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Published Sep. 24, 2018

For many of us, our gardens are our sanctuaries. So, it can be very frustrating when ugly, unsightly weeds spring up, particularly during the summer when we spend the most time outdoors. Not only are weeds unattractive to look at, but they are also harmful to other plants. If too many weeds are left to spawn, they will eventually overpower and basically “starve” our flowers of water and nutrients.

In addition to plants, some weeds can be dangerous to animals and humans. Some are poisonous or irritating to both ourselves and our pets. That’s not exactly the relaxing atmosphere we want for our backyards! Pulling them straight from the earth is not the easiest solution; it’s time-consuming, it’s back-breaking work, and a few pesky dandelions always seem to get missed.

Weeds aren’t the only problem in our yards though, unfortunately. There are plenty of other nasty pests that live among the flower beds and vegetable patches and leave nothing but holes in our petals and produce. From slugs to aphids, there’s a plethora of bugs and creepy crawlies in the garden that make it their mission to spoil our scenery. The perfect solution to this is purchasing a backpack sprayer. These are packs with a spray attachment that you wear on your back that is filled with either weed killer or pesticide, making it easier to take care of these annoying issues in your garden. Check out our top picks below.

The Best Backpack Sprayer

This professional grade option boasts a three stage filtration system with a fully removable in-tank filter that can be easily cleaned when needed. With a massive four-gallon tank, it’s able to cover a huge area and is practically leak proof, so there is no need to worry about dangerous chemicals running down your back while you spray!

The huge tank is also translucent with a four-inch opening, so filling and cleaning is a breeze as you’ll be able to see how much liquid is inside. Completely compatible with most common weedkillers and pesticides, it comes with three nozzles, allowing for a wide range of different applications. A handy pressure gauge located on the shut off means the pressure can be checked with ease and padded shoulder straps allow you to work with a full tank for as long as you need to. 

Key Features
  • Three stage filtration system
  • 4-gallon tank with 4-inch opening for easy filling and cleaning
Specification
  • Brand Chapin International
  • Model 61900
  • Weight 11 pounds
PROS

Translucent tank allows user to see how much liquid is left

Fully removable in-tank filter

Reputable brand

CONS

Not the largest amount of nozzles attachments available on the market

When it comes to backpack sprayers, there’s nothing worse than a leaky tank. Not only is it extremely irritating, but it could also be potentially dangerous if you are working with corrosive chemicals. This professional standard backpack sprayer boasts an internal no leak pump design, preventing any drips or spills from finding their way down your back! A powerful internal piston pump provides up to 150 psi, which is 60 per cent higher than most leading best diaphragm backpack sprayers on the market.

The Field King Professional 190328 comes with interchangeable nozzles depending on your needs, these include a foaming nozzle, a brass adjustable nozzle and two flat fan nozzles. Better still, it is compatible with Tee Jet nozzles. It has a durable 21-inch poly wand with high-quality Viton seals. This allows them to be used with all liquids and work like both a diaphragm and piston knapsack. The pump can be accessed easily and quickly, allowing you to change seals without the use of tools. It features a lockable shut off with brass components and an in-line filter.

Key Features
  • No leak pump design
  • 150 psi piston pump 60 per cent higher than most leading diaphragm sprayers 
Specification
  • Brand D.B. Smith
  • Model 190328
  • Weight 12.8 pounds
PROS

Lockable shut off

Compatible will Tee Jet nozzles

CONS

Solid coloured tank so the user can't see how much liquid is inside

If you want to eliminate the amount of pumping, consider searching for a battery-powered backpack sprayer. Fortunately, we’ve found one of the best ones available. This Chapin solo backpack sprayer has a Black and Decker 20 volt Lithium Ion battery that will allow you spray for up to 1.75 hours continuously, that’s up to 50 gallons of pesticide!

With an impressive 35 feet maximum horizontal spray stream and a maximum vertical spray stream of up to 27 feet, it’s strong pump delivers between 35 and 40 psi. To make simple work cleaning and filling, it has a 4-gallon tank with a 6-inch wide mouth funnel. No matter what the job, this backpack sprayer can handle it, with its cushion grip shut off and three nozzles designed for a multitude of applications. Alongside all it’s features, comfort is at the forefront of this yard sprayer, with its luxuriously padded shoulder straps, ideal for prolonged use.

Key Features
  • Battery-powered
  • 35 feet maximum horizontal stray stream and maximum vertical spray stream
  • 1.75 hours of continuous spraying
Specification
  • Brand Chapin International
  • Model 63985
  • Weight 10.5 pounds
PROS

4-gallon tanks with a 6-inch wide mouth funnel for easy cleaning and filling

Padded shoulder straps

Black and Decker 20 volit Lithium-ion battery

Translucent so user can see how much liquid is left in tank

CONS

Does not have a non-leak guarantee

If you know you are going to be working outside all day, you need a pressure sprayer that can keep up and offer you a bit of extra comfort. The Roundup 190314 Backpack Sprayer not only has deluxe padded straps, it also has the addition of a waist strap and built-in lumbar support. This way, you can work for hours without causing undue damage to your back.

A whopping 4-gallon tank garden sprayer that can tackle even the most taxing of weed infestations, it features a heavy-duty poly wand with shut off complete with a comfort grip lock for continuous spraying and an in-line filter. The pump has gaskets and Viton seals throughout and a shut off for long lasting chemical resistance. For versatility, this yard sprayer includes threes additional nozzles; low volume fan, high volume fan and poly adjustable. 

Key Features
  • Padded shoulders and waist strap with built-in lumbar support
  • 4-gallon tank
  • Three additional nozzles
Specification
  • Brand Roundup
  • Model 190314
  • Weight 10 pounds
PROS

Viton seals throughout for chemical resistance

Durable poly wand with comfort grip

CONS

Not a large amount of additional nozzle attachments

Another great battery powered option, the design of this 4-gallon yard sprayer has been improved and is now translucent, so you can clearly see how much liquid is left inside for easy top up. It offers the user incredible control and a professional standard finish. It includes a durable, super long stainless stain wand that adjusts from 20 to 40 inches that you can work over small areas or large with ease.

You don’t have to worry about running out of juice during spraying, as this solo backpack comes equipped with lights that indicate how much battery life is left. A fast, easy battery door makes changing batteries incredibly fast, so it won’t impede upon your work time. In fact, the whole process takes about 30 seconds! It makes use of 8 AH lead acid batteries, which provide three times more power than lithium-ion varieties most yard sprayers use, and they cost 50 percent less. It can pump a minimum of 200 gallons before it needs to be recharged. It comes with an AC charger that allows batteries to be fully powered up in just 8 hours. 

An extra plastic wand specifically designed for use with acid alongside the adjustable steel wand complete with a curved tip for targeted sprayed make for versatile use.

Key Features
  • Battery-powered
  • Has an extra plastic wand
  • Uses 8 AH lead acid batteries
Specification
  • Brand My 4 Sons
  • Model M41000
  • Weight 14 pounds
PROS

Translucent tank so user can see how much liquid is left

Highest rated sprayer on Amazon

Fully charged in 8 hours

CONS

Doesn't come with a large selection of nozzle attachments

This Chapin garden backpack sprayer is durable, simple to use and of great quality. With a 4-inch wide mouth opening, cleaning and filling are no trouble at all. A translucent tank means that this process is made even easier, as you’ll be able to clearly see how much liquid is left. Because of its heavy duty design, you’ll be able to use it with all common weed killers, pesticides and fertilizers.

It has a two stage filtration system – one filter at the top and another at the shut-off and a poly shut-off with two nozzles – a fan tip nozzle and an adjustable poly cone nozzle. For added comfort, this Chapin backpack boasts fully padded shoulder straps, so you’ll be able to carry a fully loaded tank with ease.

Key Features
  • Two stage filtration system
  • Padded shoulder straps
Specification
  • Brand Chapin International
  • Model 61500
  • Weight 10.6 pounds
PROS

Translucent tank so user can see how much liquid is left

4-inch wide mouth opening on tank for easing cleaning and filling

CONS

Doesn't come with a large selection of nozzle attachments

No matter how experienced you are, working with chemicals always comes with some element of risk. Spillages, leaks and contact with skin are all concerns to be aware of. Of course, unless you’re a dandelion, a weed killer isn’t going to do too much damage to a human’s skin, but it is an irritant, and you do not want it on your skin. If you are using other corrosive chemicals, you’ll want to take even more caution.

The Field King Max 190348 Backpack Sprayer boasts an internal no leak pump design, making it much safer than other knapsack sprayers on the market. This innovative design ensures no dangerous chemicals will drip onto skin and will keep your work simple and risk free.

There’s no need for tools when changing seals, an easy access pump means that they can be swapped in minutes. The pump sprayer also includes four additional nozzles: two flat fans, one brass adjustable and one foaming nozzle, and it also accepts TeeJet nozzles. It features a 21 inches stainless steel wand with Viton seals which are great at resisting strong chemicals.

Key Features
  • Easy access pump to quickly change seals
  • Compatible with Teejet nozzles
  • 21-inch stainless steel wand
Specification
  • Brand D.B. Smith
  • Model 190348
  • Weight 12.8 pounds
PROS

No leak pump design

Four additional nozzles

CONS

Solid coloured tank so can't see how much liquid is inside

Not as large as some of the tanks on the market

When searching for a high quality backpack sprayer, you need something that can handle every job you throw at it. This professional standard pressure sprayer makes easy work of fertilizers, pesticides, disinfectants, herbicides and formulas designed for plants, tree and shrub protection and maintenance.

A high powered piston pump allows for pressure capabilities up to 90 psi and a commercial shut off valve complete with a lock on, lock off feature help to ease user fatigue. Viton seals have been placed in key spots to ensure this backpack sprayer is long lasting and can withstand a variety of hazardous chemicals. This yard sprayer is great for both left hand and right hand use, as it has an interchangeable pump handle, perfect for both left and right hand operation and comes with an assortment of four nozzles for different tasks, including fan spray, hollow cone, adjustable, jet stream and adjustable. On top of these great features, it also boasts a 48-inch high pressure nylon reinforced hose which offers the user extended reach. 

Key Features
  • Piston pump allows for pressure of up to 90 psi
  • 48-inch high pressure nylon reinforced hose
Specification
  • Brand Solo, Inc.
  • Model 425
  • Weight 10.3 pounds
PROS

Four additional nozzles

Viton seal throughout for chemical resistance

CONS

Not as large as some of the tanks on the market

If you are looking for a backpack sprayer that will allow you to work continuously, considering opting for a superior battery powered option. Hudson is a reputable brand, renowned for their high quality tools, so you can be sure you will be getting a first-rate lawn sprayer. With the 13854 Never Pump Bak-Pak, you don’t need to worry about stopping and changing the battery during your work. It sprays continuously for 10 hours, (or 600 minutes) on just one battery charge! It comes with an AC charger, charging the battery ready for use in just 9 hours.

It features an extra long 72-inch non-kinking hose which allows you to cover large areas and get into hard to reach spaces. A translucent 4-inch tank with a wide opening makes it easy to clean and fill and handy screen filter helps to keep debris and dirt out of the tank. Its 20-inch fibreglass poly spray way has a specially designed curved tip, making it ideal for targeted spraying. It also has a unique nozzle system with four spray settings including long reach, dual cone, fan and cone.

Key Features
  • Battery-powered
  • 72-inch non-kinking hose
Specification
  • Brand HUDSON
  • Model 100509145
  • Weight 18 pounds
PROS

Reputable brand

Translucent tank allows user to see how much liquid is left

Sprays continuously for 10 hours

CONS

Not one of the largest tanks of the markets

The last, but certainly not least, option on our list is the Smith NL403 No-Leak Backpack Sprayer. With the inclusive of Viton seals throughout, there is no risk of leakages from the tank or from the wand – as it features a 5 psi non-drip check valve with an integrated filter which stops any rogue drips when it is not in use. In addition to this, the wand is made from 21 inches of stainless steel and is incredibly hard wearing. 

This sprayer can reach a stream of an impressive 30 feet and 65% higher pressure than most other leading diaphragm pump backpacks on the markets. You can use it with a multitude of liquids, powders and water-soluble solutions, thanks to its built-in agitator.

Key Features
  • Built-in agitator can be used with many liquids, powders and water-soluble solutions
  • 21 inch stainless steel wan
Specification
  • Brand Smith Performance Sprayers
  • Model 190442
  • Weight 12.8 pounds
PROS

Wand features a 5 psi non-drip check valve to ensure there are new drips

Spray can reach 30 feet

65% higher pressure than most leading diaphragm pump sprayers on the market

CONS

Doesn't come with a large selection of nozzle attachments

Solid coloured tank so can't see how much liquid is inside

Best Backpack Sprayer Buying Guide & FAQ

Things to Consider When Buying a Backpack Sprayer

Before you purchase a backpack sprayer, you should take the time to think about what you actually need from it. There are many different factors to consider when selecting the right one for your garden, such as its function, how often you plan to use it and whether you would like to use it manually or not.

pesticides
  • Durability

Do you think you will be using your knapsack sprayer on a regular basis or will it only be in use a few times a year at most? Ensure that you do your research and if you know you will be getting a lot of use out of it, be sure to choose a reputable brand with good reviews, like one of the options mentioned here. Pay close attention to the pump; it must be able to handle dispensing the liquid over long periods of time. In addition, the tank needs to be crafted from high density, preferably polyethene material, able to handle UV. Always inspect other components such as hoses and seals as these will need to be able to withstand the potential damaged caused by the constant use of chemicals.

  • Function

Each backpack sprayer serves its own purpose, and some are better at certain jobs than others. For example, one that is great for dealing with vegetable may not be able to handle woody plant areas. You also need to determine what kind of solution you need to use in the tank in order to get the best result, deciding this will also help you decide what sprayer to choose. For example, diaphragm sprayers typically better for harsher chemicals than piston sprayers. Also, consider the pressure requirements and area before you make your decision.

  • Manual or Motor

There is no real benefit to choosing either a motorized or manual backpack sprayer, it all depends upon what you prefer. In general, manual sprayers are best for treating foreign infestations, whilst motorized varieties are recommended for use on larger areas of land.

  • Spray Wands and Lances

There are many kinds of lances you can select to ensure that you use your backpack sprayer as safely and efficiently as possible. In order to eliminate the leaking of dangerous chemicals, choose a spray wand that fits on properly and prevents leakage whilst still providing an accurate aim. Be sure that it is fully compatible with the nozzles and caps your sprayer came with.

  • Calibration

Things to factor in when calibrating your backpack spraying are walking speed, swath width and output per minute. This is essential to ensure you are using your equipment as efficiently as possible. Be sure to only use water when calibrating your sprayer – never do this when the tank has a chemical in it! To calibrate It properly, follow this method:

  1. Perform a pre-operation service on your sprayer and prepare it for calibration by cleaning and inspecting it thoroughly
  2. Mark out a 25m2 calibration plot in the area you need to treat using a marker, such as a peg, in every corner (the 25m2 can be any configuration – e.g. 5m x 5m, 12.5m x 2m, 25m x 1m or 16.6m x 1.5m, or any other combination, as long as it equals 25m2).
  3. Mark the tank with a permanent marker and then proceed to fill it to the line. Alternatively, fill the sprayer to a level you are aware of.
  4. Spritz the chosen plot at the same speed and pressure you plan to use when you complete the job, taking care of not missing any spots, overspray or spill any of the water. You need this to be as accurate as possible.
  5. Once you have completed spraying the area, cautiously remove the sprayer, stand on a level spot and measure the amount of water it takes to fill the sprayer back up to the original mark you made in step 3. The amount of water taken to refill the tank needs to be measured in liters.
  6. Use the formulae below to work out the amount of water applied to 1000 square meters:

Water rate/1000m2 = Litres used on calibration plot x 40

Water rate/hectare = Litres used on calibration plot x 400

garden sprayer
  • Well Known Brands

When making your selection, keep an eye out for reputable brand names and always take a look at reviews from previous users. Well know brands often will use high quality materials and provide warranties and guarantees should something go wrong. If the worst should happen, this means the company is liable and is obligated to take care of the problem for you.

  • Health, Safety, and Comfort

Above all, your safety is the most important thing to consider when choosing any new tool. Look for sprayers that have the addition of padded straps and ergonomically designed tanks so carrying is more comfortable. Wand grips and pumps handles will also soothe tired hands and of course, will make the sprayers easier to operate.

  • Basic Components of a Backpack Sprayer

Although each knapsack sprayer has it’s own unique features, most of them will be made up of the same basic parts. These consist of the tank, the wand, the pump and of course, the spray attachment. The tank is the heaviest part of the backpack sprayer and contains the liquid pesticide or weed killer. The wand, or lance, is the long attachment which helps the operator to the control the stream of spray.

Types of Backpack Sprayers

As has been discussed previously, you can purchase both motorized and manual backpack sprayers. While there are no conceivable advantages or disadvantages between the two, there are many differences to be noted. For instance, motorized varieties are more expensive and weigh more than the manual sprayers. In addition, they also require more maintenance and aftercare.

Once you have made the decision between manual and motorized, you will next need to choose whether you would like a piston or diaphragm pump. Piston pumps use pumping to create pressure in order to spray the liquid and are most noticeable by their upwards and downwards moment when dispensing it. It can render powerful pressure as much as 90 psi.

On the other end of the spectrum is the diaphragm pump. Diaphragm pumps also use pressure to force the liquid through the tank to be dispersed. The main difference between these two pumps is that the diaphragm variety tends to be the best choice for stronger pest and weed infestations, as they are able to handle harsher chemicals. They are also able to pass tiny, abrasive particles through their system for added pest control, making them even more effective. However, these special features come with a price. Diaphragm pumps are significantly more expensive than piston pumps, so before you make your decision, weigh up your options. You might be tempted to splash out on an all singing, all dancing gadget with all the latest features, but consider whether you actually need them all first.

Safety Tips When Using a Backpack Sprayer

When used carefully and according to the safety manual, backpack sprayers are handy, helpful tools for any budding gardeners. However, if you do not take the proper caution when handling them, the consequences could be dire, not just for the environment, but for you too!

  • Before using your backpack sprayer, take a moment to thoroughly inspect all its components for any signs of damage. Ensure there are no dents in the tanks and pay close attention to the sprayer hose and attachments to make sure there are no cuts as these could lead to leakages. Always bend with your legs, not your back, and your knees.
  • A typical knapsack sprayer will carry between four and six gallons of liquid, meaning a completely filled pack could weigh as much as 35 or 50 pounds. Therefore, this can be extremely fatiguing over prolonged periods of time. Be sure you have chosen a backpack sprayer that has padded straps that are preferably adjustable and if you are sprayers for hours at a time, take time to rest.
  • This might seem like a bit of an obvious one, but we are just going to put it out there – do NOT spray in the direction of people or animals!
  • Particularly if you plan to spray for a long period of time, you might want to consider wearing protective clothing, such as chemical resistant gloves, eye goggles, and coveralls when operating your backpack sprayers, particularly if using extremely dangerous chemicals. It may even be necessary to use a respirator.
  • Never wing it! Follow instructions on the label when mixing any chemicals together for use in your sprayer and only use the amounts recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Do not use flammable liquids in your backpack sprayers such as bleach acids or any other caustic chemicals. They are not designed for these.
  • Make sure you completely clean nozzles, regulators, spray tanks, hoses, and wands after every use.

Taking Care Of Your Backpack Sprayer

Good, proper maintenance of your backpack sprayer will ensure it lasts you for as long as possible and continues to fulfill its purpose for many years to come. A poorly cared for the sprayer, however, will be lucky if it will make it until the end of the summer!

One of the most important parts of maintaining your backpack sprayer is sufficient cleaning. The tank needs to be thoroughly flushed out in order to remove any blockages or harmful chemical deposits. Your user’s manual should have the recommended tank cleaner to use for the kind of pump you have, or else, simply just use water. However, during the winter months, it will need a dose of anti-freeze in order to battle the frost. Take extra care using this, anti-freeze is an extremely dangerous and toxic compound and should be kept away from children and animals at all times.

Oiling and greasing joints are also necessary to prevent the build-up of rust that could lead to cracks and other damage such as leaks. It is also a good idea to have a stock of spare parts so you are fully prepared whenever anything needs replacing.

spraying field

Best Backpack Sprayer FAQ:

Q: How far can I expect the sprayer to spray?

The distance a knapsack sprayer sprays will vary from model to model. The general rule of thumb is that is the area covered is wider, the length of the area will be less. So, if you select a nozzle that sprays in a wider range, such as a cone or an option, it will not spray so wide. Most backpack sprayers tend to spray between 20 and 25 feet.

Q: Can I spray water sealant through my sprayer?

For most models, yes you should be able. However, it’s best to check the manufacturer’s manual and also the labels on your sealant. There are certain backpack sprayers are designed to be used with water sealants, so it’s worth looking into considering one of those. As long as you select a pressure sprayer with a brass wand, it should be okay.

Q: Are these sprayers comfortable to carry?

Yes, as solo backpacks are used for long periods of time, they are designed to be as comfortable as possible for the user. Every option on the market comes with adjustable padded straps and some varieties even have the addition of lumbar supports, just like the Roundup 190314 Backpack Sprayer we’ve included in the list of the best backpack sprayers.

Q: Can I use weedkiller and insecticide in the same sprayer?

Although it’s not highly recommended, it can be done. The risks to plant life if the solutions aren’t compatible can be high, however, as long as you thoroughly clean out your pump sprayer in the proper manner, it should be fine to alternate the solutions. Use a mixture of 1:25 ammonia/water to clean out the tank and parts, and always take special care when handling any chemicals.

Q: Can I spray for weeds between crops or ornamentals?

Yes, you can! Don’t worry if there are weeds lurking between your flowerbeds, you can use a spray drift guard and take extra caution. You could also use a flat spray nozzle, which is helpful for killing weeds is awkward to reach places, such as by the fence.

Q: Does the sprayer require constant pumping?

If you select a high-quality knapsack sprayer, like one we’ve listed above, you won’t need to be pumping constantly. The pressure cylinder in the tank creates a hydraulic action – liquid from the pump compresses air into the pressure chambers which then forces it into an odd pumping pattern. This results in a constant, steady stream of spray.

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