If you own your own lawn or turf sprayer, you know that a sprayer nozzle is the most important part of your sprayer. The nozzle controls your sprayer’s coverage, droplet size, application rate, etc. There are many different nozzles out there so you might be wondering if there is a standard spray nozzle that you should use on your sprayer.
The simple answer is no. No matter what kind of spraying you are doing there is no one standard “one size fits all” nozzle. There are just too many different spray nozzle types, sizes, materials of construction, etc.
Although there is no standard sprayer nozzle, there is a universal numbering standard for sizing flat fan spray nozzles. Each tip will have a number on it that follows this standard regardless of the tip type or manufacturer. There is also a standard color code for each nozzle size that helps you to identify them easily. There is also no standard spray angle for sprayer tips, but there are some more common angles. More on this in moment.
How Do I Know Which Sprayer Nozzle to Use?
The sprayer tip that will work best for you will depend upon your application. You will need to know some specific pieces of information in order to identify the right nozzle for you. Start with the type of spraying you are doing: single spray gun, boom, hand pump sprayer, tree sprayer, etc. This will help you find out what nozzle type can be used for your application.
Different Types of Sprayer Nozzles Patterns & Their Uses
Flat Fan Nozzles
These are commonly used on large booms for agricultural spraying, but they also work with smaller booms. They produce a “flat” fan usually in 40, 80, and 110-degree patterns. These nozzles are designed to overlap when installed on your spray boom. They produce more dense droplets in the center of the pattern. This gives you more even spray coverage all the way along the length of the boom. For a detailed guide to choosing flat fan nozzles, you can check out this post about choosing nozzles for a boom sprayer.
Cone Spray Nozzles
Cone nozzles are named for the cone-shaped spray pattern that they create. Cone nozzles are often used for special applications where a directed spray pattern is needed. Spot sprayers and garden sprayers may use an adjustable cone-type nozzle.
Solid Stream Nozzles
Instead of a cone or fan pattern, these tips produce a focused stream. Typically used for fertilizer application, but also effective for de-ice/anti-ice use. There are nozzles that will produce a single solid stream or multiple streams.
Adjustable Spray Tips
Adjustable is a broad term, but here I am specifically referring to spray nozzles that can be adjusted from a cone to a solid stream by turning the tip of the nozzle. These are perfect tips for spot spraying and hand sprayers. They give you the versatility to spray up close and reach greater distances. For more information, you can check out my post on how far these adjustable nozzles can reach.
Like the flat fan sprayer tips, this type is also intended to be used on a spray boom. A flood tip has a wider pattern than the flat fan nozzle and provides a more coarse droplet size. Droplet size affects drift, we will cover more on this later.
Boomless Spray Nozzles
This nozzle type is made to replace a traditional sprayer boom. There are boomless nozzle sizes that will cover anywhere from a 3 – 40 foot swath with a single nozzle. You sacrifice the consistent spray pattern that comes from multiple nozzles on a standard boom, but you can cover rough terrain and areas that have many obstacles. View my post on the best boomless sprayer nozzles to learn more.
There are many versions of nozzles that produce multiple streams or a “showerhead” type spray. Used in applications such as fertilizing or watering your lawn.
Once you know what type of nozzle you need based on the type of spraying you are doing, then you can determine the nozzle size you need. Nozzles are sized according to their capacity in gallons per minute. You must know your application rate (GPA or G/1000 sq ft), speed, and nozzle spacing to determine the nozzle size you need. Nozzle size is the most important factor as it controls the amount of fluid you apply. For flat fan boom sprayer nozzles this formula is used:
This post on sprayer nozzle numbers will help you know how to size your nozzle correctly.
If drift is a concern, then you might opt for a spray tip that produces a coarser droplet size. Air induction spray nozzles create a larger droplet by drawing air into the nozzle. Certain more volatile chemicals will require that you use this type of spray nozzle. You can find out more about droplet sizes in this post on boom sprayer nozzles.
Sprayer Nozzle Spacing
Nozzle spacing refers to the distance between the center of each of your spray nozzles on your boom. This spacing is important because it will affect the nozzle size you use, as well as the spray pattern you need. I wider distance between nozzles will require a tip that produces a wider fan to maintain overlap and consistent coverage.
Sprayer Operating Pressure
Pressure affects your spray nozzles in a few different ways. First, as pressure increases the output of your nozzle increases. Also, increasing pressure will result in smaller droplets. Eventually, as you increase pressure your spray pattern will become a fine mist.
When selecting a nozzle it is important to know the operating pressure range. This will help you know what pressure to operate your sprayer in order to achieve the appropriate application rate and droplet size required by the chemical you are spraying. In this article on sprayer operating pressure, you can learn more about how pressure affects your sprayer.
Key Things to Remember When Choosing a Sprayer Nozzle
With so many options, it can be hard to choose a spray nozzle. However, when you know what type of spraying the different nozzle types are used for then it becomes much clearer. Remember that nozzle size is the most important thing to determine, after that it depends on your specific application and chemical.