Pressure Washer Nozzles 101
There’s different nozzles for different jobs. A nozzle shapes the water to either focus all its force on an area the size of an Oreo cookie, or, spreads the water out in a sheet to clean an area as big as you turned sideways.
- 0 Degree Nozzles – The focus on 1 small point nozzles are called 0 degree nozzles because the nozzle shoots 1 straight stream of water. The thickness of this stream is the same when it exits the nozzle as it is when it hits the surface.
- 15, 25 and 40 Degree Nozzles – These nozzles spread the water out in varying amounts. The point is to hit the surface with less force because some surfaces are more sensitive or less dirty and don’t need to be blasted. You wouldn’t want to blast your car hood with the 0 degree nozzle – because if your pressure washer is enough PSI you could peel the paint off.
So, what is each nozzle degree for? Let me tell you:
0 Degree – Full Blast Cleaning
- Remove caked on mud
- Remove rust
- Removing stains from concrete
15 Degree – Stripping Surfaces
- Removing dirt from car wheels / wheel wells
- Cleaning fences in preparation for painting
25 Degree – Lifting Solids
- Cleaning gutters
- Cleaning decks and patios of dirt and grime
40 Degree – General Cleaning
- Cleaning your car, house windows etc.
But, in reality, you should just test out the different nozzles on your job to see which one works. If you’re using the 25 degree nozzle to remove some dirt from your deck but it’s not working – try the 15 degree one out.
4 Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Nozzle
Now that you have an idea what degree your nozzle should be – what else do you need to look out for? Let’s look at 3 things to look for:
- Quick release or threaded connection – The threaded connection nozzles will take a bit longer to install than the quick release – but they’ll be a bit more reliable and durable given they’re fastened in tight. Which one to get really depends on what you value more – speed or durability and life.
- Stainless steel or brass fitting – Stainless steel nozzles will last longer than brass because they’re corrosion resistant. And since we are talking about a water nozzle it would be wise to go with stainless tell. However, they will be a little more expensive up front. You’ll see that stainless steel nozzles are just as common as brass ones.
- Variable or fixed degree – You can purchase a ‘Vari’ nozzle that allows you to adjust the nozzle degrees in real-time with one nozzle – no need to disconnect and reconnect. It will cost about 4x a fixed degree nozzle – but the way I look at it is that you’re getting 4 nozzles for that price.
- Soap nozzle – The soap nozzles come with a bigger orifice to allow for the release of both water and soap.
Here’s a video to show how easy it is to install a quick release nozzle:
Types of Each Nozzle
We’ve gone over everything you need to know but here I’d just like to show you some example with pictures of what each of the nozzles actually looks like.
The rotary nozzle turn the 0 degree stream into a cone shape – so that you get the power and also some added surface area. This nozzle will make the water hit the surface like a orange traffic cone (in a hollow circle).
The variable nozzle allows you to switch the type of water stream in real-time without disconnecting it – however, you’ll probably want to turn the water off to be safe.
These are the most popular pressure washer nozzles. They’re extremely easy to use and you don’t have to worry about not having the right nozzle for the job because these come in packs with all the necessary degrees.
Here’s a video that shows you the power of a rotary nozzle:
Will the nozzle fit my pressure washer?
Most likely the answer is yes. Most will have a 1/8″ connection from your washer gun.
Which one should I get?
Nozzles are inexpensive – $20 for all the degree requirements. I would get them all when you purchase your pressure washer.