The Difference Between Petrol and Electric PRessure washers

December 14, 2023 @ 12:40 am

The Difference Between petrol and electric pressure washers

You might be looking at buying your first pressure washer and are wondering what the difference between petrol & electric pressure washers.

Users have their own individual reasons for their preferences.

However, the general consensus is that electric pressure washers are better for small jobs or home use while petrol pressure washers are better at providing power for those extra big jobs or professional work.

The website tested the power output of petrol pressure washers against electrical pressure washers and their findings concluded that petrol powered pressure washers, using pressures up to 2,800 pounds of pressure per square inch (PSI) allowed “top-performing petrol/gas washers to clean a grimy concrete patio three times faster than the fastest electric washers”.

Similarly, petrol-powered machines were “up to 10 times faster at stripping vinyl paint” than electric washers.

However, they also found that petrol pressure washers needed more “caution and control” to avoid damaging wooden based furniture and similar surfaces.

Consumer said that petrol-powered petrol washers are better at cleaning decking, sidings/fencing and other larger parts of the garden.

Similarly, they come first when blasting away “gum, sap and tough stains”.

They are also superior at cleaning a “grimy concrete patio three times faster than their electric rivals.

Alternatively, testing found that using 1,300 to 1,700 psi, electric pressure washers were the best for cleaning small decking areas, patio, furniture, and other “lighter duty jobs” which needed “cleaning over stain removal”.

Should I buy petrol?

Consumer tests agree that petrol pressure washers are, on the whole, nearly twice as powerful as electric washers.

Petrol based pressure washers take less time to clean bigger areas and they are tough enough to live longer working lives than their electric counterparts. 

Critics say that petrol driven pressure washers are built with more robust components and are better at doing a “professional job”. 

Using petrol to fuel their engines, these generally larger and heavier pressure washers do not need electrical cables and therefore are not restricted to movement, or indeed to use on sites which provide power outlets. believes that “The no. 1 benefit of a Petrol Engine or Diesel Engine Pressure Washer is power!

The website adds that: “Engine driven pressure washers are usually more powerful than their electric counterparts. They are more powerful and as a result will allow you to work much faster” and challenges: “If you’re not sure about this, buy an electric one first and have a go!!”.

The general consensus among experts appears to be that, if you have huge outdoor areas to keep clean and well maintained and you don’t mind handling heavier machinery or you are considering incorporating professional power washing into your business model, then your best bet will be a petrol pressure washer.

DIY retail giant, UK-based, B&Q explains the benefits of petrol powered pressure waters on its website, saying: “Petrol-powered pressure washers are less common but come into their own if you have a larger garden or regularly need to use your washer away from home. You’re not tied to a power supply, ideal if you have a large garden. There’s also a reduced risk from trailing power cables which can be a plus. Naturally, you’ll need to have sufficient fuel to hand when you want to use it – invest in a sturdy fuel container to safely transport this.

Should I buy electric?

Electric motors mean that electric pressure washers are often less noisy than those powered by petrol or diesel. As an illustration, think about the difference in sound between an electric car on the road and a petrol or diesel version on the road.

In addition, electric pressure washers are smaller and more compact so can easily be stored in smaller, indoor areas. 

Electric pressure washers can even be used in indoor areas because they don’t have an exhaust or a petrol engine.

They are lighter to move around, easier to clean, and relatively easy to maintain in comparison to their petrol counterparts. 

Overall, electric motor-powered pressure washers are considered less noisy due to their electric engine.  They are easier to keep clean and fairly low maintenance.  

Other bonus points for electric pressure washers, also include the fact that they can be used in smaller indoor spaces, such as garages. On top of that, electric pressure washers are small enough to be stored indoors in cupboards or on shelves.

If purchasing cost is a serious factor when choosing a pressure washer which is just right for your household, then electrical pressure washers must be considered. They are generally a fraction of the cost of petrol pressure washers. Their structure and lightweight components, including some plastic implements, mean that prices can be kept down.

On its website, B&Q, adds this about electrical pressure washers:

 “They’re suitable for light to heavy-duty tasks, ranging from cleaning sports equipment up to large driveways. All you need to do is plug the mains unit into an outdoor power socket with RCD (residual current device) protection and away you go.” They add: “Your pressure washer is always ready for use, provided you’re within reach of a power supply. And don’t forget that an extension lead suitable for outdoor use (and protected from water splashes) can extend your working area.”


At the end of the day you should buy a pressure washer based on which one is best suited for your budget, job and lifestyle. Using one is simple whichever option you go for and having one at home is really a necessity for keeping your home clean. If you want to learn more about what a pressure washer can be used for you can view our handy how-to here.

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