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Electric vs. Gas Pressure Washer: Which One To Choose?

Last Updated on April 28, 2020

Pressure Wash

Image Credit By: GNU Free Documentation License, commons wikimedia

Washing your car can be a long and tedious task, and washing your driveway or your patio can be downright exhausting. But with the simple help of a pressure washer, those difficult tasks can be handled easily. With ranges of 1000 to over 4000 psi (pounds per square Inch), pressure washers excel at cleaning the muck that cakes up on cars, patios, sidewalks, grills, bikes, exterior house walls, etc. However, when looking into buying a pressure washer, there’s a difficult decision you’re going to have to make; should you get an electric powered pressure washer or a gas-powered one? Both of these devices widely used and praised, but depending on your price range and the tasks you need done, how are you going to know which one to get? Read on to discover which pressure washer may be the right tool for you.

The Electric Pressure Washer

Electric pressure washers are much less powerful than their gas-powered cousins. They average around 1500 psi, with the strongest electric washer reaching around 2000 PSI (which barely competes with the power of the weakest gas washers). This isn’t an issue if you’re working around your house doing simple tasks, such as washing your car or cleaning the driveway.

When it comes to ease of use, electric pressure washers take the lead. Their lightweight build makes them portable enough for easy transportation. An unfortunate side effect of electrically powered machines is that they have to be plugged in to work. Although some of them are being made with batteries, the majority of electric washers have to be plugged into an outlet for the entirety of the job. Using an extension cable helps to mitigate this problem. It’s crucial to find out if there is easy access to electricity where you’re going to work. You don’t want to take one into the desert only to realize there’s nowhere to power it.

Perhaps the greatest feature of the electric pressure washer is its low maintenance requirements. Whenever you need to use your pressure washer, you can just take it out, plug it in, and then put it right back where it was; no maintenance necessary. Electric washers also cost a lot less than gas pressure washers. Electric washers don’t require gas or oil, making them practically maintenance free, and giving them next to no upkeep cost. Unfortunately, electric washers aren’t designed to last very long, and it’s highly likely you could go through several electric washers before one gas washer stops working. They’re also made from plastic and other cheap materials, so they’re much more susceptible to getting damaged.

  • Lightweight
  • Less expensive
  • Little to no maintenance required
  • Short lifespan
  • Limited power usage
  • More easily damaged

The Gas Pressure Washer

Gas pressure washers are heavy duty machines made to deal with the most difficult jobs. With an average psi of 2800, gas pressure washers are much more powerful than their electric counterparts. The more powerful gas pressure washers are known to have over 4000 psi. With this power at your fingertips, you can wash away mud, dirt, and even oil stains. The higher pressure also gives you an increased range to make hard to reach areas like the outside of buildings much easier to clean.

These perks may seem great, but a gas-powered pressure washer’s power does not come without its consequences. Because of the massive power behind every stream of water it produces, gas pressure washers are more harmful and potentially dangerous to people. Gas-powered pressure washers are more prone to creating projectiles from small objects—such as rocks, wood, and other debris—when compared to electric powered pressure washers. They have also been known to cause high-pressure injection injuries, which are much more dangerous than people believe. Electric pressure washers also have this danger, but the consequences will be much more severe with the more powerful gas pressure washers. However, if you take the correct safety measures, you should have nothing to worry about.

A gas pressure washer provides great mobility because it can be powered anywhere. They are heavier than electric pressure washers, but they generally have wheels to counteract the weight. Because of their larger builds, gas pressure washers are durable, and can withstand a lot of punishment. The use of gas and oil does make gas pressure washers more expensive than electric ones. If you want your gas pressure washer to last as long as possible, then you’re going to have to perform frequent maintenance checks. If you use it frequently, you should change the oil every 3 months, and if not, you should still change the oil at least once a year.

  • Powerful spray
  • Durable
  • Use anywhere
  • More expensive
  • Frequent maintenance checks
  • Dangerous water stream

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So, at the end of the day, which pressure washer is best for you? Both are well designed machines that get the job done. If you want to use it daily around the house, making sure the exterior of your home is attractive to your guests, we’d recommend the electric pressure washer. There isn’t as much need for the high power of the gas pressure washer, and the cheaper expenses of the electric washer with the less dangerous streams of water in your suburban neighborhood makes it much more appealing.

If you’re planning to use it around town to clean up after a long day’s work with cement, maybe the gas-powered pressure washer would better suit you. In this environment, higher portability and utility is key. Just be careful where you point that sprayer!

About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!