Updated October 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for best chemical sprayers

When you’re an avid gardener, you have two mortal enemies: weeds and bugs. Unless you are an organic gardener, a garden sprayer is your best line of defense. Using herbicides and pesticides is an easy, cost-effective way to protect your flowers or vegetables from attack by weeds and bugs, and a chemical sprayer is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to apply them.

At BestReviews, our goal is to give you honest, unbiased insight into the products that you want. We don’t take freebies from manufacturers, so you can be sure you’re getting all of the information you need with no hidden agenda.

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Only use liquid fertilizer in a chemical sprayer.

Motor-powered vs. pump sprayers

Chemical sprayers allow you to treat large areas of your garden all at once, which sure beats pulling weeds by hand. A sprayer is faster and easier to use than a small squeeze bottle. A top-of-the-line chemical sprayer can make your life easier and increase your garden’s output.

Chemical sprayers usually work in one of three ways: powered by a gasoline motor, powered by a battery, or powered by a manual pump.

  • Gasoline-powered chemical sprayers have a two-stroke engine that moves the chemicals from the holding tank, through the hose, and out the spray nozzle. These sprayers are versatile and easy to use. You can adjust the stream, and you can customize the sprayer with accessories like specialized nozzles and hoses of different lengths. This type of sprayer tends to be more expensive than other types.
  • Battery-powered chemical sprayers work in much the same way as gasoline-powered ones. Most of these sprayers use rechargeable batteries. Battery life depends on the brand and size of the sprayer. These sprayers can also be quite expensive.
  • Pump chemical sprayers, or “compression” sprayers, work by pumping the handle to create pressure inside the tank. The amount of pressure you generate determines how much herbicide comes through the hose and out the nozzle and the velocity of the spray. These sprayers require the most effort on your part, but they also offer the most control. Pump sprayers are the least expensive.  

Chemical sprayer portability

A large tank full of herbicide or pesticide is not light, so sprayer manufacturers have devised several ways to move your chemical sprayer. Portability is an important quality in a sprayer, especially if you have a large garden with lots of nooks and crannies.

Handheld sprayers

These are typically much smaller than gasoline- and battery-powered sprayers. Many of them can be controlled with one hand, making them great for flower beds, window boxes, or small gardens. Some very small handheld sprayers don’t even need to be pumped. You simply fill them with liquid and use a trigger to disperse the chemical.

"Check your chemical sprayer for any damage or problems before the growing season begins."

Backpack sprayers

If you plan on treating a large garden, you might want to consider a backpack sprayer. These allow you to easily carry a large tank while keeping your hands free. This style is perfect for large, densely planted gardens. Many backpack sprayers are battery operated, but there are a few that operate with hand pumps.

"Always mix the chemicals outdoors or in an extremely well-ventilated area."

Wheeled sprayers

These chemical sprayers can usually hold a large amount of liquid, but there’s no heavy lifting required when the sprayer rides on wheels. These sprayers are great for people with arthritis or back problems. The drawback is that you can’t easily roll them through densely planted terrain. Wheeled sprayers are most effective on lawns and medium-sized gardens.

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For your safety
Wash your hands thoroughly after using your chemical sprayer.

Chemical sprayer maintenance

It is recommended that you have two different tanks for your chemical sprayer: one for pesticides and one for herbicides. Because you’re dealing with potentially hazardous chemicals, it’s extremely important to keep your sprayer clean and in good working order by following these steps after each use.

  • Safely drain any chemicals that remain in the tank.

  • Fill the tank with soapy water.

  • Spray the water just like you would spray the chemicals. This effectively cleans all parts of the sprayer with the soapy water: tank, hose, and nozzle.

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Did you know?
Pesticides and herbicides are not the same thing. Pesticides kill bugs; herbicides kill weeds.

Chemical sprayer prices

The cost of chemical sprayers ranges from less than $25 to more than $150. The factors that determine the price are tank size, material, and power source.

  • Inexpensive: For less than $25, you can get a two- or three-gallon pump sprayer with a plastic tank. For $25 to $50, you can get a two- or three-gallon plastic pump sprayer with a few additional items, such as extra or longer hoses. You should also be able to find one-gallon stainless-steel models for this price.

  • Mid-Range: For $50 to $150, look for backpack pump sprayers and pump sprayers on wheels with four-gallon tanks.

  • Expensive: If you’re willing to spend more than $150, you will find some heavy-duty equipment. For this amount of money, you can find gas-powered sprayers with two-stroke engines and sprayers with lithium rechargeable batteries. The tanks can be as large as seven gallons. These models can also come with a variety of nozzles, hoses, and wands.   
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For your safety
Read the label carefully before using any pesticide or herbicide.


  • Choose the right tank capacity for your garden. Tank sizes range from one quart to seven gallons.

  • Adjustable nozzles and interchangeable hoses and wands make spraying easy. This is especially true if you have a large area to cover that includes different types of terrain and vegetation.

  • Choose a durable chemical sprayer. Chemical sprayers come in stainless steel, galvanized steel, and plastic. Plastic is usually the least-expensive option, but it might not be the best choice for long-term, heavy use.
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If you plan on spraying areas around livestock or other animals, read the label on the pesticide or herbicide carefully to make sure it’s safe.


Q. Are chemical sprayers safe?
Since you are dealing with chemicals, you need to take certain precautions. Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, work gloves, closed-toe shoes, and safety glasses to prevent the chemicals from coming in contact with your skin or getting in your eyes.

Q. What is “spreader sticker”?
Spreader sticker is a solution that is mixed into the tank with the herbicide that helps the chemical adhere to the plants. In general, if you use spreader sticker, you can spray less often.

Q. Can I use the same sprayer to apply both herbicides and pesticides?
You can if you clean the chemical sprayer thoroughly between uses. However, it is recommended that you have a separate tank for each type of chemical.

Q. Where should I store my chemical sprayer?
When it isn’t in use, store your chemical sprayer indoors. If it must be stored outside, cover it with a tarp.

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