How to Choose a Backpack Garden Sprayer

Overview

For those gardeners who do their own landscaping and lawn care, certain tools are must-haves and some just make heavy jobs a little easier. While backpack sprayers may be categorized as a luxury for some gardeners, for anyone who has to take care of a large yard of lawn, flower beds and trees it is a necessity.

Step 1

Take a rough measurement of the amount of ground you will have to cover in your landscape maintenance routines. Write down the size of the lawn, how many and what type trees you may have to spray and tasks you would like to accomplish like killing lawn weeds, spraying edging for weeds and pest management. This will assist you in discussions with garden center staffers as you research their inventory of sprayers as will the washability and flushing requirements associated between switching types of chemicals.

Step 2

Like any other mechanical product, these sprayers have moving parts and some are made with higher quality products than others. Weakness factors associated with various brands will help avoid a backpack sprayer that will mean trouble down the road. Longevity factors for trigger springs, nozzles, pressure valves, o-ring seals around tank cap, filter replacements and ease of procuring replacement parts should be a sampling of the information you should get answers to from fellow gardeners and garden center staffers to educate yourself to make an informed purchase.

Step 3

Visit local garden centers and retail outlets to physically sample the various backpack sprayers first hand before purchasing. Take into consideration the weight of the sprayer and the liquid contents it will eventually hold. A gallon of water weighs approximately 2 lbs. and backpack sprayers are usually available in ranges from 5-gallon to 30-gallon capacities which would weigh 10- to -60 lbs. in liquid weight alone. While a larger sprayer may prevent frequent refill stops, the larger capacity sprayers can be too heavy for some users when loaded to full capacity.

Step 4

Check the fit and quality of shoulder straps. With the extra weight of a full tank of liquid, the sprayer's weight will be resting fully on your shoulders. Take note of whether the straps look sturdy enough to withstand wear and tear over several years. Examine the webbed canvas or nylon material and padding of the strap to see if there are sharp protrusions that may dig into your shoulder while walking with the fully-loaded sprayer on your back. Padded straps tend to be the most comfortable.

Step 5

Hold the sprayer wand in your hand while wearing the backpack and make sure that you can comfortably control the wand while reaching for the pump lever with your other hand. Make sure everything is within comfortable reach while the sprayer is strapped to your back. Manufacturers take ease of access into consideration, but simple variations in body type and build may make one brand more comfortable than another. Examine the mechanisms on the wand, such as the sprayer tip and the trigger, to make sure they are substantial and will hold up to heavy usage and the duress of various chemicals.

Tips and Warnings

  • The most important of all steps is to make very sure you are capable of carrying the weight of the backpack while it is full of liquid. These devices can be deceptively heavy under load. Whenever using a backpack sprayer or chemical sprayer of any kind, be sure to wear protective gear such as rubber gloves and appropriate attire and safety equipment recommended by the chemical manufacturer.

Things You'll Need

  • Landscape measurements

References

  • Oregon State University Extension Services: Calibrating and Using Backpack Sprayers
Keywords: choosing backpack sprayers, backpack yard sprayers, sprayers with straps

About this Author

Sheri Lacker has more than 30 years' experience as a writer, photographer and multimedia artist. Her work has been used by Warner Brothers, Barbour/Langley and Casey Kasem Presents, among others. Her awards include the Theatre Excellence Scholarship and Guest-Artist-in-Res. Lacker studied journalism, Web design and historical research at the University of Memphis.