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5 Best Backpack Sprayer Reviews - Perfect For Homeowner & Commercial Use

how to choose the best backpack sprayer

A backpack sprayer is a great tool for applying products to turf, trees and gardens to help kill insects, enrich your soil and feed your plants.

There are 2 basic types of backpack sprayers, manual and battery powered.  Further down in this article I talk about which one I recommend for most homeowners.

Newer backpack sprayers allow for more precise applications and innovative controls.  They also come with better designed straps that will allow you to be more comfortable when you are spraying for longer periods of time or using a full containers worth of product.

Make sure to also check out each products safety features.  You don't want to buy a sprayer that is prone to leaking, especially if you are apply chemicals.  A leaky sprayer can cause harm to yourself and your property.


Quick Look: Best backpack sprayers in 2018:

  1. Chapin 63985: best overall backpack sprayer for most homeowners.

  2. Field King 190328: best budget model for the average DIY'r.

  3. Solo 425: high quality manual unit - good brand and reputation.

  4. Jacto Sprayer: heavy duty, commercial use & high end model.

  5. FlowZone Lithium-Ion Sprayer: unique design - rolling backpack sprayer.


My Pick for the Best Backpack Sprayer

Chapin 63985

Chapin 63985 Lithium Ion Powered Sprayer

A high quality, battery powered sprayer for the right price.  I use the Chapin 63985 in my yard personally.  It is lightweight, has a wide mouth for easy filling and consistent spray.  If you have a decent sized property (10,000 square feet) or larger, than I highly recommend a battery powered sprayer.  It will make the job easier and you will put down a much more consistent application.

What Is a Backpack Sprayer Used For?

There are a variety of uses for your backpack sprayer.  It's essential to know what you can and can't do with each type to maximize your performance and to be safe at all times.

The primary use of a backpack weed sprayer is for spraying herbicides in your yard, garden, or around your house. Sprayers are extremely effective in applying targeted herbicide applications (like Roundup) for vegetation and weed control.

Other uses include spreading pesticides, formulations for trees, plants, and shrub protection, soil enhancers, 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 generally inexpensive to buy, easy to maintain and operate and are extremely portable.  They can get at places where a tow behind sprayer can't.

Lightweight backpack sprayers usually weight between 15 and 20 pounds, dependent on their tank size. The most popular size on the market is a 4-gallon.  If you need additional capacity, you might be better off with a tow-behind model.

The decision of what size to purchase depends mostly on the size of the area you will be spraying. They are ideal for spot spraying hard-to-reach areas, small acreages, and for those jobs when larger sprayer units like tractors can't access.

How To Use a Backpack Sprayer

A backpack sprayer is similar to a handheld model in its use and function, but it has the added advantage of a larger capacity.

It also has the added convenience of being able to comfortably carry the application on your back, as opposed to dragging around a very heavy container.

Make sure to calibrate your sprayer correctly.  Here is a great video from Pete at GCI Turf:

The actual sprayer usage instructions are the same regardless of what liquid you're using (herbicides, pesticides, spraying water, or liquid nutrients).

Read the product label carefully, and wear the recommended safety gear whenever you are spraying chemicals.

I strongly advise to not use the same unit to spray a non-selective herbicide (RoundUp) and any other product.  You do not want to risk killing what you are spaying.

Step 1: 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 (bucket test). 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 the sprayer cap and slowly pour the prepared application inside. Make sure not to drip any chemicals on yourself or onto the ground when pouring.

Step 4: Screw the sprayer lid on, place the 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 prime your sprayer every time the pressure goes out.  OR If you have a battery powered model, make sure the battery is fully charged.

Step 6: You're ready to go! Simply point your wand wherever you need to spray and pull the trigger for liquid application.  There are many more steps involved in how to spray, but I'm not going to get into that in this article.

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.

Type of Backpack Sprayers

types of backpack sprayers and models

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 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 on golf courses, by pest control operations, lawn care companies, as well as by homeowners.

I highly recommend getting a battery powered sprayer for a number of reasons.

First, battery powered sprayers eliminate the need for hand pumping, which can become very tiring. More importantly though, a battery powered sprayer puts out a consistent amount of product.  This allows you to get a better application because you don't have to worry about the PSI.  PSI will determine how much product is sent out the sprayer - so if you your PSI varies, you will have an inconsistent application.

Second, battery powered units have become less expensive in recent years.  With the advancement of battery technology, they last longer and are lighter as well.

Third, manufacturers have started to design 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.

Manual Pump

Manual sprayers are still used by many turf management professionals.  They are generally cheaper and require less maintenance.

Also, since you don't need to worry about losing a charge, they last all day long - which is good for professionals that don't have the ability to recharge a battery.

Depending on the model, they can be more durable since they don't contain any electronics.

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 battery powered sprayer?
  • What is your biggest concern?
  • How durable a sprayer do you need?
  • Will you be using it for commercial applications?

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

What are backpack 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 help with fatigue and stress a user may experience vs a handheld sprayer. In particular, if you are carrying a large canister in one arm, you will feel it in your arms and shoulders.  A backpack sprayer will take away much of the fatigue and strain.

Another advantage is capacity.  A large capacity backpack sprayer will reduce the number of times you need to refill it and thus shorten the time it takes to spray your yard.

A rechargeable battery sprayer speeds up application times since the user doesn't have to stop and pump the sprayer. Newer models can last hours without having to be recharged.

What is your budget? Based upon retail costs, battery sprayers run about twice as much as hand-powered sprayers (but the difference is diminishing), and gas-powered sprayers cost 3-5 times as much as hand pump models.

If you plan on using your sprayer for commercial applications, than a hand pump backpack sprayer may be your best option as they are easier to maintain and you don't have to worry about charging a battery.

How To Maintain Your Sprayer

You've done your research and found what you consider to be the right sprayer.

You want to maintain your sprayer and keep it working like new.

  • First and foremost, read the owner's manual from cover to cover before operation.
  • Always use gloves, goggles, and protective clothing (PPE) 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 - always clean it out after each use.

Release all pressure before doing any maintenance, and when the sprayer's not in 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 sprayer 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 sprayer with water before attempting to fill with chemicals.

5 Best Backpack Sprayer Reviews

#1) Chapin 63985 Lithium Ion Powered Sprayer

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 chemical containers featuring built-in sprayers

Cons

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

My top pick is the Chapin 63985. 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 comes with 3 nozzles, a cushion-grip, 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 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.  Many users consider this to be the top backpack sprayer on the market.

#2) Field King Professional 190328 Sprayer

Pros

  • Patented pump design has 60% less high-wear parts, and can be repaired quickly without tools
  • Leak proof pump design
  • Metal nozzles last much longer than plastic ones

Cons

  • Not battery powered
  • Smallish tank opening

The Field King 190328 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.  It also has a lockable shut-off valve with in-line filter and brass components.

Its filtration basket 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 mixes powders, liquids, and water-soluble solutions - which is very convenient.  Its internal internal paddles keeps all chemicals 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.

#3) Solo 425 4-Gallon Professional Sprayer

Pros

  • One year limited manufacturer's warranty
  • 4-gallon backpack sprayer is easy to carry over hilly terrain
  • Commercial grade shut-off valve

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 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 help with fatigue.

It effectively handles fertilizers, 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.  The pump handle can be installed for either a right or left-handed use.

It includes 4-nozzles for a variety of spraying tasks, including hollow cone, fan spray, jet stream nozzles, and it's 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.

#4) My 4 Sons M4 Sprayer

Pros

  • Pressure dial pump
  • 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
  • Small hole opening

The My 4 Sons 4-Gallon Battery Sprayer has a 0 to 60 PSI pressure-dial pump featuring adjustable output, an adjustable brass nozzle, long adjustable wand, long lasting batter, 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).

The manufacturer says it has a wide mouth opening, but I actually find it a bit small for my liking.  It does have a  screen filter that keeps all debris and dirt out of the tank which is nice.

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 product 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.

The is the best battery powered sprayer for commercial on my list.

#5) FlowZone Backpack & Rolling Lithium-Ion Sprayer

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 a unique feature

Cons

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

The FlowZone is a unique model and I wanted to make sure it made the list.  The fact that you can carry it on your back and then roll it when the terrain allows is a very cool feature.

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 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.

Conclusion:

After a careful examination of 5 models: the FlowZone, the My 4 Sons M4, the Solo 425, the Field King 190328, and the Chapin 63985, I picked the 63985 as the top backpack sprayer.

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 spray 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.

Good luck finding the top backpack sprayer for you.  Contact me if you need further advice or leave a comment below.

About the author

Matt Hagens

Hi, I'm Matt 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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