I bought this product without reading reviews so I had no preconceptions. But within the first five minutes of using it, I was so frustrated with problems that I was ready to trash it like so many others. However, I read as many reviews as I could on a lot of web sites, did some trial and error on my own, and now completely like the product. I think my tips below address every problem I've seen except for those who say it falls apart. I can only say that mine has been durable after going through six refills so far. Based on feel and examination, my expectation is that it will last about as long as an inexpensive garden hose sprayer...a couple of years anyway.
Before first use: Make sure you remove the plastic seal at the top of the refill container before using first time.
Leak at the hose connector: Make sure the plastic washer inside the dispenser female connection is there and fits well.
Blue water leak: Before re-attaching the container to the dispenser, make sure there are no fertilizer granules on the top edge or inside the dispenser. Wipe them off. The granules prevent the container from achieving a good water seal and you get blue water leaks.
Hand gets tired holding trigger for continuous spraying: Get a 4" clamp like one of these to hold the trigger closed: Heavy Duty Muslin Clamps 4 1/2 inch 6 Pack
Blue water comes out inconsistently: This was my main problem at first and why I wanted to toss the product. Ironically, I don't have a specific tip for this except that when I did everything--especially the fertilizer refilling tips below--this problem went away. My guess is that air pockets form in the container so you want to remove the air pockets before using the dispenser.
You have to hold the dispenser horizontal / pointing down / upside down to get the blue water to come out: This was my second main problem at first, and it too went away when I did everything else.
Other tips--refilling with fertilizer:
- Don't try to refill directly from a refill bag into the dispenser container. Hard to coordinate and some is bound to spill. Instead, dump the contents of the refill bag into, say, a small bucket, and then pour the fertilizer into the dispenser container.
- After the fertilizer is poured in, tap the dispenser container against the ground a few times to knock down the fertilizer and remove air pockets.
- Fill the container with water directly (when removed from the dispenser) rather than waiting for the dispenser to fill it with a trickle of water. As you refill it, slosh the slush around to remove air pockets, and fill to the top. You'll have a little foam at the top but that's okay.
- Make sure you re-attach the container to dispenser firmly. I found that I thought it was snug fit but when I added a little more pressure, it screwed on tighter.
* Some have complained that three nozzles are unnecessary for fertilizer dispensing. I agree, but they are still very useful when using the product for dispensing water only which is about 50% of the time I have the product attached to my garden hose.
* Rate of dispensing fertilizer: The product label should have this information. It depends on your water pressure, and the manufacturer says that for most situations the fertilizer should last about 12 minutes of dispensing. That's about right for me.
* How do you know when you need more fertilizer: The manufacturer says to refill even if the water inside the dispenser is slightly blue. I found that if I make sure there are no air pockets (tips above), then the transition from blue water to clear water coming out of the dispenser is quick and makes it obvious when I need to refill.
I think that covered everything I've discovered.