Electric Pressure Washers – what’s stopping you from buying one?

By Roger Waldens | Guides

Aug 30

Ok, you need to buy an electric pressure washer! Being a father of two little children and a professional working in a marketing company, one of the things I value most, is my time. I want to spend as much time as possible with my family and especially with my children. And amongst other things, regular cleaning chores that take a lot of time, were really eating into my free time. That was when I decided to take to go in for a pressure washer.

I always liked tools and gizmos, and have used many electric powered tools, but frankly I knew nothing about pressure washers. The one thing I knew was that I did not want to spend hours and hours cleaning up different parts of my house, my car or our garden furniture.

Deciding to buy a pressure washer was the easiest part. It was when I started to choose one that things got difficult. I was starting out with zero knowledge about electric pressure washers, and I was not too keen to ask around and bother people about how to choose one. I checked them out on the internet and at the stores but everything about them confused me, the PSI, the GPM and the overall CU or cleaning units, the electric or gas powered, the light ones or the heavy duty ones, the wands, the nozzles, the angle of water, and what not.

That very day I went to pick up my children from a school event, and met an old friend. We got chatting and I told him about my plans of buying a pressure washer. As soon as I mentioned it, he started to ask me things that stumped me. Are you planning to buy for light cleaning or heavy cleaning? How much is the gallons per minute flow in your garden hose?

When he saw my expression, he laughed. He invited me to his house the next day. He wanted to show me his own pressure washer and said he would explain a few things about them.

I was delighted. Clearly my friend knew quite a bit about pressure washers and he was happy to find someone who he could show off his knowledge to. I was a most willing and happy guinea pig.

I went to his house the next day (he lived nearby) and we immediately went to his garage where he showed me his pressure washer. It was a Sun Joe SPX3000 electric pressure washer. It was nice, and quite compact, but beyond that I wasn’t able to gauge much.

“It’s a very popular model”, he said. “Let me tell you a little about pressure washers”.

And then began my learning about electric pressure washers. I practically learnt everything I needed to know to buy an electric pressure washer. He first explained the main parts of an electric pressure washer. The pump, the high pressure hose, the trigger gun, the wands, the detergent tank, the wheels and the power cable.

Here is a figure showing the main parts:  

The next part was deciding between an electric pressure washer or a gas pressure washer. Once I knew what each one was good and bad for, I was pretty sure that I wanted an electric pressure washer. I was not keen to spend too much, and had a budget of around $ 150-200. The electric pressure washers came in that range and even his own pressure washer was less than $ 200. My choice was clear, but here’s a little bit of information for you, so that you can make an easy choice. Have a look at this comparison between the two types and conclusions on who should go for what:

Electric Pressure Washers Are A Great Choice:

What’s Great

Powered by electricity
Can be used indoors without any problems
Are great to use outdoors too
Easy to switch on and off
Easy to maintain
Can be stored inside the house
No special care or maintenance for winters
Make very little noise, so no noise protection needed
By properly following instructions and safety measures, can be operated by any adult
Relatively easier to operate
Eco friendly
Best for home use
Easy to store inside the house
Lower cost, compared to gas pressure washers
Smaller and lighter (some are just 6 kgs), so easier to handle
Safer and easier to handle
No worrying about refuelling or storing fuel
No hassle about oils etc.
No fumes
No noise
No need to handle inflammable fuel etc.

What’s not so great

Cannot do the heavy duty cleaning like sidings, large decks, driveways, boats and large patios
Cannot clean very difficult to remove dirt that require maximum cleaning power
Have to be connected through a power cable at all times
Movement limited by the length of the power cable (though most models have very long cables)

What’s bad

Some models cannot be operated by plugging into an extension board

Who should choose an electric pressure washer:

If you plan to do cleaning in and around your home, the electric one is best for you. The things that it will be able to clean are - grills, patios, decks, cars, motor bikes, bicycles, tires, small boats, trailers, lawn mowers, fences, walls, outdoor furniture, plastic play sets, garden decor, barbecues, mailboxes, awnings, swimming pools, walkways and driveways, amongst much more. If you are the lady of the house and want to tackle these cleaning jobs yourself, an electric pressure washer will be a better choice. It is smaller and easier to handle. If you live in a small to medium sized house with a small driveway, and not too large patio and deck, and you plan to clean every once in while, and don’t foresee very regular pressure washing.

Gas Pressure Washers Are A Great Choice:

What’s great

They are more powerful
They are very mobile, and can be moved around anywhere
They can handle the toughest cleaning jobs
They are great for doing outdoor cleaning
You do not need a power plug nearby
You can do everything from light cleaning requirements (by reducing the pressure and using the right spray wand/nozzle) to cleaning large cement driveways and hard to remove grime and oil stains
You have the choice of doing domestic or professional cleaning
They are usually more durable and last longer
Gas pressure washers can take some rough handling for tough outdoor cleaning

What’s not so great

Cost more than electric pressure washers
Need fuel replenished regularly
Need more maintenance as they have more moving parts
Are quite noisy, so noise protection is required to operate them
You may also have to do fuel mixing and tune-ups
Cannot be used indoors as they give out fumes and odors
Need special care in winters and while storing
Since there is a separate engine there is need for pull starting
Have to be stored outside the house
Are heavier and need more strength to operate

What’s bad

They can cause carbon monoxide (a poisonous gas that cannot be detected) build up if used in a closed indoor area, and that can be very dangerous to health and even fatal.

Who should go for a gas pressure washer:

If you have to do regular cleaning, or if your house is large with a big driveway, or your garage has excessive oil staining, you should go in for a gas pressure washer. If you plan to do heavy duty cleaning of home sidings, large fences, remove graffiti from walls or prepare surface for painting then the gas pressure washer should be your choice. If you are sure that you need a much tougher and more powerful pressure washer, and are ready for the maintenance required, or if you are already using this type of equipment, then go for the gas one. Last but not the least if you want a really fine-tuned and powerful piece of machinery that will give you pleasure to operate, then go for a high PSI gas pressure washer.

Hey I am stopping here for now, and will publish the second part of this post very soon. We will get into the PSI, GPU and CU stuff, and you’ll be surprised just how easy it is to understand and interpret all of that jargon. Read the second part about electric pressure washers buy and use here - PART 2

Got to go and check out a baseball match at my kid's school now. 

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