Pressure Washers ​are available with the pump operated by direct drive (the pump is connected to the motor/engine) and belt drive (just like it sounds,) the pump is turned with use of belts and pulleys).

Direct-drive Cons

  1. The pump is attached to the motor/engine.  Most small engines are designed to operate at 3200 – 3400 rpm, so the pump is operating at the same high rpm as the engine.  Many electric motors also operate a 3450 rpm.
  2. Most direct-drive units are built with mostly (sometimes only) the price in mind.  The intent is to shave off every penny possible to keep the price as low as possible.  Most pumps on direct-drive units are smaller than the belt-drive pumps, so they hold less oil and operate hotter.
  3. The pump life is much shorter than belt-drive units.
  4. Because of the higher rpm, the size of the piston is usually smaller, and the stroke is shorter.  The result is that the pump can’t draw water from a tank.

Direct-drive Pros

  1. Because they can be assembled faster with fewer and lower cost parts, the price is lower.
  2. Without belts and pulleys, the footprint is usually smaller, and the unit is lighter.

Belt-drive Cons

  1. They are a little heavier.
  2. They sometimes have a larger footprint
  3. They cost more.

Belt-drive Pros

  1. Using belts and pulleys, allows the pump to turn as low as 1/3 of the engine RPM, usually 900 to 1500 RPM.
  2. Because the manufacturer is building a higher quality, longer lasting unit, the pump is usually larger, holds more oil and runs cooler.
  3. They are designed for constant, heavy-duty use.
  4. They last longer.
  5. They can draw water from a tank.
  6. They cost less to maintain and usually have less down time.  
  7. Over the life of the unit, they cost less than to operate than direct drive.