Fertilizing a yard, a row of shrubbery, a flower bed, or a vegetable garden is typically too big a job for a handheld spray bottle. Yard maintenance of this sort requires a more powerful apparatus. Using the power of water pressure, a hose end sprayer can deliver pesticides and fertilizers to thousands of square feet of yard, garden, and landscaping in just minutes.
These devices feature a plastic container attached to a nozzle that connects to a standard garden hose. The nozzle mixes chemicals from the container with water from the hose, and then sprays it directly onto the landscaping. Use this guide to learn about what factors are crucial to consider when shopping for a hose end sprayer and to review some of the top models on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Ortho Dial N Spray Hose End Sprayer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: RL FLOMASTER Chameleon Hose End Sprayer
- BEST FOR LAWN: Chapin International G390 Lawn Hose End Sprayer
- BEST FOR GARDEN: Miracle-Gro Garden Feeder
- BEST FOR NEMATODES: RE Chapin MFG Works G385 Insecticide Hose End Sprayer
- BEST ERGONOMIC: Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Garden Feeder
- BEST SELF-MIXING: Gilmour 362 Professional No Pre-Mix Sprayer
- BEST MULTIPURPOSE: Chapin International G6015 Wet/Dry Sprayer
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Hose End Sprayer
Selecting a hose end sprayer to satisfy specific needs depends upon a variety of factors. For example, while some sprayers mix a fixed amount of chemicals with each gallon of water, others allow the user to set the mix ratio. Ahead, learn more about mix ratio and other attributes that are important to keep in mind when shopping for the best hose end sprayer.
Hose end sprayers are made of plastic, polyurethane, and metal parts. All sprayers use polyurethane reservoirs or jars to hold the chemicals they mix with water to create fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and other lawn and plant treatments. This is because polyurethane is lightweight, won’t rust like metal, and can stand up to acid and other chemicals without melting.
Sprayer nozzles may be made of either plastic or metal. Plastic nozzles are more affordable and lighter but aren’t as durable as metal models. They will give way more easily to high water pressure and are more likely to crack if dropped or stepped on. Most pro-grade sprayers have metal nozzles.
Fixed Rate vs. Adjustable Flow
There are two types of sprayers: fixed rate and adjustable flow. Both types work by siphoning chemicals from the sprayer’s reservoir and mixing it with water before distributing it into the yard. A fixed-rate sprayer will siphon a specific amount of chemical from the reservoir. Adjustable-flow sprayers allow the user to control how much chemical is removed from the reservoir and mixed with water. This function gives the user the ability to set precisely how much fertilizer, pesticide, or other chemicals the sprayer applies. Adjustable-flow sprayers are typically more expensive than fixed-rate models.
A hose end sprayer’s capacity determines how much area it can treat before requiring a refill. The capacity is based on two factors: the amount of chemicals the reservoir can hold and the ratio of chemicals to water the sprayer uses. Hose end sprayer reservoirs hold between 16 and 32 ounces of liquid chemicals. Higher capacity sprayers can treat broader areas, such as lawns, trees, and long rows of shrubbery, while smaller models are suitable for vegetable gardens and flower beds.
Keep in mind that a sprayer set to a higher chemicals-to-water ratio will produce a more concentrated solution of pesticide, fertilizer, or weed killer but will empty the reservoir more quickly than a sprayer set to a lower concentration.
Most hose end sprayer nozzles allow the user to adjust the flow pattern of the water. There are typically up to four spray patterns that range from a light mist to a narrow, high-pressure stream. These adjustments control the amount of fertilizer, herbicide, or inoculants the sprayer distributes in the yard, on trees, or onto flower beds.
These settings can also control the range of the sprayer. A spray pattern that produces higher pressure will be strong enough to reach into the branches of trees, whereas a lighter spray will be gentle enough to apply pesticide to a flower bed without damaging the plants.
- Mist: This setting produces the least amount of output and the lightest pressure setting. The mist setting aerates the water to produce a fine mist that floats in the air over a short distance. This setting is ideal for treating delicate plants, such as flowers and vegetables.
- Shower: The shower setting most closely mimics rain. This pattern has a longer range and higher output than mist while still producing gentle pressure that won’t damage smaller plants. It’s suitable for treating lawns, gardens, shrubs, and flower beds with hardier plants.
- Foaming: The foaming setting is meant to be used with soap or certain types of pesticides. The nozzle agitates the chemical or soap and water to produce a sudsy lather. This makes it ideal for washing a car or for certain pesticide applications.
- Long spray: Treating tall trees requires a spray pattern that can reach all the way to the upper branches. Long spray condenses the stream to increase water pressure, enabling the sprayer to reach heights of up to 30 feet.
When the water hose passes through the sprayer’s nozzle, it mixes with the chemicals from the reservoir before gushing forth from the nozzle’s business end. Mix ratio determines how much of the chemicals the sprayer releases into the water as it passes through the nozzle.
Fixed-rate sprayers use a set ratio that the user can not change, while sprayers with adjustable flow have a dial that lets the user set the mix ratio. To alter the mix ratio in a fixed-rate sprayer, one must dilute the chemicals in a separate container prior to adding them to the reservoir.
Hose end sprayers feature dials that allow the user to adjust the ratio of water to chemicals. These dials are usually set by ounces of chemicals per gallon of water. Most adjustable flow sprayers allow the user to set the mix ratio from 1 ounce of chemicals per gallon of water up to 14 ounces per gallon of water. Most fertilizers, pesticides, and weed killers have instructions detailing the correct mix ratio for the product.
Many sprayers have additional features designed to make them easier to operate.
- Ergonomics: Ergonomically designed handles have a curved shape for a comfortable grip while directing the nozzle at a downward angle suited to treating gardens, shrubs, and lawns.
- Self-mixing: Sprayers with a self-mixing feature eliminate the need to premix chemicals prior to adding them to the reservoir. Some mixers are even compatible with dry chemicals. Convenient thumb dials on self-mixing sprayers let the operator adjust the mix ratio on the fly.
- Controls: Some models include a thumb-operated on/off button that allows the user to shut off the sprayer with just the flick of the thumb, eliminating the need to run back to the hose faucet to shut the sprayer down.
- Quick-connect: Screwing a sprayer onto and off of the hose end can be a tedious process every time the lawn needs treatment. Sprayers with a quick-connect design replace the standard fitting with a connection that pops on or off the sprayer in seconds.
Hose end sprayers are compatible with standard 1-inch hose fittings and work best with a ⅝-inch diameter hose, which allows for enough water flow to create adequate pressure. Some sprayers also have quick-connect fittings, which make it easier to attach and detach them.
Our Top Picks
The products described here were selected according to the above considerations and include some of the best hose end sprayers on the market. Read on for models of various sizes and capacities that are well suited for treating gardens, lawns, and trees with fertilizer, pest control, and weed killer.
An ergonomic design and numerous adjustments that allow for customizing the spray pattern and dilution ratio make Ortho’s hose end sprayer capable of most yard maintenance duties. Three adjustable spray patterns provide versatility for treating gardens, trees, and entire yards, while 14 dial settings allow for fine-tuning the concentration of fertilizer, pesticide, or weed control without the hassle of mixing the chemicals first.
The curve of the ergonomic handle is ideal for spraying at a downward angle. The sprayer holds up to 32 ounces of chemicals, which is enough to treat a broad area without making the sprayer cumbersome.
- 3 spray patterns
- 14 dial settings to control dilution rate
- Ergonomic grip and trigger
- Only suitable for U.S. garden hoses
Adding yet another tool to one’s arsenal of lawn equipment needn’t be expensive. This sprayer is budget-friendly yet offers ample versatility to handle most spraying duties in the yard. The spray patterns produce a fan, cone, or stream, making it suitable for distributing pesticides or fertilizer. A dial on the side adjusts the concentration of the mix, eliminating the mess and hassle of diluting chemicals before adding them to the reservoir.
Innovative design makes using the Flomaster easy. A quick-connect end makes it a snap to attach and detach the sprayer from the hose, while a screw-on top allows the user to attach the nozzle to the pesticide bottle, eliminating the need to mix or pour.
- Fan, stream, and cone spray patterns
- Sprayer nozzle connects with most chemical bottles
- Includes a quick-connect hose adapter
- Best for spraying less than 10 feet away
With its ability to deliver up to 20 gallons of spray, this sprayer is well suited for handling larger applications, such as an entire lawn. It’s also compatible with all water-soluble weed killers, pesticides, and fertilizers. Its two spray patterns, fan and stream, are suitable for broad coverage and precision applications. A convenient thumb switch makes turning the sprayer on and off easy.
The sprayer’s reservoir is made from polyethylene, which is tough enough to withstand even more stringent chemicals, and it features an anti-siphon that prevents water from back flowing into the reservoir. This fixed-rate sprayer delivers the water at a ratio of 1 part fertilizer to 80 parts water.
- Removable fan nozzle to allow continuous stream
- Finger switch to turn the flow on or off
- Anti-siphon feature prevents backflow
- Sprays up to 20 gallons
- No dilution setting
- Hose connector threads could strip if forced to tighten
Gardens with fragile vegetable plants or flowers require a kinder, gentler sprayer that won’t damage with high-pressure streams of water. A more compact design and three spray patterns, including a shower option, make this Miracle-Gro sprayer an ideal pick for gardens. There’s also a jet spray pattern for maximum pressure and a flat pattern for covering broader areas.
With its smaller size (only a 24-ounce reservoir) and curved ergonomic handle, ths sprayer is easy to hold and navigate around plants for precise fertilizing. A convenient button on the top lets the gardener lock the nozzle in the “on” position to operate the sprayer without having to hold the trigger. The sprayer is compatible with a variety of fertilizers for plants, vegetables, and lawns.
- Ergonomic grip and trigger
- Shower, jet, and flat spray options
- Rolling dilution dial
- No flow control
- Plastic parts may get stuck and stop working
Working with pesticides requires extra precision in order to safely apply the chemicals to the right spots and minimize hazardous or wasteful overspray. This RE Chapin model’s spray patterns can cover a broad area or a targeted space, making it ideal for taking out nematodes and other yard pests. Keep the nozzle in for a broad fan or remove it for a tight stream.
The stream sprays at a downward 45-degree angle, suited to treating low shrubs, lawns, and flower beds. A conveniently located switch on the top of the sprayer turns the stream on and off. The sprayer’s reservoir holds 26 ounces and is made of durable polyethylene plastic, which is lightweight but can still hold up to harsh chemicals.
- Removable fan nozzle to allow continuous stream
- Can produce up to 6 gallons of spray
- Finger-switch flow control
- Continuous stream sprays at least 15 feet
- Overtightening the cap could cause leaks
Some hose end sprayers can be cumbersome and uncomfortable to hold, making it difficult to direct and operate them. Given the powerful chemicals they spray, this can be a serious problem. At just 10 inches long and 7 inches high, this compact Miracle-Gro sprayer is much easier to manipulate than larger models.
It also features a convenient locking button that eliminates the need to keep squeezing the trigger during continuous operation. Its long curved handle makes it simple to direct the sprayer at the proper angle while treating gardens, flower beds, and lawns. Multiple spray patterns add versatility for different types of treatments. This hose end sprayer can deliver up to 20 gallons of plant food.
- Covers up to 200 square feet
- Ergonomic handle and trigger
- Rolling dilution dial
- Plastic dial tends to break easily if forced
Durable metal construction and a high level of customization makes this Gilmour sprayer an asset to the pro gardener or landscaper. A metered dial on the sprayer has 16 different dilution rates, allowing the user to fine-tune the concentration of fertilizer, pesticide, or weed killer—no more diluting chemicals before adding them to the sprayer bottle.
Other thoughtful features include an ergonomic grip on the nozzle and a removable deflector that allows the operator to switch between spray and stream. Though its 16-ounce capacity is smaller than some other sprayers, it makes this model lighter and easier to handle than those of competitors.
- 16 adjustable dilution settings
- Metal grip is durable
- Sprays nearly 30 feet away
- Heavy metal handle tips bottle over when empty
Most hose end sprayers offer two or three spray patterns, but this Chapin model boasts four. This allows it to tackle a wide variety of duties, including treating the yard with pesticide, fertilizing a flower garden, or laying an assault on invasive weeds. And while most sprayers are limited to liquid chemicals, this model will also take a dry powder, eliminating the need to premix the chemicals into a solution before adding them to the sprayer.
Simply add the wet or dry fertilizer, then move the switch to the appropriate setting. An innovative measurement dial takes the math out of figuring out the right ratio by allowing the user to set the mix ratio by ounces, tablespoons, or teaspoons. Other features include a long ergonomic handle that makes the sprayer comfortable to hold.
- Works with liquid or granular products
- Designed to prevent backflow
- Thumb switch to turn on or off
- Reservoir could back up during granular application
The Ortho Dial N Spray is our top recommendation since it has a comfortable grip, several dilution settings, and can adjust the spray pattern easily. If you need to spray taller trees, consider the powerful Gilmour Professional Sprayer.
How We Chose the Best Hose End Sprayers
Our recommendations for best hose end sprayers include several options that allow users to control the dilution setting or produce a fixed amount of chemicals. This customization allows users to properly spray their gardens, trees, or acreage as needed. We’ve included products that work better in smaller areas and some that have more powerful streams to reach the tops of fruit trees. These recommendations also include variable flow adjustments for users to better control the amount of spray and the type of spray or stream.
Each product is made of polyurethane reservoirs or jars that are designed to safely resist rusting and corrosion from the chemicals. We’ve included the more common plastic handles (some are ergonomic for extra comfort). Plastic is lighter than metal, but it’s also prone to wearing out or breaking quickly, which is why we included metal handles as well.
The Advantages of Owning a Hose End Sprayer
Hose end sprayers are an affordable way to improve the efficiency of applying pesticides, weed control, and fertilizers to yards, trees, landscaping, and gardens. Here’s a breakdown of the advantages of these handy tools.
- They don’t require pre-mixing. Many hose end sprayers do the mixing for you, allowing you to add chemicals directly to the reservoir. This minimizes mess and exposure to harmful chemicals.
- They don’t require pumping. Pump-style sprayers require the user to constantly create pressure inside the tank by pumping up the unit. Hose end sprayers use the pressure created by running water, eliminating the need for pumping.
- They can cover a large area. Perhaps the greatest advantage of a hose end sprayer is its ability to cover thousands of square feet in a relatively short period of time. These products are the best option for treating larger areas, such as a lawn.
If you’re wondering how to best use and maintain your hose end sprayer, read on for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about these tools.
Q: How does a hose end sprayer work?
A hose end sprayer consists of a reservoir that holds chemicals for treating landscaping and a nozzle that distributes the water. It uses a standard hose fitting that connects to a standard garden hose. When the hose turns on, the water runs through a nozzle, which mixes chemicals with water before spraying it out.
Q: How much volume can a hose end sprayer produce?
A hose end sprayer can hold between 16 and 32 ounces of chemicals and can distribute about 2 gallons of treated water per minute at a standard home water pressure of 60 pounds per square inch.
Q: What dilution rates are available for hose end sprayers?
Most hose end sprayers dilute water at ratios between 1 ounce to 16 ounces of chemicals per gallon of water. Adjustable flow sprayers allow the user to set the mix ratio.
Q: How do you use a hose end sprayer?
To use a hose end sprayer, begin by setting the mix ratio to the desired amount. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer or pesticide to get the proper mix ratio. Make sure the sprayer is in the “off” position and then turn on the hose at the bib. Turn the sprayer to the “on” position and evenly spray the area to treat.
Q: How do you apply liquid fertilizer with a hose end sprayer?
There are two ways to apply liquid fertilizer. Either add the liquid fertilizer to the sprayer’s reservoir or, if compatible, attach the bottle of liquid fertilizer directly to the hose end sprayer’s nozzle by removing the reservoir and attaching the bottle.
Q: How do I clean a hose end sprayer?
To clean a hose end sprayer, rinse out the reservoir with clean water, then fill it. Attach the sprayer to the hose, then run the sprayer to clear out the nozzle.