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5 Drawbacks to a 12 Volt Electric Power Sprayer for Pest & Weed Control

Posted by Andrew Greess on

I am often asked by customers and prospects, what are the drawbacks of an electric power sprayer. Here are my top 5 Drawbacks of Electric Power Sprayers.

electric power sprayer

  1. Lower Output - Electric sprayers are generally lower output or volume (as measured in gallons per minute or GPM) than gas powered sprayers. This means that electric pumps are generally not suited for high volume jobs such as termite pretreats, large weed pre-emergent jobs, or driving a large boom (e.g. golf course fairway sprayer).
  2. Lower Pressure - Electric sprayers generally provide lower pressure than gas-powered sprayers. Pressure is measured in pounds per square inch or PSI. Electric pumps are not suited for high pressure jobs such as spraying tall trees or long distances. Longer hoses can be a problem for the lower pressure electric pumps to push through. We have also seen hose problems with low pressure electric pumps. Here are 2 examples:
    1. The spray hose is old and mushy, it swells to absorb pressure and there is no pressure left to push the water through the hose.
    2. The spray hose wound too tightly on the reel and the pump doesn’t have enough pressure to push the water through the squished down hose.
  3. Volume Pressure Tradeoff – In addition to generally having less volume and less pressure than gas powered pumps, electric pumps usually have a significant tradeoff between volume and pressure. You can find a higher pressure electric pump but it will be lower volume (and vice versa). On the other hand, gas powered pumps are available in high volume, high pressure if needed (for example diaphragm pumps).
  4. Transferring Sprayer to another Vehicle – Electric pumps are usually wired to the truck battery. For this reason, if you have to transfer the rig to another vehicle (for example the initial vehicle requires service), it is a little more involved. The rig must be wired to the battery of the new vehicle. Contrast this to a gas powered sprayer, where the power source is part of the sprayer. It just needs to be transferred to the backup vehicle. No wiring required.
  5. Fail Points – Our experience is that all 12-volt electric pumps commonly used for pest control and weed control applications have weak points that fail. Examples:
    1. Shurflo – generally reliable pumps. The pressure switch senses demand (i.e., you are squeezing the spray gun trigger) and turns the pump on. The constant off and on takes its toll on this switch which is the first component to fail. Also, if you don’t occasionally run clean water through the pump, some chemicals build up in the valves, which is a problem.
    2. Pumptec – These are heavier duty pumps than Shurflo. They draw more amps than Shurflo. We recommend these pumps be run off a separate battery (not the truck battery) or the vehicle be left running while the pump is on. If the pump is operated from the pump battery, the battery will run down and the pump motor will begin running hot. Eventually the motor will burn up. This is not a warranty situation.
    3. Flojet – They make some high volume pumps but our experience is they are not good in continuous use situations (like a pest control or weed control route). They are good for intermittent duty only.
    4. I make points a through c above as issues to be aware of and deal with. Not as reasons to avoid these pumps.

I will discuss pros and cons of gas-powered sprayers in a future post.

I would appreciate your comments.

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