Pressure Washer Nozzle & Tip Selection Guide (Chart Included)
The nozzle or the tip of a pressure washer is the attachment at the end of the spray wand. It determines the angle and power of the water that comes out of the pressure washer.
Now, why is this important?
Choosing the wrong nozzle can result in damage to the surface you’re cleaning or, on the other hand, can make your cleaning less efficient if you choose too weak of a tip.
Let’s take an example: say you use a tip that is very strong and pointed (like a 0° tip) and you are cleaning a wooden surface. There is a good chance that you will damage the wood because of how narrow and powerful the spray is.
Alternatively, using a 40° tip to clean a stain on a concrete surface would be inefficient since it is a weaker spray that comes out at a wide angle on a surface that isn’t likely to get damaged by a pressure washer.
This guide will go over how to choose the right pressure washer nozzle so your cleaning is as efficient as possible while also ensuring that there is no damage to your property.
Pressure Washer Nozzle Chart
Very high pressure, low flow
Stubborn grime & hard-to-reach areas. Only on tough surfaces.
High pressure, medium flow
Hard surfaces, heavy mildew stains, rust, oil stains, paint removal. Do not use on delicate surfaces.
Medium pressure, medium flow
Cleaning siding, brick, wood, driveways, etc.
Lower pressure, high flow
Gentle cleaning of cars, boats, patio furniture, etc.
For applying soap & detergent
An Overview of Pressure Washer Nozzles & Tips
Having different pressure washer nozzles gives you a lot of versatility in what you can clean. With the right tip, you can harness the full power of your pressure washer, when necessary, and have safer water flow if needed.
In general, if you aren’t sure which nozzle to use, you can test a few on a tough surface (like concrete, asphalt, brick, etc.) to get an idea of the type of water flow they produce. Once you see how the water hits the surface, you should be able to tell what the correct tip is.
You can also hold the nozzle further away from the surface you are cleaning at first then slowly get closer to figure out if it will cause any damage.
We want to help take the guesswork (and test work) out of the nozzle selection process, however, so we will go over what each is best for below.
Red Spray Nozzle (0°)
The red spray tip is the narrowest and most powerful nozzle available. The main benefit of the red nozzle is how powerful the water flow is. This is the best choice for small, yet deep, stains.
On the downside, the stream is so concentrated that it’s inefficient for cleaning anything besides very small spots. If you need to clean an entire sidewalk, patio, or side of a house, you’re better off choosing a nozzle with a wider angle.
It’s important to remember that the 0° red tip may be too powerful for soft or delicate surfaces like wood, cars, and furniture.
Here are some use cases and surfaces that suit the 0° red nozzle:
- Unpainted metal like tools, utensils, etc
Yellow Spray Nozzle (15°)
The yellow tip makes the water have a 15° angle. What this means is that the yellow nozzle covers more area than the red one, but delivers lower pressure.
Despite delivering lower pressure than the 0° nozzle, this nozzle is still considered heavy-duty. It is still a good option for cleaning deep stains like oil, rust, etc.
As with the red nozzle, it is not recommended for use on softer surfaces like wood. However, the chances of damage to your property with this nozzle are much lower, unless the tip is held very close to the surface.
Here are some use cases and surfaces that suit the yellow 15° nozzle:
- Rusty surfaces
- Cleaning surfaces before painting
- Removing caked mud
- Cleaning farm equipment
- Cleaning vehicle tires
Green Spray Nozzle (25°)
The green 25° spray nozzle is a well-balanced, all-purpose tip. The wider spray will allow you to clean faster than narrower nozzles while still maintaining decent power. When used with care, it is a good tip option to clean boats and cars as well.
You may find that the green nozzle isn’t great at removing very deep stains, but in general, it should be good for a variety of cleaning jobs.
Here are some use cases and surfaces that suit the green 25° nozzle:
- Boats and cars
- Vinyl siding
White Spray Nozzle (40°)
The white 40° nozzle is a wider, gentler spray tip. It’s designed for milder uses that do not require too much pressure or are very delicate.
The wider spray covers a much larger surface area and can help accomplish tasks quicker than other nozzles when there isn’t very deep grime.
Let’s take a look at some uses cases that suit the use of a white 40° nozzle:
- Painted brick
- Painted siding
- Flower pots
Soap Nozzle (Black or Blue)
The soap nozzle is a 65° tip which has the gentlest throw of all options. The nozzle is designed to apply detergent/soap on surfaces and can be used on all kinds of surfaces.
The nozzle is designed to decrease the velocity of water and increase the pressure, creating a suction force for the detergent to be pulled through the pressure washer and onto the surface you’re cleaning.
This nozzle is commonly used with other tips that finish the cleaning task after detergent application.
This special, high-pressure nozzle produces a circular spray with an angle of 15° to 25°.
Water enters the turbo nozzle at 0° but the spinning jet inside causes the water to hit the surface as a circular, rotating blast that is great for deep cleaning in an efficient manner.
Turbo nozzles are often included with the pressure washer or can be purchased as a separate accessory.
Due to the high-pressure water throw, it is important to use this tip with caution. It is not suitable for softer surfaces and is likely to damage them if used directly on them.
Use cases and surfaces that suit the turbo nozzle are the same as the 0° tip:
- Unpainted metals like tools, utensils, etc
- Stubborn stains on tough terrains like sidewalks
Other Types of Pressure Washer Nozzles & Tips
Beyond the usual tips that come with most pressure washers, there are other attachments that can add to the cleaning versatility of your machine. These often have special use cases that the normal tips aren’t great for.
Long-range nozzles come in a telescopic design that increases your reach while applying soap or rinsing.
For example, you could use the farther throw of this nozzle to apply soap on high windows or rinse off dirt high up on your siding.
It’s important to make sure your pressure washer has enough power to work with any long-range nozzle you are considering purchasing.
Rollover nozzles are an interesting choice for anyone that uses their pressure washer for a few similar tasks regularly. This tip allows you to attach two separate nozzles to the spray wand. With a simple rotation, you can switch from one tip to another.
For example, if you almost always use your pressure washer to wash your car, you most likely require a soap nozzle and a medium-pressure nozzle. You can simply attach a soap nozzle and a medium-pressure nozzle (such as 40° tip) to the rollover nozzle. Now you can keep switching without taking the effort to actually remove one tip and attach another.
Variable tips are an extension of the rollover nozzles. Instead of the two options that you can utilize with your rollover nozzle, the variable nozzle gives you the option to switch between 0°, 15°, 25°, 40°, and soaping with a simple rotation.
Some pressure washers come with variable nozzles when you purchase them but usually you’ll have to purchase this separately. If you use your pressure washer every week, getting a variable nozzle can help you save some time.
Second-story nozzles are a set of soaping and rinsing nozzles that increase your soaping and rinsing range. They reach all the hard-to-reach areas of your home and allow you to clean them with ease.
The first nozzle is a wider jet soaping nozzle that releases detergent in a wider yet powerful throw. The second tip delivers a jet spray that is suitable for rinsing the soap applied.
In case the area you want to cover with your pressure washer includes higher, hard-to-reach areas like high windows, or parts of your roof, this set will be a good addition.
A foam cannon is an attachment specifically designed to make your soap application process simpler and faster. Foam cannons provide you with a high-pressure detergent throw and they also come with an adjustable pressure setting.
Simply fill up the detergent tank with the soap and change the pressure setting as per your requirement during application. Using foam cannons not only reduces your workload but also helps with water conservation.
Surface cleaners are larger, dome-shaped attachments that allow you to quickly clean flat surfaces. Their diameters typically range from 10 to 24 inches. Surface cleaners make cleaning things like driveways, sidewalks, and patios much easier.
To learn more about surface cleaners and to see our favorites, check out our Pressure Washer Surface Cleaners Guide.
Choosing the Right Pressure Washer Nozzle
The various nozzle attachments available today can be used to provide a certain amount of versatility to your pressure washer. With a 0° tip, you can use a light-duty pressure washer to wash off stubborn stains that would otherwise not be within the pressure washer’s reach.
Given the variations in the water flow with different tips, it is important to use the right tip for the right application. Not choosing the right tip may not only make the job more difficult but may also cause damage.
Here are some general tips you should follow to find the right nozzle safely:
- Check to make sure the nozzles that came with your pressure washer or that you have the same degrees as mentioned above.
- Always check the manual that comes along with the tips or the pressure washer. These manuals usually give you the best use-case scenarios.
- If you don’t know which nozzle to use, start with the widest nozzle (typically the white 40° nozzle) and move to narrower nozzles until you find the right one.
- Test a nozzle from further away at first to reduce the strength (and the possibility of it causing damage).
- Test a nozzle on a small, hidden part of the surface you are cleaning first in case it causes damage.
- When unsure if a nozzle will cause damage, play it safe and go with the wider one.
- For all delicate surfaces that may break or get dented, DO NOT use the yellow or red nozzle.
- As a general rule, use the red and yellow nozzle only when you are aware that the surface to be cleaned is solid and tough.
- Get in the habit of keeping the white or green nozzle as the default nozzle for your pressure washer, especially if the pressure washer is used regularly. These are good for most jobs and aren’t likely to cause damage to most surfaces.
Cleaning Your Pressure Washer Tips
To get a sustained performance from your nozzles, it is important to maintain them. If your pressure washer nozzle is not performing as you expect, there is most likely an issue of clogging within the tip.
Unclogging and cleaning the nozzle tip on a regular basis can help fix the situation. The process is quick and easy as most pressure washers come with simple cleaning equipment.
Here are general steps that you can follow for cleaning your nozzles:
- Start by turning off the water supply to the pressure washer and then squeezing the trigger to remove any extra water within the high-pressure hose.
- Next, switch off the pressure washer to ensure that there is no danger of water gushing out of your pressure washer as you remove the nozzle.
- Remove the nozzle tip from the pressure washer spray wand. This can usually be accomplished by rotating the tip counter-clockwise or as instructed in the manual.
- Once you have detached the nozzle tip, it’s time to look into your pressure washer kit. Most pressure washer kits will have a wire or a similar unclogging device.
- Hold the wire from the knotted end that provides space for your finger. Once you have a steady grip, use the pointed end of the wire to push out the dirt in the nozzles.
- Once the unclogging process seems complete, wash the tip with some water to wash out any loose, remaining debris.
- Attach the tip to the wand once again and switch on the water pressure. If the water flows out as per expectation, the cleaning job is done.
- If not, repeat as necessary.