Are Pressure Washer Tips Universal?

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The spray tip or nozzle on your pressure washer determines how well it can remove surface dirt. If you use the wrong tip, you could actually strip the paint or damage the surface. If you are going to replace the spray tip, it must be the correct type to ensure you get the best results.

Pressure washer spray tips follow a universal color coding scheme so you can pick the right one for the job. Green spray tips are the most commonly used for cars, patios, and general house cleaning.

Color is not the only factor to consider however. You also need to know the PSI and GPM of your pressure washer to get the cleaning right. This isn’t complicated though and picking the right nozzle is straightforward.

Quick note: spray tips and spray nozzles refer to the same thing. So are the terms pressure washer and power washer. Technically they are not the same but for general discussion the two are used interchangeably.

What Pressure Washer Tip Should I Use?

Most pressure washers are bundled with 3-4 nozzle tips, though some include special tips. The colors and degrees are universally followed. Pressure washers come with spray nozzles so you’ll know what to use.

Which type to work with depends on the task at hand. In majority of cases you will only use the green nozzle, maybe the white too. If you are renovating, the yellow tips might be useful as well. But red is almost never used for home and vehicle cleaning.

Table. Pressure Washer Spray Tips

Tip ColorDegreeBest Used ForCaution
Red0Removes rust, Cement marks, Caked mud on construction equipmentNot for home use
Yellow15Prepping surfaces for varnish or paint, Removes rustNot for wood
Green25For driveways, Cars, Patio furniture
White40Blinds, windows and other delicate surfaces
Black65Used for applying soap on surfaces prior to cleaning
Cleans outer walls, Siding, Railing, Decks, Concrete sidewalks
Foam Cannon
For boats, cars, siding and windows
AdjustableVaries from 0, 15, 25 to 40Removes mildew and dirt, Good for concrete and decks

Let us take a closer look at each color.

Red Pressure Washer Spray Tip

A red nozzle tip is mostly used at industrial or construction sites to remove dirt on bulldozers, trucks and other equipment. Red nozzles can also be used on tree sap, oil residue glue and other sticky substances.

The water comes out at zero degrees. Since it doesn’t spread out, the coverage is very limited and heavily concentrated.

Red pressure washer spray nozzles are rarely – if ever – used at home. Its coverage is too small to clean anything and the force will damage surfaces.

Yellow Pressure Washer Spray Tip

Yellow spray tips are often used to strip old paint and rust. It also gets rid of caked dirt on 4×4 vehicles and trucks.

This nozzle is too strong for general house cleaning, but it works well on ATVs, trucks and renovation projects.

Green Pressure Washer Spray Tip

This is the standard spray nozzle used for house cleaning. It is suitable for washing driveways, cars, outdoor furniture, decks, clearing leaves etc.

At 25 degrees, the nozzle covers a nice area. It also provides enough force to clean surfaces without causing damage. For most homeowners you can rely on the green nozzle tip.

White Pressure Washer Spray Tip

You can use white spray nozzles on blinds, windows, windshields and similar surfaces. If the surface is delicate, use a white tip spray. It is easy on the surface and work well. This tip is also effective in washing soap and detergents off.

Black Pressure Washer Spray Tip

This spray nozzle is used to apply soap and detergent to a surface. It has a larger than average nozzle hole and the widest degree. Both of these are needed so the spray tip can draw the soap.

This nozzle is often used on cars, boats and other vehicles, but you can use it on other surfaces that need soapy cleaning.

Related: What PSI Do You Need for a Foam Cannon?

Are Pressure Washer Tips the Same Size?

If the spray tips are packaged with your pressure washer, you can use it. If you want to use nozzles that are not bundled, check your pressure washer PSI and GPM. This will tell you what spray tip size to get.

A reliable option is the Twinkle Star Nozzle Tips as they are compatible with 2500-4000 PSI and have a 1/4 quick connection.

This table shows the most common spray tip hole sizes. Most home cleaning tasks use a PSI range from 500-3500 so that is what is covered here.

To use the table, look for the matching PSI and GPM of your pressure washer. For example: if your pressure washer is 2000 PSI and has a 2.5 GPM, the right spray tip size is 3.5.

There are two schools of thought here. One is that PSI and GPM don’t matter much as long as you use the right color. If you use the green nozzle tip to clean your car, the nozzle will produce the results you want.

On the other hand, others will tell you to consider the PSI, GPM and nozzle size. If the PSI and nozzle size don’t match, it can cause problems. If the tip is too small, it will restrict water flow. If the hole is too big, the pressure will drop.

To be on the safe side you should only use spray tips for your pressure washer. If the nozzle tips are packaged with the machine, it is safe to use. If you have to replace a SunJoe SPX3000 nozzle, it works with a lot of tips due to its popularity.

If the manual says you need a specific spray tip size, use only those. If it only mentions colors, then it is safe to assume you can base your choice on that.

Now if you still want to pick the right spray tip hole size, use the table above. Find the PSI and GPM and you will know what the orifice size is.

How to Choose the Right Pressure Washer Spray Tip

Here are some simple guidelines to help you choose the right pressure washer spray tip.

Use the color coding as a guideline. In most cases that is enough to help you pick the right one. For general house and car cleaning, use the green tip. For light surfaces, go with white. For soap, use black and so on.

Almost all pressure washers come with nozzles, so start with those. You can be assured they work 100% with the product. When the time comes to replace the nozzle, you have many options.

The first is to buy directly from the brand, this assures compatibility. Second is to purchase from various third party providers.

Since nozzle sprays are color coded, it is easy to choose. If you want to be specific about the size, you can check your owner’s manual or the table above.