The Biggest Misconception in cleaning: Nozzles work on any machine 

Are you damaging your pressure washing system by using the wrong nozzles? The most overlooked part of pressure washing systems is the nozzle. The common misconception is that nozzles are interchangeable on any machine.  Since nozzles come with standard quick connect or thread sizes in the colors red, yellow, green, and white, it is commonly believed that they can be used with any pressure cleaning system /washer.

Nothing can be further from the truth !  Using the incorrect size will directly impact the cleaning system’s performance and in some cases, unnecessary wear and possibly even damage to the machines will result.

How to make certain you’re using the right size nozzle

Nozzles are manufactured specifically for each machine’s volume and pressure. This means that each nozzle size has a different size orifice (or opening). There are a variety of sizes but the most commonly used are between 3.0 to 6.5, sized in .5 increments. All nozzles are stamped with a 5 digit number which identifies both the fan degree and nozzle size. For example, a nozzle with the number 40055 has a 40 degree fan pattern and is 5.5 in size.

A common practice is to use a larger nozzle which will reduce the amount of pressure to ensure operators do not damage the cleaning surface. However, when a nozzle is larger than specified for the machine it will not produce the amount of pressure the machine is rated for. If a machine is designed to run a 3.0 nozzle and a 6.0 is used instead, effectively the amount of pressure will be reduced by 50%, which reduces efficiency and increases the amount of time needed for cleaning… in other words more labor, more costs.

When a nozzle is smaller than specified for the machine the effects vary depending on if it is a gas engine or electric motor. The added pressure caused by the resistance of pushing water through a smaller orifice will overload an engine and cause premature wear and tear. Operation in this manner over an extended period of time can cause the engine to fail. On an electric motor, the increased resistance will increase the amp draw and cause breakers to trip, heat wiring, and potentially damage any electrical components on the machine.

Smart Maintenance Tip: There are many factors that can alter the size of a nozzle including hard water, debris, erosion, operator misuse, or blockage and therefore they should be visually inspected often and replaced periodically.

How to verify which nozzle to use

Several manufacturers include the nozzle size along with the system information label on the machine. If unavailable or not readable, the chart below should be used to determine sizing.

It is important to use the actual specifications for GPM and PSI listed on the machine when using this chart. If the GPM of your machine is not listed, use the next higher number to ensure safety.

If you do not know the specifications of your machine contact Hotsy Pacific and provide us the Horse Power of the motor/engine and we will assist you.

Click chart to view Nozzle Sizes


Choose the right nozzle color for best results

The color of the nozzle identifies the angle of the spray fan pattern measured in degrees and is generally the same across all sizes. Red is 0, Yellow 15, Green 25, and White 40.

  • The black nozzle is used for applying soap at low pressure and is sometimes used for low pressure rinsing.
Click chart to view Nozzle Types

Latest Water Mandates

For the most current information on California's water mandates and other useful water information go to the Conservation Portal.

Are the FSMA Standards a concern?

The standards set by the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act on Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food includes logged training sessions on sanitation and safety.  Hotsy Pacific can help you stay in compliance of this newer standard. Contact us for more information

Training sessions are available to schedule that introduce and explain the latest sanitation equipment and accessories available. We can also conduct a session on the proper safety procedures for handling pressure washers, tank cleaners, and steam equipment.