Choosing The Best Backpack Sprayer

Backpack sprayers are some of the most practical tools available for spraying chemicals on trees, turf, and gardens to get rid of weeds and pests that might be injurious to your property. These sprayers, because they are filled with potentially dangerous chemicals, must be used cautiously and carefully. One of the biggest advantages of using a backpack spreader over other types of spreaders is that you will be able to target very small areas without getting liquid chemicals everywhere.

There are two basic kinds of backpack sprayers, manual and electric battery powered, and two subtypes, piston, and diaphragm. Newer backpack spreaders come with improved accuracy in target spraying, and intuitive control features. They also come with newly designed straps that will allow the user to distribute the weight properly along the shoulder blades and strive to provide solutions for the fatigue that can accompany long-term spraying sessions.

Potential buyers should check out the safety features of each model, and make sure that, whatever model they buy, is kept clean and that all good safety practices are followed. Some sprayers come with special anti-leak safety features which could save the user from having a serious accident. Buyers should also examine the special ergonomic features of each machine carefully.

Top 5 Best Backpack Sprayer Reviews

The reviews below will discuss the merits of 5 of the finest backpack sprayers available today.

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Model

Battery Powered

Our Rating

Price

Chapin 63985

*Editors Top Pick*​

Yes

5 out of 5

No

5 out of 5

No

4.5 out of 5

Yes

4.5 out of 5

Yes

4 out of 5

Backpack Sprayer Reviews

Pros

  • Weighs approximately 39% less than competitors (10.5 pounds)
  • Customer service team provides full online and phone technical support
  • Very economical when compared to purchasing Round-up containers featuring built-in sprayers

Cons

  • Shut-off doesn't have a lock-off/lock-on feature

The editor's top pick, with a rating of 5 stars, is the Chapin 63985 20v Lithium Ion Battery, Wide Mouth 4 Gallon Backpack Sprayer (powered by Black & Decker). This sprayer is a powerhouse. It provides 1 3/4 hours of continual spraying, has a 35-foot maximum horizontal spray stream of 35 to 40 PSI, and a four-gallon tank featuring a 6" wide mouth funnel that guarantees easy cleaning and filling. It has a 3 nozzle cushion-grip shut-off and deluxe padded shoulders, plus chest and waist straps that provide comfort during prolonged use.

The Chapin 63985 has a Santoprene seal inside the pump for superlative chemical resistance and a serviceable built-in filter that ensures that debris won't clog up the nozzle tip. This is a battery-powered backpack sprayer, which means that you'll never need to utilize a pump handle for increasing tank pressure. This unit, with regular cleaning, is long-lasting and durable. Additional chargers and batteries are available from Black & Decker.  Read full product review.


Pros

  • Patented pump design has 60% less high-wear parts, and can be repaired quickly without tools
  • Does the work of a diaphragm or piston backpack sprayer
  • Metal nozzles last much longer than plastic ones

Cons

  • Advertised fold-up pump handle does not fold up

With the editor's rating of 4.8 stars, the Field King 190328 Professional No-Leak Backpack Sprayer for Weed Killing in Gardens and Lawns has a safer Internal No-Leak Pump, so that chemicals won't drip down your back. A strong 21" poly wand featuring top quality Viton seals and gaskets providing chemical resistance, and a superior, lockable shut-off with in-line filter and brass components. Its filtration basket has a large tank opening which helps to keep larger debris free of the tank while filling, and its easy-access pump allows the user to change the seals in minutes (without using any tools).

This unit accepts TeeJet nozzles, in addition to 4 included nozzles - 2 flat fans, a brass adjustable, and a foaming nozzle. It has an internal pressure chamber which can reach 150 PSI (which is 65% greater than other diaphragm pump backpacks). A built-in agitator handles powders, liquids, and water-soluble solutions, and its internal pump-action activated internal paddles keeps all chemicals in solution, mixed, and ready for spraying.

The Field King 190328 has a reversible handle for either right or left-handed use, a one-way valve that prevents spillage if the tank's inverted, and a threaded bolt that provides a more secure no-slack handle attachment (which is greatly superior to traditional cotter pins used by competing products). Finally, its wand storage and carry handle are integrated.


Pros

  • One year limited manufacturer's warranty
  • 4-gallon backpack sprayer is easy to carry over hilly terrain
  • Preferred by landscaping businesses

Cons

  • Straps should be made from higher quality materials
  • Streams herbicide at a low pressure for 5 to 6 seconds after trigger is released

The Solo 425 Professional Four-Gallon Piston Backpack Sprayer has an editor's rating of 4.8 stars. This backpack piston pump weed sprayer features a top-performance piston pump that offers increased pressure capacity up to 90-PSI, and a commercial level shut-off valve with lock-off/lock-on to minimize user fatigue. It effectively handles fertilizers, disinfectants, pesticides and formulations for shrub, tree, and plant protection. It can also be utilized for concrete and wood treatments and finishing.

This machine features Viton seals in key locations to ensure durability and long service, a right or left-handed operation interchangeable pump handle, and a 4-nozzle assortment for a variety of spraying tasks, including hollow cone, fan spray, jet stream nozzles, and adjustable (it's also TeeJet compatible). In addition, this unit has felt-padded polyester straps, an ultra-violet resistant tank, a reversible pump lever, a connecting rod piston pump that's actuated to produce a broad pressure range (60 PSI) and a heavy-duty pressure cylinder.

The Solo 425 is constructed of corrosion resistant high-grade plastic and has been specially designed to make certain that no rubber or metal parts will be made vulnerable by chemicals. It has a four-gallon high-density, UV-resistant polyethylene tank, padded fatigue-preventing straps for increased operator comfort, and a 4.25" opening that permits easy cleaning and filling. Also, this machine features a 55 cm spray tube, a four-foot high-pressure hose, and is able to carry up to twelve pounds.


Pros

  • Free adjustable brass nozzle is included
  • Quality testing and final assembly is done in the US
  • Direct phone number for technical assistance on label includes very important usage instructions

Cons

  • Straps come undone
  • Came with bent nozzle

The My 4 Sons 4-Gallon Battery-Powered Backpack Sprayer has an editor's rating of 4.7. This sprayer has a 0 to 60 PSI pressure-dial pump featuring an adjustable output, an adjustable brass nozzle, acid plastic wand, rolling cart, one 6" to 35" stainless HD wand, a 15' extended hose, spray pistol, and so much more. This unit can spray approximately 30 feet in a variable pattern, changing from a fine mist to an extra-long distance jet, dependent upon trigger pressure.

This battery-powered backpack sprayer can spray for eight hours with only one battery charge (it gets a complete AC charge in 8 hours, and features battery-life indicator lights). Its large wide-mouth opening permits simple filling, plus a useful screen filter that keeps all debris and dirt out of the tank. This machine has a locking trigger which improves ergonomics, and an adjustable curved tip steel wand that's perfect for on-target spraying. Strong shoulder straps are bolted to the sprayer to prevent any dropping or disconnection.

This sprayer uses soldered battery terminals instead of screws, and swaged hose connections instead of hose clamps, which allows improved reliability and less leaking. It has a voltage output meter and includes 4 nozzles - flat tee jet, adjustable brass, double, and fine mist.


Pros

  • One year 100% satisfaction guarantee against failures or defects provided by Wessol
  • Pigtail hose from sprayer to tank has coiled wire inside that prevents kinking at connections
  • Option to roll instead of carrying on your back is much appreciated

Cons

  • Hard time changing nozzles
  • Pump wasn't as strong as advertised

The FlowZone Four Gallon Continuous-Pressure Multi-use Backpack and Rolling Lithium Ion Sprayer has an editor's rating of 4.6 stars. The battery provides 45 minutes of continual spraying and consistent, continuous pressure, with no pumping required. It can spray approximately 15 feet with a consistent pressure of 45 PSI. Additionally, this 4-gallon backpack sprayer sprays over 7 gallons twice as fast per battery charge, so your projects are done much faster.

This unit comes with an adjustable short nozzle and an 18-inch mist extension wand to comply with any project demands. The user will be able to treat grass, control pests, clean surfaces, prevent ice buildup, seal surfaces, and so much more. This sprayer features a choose-to-roll tank-on trolley, padded carrying straps, a four gallon translucent polyethylene tank featuring volume level indicators, an off/on switch that prevents pressure build-up or liquid backflow, a hose filter and input filter to keep the pump from processing any solids, and a charge indicator light which turns off once the battery has been fully charged.  Read our full product review.

WHAT IS A BACKPACK SPRAYER USED FOR?

There are a variety of uses for your backpack sprayer, and it's essential to know what you can and can't do with each type of sprayer, to maximize your performance, to maintain your tank, nozzle, and wand, and especially to be safe at all times. A primary use of a backpack weed sprayer is for spraying pesticides in an orchard, yard, garden, or around your house. Sprayers are extremely effective in applying targeted herbicide applications (like Roundup) for vegetation and weed control for brush up to about 9 feet high while preventing damage to non-target and off-site species damage.

Other uses of a backpack sprayer include spreading pesticides, formulations for trees, plants, and shrub protection, disinfectants, and fertilizers. There are backpack sprayers available that can also be used for concrete or wood finishing and treatments, and for preventing ice build-up. Backpack sprayers are comparatively inexpensive to buy and maintain, easy to operate and are extremely portable, because they can be used in any location that can be reached by foot, including challenging terrain.

Lightweight backpack sprayers usually weight between 15 and 45 pounds, dependent on their tank size. The most popular size on the market is a 4-gallon. If you need additional capacity, you might consider buying an extra tank. The decision of what size sprayer to purchase depends mostly on the size of the area you will be spraying. They are ideal for spot spraying hard-to-reach areas, spot spraying small acreages, and for those jobs when larger sprayer units like tractors or helicopters are unavailable.

HOW TO USE A BACKPACK SPRAYER

Backpack sprayers, also known in some circles as knapsack sprayers, are the perfect tool for gardeners, and a simple method to carry a large quantity of chemicals in liquid form to hilly and otherwise inaccessible sections of their property. A backpack sprayer is similar to a handheld sprayer in its use and function, but it has the added advantage of being able to contain more liquid. It also has the added convenience of being able to comfortably carry liquid on your back, as opposed to dragging around a very heavy container.

Usage instructions are the same regardless of what liquid you're using (herbicides, pesticides, spraying water, or liquid nutrients). Read the label carefully, and wear the recommended safety gear whenever you are spraying chemicals. Don't use insecticides in a sprayer that was formerly used to spray herbicides, unless you completely clean every part of the sprayer before adding the new chemical.

Step one: Put together the sprayer if necessary - insert the pump handle into its proper location, attach the spray wand onto your spray gun, and fasten the shoulder straps appropriately.

Step 2: In a separate container, prepare the liquid mix that you'll be using. Most commonly you will be mixing the pesticide, herbicide, or insecticide with water. Be certain to read all label instructions when mixing any chemicals.

Step 3: Unscrew cap on the sprayer, and slowly pour the prepared liquid inside. Make sure not to drip any chemicals onto yourself or onto the ground when pouring.

Step 4: Screw the lid back on, place the backpack sprayer onto your back, and tighten all straps so that they are secure and fit snugly.

Step 5: Pump the handle of the sprayer to pump it 10 to 15 times. Continue pumping every 5 seconds or so in order to keep constant pressure inside the backpack tank. If you don't do this step, you'll have to completely reprime your sprayer every time the pressure goes out.

Step 6: You're ready to go! Simply point your wand wherever you need to spray and pull the trigger for liquid application.

Step 7: When you're done spraying, make sure to clean the sprayer thoroughly, outside as well as inside, and don't forget to disassemble it and thoroughly clean each part. Finally, reassemble the backpack sprayer and store it or recharge the battery. Never leave plastic sprayers outside in the sunshine, since they can be damaged by ultra-violet radiation.

TYPES OF BACKPACK SPRAYERS

There are 2 basic styles of backpack sprayers, the diaphragm pump, and the piston pump. The diaphragm pump is more durable and easier to use than a piston pump, but it doesn't usually produce as much pressure. This pump works by an up and down pumping motion inside a chemical tank. On the other hand, a piston pump sprayer typically produces much more pressure, but it is a very sensitive mechanism and should only be used with non-abrasive solutions.

BATTERY POWERED

Backpack sprayers are available in a wide variety of styles, materials, and sizes to suit any capacity or function. They are increasingly more popular for use in golf courses, by pest control operations, and by lawn care companies, as well as by individual operators. Consumers prefer battery powered sprayers for a number of reasons.

First, battery powered sprayers eliminate the need for hand pumping, which can become very tiring. Recent advancements have occurred in the field of portable electric technology, which allows a sprayer to perform better, have greater capabilities, and are simply easier and more comfortable for the user. By eliminating having to constantly hand pump a manual backpack sprayer, a user saves energy as well as time.

Second, electric powered units have become increasingly less expensive in the last 5 years. Previously, the batteries and pumps that went into electric units were bulky, heavy, and priced about 3 times as much as the manual sprayers.

Third, manufacturers have started to design electric battery powered sprayers from scratch, instead of converting a manually powered sprayer. The newest electric-powered sprayers have better microprocessor control technology and better-designed pumps. Microprocessors now monitor the battery and can tell when levels are getting too low, and will automatically shut down the unit.

Fourth, electric battery pack units are able to spray 2-3 times farther than even the most fully pressurized manual sprayer. Up to 120-gallons can be sprayed from just one single charge.

MANUAL

For general use, many people prefer a lever operated backpack sprayer with a pump action system. Long the standard in backpack sprayers, it is still preferred by many users who want high-pressure piston sprayers that can create pressure up to 60 PSI. Manual sprayers do not have to rely on electricity or batteries and can handle a broad range of pest control products, herbicides, fertilizers, and disinfectants.

Manual sprays are still the primary choice of many users to treat new infestations. Choose a manual backpack sprayer with an applicator to switch handles for both left-hand and right-hand operation. They are also considerably less expensive than battery operated sprayers, weigh less, and require less maintenance. A typical backpack weed sprayer usually holds 4 gallons. A hand-operated manual pump is used to pressurize spray material as the user walks along, and a wand with a nozzle is used to spray the target directly. It is best used in small areas that are able to be reached by a walkway.

HOW TO DETERMINE THE BEST BACKPACK SPRAYER TO BUY

With so many different backpack sprayers on the market, how do you determine which one is the best for you?

  • What are backpack sprayers best suited for?
  • What are some of their main advantages?
  • What is your budget?
  • Do you want a manual or a motorized sprayer?
  • Is safety or comfort your biggest concern?
  • How durable a sprayer do you want, and do you want one that can be easily repaired?

This section will discuss some of the options mentioned above and will help you to decide which backpack sprayer is the best choice for you.

What are backpack (or knapsack) sprayers most suited for? If your property has many impediments (fences, steep slopes, uneven terrain. and trees) as well as an oddly shaped area (think triangular), then a backpack sprayer will be the right choice for you. These sprayers are good for smaller acres (less than an acre), or areas that need spot treatments or directed spraying.

A backpack sprayer can take away much of the fatigue and stress a user may experience with other types of sprayers. In particular, if you are carrying a large canister in one arm, you will definitely put a great amount of strain on your shoulders, and possibly get headaches as well. A backpack sprayer will take away much of the fatigue and strain.

Other advantages of backpack sprayers include easy pressure control, the ability to carry greater amounts of liquid, and they're ideal for either daily or weekly use if you're spraying over 30 minutes each time.

An electric rechargeable battery operated backpack garden spray speeds up application time since the user doesn't have to stop and pump the sprayer. Newer models can last a whole shift without the battery having to be recharged.

What is your budget? Based upon retail costs, a motorized sprayer is generally 2-3 times more costly than manual hand powered sprayers. Battery powered electric sprayers run about twice as much as hand-powered sprayers, and gas engine-powered sprayers cost 3-5 times as much as hand powered.

There are various safety concerns when using a backpack sprayer. Be careful when bending or walking while wearing a sprayer, and make sure to bend at the knees. Also, never use acids, flammable liquids, or caustic chemicals like bleach. Check the labels and operator's manuals of all possible purchases carefully.

HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR SPRAYER

It is very important to maintain your sprayer in as good condition as possible. First and foremost, read your owner's manual from cover to cover before operation. Always use gloves, goggles, and protective clothing when using your sprayer. Never use caustics, acids, hot water, or flammable liquids inside the tank. When not in use, never leave your sprayer out in the sun, since ultraviolet damage can occur. Don't use your sprayer near an open flame. Inspect all hoses and connections before every use.

Carry your backpack sprayer by the handle only, and never lift it by the wand extension, shut-off valve, or the hose. Don't pressurize with an air compressor, since this may create a very dangerous pressure level and parts can even burst, resulting in injury. Never store any kind of chemicals in the tank.

Release all pressure before doing any maintenance, and when the sprayer's not in use. Rinse and clean sprayer thoroughly after every use. Do not attempt to alter your sprayer from its original condition. Make sure always to use the correct replacement parts from the original manufacturer. Always keep your spray and any chemicals far away from children's reach.

Always empty, dry, and clean tank, shut-off, pump system, extensions, and hose after each use. If you fail to do this, sprayer components may become weakened and could rupture when pressurized. Serious injury may occur from the forcible ejection of parts or a high-pressure discharge of any liquids. Avoid using any flammable material in your backpack sprayer. Finally, test the spray out with water before attempting to fill with chemicals.

​CONCLUSION

After a careful examination of five backpack spreaders, the FlowZone, the My 4 Sons M4, the Solo 425, the Field King 190328, and the Chapin 63985, the editor's top pick, with a rating of five stars, is the Chapin 63985. This Black & Decker powered machine is reasonably priced, has a multitude of safety features, and uses a powerful 20-volt lithium battery that provides up to 1 3/4 hour of continuous spraying. This battery is meant to do 50+ gallons without recharging. It features high-quality materials (the seals, wand, sprayer, tank, etc.) and it is built to last for a very long time.

This quality machine features deluxe padded shoulders, a 3 nozzle cushion grip shut-off, a six-inch wide mouth funnel and a 4-gallon tank. The battery unit ensures that the user will never need to use a pump handle for increasing the tank pressure. This sprayer keeps a constant pressure, so a user will never be slowed down by the spray. Take care while operating this quality battery-powered backpack sprayer, and it will perform extremely well for a long period of time.

About the author

Mark Kelly

Hi, I'm Mark the owner of Yard Care Gurus. I love to be outside working on my lawn, planning my next project. I created this website to help people like you find the best products for yard care and great advice. Thanks for stopping by!

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