Our Top Pick for 2016: Chapin 4-Gallon Wide Mouth 20v Battery Backpack Sprayer
Read our full review.
Whether you’re growing a few rows of flowers or an entire backyard garden, it’s going to take time and effort to keep your plants healthy and ensure proper growth. A backpack sprayer can reduce gardening hours, adding time back into your day. Though most commonly used for gardening and shrub maintenance, you can also use a backpack sprayer to clean floors, ceilings, and home interiors and exteriors. If you’re in the market for a portable backpack sprayer, it’s important to consider the features, accessories, and options that will simplify gardening and cleaning, without putting undue strain on your body. We’ve gathered a list of the top three models, as well as a budget-friendly option to help you select the right option for you.
Table of contents
- #1 Gold Pick (1st Place Winner)
- #2 Silver Pick (2nd Place Runner-Up)
- #3 Bronze Pick (3rd Place)
- #4 Budget Pick (Best Cheap)
Internal No Leak Pump Design
Black & Decker 20-volt Lithium Ion Battery
High-performance Piston Pump
Durable 21 Inch Poly Wand
1.75 Hours Of Continuous Spraying
Increased Pressure Capabilities
Premium, Lockable Shut Off
Commercial Shut-off Valve
35-foot Maxium Horizontal Spray Stream
Easy Access Pump
4-gallon Tank With 6-inch Wide Mouth Funnel
48″ Nylon-reinforced High-pressure Hose
#1 Gold pick (Winner): Chapin 4-Gallon Wide Mouth 20v Battery Backpack Sprayer
View it on Amazon for $136.63*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Our Gold Picks highlight the best available products across various categories, and the Chapin backpack sprayer is no exception. This feature-rich product incorporates a 20v Black and Decker battery, holds up to four gallons, and, at only 10.5 pounds, it weighs 39% less than competing models. It also features santoprene seals to prevent leaks, pressurizes at 25-30 PSI, and can spray at distances up to 35 feet. Parts inside are anti-corrosion and anti-rust, which can help extend the life of this model.
The battery operation really makes this product stand out, because it doesn’t involve the labor-intensive pumping that most backpack sprayers require. This makes it easier to maintain a consistent pressure and output, which are key components when growing plants and foliage. Many Amazon reviewers have cited electronic operation as a key reason they purchased this sprayer over other models.
The piston pump operated tank features a 3-filter filtration system. Two of the filters are built into the device, while the third is can easily be replaced, which can extend the life of the machine. The tank itself can be filled with premixed, liquid, and powder chemicals. However, the tank doesn’t incorporate a mixer, meaning you’ll need to pre-mix the chemicals yourself before you fill the tank. On the positive side, this Chapin sprayer makes filling the task easy, because it features a 6-inch wide-mouth funnel, allowing you to pour large amounts into the tank with little chance of spillage.
Three nozzles are included with the Chapin sprayer, and they all easily attach to the 48” nylon hose. Included nozzle types are cone, straight stream, and fan. These variations produce a straight stream to a fine mist, allowing you to spray various types of chemicals or to cover plants at a range of heights and distances. If you need additional nozzles for other uses, you can purchase them directly from the manufacturer.
Prior to using the Chapin backpack sprayer, you’ll need to plan ahead, because the battery needs to charge for three and a half to four hours before use. Once charged, you can go through 50 gallons of chemicals (or about 1.75 hours of continuous spraying) before you need to recharge the battery. To charge it, you simply need to slide the battery into the included charger, plug it into an outlet, and wait. Once you’re done using the sprayer, it’s important to remove the battery prior to storing the device.
Chapin has also added deluxe padded straps, as well as waist and chest straps, to more evenly distribute the weight of the backpack sprayer and chemicals. These features make this a great choice for people who aren’t as physically fit, or who are prone to back problems. If weight is a concern, you also have the option to partially fill the tank. This means more trips to the shed or garage, but it can also save your back in the process.
After you’ve used your Chapin sprayer to cover a substantial amount of ground, you may need to start replacing parts. The tank itself is covered by a lifetime warranty, while parts and accessories have a 1-year guarantee. Conveniently, Chapin makes replacement parts available on its website. They also service the main filter, and sell replacements. When it comes to extra batteries and chargers, these can easily be purchased through Black and Decker’s website or from Amazon.
Looking at the positive Amazon reviews of this product makes it clear why we recommended it so highly. Out of 79 customers who took the time to review this product, 67% gave it a 5-star review, and many said it was a game changer in terms of ease of use and speed. Here’s an example from one very satisfied customer, “Unbelievable quality, solid build, intelligent design. My back loves the fact that I am not stooping and pumping every 1 minute. If you ever have a doubt about a motorized pump vs. a manual pump, discard doubt. I was able to complete what was normally a 90 minute spray job in 30 mins. Very consistent spray pressure throughout. GET IT.”
#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Field King Professional No Leak Pump Backpack Sprayer
View it on Amazon for $69.95*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
The Field King backpack sprayer is our silver pick, and its solid construction and array of features make it easy to understand why. Although you will have to manually pump the handle to pressurize the sprayer during use, the substantially lower price point can make it a solid choice for smaller jobs. If you don’t have a huge amount of ground to cover, or plan to use the sprayer for a series of smaller jobs, then this could be the ideal model for you.
With its 4-gallon, pump-operated tank, this backpack sprayer can hold a substantial amount of chemicals. The 4-inch opening is easy to fill, and the tank incorporates dual paddle agitators, making it easy to mix chemicals right inside the tank, rather than having to mix them separately. According to the manufacturer, this tank can provide pressure up to 65% higher than most diaphragm models, and, similar to these models, you can use safely use powder chemicals without ruining the tank. In fact, manufacturer tests demonstrated that the tank could cover an impressive one million cycles with powder-based chemicals prior to failure.
The tank has a low-pressure regulator for 25-PSI output, but it can also provide up to 150 PSI, depending on nozzle selection and tank pressure. You also have the option of buying a pressure regulator, making it easy to gauge how much product you’re spraying onto your plants. Another feature is the lock mechanism for continuous spraying – simply squeeze the lever and rotate the lock, and you’ll create a consistent and steady stream.
A 45-inch hose and four nozzles are included with this backpack sprayer. The nozzles are all metal construction. Nozzle types include adjustable brass, low-volume fan, high-volume fan, and a unique foaming nozzle. If these aren’t enough choices, you can select from compatible TeeJet nozzles to increase your sprayer’s versatility.
As far as internal parts, this backpack sprayer features brass pieces and Viton seals, to extend the device’s life, and keep it from leaking. The sprayer also incorporates a threaded bolt to keep the handle in place, as well as a spot to store the wand. All serviceable parts, from Viton seals to gaskets, can be easily purchased right from the manufacturer. If you need to repair parts, you don’t even need any tools, thanks to a patented, easy-to-fix design.
The backpack sprayer weighs about 12.8 pounds when empty, and it can hold up to four gallons of chemicals. With each gallon of chemicals weighing approximately 8.5 pounds, this is a total weight of about 46.8 pounds. To help you accommodate the weight, the backpack sprayer comes with adjustable shoulder straps, as well as padded waist and chest straps. Another feature that can make operation comfortable and easy is that the pump handle is reversible. This means it can be installed on either the left or right side, making use easy, no matter which hand is dominant.
Out of 41 product reviews, 73% of Amazon customers gave this backpack sprayer a whopping 5-stars for reasons such as comfortable padded straps and ability to spray a low-pressure fine mist. Other customers cited ease of use and lack of leakage. Here’s a highlight from one reviewer, “Well constructed. No leaks. Comfortable back strap system. Pump does make some noise but is not an issue. Easy to handle and clean. Would definitely recommend.”
#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Solo 473-P 3-Gallon Professional Backpack Sprayer
View it on Amazon for $81.09*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
For our bronze selection, we’ve chosen the Solo 473-P backpack sprayer. The smaller size and weight could make this perfect model for individuals with smaller jobs to handle. Since it weighs just 10.15 pounds and holds up to three gallons of water, the total filled weight is approximately 35.65 pounds. Reviewers on Amazon have stated it’s a great model for the elderly, and those unable to lug around a larger model. It handles all types of liquid chemicals, from pesticides and fertilizers, to herbicides and disinfectants. This makes it convenient for both indoor and outdoor use.
The Solo backpack sprayer features a rod-actuated piston pump that can handle all types of liquid chemicals. Unlike the Field King, however, it’s not designed to hand powder-based chemicals. Viton seals are used to prolong tank life and the seals are located in the most critical locations.
The tank can pressurize up to 90 PSI, which is sufficient for smaller jobs. It also incorporates a commercial shut-off valve that allows you to create a continual spray. As with most backpack sprayers, you do need to pump the handle to pressurize the tank during use. To make this process easier, the manufacturer created a reversible handle, meaning it can be installed on either the right or left side of sprayer.
Included accessories are shoulder straps, a 28-inch unbreakable wand, a hose, and four nozzles. People have stated that the straps are quite thin, which can make the product more difficult to carry. Nozzle types that come with the Solo backpack sprayer include adjustable, fan spray, hollow cone, and jet stream. This provides versatility, enabling you to spray various types of plants and foliage, as well as interior surfaces like floors and ceilings. If the included nozzles aren’t enough for your needs, you can also use compatible TeeJet nozzles to extend the device’s functionality. Replacement wands are also available through Amazon, in case a different length is better suited to your body frame, or to help you spray harder-to-reach places.
The Solo Backpack sprayer comes with a 1-year manufacturer’s warranty. Amazon reviewers have also cited impressive customer service. One reviewer said parts were “promptly and cheerfully” replaced when there was a problem. Additionally, If you need to purchase replacement parts, such as nozzles, or seals, you can easily find them on Amazon.
When it comes to reviews, Amazon shoppers have largely positive comments. Out of 35 reviews, 63% gave this Solo sprayer five stars and 26% gave it four. Here’s a testimonial that demonstrates how owners largely feel about this product, “Perfect balance between cost, quality and reliability. Used it several times now. The nozzle that came with it works fine. I use it for spraying 20% strength vinegar for weeds. The pump handle is great. I only use the unit for about an hour and I fill it only about half full so the straps that came with it are just fine. I flush out the vinegar residuals after I’m done since I don’t want to test the unit’s resistance to acids. Buy it.”
#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Rainmaker Backpack Sprayer
View it on Amazon for $35.96*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Rainmaker makes the list for offering a 4-gallon sprayer complete with four interchangeable attachment nozzles and trigger lock for continuous spraying. Since not everyone who wants to take advantage of backpack sprayer technology can afford the hefty price tag that comes with our gold pick, we recommend this budget-friendly Rainmaker model.
Similar to our silver and bronze picks, the Rainmaker backpack sprayer is a manual pump model. This means that you need to pump the handle to pressurize the tank before spraying, and at various times throughout use. The handle itself can be installed on either side of the sprayer, and the entire model is designed for easy assembly. Once the sprayer is pressurized, you can turn on the trigger lock feature, which allows for continuous spraying.
The Rainmaker backpack sprayer has an integrated filter and a 4-foot hose. It also arrives with four adjustable nozzles. These include a single cone nozzle, a double cone nozzle, a 4-hole adjustable nozzle, and a single fan nozzle. Each nozzle creates a different degree of pressure and spray pattern. The manufacturer recommends that you make sure the sealing ring is secure before adding a new nozzle head, and that you screw in the plastic nut to keep the head in place.
To extend the life of this sprayer, it’s important to clean it after you use it. You should also rinse out the tank several times, to ensure it’s free of debris and dirt. It’s also important to always wear safety goggles when operating the filter and to always have someone help you strap the sprayer onto your body. This helps to prevent injury, and to keep the sprayer from being dropped and damaged during use.
Carrying four gallons of water on your back is no easy feat, but Rainmaker does its best to ease potential discomfort by incorporating padded shoulder straps. Since this model weighs only 8.7 pounds empty (making it the lightest of our recommend picks), this should provide you with ample support when spraying chemicals.
Amazon reviewers have quite a few positive things to say about this budget-friendly pick. Although this sprayer doesn’t have a huge number of reviews, 56% of reviewers gave it a 5-star rating, and a number of others opted for four stars. One satisfied customer gave the following rave review, “Just got this sprayer, easy assembly, filled it with water put the double sprayer head on and a couple pumps later we had mist on a hundred degree day, now when it cools off its getting filled with enzymes and we are off to kill broad mites on the tomatoes, so we will see how it holds up? It’s a cheap sprayer but I’m impressed with the quality for forty bucks. Would recommend it at this point. I will add another review if it fails me this season but it does come with a bag of replacement pieces, so go ahead and get one already!”
Manual pumps require that you press a lever to pressurize the sprayer tank, while battery-operated pumps do the heavy lifting for you. It’s less expensive to purchase a manual model, but if you plan to cover several acres with the sprayer, an automatic pump could keep you from getting fatigued. Since it’s important to keep a consistent walking speed and pressure to ensure that you’re giving plants the correct dosage of chemicals, an electric pump could be necessary if you plan to spend entire days spraying.
The other consideration is whether a tank is a piston or diaphragm model. Piston models operate just like the pistons in a car, with an up and down movement, while diaphragm models use a pressurization model by absorbing air. Piston models are great for liquid-soluble chemicals, but they don’t hold up when used with abrasive powders.
Common nozzle types include fan, cone, adjustable, and direct stream. A full cone nozzle has the largest drop size, followed by the flat fan nozzle, then the hollow cone nozzle. With an adjustable nozzle, you can alter the spray pattern based on the task you’re performing, while a direct stream covers a smaller area at a more intense pressure. Different nozzles also produces wide or narrow angles of spray, which the reach and density of spray.
The type of nozzle you select affects the sprayer’s pressure output and size of the area you can spray. It also affects the type of spray, from steady stream to fine mist. A sprayer will come with at least one nozzle, and many incorporate up to four choices. Some models are also compatible with 3rd-party nozzles from companies like TeeJet.
Another consideration is the material with which a nozzle is constructed. Plastic nozzles are the least expensive choice. They’re fine for a small number of applications, but they tend to degrade over time. Nozzles made out of metals, such as bronze or nickel, tend to be pricier, but they often hold up for years of use. A good rule of thumb is to replace a nozzle if it functions outside 10 percent of the recommended pressure.
The sprayer’s tank size affects how frequently you’ll need to refill the tank. With a larger tank, you can cover more ground, but you’ll also have to contend with the additional weight. Based on the Amazon reviews, smaller tanks are often beneficial for elderly individuals and those with smaller tanks, while larger sizes can be optimal for those who are used to performing manual labor or strenuous exercise for extended periods of time.
Accessories & Warranty
When making a long-term purchase, it’s important to consider what you’ll do when the device starts wearing out. Warranties generally cover manufacturer’s defects, but not normal wear and tear. This means that down the road, you’ll need to purchase replacement parts for your sprayer. Some companies offer accessory kits that include everything from nozzles and hoses to O-rings, valves, and lamps, while others require that you scrounge around for parts.
In some situations, you might need additional accessories, such as a bent wand to reach certain areas, or a nylon hose to protect again particularly strong chemicals. Sometimes you can find these pieces from the manufacturer, but you may be able to locate them at a lower cost from 3rd party sellers, if your model is compatible.
If you’re purchasing a battery-operated model, you also need to consider the amount of time it takes to charge the battery, and where to get a replacement battery once the rechargeable one eventually dies. Additionally, if you plan to do a full days work, you probably need to purchase extra batteries to have on hand so you can with little interruption.
If you’re lugging around anywhere from 10-70 pounds, a solidly constructed strap system not only provides comfort, it can save your back. Models can include basic straps or padded straps to provide additional comfort. Some models also incorporate chest or waist straps that help to evenly distribute the weight and relieve some of the pressure on your shoulders.
Other considerations that affect comfort include the shape of the sprayer tank, the position of the pump handle (if applicable), and the overall weight of the entire sprayer. If you’re left-handed, it’s also important to consider a reversible model so you don’t have to use your non-dominant hand in an awkward way when spraying and pumping.
Conclusion (Wrapping it up)
A backpack sprayer can help you successfully grow a beautiful garden, crops, or other types of foliage, but it’s up to you determine which model can best assist you with the time-consuming plant growing process. When reviewing your options, keep in mind key features, such as how much pressure you need in the tank, how big a tank you want, the length of hose you will need, and how difficult it will be to find replacement accessories. Another important factor to consider is comfort – that is, how the sprayer feels on your back.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you decide which backpack sprayer fits your lifestyle and budget. Purchasing a backpack sprayer is a big decision that can save you time, but since it’s not a cheap investment, it’s important to weigh the different options against your budget to select the model that will best assist you in cultivating happy, healthy plants.
Discussion and comments
We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?
Do you know of an even better product?
- Outdoor Power, Difference Between Piston and Diaphragm Backpack Sprayers, YouTube, October 31, 2012
- Cindy Ratcliff, Backpack Sprayers, Grounds Maintenance, 2016
- Pacific Northwest Extension, Calibrating and Using Backpack Sprayers, Oregon State University, April 1996
- John Grande, Don’t Overlook Backpack Sprayers, Rutgers University, August 29, 2015
- Gar Kees, Harness Makes Backpack Sprayers Easier to Pack and Less Likely to Leak,
United States Department of Agriculture, October 2008
- Chapin 63985 4-Gallon 20v Wide Mouth Backpack Sprayer, Chapin, 2016, CNet, July 17, 2014
- Field Kind Deluxe “No Leak” Backpack Sprayer, A.M. Leonard, 2016
- D.B. Smith Field King Max Backpack Sprayer, Gemplers.com, 2016
- Solo 473-P 3-Gallon Professional Backpack Sprayer, Lawn and Garden Mart, 2016
- Rainmaker Backpack Sprayer, Rainmaker, 2016
- Chapin Li-Ion Powered BackPack Sprayer, Northern Tool + Equipment
- Spraying Systems Company, Guidelines For Spray Nozzle Selection