When you buy a set of pressure washing tips, you’ll notice they come in different colors. Why is this? What does the color of a tip mean? Today, we clear up what these different colors mean, and why they are so important to pressure washing properly!
What Do the Colors of Pressure Washing Tips Mean?
The different colors of the tips indicate the angle of the spray fan pattern that will come out when you turn on your pressure washer.
When your water and detergent mixture moves through the gun or lance, it fills the space. When it gets to the end, the tip you choose to use determines the final pressure and pattern that the water has for use in the cleaning application. These can range from round jets, to soft and wide fans of spray.
The colors of pressure washing tips are simple, easy ways to quickly identify the output you’ll get for them. Different colors reduce the amount of time spent making a decision, and also let you know you’ve got the right tip for the task with only a glance.
Different Spray Patterns for Different Purposes
So why do we need to differentiate?
Well, different patterns serve different purposes. Without a nozzle, you would only get one type of stream out of your spray gun or lance – full bore and direct! The nozzles allow you to use the right spray pattern for the right purpose. So what spray patterns do different colored nozzles have?
Red nozzles are 0-degree nozzles. These are powerful, direct nozzles that provide a focused stream of high-pressure water. This is used on heavy, ground-in stains and dirt, and should be used sparingly. It can easily damage siding and lighter surfaces!
Yellow nozzles are 15-degree nozzles, built for use in heavy-duty pressure washing. If you’re looking to clean a messy concrete pad, a garage, or a sidewalk, this is the nozzle to use. Perfect for knocking off caked on dirt, although you need to be cautious as it can damage paint if used too close.
Green nozzles are 25-degree nozzles, and are great for use in general cleaning applications. Hard stone, brick, concrete patios, decks, and outdoor furniture are all easier to clean with this moderate-pressure, somewhat focused spray fan.
White nozzles indicate a 40-degree spray fan. By producing a wider fan with less pressure behind it, these nozzles can be used with more fragile surfaces, or objects that you could be concerned with blowing away by the pressure. From vinyl house siding, to stucco walls, to patio furniture, it is perfect for light cleaning and even just rinsing off soap or detergent.
Black nozzles, also sometimes referred to as soap nozzles, have a wide 65-degree fan. This creates a wide, gentle stream, which also helps to increase pressure within the hose. This pulls detergent from the detergent tank, and makes it easy to apply soap quickly and widely.
What the Colors DON’T Mean
There are enough specs that are part of selecting a tip that, for some people, they assume that the colors mean more than they do. We heard them all over the years. Here’s what the colors DO NOT indicate:
- Orifice size
- Usage purpose
- Gallons per Minute (GPM)
- What chemicals they are safe for
- Specific surfaces they should be used on
There are a number of misconceptions for the coding over the years, and we feel the need to drive it home – all the color of a pressure washer tip indicates is the spray angle.
Finding the Right Tips to Use with Your Pressure Washer
Choosing the right color of the pressure washing nozzle is only part of the process of getting the best wash with your pressure washer.
You need to make sure that you are using a nozzle that is rated properly for your pressure washer itself. Nozzles are manufactured to work with specific PSI ratings and pump power.
You can find the nozzle specs by looking for the stamping on the side of the nozzle. It should be a five-digit number – for instance, 25035. This is a combination of the fan pattern and nozzle size. In this case, it indicates a 25 degree fan pattern, and is a size 3.5 nozzle.
So what happens if you’re using the wrong size? Well, a nozzle that is larger than specified for the machine will not produce the full pressure potential. This means it will take longer to accomplish the cleaning. For instance, if your machine is calling for a size 4.0 nozzle and you use a size 5.0, the power will be reduced by around 25% – you’ll get the job done, but it may take longer and may require more water or detergent.
On the other side, a nozzle that is smaller than specified will create more pressure behind the nozzle due to the smaller orifice but the same volume being pushed. Over a period of time, this resistance can cause increased wear and tear and potential pump failure. It’s important to make sure the nozzle size and the nozzle color are right for your washer and the job you’re doing!
Pressure washing and power washing equipment is made to be easy to use, that’s why the nozzles are color coded! Understanding why they are colored a specific way is key to making sure you get the job done, and done right!