The Best Backpack Sprayers Tested in 2024

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Built for comfort and ease of use, the backpack sprayer is becoming a go-to tool for gardeners, landscapers, and pest-control professionals—as well as home dwellers who simply want to enjoy a weed- and insect-free outdoor space. A backpack sprayer’s ergonomic design features adjustable shoulder straps and a spray wand, allowing you to carry fertilizer, herbicide, pesticide, or other liquids on your back rather than hauling around a heavy metal cart or handheld manual sprayer.

We tested and reviewed a variety of outstanding backpack sprayers. Preview our top picks below, and then keep reading to learn how these tools work, features to consider, and how to pick the best model for your space and style. Later on, check out our reviews of the best backpack sprayers for lawn and garden maintenance.

  1. BEST OVERALL MANUAL: Field King Max 190348 Backpack Sprayer
  2. BEST OVERALL MOTORIZED: Field King 190515 Battery Powered Backpack Sprayer
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Chapin 61800 4-Gallon Backpack Sprayer
  4. UPGRADE PICK: My4Sons Battery Powered 4-Gallon Backpack Sprayer
  5. BEST PROFESSIONAL: PetraTools Powered Backpack Sprayer with Cart
  6. BEST HOBBYIST: Chapin 61900 4-Gallon Backpack Sprayer
  7. ALSO CONSIDER MANUAL: Solo 4-Gallon Backpack Sprayer
  8. ALSO CONSIDER MOTORIZED: PetraTools 4-Gallon Battery Powered Backpack Sprayer

How We Tested the Best Backpack Sprayers

We considered these backpack sprayers from a home-dweller’s perspective. Although several of our picks offer truly professional-level performance and durability, our testing criteria centered on basic functionality, ease of use, operator comfort, and overall value.

To gauge mobility and operational comfort, we filled each sprayer to capacity with plain water and walked a spray route: putting on and taking off the backpack, walking between house and foundation plants, opening and closing a gate, uphill and downhill, and over small obstacles. Scoring favored sprayers that stayed most secure with less “slosh” and that generally felt most comfortable.

We then pressurized each sprayer, either by switching it on or by manually pumping and tried each nozzle. We noted ease and comfort of operation, speed of attaining initial pressure, motor noise, and drips from spray tips after releasing the spray trigger. The best backpack sprayers were easy to operate, versatile, fast, quiet, and drip-free.

Our Top Picks

This curated list includes backpack sprayers suitable for homeowners, hobbyists, and professionals alike.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Backpack Sprayer

Before opting for the first hobbyist or professional backpack sprayer you see, take some time to familiarize yourself with the various product factors likely to lead you to the right decision. Consider the pressure (psi), tank capacity, the type of liquid delivery system, and the type of pump that pressurizes the backpack sprayer.

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Pressure

Pounds per square inch (psi) is the unit of measure identifying the amount of pressure a backpack herbicide sprayer can propel through its nozzle. The average for a backpack sprayer is around 70 psi, but smaller models can use as little as 40 psi, and a commercial backpack sprayer may use as much as 150 psi.

Pressure is important to ensure that a backpack sprayer operates effectively. Too little pressure will produce an uneven spray that reduces the effectiveness of its contents, while too much will prove excessive for a smaller yard.

If you have a large yard with many hard-to-reach spots, or you are a professional who works in many different-size spaces, a sprayer with a psi rating of 70 or above is your best bet. For those with average-size or smaller yards, a moderate rating between 40 and 70 psi is more than enough to spray your space.

Piston vs. Diaphragm

Backpack sprayers generally come in one of two types of liquid delivery systems: piston pump and diaphragm pump.

  • A piston pump works by drawing liquid from the tank into an enclosed chamber on the upstroke and pushing the liquid out through the outlet valve or nozzle on the downstroke. Piston pump sprayers are more popular with the average home dweller because of their simple design, easy accessibility for repairs, and beneficial psi ratings.
  • A diaphragm pump is designed for the safety of professionals who use potent pest control and weed killer chemicals. It is a sealed system that works by moving liquid from one side of a chamber to the other with a diaphragm so that one side is always full and one side is always empty. The diaphragm pump cannot produce the same pressure as the piston pump but is better suited to pros because it’s made of more chemically resistant materials.

Manual vs. Motorized

Backpack sprayers use an internal pump to draw liquid out of the chamber, through a hose, and out through a wand and nozzle. This pump can be operated manually, or an electric backpack sprayer will often use a motorized system—the pricier option.

Manual backpack sprayers operate via a hand pump attached to the backpack chamber. Pumping manually for an extended period can cause muscle fatigue and pain, so while this style of sprayer is fine for smaller yards, once-per-season jobs, and the average home dweller, it’s less suited to professionals who have to spray for hours at a time. Manual backpack sprayers cost as little as $40 to as much as $150, on average.

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Motorized backpack sprayers are powered either by battery or gas, with a battery backpack sprayer offering more versatility and a simpler setup. A motorized sprayer automatically pumps the liquid from the backpack chamber to the wand, requiring no physical work by the user. Intended for large projects and long workdays, a motorized sprayer (which can run between about $100 and $500) is a better choice for the busy professional who’ll rely on it daily.

Tank Capacity

Sprayers are available in a tank capacity range between 2 and 7 gallons. Carry smaller-capacity sprayers with a handle, and tote the largest tanks with a wheeled cart. A 4-gallon backpack sprayer is considered to be about average in size.

Sprayers that fall between these two size extremes are true backpack sprayers—light enough to carry on your back but too heavy to lug around by hand. For typical jobs, such as fertilizing a lawn or spraying an insect infestation, a 4-gallon tank can do the trick for a yard between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet.

Additional Features

Backpack sprayers may include a variety of features, such as a built-in gauge to monitor the pressure of the unit while in use, extra padding in the shoulder straps for added comfort, a foaming nozzle, and a foldaway pump handle that won’t get in the way while spraying. Larger models may offer an extended hose and wheeled cart that can be used for more complex yards and heavier tanks.

Tips for Using a Backpack Sprayer

Backpack sprayers are helpful tools for quickly and efficiently treating the yard and garden with liquid fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides. But to ensure against over- or under-spraying an area, it’s important to keep the same walking speed and distance from the target during use.

Additionally, users should ensure that the backpack sprayer is properly pressurized at all times so that it’s easier to maintain an even spraying pressure. By taking the time to balance the pressure, the same amount of solution will be applied to each area of the yard and garden.

Before starting to use a backpack sprayer, adjust the shoulder straps so that the unit fits properly. You don’t want to have to deal with a shifting tank of fertilizer, water, or pesticide while working because it will take extra effort to control the moving weight, increasing fatigue.

In general, remember to:

  • Maintain a uniform walking speed.
  • Balance the spraying pressure.
  • Adjust the straps before use for a secure fit.
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FAQs

Buying and using a backpack sprayer brings up several questions. We’ve answered some of the common questions below.

Q. What is a backpack sprayer used for?

A backpack sprayer is used to quickly and effectively spray the yard, garden, and trees with pesticide, herbicide, water, fertilizer, or other liquid solution.

Q. What do you put in a backpack sprayer?

You can fill a backpack sprayer with almost any liquid solution that has a similar consistency to water. This includes insecticide, herbicide, and liquid fertilizers. Just make sure the solution isn’t too corrosive or volatile, as these dangerous substances might eat through the walls of the sprayer.

Q. Are backpack sprayers safe?

Backpack sprayers are safe to use as long as they are filled with suitable solutions and proper precautions are taken to protect the eyes, skin, and respiratory system during use. The reason for the added personal protection is that when the liquid sprays from the backpack, some might get caught in the wind and blow back toward the user. While this wouldn’t matter much with water, it could be hazardous when the sprayer is filled with pesticide or herbicide.

Q. How far will a backpack sprayer spray?

The maximum distance that a sprayer can spray a liquid solution is determined by the maximum psi of the unit, the type of nozzle, the wind direction, the force of the wind, and the angle of the spray wand. On average, a backpack sprayer can spray up to about 10 to 20 feet, though there are models that can reach over 30 feet.

Q. How do you clean a backpack sprayer?

To clean a backpack sprayer after using it to apply a volatile chemical like herbicide or pesticide, follow these simple steps:

  1. Responsibly empty any excess solution from the sprayer tank and add about half a tank of water.
  2. Flush the sprayer system by using the sprayer until the tank is empty again.
  3. Fill the tank half full with water again, this time adding any cleaning agents or neutralizing solutions that can help to remove remnants of the herbicide or pesticide solution.
  4. Open all recirculation lines and any other hoses on the backpack sprayer.
  5. Shake or agitate the unit to ensure the cleaning solution reaches every inch of the backpack sprayer.
  6. Fill the tank to the top with water, and agitate again before emptying the sprayer.
  7. Refill the sprayer with water to rinse out any remaining cleaning solution.
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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>