The Best Backpack Sprayers of 2022

Keep your outdoor space clear of weeds and pests with a backpack sprayer—the up-and-coming tool designed for effective yard management and superior user control.

By Timothy Dale and Mark Wolfe | Updated Apr 20, 2022 9:11 AM

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The Best Backpack Sprayer Options

Photo: Mark Wolfe

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 BUDGET: Chapin 61800 4Gal 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 gal Backpack Sprayer
  8. ALSO CONSIDER MOTORIZED: PetraTools 4 Gallon Battery Powered Backpack Sprayer
The Best Backpack Sprayer Options

Photo: Mark Wolfe

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.

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.

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.

The Best Backpack Sprayer Options

Photo: Mark Wolfe

Our Top Picks

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

Best Overall Manual

The Best Backpack Sprayer Option: Field King Max 190348 Backpack Sprayer
Photo: amazon.com

If you’re looking for excellent performance with long-lasting comfort, the manual Field King Max 190348 is bound to deliver on both fronts. It features a 150 max psi— adequate power for most applications—and an internal pump design to contain leaks within the tank.

There are four nozzles: one for stream-to-cone spray patterns, one for a wide flat fan spray pattern, one for a narrow flat fan spray pattern, and one for a foaming spray. While a bit of muscle is required for operation, we found the Field King Max to be the best manual backpack sprayer we tested, largely due to its harness system. It isn’t especially well padded, but it includes a hip belt, sternum strap, and wide shoulder straps that did not dig into the shoulders during testing. It also had the least amount of drip after releasing the spray trigger, when compared with the other manual sprayers.

Product Specs

  • Pressure: 150 psi
  • Tank capacity: 4 gallons
  • Type: Manual

Pros

  • Most comfortable harness system
  • 4 interchangeable nozzles
  • High maximum psi
  • Excellent price-to-value ratio

Cons

  • Manual operation increases user fatigue

Get the Field King 190348 backpack sprayer on Amazon, at Northern Tool & Equipment, or at Gemplers.

Best Overall Motorized

The Best Backpack Sprayer Option: Field King 190515 Battery Powered Backpack Sprayer
Photo: amazon.com

With a 4-gallon tank and a 4-hour battery charge, the Field King 190515 backpack sprayer is ideal for an enthusiastic amateur landscaper. It features a fully padded harness to cushion your shoulders against muscle strain, a preset rating of 40 psi that users can increase if necessary, and a lockable shutoff on the wand to help reduce hand fatigue. A built-in carry handle and wand storage make transportation simple.

In our tests, the Field King 190515 was the most comfortable to carry battery-powered backpack sprayer, thanks to a generous amount of padding in the shoulder straps and hip belt. At 40 psi, it offered the lowest pressure rating, but that was still plenty of pressure to apply a variety of spray patterns, from a fine mist to a coarse shower of heavier droplets. The lithium-ion battery saves significant weight compared to the lead acid batteries in other sprayers, and the price is comparatively affordable. Good performance and excellent value.

Product Specs

  • Pressure: 40 psi
  • Tank capacity: 4 gallons
  • Type: Battery-powered

Pros

  • Powered by rechargeable 20V lithium-ion battery
  • Padded shoulder straps and hip belt
  • Most comfortable battery-powered sprayer tested
  • No drips when the spray trigger is released

Cons

  • Low psi limits uses
  • Battery must be removed for charging

Get the Field King 190515 backpack sprayer on Amazon or Forestry Suppliers.

Best Budget

The Best Backpack Sprayer Option: Chapin 61800 4Gal Backpack Sprayer
Photo: amazon.com

Users are unlikely to make a mess when filling the tank of this affordable backpack sprayer, thanks to a large 5-inch-diameter opening that helps prevent spills. It weighs about 9 pounds when the tank is empty and comes with adjustable padded shoulder straps to help support the tank when it’s full. The adjustable brass spray nozzle allows users to change the spray pattern from a fine mist to a coarse stream. This backpack sprayer from Chapin has a maximum psi of 60, and it requires manual pumping to keep the sprayer pressurized while in use.

When we tested this sprayer, it became apparent that Chapin saved costs on the harness system to preserve tank and pump quality at a bargain price. The manual pump and tank system proved easy to use and was efficiently designed. The spray tip dripped only slightly after the trigger was released. The bare-bones harness system, which consisted of thinly padded shoulder straps and a minimal lumbar pad at the base of the tank, was fine for limited work with a partially filled tank but was not comfortable for extended use.

Product Specs

  • Pressure: 60 psi
  • Tank capacity: 4 gallons
  • Type: Manual

Pros

  • Adjustable brass spray nozzle
  • Great price for this sprayer quality
  • Clean, efficient operation

Cons

  • Minimal harness support and padding
  • Manual operation can increase user fatigue

Get the Chapin 61800 backpack sprayer on Amazon or at Gemplers.

Upgrade Pick

The Best Backpack Sprayer Option: My 4 Sons Battery Powered 4-Gallon Backpack Sprayer
Photo: amazon.com

This backpack sprayer from My4Sons is a premium product that comes at a premium price. It includes such impressive features as a variable pressure switch that allows the user to adjust the output pressure to the optimal level. It also boasts a variety of nozzles so users can switch between them, depending on the job and personal preference.

The battery-powered backpack sprayer has a motorized pump that works continuously to keep the pressure inside the sprayer between 40 and 60 psi. When used with the right nozzle and held at the right angle, this pressure allows the unit to spray up to 30 feet in a horizontal direction. Just keep in mind that even if the 4-gallon tank is filled and ready to go, the sprayer will not run unless the battery is charged.

In testing, we really liked the build of this My4Sons sprayer. The combination of a low-profile tank and thick padded shoulder straps provides excellent comfort, balance, and maneuverability. The powerful pump brought the tank up to pressure in a matter of seconds and ran quieter than other motorized sprayers tested. Pressure was excellent and no drips, and we felt it was definitely worth the added cost for those who use a sprayer frequently.

Product Specs

  • Pressure: 60 psi
  • Tank capacity: 4 gallons
  • Type: Battery-powered

Pros

  • Variable pressure switch
  • Automatically maintains psi between 40 and 60
  • Excellent shoulder-strap padding
  • Sprays up to 30 feet

Cons

  • Heavier than the other battery-powered sprayers
  • High price for a premium product
  • Cannot be used if the battery isn’t charged

Get the My4Sons backpack sprayer on Amazon.

Best Professional

The Best Backpack Sprayer Option: Petra Powered Backpack Sprayer with Cart and Hose
Photo: amazon.com

Professionals in the market for a new backpack sprayer may appreciate the PetraTools backpack sprayer’s 6.5-gallon tank and its rugged steel cart for hauling the unit from the vehicle to the work site. It features a 100-foot hose for treating large areas without moving the sprayer from the cart.
This battery-powered sprayer provides a base setting of 70 psi that can be increased to suit user needs—a great versatility factor when working on a variety of yards over the course of a long day.

This convertible backpack/cart sprayer offers excellent versatility for intensive spraying in a compact area or dispersed use over a larger area. In testing we found that the 6.5-gallon spray tank is too heavy to completely fill for backpack mode but a good size for the cart. The conversion from backpack to cart mode was quick and uncomplicated. The pump offers ample pressure to apply common lawn and garden chemicals, and the wand operated drip-free.

Product Specs

  • Pressure: 80 psi
  • Tank capacity: 6.5 gallons
  • Type: Battery-powered

Pros

  • High-volume tank
  • Converts from backpack to cart for increased portability and mobility
  • Variable pressure switch
  • Includes 4-foot and 100-foot spray hoses

Cons

  • Oversize tank cumbersome in backpack mode
  • High price for a premium product
  • Cannot be used if the battery isn’t charged

Get the PetraTools backpack sprayer on Amazon.

Best Hobbyist

Photo: amazon.com

For versatility and safety, the Chapin 61900 sprayer can handle some of the most volatile fertilizers, weed killers, and pest control treatments in use today. It features Viton seals, which are specially manufactured to be chemically resistant, and a three-stage filtration system to prevent clogging.

A wand-mounted pressure gauge and a control flow valve both assure the user that the spray and pressure levels are consistent, while three different nozzles are included for direct stream, fan spray, and foaming applications. Great for home use or for industry professionals who need a single sprayer suited for multiple applications.
In our tests, the Chapin 61900 proved comfortable and capable as well as affordable. The wide shoulder straps and hip belt provided good comfort and excellent stability. The built-in pressure gauge gave a sure indication of adequate operating pressure, which the other manual sprayers tested did not offer. For just a few dollars more than our budget pick, the price appears to be a bargain for this upgraded sprayer.

Product Specs

  • Pressure: 60 psi
  • Tank capacity: 4 gallons
  • Type: Manual

Pros

  • Wand-mounted pressure gauge monitors spray pressure
  • Multiple spray tips included for various spray patterns
  • 3-stage filtration system resists clogging

Cons

  • Steel spray wand may not be appropriate for use with some chemicals
  • Manual operation can increase user fatigue

Get the Chapin 61900 backpack sprayer on Amazon, at The Home Depot, or at Tractor Supply Co.

Also Consider Manual

The Best Backpack Sprayer Option: Solo 4 gal Backpack Sprayer
Photo: acehardware.com

Gardeners looking for a durable sprayer for regular or intermittent use should consider the Solo backpack sprayer. It offers reliable operation and quality components, like a manual diaphragm pump that produces up to 60 psi, a full array of five spray nozzles for customized applications, an unbreakable wand, and padded shoulder straps. This sprayer is suitable for use with liquid concentrates, wettable powders, and bleach solutions that could damage other sprayers.

In our tests, this Solo sprayer came up to full pressure quickly and produced an excellent spray pattern with no drips. It was comfortable and easy to carry when half full, but at capacity, the shoulder straps dug in a bit too much for comfort. The plastic spray wand provided some flexibility and, as required equipment for use with bleach solutions and certain other chemicals, makes a good all-purpose applicator.

Product Specs

  • Pressure: 60 psi
  • Tank capacity: 4 gallons
  • Type: Manual

Pros

  • Comfortable padded straps
  • Collapsible carry handle
  • 5 spray tips
  • Four pressure settings

Cons

  • No padding in the lumbar area
  • No padding on the hip belt
  • Higher price

Get the Solo backpack sprayer at Ace Hardware, Northern Tool + Equipment, or Gemplers.

Also Consider Motorized

The Best Backpack Sprayer Option: Petra 4 Gallon Battery Powered Backpack Sprayer
Photo: amazon.com

Capable of operating for up to 8 hours on a single battery charge while maintaining a constant pressure of 70 psi, this PetraTools backpack sprayer is an excellent choice for anyone with a lot of ground to cover.

The 4-gallon tank can handle large yards without frequent refills, and it’s translucent, so users can see how much liquid is left at any time. With padded straps for added comfort and a wide-mouth tank lid to offset spills, this motorized backpack sprayer will keep the operator working comfortably all day long.
We really liked this PetraTools sprayer’s low-profile tank and padded shoulder straps. It felt comfortable and well balanced for limited use. Unfortunately, the thin nylon waist belt only provides lateral stabilization without relieving weight from the shoulders, which makes it less than ideal for extended use. The pump worked quickly and was fairly quiet—nearly on the level of our upgrade pick and for about $80 less.

Product Specs

  • Pressure: 70 psi
  • Tank capacity: 4 gallons
  • Type: Battery-powered

Pros

  • Adjustable pressure output
  • Automatic pump to maintain 70 psi
  • Low-profile tank
  • Well-padded shoulder straps

Cons

  • Thin nylon waist belt does not relieve shoulder pressure
  • No padding in the lumbar area

Get the PetraTools backpack sprayer on Amazon or at The Home Depot.

Our Verdict

Quite frankly, we were surprised to choose Field King sprayers for both of our top picks. Our Best Overall Manual pick, Field King Max 190348, and our Best Overall Motorized pick, Field King 190515, appear to provide the best combination of spraying capability at value pricing, although some of the other options reviewed may provide better comfort, heavy-duty capability, or working life.

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.

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.

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.