The dispersion characteristics of a selection of non-evaporating non-reacting, evaporating non-reacting, and reacting dilute spray jets issuing in ambient air (Gounder et al, Combust Sci Technol 182:702-715, 2010; Masri and Gounder, Combust Flame 159:3372-3397, 2010) and in a hot coflow (Oloughlin and Masri, Flow Turbul Combust 89:13-35, 2012) are analysed. Other than the cases found in those contributions, two additional sprays of kerosene have been investigated in order to systematically study the effects of evaporation. The burners are well designed such that boundary conditions may be accurately measured for use in numerical simulations. The dynamics and dispersion characteristics are analysed by conditioning results on the droplet Stokes numbers and by systematically investigating changes in dispersion and dynamics as a function of carrier air velocity, liquid loading, ignition method, and location within the flame or spray jet. The tendency for droplet dispersion defined by the ratio of radial rms velocity to axial mean velocity varies significantly between reacting and non-reacting flows. However, dispersion is found to be largely unaffected by evaporation. The total particle concentration, or number density of droplets within the spray has also been used as a direct measure of spray dispersion with the effect of evaporation on a turbulent polydisperse spray being isolated by investigating acetone and kerosene sprays with similar boundary conditions. The rate of change of droplet size with radial position is almost identical for the kerosene and acetone cases. The dispersion characteristics, closely related to the 'fan spreading' phenomenon are dependant on the carrier air velocity and axial location within the spray.