Recommend a good garden sprayer please

Now on my third pump sprayer in a couple of years. I use it to spray 10% white vinegar as a weed killer, which is very effective I’ve found. This afternoon it just conked out for no apparent reason. One minute fine, the next nothing. Checked everything - plenty of pressure in the bottle, disassembled trigger and spray wand as far as I was able. Nothing.

This is very frustrating. Can anyone recommend a good manual pump prayer at a sensible price? Or am I better off just using a watering can or something?

1 Like

I use a bar attachment on a watering can to be honest cheap and works a treat.

I found the wind was blowing alot of the stuff from my old sprayer away.

1 Like

I’ve used sprayers ranging from 0.3 litre hand pumps up to 25 litre backpack sprayers. Hard to know what to suggest without knowing what sort of area you want to cover, but I like this 7 litre Osatu sprayer.

There are certainly cheaper DIY grade sprayers around, but those I’ve used have been pretty awful on the whole.

1 Like

Tell us more about the vinegar, does it work via foliage absorption or through the roots?

This is the sprayer to get. Superb performance and quality.


I think it works simply by contact with foliage. A few days after spraying the weeds are brown and shrivelled. It seems very effective but it’s important to use 10% white vinegar. I tried the food grade 5% and it was useless.

These are all small weeds though, in between paving slabs and on a driveway, that kind of thing. I’m not sure how effective it would be on larger weeds over larger areas.

I also use a butane weed burner which is effective but for obvious reasons can’t be used near wooden fences etc.

20% white vinegar is available but more costly and I’m a bit concerned about it hazard wise. Acetic (ethanoic) acid is very nasty stuff in high concentrations. Extremely corrosive to skin. Although 20% isn’t high it could still be significantly more hazardous than 10%.

Having said that I use white vinegar because of its low toxicity. I dislike using commercially available weed killers which can be extremely toxic and have long lasting environmental effects.

Ok thanks, I thought you meant it was standard white vinegar diluted 1 to 10 but 10% is an actual product? I’ll see if I can source as like you I don’t like using commercial products

1 Like

Yes 10% white vinegar available in 5l cartons from the river.

I have quite a large area to spray but didn’t want to be carrying round a huge weight. I opted for a Worx cordless/ battery operated 5 litre sprayer. I have had it a few months now and it has been a godsend, providing higher pressure than my manual S&J 5 litre sprayer and also a consistent pressure until empty. Not cheap but worthwhile if you have several refills to spray.


Thanks for all your suggestions. Some good ones here, but I didn’t really want to spend upwards of £60 although I can see that these are far more robust and higher quality than the £10 or so ones that I’ve been puchasing, which have turned out to be a complete waste of money.

Opted finally for a £30 one. This looks to be pretty decent and all the reviews say its far better than the very cheap ones. Crucially the actual spray wand, which is the part that keeps failing on the cheap ones, is a completely different design. All the very cheap ones use what appears to be a generic design of wand.

So I’ll see how this goes. If it fails after a few months then I’ll bite the bullet and buy a top quality one, maybe even a battery operated one. Fingers crossed.

The Solo is throughly recommended and the £60 suggestion by @Count.d is a good unit.

We have used a bigger back pack version for over 20 years. Only probs arise if someone has overlooked cleaning. However a strip down and rebuild has always solved any issues. A good handpump, depending on the size you need, will reliably outperform any gizmo unit!

Would recommend if you had issues with cheaper versions, these are reliable, vfm; ymmv.

1 Like

I find boiling water from the kettle works very well. But worth doing the maths to see if the electricity is less than the cost of vinegar (I have solar panels so a no brainer)

1 Like

Solar heated water then, is the new eco weed killer.
I likely would need a lot of panels after this winter!

Electricity costs are around 3p for a litre of boiling water. I tend to trickle the water in the middle of the plant, and it seems to cook the roots, then goes brown over the next 2 days - win-win me thinks

I’ve found that, at least with cheap sprayers, the spring in the trigger is exposed to the liquid you’re spraying. If it’s something even mildly corrosive (such as your dilute acetic acid) then the spring tends to fail over time.

Thoroughly flushing the sprayer with clean water after use will help.

Thanks to the bomb making community and our EU health and safety friends, all of the cheap and effective weedkillers us old folk used for decades are virtually unobtainable. With one notable exception: ammonium persulfate is the only stuff I’ve found to successfully eradicate the toughest of weeds (e.g. horses tail) and then break down harmlessly in the soil.

But it’s not a weedkiller; it’s a ‘compost accelerator’ :wink:

Hope this helps.

1 Like

It wasn’t the spring. I checked it and it was fine.

Ammomium persulfate is a powerful oxidising agent so that probably expalins its weed killing abilities. Sodium chlorate is also a powerful oxidiser and was commonly used as a weedkiller but now banned here for that use due to toxicity and environmental concerns.

I’m not sure I’d want to be handling ammonium persulfate as it’s associated with breathing difficulties and asthma. So not nice stuff at all.

This is the beauty of white vinegar. At 10% it’s pretty much harmless unless you’re going to be silly and drink it or splash it in your eyes or something and safe for the environment.

As I said I’m not sure how effective it would be on large tough weeds but for the sort of weed control I need around the front and back garden it’s ideal. This combined with a small butane weed-burner does the job nicely.

We don’t have a ‘traditional’ neat garden with curated flower beds. It’s sort of semi-wild and we encourage wild flowers and are quite relaxed about things like dandelions and the like. The lawn is really a mixture of grass, moss, clover and various other wild plants. So weed control is really just on the slabbed areas at the back and the driveway at the front.

At a previous property we had a full-blown wildlife garden with a pond that was lovely. However, contrary to what some may think, it requires constant attention or it will quickly become an inpenetrable jungle of wild plants. Fine if you have a very large area but in a typical size garden it just looks a complete mess.

Now retired and not wanting to spend lots of time working in the garden, as we would rather take walks and listen to music, we keep things simple and under control.

I think your product is 10% acetic acid. The minimum acid strength for vinegar is 4%, and malt vinegar is usually just that or fractionally over, Wine vinegar commonly around 6-8%. Then there is upindustrial vinegar, also known as “non brewed condiment”, diluted from pure acetic acid, mostly used by food businesses. Yours will be something like this.

As for sprayers, I have had three, different brands, bought at different times. 5L capacity, pump-up, with trigger and wand on flexible hose. (One reserved for lawn weedkiller, a second for other weedkillers, and the third for a variety of things like patio cleaner. ) one developed a leak from the container after 3 or 4 years, the other two still going strong, I’d say youngest at least 7 or 8 years old now. Not sure if branded - I’ll look and take photos later when back home if I remember. From memory costs were around £10-15 from eBay - I guess maybe £15-£20 today.

Yes it’s 10% acetic acid. Just checked and I’m surprised wine vinegar can be as much as 8%. Much more than that will certainly cause irritation or burns to the throat!

I tried standard white vinegar at 5% and it was useless. 20% is available but is potentially hazardous. Concentrated acetic acid, glacial acetic acid as it is (or was) known as is very nasty indeed and causes severe burns.

The part the keeps failing on cheap sprayers is the wand. One minute it is working, the next dead. I’ve taken them apart as far as possible and can’t find any obvious cause. It simply doesn’t work. It has happened three times now, with each sprayer lasting for around 4 or 5 sessions. Replacement wands are available for around £4 but what’s the point? They will fail soon enough as they all appear to be the same generic design.

The sprayer I’ve just purchased was around £30 and seems to have a completely different wand design. It grieves me to pay so much for a sprayer but it seems that anything cheaper will be a waste. We’ll see what happens.

I do remember my parents had a cheap sprayer back in the 70’s that lasted them for many years without any issues at all.

With mine, other than the one pressure container developing a leak, the only problem I’ve had has been occasional blockages due to suspended bits in the spray liquid (e.g. disintegrated film from concentrate bottle seal, precipitated matter when stored part full rather than rinsed out they should be, and on one occasion mould growth within the container). My favourite sprayer has a cap with small holes at the suction end of the dip tube, and if that gets clogged up it is easily removed and wiped clean, even while in use. I found all wands rather short, and extended them: my favourite one was best for that, having an 8mm brass wand, which I simply cut in half and soldered in a length of 8mm copper tube, preserving the end fitting and spray head as they were. The length I have made them enables close spraying of ground level plants without stooping, and gives greater reach generally.


Ted the Gardner from the late lamented Fast Show.


1 Like