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Renting vs Buying a Pressure Washer: What’s Right for You in 2021?

pressure washer

When you’ve got stubborn stuff to clean, a pressure washer is often the best and most efficient way. These powerful machines can easily get rid of caked-on messes that would take hours to scrub, and they can do it very quickly. You know that a pressure washer is the ideal tool for cleaning your driveway, deck, porch, siding, and more. The question is: should you rent one or buy it?

Your answer will depend on a few important factors, including the type of pressure washer you need and how often you plan to use it. To help you figure out which path is best for you, we’ve put together a few questions that should help to clarify your needs. Once you determine your needs, you’ll be able to make an easy decision, knowing exactly which choice is best for your situation.

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What Type of Pressure Washer Do You Need?

The first question you need to answer is what type of pressure washer you need. You can break these tools down into two main categories; electric and gas-powered.

Electric pressure washers are small and top out at just over 2,000 PSI. They’re inexpensive and don’t require much maintenance, but you’ll always need to be close to a power outlet to use one.

Gas pressure washers are big, loud, and often expensive. They need oil changes and frequent maintenance, plus winterizing when it starts to get cold. But these machines offer incredible cleaning power, putting out pressures well in excess of 3,000 PSI, and some models even heat the water.

So, which pressure washer will suit your needs best? For most around the home jobs and chores, an electric pressure washer will do fine. It’s great for cleaning off decks, siding, and even vehicles. For deep cleaning, a gas pressure washer is a better bet. It can eradicate years of dirt and filth in a few moments. And for professional use, a gas-pressure washer is generally the preferred choice.

How Much Does Renting a Pressure Washer Cost?

Now that you know which pressure washer can fulfill your needs, it’s time to compare some prices. You can rent either an electric or gas-powered pressure washer from any home center, but what does it cost to rent a pressure washer for the day?

Pressure Wash
Image Credit: Mark Schellhase, Wikimedia Commons

Generally, renting an electric sprayer will cost less than renting a gas-powered one. Plus, you won’t have to put any gas in it! For an electric sprayer, you’ll probably spend $40-$60 for one day’s rental. A gas-powered sprayer will likely cost a bit more; between $70-$100 for the day.

What’s the Cost of Purchasing a Pressure Washer?

Renting a pressure washer is pretty affordable, but how about purchasing one to own? You might be surprised to realize that electric pressure washers are quite cheap. Generally, you should expect to shell out about $100-$150 for a quality electric pressure washer. That said, there are models available for even less than $100.

Gas-powered pressure washers are an entirely different matter though. If you need the extra power that a gas pressure washer provides, you should expect to spend no less than $250.

But the purchase price is only part of the overall cost when considering a pressure washer. Thankfully, an electric pressure washer will require little to no maintenance, so there really aren’t any hidden costs. The same can’t be said for gas pressure washers though. These machines need regular maintenance, including changing oil, filters, spark plugs, and winterizing. If you’ve never maintained a small engine before, it might be a lot more work and expense than you expect.

How Often Will You Use Your Pressure Washer?

The next vital question you must answer is how often you’ll actually use a pressure washer. How many items around your home are dirty? Are they going to be clean once you wash them once, or will they require additional cleaning later in the year?

Remember, to truly compare the cost of renting versus buying, we have to know approximately how many rentals would be required throughout the year. This means that you have to guess how many times you’ll use a pressure washer over the entire year. So, consider all four seasons and the effect they have on your home, vehicle, deck, driveway, and more.

Should You Rent or Buy?

carwash using pressure washer
Image Credit: TheOtherKev, Pixabay

Now we’re down to the real question. Is it more beneficial to rent or purchase a pressure washer?

Let’s start with electric pressure washers. If you figure that it costs $50 to rent an electric pressure each time, then after three rentals, you’ve spent $150, plus the time and gas it takes for pickup and drop-off. And that’s just a single year. If you factor next year into the equation, you’ll be spending $300! Even at two rentals per year that’s still $100 for the first year and $200 by the end of year two.

We’ve already determined that you could feasibly purchase an electric pressure washer for about $100. So, if an electric pressure washer will fulfill your needs and you can see yourself using it at least twice this year, then purchasing one is the better option.

Things are different for a gas pressure washer though. On top of the purchase price, we have to figure in all the hassle and extra expenditure required to maintain the machine. At an average of $80 per rental, it would take four rentals to recoup the cost of an average gas pressure washer, though many are far pricier than this. Once you factor in the maintenance and upkeep, you’d need to rent five times in a year to make it more worthwhile to purchase.

So, unless you can see yourself renting that gas pressure washer five times this year, you’ll be better off just renting it.

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Conclusion

There are no right and wrong answers when it comes to deciding between purchasing and renting; only right and wrong for your situation. Answer the questions that we’ve outlined in this article, and you should know exactly which option is the best fit for you and your situation.


Featured Image: Virrage Images, Shutterstock

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