Gas vs. Electric Pressure Washer: Pros and Cons
Investing in a power washer is one of the best decisions you’ll make for your home. These powerful machines are excellent at tackling some outdoor cleaning chores. These include pushing leaves in the gutter, eliminating oil spills from your driveway, and so much more.
However, before going right ahead and buying the first one you see, you first need to decide which type is suitable for your cleaning needs.
Pressure washers come in a couple of options you can choose from, electric and gas. Although both models can deliver high-pressure streams of water for washing, there are some notable differences you need to address.
Electric Power Washers
Although they’re less powerful than gas-powered units, electric pressure washers have a lot to offer. They usually have an average PSI of about 1500, while the most powerful can reach up to 2000 PSI.
Nevertheless, this is not a problem at all if you only work around your property with simple tasks like washing vehicles or cleaning your driveway.
In terms of being user-friendly, this type takes the lead. It has a lightweight build, making it portable and easy enough to transport and move around.
Unfortunately, one of its major drawbacks is that you have to power the unit, you have to plug it in. This means that since it has a power cord, the area you can clean will be limited to its length. You can use an extension cable, but it’ll be more convenient if you have an accessible power plug nearby.
However, what makes an electric pressure washer attractive is it requires little upkeep. You only need to take it out of your storage, plug it, use it, and store your machine right back. There is no necessary maintenance.
On top of that, electric-powered washers are cheaper as well. It does not need any oil or gas to run. Hence, these machines are virtually maintenance-free. Nevertheless, they’re not made to last a long time, and you may see yourself go through a few units before a gas unit stops functioning. Plus, they’re usually made of cheap materials like plastic, making them much more susceptible to acquiring damages.
- More affordable
- Lightweight and portable
- Requires little to no upkeep
- Lifespan is short
- Limited area you can wash
- It gets damaged more easily
Gas Power Washers
These machines are heavy-duty and ideal if you’re looking to deal with tough jobs. Gas pressure washers offer more power than electric washers do. They usually come with a 2800 PSI on average, while the most powerful ones can reach up to 4000 PSI or over.
Hence, these cleaning gadgets can help you wash away dirt, mud, and oil stains. Moreover, their higher pressure provides you with an extended range for tackling those hard-to-reach spots easily.
Even though these perks seem fantastic, a machine this powerful does come with its set of consequences. Since a gas power washer generates strong jets of water, it is potentially more dangerous not only on surfaces but for people as well.
These units are more likely to produce projectiles from wood, rock, and other small debris and objects than their electric counterpart. Likewise, they’re associated with injection injuries due to high-pressure, which are quite dangerous. While electric-powered washers pose the same danger, the consequences are much less severe. Nonetheless, you won’t have to worry about a thing if you’ll take proper safety measures.
One of the most notable features of a gas power washer is its superb mobility since you can power it anywhere. Although they’re on the heavier side, most of the units available come with wheels to offset its weight. Additionally, they’re durable and can endure plenty.
However, gas washers are quite expensive because you also need to utilize gas and oil to make them run. Moreover, you have to conduct regular maintenance if you want your unit to last a long time. You need to change its oil once every three months if you use it often. If not, you still need to change it every year.
- Extremely powerful
- You can use it anywhere
- It can be pretty dangerous
- Requires frequent maintenance
When we talk about pressure washer power ratings, as mentioned above, electric washers typically come with 2000 PSI. It means that it offers limited power but can perform very well on every task. One good example is the K5 Premium 2000 PSI 1.4 GPM CU Score: 2800. This premium power washer is one of the quietest around and can go head-to-head with the top gas washers out there.
On the other hand, even the cheapest gas-powered washer comes with a PSI that can beat out the amount of PSI that most electric-powered units offer. This means that you can expect it to deliver more.
Water Flow Rating
In terms of water flow ratings, a gas washer has the upper hand again. Electric units typically deliver between 1.4 to 1.5 GPM, finding a model that can deliver a higher GPM than that can be a bit challenging. The reason for this is manufacturers may need to employ more costly materials, which will shoot up the price.
Meanwhile, the gas type can provide you with 1.5 to 2.5 GPM and even higher. Plus, they are designed with heavy-duty pumps, more durable engines, hoses with steel thread, and brass parts, which can withstand heavy water flow.
Practicality and Convenience
Unlike gas washers, electric washers don’t produce harmful fumes so you can use them indoors as well. Furthermore, the electric models take first place when it comes to ease of use, upkeep, dimensions, and weight. But they do limit your portability since you need to hook your unit to a power source.
While gas-powered units are better built and more long lasting, you are still required to change its oil and air filter.
Owning and operating a power washer comes with several costs. These include fuel, detergent, lubricant, and all other expenses associated with maintenance that may happen as your unit ages.
What makes an electric pressure washer great is that it is low maintenance. There’s no need to check its fuel tank frequently to make sure you’re not running low on gas during your washing sessions. You also don’t need to lubricate its engine thoroughly or winterize it to prevent breaking down and heating up.
Moreover, electric washer cost does not depreciate as much overtime. Basically, its upkeep includes emptying out your unit of stagnant water and preventing any kinks inside its pressure hose.
On the other hand, the biggest drawback of investing in a gas pressure washer is its maintenance costs, which will accumulate over time. Also, gas tends to be pricier than electricity in most places. You need to lubricate it regularly well. On top of that, as your machine ages, you may encounter engine issues that may not be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty since it’s past the coverage period.
Which One Should I Get?
Your choice will still boil down to your budget and cleaning needs. If you only do light-duty chores around your home, then it’s best to op for an electric washer. It’s quieter as well as more portable and affordable. However, if you are looking for a machine that you intend to use for heavy-duty tasks or commercial purposes, a gas washer is perfect for you.