Electric Vs. Gas Pressure Washers

Pressure washers expedite an array of outdoor cleaning tasks. You can clean your patio, driveway, outdoor furniture, etc. to name a few. Pressure washers are also a popular choice of many people for cleaning cars and motorcycles. These machines clear off the toughest layers of dirt and grime from surfaces by spraying water through a tiny sprayer at a very high pressure.

The water coming from the source via a garden hose is typically around 20 psi, which is forced through a pump in order to pressurize it. The pump in a pressure washer requires a driving force which enables it to pressurize the water. This driving force is provided by a motor or engine. Electric pressure washers are powered by either alternating current (AC) induction motors or direct current (DC) motors, while gas washers have 2-stroke or 4-stroke engines. An AC motor harvests power from the 120-Volt outlets and a DC motor does so from rechargeable batteries, unlike the engines which are fueled by gasoline. Apart from these fundamental differences, another major disparity between the types of pressure washers is the cord. Electric washers that run by electricity are corded, while battery powered ones are cordless. And needless to say, gas pressure washers are cordless as well.

As the water enters the pump from the source (either from your garden tap or a built in water tank), it is pushed into a high pressure hose, via which the water is sprayed out using a nozzle or spraying gun. The high pressure hose cannot be substituted by a regular hose since the water flowing through it is at an extremely high pressure. Only such high pressure hoses can withstand this force as they are manufactured using several layers of high density plastic and strengthened by wire mesh. These washers typically offer nozzle tips or adjustable sprayers with which you can regulate the water pressure, depending on your desired chore.

Having informed you the basics, perhaps we have been able to mitigate the dilemma about which type of pressure washer would be better for you. If you are still unsure, maybe the points below will help you decide on one for good.

​Electric pressure washers

A standard electric pressure washer can deliver a pressure of 1300 to 1800 psi. Although this is a substantial amount, it does seem meager when compared to the gas powered ones. But for normal residential uses, this psi is more than enough; average domestic clean up tasks shouldn’t be needing more than 1500 to 1800 psi.

Electric pressure washers are good for light to moderate duty residential tasks, like cleaning your car, outdoor furniture, windows, etc. Occasional maintenance of driveways, brick walls or other rough surfaces can be formidable adversaries for pressure washers. For such instances, electric pressure washers offering up to 1.5 GPM and pressures of up to 2000 psi can easily win the battles. Using the appropriate nozzle and referred detergents, you can easily wash concrete surfaces, flagstones, sidings, vehicles, vinyl moldings, decks and many more. Besides, electric pressure washers are much less noisy, environment friendly and require very little maintenance comparatively.


  • The unit cost, summed up with maintenance cost, is much lower than that of a gas pressure washer.
  • Compact and lightweight due to absence of engines and other metal parts.
  • Easier start up without any potential idling.
  • Simpler to assemble and operate.
  • Hassle-free, relatively quiet and has zero emission.


  • Less power compared to gas units.
  • Limited to moderate chores.
  • Not as rugged and robust, therefore is less durable in comparison to gas washers.
  • Corded models limit your operation within a specified area.
  • Cannot perform heavy duty tasks and will overheat if forced to work excess.

Gas Pressure Washers

A regular gas powered pressure washer can produce a pressure of 2000 to 2800 psi and a commercial one can reach a whopping 4000 psi. This is essentially important for paint removal. While purchasing a gas powered pressure washer, you have to settle on a commercial or residential model first. There are models between the professional and domestic grade, i.e. the semi-pro models, which basically are more powerful than the average residential models, but not as much as a commercial one.

Gas pressure washer are primarily intended for heavy duty tasks that call for hours of operations on tenacious layers. 4-stroke engine washers with overhead valves are highly priced as they are more fuel-efficient than a 2- stroke one. If you are a professional, looking to buy washers for commercial purposes, gas powered ones with welded steel frames and solid steel axles are for you. A solid steel structure will protect the engine, carburetor, fuel tank, etc. from various possible impacts on a work site. Gas pressure washers are also fitted for private users wanting to cover large properties, like ranches or farms for example. But do bear in mind that all this extra power comes for extra price. Over the long run, the maintenance cost might be overwhelming, therefore go for a gas pressure washer only if the frequency and intensity of the tasks are steep.


  • Epitome of power.
  • Equipped with advanced pumps.
  • Can cover large areas at shorter periods of time.
  • Cordless, allowing the user to work freely.
  • Long lasting due to their sturdy and robust structures.


  • Generally costs more than electric washers.
  • Maintenance is expensive as well.
  • Heavier and bulky, therefore require more storage area and might be difficult to maneuver.
  • During winter, ignition might be problematic.
  • Emits fumes and is noisy.
  • Requires frequent general maintenance (cleaning air filters, spark plugs, spark arrestor, mixing oil and gas, etc.) which can be very tiresome when compared to an electric pressure washer.

​Final thoughts

On one hand electric pressure washers are economical and easier to work with, but less powerful and not as strong. On the other hand gas pressure washers are potent and durable, but expensive and requires heavy maintenance. Before choosing between the two you have to determine what you need to clean specifically and how often you are going to use the machine actually.

Simply put, if you need to perform light duty to moderate residential tasks intermittently, electric pressure washers would be sufficient. And for more rigorous jobs on a regular basis, gas pressure washers will benefit you despite the elevated costs as it would still be less than hiring outside help.

As you are heading out, take a look at our review article on some of the top corded electric pressure washers out there.​

Did you find this article useful? Which one did you choose?  Let us know in the comments!

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