Induction vs Universal Motor Pressure Washer: Which is Better?

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Induction vs Universal Motor Pressure Washer Which is Better
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When buying a gas pressure washer, we are often faced with one simple question: which is better, induction vs universal motor pressure washer?

With all the different features they offer and the functionalities that they have, it comes as no surprise that a lot of us have a hard time deciding which type of pressure washer to choose.

In this article, we will guide you in choosing which is the best pressure washer type, so that, once and for all, the matter is settled. Before we do that, though, allow us to define each one of them for you first.

What are Induction and Universal Motor Pressure Washers?

Induction motors are usually found on commercial-grade pressure washers that are used for heavy-duty cleaning.

On the other hand, universal motors are more common in small pressure washers that are more suitable for domestic use. However, both are commonly found in many models from known brand names.

While induction and universal motors differ in their construction, they both run on AC (universal can run on both DC and AC).

The main difference is that the induction motor’s rotor does not have to be connected using electrical connections.

A universal motor is also similar to DC motors. However, it has some modification that allows it to run on AC power.

Induction vs Universal Motor Pressure Washer

In addition to those differences, there are also other factors in which an induction pressure washer differs from a universal motor pressure.

Let us look at some these aspects to have a better understanding of which one to go for.

  • Size & Weight

In terms of size and weight, induction motors are bigger and heavier. Universal motors do not take too much space and are smaller in comparison.

Consequently, pressure washers that run on a universal motor are also smaller. An electric pressure washer with an induction motor would be much heavier and, therefore, less portable.

  • Power-Efficiency

Induction motors are more power-efficient in every way as they need less current to generate power. Moreover, they do not produce a lot of heat.

This is why they are ideal for commercial electric-powered pressure washers where the need for power is high.

In addition, the more power-efficient the motor is, the lesser the running costs.

  • Noise

The sound may not be a significant factor when it comes to choosing an electric pressure washer, but for some people, it is important.

The induction motor is much quieter in comparison to a universal motor, which can be quite noisy.

The induction motor has just one moving part, the rotor. The fact that it is a brushless motor means that it produces less audible sound.

On the other hand, universal motors have brushes that can create sound, and that is why the pressure washers that run on a universal motor are noisy.

Even though a universal motor is less powerful, its sound is higher than that of the brushless induction motor.

  • Speed and Torque

If we are to compare the speed between these two types of motors, the induction motor is slower. Universal motors are fast and are only slowed down by friction.

However, the speed of the motor should not play a big role in deciding which washer to go for.

Universal motors beat out induction motors in this case as they have high torque at start out. Induction motors, on the other hand, have a slower starting torque.

Yet, when it starts to cruise, the torque improves. Pressure washers having induction motors should not be stopped and started again frequently.

  • Lifespan

Induction motors run on less RPM and, generally, have a longer lifespan than universal motors.

Obviously, that makes it a no-brainer for commercial pressure washers that are used for heavy cleaning quite frequently. In fact, induction motors are very common for power tools and can easily last for years.

Universal motors can have a decent lifespan but not as long as that of an induction motor. They are likely to burn out and need repairs or replacement.

However, with proper maintenance, they may outlast your expectations. Even for a universal motor, the lifespan depends on its own parts and quality.

  • Cost

Induction motors are downright more expensive than universal motors. They require more materials like copper, steel, and aluminum.

Consequently, their cost directly affects the cost of the pressure washer. They are used in all the top-of-the-line electronics these days.

Universal motors are cheap and most commonly used in small power tools. They do not cost a lot to repair or replace. Obviously, that means that the pressure washer with a universal motor is going to be less pricey.

  • Standardization

This is another small difference between these two motors as induction motors are standardized by NEMA.

Since they are standardized, it is easier to replace them.

Universal motors have no standards and can be a little hard to replace by another maker’s motor if you cannot find one that is made specifically for your pressure washer brand.

The Verdict

The bottom line is that induction motors are used in heavy-duty pressure washers and universal motors in small, lightweight pressure washers.

Both have their own qualities that can help the user and, ultimately, make the pressure washer useful.

If you only need the pressure washer for occasional cleaning of floors and spaces in your house, a small pressure washer having a universal motor would be enough. It will be less costly, portable, and small.

The truth is that just because the motor is not as powerful as an induction motor does not mean it cannot get the job done. You can find many striking models with great reviews having a universal motor.

If you need an electric pressure washer for commercial purposes and heavy-duty washing, then opt for the washer that runs on an induction motor.

They may be big in size and costly but will make up for it in terms of power-efficiency and durability.

Additionally, you will not need to replace the motor or the washer for years, and it will provide the necessary power needed for big scale cleaning.

Your budget is also an important factor to consider as pressure washers with induction motors can be very expensive.

If you are not constrained by a particular budget, you may even choose an induction motor pressure washer for your home.

After all, they are quite powerful in comparison with small universal motor pressure washers.

In the end, when choosing between induction vs universal motor pressure washer, it all comes down to your needs and preferences as well as your budget.

However, you will find that most high-quality pressure washers from well-known name brands have an induction motor.

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Adam White is the founder and chief editor at He has years of experience from years of Gardening, Garden Design, Home Improvement, DIY, carpentry, and car detailing. His aim? Well that’s simple. To cut through the jargon and help you succeed.