Electric vs. Gas Pressure Washer: What's the Difference?
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Washing your vehicle's exterior is an essential part of routine maintenance.
Over time, contaminants accumulate on the bodywork like road grime, brake dust, tree sap, and more. Regularly washing and waxing not only gives it a factory shine but also protects it from future damage.
And the undercarriage of your car also needs cleaning from time to time since it's routinely exposed to things like road salt, gravel, and dirt and sits inches from the ground.
Whether you need to perform a routine wash and wax or it's time for an undercarriage cleaning, a pressure washer is an essential tool for the job. With its ability to shoot a powerful stream of water that cleans and rinses, a pressure washer makes exterior car care all the easier.
But when you decide to purchase a pressure washer, what's better: an electric pressure washer or a gas pressure washer?
Each type has its pros and cons, and your choice depends on your needs and preferences.
Let's look at the subject of pressure washers and whether a gasoline or electric version suits you best.
The importance of exterior car care
While frequently washing and waxing a car might seem like something only serious car enthusiasts do, it's a good way of protecting your vehicle's paint and undercarriage. A good rule of thumb is to wash your vehicle every two weeks for the best appearance and longevity.
During routine driving, harmful particles can build up on your vehicle's finish and might cause damage if left for long periods. Using quality car wash products, like pH-balanced soaps and microfiber cloths, clean away dirt while being gentle on the paint. And specially formulated waxes containing carnauba or polymers create a glossy finish and a protective layer.
Although not required as frequently as washing the bodywork, undercarriage cleaning is also an essential part of exterior maintenance. Consumer Reports recommends an undercarriage wash once per season and even more often if you drive off-road regularly. With the especially corrosive qualities of road salt, cleaning a vehicle's undercarriage not only prevents rust but also protects mechanical systems like brake lines and fuel lines.
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Pressure washers explained
Pressure washers, also known as power washers, provide a concentrated surge of water for different types of cleaning. Pressure washer uses include car cleaning, driveways, patios, siding, and more.
Power washers produce their pressurized stream with a motor that powers a pump, which feeds water through a nozzle.
Manufacturers rate pressure washers in pounds per square inch (PSI), with electric versions typically delivering up to 1,300 PSI and heavy-duty models producing around 2,000 PSI and more.
Different types of pressure washers exist, with light-duty, heavy-duty, and commercial all designed for specific applications.
A light-duty pressure washer has plenty of power for occasional cleaning tasks like washing a vehicle or cleaning steps. But they aren't designed for heavy use or extended running, which could lead to damage. Light duty power washers use lightweight parts made of plastic and regular engines that may not stand up to demanding tasks.
Heavy-duty and commercial grade power washers work for everyday, professional use and withstand lengthy run times. With their durable metal and polyurethane components and purpose-built engines, heavy-duty pressure washers can run all day long and endure commercial jobs like stripping paint or cleaning decks.
Pressure washers come in electric models and gas models, with each type carrying its own set of benefits.
You can find high-pressure washers from Karcher online at Amazon and Honda-powered models at major hardware retailers.
Gas vs. electric pressure washers
Electric pressure washers are suitable for DIY projects like washing your car, cleaning patios and decks, and other occasional weekend chores. Electric units have several advantages like lighter weight, easy startup, low maintenance, and suitability for indoor use.
Pressure washers with an electric motor also cost less and are quieter than gasoline-powered versions.
On the other hand, electric pressure washers offer less power, water pressure, and water flow. And because they rely on an outlet, electric power washers have less maneuverability and may need an extension cord.
Gas pressure washers have higher PSI ratings, the ability to run for extended periods, and can go anywhere without plugging into a power source. With their heavy-duty parts, gas pressure washers stand up to any task and offer stout build quality.
But gas pressure washers cost more than electric versions and require fuel tank refills from time to time. Additionally, you can't use a gas pressure washer indoors due to the noise and pollution.
When deciding on the best pressure washer for you, the one you ultimately choose depends on your needs.
If you want a pressure washer for occasional household tasks both indoors and outdoors and like the idea of not needing to refuel, an electric pressure washer may be for you.
But if you want something that stands up to hour after hour of use, isn't restricted by a power cord, and offers the highest PSI ratings, a gas pressure washer could be the right choice.
An electric version may be the best car pressure washer for washing your vehicle every two weeks because of its ease of use, lightweight, and low noise.
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May 31, 2022
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