Gas VS. Electric Pressure Washer: Which Should You Choose?
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Gas vs Electric Pressure Washer: Which Should You Choose?

You’re walking slowly across your driveway, blazing a swathe of spotlessness across the masonry underfoot. Grime, mold, and stubborn detritus is disappearing in front of your eyes. It’s every bit as satisfying as vacuuming a dusty workshop bench. Except better because you’re outside.

At the next family get-together, you’ll be fielding questions about your new driveway. And you’ll have that smug smile, knowing that all it took was choosing the best pressure washer for the job at hand. It will be you after you’ve read our roundup on gas vs electric pressure washers and decided which one is best for you.

So let’s dive in. Everything you need to know about gas and electric pressure washers, coming right up.

Gas Pressure Washer

A man washing his car using a pressure washer
Image Credits: Anastas Mateev on Unsplash

Gas pressure washers are powered by gas. It means they have a gas tank, which makes them bulkier and heavier than their electric counterparts. Being fuelled by gas also means that they can have a larger, more powerful engine, which means a higher flow rate and higher water pressure. It translates into faster cleaning of dirtier surfaces for the end-user. Gas pressure washers are intended for commercial use.

Cleaning masonry will never be easier than using a gas pressure washer to get rid of everything that’s clinging to the surface. This high-pressure stream of water will get into all the pores of the surface you’re cleaning and remove any grime, grease, or dirt in its path.

They can accept all sorts of add-ons and accessories, which can turn your pressure washer into a wet sandblaster or even a gutter cleaner. All that extra power and pressure give you more options.

The high water pressure might destroy the surface of whatever you’re cleaning. For example, the lifetime of a wooden deck, if you use a high-powered gas pressure washer on it regularly. If the stream of water hits your wooden deck at the wrong angle, you can damage it easily.

Most pressure washers are operating at full pressure capacity when you turn them on. Some models on the market offer a pressure dial. However, this feature is somewhat redundant because you can achieve the same effect by adjusting the spray pattern or moving the nozzle further away from the surface you’re cleaning.

These are certainly not toys and should be used with this knowledge in mind. This stream of high-pressure water could easily remove the skin from a misplaced foot, so use with caution.

Pros and Cons of a Gas Pressure Washer

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Recommend Gas Pressure Washer

Simpson MSH3125 MegaShot Gas Pressure Washer
    A gas powered machine without the maintenance, this Simpson pressure washer uses innovative technology that allows you to skip oil changes. Powered by a Honda engine, this unit will be tough on dirt for many years to comes.

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This popular gas pressure washer was designed for homeowners. It’s mobile enough for one person to move around, and the maintenance-free crankshaft means that oil changes are a thing of the past. The Honda engine brings its tried and tested reliability to the whole arrangement.

Electric Pressure Washer

A man washing tyres with a pressure washer
Image Credits: Hannes Edinger from Pixabay

Electric pressure washers are excellent for most homeowners. They’re lighter and more compact than their gas counterparts. However, the necessity of a power cord means that this doesn’t translate into portability.

They’re less powerful, which makes them more suited to general-purpose cleaning around the house and yard. It also means that they’re gentler on whatever you’re trying to clean. Pressure washing your car won’t damage the paint, a wooden deck won’t leave you with splinters, and a wayward nozzle won’t break a window.

Since there is no exhaust necessary, you can even use them inside. It only turns on when you engage the trigger and turns off when you release it. It saves on power, reduces the run time of your machine, and means you won’t have an idling engine next to you while you take on the job at hand.

The absence of gas and all the things that come with it means that your electric pressure washer is maintenance-free. You’ll never have to top up the oil and gas or take it in for a service.

There is a common thread in online reviews claiming that electric pressure washers are inferior to their gas counterparts. Meaning that you have to replace your electric pressure washer every few years, whereas a gas pressure washer should last longer if you keep up with regular maintenance.

Pros and Cons of an Electric Pressure Washer

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Recommend Electric Pressure Washer

Sun Joe SPX3000 2030 Electric High Pressure Washer
    An excellent choice for home use, the Sun Joe SPX3000 gets your dirty work done. With a detergent tank on the outlet side of the pump, this product should keep running for years of use.

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This offering from Sun Joe is the electric pressure washer you’ve been looking for. Fitted with two onboard detergent tanks, you can easily switch between detergents without too much of a headache.

The detergents won’t ruin the seals on your pump either. It’s because you inject it into the system on the outlet side of the pump. Meaning that the detergent will never have to run through the pump, and your unit will be leak-free for years.

Gas or Electric? Our Recommendation

When it comes to general household chores around the home and yard, an electric pressure washer is a better choice. They’re quiet, compact, and easy to use. They have enough power to get rid of dirt and grime from the things you regularly use around your household. 

They’re not so powerful to risk damaging your things, which makes them perfect for household use. Gas pressure washers are a bit overpowered for the regular homeowner and are more suited to commercial applications.

For this reason, the Sun Joe SPX3000 2030 Electric High-Pressure Washer is our recommendation to use around the house. With this washer, you can make short work of dirty chores and have the satisfaction of a job well done when you’re finished.

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