Which Is A Better Belt Drive Or Direct Drive Pressure Washer?

Pressure washers are one of the most powerful and convenient machines mankind has ever made. With the best residential pressure washer you can clean your house in little time and make it as good as new. The quality of your pressure washer depends on the factor you consider while buying it.

Among other factors, choosing between belt drive and direct drive pressure washer is the most important one. If you are new to pressure washers, you would probably be thinking, which is better belt drive or direct drive pressure washer?

Which Is A Better Belt Drive Or Direct Drive Pressure Washer?

To get the right answer to your question you need to read this article carefully because in this article we will be telling you everything we know about belt and direct drive pressure washers. We will also help you decide which option is appropriate given your needs and requirements. First you need to know about both types, what they are made from and how they work.

Belt Drive Pump

Belt drive pumps have a pulley mounted on their shaft and the other pulley is on a powerful engine or motor. The pulley are driven with the help of one or more belts. In this pulley-belt mechanism the pump is isolated from the heat, the motor or the engine is dissipating, that way the pump is way cooler than direct drive pressure washer. Another convenient thing about pulley-belt pressure washer is that the pulleys and belts absorb all the vibration and reduces pump fatigue.

 Pressure washer with pulley-belt system runs at a much lower RPM (i.e. 900-1400 RPM) than direct drive pressure washer. Because of all these factors, belt drive pressure washer are perfect for heavy duty use, most heavy duty pressure washers have a belt drive pressure washer.

Belt drive pressure washer may be perfect for heavy duty use, they also have some flaws as well. The belt-drive pressure washers are less efficient because of the energy use in the friction between the belts and the pulleys. Another drawback of the pulley-belt pump is that they require maintenance more often.


  • Cooler than direct drive pressure washer
  • Lower RPM
  • Vibration is absorbed
  • Durable
  • Perfect for heavy duty use


  • Not so efficient
  • Require more maintenance

 Direct Drive Pump

The direct drive pump has a hollow shaft that slides into the drive shaft of engine. In direct drive pump, the flange is mounted on to the engine’s face or the shaft end of the motor. Since the pump and the engine are directly connected, the size of a direct drive pump engine is more compact and lightweight than belt-drive pressure washer.

The RPM of the pump is equal to the RPM of the engine, typically electric motor with direct drive pump have 3450 RPM or 1725 RPM. Another advantage of the direct drive pump is that, since they are compact, they require few parts and are cheaper.

There are some flaws in direct drive pump that makes them less likely to be used for heavy duty pressure washing tasks. Since the pump and engine are connected directly, the pump parts are frequently used, so with time they get more wear and tear and that results in decreasing the life span of the pump.

Another major flaw of the direct drive pump is that the vibration in engine is directly transferred to the pump. This decreases the pump’s ability to draw water from the tank, for that you will have to force the water into the pump using a hose.

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  • Compact and lightweight structure
  • Cheap
  • Efficient


  • Short life span
  • Cannot draw water from tank , you will have to use a hose

Final Verdict

Above was everything we knew about direct drive pressure washers and belt drive pressure washers. We hope you have read the article carefully and by now you know the differences between the two of them. If you are looking for the best residential pressure washer to clean your house easily and conveniently, we will recommend you to buy the direct drive pressure washer. If you want a pressure washer for heavy duty cleaning tasks, you should buy the best commercial pressure washer with belt drive pump.

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