The Best Backpack Sprayers for Yard Maintenance
The best backpack sprayers make quick and easy work of applying fertilizer, herbicide, or pesticide. Whether you're an average homeowner, an avid do-it-yourself, or a landscaping pro, read our guide to learn the crucial factors to bear in mind when choosing the right sprayer for your needs.
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 homeowners who simply want to enjoy a weed- and insect-free outdoor space.
What’s the point? A backpack sprayer’s ergonomic design lets you carry fertilizer, herbicide, pesticide, or any other liquids on your back, rather than hauling around a heavy metal cart or a hand-held sprayer. The tool also allows you to spray a uniform stream from a variety of different nozzles to reach not only areas right under your feet, but those hard-to-reach areas as well—under the deck, for instance.
Keep reading to learn more about how backpack sprayers work, and which features to look for when you’re shopping for one. Plus, don’t miss our favorite selections among the best backpack sprayers out there today.
- BEST FOR LIGHT DUTY: Field King Max Backpack Sprayer
- BEST FOR HEAVY DUTY: Petra 4 Gallon Battery Powered Backpack Sprayer
- BEST FOR PROS: Petra Powered Backpack Sprayer
- HONORABLE MENTION: Chapin Backpack Sprayer
Key Shopping Considerations
Pounds per square inch (PSI) is the unit of measure identifying the amount of pressure a backpack sprayer is capable of propelling through its nozzle. The average PSI for a backpack sprayer is around 70 PSI, but smaller models can use as little as 40 PSI and larger ones may use as much as 150 PSI. PSI is important to ensure your 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-sized spaces, a sprayer with a PSI rating of 70 or above is your best bet. For those with average-sized or smaller yards, a moderate PSI rating between 40 and 70 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 homeowner 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 PSI 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 by a motorized system—the pricier option.
Manual backpack sprayers are operated via a hand pump attached to the backpack chamber. While this style of backpack sprayer is fine for smaller yards, once-per-season jobs, and the average homeowner, it’s less suited to professionals who have to spray for hours at a time. Pumping manually for an extended period can cause muscle fatigue and pain. 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 battery-powered models offering more versatility and simpler set-up. A motorized sprayer automatically pumps the liquid from the backpack chamber to the wand, no physical work required. Intended for large projects and long workdays, a motorized sprayer (which can run between about $100 to $500) is a better choice for the busy professional who’ll rely on it daily.
Sprayers are available in a tank capacity range between 2 and 7 gallons. Smaller-capacity sprayers are carried with a handle, while the largest tanks are toted with a wheeled cart. 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 to 10,000 square feet.
Backpack sprayers may include a variety of different features, such as a built-in pressure gauge to monitor the pressure of the unit while in use, extra padding in the shoulder straps for added comfort, and a fold-away pump handle that won’t get in your 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
1. BEST FOR LIGHT DUTY: Field King Max Backpack Sprayer
If you’re looking for excellent performance with long-lasting comfort, the Field King Max Backpack Sprayer is a manual model that delivers both. It features a 150 max PSI and an internal pump design to contain leaks within the tank. There are four different 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. If you don’t mind using a bit of muscle to operate a hand pump, the Field King Max will keep your outdoor space looking great.
2. BEST FOR HEAVY DUTY: Petra 4 Gallon Battery Powered Backpack Sprayer
Capable of operating for up to eight hours on a single battery charge while maintaining a constant pressure of 70 PSI or higher, the Petra 4 Gallon Battery Powered Backpack Sprayer is an excellent choice for anyone with a lot of ground to cover. The sprayer’s 4-gallon tank can handle large yards without frequent refills, and it’s translucent, letting you see how much liquid you have left at any time. With padded straps for added comfort and a wide-mouth lid on the tank to prevent spills, this motorized backpack sprayer will keep you working comfortably all day long.
3. BEST FOR PROS: Petra Powered Backpack Sprayer
Professionals in the market for a new backpack sprayer will appreciate the Petra Powered Backpack Sprayer’s 6.5-gallon tank and its rugged steel cart for hauling the unit from your vehicle to the worksite. It features a 100-foot hose (two are included) for treating large areas without moving the sprayer from the cart. Powered by battery, this Petra sprayer provides a base setting of 70 PSI that can be increased to suit your needs at will—a great versatility factor when working on a variety of yards over the course of a long day.
4. HONORABLE MENTION: Chapin Backpack Sprayer
For versatility and safety, the Chapin 61900 Backpack 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 homeowners who need a single sprayer suited for multiple applications.