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Sprayer Tutorial

Sprayers are the most common pesticide application equipment. They are standard equipment for nearly every pesticide applicator and are used in every type of pest control operation. Sprayers range in size and complexity from simple, hand-held models to intricate machines weighing several tons.


This is an overview of nozzles and sprayer technology associated with liquid application.

Nozzles are a vital part of any liquid spraying system. They are basically an atomizing device that produces droplets that form a spray pattern. Nozzles are classified based on the spray pattern they form and the size of droplet they produce.


Nozzles affect spraying system: 

  • output
  • droplet formation and size
  • droplet distribution
  • spray pattern
    A complete nozzle assembly consists of the:
  • body
  • screen
  • cap
  • orifice plate (or nozzle)
    The nozzle orifice (opening) affects the droplet size and the flow rate. Nozzles are made to meet many different spraying requirements. 
    Nozzle design dates back to the 1890s when Charles Valentine Riley developed the first modern spray nozzle. Later, as his assistant, William Bradford Alwood, worked with Riley to alter the original design into variations of the original. The original "Riley" nozzle was patented and sold by the Vermorel Company of France. Vermorel sold the nozzle worldwide. Today a variety of companies make nozzles. The move prominent manufacturers are listed in the right column of this article. There are two common designs that have persisted since Riley's era, the flat-fan nozzle and the cone nozzle (solid and hollow cone). 
    To see how these designs affect spray patterns go to our NOZZLE PATTERN DEMONSTRATION MODULE and select the different designs. Once selected you can choose to run the system to see the spray pattern produced by each nozzle design.
    Nozzles can be affected by debris in a spraying system. That is why sprayers have strainers. Nozzle assemblies include strainers of their own. But nozzle strainers can get clogged and this produces a different spray pattern than a properly functioning nozzle. Learn how to properly clean a spray nozzle by clicking HERE.
    Droplets produced by nozzles can cause problems if they are blown off-target. We call this spray drift and drift is caused by a variety of mechanical and environmental conditions. Learn more about how to prevent drift at the following sites:


  • EPA's Drift Factsheet 
  • Spray Drift Taskforce publications
  • How to Protect Virginia's Sensitive Areas from Pesticide Spray Drift
  • Rogers Sprayers - Drift Control Systems

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    Nozzle Manufacturers

    Nozzle manufacturers include:

    Teejet (Spraying Systems)



    Sealpump Engineering


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