Backpack Sprayer vs. Handheld Sprayer: Which is Better for Lawn Care?

Are you sick and tired of hand-plucking those pesky weeds from your lawn? Or maybe they’ve become too prolific to pick by hand without spending hours poring over your lawn?

A lawn sprayer might be the perfect solution.

Key Points:

  • Lawn sprayers are handy tools to evenly distribute herbicides, liquid fertilizers, fungicides, and insecticides.
  • Handheld sprayers are best for small to medium lawns, while backpack sprayers are better for larger lawns.
  • Different types of lawn sprayers vary in features, with gas-powered and battery-powered options available for ergonomic use.

These sprayers allow you to evenly distribute herbicides and other chemicals to eliminate unwanted visitors battling your turf grass for nutrients, light, and soil.

But what type of sprayer should you buy? A handheld sprayer or a backpack sprayer?

Let’s find out.

What Is The Purpose Of A Lawn Sprayer?

Lawn sprayers, or garden sprayers, are handy tools that allow you to apply lawn care products conveniently. You can quickly spritz things like liquid fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, and insecticides onto your lawn in a nice, even layer without the hassle of guesswork.

The sprayer keeps contact with the product inside the tank at a minimum, as the nozzle is a reasonable distance from your hand at the end of the wand.

On top of that, sprayers allow you to control the amount and concentration of the product you’re applying, ensuring you don’t apply too much or too little.

Many sprayers have different settings, allowing you to easily switch between a broad spray and a narrow stream. Of course, the options hinge on the model you choose, so the features may vary.

Types Of Lawn Sprayers

Lawn sprayers come in numerous varieties, each with its own perks. The best option for your lawn hinges on your needs, as each option fits best for a different scenario. Here are the most common types of lawn sprayers:

  • Handheld – ideal for small to medium lawns
  • Backpack – best for small to medium lawns
  • Wheeled – ideal for mid-sized lawns
  • Vehicle mounted – suitable for large lawns
  • Tow-behind – ideal for large lawns

What Is A Handheld Sprayer?

Handheld Sprayer

Handheld sprayers are the most common type of sprayer for smaller lawns. These sprayers usually feature a liquid capacity falling between three and five gallons, so they’re relatively small and lightweight, making them easy to carry.

Most handheld sprayers function using a basic manual pump mechanism. You simply pump the handle, which is attached to a piston. As you pump the handle, pressure builds up inside the sprayer tank, forcing liquid through the tube.

When you’re ready to spray, simply squeeze the handle on the nozzle and start the application process.

While manually-powered sprayers are most common, you can also buy battery-powered and gas-powered sprayers. These sprayers eliminate the need to pump the handle and build spraying pressure, making the entire process slightly more manageable.

Ideal Uses

Handheld sprayers are an ideal pick for homeowners with small lawns. So, if you need to fertilize your lawn with a liquid fertilizer or apply an even coating of herbicide to a weed-ridden lawn, these sprayers can be the perfect fit.

Or, maybe you need to gently water newly planted grass or plants growing in pots. You should be good to go if you rinse out the container to remove any fertilizer, pesticide, or herbicide residue.

Plus, handheld sprayers are relatively inexpensive, making them a budget-friendly pick.

What Is A Backpack Sprayer?

Backpack Sprayer

As the name implies, a backpack sprayer sits on your back like a backpack. The tank is attached to a strap setup, so you can easily sling the entire thing on your back and start walking around your lawn while spraying.

Backpack sprayers usually have a max capacity of between four and seven gallons of liquid, allowing you to wait longer before refills are necessary. If you fill the tank completely, the backpack can get pretty heavy.

For example, if you filled the tank with seven gallons of water, you’d be carting around approximately 58 pounds on your back. If you filled the tank with four gallons of water, the tank would weigh around 33 pounds.

In most cases, these sprayers feature gas-powered or battery-powered pumps. This makes them a convenient pick for mid-sized lawns, as you won’t need to stop every once in a while to pump pressure into the tank to continue spraying. That said, you can find manual sprayers with pumps, but they’re considerably less common than gas or battery-powered pumps.

FYI, if you are in the marketing for a backpack sprayer, I HIGHLY recommend the My 4 Sons M4. It is the one I use personally.

Ideal Uses

Backpack sprayers are ideal for small to mid-sized lawns, as you won’t need to carry the entire bottle of liquid around in your hand as you move. They hold more liquid than most handheld sprayers, so you can go longer without refilling the tank.

Plus, you won’t need to worry about stopping to pump the tank (unless you choose that type), making the task go faster with fewer stops to re-pressurize the tank.

So, if you have a small to mid-sized lawn that needs an even coating of herbicide, a backpack sprayer might be your best bet. These are also ideal for larger lawns with small patches of weeds, as you can easily walk from patch to patch, spraying as you need to.

A backpack sprayer is also a good fit for medium-sized orchards and gardens, as the tank holds plenty of liquid to get most of the space in one go, if not all.

What Advantage Does A Backpack Sprayer Have Over The Pump-Up Sprayer?

Backpack sprayers can be the perfect solution for applying pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, especially on small to medium-sized lawns. While a pump-up handheld sprayer will do, it’s not quite as convenient as a backpack sprayer.

Since you need to cart pump-up sprayers around, trudging over a massive expanse of grass holding the sprayer isn’t ideal. Plus, you’ll need to pause every now and again to pump the handle (unless you buy a different variety), so it can be somewhat inconvenient.

In addition, a full tank of liquid in the handheld sprayer can get somewhat hefty, especially if you fill it completely full. For example, five gallons of water in a handheld sprayer tank would weigh around 41 pounds, while three gallons of water weigh approximately 25 pounds.

So, if you’re carting the tank around your yard, moving it constantly as you flit from one area to the next, the sprayer might begin to feel heavy.

Of course, a backpack sprayer full of water weighs considerably more than a full handheld sprayer, but the weight of a backpack sprayer is more evenly dispersed over your body instead of all in one hand.

That said, you should choose the option that works best for you. If a handheld sprayer matches your needs, go with a handheld sprayer!

Or, if a backpack sprayer seems like the better fit, opt for that sprayer.

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