Disinfectant Sprayer Comparison

Comparing Electrostatic, Airless and Other Spraying Methods When Applying Disinfectants

With the COVID-19 pandemic dominating the globe, the demand for disinfecting and sanitizing equipment is at an all time high. During this unprecedented time, many non-essential businesses around the world have been asked to close their doors in the effort to help reduce virus transmissions.

As businesses, schools and other public spaces begin to reopen, maintenance leadership in these organizations will be challenged with the need to address new cleaning standards and stricter, more frequent cleaning requirements. As part of this shift, the demand for effective disinfecting equipment solutions that provide maximum productivity and efficiency will only continue to increase.

As businesses and organizations look to meet this need, a more detailed understanding of disinfectant equipment solutions is necessary to make the right choice that will meet the productivity and safety needs associated with disinfecting, sanitizing and deodorizing applications.

WATCH: The SaniSpray HP Difference (2:32)

Spray Bottles & Pump Sprayers for Disinfectants

Before the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, basic disinfectant pump sprayers or simple spray bottles have been the go-to sprayers for disinfecting, sanitizing and deodorizing applications. While still important, these applications were likely neither as large in scope nor under the type of scrutiny that exists in today’s new reality for janitorial service managers tasked with providing environments that are safe for occupancy.


Spray bottles and pump sprayers for disinfectants have been the most popular cleaning tools used for disinfecting and sanitizing applications. For the most part, these are inexpensive cleaning solutions that are readily available and easy to use – requiring little training or onboarding for the maintenance staff tasked with carrying out these applications.


While these solutions may provide an initial savings on acquisition costs, their level of productivity leaves much to be desired. Operators will experience a slow, manual process that delivers inconsistent material coverage – often resulting in unwanted drips and runs that require an additional step to wipe sprayed areas to adequately cover potentially contaminated surfaces. Increased operator fatigue also plays a role due to the amount of times operators are pulling and holding the trigger and constant refilling of small reservoirs – especially on spaces with larger surface areas.

WATCH: The SaniSpray HP 20 vs. Hand Sprayer (1:06)

Commercial Disinfectant Electrostatic Sprayers

Electrostatic spraying of paints has been around since the 1940s and is the preferred method for the effective coating of metal surfaces including railings, gates, banisters, metal doors, industrial equipment, fencing, and pipes.

Extremely low power versions of this technology have also been applied to equipment dedicated to disinfecting applications. When tasked with higher levels of productivity and larger disinfecting jobs, it is not uncommon for maintenance staff to look to electrostatic disinfectant equipment.

In theory, these solutions provide a negative charge to the disinfecting solution as it exits the spray nozzle. The charged particles are attracted to a grounded surface (or a surface with a neutral electrical condition), providing a “wrap” effect around all sides of the surface. 


With the charged disinfectant particles designed to repel each other and adhere to uncoated surfaces, dedicated electrostatic sprayers for applying disinfectants can provide coverage on complex surfaces, provided that the operator is able to properly ground the object in order to achieve the desired wrap effect. 


Electrostatic spraying has typically been used in a controlled environment, such as a paint spray booth. This controlled environment, with minimal air movement and proper grounding of the sprayer and the surface being sprayed can result in high transfer efficiency of the material and wrapping effect onto the grounded object. Without adequate environmental and grounding controls, natural attraction of electrons and neutrons will be negatively impacted – resulting in a lower transfer efficiency and limited wrap effect.

In addition to inadequate grounding, the wrap effect provided by electrostatic sprayers can vary greatly depending on the actual charge and the type of surface, wind and the distance away from the surface sprayed. Many electrostatic disinfectant sprayers provide a limited charge, comparable to less than 2% of the power of an industrial electrostatic sprayer found in painting applications. This significantly lower power level aling with minimal charging and inadequate grounding can result in incomplete and inconsistent surface coating – making it challenging to meet required chemical dwell times across the surface being treated.


Electrostatic & Fog Sprayers vs SaniSpray HP Airless Disinfectant Sprayers

Disinfectant Fogging Machines

Fogging sprayers, or a “fogger” as it is sometimes called, uses a fine spray to apply a chemical solution, typically for pest or deodorizing control applications. With the recent pandemic and the growing need to effectively clean many community spaces, these sprayers are now being used for sanitizing and disinfecting applications.


Gas powered fogging sprayers provide the ability to cover, large open areas quickly. These sprayers are offered in portable configurations, which makes them a logical choice for disinfecting jobs requiring greater maneuverability.


Since fogging relies on filling air inside a room or other area being treated with disinfectant mist, it is difficult to ensure proper coverage is achieved on all surfaces. This uncertainty makes it difficult to ensure cleaning dwell times required by disinfectant manufacturers for effective applications are met. Additionally, the application process is relatively slow compared to other disinfectant sprayer solutions available today.


Dedicated Airless Disinfectant Sprayers

The need for faster, effective disinfecting equipment solutions has resulted in the introduction of new airless spraying equipment that is specifically designed to meet the needs of disinfecting and sanitizing applications. Graco SaniSpray HP sprayers are solutions dedicated to spraying disinfectants.

Highest Speed & Productivity

These new disinfectant sprayers use the power of airless spraying to deliver the highest speed and productivity when applying disinfectant materials. Maintenance professionals now have the flexibility to chose from a variety of sprayer sizes to match specific job requirements. In addition to providing unmatched application speed, the higher flow rates and larger material reservoirs also reduces operator fatigue over the course of disinfecting applications.

Consistent Atomization & Coverage

Airless disinfectant sprayers deliver the proper atomization required to quickly and consistently coat surfaces to disinfect and sanitize efficiently. Models come equipped with interchangeable tips and adjustable pressure to achieve the desired spray pattern and coverage required to meet chemical dwell time requirements.

Consistent Disinfectant Coverage From Edge to Edge

These new sprayers provide consistent application coverage that can be delivered in either high production or fine spray methods, depending on the needs of the job. These dedicated airless sprayers provide the fastest application method for effectively applying disinfectants to surfaces.


Why Not Use Airless Paint Sprayers for Spraying Disinfectants?

The heightened need for effective disinfecting applications has created a rapid influx of equipment solutions. In some cases, businesses are touting spraying solutions that use tools designed for other applications. Recently, existing airless paint equipment has been touted as an option for disinfecting applications. However, this equipment lacks the proper internal materials of construction and components to handle many of the harsh chemicals found in disinfectant materials. 

High Pressure Can Over-Atomize Disinfectants

Effectively applying a disinfectant properly is surprisingly complex. Over-atomization of the chemicals within the material can potentially cause harm to the applicator and/or people nearby. This over-atomization can also reduce surface contact dwell times and thus lead to improper surface decontamination.

Built for a Different Application

The pumps used in paint sprayers are not built with materials needed to interact with disinfectants. Disinfectant chemicals require alternate materials of construction to prevent internal corrosion, especially as these sprayers are used with these chemicals on multiple applications over a longer period of time.

Quality & Safety Risks

The chemical incompatibility can attack critical components in the fluid path within these sprayers causing them to weaken and/or fail over time. Sanitation professionals should only consider equipment built specifically to apply disinfectants, sanitizers and deodorizers in order to ensure safe, reliable operation and keep people and employees safe during these applications.