Electric pressure washers are very good for light-duty residential cleaning tasks. They provide decent cleaning power without the noise, fumes, and maintenance of gas models. However, electric pressure washers have lower PSI, GPM, and duty cycles than similar gas models. So they may struggle with some heavy-duty cleaning jobs. In this blog post, we’ll take an in-depth look at this type of pressure washer to help you decide if they make sense for your cleaning needs.
How Electric Pressure Washers Work
Electric pressure washers are powered by an electric motor rather than an internal combustion engine like their gas-powered counterparts. The electric motor spins a pump at high speeds to generate water pressure. Many residential electric pressure washers can produce between 1,300 and 2,000 PSI (pounds per square inch) of pressure. Commercially rated electric models may reach up to 4,000 PSI.
The pressurized water travels through a high-pressure hose to a spray wand or other attachment. When you pull the trigger on the wand, the powerful stream of water blasts out to clean the target surface. Electric pressure washers require an outlet to plug into, while gas models can operate anywhere.
How Effective Are Electric Pressure Washers?
Electric pressure washers with around 2,000 PSI and 1.5-2 GPM are moderately effective at cleaning homes, vehicles, outdoor furniture, decks, and other residential surfaces. Their cleaning ability is hindered on tougher commercial projects requiring more continuous high-pressure blasting. Overall, electric pressure washers work well for consumer cleaning tasks when used properly.
Benefits of Electric Pressure Washers
Electric pressure washers provide a number of advantages over gas models:
- Quieter operation – The electric motor runs very quietly compared to the loud noise produced by gas engines. This makes electric models better for residential settings.
- Lower maintenance – Electric motors have fewer parts and don’t require regular oil changes or air filter cleanings.
- Lightweight – Without a bulky engine, electric pressure washers tend to weigh much less, making them easier to maneuver.
- Eco-friendly – Electric models don’t create emissions or require gasoline.
- Lower operating costs – Electricity is generally a cheaper fuel source compared to gas.
- Safer – There’s no risk of toxic fumes or carbon monoxide poisoning that exist with gas engines.
Power and Performance
The biggest downside of electric pressure washers is lower power and cleaning ability compared to similar gas models. The electric motor provides less torque and needs to be paired with a lighter-duty pump. Here’s how electric pressure washers compare to gas:
- PSI – Electric pressure washers in the consumer range top out around 2,000 PSI, while gas models may reach over 3,000 PSI. However, PSI isn’t everything. The volume of water (GPM) also affects cleaning ability.
- GPM – Gallons per minute measures water volume. Electric pressure washers deliver 1.5 to 2 GPM. Gas models provide 2 to 4 GPM. More GPM equals better cleaning, especially for tough jobs.
- Temperature – Gas pressure washers can heat water up to 200°F to improve cleaning power. Electric models deliver ambient temperature water.
- Duty cycle – This spec indicates how long a pressure washer can operate under load before overheating. Electric models have a 30% to 50% duty cycle compared to 50% to 80% for gas.
While electric pressure washers can’t match the absolute power of gas models, they still generate plenty of pressure and flow to handle residential cleaning tasks. You’ll just need to work in smaller sections rather than clean large areas continuously.
Best Uses for Electric Pressure Washers
Electric pressure washers work well for light-duty residential cleaning projects such as:
- Washing cars, trucks, boats, ATVs, RVs, trailers, etc.
- Cleaning decks, fences, patios, driveways, sidewalks
- Removing mold and mildew from siding, brick, stucco, tile, etc.
- Cleaning outdoor furniture and barbecues
- Stripping paint and stain from wood surfaces
- Cleaning tools, machinery, engines, shop equipment -Removing grease and grime from concrete
For heavy-duty commercial projects, a gas pressure washer is a better choice. But an electric model can still tackle many tough jobs with the right detergent and some elbow grease.
Will An Electric Pressure Washer Clean Concrete?
Yes, an electric pressure washer can effectively clean concrete surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and patios when equipped with the proper nozzle and cleaning agents. Models with at least 2,000 PSI provide sufficient pressure to remove dirt, grime, mold, and mildew from concrete. Avoid using narrow high-pressure tips that can damage concrete.
What Are The Cons Of Electric Pressure Washers?
Some downsides and limitations of electric pressure washers include lower power and duty cycles than gas models, cord length restrictions, lack of hot water capabilities, and inability to use generators for remote operation. Frequent use can cause early wear on components. But electric pressure washers work well for most homeowners’ light-duty cleaning needs.
Is It Better To Get An Electric Or Gas Pressure Washer?
Electric pressure washers are generally a better choice than gas models for most homeowners. They provide adequate residential cleaning ability while being much quieter, lighter, easier to maintain, and more eco-friendly. Gas pressure washers have more power but are overkill for basic household tasks.
Investing just a little more for a model with extra power, features, and attachments is worth it for easier cleaning.
Choosing the Best Electric Pressure Washer
You’ll need to consider several factors when selecting an electric pressure washer:
- PSI – Look for models in the 1,300 to 2,000 PSI range for the best cleaning ability. Industrial-grade electric pressure washers may reach up to 4,000 PSI.
- GPM – Choose a washer with at least 1.5 GPM. Higher is better for tough jobs.
- Hose length – 25-50 feet is suitable for most residential tasks. Go longer if you’ll be working on a large property.
- Power cord length – At least 35 feet enables access to cleaning projects at a distance from your outlet.
- Detergent tank – Models with a built-in tank allow you to apply soap and cleaners as you pressure wash.
- Attachments – Look for multiple nozzles, a patio cleaner, brush, and other handy attachments.
- Wheels – For maneuverability across your property, never lift your pressure washer. Choose a model with wheels.
- Brand – Stick with major brands like Sun Joe, Greenworks, Ryobi, Generac, or AR Blue Clean that are known for quality and reliability.
Top Electric Pressure Washer Picks
Here are some of the best electric pressure washers currently available at different price points and capabilities:
- Greenworks 1500 PSI 1.2 GPM – $99
- AR Blue Clean AR383 1,900 PSI 1.5 GPM – $119
- Sun Joe SPX1000 1450 PSI 1.45 GPM – $124
These budget-friendly models provide decent cleaning power for basic residential washing tasks. Limited PSI and GPM restrict their cleaning ability for tougher jobs.
- Sun Joe SPX3000 2030 PSI 1.76 GPM – $159
- AR Blue Clean AR390SS 2,000 PSI 1.6 GPM – $199
- Greenworks Pro 2300 PSI 1.7 GPM – $199
With right around 2,000 PSI, these moderately-priced electric pressure washers pack plenty of punch for most household cleaning projects. Their extra GPM improves cleaning efficiency.
- Sun Joe SPX4000 2030 PSI 1.76 GPM – $279
- Generac SpeedWash 2900 PSI 2.4 GPM – $329
- Greenworks Pro 2800 PSI 2.3 GPM – $399
The premium models deliver maximum electric power in the 2,000+ PSI and over 2 GPM range. They can handle heavier-duty jobs with their beefed-up specs.
Do Electric Pressure Washers Need Maintenance?
Electric pressure washers require minimal maintenance compared to gas models. There is no oil to change or air filters to clean. It’s still important to check and replace worn parts like pumps, hoses, nozzles and O-rings. Proper winterization is also needed in cold climates to avoid freeze damage.
Pressure Washer Safety Tips
While very useful, pressure washers also come with risks. The powerful spray can damage surfaces if used carelessly and cause injuries if safety precautions aren’t followed. Here are important tips for safely operating an electric pressure washer:
- Always read and follow the owner’s manual for safe usage.
- Wear closed-toe shoes, long sleeves, eye protection, and rubber gloves.
- Make sure your work area is clear of debris that could turn into dangerous projectiles.
- Check for and repair leaks in hoses, fittings, wands, and connections.
- Be extremely cautious using ladders or scaffolding to avoid falls.
- Don’t point the wand at people, animals, electrical sources, or yourself.
- Maintain good footing and don’t overextend when aiming the wand.
- Turn off and depressurize the unit before changing attachments.
- Keep children and pets well away from your work area.
- Avoid contact with hazardous chemicals and cleaning agents.
Pressure washing is extremely satisfying work when done safely and correctly. It provides an efficient means of cleaning all kinds of exterior surfaces. Electric pressure washers offer a convenient, quieter, and more eco-friendly alternative to gas models for most homeowners and residential cleaning jobs. Follow the tips and recommendations above to select the best electric pressure washer for your needs.
For professional pressure washing around North and Central Georgia, contact Sullins Suds Pressure Washing today!