The short answer is no, it is a common myth that pressure washer tips are universal.
The myth that you can switch nozzles on different pressure washers is because they use the same colors. However, there are some slight differences in form and function from one model to another which make it impossible for them to be interchangeable.
If you are going to use a tip that wasn't supplied with your particular make and model of pressure washer always double-check the coupling size to ensure a perfect fit.
Most tips have a maximum PSI so you'll want to ensure they can handle the power your machine is putting out.
Also, it is important for pressure washer owners to understand the wrong nozzle can decrease the life of your unit as well as put unnecessary (and preventable) wear and tear on the internal parts.
To avoid this common mistake, double-check the size of your nozzle which should be on top of or in the manual.
Your Guide to Pressure Washer Tips: What do the different colors mean?
Here is what the various colors of pressure washer tips mean, so you know what each one can be used for in your projects.
Black Pressure Washer Tip – Used for Applying Soap Before Pressure Washing
You have a powerful stream, but it is pulling the soap from the soap tank at the same time since this is the tip that is used for the application of degreasers and detergents that you loaded into the pressure washer when you started tackling your project.
White Pressure Washer Tip – 40 Degree Fan – Used for a Wider Fan, Less Pressure
For surfaces that are being sprayed that could break easily, such as blinds, cars, windows, etc. this is a wider fan which also means a gentler spray than the other tips listed here. Another common use is to rinse off soap that has been applied to the surface already.
Green Pressure Washer Tip – 25 Degree Fan – Less Fan Than White Tip, More Pressure
Decks, driveways, motor homes, and much more are what this tip can be used for. Considered to be the tip of choice for general cleaning projects around the home, the wider fan also allows you to sweep things such as leaves and debris when pressure washing the driveway and other areas.
Yellow Pressure Washer Tip – 15 Degree Fan – Less Fan Than Green Tip, More Pressure
For those needing to get mud that has been caked on their ATVs or truck tires, this is the choice that many prefer. It has a narrow fan but still has a powerful amount of pressure. It is also commonly used for the removal of mildew, paint, and rust as well as before painting or staining.
Red Pressure Washer Tip – 0 Degree Fan – The Most Pressure, Usually to Remove Stains
Be extremely careful with this one, and only use it if necessary. Can remove glue, oil, mildew, tree sap, and much more. Again, extreme caution must be exercised with this tip as it can easily damage the surface you are trying to clean with it.
Always use the tips that were supplied with your pressure washer. If you are using tips from somewhere else make sure they are compatible by checking the coupling specification and the maximum PSI they can handle.