Fleets
Graffiti Removal

A gas unit is usually powered up like a lawn mower (pull start) and runs constantly. These units can also draw water from a tank for complete portability. Our electric unit is an "on demand" unit, staying off until you actually pull the trigger, then it turns on and blasts as needed. So it won't make noise when you pause it. But because it's electric you need to be within reach of a grounded GFI outlet.

OK now the review of this unit:
We didn't buy this 1300 model because it was the best (though it's a very good washer for an electric model), but rather it was on sale at $99 and considering that it was a cart system with all the accessories included, we bought it. It came with a brush, power foamer (soap holder), trigger gun, turbo nozzle, 25 foot hose, 25 foot electric cord, double insulated pump and a neat cart with wheels to hold it all.

The craftsman 1300 came with a few neat accessories.

There is really no such thing as a totally "hands off" wash on paint
For those thinking about getting a pressure washer to avoid washing by hand, well there will always be some kind of residue that can only be washed by hand, like some bug stains, etc. While a pressure washer will clean your stang great, it's not a substitute for a hand wash (when needed). You don't want to keep blasting an area when a simple rub with your finger will get a dirty spot off your paint :-) Under the stang or on metal, etc, you can blast away without worries.

Here is the pressure gun. Press it and water blasts out the end.

This is why we think a 1300 PSI unit works well. It's a safe amount of pressure that you don't need to worry about blasting your hub caps off, yet is a great step up from using a regular garden hose with nozzle attachment. When you use a garden hose you are usually left with a large puddle of water and no real easy way to maneuver the hose for cleaning say your engine compartment (too much water flow and not enough PSI). A pressure washer cuts back on the water flow and raises the pressure to make car body, engine, rims, fender well, and even washing under your stang (springs, chassis etc) very easy to do. As easy as moving a wand over the area for a few seconds.

The unit is double insulated from water spills.

So don't get the idea that a pressure washer is something you buy to "blast" off all the dirt and road oil with water alone and you will be left with a bright shiny new stang... you won't. If you have a nice wax layer, a pressure washer can do a lot of the work, but usually a little light cleaning with soap is needed even after you "blast it" so to speak :-)


1. We hooked up the garden hose to one side of the unit, then the extension hose to the other. Then we plugged the unit into a GFI protected outlet and turned the unit on. It makes no noise when you turn it on, only when you press the trigger.

2. We decided to try out the "power foamer" that came with the unit. Normally we like to rinse and apply soap by hand, but gave this thing a shot. We filled it up with some car wash. You can turn soap "on and off" by sliding it fwd or backward while you wash.
3. NOTE: Even tough the brush included with the kit was soft, we were not too keen on using it to "scrub" the stang. The "power foamer" needed it to apply the soap. We thought it was kinda weird doing this laid back brush wash, so basically after a few moments, we pulled the brush and power foamer off and just applied the soap by hand with a sponge :-) You can spray the soap on with just the foamer however.

4. This is the part that makes the washer really worth it, the turbo nozzle attachment which whips water around in a circle very (very) fast. It boosts cleaning power.

Here we can wash the stang with nice pressure without flooding the entire parking lot, which usually happens when using the garden hose, which flows too much water for cleaning some areas of the stang (like the engine compartment) safely.

5. What a breeze to clean under the fender wells ! No water park splash back in your face, just a nice controlled stream of high pressure water to clean.

.. and yes, the pony inserts held up to the 1300 PSI, but we would not recommend blasting them all the time :-)

6. We are very happy with basically a way to control cleaning without the usual flood of water that goes along with washing. It really is a step up from the garden hose and the pressure hose never get's kinked as you walk around the stang for washing.

The unit was also fairly silent so the neighboors won't complain :-)

The bottom line
Overall we like the Craftsman 1300 pressure washer and think it's well worth the $99+ tax we paid for it from SEARS. If you get one, see if you can get it on sale. $250 or more for something like this electric unit would be a little high in our view. Also, get one with a rolling cart if possible. If you have to carry the pump with one hand and the nozzle with the other, it's not as fun and is more work :-)

A gas powered unit is well worth the $300 - $600 average prices if you need more cleaning power for larger jobs but will require gasoline, for those that don't like that smell, then 1300 PSI is about the tops that the electric units go.

Note that the Craftsman 1300 electric unit we got needs a slightly pressurized water source like a garden hose for the pump to operate and would not draw static water out of a tank or pail. While this is not a major limitation for us, if you need to draw water out of a tank for some reason with an electric unit, you will have to look for another unit. Most electric units will not do this, but some do (and usually cost more). Nearly all gas units can draw water from a tank however.

Car wash (and other cleaner) is referred to as "Chemical" in the pressure washer arena. So look for "where" a pressure washer injects it's chemical into the water stream. You probably want one that does not drag soap through the pump but rather injects it after the pump, etc.

Also we found another electric unit at Wall Mart that mentioned "1800" with a * next to it that noted small print attached. In small print it mentioned "1800 effective PSI with turbo nozzle".. which we thought was a bit deceptive because the pump was only rated at 1300. Just make sure you get what you pay for and read all the fine print about the pump itself when shopping.


That's it ! Til Next time...


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