And another one bites the dust



Why does every sprayer and wand ever made, including the 50 or so I’ve gone through, suck to the ultimate degree of suckdom?

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regular radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world, and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. I got some of my hose sprayers out today, too, and they are also crap. They seemed to be fine when I put them away for the winter, but now they spray out in all kinds of places that they weren’t intended to spray out of.
    I think it is conspiracy!

  2. I can’t wait for someone (please?) to tell us they’ve found a great spray nozzle. I don’t even want to think about how many I’ve owned. And please…it has to have a way to keep it on without holding a trigger…why do they even make some without that?

  3. I have a good one. It’s a no-name from Fred Meyer. I’ve used it for about 5 years, and tend to leave it casually tossed in the corner of the yard during the winter months. I’ve replaced the rubber o-ring, but that’s it. It was about $20, but I’m sure that a $50 one from Smith & Hawken would die much sooner.

  4. Can we TALK? What is this about the hose sprayers? I have purchased every kind available in the greater Los Angeles area, and only found 1 that worked the way I need a hose sprayer to work. Unfortunately, my puppy ate it and I can’t remember where it’s from. So I have to make due with the sucky ones I just bought for way too much money. Somebody, PLEASE solve this problem!

    Thanks for letting me rant, ranters!

  5. So true. I keep buying the most expensive ones offered at the big box stores, and they just don’t work.

  6. I purchased one from POPE (Aussie company – I’m not sure you would get these in US) and it has been the best sprayer ever. Wrote a post about them the other day.

    Every one I’ve had, apart from this one, completely sux. Agreed.

  7. They keep doing it…because they can! (And they get away with it quite well, don’t they?)

    Very, very few people bother to keep the manufacturer’s info to contact them if the device fails in an unreasonable amount of time, and even fewer save the packaging to return it to the store.

    Sad to say, there seem to be a lot of companies that lack responsiveness unless they actually get feedback from consumers. And some have difficulty recognizing feedback that doesn’t hit them in the pocketbook.

    I bet they count on most of us treating it as an annual expense, albeit with some muttering under the breath.

  8. The sprayer is in fact a curious product in general. I bought a mid-priced one recently at reputable nursery – it was touted as the one used by “professional nurseries”. It appears to have two setting — “Annihilate seedlings” and “Spray everywhere the nozzle is not pointed”. I’ve given it to my two year old to play with (detached from the hose, of course).

  9. Like Christopher, I use my opposable thumb, or sometimes index finger, to turn the stream of water to my purposes. It works, but may be one reason the fingers on my right hand are so crooked.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  10. Okay, I am totally with you on this one. I suspect strongly that it is something like pantyhose. They can make them indestructible, but then why would you ever buy another one?

    Robin at Bumblebee

  11. OMG! Yes, they are all awful. I’ve given up – every spray nozzle I have bought in the past 7 years has died within months of purchase. My thumbs are fine for me anymore.

  12. OK, that’s the 3rd thumb recommendation. I have to assume you guys have amazing thumbs, because as far as I’m concerned, using my thumb to direct a spray would lead to a. water in face, b. water in shoes, c.) water on clothes. Maybe some water on a plant. Also, if these wands and sprayers did work, the benefit would be that you can set the thing and you don’t have to keep applying pressure.

    I still think we’re owed one that works.

  13. I go through one or two a season. At the end of the season, I’m left using my thumb, which does a,b, and c in the above comment. Ugh.

  14. Forgive me if sprayer vs wand has been covered before, I did a search and didn’t see anything…
    In both my own garden & at work (garden center and greenhouse grower) we use 30″ watering wands. Have had mine for over 4 years and have yet to imagine or want something better. Great for reaching hanging baskets and window boxes, reaching under foliage and to back of beds. Strong enough to blast insect pests and cleaning fingernails caked with soil. What WILL break is the stop-valve that comes with the wand. Be sure to replace with one that is all metal, avail for around $5.

  15. Thanks Laura,

    I meant sprayers AND wands sucking equally, but if there is a great wand out there, I’d love to know about it.

  16. I sense a movement starting

    If you choose sprayers over thumbs, save your product information! Then complain, when it inevitably breaks!

    In addition to worrying about proper disposal of e-waste, now we need to worry about spray-waste. Maybe some good recycling people out there can take this on – start raising awareness of the sprayers in the landfill!

    Know any industrial designers? Especially industrial design professors? We need multi-year garden sprayers to be the new project for all those up & coming designers!

    Lots of Good Grips products are amazing. Let’s start barraging them with product requests!

    Our movement needs a name…anyone got any good ideas?

  17. If you want a quality watering wand go to DRAMM – they’re based in Wisconsin.

    Expect them to be expensive – last I checked a small wand was priced at $30 or so. But with proper care, they last for years.

    I lucked out and picked up a couple two seasons ago for about 2 bucks apiece at a garden center that was shutting down.

  18. The sprayers that came “free” when I purchased 2 Flexogen hoses almost 10 years ago held up amazingly well. I remember scoffing at the plastic things, thinking they would fall apart almost instantly but I was wrong! the first one failed after about 8 years and the last one bit the dust just last year–after much hard use and, I have to say, abuse (dropping on to hard concrete, leaving out in the harsh UV laden sun rays, etc. All of the others I’ve purchased, made of metal, barely make it through one season.

    There was no brand name on them so I have not been able to find a decent replacement. I’m thinking about buying the “Fireman’s Nozzle” from Duluth Trading Co. It’s a lot of money, but it’s “guaranteed for life” which means, I assume, that one could get their money back if it fails to live as long as I do. Cuz I’m tired of feeling guilty about sending so many of these things into the local landfill.

    I wish Fiskars would invent one…their products seem to last forever…at least for me.

  19. I think I just found it…the nozzle that came with my 10 year old Flexogen hoses. It occurred to me that if I Googled the company’s name, Gilmour, I might discover something…I do believe this is the one that lasted years for me. Google “Gilmour watering No. 586” and the web address will come up….but now, of course, I’m wondering if my long lived ones were a fluke…oh well…

  20. Oh my gosh, I thought it was just me. I have bought a number of different ones, and a cheapo green one (don’t remember the brand) worked the best. But none of them last more than a season or two.

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