Pressure washers usually come with a bunch of colored pressure washer tips or nozzles and the chances are you are not quite sure how to use them properly. Do the different colors mean anything? Which one is the right nozzle with the right cleaning power for the work you want to do? Do you have the perfect nozzle for the work? And, do you need to buy a connector? This guide explains everything you need to understand about pressure washer nozzles. We will also help you solve a few common issues with nozzles with troubleshooting tips to make your cleaning project go much faster.
The function of Pressure Washer Nozzles
To understand the function of pressure washer nozzles, it is important that you understand how they work in general. Your gas or electric pressure washer can only generate a high volume of water as long as it has the nozzle tip. The pressure washer nozzle tip works by limiting the flow of water so direct it out of a tiny hole which generates the pressure in the pressure washer. The nozzle on the wand tip of the pressure washer has the same effect as putting your finger on the opening of the garden hose has on the water flowing.
Different nozzles that come with the pressure washer have holes of different sizes through which they force the water out. The red-colored nozzle usually has the smallest hole hence the highest pressure stream while the black-colored nozzle has the largest hole so it hardly creates any pressure which is useful for soaping surfaces. Putting on the right pressure washer tip is critical to get the job done efficiently or you might fail to clean the surface or end up harming it.
The nozzle you pick affects the speed of your work. Nozzles with smaller holes give less spray area of water onto the surface. So, if you are using the pressure washer for stripping paint from a metal surface, the larger pressure washer tips would create thicker lines and the smallest nozzle will create a thin line. When you are using the smaller tips, it will take longer to clean the whole surface. Therefore, the lowest pressure nozzle is the right option to do most of the jobs. They allow you to finish the job faster.
Why to Choose the Right Spray Tip?
Using the spray tip that is too powerful for the surface you are using it on, you might end up damaging it. Whereas, if you pick the nozzle that is too weak, it might not make any impact at all. The best option is to start your work with a wider-angle nozzle and move up to a more intense nozzle if you need more pressure. This will limit the risk of you harming the surface.
Pressure washers that are designed for at-home use, usually come with a set of pressure washer nozzles that you will need at home. If you use the wrong nozzle, you could damage the washer or the tip. You may also get significantly lower or higher pressure than what the nozzle is designed for. So, make sure you use the right size nozzle for the safety of the surface and yourself.
Types of Pressure Washer Nozzles
Pressure washer tips come in seven main types. These types do not determine the size of the tips as one type of nozzle can have different size of the tips.
1. O Degree Red Tip 2. 15 Degree Yellow Tip 3. 25 Degree Green Tip 4. 40 Degree White Tip 5. 65 Degree Black Tip 6. Rotary Turbo Nozzle (Blue or Black Large) 7. Adjustable Pressure Washer Nozzles 8. Duct Cleaning Nozzle 9. Chemical Nozzle 10. Sewer Nozzle 11. X Jet Long Range Nozzle 12. Steam Spray Nozzle 13. Treaded MEG Nozzle
0 Degree Red Tip
The red tip is the most intense nozzle that gives a zero-degree spray. It is also called the cutting nozzle. It is the most powerful tip with high-pressure spray but it will take more cleaning time to get the job done as it doesn’t cover a lot of areas. It is most effective for spot treatments of rust on the tough stains on metal surface or caked-on grime. However, you need to be careful as the red tip can damage the soft surfaces, so try starting with a lower pressure tip. Additionally, check out these amazing steam cleaners for cars.
It comes with a quick-connect nozzle set. This tip is not suitable for most tile, concrete, plastic, vehicles, siding, or any other household surface. But, if you want to remove concrete stains, you may use the red tip if you have a good quality concrete and you are confident with your hold and if you direct the spray from a little far from the surface. Most homeowners may not have to use this tip ever. It is mostly used for cleaning industrial or construction equipment. You can use this tip for paint stripping as long as the surface is hard and solid enough for the pressure.
If you want to finish the job faster, you might want to switch to a rotary nozzle or a turbo nozzle pressure washer nozzle, that we have discussed in detail below.
15 Degree Yellow Tip
The yellow tip is a powerful nozzle as well. It is also referred to as the chiseling nozzle. It gives a thin 15-degree stream which is useful when you have to clean stubborn stains such as strip paint, grease, grime and rust removal from hard, metal surfaces. However, this tip is not suitable for siding, wood or other softer surfaces. Yellow tips are usually included in the quick connect set and are completely safe to use on concrete and metals and do a great job in cleaning them. You can also use this nozzle to prepare hard surfaces like concrete and metal by cleaning the stubborn stains for painting. It is the most useful single nozzle for paint stripping. However, avoid using it on drywall.
25 Degree Green Tip
This green tip is also known as the flushing nozzle and comes in the quick connect nozzle set. It is one of the most useful nozzles to do most of the household projects. It creates a 25-degree stream that combines a reasonable surface area with powerful pressure. It allows you to finish the job much faster than with the other tips discussed before. You can use it safely with thick kinds of vinyl, harder woods, boats, vehicles, driveways, metal, stone, patios, decks and other surfaces. You can use the green tip as a leaf blower on your driveway for a satisfactory pressure wash.
The green tip is still dangerous for fragile surfaces and your skin, you might want to use it with care. It gives enough pressure to make chips or gouges in softer materials. Try testing with the lower pressure white tip before switching it to the green tip, especially when you are using your pressure washer on siding or vehicles. Furthermore, have a look at these delightful surface cleaners for cars and houses.
Also, the green tip is not suitable for washing a strong cleaning chemical off surfaces. Use the black nozzle to rinse the surface first and then switch back to the green tip.
40 Degree White Tip
The white power washer tip gives a 40-degree stream of spray pattern that is softer compared to other pressure washer tips. This white tip is also called the washing nozzle. However, it is still dangerous for sensitive surfaces and skin. The white tip may not have much power, but its wide spray makes it very convenient. It is just the right tip for cleaning soft items such as blinds, curtains, patio furniture, aluminum siding, windows, vehicles, and various types of fabrics.
But, you might want to be careful as the white tip can aggravate the faults in these items. For example, if you spray it on the chipped window, it might make it worse. If the white tip pressure is sprayed on the loose threads of blinds, it can pull the threads and make them worse.
65 Degree Black Tip
The blacktip is also known as the soaping tip. It gives a huge 65-degree gentle spray which is suitable to soap up almost any surface quickly. This is one of the most useful quicks connect nozzles. Before you start using this tip, make sure that the pressure washer can be used with detergent or soap, or any other cleaning solution you are using. However, be careful as soap or detergent can damage some pressure washers whereas other models have dedicated soap attachments making the process a lot easier and simpler.
Rotary or Turbo Nozzle
It is a pretty ingenious tip. It creates the pressure spray of the 0-degree red nozzle and combines it with a rotating head. This allows the turbo nozzle to cover a large surface area while giving the high pressure of the red tip. Most pressure washers may never come with turbo or rotary nozzles as it is a dangerous tool that just a few people will ever use in the house. Get to know more about the window cleaners.
But, if you are going to start a pressure washing business or you need a pressure washer for cleaning construction, industrial, farming or fishing equipment, you may have to purchase this turbo nozzle. Be mindful that the turbo nozzle is a powerful tip and helps you finish work faster than the red tip. However, using a weaker tip instead of the turbo nozzle is ideal if it is possible.
Turbo nozzle or rotary nozzle is a hybrid of red tip and green tip pressure washer nozzle. It directs the water on the surface with the force of the red tip nozzle and rotates with a 25-degree spray area similar to the 25-degree tip pressure washer nozzle. It has a pulsing action due to the rotating water jet at 1800-3000 rpm which makes a round cone shape when it hits the surface.
To pick the right turbo nozzle, you simply have to match the grade of the turbo nozzle with the pressure washer you are using. You can choose from a consumer-grade, medium grade or professional turbo nozzle. Choose the orifice size. Turbo nozzle page has a chart with which you can align the right turbo nozzle with the compatible water pressure. Usually, consumer-grade pressure washers give maximum pressure of about 2400 PSI. For this, a small sized turbo nozzle with an orifice of 3.0 will be suitable. You can use the same orifice with the professional grade power washer by using a thicker turbo nozzle or you can use a larger orifice.
Pressure washer adjustable nozzle, as the name suggests, is a single tip that allows you to adjust the sprays according to your need. You can adjust it from 0 to 65 degrees even while the pressure washer is still running. All you have to do is turn the nozzle to change the spray pattern.
The adjustable pressure washer nozzle is also known as hi/low pressure variable nozzle. It is usually used for industrial purposes. It generates a spray with pressure ranging from 2500 to 4000 PSI. You can spray a combination of soap and water at different pressures. Typically, if you are going to use soap for cleaning, you will have to adjust spray pattern to low pressure and if you are going to use just water, you can switch it to high pressure to rinse off the soap.
Do remember to read the instructions carefully before you start to use them. This adjustable pressure washer tip does not come with most power washers, but you can find one that fits your pressure washer from any hardware store.
Duct Cleaning Nozzle
The duct cleaning pressure washer nozzle sprays with a pressure of 3000 to 5000 PSI ensuring maximum cleaning. It gives a 360 degree spray and has adjustable arms that allow it to reach different spraying angles. As the name suggests, it is designed to clean vents and ducts. These pressure washer spray tips are designed with corrosion or rust-resistant materials and they are suitable to be used with both cold and hot pressure washers.
Chemical pressure washer nozzle is usually used when you want to mix some cleaning chemical with the water. They come with both a threaded connect system and quick connect system. Sometimes, they come with a larger outlet as larger outlets reduce the water pressure. These nozzles often feature a wide angle that gives an even combination of water and cleaning chemical. Check out these amazing pressure washing nozzles at Amazon.
These nozzles are especially designed with compact size that allows you to reach the corners in pipes. They give spray with a maximum pressure of up to 8000 PSI and are ideal for cleaning drains, sewers, tubes, hydro drilling, pipes and much more. Sometimes they have a rotating ability to give added agitation for surface cleaning.
X Jet Long Range Nozzle
These spray nozzles are useful when you have to clean surfaces that are a little out of reach such as second-story window glasses, ceilings, sidings and other surfaces while standing on the ground. This nozzle gives an easy projection of high-pressured water, soap and chemicals. X jet long range nozzle comes in handy when you are unwilling to use a ladder. It gives a pressure ranging from 2000 to 5000 PSI.
Steam Spray Nozzle
These Nozzles are designed to be used with hot water pressure washers. It is used for disinfecting surfaces, removing moisture and getting rid of oil. They come with a narrow and wide spray nozzle that allows better cleaning. Steam spray nozzles can also be used as sandblast power washer heads as they givruste a precise flow rate which generates a good concentration and spray angle.
Threaded MEG Nozzle
Threaded MEG nozzles are threaded at the tip. These patterned threads are designed specifically for double lances and MEG tips. The threading ranges in different sizes from ⅛ to ¼ inches. Usually, these nozzles come in handy when you have to clean dust from surfaces. They use sandblast power washer heads or in spinning dust cleansers
Different Types of Nozzle Materials
Pressure washer nozzles come in different materials such as; plastic, stainless steel and brass.
Most pressure washers designed for at-home use usually come with nozzles with out of sturdy plastic. Though plastic nozzles are not as strong as other materials, they are a lot cheaper than brass and stainless steel. Also, plastic nozzles do not rust.
Brass Soap Nozzle:
Brass is stronger and more expensive than plastic, but it is weaker and cheaper than stainless steel. It offers less chemical resistance than plastic. It is designed to help you clean without the fear of getting a clogged nozzle which is one of the most common pressure washer problems. Typically, the maximum pressure you can get from it is 500 PSI. It comes with a recessed opening that provides damage and wear protection. It is perfect for dispense soap and foam. The chemicals and soap are included in small quantities to make the high pressure feasible and give the best cleaning results. In addition to applying soap, this pressure washer nozzle is used for rinsing and applying wax and many more.
Stainless Steel Nozzles
Stainless steel nozzles are much stronger than plastic and brass nozzles. These nozzles offer more protection to chemicals therefore they are used with commercial pressure washers who need to use chemicals in their power washers. These pressure washer nozzles are available in tips from zero to 65 degrees angle and maximum pressure up to 4000-5000 PSI that can clean almost anything. The stainless steel pressure washer spray nozzles are designed to withstand rust or cracking so they last for a long time. They provide precision that allows you to control flow rates precisely. Their openings are also recessed which protects them from damage. Moreover, one can also buy pressure washer nozzles online.
What Else Affects the Nozzle Stream?
While you pick the nozzle according to the pressure you want to get, it is crucial to note that if you move the stream closer to the surface, it will create more pressure and if you move it further away from the surface, it will reduce the pressure. Keeping at a consistent distance from the surface while cleaning with a pressure washer is an important skill to develop.
Most of the nozzles are interchangeable but many are not. If your pressure washer came with a set of quick-connect nozzles, they are all safe to use on your power washer as they are specially designed for that model. However, if you have to purchase a new nozzle for your pressure washer, you need to ensure that they are of the right size and go perfectly on your power washer. For instance, the most common quick-connect sizes are ⅜ inch and ¼ inch. Make sure to read the user’s guide of your pressure washer to see which size is suitable for your washer or you can use the nozzles that came with your power washer to compare their sizes with the nozzles you are buying. Nozzles usually have their sizes mentioned on them which makes it a lot easier to find the right one you need.
Finding the right tip is important because if the tip is too small, you might end up damaging the engine of the pressure washer. Also, with a smaller tip, the stream will be a lot stronger than you usually require and using a tip that is too large, the stream will be weaker than you wanted.
How to Prevent Pressure Washer Nozzles from Damaging?
After you have invested in the right pressure washer nozzles, it is important that you take cautions to make sure you get the most out of them while keeping them in good shape. Here are some tips for maintaining the nozzles so that they keep working for a long time. Nozzles of pressure washers are the favourite places for dirt and debris to get stuck in and build up, therefore, they need occasional cleaning out.
To clean the nozzle, start by detaching the tip from the washer and use a specially designed wire brush to clean the tip. Let garden hose water run through the tip from the opposite direction to rinse it completely and attach it back with the power washer unit to have it running perfectly.
Kenneth Cutler is the founder and head editor at Clean My World. Based in California, he has been writing about home cleaning and cleaning appliances for quite some time and various major brands such as Miss Mill Mag and Lifestyle Magazine. Over the years, Kenneth Cutler has reviewed thousands of vacuum cleaners and other related home appliances and products. This enabled him to develop a unique insight into what makes a good vacuum cleaner. He keeps an eye on the market trends and USA regulations. Apart from talking about cleaning stuff, he likes to play music and enjoys live concerts.