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Electric vs Gas Pressure Washer [A Detailed Comparison]

So you have finally decided to buy a pressure washer to ease your cleaning tasks. If you have started researching for the best power washer deals, you are likely to realize that these tools have two variants, gas and electric. 

This is likely to make you ponder as to which is more suitable, electric vs gas pressure washer? Generally, several first-time buyers become curious as to whether a gas or electric version is suitable for them or not. 

A simple solution here is that each type is better for a unique set of tasks. Although both the models do the same thing, their respective functions, appearance, and cost are different. Here are some of the important points to ask yourself before investing in one.

The 4 Main Points to consider

1) Cleaning Power

electric vs gas pressure washer

This feature is the main function of any pressure washer. It also answers what is a good psi for a pressure washer. However, it can be tough to work this out.

This is because it is gauged in one of the different measurements namely, Pounds Per Square Inch, Gallons Per Minute (GPM), and Cleaning Units (CU). The higher the CU, the more powerful a washer is.  

The electric pressure washers usually have a PSI between 1,300 and 1,700. However, it can be higher than the mentioned values too, at least there are some electric models with 3000 PSI and above.The GPM is between 1.4 and 1.5. Thus, the cleaning efficiency is between 5,000 and 10,000 CU. This is enough for ordinary home tasks. However, for heavy-duty duties, you are going to find these pressure washers simply cannot handle.

This is where you need gas pressure washers which are typically more powerful. This is a vital point for the comparison between an electric pressure washer and a gas pressure washer. Their PSI can be up to 4,000 with up to 4 GPM. Thus, their cleaning efficiency is higher and usually comes from a professional-grade model.

2) Weight

When it comes to the difference, they significantly vary in terms of size and weight. This is a vital factor to consider, as it determines the degree of movement you can enjoy while cleaning a few things. 

Electric pressure washers are usually less bulky. Thus, you can carry them easily while cleaning fences or cars. On the other hand, gas pressure washers are bulky, as they are set on a strong frame utilizing heavy tires. So, you simply cannot carry them with your hands.

3) Storage

This is where the electric washers win the point. They are easier to store due to their smaller size.

Nevertheless, the gas washers are more widely used in the commercial environments in which storage is not a high priority.

Considering this, the electric models are superior in terms of storage due to their less weight.

4) Practicality

Electric pressure washers seem to be more practical, as they have a folding design to shrink into a smaller outline. This allows quick transporting and delivery. Apart from detergent, their maintenance does not need oil like gas models do. If you are looking to get one, check out our reviews on the best electric pressure washer that includes a comparison table and detailed analysis for each unit.

Gas models do not have any folding design. It is also a bit challenging to unload the unit after transportation. And it requires maintenance in terms of oil refills.

Why buy a pressure washer?

A good pressure washer is one that easily cleans a concrete or any other surface now showing up mold, obstinate stains, and grime. It is an ideal device to have at home if you have taken up the responsibility of pressure washing your house.

Due to its ability to remove such dirt, pressure washers have become popular household appliances. Some of them have the ability to spray at truly high pressure on big and strong surfaces such as cars and roads. The best part is that these devices are affordable and more efficient than hoses.

How Long Do Electric and Gas Pressure Washers Last?

Most solid pressure washers are designed to last between 300 and 3000 hours. The lasting factor depends on a few factors. The first is the quality of the machine. Quality is often directly linked to its pricing. Do not expect a cheap new machine (lesser than $200) to be able to last for years.

Another important factor to take note is the quality of the pump. Make sure you can find out the information on its life expectancy. If not, stay clear from it. Last but not least is how you maintain the machine. 

A well-maintained pressure washer can definitely last longer than a poorly maintained one. Electric pressure washers are easier to maintain compared to gas pressure washer due to the latter being more powerful and costing more to operate. 

With meticulous selection and proper care, pressure washers are bound to last longer than expected. You just need to avoid all errors and carelessness. It is important to winterize your pressure washers if you are going to use it in extreme cold environment.

If you are not sure whether you can take care of pressure washers properly, perhaps you could consider renting them first. Nowadays, it is very convenient to rent them as there are quite a fair amount of power washing businesses around the market.

Pressure Washers FAQ

Here are some other commonly asked questions about these devices in terms of their usage and durability.

1) Are Electric Pressure Washers Dangerous?

Well, they are not if you use them carefully by taking all the precautions mentioned in their manuals. By default, the electric washers are not dangerous.

However, if you handle them carelessly or choose electric models having cheap parts, then they are!

Although super functional, electric pressure washers requires your vigilance for safe using.

Thus, it is wise to go through the safety and handling instructions in the manual prior to using it.

Top 10 risks using an electric washer

  • If mishandled, the high-pressure spray of water next to the nozzle can easily result in quick lacerations on palms and legs.
  • Due to high velocity of water coming out from the nozzle, it can throw any object from the targeted surface towards you at the same speed.
  • If pointed directly, the device can end up disrupting the pitch of the entrance, which can be visible in the form of cracks and holes.
  • If handled carelessly such as using an extension cord or spraying a power outlet, the risk of a malignant electric shock is always high. Remember, water and electricity do not go hand in hand.
  • If the spray gun is used in an unsafe direction such as towards somebody or towards your own legs, an unexpected harm is inevitable.
  • If you use any detergent that is not for pressure washers, your eyes, skin, and lungs are at risk.
  • If used without wearing goggles, gloves, rubber boots, or protective apparels, the risk of harming one’s own self is always high.
  • If you change the spray pattern or nozzle once the device is on, it can invite a disaster.
  • If used on a wooden surface, the probability of damage is likely to be high due to deep penetration of water chipping out the painting.
  • If not maintained well, even a good-quality washer will result in a hazard.

Taking care of these issues ensures that you an electric pressure washer will not be dangerous for you. Above all, ensure that you invest in a high-quality model featuring safe parts.

2) Is It Safe to Wash a Car with a Pressure Washer?

Yes, it is safe to use a gas or electric pressure washer for cleaning cars.

Regardless of whether you want to clean weekly, quickly, or occasionally; a pressure washer is truly an effectual device for cleaning the car’s exterior surface with less water than garden hoses.

For safe use, it is important to choose the right pressure washer and use it in the right way. For car cleaning, a pressure washer must have the desired power measured as Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) as well as water flow measured as Gallons Per Minute (GPM).

A high PSI means more velocity of water while leaving the device’s tip. Similarly, a high GPM means more water leaving the device. The multiplication of these two metrics means Cleaning Units (CU) indicating the mix of force and quantity of water. 

For a car, a good pressure washer like this one is perfect. It is recommended to go for a PSI of 1200 to 1900 and a GPM of 1.4 to 1.6 for safe cleaning.

You also need to choose the right nozzle so that cleaning happens without any damage to the paint. For this, you need to look for the size and pressure level of the nozzle. The zero-degree nozzles are not recommended for cars. The other sizes and pressure level are suitable for cleaning in different ways.

3) Can You Damage Concrete by Power Washing?

Most people think that concrete is impassable. However, this is not always true. A pressure washer, when used for cleaning concrete, can result in damage in the form of degradation, lines, and pitting.

Even the mortar can get damaged and the joint sand can start scattering.

However, these damages are not due to pressure washers. They are often caused due to a wrong nozzle, spraying at one spot for too long, keeping the wand too near, and spraying at a higher pressure than what is required.

Further, the risk of damage is more in 1-year old concrete slabs than in older ones. Similarly, it is more when you clean concrete excessively or too frequently.

4) What Should I Look for When Buying a Pressure Washer?

There are a total of 7 things to look for while choosing a pressure washer, which are as follows:

  • 1
    Gas or electric model both differ in terms of speed and strength with the former one being noisier and more powerful for big areas such as decks and driveways.
  • 2
    Cold or hot pressure washers, with former being less complicated and more portable, and later being more efficient and ensuring better cleaning.
  • 3
    PSI and GPM to know the CU (cleaning units), which is required to choose the best washer as per your needs.
  • 4
  • 5
    Adjustable water spray for changing the pressure for delivering a thin spray for painted surfaces or a high-pressure spray for scrubbing mold.
  • 6
    Pump protection in electric models to halt the pump the moment the trigger is released and in gas models to make the cool water flow through the pump when not in use.
  • 7
    Warranty for at least 1 year with coverage for motor and other parts for about 90 days.


Both types of pressure washes are unique in their own way. You should choose as per your requirements when it comes to getting the right one.  

Last but not least, we hope our article on the electric vs gas pressure washer comparison has been able to help you with your buying decision or any doubts you had. If you like this post, feel free to share it with your friends.

    Verner Ellen

    Hi, my name is Verner Ellen. I am a homebody whose interest is in getting the best home tools and equipments to help with the the everyday house chores. I also love fitness, cooking and grilling. Maintaining a clean and comfortable home is my lifelong passion.