▷ Choosing the Best Backpack Sprayer (2020 Update)

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Choosing the Best Backpack Sprayer

Written by Joseph Biggs and updated on June 7, 2018
Choosing the Best Backpack Sprayer

Relaxing in a well-maintained garden on a warm, sunny day can be very rewarding when you know it’s all your own handiwork you’re having the pleasure of enjoying. But, it takes a lot of time and effort to keep lawns green, crops thriving and flowers flourishing, and time is something many of us are short of these days. Investing in a decent backpack sprayer will not only help your garden but it will also free up more of your time to enable you to do something even more enjoyable than gardening.

What is a backpack sprayer made up of?

Before you go and buy a backpack sprayer it's a good idea to get to know a little more about them and how and they work. That way there will be no surprises when you get it home for the first time. You can simply pull it out of the box, fill it up, and start spraying your garden.

A basic backpack sprayer consists of 5 main parts:

1. Tank

The size of the tank varies across backpack sprayers, but most are equipped to hold anywhere between two and five gallons of liquid. This is definitely something to consider when making your purchase as the larger the capacity, the heavier it will be to carry. So if you’re someone who’s quite petite, you may find the smaller backpack sprayers more suitable.

In terms of their construction, most backpack sprayers these days are made from polyethylene plastic. Not only is it durable, but it’s also UV protected and resistant to chemicals, making it the perfect choice of material to use for a tank that’s going to be filled with fertilizer.  

2. Wand

This is the elongated part that allows you to spray the liquid onto the desired area. It enables you to get to hard to reach places such as areas above head height or those with prickly plants or bushes. There’s an attached trigger that when pulled, it sprays the liquid out in an even layer.   

3. Pump

The pump is one of the most important parts of the backpack sprayer as it’s what maintains the pressure in your tank. Without that build up of pressure, there would be very little liquid, if any, dispersed when you pulled the trigger.

There are two different pumps available when it comes to backpack sprayers: the piston pump, and the diaphragm pump. Piston pumps are contained within a chamber in the tank and move up and down like that of a car piston. As the lever is pumped, the pressure forces the liquid down the wand, allowing you to spray as you need to.

Diaphragm pumps work in a similar fashion, but unlike piston pumps, there’s no internal cylinder. When the handle is pumped it moves the diaphragm as to create pressure. Sprayers using piston pumps are almost always the cheaper option but are unsuitable for use with any highly abrasive chemicals. While diaphragm sprayers are resistant to pretty much any chemical, give you more pressure when you need it, and are suitable for powders as well as liquids, they are more expensive and may require more maintenance.     

The way the pump works is by drawing liquid in from the tank and then sending it to the pressure chamber. Here, the liquid is held under pressure by seals and valves until the wand’s lever is squeezed and the tank’s contents are sprayed out through the nozzle. It’s important to find the right pressure for you when using your backpack sprayer for the first time as this will enable you to maintain a steady pace.

4. Nozzle

The nozzle of the sprayer is another very important part as it controls both the pattern and flow of the spray. Most backpack sprayers come with several different nozzles to allow you to select the spray pattern that best suits you.

When shopping for your next backpack sprayer just be sure to take note of what the nozzle’s made out of. While plastic nozzles tend to make the sprayer cheaper, they will degrade much faster than brass or bronze ones.     

5. Straps

Backpack sprayers are fitted with either straps or a harness to help distribute the weight while carrying it. Having the tank supported in such a way enables you to have your hands free to carry out other tasks. Just make sure that the straps or harness holding the sprayer are well made and fit comfortably. 

What to consider when buying a backpack sprayer

Thankfully, as you can see from above, backpack sprayers are relatively simple tools. That being said, there are a still few things to bear in mind when making your purchase, including:


Your main potential concern with a backpack sprayer is that it may leak. To try and avoid this issue look for a tank that’s made from polyethylene plastic with seals and hoses that are of industrial strength and are both leak and chemical resistant.

You also want to make sure the straps or harness is also strong and able to withstand hours of use. Spraying your lawn or crops with fertilizer may not be the hardest gardening task out there to do, but it can be quite time-consuming and having straps that are high quality will help make that task much easier. 

PSI Pressure

This is something that can vary quite a lot among backpack sprayers. As a general rule, most can quite comfortably achieve a range of pressure of around 15 to 95 psi.  While some heavy-duty professional-grade sprayers can kick out a staggering 150 psi, there’s not really much need for this unless you have an extremely large area to cover.

As long as the pressure of the tank remains consistent, it will continually spray the liquid until you release the handle or trigger. To counteract this problem, some backpack sprayers are fitted with a built-in pressure regulator that controls the pressure automatically.  

Motorized or manual? 

There are two main types of backpack sprayer - those that are motorized and those that are manual. Manual models are those which require you to operate the pump, while motorized sprayers are equipped with a powerful battery to do all the pumping for you. While motorized sprayers are, of course, heavier and more expensive, if you have a large area to cover, your hand will appreciate the help.    

Safety features 

You should always consider safety when carrying out any gardening task, however simple it may seem. As mentioned earlier, your main concern when using a backpack sprayer is the risk of it leaking. To try and combat this issue many manufacturers have included a lockable shut-off mechanism as part of their design. This allows you to stop any chemicals from dripping onto you unnecessarily.

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