If I told you that I have no less than six broken garden sprayers in my shed, would you believe me? As a Southern gardener, I battle a host of enemies just to nurse a few plants through the hot, humid summers. Between voracious insects and fatal blights, the best garden sprayer and the right chemicals can mean the difference between beautiful blooms and a big waste of time and money.
Even organic gardeners realize that they have to resort to a few sneaky tactics if they want to continue to nurture a beautiful landscape in the Southeast United States. The mild climate that means a long growing season also means a long pest season.
And it isn’t just Southern gardens that can benefit from the best garden sprayer. If you have a short growing season, it’s even more critical that you make the most of it while you can. If you only enjoy a few short months or weeks to grow, you need to make sure your plantings are free of gnawing insects and fungal diseases that can destroy your garden.
Who Needs the Best Garden Sprayer?
If you have more than a handful of houseplants, you’ll find a garden sprayer is a must-have for creating a lush landscape. For the best blooms, you may need to apply pesticides, fungicides, or even nutrients to your flowering plants. A good garden sprayer makes short work of applying these products to every plant in your yard.
I’ve collected my array of broken garden sprayers over the last four or five years. Subtropical conditions mean I need to keep a look out for a host of pests and diseases. And the only reasonable way to prevent a complete melt-down in the garden is by applying the right chemicals in a preventative fashion.
If you wait until symptoms of pests and disease appear, it’s already too late.
And it doesn’t matter if you’re an organic purist or if Monsanto’s on your holiday card list. Every gardener can benefit from a quick application of topical products to keep their landscaping healthy and looking great all year round.
How to Choose the Best Garden Sprayer for your Landscape
The right model for you depends on several factors. For example, the size of your landscape will influence the size of the sprayer you need. Your physical fitness also plays a part. After all, there’s no point buying a large-capacity sprayer if you can’t lug it around the yard.
Budget can also be a significant factor. You may be on a tight budget after spending all your spare cash at the garden center. But it also pays to invest the money you need to in order to buy the best garden sprayer you can afford. More important is researching to find which products have stood the test of time.
And that’s why I have a pile of broken ones in the shed. I didn’t take the time to find a good one before buying the first one off the shelf.
How many garden sprayers do you need?
While you’re going to want to clean out your sprayer thoroughly after each use, it’s a good idea to buy separate sprayers for different types of chemicals.
At a minimum, you’ll want a separate sprayer for herbicides. You want to make sure that it’s clearly marked and used for no other purpose. After all, you don’t want your weed killer to get mixed in with your pesticides. And while killing all your plants is one way to get rid of spider mites, it’s not the best way.
If you plan to use your sprayer for foliar feeding, you may want to purchase a smaller sprayer exclusively for that purpose. While you’ll need features like adjustable spraying wands for insecticide and disease control, you may not feel you need to break the bank for fertilizing.
Types of Sprayers
If you’ve already started shopping, you’ll notice that there are two different types of sprayers: powered and manual.
Powered sprayers can be fueled by gas or batteries and are more expensive than manual models. They cover a wider area of your garden than manual sprayers and usually have a much larger tank capacity.
Manual pump sprayers are less expensive and generally have a smaller capacity. While most are adequate for the average lawn, you will need to keep the pressure up by regularly pumping it. Most units made for the homeowner market are manual sprayers.
Depending on the size of your landscape and your fitness level, you may want to consider the three main options for lugging your sprayer around.
Handheld models mean lugging the sprayer around the yard. These are generally manual pump sprayers and have a limited capacity.
Backpack sprayers allow you to use a larger tank, and they also take some of the weight off your arms and hands. It’s much easier to “wear” your tank around the yard when applying lawn chemicals. You'll find backpack sprayers in both powered and manual pump configurations.
Wheeled garden sprayers are perfect for those with very large yards and gardens. They’re also handy for disabled and elderly gardeners, too. However, you’ll need a relatively even surface to get around the yard. Wheeled sprayers are almost always powered types. And while they’re great if you own a vineyard, they may prove too cumbersome for the average homeowner.
How We Determined Which Were the Best Garden Sprayers
I can say I’ve tested a few models over the years. And with a year-round growing season, my sprayers have suffered plenty. I also prefer to use organic products, which means regular use up to three times a week, all 52 weeks of the year.
But I like to keep an open mind, so I’ve also checked the recommendations of fellow gardeners as well as landscaping professionals. While I’ve used a fair share of manual models, I haven’t yet tested any power sprayers yet. So, I’ve researched larger, powered, models, too.
Last of all, I’ve taken a look at consumer reviews. One great way to find out if a product works as well as its claims is to see what current owners have to say. I can compare features, capacities, and specifications on models I haven’t personally used. But a user review can provide a much better picture as to whether a product performs over time. And what you really need in the best garden sprayer is durability.
I can personally attest to that.
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Recommendations for the Best Garden Sprayer
While I could simply list the top-models with extraordinary features and big price tags, they may not be the best unit for you. So, I've listed several models with varying capacities and price points. I've also presented them in no particular order. They have one thing in common, though -- they're the best garden sprayers on the market right now.
1. Chapin International 20000 Garden Sprayer
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Chapin International is not just one of the more popular manufacturers, it’s also one of the most durable in my experience. Chapin makes a wide range of garden sprayers, and this manual pump model features a one-gallon capacity and a semi-translucent tank.
One of the best features the Chapin 2000 offers is the semi-translucent tank. It helps to see your fill level, so you know how much product you have. If you mix your own from concentrates, as I do, you want to be sure that you use the right proportions.
Another great feature is the tank size. A gallon is fine for most suburban gardens, although if you’re as plant-crazy as I am, you may need to refill it once or twice. Especially if you have a particularly bad season of bugs.
Having used gallon-sized sprayers that were oversized in relation to their capacity, I can tell you that not only is a smaller tank easier to lug around, it’s also more efficient. If you don’t want to spend more time pumping, then take note of the tank size to make sure that you don’t have wasted air space.
- 1-gallon capacity
- In-tank filter
- Spray rate: 0.4 - 0.5 GPM (adjustable)
I’m not the only one who loves this economical and sturdy little garden sprayer. Amazon buyers gave it an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. Walmart shoppers also gave it 4.3 out of 5, and Home Depot customers gave it 4.7 out of 5.
Positive reviews cite the ease of use and the consistency of spray. A few complained that the sprayer didn’t last, but I can attest that rough handling may limit its life to about a year. If you take care of it, though, you’ll have it for years. And the best thing about it is that it’s cheap enough that you can purchase several sprayers for all your yard chemicals.
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2. Field King Professional 190328 Backpack Sprayer
If you need a larger capacity sprayer and a bigger budget, you may want to consider this Field King model. Backpack sprayers help make easy work of applying chemicals to your lawn and garden. If you have large flower beds or extensive lawn areas to spray, a backpack sprayer turns this tedious chore into a literal walk in the park.
The Field King Professional boasts a no-leak design so you don’t end up with any lawn chemicals on you. It also features durable construction materials like Viton seals and gaskets and brass shut off valves. It also comes with four nozzles, including an adjustable brass nozzle, two flat-fans, and a foaming nozzle.
- 4-gallon capacity
- Weighs about 50 pounds when full
- Piston style manual pump
- Padded harness straps with full back pad
- 21-inch poly lined stainless steel wand
- Max pressure of 150 PSI
Another customer favorite, Amazon buyers give the Field King Professional 4.4 out of 5 stars. Home Depot customers also like this model and gave it an average of 4.3 out of 5 stars.
Positive reviews reference the value for the dollar. This large capacity professional sprayer costs much less than you’d expect. Other users lauded the comfort of use, complimenting the padded straps. Most found it very durable and as leak-proof as the manufacturer claims. A few unhappy reviewers, particularly on Amazon, mentioned getting used products and units with faulty seals.
- Internal No Leak Pump design is safer to use chemicals will not drip down your back. Internal piston pump delivers up to...
- Durable, 21 inch poly wand with the highest quality Viton seals can be used with Wet table powders and liquids for all...
- Premium, lockable shut off with brass components and an in-line filter.
3. Chapin 1002 48-Ounce Hand Sprayer
This little garden sprayer doesn’t look like much, but it’s perfect for certain applications. If you foliar feed your garden plants, you don’t need to fill up a big sprayer and drag it around. You also might not need a wand for reaching all areas of the plant, as you do with fungicides and pesticides. Instead of breaking out a bigger model, I keep one of these handy for applying fertilizers and micronutrients directly to the leaves.
One of the best features of this little sprayer is the lock-on spray nozzle. Once you pump it up to achieve enough pressure, just press the button down and in, and you'll get a constant flow. If you have arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome (or both, like me), you’ll appreciate how easy and painless this sprayer is to use.
It’s also great for propagating. If you like to grow from seeds or cuttings, you know that keeping your delicate new plants moist but not wet is critical to success. Toss those general purpose spray bottles aside. The empty ones they sell might be great for cleaning fluid, but they’re exhausting for misting your plants.
- 48-ounce capacity
- Translucent tank
- In-tank Filter
- 40-60 PSI
- 0.4 - 0.5 GPM
- 23 Foot horizontal Spray
- 25 Foot vertical stream
Amazon buyers like this little sprayer and gave it an average rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars. Many buyers mentioned the flexibility of the spray adjustment as a high point. They also found that it was just the right size for small jobs. A few customers became frustrated, however, when their sprayer became clogged or leaked.
- 48 ounce poly bottle with wide mouth for easy filling and cleaning
- Compatible with common fertilizers, week killers and pesticides
- Adjustable nozzle to spray a fine mist or coarse stream with a simple twist
4. Smith Performance R200
For large landscapes with less effort, you may want to take a look at the Smith R200. You’ll be able to mix and apply up to two gallons of lawn chemicals with this model. Best of all, it includes a shoulder strap so you can move it easily throughout your yard.
This professional model offers some great features at consumer pricing. One of the most outstanding is the extra-long, 50-inch application hose. It also boasts an inline filter with a wide surface area to prevent clogging. Viton seals and a poly-lined stainless steel wand means it will withstand exposure to harsh chemicals, too.
The sprayer “lock-on” feature also means it’s easy on your hands, and the high-efficiency pump means 25 percent fewer pumps to reach optimal pressure.
- 2-gallon capacity
- Drip-free wand holder
- 25 PSI press regulator
- Pressure relief valve
- Flat, foaming, and adjustable bronze nozzles included
- Nylon shoulder strap
Customers really like the Smith R200, and Amazon buyers awarded it with an average rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. Home Depot buyers gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Happy customers lauded the generous capacity and the long sprayer hose. They found it sturdy and complimented the wand holder. A few unhappy customers had trouble with stuck valves and seals
- Professional grade sprayer and components built to withstand harsh agricultural chemicals along with rugged transport...
- Durable, 21 inch stainless steel wand with exclusive poly lining and the highest quality Viton seals for maximum...
- Highly efficient pump requires 25% fewer pumps per gallon than leading competitor
5. My 4 Sons M4 Battery-Powered Sprayer
This newcomer to the field has made quite an impact with this battery-powered garden sprayer. With a four-gallon capacity, it’s perfect for extensive landscaping jobs.
This impressive product offers adjustable pressure, a variable nozzle output, and an extra-long wand. You’ll get perfect control over what gets sprayed and what does not. If you’ve ever accidentally sprayed one of your favorite flowering plants while trying to get rid of some crabgrass, you know how important control is when spraying lawn chemicals.
- 4-gallon capacity
- 60 PSI pump
- Steel and plastic wands both included
- Soldered battery terminals
- 8 AH lead acid battery
- AC recharger included
With all the overwhelmingly positive reviews, we think it’s the best garden sprayer for those with big gardening jobs. Amazon buyers have rated it an average of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Reviewers complimented the unit for its long battery life and the impressive range of spray it provides. Others liked the LED charging indicators and the choice of two spray wands.
Most significantly, the manufacturer’s customer service seems to be on-point. Even the smallest complaint by buyers was immediately addressed by the manufacturer. This is a newer company, so only time will tell if they’re successful over the long haul. That said, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this product.
- NEVER PUMP AGAIN: Sprays For 6-8 hours on a single battery charge, or over 200 gallons, so that you can spray all day on...
- BOTH STAINLESS STEEL WAND & ACID BLEACH WAND INCLUDED: Meet all your spraying needs with a stainless steel adjustable...
- 2020 UPGRADES: Triple thick XXL shoulder pads, organizer pockets for wands and accessories, quick change battery...
The Best Way to Spray
The best garden sprayer for you will definitely depend on the size of your yard and the extent of application needed. That said, consider capacity, ease of use, and durability when shopping around.
For their size, we found these five models to be the absolute best on the market right now. The one you choose should reflect the size of your lawn and budget. And don’t forget that you may want multiple units so you can be sure to keep your lawn chemicals separate.
Have you purchased a garden sprayer before? What models did you find were the best for you? Which ones would you recommend with confidence?