Reviews

This Hose End Sprayer Promises No Mixes or Messes So We Put it to the Test!

I tested this Ortho sprayer in my lawn and garden. Find out how it fared.
Glenda Taylor Avatar
The Ortho hose end sprayer laying wood chips
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

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As an avid gardener, I’m always looking for tools that simplify my lawn-care routine without compromising effectiveness. Recently, I had the opportunity to put the Ortho Dial N Spray hose end sprayer to the test in my own lawn and garden. Ortho, a trusted brand in the gardening industry, is well known for its innovative solutions, and the Dial N Spray hose end sprayer lives up to that reputation. I was particularly intrigued by its claim of delivering precise amounts of liquid concentrates without the hassle of mixing and measuring. Still, I was skeptical and wanted to see how well it worked for myself. I tested a slew of sprayers in my quest to find the best hose end sprayer, and the Dial N Spray earned the honor of being the Best Overall pick.

For several days, I used the Ortho sprayer to apply different concentrated liquid fertilizers to my lawn, flower beds, and vegetable garden. I wanted to see if it performed consistently in various gardening situations.

I’ll share the Dial N Spray’s notable features and benefits and address any shortcomings I ran into along the way, so you can decide whether this hose sprayer is a worthwhile addition to your collection of gardening gear.

Ortho Dial N Spray Hose End Sprayer: At a Glance

A close-up of the internal hose end of the Ortho hose end sprayer
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Rating: 8.75/10

PROS

  • Choice of 3 precise spray patterns for effective coverage and targeted application
  • Adjustable dilution settings offer the ability to customize the strength of the solution being applied
  • Ergonomic design and anti-backflow ability prevents water-supply contamination

CONS

  • Designed for residential use—coverage may not be suitable for large commercial lawns
  • Limited-capacity solution tank requires frequent refills when treating large areas
  • Dilution settings may require careful adjustment for accurate product-to-water ratio

Get the Ortho Dial N Spray hose end sprayer at:

What is the Ortho Dial N Spray hose end sprayer?

The Ortho Dial N Spray hose end sprayer is a user-friendly and versatile tool designed for spraying liquid concentrates in lawn and garden applications. It eliminates the need for mixing, measuring, and making a mess by allowing users to easily apply the recommended amount of weed killers, insect killers, fungicides, and fertilizers. The hose sprayer features three spray patterns (broadcast, jet, and shower) to accommodate different treatment needs and ensure precise application.

With 14 dilution settings, it allows for customizing the strength of the solution, ranging from 1 teaspoon to 8 ounces per gallon of water. The ergonomic design, extended-grip handle, rotating hose connector, and anti-backflow device enhance user comfort and efficiency. The Ortho Dial N Spray hose end sprayer simplifies a lawn-care routine, providing a convenient and efficient solution for spraying various liquid concentrates in gardens and lawns.

What kind of lawn and garden products can I use in the Ortho sprayer?

The Ortho Dial N Spray sprayer is designed for use with liquid concentrates such as weed killers, insect killers, fungicides, and fertilizers. Unlike some hose end sprayers, it is not suitable for use with water-soluble products, such as the granular fertilizers made by Miracle-Gro.

I used the Ortho Dial N Spray as a fertilizer sprayer, but it would perform the same with other liquid concentrates. You could use it to apply weed killers to eliminate stubborn weeds, insect killers to protect plants from pests, or fungicides to prevent diseases.

While Ortho says the Dial N Spray is suitable for applying different products, its safety sheet mentions that herbicides, such as Ortho GroundClear, are better suited to application with a good pump sprayer. I suspect this recommendation is based on the need for the extra-precise dilution of some weed-killing solutions.

Always read the instructions on the product you choose to apply—some products (like chemical herbicides) may state the sprayer (once used to apply pesticide) should only be used as a pesticide applicator since residue left in the tank—even after cleaning—might harm plants if used later to apply fertilizer. To be safe, I typically use an indelible marker to label sprayer tanks with the type of product I’m using, and then use them only for the same kind of product in the future.

The Ortho hose end sprayer in use spraying fertilizer on a blooming plant
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Does the Ortho Dial N Spray offer more than 1 spray pattern?

Yes, it offers three basic spray patterns (broadcast, jet, and shower), which are accessible by turning the ring on the face of the sprayer. The broadcast pattern is designed to cover large areas uniformly. It provides a broad fan-shaped spray that I found well suited for applying fertilizer to my lawn using sweeping arm movements.

The shower pattern produces a gentle spray suitable for delicate vegetation and flowers. It provides a softer application, and I used it to minimize the risk of damage to more sensitive plants (daisies and petunias) while fertilizing.

The jet-spray pattern delivers a focused and powerful stream of liquid concentrate. I did not find the jet spray suitable for applying fertilizer—it’s too strong to be effective and tears up foliage and flowers.

However, the sprayer is designed to apply weed killers, fungicides, and pesticides. I could see where it might be beneficial for someone trying to spray pesticide on a wasp’s nest under a roof eave, but I’m not sure I like the idea of spraying toxic chemicals overhead—they have to come back down at some point; and it seems a little foolhardy. For me, the shower and broadcast spray patterns are all I really need.

Can the chemical solution run backward into the garden hose?

The Ortho sprayer incorporates an anti-backflow device to prevent chemical solutions from running back into the hose and contaminating the water system. This device is designed to ensure a forward-only flow of liquid concentrate during the spraying process.

The anti-backflow mechanism utilizes a check valve—a standard device found on plumbing, water supply, and HVAC systems to prevent backflow. This valve allows the liquid concentrate to flow out of the sprayer when the trigger is activated, but it prevents any reverse flow of the solution when the water supply is turned off.

The backflow preventer protects the integrity of the water supply, averting contamination or mixing of chemicals with the water system. The liquid concentrate only goes where it is intended to during the application.

A close-up of the rotating dial on the Ortho hose end sprayer
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

What is the maximum coverage area of the Ortho Dial N Spray?

The maximum coverage area of this sprayer will vary depending on factors such as the spray pattern selected, the pressure of the water supply, and the dilution ratio used. While the first two factors are fairly obvious, the third warrants a bit of explanation: The Dial N Spray offers the option of choosing from 14 dilution ratios, ranging from 1 teaspoon up to 8 ounces (1 cup), and automatically dilutes the chosen amount of fertilizer per gallon of water as it sprays. At the lower ratio, the sprayer uses less fertilizer, letting you treat a larger surface area before the fertilizer runs out. Of course, at the lower ratios, the solution will be weaker. Fortunately, many liquid fertilizer products recommend a mixing ratio based on the type of plant being treated.

I selected the 1 teaspoon per gallon ratio and poured 16 ounces of concentrated liquid fertilizer into the tank. I watched the tank to see when the deep green color of the fertilizer turned to clear water, which indicated the fertilizer was depleted. In that test, I fertilized an area of lawn about 25 feet square before the fertilizer was used up.

It’s important to note that the actual coverage area may also depend on the concentration and volume of the liquid concentrate being used. However, with the Ortho Dial N Spray hose end sprayer, you can expect to cover a significant area efficiently and effectively, making it a valuable tool for maintaining your lawn and garden.

A close-up of the Ortho hose end sprayer
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Is Ortho Dial N Spray right for you?

Whether the Ortho Dial N Spray is a suitable investment depends on your specific needs and preferences. As for me, I have found the Ortho Dial N Spray to be a valuable addition to my lawn and garden fertilizing routine.

This sprayer offers several advantages to those looking for a convenient and efficient way to apply liquid concentrates. Its three spray patterns provide versatility for different applications, allowing you to cover large areas, reach high places, and provide a gentle spray for delicate vegetation. The adjustable dilution settings enable you to customize the strength of the solution based on specific requirements.

Moreover, the ergonomic design, extended-grip handle, and rotating hose connector enhance user comfort and ease of use, and the anti-backflow device ensures the water system’s integrity and prevents contamination.

However, it’s essential to consider your specific spraying needs, your lawn or garden size, and the types of products you intend to use. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to carefully read the product instructions and guidelines provided by Ortho to ensure proper usage.

Where to Buy the Ortho Dial N Spray Hose End Sprayer

 Get the Ortho Dial N Spray hose end sprayer at:

Meet the Tester

Glenda Taylor is a product tester and writer specializing in the construction, remodeling, and real estate industries. She and her husband own a general contracting company, and Taylor is experienced in both residential and commercial building applications. She tests a wide range of power tools as well as other home improvement, household, and lawn-and-garden products.

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Glenda Taylor

Staff Writer

Glenda Taylor is a BobVila.com staff writer with a background in the residential remodeling, home building, and home improvement industries. She started writing for BobVila.com in 2016 and covers a range of topics, including construction methods, code compliance, tool use, and the latest news in the housing and real estate industries. 

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