How Do I Choose A Nozzle for A Boom Sprayer?

The sprayer nozzle is often overlooked, but it is arguably the most important part of your sprayer. There are hundreds of different types and sizes of sprayer nozzles available, so how do you know which one to use? This post should help you find the right type of sprayer nozzle to use on your boom sprayer.

There is no universal nozzle that will fit all applications. There are several factors that you should consider to determine a specific nozzle type that will work best for you including what chemical you are spraying, what pressure you will spray at, and how much drift you can tolerate.

Why Is Selecting the Right Sprayer Nozzle Important?

Selecting the correct sprayer nozzle is important for many reasons. The spray nozzle plays a huge role in determining the amount of chemical applied to a given area. It is also going to affect the coverage your sprayer can provide on the weed or surface you are spraying. Finally, the nozzle type will determine the droplet size which affects potential drift.  

How to Choose the Correct Sprayer Nozzle Type

Your specific spraying scenario will determine what nozzle to use. You can read the post: “What Do The Numbers On A Sprayer Nozzle Mean” if you want to know more about the differences in the nozzle types available.  You will likely find that for a given application you may be able to use 2 or 3 different nozzles that will work. Asking questions about your specific scenario will help you determine the right nozzle.

RELATED: How to Read a Sprayer Nozzle Chart

What Are You Spraying?

The product that you are going to spray is important because the label may provide specific instructions on how to spray and what nozzle to use. For specific chemicals and pesticides, the product label may even tell you a specific type of tip or manufacturer’s part number to use. Many products will provide more general suggestions like: “Use a flat fan tip that produces a fine droplet size, or use a cone nozzle that produces a coarse droplet”. Other products may provide little to know advice.

There are different nozzles for herbicides, fertilizers, fungicides, etc. Generally, for herbicides, you will utilize a flat fan sprayer nozzle, fertilizer is generally applied by stream nozzles or flood tips.

The material that the spray tip is made out of is another reason why the product you spray is important. Some materials may not be compatible with your product. Most sprayer tips for ag, turf, & lawn use are made from materials like ceramic, acetal, polypropylene, and stainless steel. These materials will work with most chemicals, pesticides, etc., but it is smart to check. One material type may last much longer than others with specific products.  

How Will You Spray?

The mechanics of how you will spray go along with what you are spraying. Most herbicides for row crops will be applied via broadcast spraying. These are flat fan spray nozzles overlapping on your boom to provide even coverage. Fertilizers may be applied via solid or multiple stream nozzles or flood nozzles. Lawn and turf spraying may be done with flood tips as well when drift is a concern.

Nozzle spacing on your boom is also a factor in determining your spray nozzle. 110-degree flat fan nozzles are most common now on ag sprayer booms. They allow for the needed overlap on 15 and 20-inch spacing, to provide effective coverage. 30 or 40-inch nozzle spacings, usually for fertilizer or turf spray, will require flood nozzles or extra wide fans 120 degrees or more. 

Operating pressure is also a factor. Most nozzles have an operating range of about 20-60 Psi, some have a larger range, 15-90. Make sure that your operating pressure is within the range of your sprayer nozzle.

How Much Spray Drift Can You Handle?

Spray drift is simply defined as the movement of sprayer particles/droplets through the air away from their intended target. You will always have some drift but too much will reduce the effectiveness of your sprayer and can be harmful to neighboring crops and plants.

Spray nozzles come in different types that produce droplets of different sizes. Spray nozzles that produce smaller/finer droplets usually provide more thorough surface coverage but they allow for more drift potential. There are nozzles that are designed to produce a larger droplet that will provide less drift. These nozzles use air induction or other means of design in order to accomplish this. 

Air-induction nozzles are required when using certain types of herbicides in agriculture. If you want to learn more, please view this article about the difference between air-induced nozzles and conventional nozzles.

Regardless of the type of sprayer nozzle, droplet size increases as pressure increases. Each type of spray nozzle will have a chart that displays the droplet size that will be created by that nozzle at different PSI. View this post to read more about droplet size and how it is categorized.

You should refer to the label of the products that you spray to find guidance on the type of droplet size you will need. You can also consult your chemical salesman or agronomist.

Boom Sprayer Nozzle Selection Guide

When you know your answer to those questions you can then examine the different types of sprayer nozzles to see which ones will fit your needs. Then all you have to do is calculate the correct nozzle size. To size your nozzle you need to know three things: your speed, nozzle spacing (inches), and your rate (gallons per acre).

The formula to determine the flow per nozzle needed is [Speed x Spacing x Rate (GPA)] divided by 5940. This will show you the flow rate you need per nozzle to achieve your desired rate at your desired speed.

Flat fan sprayer nozzles are the most common spray tip used on boom sprayers. There is a universal numbering system used by all the nozzle manufacturers to indicate the nozzle capacity and spray pattern. The part number will look like this: TT11004. It indicates the nozzle type, spray pattern angle, and capacity (nozzle size/flow rate).

Check out this post for more details on calculating spray nozzle size and the nozzle numbering system.

Below you will find many different boom sprayer scenarios and what types of nozzles to use:

Sprayer ApplicationSpray Tip Brand & Type*
Booms with 15-20″ spacing,
small droplet/no drift concern.
TeeJet: XR, TurboTeeJet
Wilger: ER, SR
Greenleaf: TDXL
15-20″ Spacing, Larger droplet
for drift reduction.
TeeJet: AIXR, Turbo TeeJet Induction
Wilger: DR, UR
Greenleaf: TDXL-D
30 or 40″ Spacing, Flood nozzles
for fertilizer.
TeeJet: FloodJet, & Turbo FloodJet
Hypro: HF Wide Angle Tip
30 & 40″ Spacing on turf sprayer
Flooding nozzles
TeeJet: Turbo FloodJet
Solid Stream Fertilizer NozzlesTeeJet: StreamJet SJ3 and SJ7
Single Stream SS Nozzles
*Full sprayer nozzle part number will include spray angle and tip size. Example: TT11004.

Final Thoughts

It is crucial to have the right spray nozzle for the job. If you use the incorrect size nozzle, you can spray too much or too little. Which can be costly or render your spraying ineffective. The wrong nozzle type can lead to unwanted drift that may harm other people’s fields or lawns. Hopefully, this information will be helpful in selecting the right spray nozzle for your boom.

Sprayer Guru

I have more than a decade of experience using, building, studying, and testing sprayers in several applications. With the knowledge I have gained I want to provide straight forward and detailed answers for DIY homeowners, farmers, and commercial turf and tree care pros.

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