The first step in purchasing a sprayer is deciding what type you need. It’s important to think about what the sprayer will be used for and if you have any preferences in terms of size, weight, capacity etc.
The wrong sprayer can be frustrating to use. And poor quality sprayers will quickly end up in the rubbish bin.
In this article, we’ll go over some of the things you should consider when buying a garden sprayer and list our picks for the top products currently on the market in Australia.
The problem with cheap garden sprayers
If you’re in the market for a garden sprayer, it’s important to be aware of the problems associated with many of the cheaper models.
The internet is jam-packed with stories from gardeners who have gone through many garden sprayers in short succession thanks to faulty pump mechanisms and broken valves.
Because of the need to maintain pressure inside the container, it’s important the components are high quality and don’t degrade over time.
Unfortunately, many cheaper units aren’t up to the task and it’s usually a case of you get what you pay for.
Best backpack sprayer: Solo 18L Backpack Sprayer
Solo is trusted around the world for their high-quality sprayers and their 18L Backpack Sprayer is no exception.
It features a high-performance piston pump and a large opening that allows for easy filling.
An unbreakable wand is connected to the main unit with a nylon-reinforced high-pressure hose, while secure connections ensure no leaks or bursts. Viton seals provide long service and durability.
The sprayer comes with four easily changeable commercial-grade spraying nozzles and a commercial shut-off valve.
Best hand sprayer: Solo 1L Manual Sprayer
This is a high-quality sprayer that can be used for a variety of applications.
It’s made in Germany, with top-notch build quality and robust Viton seals that are designed to last.
The large filling aperture makes it easy to fill, while the 1L capacity means it’s easy to carry around your home or backyard.
This is an excellent choice for any professional or hobbyist who needs a high-quality sprayer on hand.
Note this sprayer is also available in a 2L version.
Best quad bike sprayer: Giantz 60L ATV Weed Sprayer
This is a great option for farms and larger properties, with a durable and leak-proof 60L tank.
It’s driven by a self-priming, built-in run-dry protected pump that generates an impressive 108psi pressure. It simply needs to be connected to any 12V battery.
The sprayer comes with a high-quality 2m boom and 5m high-pressure chemical-grade hose for easy spreading of weedkillers and other chemicals over large areas.
Ideal for being mounted on quad bikes or mowers, the Giantz 60L Weed Sprayer comes with a 1-year warranty
How does a garden sprayer work?
Sprayers are used to evenly distribute chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, and fertilisers. Sprayers can be used on lawns, gardens, trees, and weeds emerging around driveways or paths.
There are several different types of garden sprayers, but they all have a few things in common.
They have a tank to hold the chemicals, a pump to create pressure within the tank, and a nozzle to distribute the chemicals.
The tank is filled with water, diluted chemicals, and air. As more air is introduced, either via a hand pump or a motor, pressure builds up in the tank.
When you press down on the trigger, it releases pressure from the tank, which forces water out of the nozzle in a fine spray.
Types of sprayers
Backpack/knapsack sprayers are the most common type of garden sprayers and consist of a container that is worn on the back like a backpack. A hose runs from the tank to the spray wand. Look for padded shoulder straps for extra comfort.
Shoulder sprayers are good for everyday use and smaller jobs. They can be carried by hand or worn over one shoulder.
Handheld garden sprayers only contain around 1 – 2 litres of liquid so are suited to small properties or people with limited storage space
Battery-powered sprayers operate in a similar way to handheld sprayers but are powered by batteries. They are particularly good for people with arthritis or people who struggle to use a hand pump. Battery-powered pumps are popular for higher capacity models like ATV or quad bike sprayers.
Petrol-powered garden sprayers are suited to larger areas and heavier duty work. They’re the most expensive option but offer greater power and versatility. These sprayers will sometimes be on a trolley.
Pump vs battery garden sprayers
Each of these types of pump has its own advantages:
Manual pump sprayers are cheaper to buy and easier to maintain. If something goes wrong, you’re more likely to be able to find a replacement part or fix it at home. Some people struggle with the manual pumping that is required with these products.
Battery-powered sprayers allow users to move quickly through large areas without having to stop and pump manually. However, these models are more expensive than manual backpack sprayers and repair can be more difficult.
Piston vs diaphragm sprayers
Almost all garden sprayers will have either a piston or a diaphragm pump mechanism. The right one for you will depend on what you intend to use it for.
A piston sprayer has a higher PSI (approx. 90 PSI) and can therefore disperse liquids more finely. This makes it a good option for herbicides, insecticides and other low viscosity liquids. However, they are not suitable for use with wettable powders or abrasive solutions like bleach, as these can cause damage to the pump mechanism.
Diaphragm pumps also work by compressing air inside an internal chamber. However, in this case, there is no piston but a diaphragm that expands to create pressure (usually around 60 PSI). Their main advantage is that they can be used with bleach, wettable powders, and other abrasive liquids. These types of pumps tend to be more durable than piston pumps but can be more difficult to repair.
Choosing a size / capacity
The larger the capacity, the more liquid you can carry at once, which means fewer trips back and forth for refilling.
But, consider how much weight you are able to carry comfortably and remember that bigger sprayers will weigh more than smaller ones (around 5kg for a backpack sprayer and then another 15kg of liquid).
You may also want to consider how much space you have for storage before deciding on either type of garden weed sprayer and be aware that they can take up quite a bit of space in the garden shed.
Other features to look for
- The pressure release valve should be easy to operate and should be located close to the trigger.
- The opening should be large so you can pour liquids in without spilling them and should have a high-quality strainer or filter to avoid the hose or nozzle getting clogged up.
- A strong ergonomic carry handle in addition to the shoulder straps.
- Adjustable or interchangeable nozzles for different applications e.g. fan, hollow cone, and jet stream.
- UV resistant materials so they don’t degrade over time.
- Repairable or replaceable components in case of failure or breakage.
What is a knapsack sprayer?
A knapsack sprayer is a type of garden sprayer that you wear on your back. They’re ideal for spraying weeds over large areas and usually have a capacity of 5 – 20 litres.
Where are Solo sprayers made?
Solo garden sprayers are made in Germany or the USA. They are considered one of the leading manufacturers of garden sprayers in the world, with their products being used by city councils, gardeners, and farmers.