Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

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MorpheusPA
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Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by MorpheusPA » August 21st, 2011, 11:02 am

Overall Score: A

Would I recommend: Yes, with a few minor warnings.

The machine:

There are plenty of photos online so I'm not including one here. It seems to be very well-constructed, with a good gearing system (hard plastic, but more than sufficient for homeowner use). The gear ratio is impressive, so it produces a lot of pressure for very little walking and doesn't require a pause/repressurize walk--it works continuously at the same rate.

The S15 includes a strainer cap and a wide enough opening that adding liquid is easy. I had a bit of overspill from my bucket addition, but very little.

The wheels handle well even in slightly uneven terrain, although very uneven ground would be an issue (as it would be for anything with wheels).

Changing heights is a snap. It's a simple knurled knob, but once you set your preferred height I don't see that you'll adjust it much. Take the height measurements with a grain of salt.

Changing nozzles is also a snap, simply align and twist in the cap.

The machine is built for 5'8" to 6' people optimally, shorter ones will find the machine tilts a bit toward them, giving a slightly uneven spray. Moving the machine closer to you will solve that issue for shorter people. Taller people will wish to move it away from them or accept a shorter spray.

It arrives fully assembled with only the handle folded. Unfolding and setting up the handle took me about fifteen seconds.

It weighs around 20-25 pounds, give or take, when empty, so it's extremely easy to move. I have no issues lifting it one-handed and carrying it.

The S15 includes three spray nozzles, coarse, medium, and fine.

The spray is amazingly even with any given nozzle, and feathered at the edges. I tested each at two walking speeds and reported the results below.

Although it advertises itself as a five gallon sprayer, it holds six gallons (or quite close). The final formal mark is at 5 1/2 gallons, with about a half gallon margin to the top of the sprayer.

Spraying:

I found the machine to be kind of heavy at completely full. 25 pounds base weight + 5 gallons of liquid is approximately 70 pounds, or half my body weight. In my case, I'd fill it to three gallons. People with reasonable body weights shouldn't have an issue, but this stands as a warning for smaller-built people.

Spray distribution is incredibly even, as I mentioned above. With the feathered spray, I'd use a tracker with any herbicides or pre-emergents, although that would be my general recommendation with most sprayers.

I tested the spray at two speeds, a slower walk (perhaps 1.5 MPH) and moving fairly quickly (2.5 MPH). The manual recommends a swifter walk than many people would do normally, so if you have leg or back issues that may be a problem.

I measured the spray width with a simple tape measure, and at the highest setting on the distance dial (setting #1, 5'). These measurements are full spray width, so divide by two for the distance on either side.

Slow walk:
Coarse Nozzle: 2' spray with 1' feather on each side
Medium Nozzle: 3.5' spray with 1' feather
Fine Nozzle: 2' spray with 1' feather

I have no explanation for why the fine nozzle sprays a shorter distance than the medium nozzle. At the time I tested it was completely wind still.

Fast walk:
Coarse Nozzle: 3.5' spray with 1' feather
Medium Nozzle: 6' spray with 1' feather
Fine Nozzle: 3' spray with 1' feather

Needless to say I'll be using the medium nozzle and adjusting my solution density accordingly. It's possible that my medium nozzle is cut slightly differently, but I definitely verified that it was the medium nozzle!

I only tested the coarse nozzle on the lawn with a solution of iron, and the output was approximately what the manual says it should be, give or take some. The next time I'll use the medium nozzle and if it differs I'll mention that.

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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by Ohio2112 » August 21st, 2011, 11:23 am

Nice review, thanks!

I'm using my backpack sprayer less this year because of some joint issues I've been having with my left arm. I'm thinking unless I can figure out how to strap wheels and a motor on my sprayer, something like this might be in my future.

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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by MorpheusPA » August 21st, 2011, 12:21 pm

Same thing here. Mr. Left Shoulder is not happy with me any longer, and the backpack is too much strain. This is not, however...

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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by jason » August 21st, 2011, 1:31 pm

*Edit* See buyer beware experience here.

MorpheusPA thanks for the highly anticipated review! With other sprayers at your disposal, what products do you foresee yourself using the S15 as the primary sprayer? One concern I had from reading the manual was that it was necessary to maintain a minimum of one gallon of liquids for the device to operate properly. It seems like this would mean one gallon of waste for every application. How did this play out in your testing?
Last edited by jason on March 19th, 2012, 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by MorpheusPA » August 21st, 2011, 2:19 pm

I think the gallon spare is for bouncing and whatnot. On well-graded lawns, such as mine, I was running it dry and then transporting it back by pulling it in reverse as the manual recommends (that doesn't engage the gears).

The tank is a V shape at the base so the liquid tends to funnel right down. Post going dry and emptying it, there were only a few ounces left (like any sprayer).

For each sprayer:

Chapin: Soil conditioner, kelp, humates. Anything else where dilution doesn't matter.
Gilmour: Retired. Nice sprayer but the Chapin works better for the mixes.
S15: Prodiamine (Barricade), iron, micros. If I used herbicides, I'd use this sprayer.


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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by BuckeyeChuck » August 21st, 2011, 7:08 pm

Great review and highly detailed. Thanks! I can see I have to get one next year as it sounds very nice. :)

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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by MorpheusPA » August 21st, 2011, 7:40 pm

So far I'm extremely impressed, although I only used it once. It'll get more of a workout as temperatures drop again and iron spraying rises back to normal levels.

Is it perfect? No, I think I'd rather a boom sprayer on the front to go wider. But I could add one if I use fine output nozzles and do some finagling.

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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by Michael Wise » August 21st, 2011, 10:32 pm

Thanks, Morph!

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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by simpson » August 21st, 2011, 11:47 pm

What about walking threw the chemicals you just sprayed? Will it show foot prints? Let's just say you are doing a iron treatment by walking behind the wet blades of grass you must be knocking some of it off? I hope that made any type of since.

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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by Michael Wise » August 21st, 2011, 11:52 pm

Good question, Simpson.

Also, where did you end up purchasing the sprayer from?

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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by MorpheusPA » August 22nd, 2011, 12:31 am

simpson wrote:What about walking threw the chemicals you just sprayed? Will it show foot prints? Let's just say you are doing a iron treatment by walking behind the wet blades of grass you must be knocking some of it off? I hope that made any type of since.

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You'd do that with a backpack as well, so no major differences there.

I can't say I've ever noticed footprints, so it doesn't seem to matter at all, really.

I got this one through Northern Tool, but plenty of places have them. NT was just cheaper with the shipping/price combo.

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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by simpson » August 22nd, 2011, 10:08 am

I walk backwards so I don't walk threw it.

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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by MorpheusPA » August 22nd, 2011, 10:14 am

With the S15 you can't do that--the gear system doesn't engage when moving backward, so you'll definitely be meandering through your spray.

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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by jason » August 22nd, 2011, 6:33 pm

*Edit* See buyer beware experience here.

I just bit the bullet and clicked purchase! Current prices seem a bit expensive but I don't think there are any real good alternatives for those of us who don't want to walk around with a backpack or pump sprayer. Definitely a market that could use some competition! That said, I do think in the end it will be worth it as I expect to put down at least four sprayer applications per year.

Thanks again to MorpheusPA for paving the way and vetting the product. Doesn't seem to be too many reviews out there.
Last edited by jason on March 19th, 2012, 8:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by MorpheusPA » August 22nd, 2011, 7:47 pm

I Am In Love. Assuming durability is good, I'm upgrading its score to A+.

No, really, I totally want to marry this sprayer.

I just did the whole iron on the lawn dealio in an hour, being very careful and hitting every blade, dropping 5 ounces per thousand, and it was minimal stress. I used the medium nozzle, filled to 3 gallons (50 pounds base weight) and ran it down to dry. Twelve gallons later I was done.

My shoulder's fine and I can handle the sprayer even on the small back hill with no issues. Total effort output was about the same as a backpack, but strain is on your back where it should be, not your shoulder joints and arm.

Do I want to handle this thing in 90 degree weather? No, but I don't want to use my backpack then either. Now I just need to find a home for it in the garage.

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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by BuckeyeChuck » August 22nd, 2011, 8:47 pm

I knew it! An A+ wow! I suspected a possible winner with this sprayer but since I don't have to have one now and can wait a year....well I figured if I held out someone else could confirm or deny :)

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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by MorpheusPA » August 22nd, 2011, 9:02 pm

Well, it's an Earthway which means it's going to be a good product. I'd be hard-pressed to think of anything of theirs I haven't liked, although the price points tend to be high.

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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by MorpheusPA » August 22nd, 2011, 9:07 pm

From the manual, I should have been applying 113.6 oz (0.89 gal) per thousand square feet, for a total of 8 gallons. I used the medium nozzle.

I used 12, but I was following a tighter walk than I needed to--fifty percent feels about right. So I'd also call the output rating accurate. For iron, liquid used doesn't matter as long as it's in reasonable tolerance. For herbicides and so on, I'd be much more careful.

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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by Michael Wise » August 23rd, 2011, 10:36 am

http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-EARTHWAY-SP ... 1e66232ce2

This is the cheapest I've found so far. Honestly, though, I'm a little leary of NOT purchasing it from a "real" store like Amazon or something similar. I'm fairly new to ebay and don't know how to tell deal from scam.

I'm getting ready to pull the trigger. :)

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Re: Earthway S15 Sprayer Review

Post by BuckeyeChuck » August 23rd, 2011, 1:16 pm

Very good price. I may have to step up and order now rather than wait. Thanks for pointing this out!

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