How to Choose a Garden Sprayer

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Looking to buy your first garden sprayer? If so, then you probably need a hand in picking the right tool.

We wouldn’t say that finding the right garden sprayer is too difficult – sprayers are pretty distinct, and determining how a given garden sprayer will work for you is fairly straightforward. However, you need to know what features to look for to differentiate between available garden sprayers.

Well, garden sprayer features are exactly what we will be talking about today!

Type of Garden Sprayer

There are 3 main garden sprayer types – hose-end, tank, and backpack sprayers. Although all these sprayers do the same thing, they are suitable for different kinds of spraying jobs. Below, let’s talk about their pros and cons more in-depth.

Hose-end sprayers

Hose-end sprayers are the simplest and cheapest garden sprayers around. They are designed to be attached to the end of your garden hose.

A hose-end sprayer consists of a container for the product, a sprayer head that allows you to adjust the amount of solution sprayed, and a spray nozzle.

Thanks to their simple design, hose-end sprayers have a number of advantages:

  • They don’t require pumping – the force of the water flowing through the hose draws the selected amount of the product from the container with no input from your side.
  • No pre-mixing of the pesticide with water is required – this is done as you are spraying.
  • Hose-end sprayers are very inexpensive.

On the other hand, hose-end sprayers may not be as flexible as other sprayer types. This is because they require a garden hose. Besides, the range of operation of a hose-end spray will be limited by the length of your garden hose.

Tank sprayers

Tank sprayers (also called compression, pump, or pressure sprayers) are made up of a tank, a pump, and a wand with a nozzle. This kind of sprayer employs compressed air to force the pesticide out of the tank.

Compared to hose-end sprayers, tank sprayers certainly are more flexible. You can move them around freely, and besides, tank sprayers usually have more spraying settings.

What’s also important is that since you have to prepare the spraying solution manually, you have more control over the proportions of water and pesticide, which is very important for the effectiveness of the solution.

On the other hand, tank sprayers can be expensive and are pretty bulky. Not only that, but they usually require you to pump air manually, though there are tank sprayers with motorized pumps available.

Backpack sprayers

Finally, we have backpack sprayers, which essentially are a subtype of tank sprayers since they are very similar in operation. However, backpack sprayers are distinct in their use and should be viewed separately.

In terms of convenience, backpack sprayers are much better than tank sprayers – with the sprayer on your back, you won’t have to drag it forward as you spray your land. On the other hand, you’ll need to be more or less fit to cover large territories with a backpack sprayer. And the bigger the backpack, the heavier and more fatiguing it will be.

Tank capacity

Garden spray tank capacity ranges from just around 8-10 ounces to 4-5 gallons, perhaps even more with the largest models.

How big of a garden sprayer to get depends on the volume of your jobs. If you’ll be spraying your garden a few times a month, then it would probably be worth it to go for a larger sprayer in order to avoid frequent refills and save time.

If your spraying schedule will be once a month or rarer, then maybe you should save money and go for a smaller garden sprayer. You might have to refill it a few times during the job, but since the sprayings will be relatively rare, this shouldn’t affect your effectiveness too much.

Pump type

If you will be using your garden sprayer frequently, then pay attention to its pump style as well. There are two main pump styles used in garden sprayers – diaphragm and piston.

Diaphragm pumps are more durable, and they can also be used with a larger variety of spray formulas (including wettable powders). But if you don’t expect to use the garden sprayers too often, then a regular piston-style pump should suffice.


For heavy use, you would also want your garden sprayer to be durable. Among the things to pay attention to are durable gaskets, UV-resistant housing, and overall sturdy design.

If shopping in a local store, then a physical inspection should give you an idea of how durable the garden sprayer will be. For online shopping, read buyer reviews – if the desired garden sprayer has weaknesses, then you should be able to find out about them from the feedback of others.

Chemical rating

If you are intending to use highly-corrosive gardening chemicals, then be sure to get a garden sprayer whose components are designed to withstand them. If you are going to spray pesticides, also find out whether the garden sprayer’s parts will withstand them.

Ease of maintenance and repair

It’s also key that your garden sprayer is easy to service and repair. A good garden sprayer won’t force you to do full disassembly just to replace a seal.

Aside from that, you should check the availability of parts for the desired garden sprayer. It would be great if the manufacturer himself offered replacement parts. Third-party replacements may also work, but they aren’t the best.

And you should absolutely avoid garden sprayers that don’t have any replacement parts available. Servicing and repairing such sprayers will be a headache.

Final Words

Hopefully, our little guide helps you with finding the right garden sprayer for your needs!

But after choosing a good garden sprayer, you aren’t quite done – you also need to learn how to use it. The learning curve of garden sprayers is pretty steep, and you’ll have to use your unit for a couple of months before you get the hang of it and can make the most out of it.

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