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Guide for Choosing the Right Pressure Washer Nozzle Tips

Guide for Choosing the Right Pressure Washer Nozzle Tips

Picking the right spray tips for your pressure washer is essential to clean stuff properly without messing up your surfaces, like your car's paint or windows. In this guide, JPT shares his experience with pressure washer spray nozzles to help you learn.

We hope it makes it easier for you to understand how to choose the right tip for your pressure washer and your job. Follow these simple rules, and your pressure washer will work better and last longer.

The Different Types of Pressure Washer Nozzles Tips

See this image that illustrates the pressure washer nozzle for easy understanding.

Different Types of Pressure Washer Nozzle Tips

5 Colors for 5 Different Types of Spray Nozzle Tips

Most pressure washer tips follow a color code that helps you understand their characteristics. The color indicates the angle of the nozzle's opening, determining the width of the water fan and, consequently, the pressure and speed it delivers.

A lower angle, like 0°, means a more robust water jet, while a more comprehensive angle results in a gentler cleaning action.

Here are the color-coded pressure washer tips:

Red Tip: 0°

  • The red spray tip produces a concentrated water jet over a tiny area due to its 0° angle.

Yellow Tip: 15°

  • Yellow spray tips cover a wider area with a 15° fan width, providing a strong water jet.

Green Tip: 25°

  • Green nozzles, with a 25° fan width, are commonly used at home. They clean areas faster with a medium-power jet.

White Tip: 40°

  • White spray tips have a 40° fan width, producing a very gentle spray over a wide area.

Black Tip: 65°

  • The black nozzle has a 65° fan width and a wider opening, resulting in minimum water power and a wide spray.

Understanding these color-coded tips helps you choose the right one for your cleaning needs, balancing power and gentleness.

2 Special Pressure Washer Nozzles Tips

Additionally, two types of nozzles do not follow a color code:

Turbo/Rotary Nozzle:

Turbo or rotary nozzles are efficient and favored by some users. They combine the force of a 0° jet with the spray area of a 25° nozzle. These nozzles operate by rapidly rotating the 0° water jet at speeds ranging from 1800 to 3000 rpm, creating the effect of a direct 25° spray.

Variable/Adjustable Nozzle:

Variable/adjustable pressure washer tips are versatile nozzles that allow you to adjust the fan width according to your needs.

Understanding these additional nozzle types expands your options for achieving the desired cleaning results.

Which Type of Pressure Washer Nozzle Tips for Which Cleaning Jobs?

0° Red Tip:

Red pressure washer nozzle tips are not commonly used because they cover a small area and provide intense pressure, which is too much for typical cleaning tasks. However, their powerful and direct water jet is suitable for:

  • Removing stains in sidewalk/driveway crevices or hard concrete.
  • Addressing high and hard-to-reach stains.
  • Tackling rust.

15° Yellow Tip:

Yellow pressure washer nozzle tips are ideal for medium stripping. It can be used to:

  • Clean concrete, brick, and hard porous surfaces.
  • Remove tough stains and oil.
  • Strip paint or prepare surfaces for painting.

25° Green Tip:

Green pressure washer nozzle tips are suitable for cleaning:

  • Cars, boats, bikes.
  • Wood, painted surfaces, fences, patios, driveways.

40° White Tip:

White pressure washer nozzle tips with their gentle spray are excellent for cleaning delicate surfaces such as:

  • Blinds, windows.

65° Black Tip:

Black pressure washer nozzle tips function as soap nozzles and are used with detergents.

Turbo Nozzle:

Turbo pressure washer nozzle tips are employed for cleaning tasks similar to red nozzles but designed for broader surfaces and stains. 

The Size of the Nozzle Orifice Matters

A pressure washer consists of a gas engine or electric motor that powers a pump, pistons, and check valves. Just before the hose, there's an unloader—or unloading valve.

The unloader redirects or recirculates water through the pump when it reaches a pre-set pressure. This creates a water cushion to prevent damage to the pump. The unloader is a spring-loaded device that opens one route for water to the hose or the pump and closes the other simultaneously. The unloader undergoes the most wear and tear in a pressure washer.

Matching your spray tips to your pressure washer pump is crucial. If the information is too big or too small for the pump, you won't get the expected pressure, and the unloader won't function as designed. This can lead to a shorter life for the unloader and potential damage to the pump, pistons, or check valves.

Let's use an example to explain this further:

Imagine you've correctly attached the green tip designed for your pressure washer, resulting in a 2500 psi by-pass pressure and a 1500 psi operating pressure.

Now, if you use a green tip that is too small for your pressure washer, the by-pass pressure remains 2500 psi, but the operating pressure increases to, let's say 2000 psi. This upsets the balance in the unloader, which was designed to close at 1500 psi but is now closing at 2000 psi. This pressure difference can wear out the springs inside the unloader faster.

Conversely, using a green tip that's too large maintains the by-pass pressure at 2500 psi, but the operating pressure drops to, say, 1000 psi. Now, the operating pressure is too low.

This example highlights why it's crucial to use the right size of pressure washer tips. While the color code is a guide, different pressure washer models may require specific recommendations calibrated to the pump for proper performance.

How to Choose the Right Pressure Washer Nozzle?

If you're not sure which spray nozzle to use, follow these easy steps:

  1. Make sure your nozzles match your pump.
  2. Start with the broadest nozzle or use a 25 or 40° one to be safe and avoid damaging surfaces.
  3. Test on a small area first to see how it works.
  4. Keep a reasonable distance and move closer if you need to.
  5. Switch to a more robust nozzle if you're close but not getting enough power.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you get the results you want.

By doing these steps, you can choose the proper nozzle for your pressure washer and clean it effectively and safely.

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