The best spray gun is very much like the best actual gun: easy to aim, reliable and, er, other ways too probably, we expect. Most decent spray guns come with a minimum of four spray patterns but some are equipped with as many as eight. In our book, the more spray options the better because you’ll want something versatile enough to water the seedlings, douse the lawn and borders, clean the car, wash the patio and blast people accidentally on purpose.

There’s a plethora of different spray guns on the market but, to save you the head-scratching, we’ve scoured the web for the best-reviewed models, grabbed the hose, engaged the beast and let rip on a grand scale. Granted, the neighbours aren’t on speaking terms anymore, but the plants are looking healthy, so that’s okay. We've got everything from a cheap but comprehensive hand-held spray gun to one for more delicate plantings.

If you’re a bit carefree with your spray guns and tend to chuck them aside when finished with, consider this tough, blinged-up number from Hozelock. Aside from the lockable finger trigger and rubber palm grip, the Multi Plus is made almost entirely out of metal and that means it’s less likely to spring a leak after a year or so of (ab)use.

This model feels reassuringly sturdy and surprisingly light in the hand. It also comes with an impressive eight spray patterns – jet, cone, centre, angle, fine rose, mist, fan and shower – so it should theoretically cover all the bases, from gentle flowerpot watering to blasting the kids with their inadequate little water pistols. 

If you’re looking for a durable spray gun that meets most gardening requirements then stop right here.

This budget-priced aqua blaster comes with an impressive eight patterns including two types of wide spray, an ultra fine mist, a watering can-style sprinkle and the obligatory wide gush and long squirt. As an added bonus, it also comes with a unique and far-reaching, cone-shaped pattern that uses around twenty slim jets; this is the setting of choice for long-range drenchability and le choix par excellence for the inevitable mid-afternoon water battle.

The lightweight Verve incorporates a palm-operated trigger that’s a doddle to use and much easier on the finger muscles. It also has a locking mechanism so you can prop it up against something and use it as a sprinkler. The package also includes a tap connector and two hose connectors, one with an AquaStop feature so you can swap spray guns and sprinklers without getting a faceful of spray.

This plastic model won’t last forever (no spray gun does) but it’s cheap to buy and exceedingly well equipped for all your watering eventualities.

This new hand sprayer from Gardena comes with a range of five spray configurations that are just right for watering border plants, potted plants and parts of the lawn. Comfy in the hand and easy to control, it’s also equipped with the largest shower rose-cum-spray selector in the business.

The Gardena features a mandatory high-pressure fan pattern for blasting the car and patio, and a fairly decent jet for long-range watering (if the flow’s too vicious, just flick the rear regulator for a more tranquil sweep). However, it’s the flower-related settings that appeal the most.

Aside from the obligatory rain-like circular spread and a fine mist that isn’t quite as vapoury as the Verve model above, what stands out most here is the addition of an aerated setting that dispenses a light, bubbly gush which is absolutely perfect for delicate potted plants like pansies and snake’s head lilies. A top choice for the discerning horticulturist.

If you have a lot of hanging pots or delicate flowers in inaccessible places, consider arming yourself with this telescopic spray lance that can be extended from 90cm to 1.4 metres. Its 180˚ adjustable spray head is perfect for watering out-of-reach hanging flower baskets and because its seven spray patterns include both an aerated mode and a gentle mist, it’s just the ticket for delicate potted seedlings, too.

Of course you can also use it as a bogstandard garden spray and in that respect it really delivers. Aside from the aforementioned patterns, it’s also equipped with a fan-shaped spritz, a general bucket-filling gush, a watering can-like sprinkle and the obligatory long-range jet.

Indeed, it’s this very last setting that will stand you in good stead next time a water fight kicks off because – wahey – it’s capable of blasting the enemy round corners. And that’s got to be worth the asking price alone.

 This plastic, steel and rubber model from Karcher is the most expensive spray gun on test and arguably the most robust: it’s certainly tough enough to withstand being dragged along rough ground while attached to a hose or chucked into the corner when finished with. Mind, you only get four spray patterns with this model – horizontal flat jet, fine mist, cone jet and shower – so consider a different one if spray variety is a major consideration. 

Unlike most spray guns that incorporate a separate locking mechanism for holding the spray open, this one automatically clicks into a locked position pretty much every time you pull the trigger; to release it, simply pull it again. 

The Karcher also provides users with the option to rotate the handle so the trigger section is operated by the palm of the hand. This would be an excellent ergonomic consideration for those with very weak fingers were it not for the fact that it takes far too much finger pressure to release the mechanism that’s holding the handle in place. Even with dry hands, this writer struggled to press in the two very stiff release nubs. A shame, because a feature like this is actually very useful.

On a positive note, the thumb-controlled flow adjustment bar is a boon – it’s just so easy to adjust the water pressure with one hand while the other’s holding a Martini.

If you’re looking for some kind of two-in-one sprinkler arrangement, then give this one a gander. It’s ostensibly a hand-operated spray gun but, because the head can articulate to 90˚, it can also be placed on its side to water parts of the lawn or a flowerbed without having to stand around like a lemon.

The Ultra Twist is equipped with just four spray patterns, a slightly cumbersome but comfy finger-operated trigger with a locking mechanism and a flow control knob on the rear. Expect coverage of about 69m2 when used as a ground sprinkler. A very decent do-it-all option, especially for the smaller garden.

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