Best Backpack Sprayers of 2017 – Top Picks & Reviews

backpack sprayerHow safe are your plants from pests and weeds?

In 2015, 25 percent of the US government’s money was spent on healthcare. Another 24 percent was spent on social security. In other words, half of the government’s money went to assuring the safety and security of its people.
Now, think of yourself as the king or queen of your garden, field, or farm. If the plants under your care are your subjects, how far have you gone to ensure their wellbeing? Have you been a good ruler?

Fantasy aside, the threat to your plants are real. They find it no easier to live in a toxic and hostile environment as you do. So, whether you’re in it professionally or recreationally, you got to take care of the surroundings in which your plants grow. The first step in this regard is to buy a backpack sprayer. Using a backpack sprayer, you can dispense a regular dose of weed killing and pest destroying solutions easily and quickly.

Our Top 5 Backpack Sprayer Picks

MODELPRODUCT DIMENSIONSITEM WEIGHTUSER RATINGPRICE
Chapin 63985 4-Gallon
Chapin 63985 4-Gallon
14.8 x 8.8 x 22 inches
10.5 pounds
4.3/5
$$$$
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Chapin 61900
chapin 61900
12 x 7 x 7 inches11.5 pounds4.2/5$$
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Field King Professional 190328
Field King Professional 190328
15 x 22.5 x 9.5 inches
12.8 pounds
4.5/5
$$
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Solo 425 4-Gallon
Solo 425 4-Gallon
15 x 10 x 21 inches
14 pounds
4.3/5
$$$
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Stanley 61804
Stanley 61804
22 x 9 x 15 inches
10.4 pounds

4.0/5

$
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There’s no reason why a backpack sprayer should not be a part of every plant lover’s home. So, the question is not whether you must buy a backpack sprayer. The real question is — what is the best backpack sprayer I can buy? These backpack sprayer reviews will help you find the answer. Let’s begin with our top pick – the Chapin 63985.

#1 Chapin 63985 4-Gallon – Our Top Pick

Chapin 63985 4-GallonThe Chapin 63985 is the best backpack sprayer in the market. It is easy to operate, comfortable to wear, and simple to maintain.  Let’s look into these one by one. Firstly, the 20-Volt Lithium ion battery on the 63985 allows you to maintain steady pressure, constant flow rate, uniform spray pattern, and fixed droplet size effortlessly. With the motor powering the pump, spraying your fields is literally a walk in the park.

A sprayer primarily designed for prolonged use, the Chapin 63985 takes special care to ensure your comfort. The deluxe padded adjustable back straps, lumbar support, and chest support cinch reduces the strain of carrying the sprayer for long hours. Plus, the shut-off assembly comes with a padded grip to give your hands extra comfort.

One of the most thoughtful features on the 63985 is the extra-wide opening tank. Measuring 6 inches in diameter, the opening on the 63985 allows you to pour liquids into the tank without spilling. It also lets you clean the tank thoroughly and easily. Considering all these factors, the Chapin 63985 is the best backpack sprayer for home and commercial use.

The only major downside is the cost. This electric sprayer costs nearly twice as much as its manual equivalents. The electric motor also adds weight to the unit. And if you damage the sprayer, repairing the motorized version is harder and costlier than repairing the manual version. However, if you plan to use your backpack sprayer every day for a couple of hours, the comfort and ease-of-use makes this model your best bet.

Pros

  • Triple filtration system
  • Motorized pump reduces effort significantly
  • Deluxe back straps and lumbar support improves comfort
  • Extra-wide opening makes usage and maintenance easy

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Repair costs more
  • Not ideal for intermittent use
  • Does not come with built-in pressure gauge

#2 Chapin 61900 4-Gallon – Best For The Money

chapin 61900

Our top pick may not fit your budget. So, here’s an alternative – the Chapin 61900. It’s the best backpack sprayer for the money. This model is essentially a manual version of the Chapin 63985. Unlike the Chapin 63985, which has an electric pump, the Chapin 61900 has a manual piston pump. Obviously, an electric pump reduces effort. But, does the reduction justify a nearly 100 percent increase in the price?

Well, consider this: If you spray your field twice or thrice a week, and it takes 15 to 20 minutes to do it each time, then manual pumping does not put too much strain on you. After a couple of weeks, you will get used to it, and it will become progressively easier to do the job. On the other hand, spraying your field manually for more than an hour every day will take a huge toll on you. In that case, do yourself a favor and save some money to buy the 63985. Although both models offer lumbar support, the deluxe padded straps on the 63985 are more comfortable than the padded straps on the 61900. This is another reason the 63985 is better suited for prolonged use than the 61900 is.

Another crucial difference relates to the tank’s opening. The Chapin 61900’s tank has a 4-inch opening. This is two inches smaller than the opening on the Chapin 63985’s tank. If you have large hands, cleaning the 61900’s tank will be harder than cleaning the 63985’s tank. Since we recommend cleaning the tank after every use, the extra-wide opening on the higher model makes maintenance easier.

To see what opening size works for you, go to your kitchen and select a jar with a 4-inch wide opening. If you can comfortably slide your hands in and out of the jar, cleaning the 61900 will not be a problem for you. However, if you have difficulty doing this, you may need someone with smaller hands to help you clean the 61900.

Pros

  • Triple filtration system
  • Budget friendly
  • Pump allows left hand or right hand operation
  • Shut-off assembly has a built-in pressure gauge and cushion grip
  • Provides lumbar support

Cons

  • 61900 does not offer 63985’s deluxe padded shoulder straps
  • Tank’s mouth is 2 inches smaller than the 63985’s tank opening
  • Not suitable for prolonged use

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#3 Field King Professional 190328

Field King Professional 190328The Field King Professional 190328 is another great backpack sprayer worth your attention. It offers a lot of benefits the Chapin models do not. For instance, the Field King Professional has a no-leak pump design. So, you will never have to worry about spilling toxic materials on yourself while using the pump. This sprayer’s pump is connected to an internal agitator. The agitator mixes the contents of the tank as you use the pump. This ensures uniformity in the spray solution.

The next most important feature of the Field King Professional relates to the nozzles. In addition to the four nozzles that come with this model, you can attach TeeJet nozzles to expand the sprayer’s functionality. Even better, this machine can build pressure up to 150 psi. This gives you tremendous flexibility in controlling the flow rate, spray pattern, and droplet size. The shut-off assembly also has a lock-in mechanism to reduce the strain on your spraying hand.

The Field King Professional has significantly less parts that are prone to wear and tear. So, this model is built for longevity. Even when the equipment breaks, replacing or repairing the damaged part is easy. However, the backstrap on this model requires improvement. It isn’t as comfortable as the previously mentioned Chapin models. And there’s no lumbar support as well.

Pros

  • Budget friendly
  • No-leak pump design
  • Internal agitator
  • Pump handle can attach to left or right side
  • Build pressure up to 150 psi
  • Compatible with TeeJet nozzles
  • Parts are easy to replace and repair

Cons

  • Back strap could be more comfortable
  • No lumbar support
  • No pressure gauge

#4 Solo 425 4-Gallon

Solo 425 4-GallonThe Solo 425 is one the best-selling backpack sprayers on Amazon. The reason it is so popular is because it balances economy and utility so well. Simple in its design, the Solo 425 has stripped all trimmings in favor of performance. For instance, the piston pump on the Solo 425 lets you build pressure up to 90 psi. The extra pressure greatly expands the ways in which you can use this sprayer.

Of course, all that pressure would be of no use if you don’t have the right nozzles. Fortunately, the Solo 425 is compatible with TeeJet nozzles. This gives you a lot of flexibility while selecting spray patterns. If you are an experienced backpack sprayer user, you can calibrate your Solo 425 to suit any requirement.

Like all the other models in this list, the Solo 425 also has interchangeable pump levers for left or right handed operation. The spray hose is 48 inches long. This gives you extended reach while spraying hard to get areas. The Solo 425 comes with four nozzles, but you can add more nozzles from the TeeJet catalog. Another handy feature is the lock-on and lock-off feature on the shut-off valve. This means you can set the wand to spray and leave it on without manually keeping it on.

The biggest negative of this model is perhaps the back strap. The felt back strap is not nearly as comfortable as the back straps on other models we’ve reviewed. That’s really sad. A better back strap would have catapulted this product to the top of our list. However, Solo does sell a harness separately. So, if you find the back straps too uncomfortable, you could buy the harness.

Pros

  • Economical
  • Builds pressure up to 90 psi
  • Compatible with TeeJet nozzles
  • Shut-off mechanism has lock-on and lock-off feature

Cons

  • Back straps are not comfortable
  • No lumbar support
  • No pressure gauge

#5 Stanley 61804

Stanley 61804If you are not a hardcore horticulturalist, you don’t need a heavy-duty backpack sprayer. You can get all your spraying needs met with a basic sprayer like the Stanley 61804. It has all the essentials of a good backpack sprayer must have. It has two filters: one at the mouth of the tank and one inside the shut-off assembly. So, debris will not clog the hose or wand as you use the sprayer.

The sprayers is made out of light, durable, and chemical resistant material. It is easy to maintain and operate. And you can switch the pump handle from left to right. The shut-off mechanism has a continuous spray mode. So, you don’t have to keep your hand pressed on the spray lever.

This backpack sprayer is best for people who engage in recreational horticulture. However, if you grow plants at a commercial level, you should go for one of the models mentioned above. The reason is that the nozzles on this sprayer has limited functionality. Also, the back straps on the Stanley 61804 will cause discomfort after long use.

Pros

  • Economical
  • Pump allows for left handed or right handed use
  • Continuous spray mode

Cons

  • Limited functionality
  • Uncomfortable back straps
  • Poor wand and nozzle design

Backpack Sprayer Buying Guide

No product is the right fit for everybody. Every customer has a set of preferences unique to him or her. I am sure that you have certain set of factors that are important to you. So, the best product for you is the one that addresses all your requirements.

That’s why our buying guide examines the leading backpack sprayers from different angles, such as economy, comfort, and ease of use. Although the reviews above should most of your questions, I understand that they could also just create more questions. This section aims to allow you to come to good buying decisions independently right now or years down the line.

Even if you are crystal clear about what product you want, please do not skip this section. You may discover crucial information that leads to a better decision. So, let’s get to it.

Is a motorized pump worth the extra money?

An analogy is the best way to illustrate this point. Imagine a baker who whisks hundreds of eggs each day. Would it be a good idea for that baker to use a manual mixer? No. Now, consider a homemaker who whisks two eggs every other day. Would the homemaker need an electric mixer? No. So, the choice between a motorized sprayer and a manual one hinges on one simple parameter – volume of work.

If you spray for more than an hour every day, an electric motor can save you plenty of effort. The extra comfort and ease of use more than makes up for the extra dollars you pay. However, if you use your sprayer for just 15 to 20 minutes twice or three times a week, a motorized pump becomes more of a luxury than a necessity.

A motorized pump also helps maintain pressure, spray pattern, flow rate, and spray quality without much involvement from your side. Manual sprayers, on the other hand, produce fluctuations in each parameter every time you crank pump. If you’re a professional, you may need to fine-tune your application. So, you must go for an electric sprayer. If you are more of a recreational cultivator, you can get by with a manual backpack sprayer.

What is spray pattern and spray quality?

If your backpack sprayer’s wand didn’t have a nozzle, the solution would flow out of the wand in a single stream. When you attach a nozzle, the nozzle breaks the stream into tiny droplets. Based on the nozzle design, these droplets create different shapes on the sprayed surface. We call this spray patterns.

The most common spray patterns are flat-fan, even flat-fan, extended flat-fan, full cone, hollow cone, and flood. Backpack sprayer usually prefer even flat-fan spray pattern for single-nozzle application. If you use a boom with multiple nozzles, you must use a flat-fan spray pattern. Normally, the name of the nozzle and the spray pattern it creates are the same.

The spray quality refers to the size of the droplet coming out of the nozzle. The droplets may be of the following sizes: very fine, fine, medium, coarse, very coarse, and extremely coarse. Usually, the product you spray on your plants will tell you what size the droplets must be. Then, you can change the pressure and nozzle to reach the required droplet size. If the droplets are too fine, it will drift, and if the droplets are too coarse, they won’t travel far enough to ensure uniform distribution. This process of adjusting the spray profile is called calibration.

What is the ideal range of psi value for a backpack sprayer?

Before we discuss the pressure range, let us understand the effects of increasing or decreasing pressure. You see, when the pressure is constant, the spray nozzle volume, measured in gallons per minute (GPM), increases with increase in nozzle size. At the same time, if the nozzle size remains the same, the spray nozzle volume increases with increase in pressure. However, increasing the pressure reduces the droplet size. Smaller droplets are prone to drift. So, your spray might miss the intended target. To get all parameters right, you must calibrate your sprayer.

When you calibrate your sprayer, you must adjust the nozzle size and pressure to reduce drift, increase accuracy, and ensure uniform pattern. This will require some experimentation, and your backpack sprayer must have the flexibility to produces a broad pressure range. For most purposes, a pressure range of 20 to 60 psi will be enough. There are many instructional materials teaching how to calibrate your sprayer. Go through those materials before you finalize your purchase.

I have heard that diaphragm pumps are better than piston pumps. So, why are all the pumps here piston pumps?

In a backpack sprayer, the tank holding the solution is not under pressure. The pump creates the pressure needed to spray the solution in a separate chamber. To generate pressure in the chamber, the pump may use a piston or a diaphragm. A piston pump pushes air into the chamber the same way as a cycle pump pushes air into tires. A diaphragm pump, however, pushes air into the chamber as a blacksmith’s bellow does.

When the piston moves inside a cylinder, it produces friction. If the spray solution has particulate matter, the resulting friction leads to rapid wear and tear. Diaphragm pumps do not have any moving parts. So, they produce no friction. The lack of friction reduces wear and tear. In this regard, diaphragm pumps work better than piston pumps. But, if you’re using a liquids, and not wetable products, the piston pump works better than diaphragm pumps.

Great, I am interested in a backpack sprayer. What are my options?

After you’re clear on how often and how long you will use the backpack sprayer, look through our list again. The list offers products that cater to different customer and user profiles. So, you will most likely find what you’re looking for in the product review section. However, if you want to explore the market, you can check out backpack sprayers from D.B. Smith, Jacto, Hudson, SPS, and Stihl. And don’t forget to check other products from Chapin and Solo.


Conclusion

In summary, the best backpack sprayer is the one that reduces the number of concessions you have to make. For instance, if you’re willing to compromise on the price, the Chapin 63985 is the best backpack sprayer you can buy. However, if you’re ready to forgo the benefits of an electric motor in exchange for a budget friendly product, go for the Chapin 61900.

But, the Chapin models don’t accommodate TeeJet nozzles. If you’re looking for greater flexibility in spray patterns, the Solo 425 or the Field King Professional is a better pick. Remember, these models don’t have high quality back straps or lumbar support. So, they are less comfortable than the Chapin models. Lastly, if all you need are the bare minimum requirements, the Stanley 61804 is the best budget buy.

Over the last few years, backpack sprayers have come a long way in terms of utility and economy. This growth has brought many products to the market. At every price range, there is a product for every type of customer. Although the number of choices is overwhelming, the right information and guidance can lead you to the right product. We hope this review makes it easier for you to buy a product that will serve you well for many years to come!