Guide to Mist & Trigger Sprayers

Select the Best Sprayer for Your Application

Sprayers are ideal for dispensing a wide variety of products, making them useful for countless industries including household cleaning, health and beauty, janitorial, gardening and more. For your sprayer to dispense product correctly, there are many factors you must consider. Is a trigger sprayer, a mister, or a fine mist sprayer the right option for your needs?

Guide to Mist and Trigger Sprayers

1) Choose the Compatible Neck Finish

Type of Dip TubeTo begin, be sure that your intended container and sprayer have a compatible neck finish; for example, 28-400 containers should be paired with 28-400 trigger sprayers. The first number in a neck finish refers to the diameter in millimeters and the second number refers to the thread style. Each thread style has a corresponding number of turns; 400, for example, represents 1 thread turn. Neck finishes must match or your closure won’t fit the container properly, causing spills or leaks.

The most common neck finish for trigger sprayers is 28mm; however, manufacturers typically offer triggers sprayers from 20mm to 38mm as well as custom sizes. Mist sprayer pumps are typically available in smaller sizes such as 20mm because they are often paired with smaller volume bottles.

As the neck finish is one of the most important factors in selecting the best trigger sprayer for your application, find this detail in the title of all our sprayers and bottles.

2) Decide on Dip Tube Length for your Sprayer

Measuring a Dip Tube

Type of Dip TubeThe length of your sprayer’s dip tube is essential for proper closure and product dispensing. Too long and it will bend too far in the bottle, too short and it won’t be able to reach product at the bottom.

To find the length of a dip tube, measure from the gasket, which is located inside the cap, to the notch end of the tube. This is the usable length of your dip tube and varies from the total length as well as the length from the bottom on the cap to the end of the dip tube.

What length dip tube works best for your product & container?

When calculating the best dip tube length for your application, you should consider the diameter and material of the tube itself and the product you are dispensing. Thinner dip tubes that typically accompany sprayers should slightly bend toward the wall of your container to maximize product dispensing. If you are using a sprayer, add about one inch to the height of the bottle. This will give enough length to properly bend inside the container without inhibiting dispensing.

If you are using a pump to dispense thicker or high viscosity products like lotion or condiments, the rigid dip tube should sit directly in the product with a small space between the tube and the bottom of the container. The tube should not touch the bottom of the container, but it should also not sit too high as it will not be able to pump product at the bottom. Sprayer dip tubes typically should not hover above the bottom of the container as they are not made to dispense thicker products.

Cutting Your Dip Tube

Tube cutting ensures that the dip tube does not sit flush to the bottom of the container, which causes blockage and prevents pumping. Dip tubes are often cut at an angle so they cannot sit flush to the container. While sprayer dip tubes do need to be longer than the container, the notch end of the dip tube should not sit flush to the container. An angular or v-shaped cut prevents this from happening.

It is also important to note if the container you are using features a “push up” at the bottom, meaning the bottom is raised. If there is a push up, subtract about 3/32” from the container length you previously measured to compensate. This step ensures proper flow through the dip tube.

3) Pick Your Sprayer – Color, Shape & Style

Trigger Sprayer Styles

The sprayer you pick depends on the product you would like to dispense as well as how you would like to dispense it. Trigger sprayers are ideal for a wide variety of products including water, cleaning solutions, gardening chemicals, room sprayers, spritzers, and thinner body and hair care products. They are designed to dispense a greater amount of product over a larger surface area. Variances in trigger sprayers are largely cosmetic with different body shapes and colors.

However, many of our models have different features including varying dosages and nozzles. Some nozzles include a turn mechanism to allow for different spray patterns as well as a locking feature. Various colors allow for color-coding for easy identification of different products within your product line.

Types of Spray Patterns

Spray Patterns

Spray is a traditional spray pattern where the product is dispensed in a conical shape from the nozzle.

Stream sprays are focused from a direct point, dispensing product with few droplets. This spray pattern is ideal for products that require high concentration of product in a smaller location.

Mist spray patterns tend to feature many small droplets and are ideal for products that require small dosages.

Foam delivers product in the form of foam rather than a conventional spray pattern.

Continuous spray patterns are unbroken rather than the standard burst dispensing of many traditional sprayers.

Dosage, or the amount of product dispensed with a single spray, is also important to consider when picking a sprayer. Dosages typically range from 0.22 ml to 1.5 ml. Higher dosages are recommended for products which require a larger spread (the surface area covered by the product being dispensed).

If you are looking to dispense products that require precision and gentle spraying like fragrance, hair products, sunscreen or oral care, our mist sprayers are the perfect choice. In addition to standard trigger sprayers, we also carry fine mist trigger sprayers for applications that require more precision. Fine mist trigger sprayers offer the precision of a traditional mist sprayer pump with the control of a trigger handle.

If you’re still having trouble deciding which sprayer option is best suited to your application, below are some popular trigger sprayer styles:

Standard (General Use)

Standard trigger sprayers, also known as general use trigger sprayers, are one of the most popular options for common surface cleaners, hair gels, fabric fresheners, etc. Standard trigger sprayers typically feature a functional design suited for a variety of applications. Most general use designs include an adjustable nozzle to vary the spray.

High Output

High output triggers sprayers are characterized by a larger dosage per spray than standard or general use trigger sprayers. Often these closures can dispense 3.5 ml of liquid per squeeze compared to the more traditional output of anywhere from 0.22 ml to 1.5 ml. Common applications of high output trigger sprayers include some degreasers, detailing products in the automotive industry, insect control products and more.

Chemical Resistant / Acid Resistant

Chemical and acid resistant trigger sprayers feature component parts with a higher degree of chemical resistance than traditional sprayers or misters. Harsh chemicals can eat away or negatively affect the materials used to make the closure. Replacing parts such as the gasket or dip tube with materials with a higher degree of chemical resistance, chemical resistant trigger sprayers are often suitable for dispensing harsh chemicals, household cleaners, carpet spot cleaners, etc.


Foaming trigger sprayers feature a unique design that dispenses a foam rather than a conventional spray pattern. Foaming sprays are useful for products where controlling the liquid on the surface is essential as well as for product that needs to sit on a surface for an extended period of time. Common applications include all-purpose cleaners, upholstery cleaners and carpet cleaners.


Shipper trigger sprayers are designed to be applied to the filled bottle prior to shipping. Often similar to general use trigger sprayers, these closures excel at preventing spilling or leaking that could result in product loss during transit.

Upside Down

Upside down trigger sprayers work well when the bottle is not held at an upright angle, even when the entire bottle is tilted completely upside down. This is often accomplished with a unique dip tube that can capture product either through a weighted end or secondary opening. Upside down trigger sprayers are ideal for cleaners or similar products where a user might need to adjust the angle of the bottle to reach the area they want to access.

Mist (Micro, Fine)

Mist trigger sprayers still have the traditional trigger similar to a conventional trigger sprayer, but dispense a fine, light spray pattern to prevent soaking the desired spray location with too much product. Mist trigger sprayers work well for spray hand sanitizers, fabric fresheners, many hair products and more. Some mist trigger sprayers feature an adjustable nozzle. Mist trigger sprayers are more ergonomic that mist sprayer pumps and work well for products that may need more than a few sprays in one application. One type of mist sprayer, the Flairosol® sprayer, delivers a continuous fine mist for precise applications as well as 360° spraying (see video).

Terminology to Consider When Purchasing a Trigger Sprayer:

Comfort Design

Trigger sprayers with a comfort design tend to be bulkier and used for products where multiple sprays are typically used in a single product application. One of the largest factors that can contribute to a comfort design is the trigger itself. Many models designed for comfort have a wider trigger, some even have ergonomic finger grips to prevent slippage. Additional aspects of user comfort in the trigger sprayer is the length from the trigger to the back of the body, the shape of the body, and the shape of the neck.


Anti-Fatigue trigger sprayers commonly use a comfort design because they are intended for products where a user may spray multiple dosages in a single application. Anti-fatigue sprayers are designed to require the smallest amount of necessary force to dispense the product so the user does not tire during product application.

Long Lasting

Trigger sprayers with a long lasting design are typically heavy-duty sprayers that can endure repeated use. These sprayers are well-suited to be paired with high volume reservoirs that require a high number of sprays to empty the bottle.


Value trigger sprayers are an economic option for products where the price point may be a major deciding factor for the end consumer. Value trigger sprayers may feature a more simplistic design and often do not include comfort features such as finger grips. However, value trigger sprayers are commonly used in a variety of applications including hair products, household chemicals and more.


There are multiple locations where a trigger sprayer may leak including the neck finish or nozzle. Often leaking may occur due to an improperly paired trigger sprayer and container; however, some trigger sprayers may leak even when matched well with the container. A non-leaking design features tight seals to prevent liquid from bypassing the closure and leaking either during transit or dripping down the sprayer during use.

Consider Compatibility

Plastic is a versatile material that comes in several varieties with unique benefits. Most sprayer bodies are made of polypropylene (PP), but other components of the sprayer can be made of various plastics including high density polyethylene (HDPE), low density polyethylene (LDPE) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET). For more information about these plastic types, see our plastics guide.

Plastic Type
Chemical Resistance
Very Good
Impact Resistance
Very Good
Max. Temperature
145° F
120° F
120° F
165° F

Outside of plastic, many component parts of trigger sprayers are often made from additional materials including glass or stainless steel. The spring and ball valve are two parts of a sprayer that may not be made from plastic. It’s important to review all component parts to determine compatibility. If you are unsure about the chemical compatibility of the sprayer you want to buy, fill out our sample form to test it with your product.

Understanding the Parts of a Trigger Sprayer

Trigger Sprayer Parts


The trigger is the final step in the dispensing process. Pressing the trigger powers the pump to force the liquid through the nozzle.


The nozzle on a sprayer creates the liquid stream by forcing it through a small hole. Nozzles have a one-way valve that prevents airflow back into the pump.

Nozzle Valve

The nozzle valve prevents airflow back into the pump.


The plunger is also known as a piston. The piston forces liquid through the cylinder. The moving piston then compresses the spring, so the piston is pushed back out of the cylinder when the trigger is released.


The spring pushes the piston into the cylinder, thus releasing liquid from the cylinder.


The valve allows for suction in the pump so liquid can rise into the dip tube.


The piston forces liquid through the cylinder. The piston is the “pump” of the trigger sprayer.


The body of the sprayer covers and contains the sprayer’s internal mechanisms.

Ball Valve

The ball valve controls the flow of the liquid being dispensed.


The intake is the component through which liquid enters the sprayer from the bottle.


The closure is the cap element of the sprayer that screws onto the bottle neck.


The gasket helps seal the sprayer to the neck of the container and prevent leaks.

No matter what you’re dispensing, The Cary Company has the sprayer for you! Browse our selection and find your perfect packaging solution. If you need assistance finding the right trigger sprayer, please call us at 630.629.6600.

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