It is manual, in that you need to squeeze the trigger, but you get about 1 to 2 seconds of mist for each squeeze of the trigger. Also, the mist is much finer than the spray bottles or misters I've gotten at Lowes. I wouldn't recommend it for spraying anything other than plain water. Because the mist is so fine, I would assume that it would clog up really easily. I've been using it multiple times a day for over a month and it still works perfectly.