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When it comes to pressure washers, there’s a lot of debate on which type is better – gas engine or electric motor pressure washers.
Both work on the same principle, powering a water pump that creates high-pressure water jets. The biggest difference between the two is that one uses electricity and the other uses gas. However, that one difference has many implications.
Let’s take a look at difference bewteen gas vs electric pressure washers in the comparison below with all their pros and cons to help you choose between the two.
Gas vs. Electric Pressure Washers – What’s the Difference?
Gas and electric pressure washers are similar in what they do but there are many differences between these two types.
Sun Joe Electric Pressure Washer with 2030 PSI. Check Price Here.
Simpson MegaShot Gas Pressure Washer with 3200 PSI. Check Price Here.
Gas pressure washers are usually more powerful. While most electric motor pressure washers fall around the 1,500 PSI (pounds per square inch) range and cap at ~2,000 PSI, gas pressure washers average above 2,000 PSI and can often go as high as 3,000 PSI or more.
This doesn’t make one better than the other. But what it does mean is that they are suitable for different situations.
Lower PSI levels are better for residential needs and smaller, softer items, while higher PSI levels are better for more industrial and large-scale cleaning. This means that electric models are better suited for home use or for smaller jobs, while gas pressure washers offer more power and force for heavy-duty jobs.
Ease of Use
The electric motor of electric pressure washers needs to be connected to an electric power supply which limits its range. This also makes these pressure washers better for residential needs.
Gas engine pressure washers are bigger and heavier. Their bulkier nature can make them too big for small jobs. Because of their large size, these units are often mounted on wheels and designed to be pushed. This, and the fact that they lack an electric cord and the need for a power point, make them more portable and mobile.
Electric pressure washers are usually smaller and lighter, making them much easier to carry around. This can depend on the model, with larger models coming on wheels for easier movement but in general, they’re smaller than gas pressure washers. Gas pressure washers are typically larger and heavier units.
Electric motor pressure washers have a more affordable initial price which makes them a better deal for most homeowners. On average, a high-quality model with a PSI of around 2000 costs $150.
Gas engine pressure washers are definitely the bigger investment both initially and over time. These units cost a lot more up front and also have ongoing costs which need to be taken into account.
These units also require a constant supply of gas and oil which raises the expenses they generate. On average, a gas pressure washer of 3000+ PSI will cost at least $350.
Electric pressure washers have little to no maintenance required. Once you buy the device, you can simply plug it in and use it. They don’t have parts that need replacing and you don’t have to use oil or gas to make it work. These products are considered disposable and as such, have shorter lifespans.
Gas pressure washers require more commitment. They need fuel, detergents and oil to ensure that they work as expected. From the two types, gas pressure washers have bigger ongoing costs and maintenance, which is why many people prefer the electric alternative.
Gas vs. Electric Pressure Washers – Pros And Cons
With those differences in mind, here’s a quick and simple pros and cons comparison of electric motors and gas engine pressure washers.
Electric Pressure Washer Pros:
- A more affordable initial price
- Less maintenance required for upkeep of the unit
- Pressure levels in line with the cleaning needs of most residential households
- Lightweight and mobile
Electric Pressure Washer Cons:
- Lower pressure levels may be insufficient for certain situations
- The need for electrical power limits the places these pressure washers can be used
- Shorter lifespan. Considered a consumable product
Gas Pressure Washer Pros:
- Greater pressure levels are sufficient to deal with any heavy-duty situation
- The gas engine requires no connection to an electric power source and can be used anywhere
- Longer lifespan. With proper care, can last up to 10 years or more
Gas Pressure Washer Cons:
- A more significant initial investment
- Needs constant gas and oil resupply
- Heavier and bulkier unit
- Gas engine pressure washers exhaust fumes are not healthy and should not be used indoors
Which Should You Choose?
With those pros and cons broken down, the main difference between the two types is clear:
Electric motor pressure washers are meant for lighter and more regular cleaning tasks such as washing your car, the deck, exterior walls, or gutters, and even some indoor items that can be cleaned safely with a low-pressure setting.
Gas engine pressure washers, on the other hand, are meant for more significant heavy-duty cleaning as well as for wider surfaces. Their superior power allows them to clean even the toughest spots and the lack of a power cord restrictions means they can be carried and used wherever you want.
Taken this way, it’s difficult to say that one is better than the other. They’re both suited for different situations, so which you choose depends on your specific situation. Before you purchase:
- Consider what tasks you plan to use the pressure washer for. This will help you decide on the best power and force you need from the unit.
- How much are you willing to spend? Instead of buying a low-powered, low-quality gas pressure washer if you’re on a budget, you can use the same money to buy a high-end electric pressure washer.
If you want to learn more about pressure washers, we recommend checking out our related articles:
How Do Pressure Washers Work?