Easy to fill and clean. Comfortable: padded shoulder straps and cushion-grip shutoff. In-tank removable and cleanable filter. 3 nozzles.
Can develop leaks. The plastic threads on the screws can strip relatively easily.
Easy-access, no-leak pump prevents drips. Lockable trigger prevents hand fatigue. Brass components, inline filter, and lockable shutoff. Strong, rigid, and easy to use. A variety of nozzles.
Handle doesn't fold. If you have trouble lifting it from the ground, consider placing it on a bench or table and slipping into the harness.
Comfort-grip wand, continuous spray lock, inline filter, and shutoff. Comfortable: straps are adjustable and padded, and the unit provides lumbar support. Includes 3 nozzles.
May not maintain pressure very well, so you might find yourself pumping more frequently.
Wide-mouth opening. Easy access, 3-step filtration system successfully prevents clogs. Shutoff value on wand to prevent drips. Easy assembly. Even spray.
Requires a lot of pumping to keep the pressure at maximum.
Piston pump handles up to 90 psi. Commercial shutoff valve minimizes user fatigue. Nylon-reinforced, high-pressure hose has extended reach. Stays upright on uneven surfaces. 4 nozzles for a variety of jobs.
Shoulder straps slip off easily.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Pesky bugs or noxious weeds can choke out natural vegetation, flowers, and vegetable gardens. A backpack sprayer gives you the power to push back against pests.
Backpack sprayers have either a manual or motorized pump that allows you to spot-spray, reach confined spaces, and work on uneven terrain. With the right list of features, including nozzles, adjustable harness, and wand extensions, you can be outfitted for maximum coverage in a short amount of time. These tools come in different capacities and with comfort features like adjustable straps and contoured tanks, so you can kill unwanted garden intruders in relative comfort.
We at BestReviews have put together this shopping guide to take you through the pros and cons of the different types of backpack sprayers, as well as the features and accessories that can make quick work of fertilizing, killing weeds, and pest control. And when you’re ready to buy, check out the backpack sprayers that we think stand out from the rest.
Manual: Manual or hand-pumped backpack sprayers are the most common type because of their ease of use and low price. This type comes in two variations: the piston pump and the diaphragm pump.
Motorized: Motorized backpack sprayers can move a serious amount of liquid through the tank in a much shorter time than manual models. These come in two basic types: powered by battery and powered by gas.
Once you add liquid to the tank, a backpack sprayer can be a fairly heavy load. Some gas-powered models weigh as much as 30 pounds empty. Add four to six gallons of liquid and you're looking at a possible load of 70 to 80 pounds. A lightweight, manual model will save your back and shoulders, but be sure it has a well-padded harness with adjustable shoulder straps for added comfort.
The wand is what really allows you to reach into those tight spaces. Some sprayers come with a wand extension, but if not, you can buy one separately. Take a good look at the grip on the wand, too. It should fit your hand well. Models with finger grips are often easier to hold. Models with a lockable trigger maintain a consistent spray while giving your hand a rest.
Spray: Nozzles affect the pressure and spray pattern. Most sprayers come with several nozzles, and if a model doesn’t have the nozzle you want, it can be purchased separately. The most common and useful include cone, fan, direct stream, and adjustable.
Material: But it’s not just the type of nozzle you need to consider. You also need to think about the materials that go into the nozzle. The least expensive are made of plastic, but plastic degrades more quickly than other, pricier options, including bronze, brass, and nickel. If you’re looking at a long-term solution to your pest and weed problems, opt for a nozzle made of one of these more durable materials.
A harness spreads the weight of the sprayer across your shoulders and hips. The more adjustable the harness, the more comfortable you’re going to be because you can customize the fit to your body. Harness features that can make a difference in your comfort include the following:
Capacity: Tank capacity ranges from two to over six gallons. Since a gallon of water weighs approximately eight pounds, anything larger would make the sprayer too heavy for most people to carry.
Shape: While capacity is important, take a look at the shape of the tank, too. A contoured model will better fit your torso than a boxy shape.
Dirt and debris can easily fall in the tank while you’re filling it with solution. Models that include internal tank filtration prevent debris from reaching the hose and clogging the wand or nozzle. Some models also have a small filtration system in the wand itself to prevent clogs. You will need to periodically replace the filters.
Depending on the sprayer you buy, it might come with some accessories, including the following:
There are a lot of useful extras that are sold separately. Depending on how you’ll be using the sprayer, some of these might be worth adding to your purchase:
Inexpensive: Backpack sprayers start at $30 to $50. These manual sprayers have two- to five-gallon tanks. The shoulder straps aren’t usually padded, and the harness doesn’t include hip or chest straps.
Mid-range: The vast majority of manual pump sprayers (both piston and diaphragm) fall in this price range, coming in between $50 and $100. Adjustable, padded shoulder straps and four-gallon contoured tanks are the norm.
Expensive: Battery-powered models fall in the $100 to $300 range. The quality of the harnesses and nozzles increases at the higher price points.
Premium: Gas-powered models round out the top of the market, running between $300 and $800. Tanks range in size from four to over six gallons with a two- or four-stroke gas-powered pump. These sprayers might come with multiple wands and tips, too.
With our list limited to five, we had to leave out a few sprayers that we also liked, but one of these might be perfect for your circumstances. The Field King Max 193048 Backpack Sprayer offers some premium features at a reasonable price. It comes with four nozzles and includes an in-line filter at the top of the wand to prevent clogs. And the pro-grade harness is comfortable to wear even when the tank is full. The Hudson 13854 Never Pump Bak-Pak is a battery-powered model that keeps spraying for up to ten hours. The four included nozzles and wide tank opening make this a sprayer worth considering.
Q. What kind of maintenance does a backpack sprayer require?
A. Sprayers should be completely emptied and rinsed with water after each use to prevent corrosion from any chemicals left in the tank or hose. It usually takes at least a gallon of water to fully clean the tank, but it might take more depending on the chemicals and tank size. Gas-powered pumps take more maintenance because they need winterizing with antifreeze during cold months. If the sprayer has been sitting for a while, be sure to check and lubricate the O-rings and seals before using it.
Q. Do backpack sprayers leak?
A. Most tanks are made of polyethylene, which can withstand most harsh chemicals as long as the tank is flushed out after each use. Nozzles, however, are the most common source of leaks. Wands with an on/off mechanism can stop liquid from making its way to the nozzle when the sprayer is not in use.
Q. How can I tell if a nozzle needs to be cleaned?
A. Some liquids are more viscous than others, which can lead to clogs. Before mixing your solution, check the spray pattern of the nozzle using water. If the pattern isn’t uniform, clean the nozzle by removing it and soaking it in warm water. That might be enough to loosen any debris and clear the nozzle. If not, try gently cleansing it with an old toothbrush. Some nozzles can be taken apart for further cleaning, but most will be ready to go after a good soak and scrub.