12 best chemical sprayers for home and garden use
The best chemical sprayers for your fertilizing, weed-control and pest-control needs
Chemical sprayers can provide tremendous flexibility. Many are great for spraying liquid fertilizer on your fruit and vegetables. They can help with weed or pest control. They can even help with cleaning of paths or patios. However, capacities and capabilities vary tremendously and although some machines can spray all manner of chemicals, others cannot.
With prices anywhere from around $10 to over $200, it can be challenging to choose the best chemical sprayer for your needs. The following practical guide should give you the answers you need.
What to consider before purchasing a chemical sprayer
Chemical sprayer capacity is a major factor. If you want something for greenhouse use then a cheap manual sprayer that holds a quart is probably all you need. Many people choose a model in the 1- to 2-gallon range. If you bear in mind that a gallon of water weighs 8.3 pounds, these offer a good balance between the area you can cover and the bulk that needs to be carried.
Straps and harnesses
While some have shoulder straps, they are usually quite thin, OK for carrying from place to place, but not for all-day wear. Once you get beyond 3.5 gallons, most chemical sprayers are purpose-designed backpack models. Harnesses are much more comfortable with wider, better-padded straps. These range to a maximum of 6 or 7 gallons. That’s enough for all but the largest yards, and you’ll almost certainly need a break after spraying that amount of chemical!
The actual chemicals you want to spray have an impact. Most plant foods and weed killers are fine, but some cleaners can be harsh. The majority of pumps and sprayer bodies are made of polyethylene or polypropylene. The latter is tougher and more resistant to chemicals and solvents, but other components in the pump, hose, spray wand or nozzle may not be resistant. The same is true of steel-bodied sprayers. If you want to spray bleach or other harsh liquids, it’s vital to check. Brass components are highly resistant to corrosion and chemicals but if internals are plastic that may be a weak point. Viton seals (made from a type of synthetic rubber) are another indicator of good chemical resistance. There’s plenty of choice. If the chemical sprayer you’re looking at doesn’t give sufficient information, move on.
Visible liquid levels are often quoted as a feature, and it’s certainly useful to be able to see what’s in the tank. That said, pretty much every sprayer except the steel ones are semi-translucent. Similarly, trigger locks for continuous spraying appear on all but the very cheapest chemical sprayers.
Different nozzles allow a variety of spray patterns, from thin jets to wide fans. It’s important to check specifics. Low-cost models might simply switch from one pattern to another. On more advanced models the spray might be completely variable depending on how far the nozzle is rotated. A selection of interchangeable nozzles is another option. Think about what you need to spray and also the distances involved. With a thin jet, the chemical will travel much further than a fan.
Powered chemical sprayers
Many chemical sprayers use a hand pump to build up compression in the tank. These are easy to use, and most don’t take a lot of effort. A pressure-release valve is invariably included for safety.
However, by the time you’ve pumped and emptied a 2-gallon chemical sprayer two or three times you’ll probably start to feel it. The alternative, albeit at considerably more cost, is a battery-powered pump. The unit generally sits at the top of the tank, in the same position as the hand pump, so there is little difference in physical bulk.
If you choose a battery-powered chemical sprayer you’ll want to check run time per charge. It might be quoted as hours or gallons pumped. Either way, the figures will be in ideal conditions, so we’d probably suggest a margin of around 20% for real-world performance. You’ll also want to check recharging time. Many need around eight hours. A spare battery is an option, but they can be quite expensive.
Your best chemical sprayer choices
The following are what we believe to be the best chemical sprayers currently available. There’s something here for all budgets, with capacities from 48 ounces to 6.5 gallons. We have divided them into two sections: handheld and backpack chemical sprayers (though some of the former do have lightweight shoulder straps).
Handheld chemical sprayers
Chapin International 1002, 48-Ounce Multi-Purpose Sprayer: available at Amazon
Compact sprayer ideal for treating small areas. Wide mouth for easy filling. Light pump action. Two-position twist nozzle for fine or coarse spraying. In-tank filter reduces clogging.
HDX 1-Gallon Pump Sprayer: available at Home Depot
One of the cheapest chemical sprayers on the market, exclusive to Home Depot. Basic but functional. Simple pump with comfortable handle. Two-position nozzle sprays mist or stream.
One of the more affordable chemical sprayers, yet with plenty of useful features. Good capacity for weed and pest control. Wide-fill mouth, large pump handle and adjustable spray nozzle.
Vivosun 1-Gallon Lawn and Garden Sprayer: available at Amazon
Another very affordable chemical sprayer. The standout features are three highly versatile interchangeable nozzles offering multiple spray patterns and an adjustable shoulder strap. Spray rod clips to handle for easy storage.
ITISLL Portable Garden Pump, 1-Gallon: available at Amazon
This chemical sprayer uses corrosion-resistant brass fittings. The wand is telescopic, giving up to 3 feet of reach. The nozzle has a full 360 degrees of angle adjustment. A shoulder strap is included.
Lithium-ion battery power takes the effort out of pumping. The smart, ergonomic Ryobi can pump up to 30 gallons on a single charge. Tank is removable for easy filling. Spray nozzle is adjustable.
Husqvarna 2-Gallon Handheld Chemical Sprayer: available at Amazon
Although better known for garden machinery, Husqvarna’s commercial-grade sprayer shares the brand’s renowned quality and durability. Built for harsh cleaning chemicals, with corrosion-resistant stainless steel wand. Tank shape adds stability.
Powerful lithium-ion-powered pump capable of up to 14 gallons per charge. Interesting spray head rotates for a choice of 3 nozzles. Heavy-duty hose. Wand clips in base for compact storage.
Happybuy 3.5-Gallon Stainless Steel Sprayer: available at Amazon
Bright stainless steel body offers rust-resistance and durability. No pressure reduction as with poly models. Fully variable spray nozzle. Separate pressure gauge. Reinforced hose. Suitable for harsh chemicals.
Backpack chemical sprayers
Large capacity ‘no leak’ pump operated by easy-to-reach side handle. Four tool-free nozzles offer great versatility. Large fill top includes filter. Wide, well-padded shoulder harness with plenty of adjustability.
M4 My 4 Sons 4-Gallon Battery-Powered Backpack Sprayer: available at Amazon
Large and powerful lithium-ion multipurpose sprayer pumps up to 160 gallons per charge. Multiple nozzles and two wands capable of heavy industrial use. Thick, comfortable straps. Needs 8 hours to recharge.
PetraTools Powered 6.5-Gallon Sprayer and Cart: available at Amazon
Heavy-duty chemical sprayer can be used as a wheeled cart or worn as a backpack. Will run for 6-8 hours spraying up to 200 gallons per charge. Includes multiple nozzles and 100 feet of high-pressure hose for reaching distant areas without lugging the sprayer. Charging requires 8 hours.
Bob Beacham is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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