How to choose the correct nozzle for your pressure washer?
Often we get questions from homeowners and pressure washing business owners alike about nozzles and what size or type is best for their application. Today we will go over nozzle sizing, nozzle types, and nozzle uses.
The most common type of nozzles are color coded quick disconnect nozzles. These nozzles are available in a wide variety of sizes and spray patterns to fit a large range of cleaning applications. The colors of these nozzles denote the spray pattern but not the size of the nozzle.
Red nozzles are 0° spray pattern and are designed for cleaning only the toughest surfaces. This nozzle provides the maximum pressure your machine can offer. We do not recommend using this nozzle. It is easy to damage surfaces and also the risk of injuring yourself or others accidentally is increased when using this nozzle.
Yellow Nozzles are 15° spray pattern. These nozzles are great for cleaning strong and dirty areas like brick, concrete, block, rocks, and more. These nozzles can be damaging if held too closely, especially on softer materials like wood. We do not recommend using this nozzle on easily damaged surfaces.
Green Nozzles are 25° spray pattern. This nozzle works great for average everyday cleaning. Washing cars, outdoor equipment, painted wood, patio furniture and more all can easily be cleaned using this nozzle.
White Nozzles are 40° spray pattern. This is the lowest pressure available for rinsing and can be used on more delicate areas like wood, houses, glass, pool cages, and more.
Black Nozzles usually denote a "soaping" nozzle for your chemical injection. This nozzle will most generally be 65° spray pattern and will be a larger orifice size to lower pressure and draw a soapy mixture into your hose from your chemical injector line or tank.
When choosing a nozzle you should always select the nozzle that will provide the lowest pressure to still get the job done. You can easily swap to a more powerful nozzle if needed.
Nozzle size sets the pressure your machine can make so it is very important to get right.
When a pressure washer is sold it most generally comes with a set of correctly sized and color coded nozzles for that machine. Sometimes this isn't enough or one gets lost. When this happens you will need a replacement. We have a handy nozzle size calculator available at this link (NOZZLE SIZE CALCULATOR).
This calculator allows you to input the flow (GPM) of your pressure washer and the pressure (PSI) to find the correct nozzle size. Once you have the correct exact number you may need to round up one size if the number shown by the calculator isn't available.
Remember though, when choosing for a surface cleaner you usually have at least 2 nozzles. In this case you divide the recommended nozzle size by the number of nozzles to get the best size for you. For example, a 4 GPM pressure washer that needs to produce 4000 PSI would use a nozzle size of 4.0. If we have a standard 2 nozzle surface cleaner that would move your recommended nozzle size to 2.0. (4.0 GPM / 2 nozzles = 2.0)
Additional nozzle types
Many other nozzle types are available. These tend to be more like attachments than nozzles themselves. With this in mind we are going to be writing a follow up to this with information on things like the XJET, the turbo nozzle, and more.