Pressures washers are great tools. In order to keep the exterior of your home spotless, you’ll need a pressure washer that delivers enough power to eliminate dirt and grime from every exterior surface of your home. They can also be great for cleaning moss and mildew from driveways and patio furniture. A pressure washer can also get you several hours of free labor by tricking your kids into “having fun” while washing your car.
Pressure washers, in general, can also be a pretty good investment. When running your garden hose, you’ll be using up to or even more than 20 GPM (gallons of water per minute). The pressure coming out of a garden hose is also only about 40 to 60 PSI (pounds-per-square-inch of force). Compared to the average pressure washer (around 2 GPM and more than 500 PSI), you’re consuming way more water with way less cleaning power.
Types of Pressure washers
There are two main types of pressure washers based on their fuel source: gas-powered pressure washers and corded-electric models. The differences between each model will be explained below:
Gas-powered pressure washer
This type of pressure washer requires gasoline and pump oil to function. The machine needs gasoline to turn on and run while the pump oil keeps the machine young and vibrant. You’ll need to refuel and change the pump oil periodically in order to get use out of a gas-powered pressure washer.
There are two main benefits that a gas-powered pressure washer offers: extreme power and portability. This type of pressure washer usually is rated anywhere between 2,000 and 2,800 PSI. Needless to say, this is extremely powerful and potentially dangerous if used improperly. However, in the right hands, a gas-powered pressure washer’s power offers a ton of cleaning versatility, including spray-cleaning concrete.
The portability of a gas-powered pressure washer comes from the fact that there aren’t any cords to tie you down. Since the engine is powered by gasoline, you can wheel the machine to any spot on the planet and begin washing, provided that you’ve topped off the fuel tank.
There are some downsides of owning a gas-powered pressure washer. These include the toxic fumes of the gas-powered engine, loud noise production, needing to change the oil, and periodic maintenance problems.
Other cons of owning a gas-powered pressure washer
The downsides mentioned earlier are applicable in any gas-vs-electric-tool-or-machine debate. However, when speaking specifically about gas-powered pressure washers, there are some rather significant downsides.
First of all, the machine should never be left idle for extended periods of time. The stagnant gasoline and pump oil could do some irreversible damage to the metal components. Imagine setting your pressure washer aside during the winter then taking it down in spring for some much-needed leaf-removal of your yard only to find that the dang machine won’t turn on.
Next, because they use gasoline, it’s not a good idea to store the machine indoors. It makes more sense to leave it outside to the fumes have somewhere safe to go, but then you need to worry about chaining it up. Storing the unit away becomes even more complex during winter.
Speaking of winter, cold temperatures can do some pretty funky things to a gas-powered pressure washer. Since it’ll be outside, hibernating during winter, you’ll need to “winterize” the pump with anti-freeze. Add that to the growing list of maintenance issues.
Finally, it’s an absolute MUST that you check, double-check, and triple-check the power settings of your machine. Since their PSI rating is nothing to giggle over, you can easily chip paint, turn wooden patios into kindling, and dent aluminum gutters and downspouts. Not to mention the heightened risk of shattering the windows of your home and vehicle.
Corded-electric pressure washer
Electric pressure washers are “entry-level” machines for light washing. They’re also the more environmentally-friendly option since they don’t use fossil fuels to run. Instead, you just need to plug the machine into the nearest outlet and get to work.
Electric pressure washers are usually rated between 800 and 1,800 PSI, so they’re significantly weaker than their gas-powered counterparts. However, for most outside cleaning like getting rid of fallen leans, washing cars, and spraying away dirt, this type of pressure washer will work just fine.
Apart from simply being weaker than gas-powered models, electric pressure washers are also not as portable. Sure, you can get an outdoor-safe extension cord to increase the distance of travel from a power outlet, but you’re still tied down and unable to travel the world with your pressure washer.
So are electric pressure washers any good?
In our opinion, there’s no reason why anybody shouldn’t consider getting an electric pressure washer unless there’s no electricity in your part of the country. We mentioned how electric pressure washers are considerably weaker than gas-powered models, but they are in no way “weak.” They generate enough pressure to spray-clean practically any piece of dirt, grime, or fallen leaves that dare make their presence.
In addition, their weaker motors aren’t necessarily a bad thing. Most pressure washers have different power settings for different uses – e.g., clearing away leaves, washing cars, and even spraying windows. You don’t want to accidentally pull the trigger when the pressure washer is set to kill and not stun. Being weaker, there’s not as high a risk of damaging your property, even when it’s running at full-force.
In fact, the only time an electric pressure washer won’t be as good is if you’re a professional cleaner who needs a super-powerful machine for blasting away grime from extremely dense surfaces. In any other context, an electric pressure washer would be the preferred type to get. But even then, there are maintenance costs, depreciation costs, and the hassle of caring for it in cold climates.
So the answer to the question, “Are electric pressure washers any good?” is a resounding “YES.” That is if you’re using it to keep the exterior of your home free of grime, oil spills, leaves, caked-on mud splatters, and any other common outdoor mess. They’re also considerably safer to use compared to gas-powered machines due to their relatively “weak” motors.
Pressure Washer Infographic
|Sun Joe||Stanley||Sun Joe|
|2030 PSI||2050 PSI||2300 PSI|
|22 x 18 x 37 in||24.4 x 16.4 x 17.2 in||16.7 x 14.5 x 36 in|
|27.8 pounds||36.4 pounds||33 pounds|