Gas vs Electric Pressure Washers
For most tasks around the home such as power washing driveways, cars, screens, fences and outdoor furniture both gas and electric pressure washers are up to the job. However, if you are shopping for a pressure washer for a commercial application or one that has super stripping power then a high-power gas pressure washer is the way to go.
When my 1850 PSI Karcher electric pressure washer would no longer operate at full pressure I purchased a 2200 PSI gas model to replace it. I thought that the extra 350 PSI would make pressure washing faster and easier but that wasn't the case. In fact, as the gas washer lacks the spinning turbo nozzle my electric pressure washer came with, there are some jobs where it doesn't perform as well. I purchased a spinning power nozzle that was supposed to work at the PSI of my gas pressure washer but it doesn't.
The Karcher electric pressure washer came with two wands - a power nozzle that spins (as mentioned above) and an adjustable wand that allows the user to adjust the pressure and width of the spray. The gas pressure washer comes with one wand and multiple tips that change the width of the spray pattern. Although the gas model provides more spray width options it's the pressure control of the electric power washer that I find equally useful. For example I pressure wash the floor in my garage each spring. If I used either the gas or electric washer at full pressure everything in my garage would get wet from overspray. However, using the electric with the pressure dialed down overspray is not a problem.
Electric Pressure Washer Pros
- Generally cheaper to purchase than gas pressure washers
- No gas to buy or oil to change
- Less maintenance than gas powered
- Smaller, lighter weight, easier to store
- Better pressure control
- On board detergent reservoir
- Neighbor friendly (quiet)
Gas-Powered Pressure Washer Pros
- More cleaning power options (PSI)
- More spray width options
- No power cord limitations
- Potentially longer-lived
After having used both gas and electric I would recommend electric for the average homeowner. Electric pressure washers are more pleasant (quiet) to use, can be safely stored anywhere in your home, and have plenty of cleaning power for most jobs. However, you must have an outlet available. This hasn't been an issue for me because I have many suitable GFI outlets where I want to use it. You may need to add outlets or update your outlets if a problem arises (such as tripped circuit breakers).
Gas pressure washers are only dependant on a water supply which makes them a better choice for commercial applications. You will also find a greater selection of gas pressure washers that provide higher pressures necessary for specific cleaning situations.
Regardless of which type of pressure washer you purchase, you will need to maintain it properly. Water contains minerals and other contaminants that can cause internal parts to bind. This will cause loss of pressure or prevent the unit from functioning at all. You can prevent these problems by making sure the water inlet screen on your pressure washer is intact and in good condition and by preparing your pressure washer for winter storage by using a winterizer fluid such as Briggs and Stratton's Pump Saver.
If you purchase an electric pressure washer I recommend that it should be at least an 1850 PSI model. For gas I would recommend 3000 PSI or greater as I am less than impressed with the power of my 2200 PSI gas pressure washer.
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