Gas vs Electric Pressure Washers: Which One Should You Buy?

Gas vs Electric Pressure Washer

What pressure washers are and what they could be used for is a pretty obvious thing. However, whether a gas or an electric-powered model is a better choice may not be as easy to answer.

Each of the two models is designed to better at some particular aspect, and depending on what you want out of your pressure washer, you’ll be able to decide which one is better for you.

Build Quality and Design

The difference between the build quality of electric pressure washers and gas ones is very clear and distinct.

Usually, gas-powered washers are designed for commercial use, while electric-powered ones are more suitable for home use.

Electric-powered models usually get criticized for their poor build quality in comparison to gas-powered models.

But then again, they don’t use steel-reinforced components as they’re not expected to take on heavy-duty jobs and they come at a much lower price level.

Gas-powered models, on the other hand, are designed to handle the tough conditions of a commercial environment.

In fact, many of them use powder-coated steel for the chassis or steel-braided hosing to extend the durability of the unit.

Winner: Gas-powered washers.

Cleaning Power

When you’re buying a pressure washer, the cleaning power is definitely one of the most important things to look for.  

Cleaning power can be summed up in three interrelated terms. GPM (Gallons per Minute), Pounds per Square Inch (PSI), and CU (Cleaning Units).

GPM indicates the amount of water flow rate that the device produces per minute, while PSI indicates the pressure and power behind the water flow.

When you multiply those two figures together, you get the CU rating that indicates the cleaning efficiency of your unit. The higher the CU of a washer is, the quicker it finishes its cleaning jobs.

Electric Pressure Washers

These usually have an average PSI that ranges between 1,300 and 1,700 PSI. Some units go higher, but that’s not very common.

Their GPM is usually around 1.4 or 1.5, and consequently, their CU ranges between 5,000 CU and 10,000 CU.

This combination is more than enough for finishing tasks around the house, such as cleaning the yard, driveway, or washing a car.

Gas Pressure Washers

Since they’re designed for commercial use, gas pressure washers are a lot more powerful.

Their PSI ranges from 2,000 up to 4,000 while their GP lies between 2.5 and 4.

As a result, their CU is much superior to that of electric ones. They’re a lot more powerful and efficient at removing stubborn dirt.

Winner: Gas-powered washers.

Weight, Size, and Portability

These three things determine how free you are to move during your cleaning tasks and how easy it would be to store your pressure washer.

Electric Pressure Washers

Electric washers focus on the mode of operation where you carry the machine in one hand and clean using the hose with the other hand.

That’s why they’re almost always more portable and lightweight than their gas counterparts.

Gas Pressure Washers

Gas models are usually mounted on durable chassis that has heavy-duty tires.

Due to their large size, they can’t be carried by hand but are instead pushed to the place in which you’re going to operate them.

This design can’t be changed due to the professional-grade components that these washers employ.

When you’re not using your washer, you’re going to store it somewhere. And electric-powered pressure washers are evidently more convenient in this area.

Winner: Electric-powered Washers.

General Usability and Practicality

In this particular area, I don’t think it would be fair to draw a comparison.

If you’re going to use your washer for commercial purposes, a gas-powered one would be more practical.

Contrarily, if you need it for home use and to finish light-duty tasks, an electric-powered one would be the more practical choice.

But still, I’ll mention how each model is more practical than the other.

Electric Pressure Washers

Electric pressure washers usually feature collapsible designs to enable you to fold them into a smaller footprint.

Not only does that help with storage, but it also makes it more portable and easy to move around.

Moreover, they don’t require any maintenance as they don’t use oil or gasoline. The only thing you’ll need to add is the cleaning detergent.

However, as they are powered by electricity, they require you to stay beside an electricity outlet as long as you’re using them.

And the cord can only be so long. This means that your maneuverability is more limited.

Moreover, these models have a pretty quiet operation at 78 to 80 dB.

Gas Pressure Washers

Gas-powered washers are undoubtedly harder to move around and store.

They also require consistent maintenance where you have to refill them with oil and gasoline.

Gas pressure washers will keep on working as long as they’re stocked up on gasoline, so you can roam with them wherever you like and have the maximum maneuverability.

These are noisier during their operation at 85 to 100 dB.

Winner: Tie.

Pros and Cons in Brief

Gas Pressure Washers

Pros

  • Higher efficiency thanks to the higher cleaning units
  • More durable with longer lifespans
  • Fit for heavy-duty jobs and constant use
  • Absolute freedom to move around

Cons

  • Powering by gasoline is more expensive than electricity
  • Heftier and less portable
  • Very large and can’t be stored easily

Electric Pressure Washers

Pros

  • More affordable in terms of both upfront price and long term use
  • Lighter, more compact, and more portable
  • Don’t produce much noise during operation

Cons

  • Not as durable as the components used are not of premium-quality
  • Have shorter warranties
  • Lower PSI, GPM, and CU

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that if you’re looking for a washer to finish light-duty jobs around the house, you should opt for an electric-powered washer. They’re more affordable, less noisy, and more portable.

On the other hand, if you’re going to use your washer for commercial purposes and heavy-duty jobs, go for a gas-powered one. Although they’re more expensive, they’re a lot more efficient and provide you with more maneuverability.

Leave a Comment