Thinking about a starting garden? You’re far from the only one. About 77% of American households tend to a garden, and homeowners under 35 make up 29% of that sector of the population. But taking care of a garden isn’t all fun and games; it’s also a lot of hard work, and that includes getting rid of weeds.
There are some great herbicides that make tending to your garden easy, but if you want to effectively control weeds and maintain safety, then you’ll need to use a ‘sprayer’. Sprayers are incredibly versatile, not only can you spray weed killer, but you can also use it for pesticides and fertilizers, so one purchase goes a long way.
However, there are many sprayers on the market and it can be a challenge to pick out a good product that fits your needs and your budget. Luckily, we’ve done all the hard work for you. Keep reading to find out the best weed sprayer for your needs.
Field King Weed Sprayer
- Best Weed Sprayer – Comparison
- Top 10 Weed Sprayers of 2020
- Field King Professional 190328 No Leak Pump Backpack Sprayer
- Chapin 20541, 1 Gallon Lawn, Garden and Multi-Purpose Sprayer
- Roundup 190314 Backpack Sprayer
- Field King Max 190348 Backpack Sprayer
- TABOR TOOLS 1.3 Gallon Lawn and Garden Pump Pressure Sprayer
- Smith Performance Sprayers R200 2-Gallon Compression Sprayer
- Chapin International 97200B 15-Gallon Sprayer
- Chapin International 63985 Black & Decker Backpack Sprayer
- Chapin 61900 4-Gallon Backpack Sprayer
- Solo 425 4-Gallon Professional Piston Backpack Sprayer
- The Three Types Of Weed Sprayers
- A Short Buyer’s Guide To Weed Sprayers
- How Do I Use My Sprayer?
- Why Use A Weed Sprayer?
- Three Maintenance Tips For Weed Sprayers
- Safety Tips While Using Your Weed Sprayer
Best Weed Sprayer – Comparison
|Name & Brand||Nozzles Included||Size||Weight||Price |
|Field King 190328||4||4 Gallon||12.8 pounds|
|Chapin 20541 Sprayer||2||1 Gallon ||2.84 Pounds|
|Roundup 190314 Sprayer||3||4 Gallon||10 pounds|
|Field King Max 190348||4||4 Gallon||12.8 Pounds|
|Tabor Tools Sprayer||Adjustable Nozzle||1.3 Gallon||2.64 Pounds|
|Smith Sprayers R200||5||2-Gallon||4.7 Pounds|
|Chapin International 97200B||Adjustable Nozzle||15-Gallon||14.97 pounds|
|Chapin International 63985||2||4 Gallon||9.5 Pounds|
|Chapin 61900 Sprayer||3||4 Gallon||9.26 Pounds|
|Solo 425 Sprayer||4||4 Gallon||10.3 pounds|
Top 10 Weed Sprayers of 2020
We’ve gone through the entire market, and the ten on this list are the best herbicide sprayers available as of the time of writing. Each one has its upsides, so read on to see which one fits your needs and your garden best!
The very best option on our list comes first. Field King is one of the many labels of the Fountainhead Group, purveyors of liquid applicator technologies, and it’s earned its distinguished reputation for very good reasons.
The Field King Professional 190328 is a backpack sprayer with the standard backpack capacity of 4 gallons. It’s powered by a piston pump that can deliver up to 150 PSI for long-distance spraying, which is a lot higher than most other sprayers can reach, and it also has a pressure regulator that can maintain a constant 25 PSI for spraying weed killers. The pump feeds a 50” hose and a 21” wand, and you get four nozzles to play with: an adjustable for general duty, low-volume and high-volume fan nozzles, and a foaming nozzle.
The real star of the show here is the pressure regulator. High pressure capability isn’t something weed killers need (you don’t want to spray from a distance unless you just want to kill everything in a given area), so the pressure regulator and its constant spray capability make the Field King Pro a lot easier to use for our purposes.
On the ergonomic front, you’ve got an excellent setup. The straps are nicely padded, and you also get a waist belt and chest strap to distribute the weight a little more evenly over your body. The pump handle is reversible, so if you’re left-handed, you can switch it out with no problem. There’s even integrated storage for the handle and wand for when you’re putting the thing away.
Other nice features are a proprietary no-leak pump design that keeps the tank sealed and Viton seals and gaskets. This excellent combination ensures that the Field King Pro never leaks any product from the tank. Also helpful are the internal paddles that keep products mixed instead of settling apart.
There’s just one disadvantage to consider, and that’s when you’re putting away the Field King Pro. The pumping lever doesn’t store upright, and the wand on its integrated storage brackets is wider than the tank, so you’re going to need a good bit of room to put it away. You can kind of solve it by dismounting the lever and tucking the wand elsewhere, but that can be a bit of a hassle.
That’s the only true downside, and everything else about the Field King Professional 190328 is excellent for garden use and perfect for spraying weeds with its pressure regulator. It’s the best weed sprayer on this list!
Any discussion of garden sprayers is never going to be complete without mentioning Chapin Manufacturing. They’ve been making garden sprayers for over a century, and this is just the first of several models from them that have made this list. We’re starting at the small end, for smaller gardens.
The Chapin 20541 is a tank sprayer with a capacity of 1 gallon. It’s made out of translucent polyethylene for versatility and easy visibility, letting you check just how much product you have left in that 1-gallon tank. Its pump operates between 40 to 60 PSI, about the usual for its class. The pump feeds a 34” hose and sprays out of a 12” wand, and you get two nozzles to play with: an adjustable cone nozzle and a foaming nozzle.
This arrangement and the Chapin 20541’s low price make it an excellent choice for smaller gardens or as your first sprayer. It’s a fairly forgiving piece of kit, especially since it’s so light and easy to move around. It’s compatible with just about all common fertilizers, weed killers, and pesticides, though we highly recommend using separate sprayers for all three to avoid cross-contamination.
The wand and hose are a bit on the shorter end, but that’s less of a downside here because the unit is just so light and easy to move. As always, you can replace the wand with a longer one if necessary.
If you need greater capacity, there are two larger sizes available with different model numbers: the 20542 and 20543, which are 2 and 3 gallons, respectively. All other features are the same. They’ll be a bit heavier due to the larger tank, but still quite mobile.
In terms of downsides, there are two that are most relevant. First is the low capacity; it might be light and easy to move around, but that’s because it’s such a tiny thing that it can’t hold much, to begin with. The larger-capacity models do go some way to resolving this, so the severity of this issue depends on your garden. It also lacks a pressure relief valve, so you’ll have to treat it carefully in your post-spray maintenance routine to avoid any accidents.
Whether you’re just starting in your spraying journey or if you just need something for a small garden, the Chapin 20541 has your back. It’s second on this list for good reason, and it’s the best tank sprayer on the market today.
Despite the label, these aren’t made by Monsanto; they’re made by the Fountainhead Group, who specialize in liquid applicator technologies, and Roundup equipment (as opposed to the weed killer) is one of their many labels. Fountainhead did give us the first lever-operated backpack sprayer, and the Roundup 190314 continues that history of excellence.
The Roundup 190314 is a backpack sprayer with a 4-gallon tank. The tank is translucent polyethylene, letting you have a view of just how full it is. It’s got your typical manual lever-actuated pump, and on this model it’s a piston pump providing up to 90 PSI, feeding a 50” hose. The wand is poly, 21” long, with an inline filter and a trigger lock so that you can keep spraying without having to keep your hand clenched. You get three nozzles: a poly adjustable nozzle, a low-volume fan, and a high-volume fan.
Ergonomic fittings are excellent. You get your usual backpack shoulder straps, coupled with a waist belt so that the sprayer’s overall weight is more evenly spread across your body. Four gallons may be a bit chunky, but it’s not too bad when you secure everything. It’s also cheap, as it runs two-thirds of the usual price for four-gallon backpack sprayers.
It’s a pretty standard backpack sprayer, without any significant weaknesses or real strengths. The pump lever is reversible for left- or right-handed use as necessary, and the carry handle also functions as a bracket for wand storage. To sum it up, the Roundup 190314 is your first backpack sprayer: it comes at a lower price than average while still having all the usual features, letting you try out just what a backpack sprayer is like. If it’s to your taste, you can then buy a better one that has the features you need.
There are always flaws, and with the Roundup 190314, it’s a matter of build quality. Specifically, we’re concerned about the harness and the wand. The shoulder straps are nice, but rather basic and succumb too easily to wear and tear; you may want to switch in a better harness. We also don’t have a high opinion of poly wands. Stainless steel is better because it’s less prone to breakage or bending. There are also some reports about the nozzles being poor in quality, but a quick trip to the store will fix that.
But if you want a backpack sprayer that can deliver competent performance at a price point below the usual for its class, then the Roundup 190314 is the one for you.
The Fountainhead Group has sprayers for every possible budget, from cheap to top-shelf. We’ve already covered the lower end of the price range from them; the Field King Max 190348 is on the far side of the scale.
At first glance, it doesn’t look that different from its labelmate the Field King Pro. It’s still a backpack sprayer with the standard 4-gallon capacity and a translucent plastic tank. It’s got a manually-driven piston pump that can throw product out at 150 PSI, and for herbicide use, there’s a pressure regulator that can maintain a constant 25 PSI and save you the effort of pumping. The business end is a 50” reinforced hose feeding a 21” wand, and it comes with four possible nozzles: brass adjustable, wide and narrow flat fans, and foaming tip.
Even the other extras are pretty similar. The trigger assembly has a lock for constant spraying. The pump is reversible for left- or right-handed use. The straps distribute the weight quite evenly thanks to the waist belt and chest strap. The carry handle also has two hooks that you can store the wand on. All nice features, but nothing new.
What gives the Field King Max the bump in price is in quality. The wand isn’t just poly now, it’s a stainless steel wand with a poly lining, making it much more durable. The entire harness is also much better and longer-lasting. The waist belt is wider, making it both more comfortable and better at providing lumbar support. There’s even a fully-padded back pad for maximum comfort. If you’re hauling four gallons of horticultural product on your back, it pays to have a device that lets you do it comfortably.
Just about the only possible disadvantage is that storing the wand on the integrated hooks makes the Field King Max rather wide, so you may need a bit of extra room for it. You’ll also need a bit of room in your budget, as the price is on the high side; it’s up to you whether the bump in quality is also worth the bump in price.
But if you’re willing to shell out for it, the Field King Max 190348 is an excellent, well-made, and comfortable backpack sprayer that will help you ensure your garden remains weed-free!
With agriculture and horticulture in their various forms being so central to the human experience, it’s no surprise that a lot of companies are around to fill such needs. Tabor Tools is one of those companies, having been around since 1982. Their N-50 sprayer is one more product in a venerable line of agricultural products.
The Tabor Tools N-50 is a tank sprayer. The tank itself is made of translucent plastic and has a capacity of 1.3 gallons; not much, but it makes the N-50 a fairly light thing. There are fill lines printed on the back, so you’re never in doubt as to just how much product you have left in the tank. On the dispensing end, you’ve got a 50” hose feeding a spray assembly with a 16.5” wand and adjustable nozzle.
It also comes with a few nice extras. The shoulder strap means that it’s halfway to being a backpack sprayer; you can just hang it off one shoulder and keep spraying until you need to re-pressurize. To make for an easier post-spray routine, there’s a pressure release valve, which lets you relieve the pressure inside the tank without risking any splash or similar accidents.
One important note about the N-50: The tank is not suitable for caustic or acidic solutions. This means that you can’t use most vinegar-based or similar natural herbicides with the N-50, as they rely on acidity as their main means of action. If acidic weed killers are your main herbicide, better to use the N-50 for a different type of product and get a different sprayer for herbicide.
On the whole, the N-50 is a pretty solid budget sprayer, but it’s a no-frills, low-capacity device, and that can only go so far. The lack of nozzles is easily remedied by a stop in the hardware store, but it’s something that could have come included. And 1.3 gallons just isn’t much, as far as capacities go. Unless your garden’s tiny, you’ll always be pumping and refilling more often than you need to.
Still, for light duty and smaller gardens, the N-50 makes for an excellent sprayer if you’re looking for something lightweight and low in price.
When you need a good sprayer, you’ll eventually run into one of the many labels the Fountainhead Group sells its products under. Smith Professional Sprayers is one of these labels, and their R200 is part of their Turf & Agriculture line, specifically made for landscaping and gardening needs.
The Smith R200 is a tank sprayer that holds 2 gallons, half the standard capacity of a backpack sprayer, and it sprays at up to 60 PSI. The hose is 50” long, feeding a 21” wand, letting you have a fair bit of distance between you and the tank. It comes with four nozzles: an adjustable cone nozzle, two flat fan nozzles (one wide, one narrow), and a foaming nozzle. In case these aren’t enough for you, it’s also compatible with TeeJet nozzles.
Ergonomics are quite good, as tank sprayers go. There’s a nylon strap included, making the R200 easy to move around the garden. It also has built-in wand storage: insert the wand through the plastic loop on the neck and rest the tip on the little tray sticking out of the bottom.
The R200 also includes two particularly useful features. There’s a pressure relief valve for after you’re done spraying, letting you get rid of excess pressure before opening up the tank. There’s also a pressure regulator attachment that goes before the nozzle, specifically made for use with weed killers. It keeps pressure low to avoid over-application and accidental spraying of a plant you don’t want dead.
Downsides are relatively few. The most notable one is convenience-related: the fill lines on the tank are difficult to see, so you may want to do your measuring in a different container unless you’re sure of your product quantities. And of course, there’s the usual headaches of a tank sprayer; the necessity of pumping and the fact that it’s only 2 gallons. If you’ve got a garden of any real size, you’ll need a bigger tank than what the R200 can provide.
But when you need a good, solid, competent tank sprayer, the Smith R200 does the job and does it well. It’s perfect for smaller gardens or when you need something that can take a few knocks and keep going.
Every other product on this list is for your typical suburban garden. But what if your needs stretch out to more than just your backyard? What if you have a garden big enough that you need an ATV or lawn tractor to get from one end to the other? Such a garden needs more than just a backpack sprayer. Such a garden needs a sprayer with capacity. Chapin has you covered on that front.
The Chapin 97200B is made to put on the back of an ATV, UTV, or lawn tractor. You could call it a tank sprayer, but it bears as much resemblance to its smaller labelmates as a tiger does to a housecat. It holds a very capacious 15 gallons, which will be enough product for most needs. And to save you the trouble of doing a whole bunch of sweaty, repetitive manual pumping, it’s powered by a 12v battery. All you need to do is get spraying.
Beyond capacity, it’s quite similar to its smaller labelmates. The diaphragm pump operates at 40 PSI, and that pump feeds a 15-foot hose and an 18” wand. It comes with a single adjustable poly cone nozzle. Aside from the increased size, it still works the same way. Stop your vehicle near where you’re spraying, unroll the hose, and get spraying. The grip has a trigger lock for easier spraying; just hold the trigger down and engage the lock.
The main downside is the simple headache of dealing with a 15-gallon tank. It’ll take a while and a lot of product to fill, but that goes with the territory of having a garden big enough to need one. Another is the lack of included nozzles, but that’s easily fixed by a quick trip down to the hardware store for the other nozzle types you need, assuming you don’t already have other ones.
The Chapin 97200B is all about capacity. Mount it on the back of your vehicle, and you’ve got spray capability for any large area. If you need a lot of product to spray your garden, this should be your first choice.
Manual sprayers are all well and good, but it’s tiring to have to keep pumping. That’s not much of a concern if you only spray one day out of a week, but what if you’re spraying as a business, or doing it a lot more often? Fortunately, the Chapin International 63985 has you covered.
It’s a battery-powered backpack sprayer. For the most part, it’s the same as other backpack models. You get the same 4-gallon translucent plastic tank, a pump that operates between 35-40 PSI, and a 20” wand with a 48” hose. You can always switch in a longer wand if you’d prefer, and we recommend doing so if you’re on the taller side. It comes with three nozzles: one adjustable cone nozzle made of brass, a fan nozzle, and a cone nozzle, these latter two made out of poly.
The 20v Black & Decker lithium-ion battery provides up to 1 ¾ hours of continuous spraying. Recharge time is approximately 3.5 hours. The battery, powering the pump, takes a whole load of effort and headache off your spraying. All you have to do is make sure that it’s charged when you start spraying, and there’s no more need to frantically actuate the lever.
It’s the battery that makes all the difference. Everything else is typical for a backpack sprayer, but you can instantly feel the difference when you’re spraying. There’s just no fuss with the Chapin 63985; all you have to do is turn it on and get spraying.
Most of the downsides to pick on are ergonomic. There’s no waist belt, so the sprayer’s entire weight rests on your shoulders. There’s no trigger lock, so you have no option for continuous spray; your hand may need a bit of a rest now and then. And the downside to all battery-powered sprayers is the recharge time, so you may be caught out at a bad time if you need to spray while the battery is still charging. The largest downside is cost; the Chapin 63985 goes for almost half again as much as manually-pumped backpack sprayers.
But you get a much more convenient sprayer with a great deal less arm fatigue. If you’re spraying regularly, you’ll find the Chapin 63985 a much better deal than manually-pumped sprayers.
There are some times where you need more than just the bargain basement product. Chapin’s wide range of products lets it fill a lot of niches, from cheap and dirty to competent with features. The Chapin 61900 falls into the latter bucket.
On the face, it looks pretty much like your typical backpack sprayer, with all the same qualities. Its translucent plastic tank holds 4 gallons, and it dispenses product using a manual, lever-actuated pump that functions at 40 to 60 PSI. The pump feeds a 48” clear hose that connects to a 20” wand. It ships with three nozzles: one brass adjustable nozzle spraying in a cone, and two poly, one each for cone and fan. The pump lever is also reversible for left- or right-handed use.
Where the 61900 differs isn’t in the big stuff. As you can see, comparing the basic stats with other sprayer models shows it’s largely the same. Where it shines is in the little details that make life more comfortable and easier.
For instance, the harness is excellent. In addition to the usual straps, you also have a waist belt and a chest cinch, so the weight of the sprayer is well distributed over your upper torso, not just your shoulders. The trigger assembly also features a pressure gauge, so you can check just when you need to get pumping. There’s even a flow control valve that cuts in when the pressure reaches 21 PSI, shutting down flow when below that level so that your product doesn’t leak where you don’t want it to go.
However, there are still some areas where it falls short, mainly build quality. The main problem areas are the pump and the screw threads. The pump in some cases tends to leak and spill product down your back, while the plastic screw threads wear out far too quickly for any extended use.
Still, there’s a lot to be praised in the Chapin 61900, and quite a few good features that you can take advantage of. It’ll serve you well as a weed sprayer, as long as you take care of it.
Solo has been around since 1948, having been founded in Germany, and they’ve been making sprayers operable by one person for almost as long. That’s where their name comes from, and the Solo 425 is one more product in their long list of competent devices.
The Solo 425 is a backpack sprayer. The tank is made out of translucent plastic, with the standard 4-gallon capacity. It’s powered by a piston pump throwing the contents of the tank at a comfortable 90 PSI, manually powered by the standard pump lever. In an ergonomic bonus, the lever is easily reversible for left or right-handed operation. The wand is 28” long, fed by a 48” nylon-reinforced hose, making for excellent reach. You also have a trigger lock to permit easy spraying.
Four nozzles come included for options: a plastic adjustable, a fan spray, a hollow cone nozzle, and a jet stream nozzle, letting you have pretty much any pattern you need. If these aren’t enough, it’s also TeeJet compatible, so any deficiencies can be met by a quick stop into the store.
The main selling point here is the variety of nozzle options. Sure, other sprayers can easily match those with a quick purchase, but the Solo 425 gets them right out of the box. This gives you a lot of possible options, so no matter what kind of product you’ve loaded in the Solo 425. Whether it’s just plain water, or a weed killer, or a household cleaner, or a pesticide, there’s a nozzle for it.
The common customer complaint is the straps. There’s nothing wrong with felt padded polyester, but the fixtures that keep the straps in place tend to range in quality, so if you get a bad unit, one or both straps might come off, which is a bad thing. Even if you get a good unit, there’s no waist belt or chest cross-latch, so everything is resting on your shoulders, and even with the adjustable straps, it might not stay in place.
Yet despite that, there’s no denying the utility or flexibility of the Solo 425. If you need a sprayer for any purpose, whether it’s weed killing, pesticides, or anything else around the house or garden, the Solo 425 can fill that need well.
The Three Types Of Weed Sprayers
Even among the best garden sprayers, not all of them are made alike. There are three main categories into which weed sprayers can fall, and this section will examine their general traits, and why you should get a sprayer of that type.
Hose End Sprayers
Hose end sprayers are simply a bottle and spray nozzle that attach onto the end of your garden hose. Simple, cheap, and easy to use; just stick them on and pull the trigger when you’re ready.
The problem is that they’re limited in capacity and they’re not fit for herbicide application, which is why we haven’t listed any of them in this guide. Hose end sprayers have their uses, but not for killing weeds. Their most common use is in applying fertilizer, and some brands even come packaged in sprayer bottles made to fit into hose end sprayers to make things that much easier.
Tank sprayers are the next step up from hose end models. They’re just as the name says: they have a tank that you fill with product, then you manually pump the tank to pressurize it, allowing it to dispense the product when you pull the trigger on the spray wand. This frees you from the leash of the garden hose and lets you move around and get closer to the plants you need to spray.
Tank sprayers generally range between 1 to 3 gallons; beyond that, a tank sprayer becomes too large, heavy, and cumbersome, and you’d be better served by a backpack sprayer.
Most of the products we’ve listed above are backpack sprayers. As the name indicates, they have a harness that lets you put them on your back. This means that you’re now completely liberated; you don’t have to lug a tank, all you have to do is sling on the backpack and get to spraying. If you’ve got a large garden, then a backpack is the way to go; the only reason you’d need anything larger is if your garden is large enough that you need an ATV or garden tractor to get around.
Of course, they still need pumping. Backpack sprayers can be either manually-pumped or powered. The manual ones have a lever on one side (usually reversible in the good models so that you can use it for left- or right-handed pumping), letting you pump without taking the sprayer off. Powered sprayers have a battery or gas engine that does the work of pumping for you.
Regardless of what drives the pump, the classic backpack sprayer has a capacity of 4 gallons.
A Short Buyer’s Guide To Weed Sprayers
So you’ve seen what models and types are available on the market, but there’s still a question to answer: What makes the best sprayer for weed killer? What do you have to look for? In this section of our guide, we’ll break down what factors make the difference and separate the merely good from the truly great.
Sprayer Tank Capacity
How much can the tank hold? Too small a tank for your garden, and you’ll have to keep going back and refilling the thing and going back out, which can be irritating, especially if your tank is too small for your garden. On the other hand, too large and it becomes a weighty, cumbersome thing. Consider the size of your garden and what you the user are capable of hauling while you’re spraying.
Generally speaking, tank sprayers tend to range between 1 to 3 gallons, with more on the smaller end. Backpack sprayers generally carry 4 gallons, with the occasional example over or under. You may want to measure just how much product you’re using in your garden to find out what sort of tank capacity you’ll need.
Pump: Manual Or Powered
Something has to move the pump. A manual pump has you pumping your sprayer; a powered pump offloads that responsibility to a battery or gas motor. All of the powered products we listed above are battery-powered; gas-powered pumps tend to be for heavy-duty use.
Manual pumps are cheaper, less complicated, and easy to maintain, but they can get tiring if you’ve got a lot of lawn to cover. They’re fine if you’re just working at home, but your arm will get tired from all the pumping. If you’re only going to spray every so often, that’s fine, but if you’re facing that task daily, better to go powered.
Battery-powered pumps are more expensive, what with the battery and the necessary connections to the pump to keep it going, but once it’s in action, all you need to do is spray the product and that’s it. These are ideal for long jobs and large areas, and professionals prefer powered sprayers to avoid the pain of manual pumping.
So the question is, how much work are you putting in? A battery-powered sprayer means less sweat spent pumping the lever, but is it really worth the extra upfront and running costs?
It might not be a ‘performing’ statistic, but don’t sell ergonomics short. They can make or break the experience of using a sprayer, and do you want to use a sprayer that hurts you every time you bring it out?
If it’s a backpack sprayer, what sort of strap arrangement are we looking at here? The standard two shoulder straps are universal, but you’ll also want a waist belt and a chest cinch. These will help distribute weight more evenly over your torso, instead of concentrating everything on the shoulders. You’re going to carry a four-gallon tank on your back for quite a while, and if it’s not properly supported, it’ll be a literal pain to carry.
For both tank and backpack sprayers, we’re looking at hose and wand length. Too short a wand and you’ll end up too close to the plants you’re spraying, which is not good; too short a hose, and you’ll have to move the tank a lot more often, which is irritating. The good news is, hoses and wands can be easily switched out, so if you’re unsatisfied with the ones that come included with the sprayer you brought, a quick trip to the hardware store can easily solve that problem.
Herbicide Product Compatibility
What sort of substances can your sprayer take? Is it rated for highly acidic or highly basic agents? This is especially relevant if you prefer pet-friendly weed killers, since most non-chemical herbicides are vinegar-based, and that’s highly acidic. Not all sprayers are rated for such corrosive substances, and there’s not much point in buying a vinegar-based weed killer if it turns out your sprayer can’t take it.
The biggest factor here is seal material. Check especially for Viton seals and gaskets, as Viton is the best such material available on the market. With Viton seals, your weed sprayer can take on any challenge.
How many nozzles does the sprayer come with? You may need to vary your spray pattern, depending both on the type of plant you’re targeting and the type of weed killer you’re using. A contact, burn-down herbicide like vinegar needs to be spread as widely on the plant’s surfaces as possible, for instance. Many sprayers will come with adjustable nozzles, but that can only take you so far. The more nozzles you have available, the more options you have to work with, especially if you’re also using the sprayer for things other than weed killer.
How well-made is the sprayer? What sort of material is it made out of? Same question for its component parts. A sprayer that’s made of cheap materials may break a lot sooner and thus send your investment down the drain. Polyethylene (or poly for short) is the material of choice to keep weight and cost down, but it also isn’t that durable.
The tank will usually be poly (especially since translucent poly tanks let you see how much you have left in) but consider how much use you’re going to put your sprayer too. We highly recommend switching poly wands for stainless steel if you foresee a lot of use in your sprayer’s future.
Some features might look like extra fluff, but don’t underestimate their utility.
If you’ve got a tank sprayer, look for a pressure relief valve. The precise name may differ, but its function is to release the pressure inside the tank after you’re done spraying so that you can open it up without the risk of the contents spraying all over you. This makes your post-spray routine much easier.
Since we’re spraying herbicides, pressure regulators come in handy. These are generally attached to the wand and are specifically made for spraying weed killers. They reduce the spray pressure, which shortens spray distance, but it also means you’re not over-applying weed killer or accidentally spraying it on plants you don’t want to be killed.
Other useful extras depend on the sprayer itself, but generally speaking, the more options you have, the better.
How Do I Use My Sprayer?
It may seem daunting to use your sprayer at first, but don’t worry; just follow our handy guide, and you’ll be spraying like a pro in no time.
First thing to do, especially if you’re new to your sprayer, is to test it. Fill up the tank with a bit of water. Then pressurize: take a firm hold of the handle and start pumping until it becomes hard to move the handle. Then make sure that you have a nozzle attached, grasp the trigger assembly, and squeeze. Observe your spray distance and pattern, and check the wand and the hose for any leaks. Also, try out the other nozzles to see how they perform.
Once you’re done testing, take out any remaining water, then load it up for real with your chosen product. If you’ve put in a concentrate, don’t forget to dilute it to the necessary ratio. Secure the cap. Now it’s time to head out. If you’ve got a backpack sprayer, get it onto your back and secure the harness, and lock the waist belt and chest strap into place if the harness has them. If you’ve got a tank sprayer, it’ll have a convenient handhold or carrying strap to help you bring it out.
Now we get to spraying. Make sure you’ve got the right nozzle on the end of your wand, then point the wand at the plants you want to kill and spray it thoroughly. Make sure it’s completely covered. Switch out nozzles if you have to. To prevent accidentally spraying plants you don’t want dead, bring your wand in closer. If in doubt, spraying closer is better than farther.
When you’re finished spraying, don’t forget to clean out your tank. Don’t leave product sitting on the tank, because that can build up residue, clog the lines, and even damage the tank. Dispose of your product in a safe manner and flush your tank with clean water.
Why Use A Weed Sprayer?
So we’ve spent several sections telling you why weed sprayers are so great, but we haven’t yet got into why you’d want to use one. Here’s our list of reasons why you should go and buy yourself a weed sprayer!
You can’t overlook the largest and biggest part of the sprayer itself: the tank. It’s anywhere from a gallon to four gallons, depending on the model, and it makes for a safer and more convenient way to haul your gardening product. It’s half the reason you’re buying a sprayer, after all.
You could use the product right out of the container it comes from, but a sprayer makes it a whole lot easier. Bought a gallon of weed killer? Put it into the sprayer so you can more easily dispense it. Did you get the 55-gallon drum instead? Since you’re not hauling that drum out to your garden, put it into your sprayer. You can also mix concentrates in the tank.
Ease Of Control And Application
The trigger handle on a sprayer handles all the control for you. There’s no chance of spillage once your tank is secured, and all you have to do is make sure pressure is correct, then you can just squeeze the trigger. No more fiddling about with hoses or spray bottles. Good trigger handles also have a trigger lock that lets you keep up constant spraying. As long as your handle and hoses are well maintained, there’s no worry about losing control and therefore wasting product.
Multiple Ways To Apply Herbicide
All sprayers can accept multiple nozzle tips, and adjustable nozzles can alter their spray pattern to a degree. This means that you can tailor how you apply your weed killer to the target plant, depending on what spray method is best to ensure that the target is completely and effectively coated in weed killer. Different plants may need different patterns, and having options means that you can better apply weed killer and ensure that the weeds don’t live any longer than they have to.
Better Safety From Herbicide
In addition to efficient coverage, dispensing from a sprayer means that you’re at less risk from the product that you’re spraying. The trigger handle means that there’s no chance of leakage before you squeeze it, and the length of the wand means that you’re at least a foot away from the plant. This isn’t a replacement for proper PPE, but it does mean that a mistake won’t immediately hurt you, and so you can apply your herbicide a little more safely than with other means.
This goes hand in hand with control. Without the sprayer assembly, it’s hard to be precise. Unless you’ve loaded up a selective herbicide, your weed killer is going to kill any plant it touches. With a sprayer mounting the correct nozzle, it’s a lot easier to apply herbicide only to the weeds you want dead, and thus avoid the plants you want to keep alive. This means a whole lot less frustration for you, and it’s also less wastage!
Easier Usage Measurement
Having a tank with a known capacity means that you can more easily measure how much product you’re using. This goes double if the tank capacity is visibly marked on the unit! This means less wastage and easier spraying after you’ve done the initial numbers: once you know how much product you need to use to remove the weeds in your garden, you can use the same quantity for the next time you need to weed it out. That’s a whole lot less wasted mental effort!
It Saves Money!
Do you know what less wastage and more efficient spraying mean? You save money! Remember, not only are you cutting down on losses due to efficiency but everything that you still have is also being used more effectively, as you’ve got the right tools to do the job. And since you’re getting more out of every gallon of product you’re using, you’re getting your money’s worth out of every purchase. Less wastage in all corners, and you won’t be buying refills of weed killer as often when you’re using it right!
Three Maintenance Tips For Weed Sprayers
All the virtues of a sprayer will only go as far as the unit itself does. This means you have to look after it and ensure it’s well cared for. Sprayer maintenance can take up a whole article by itself; for the meantime, here are a few good tips.
Make a visual check: Before and after use, give your sprayer unit a good look from top to bottom. Faults generally have visual telltales, so if something looks off to your eye, you can give it a closer examination to see if it’s anything serious.
Flush your sprayer: Post-spray cleanup is done by filling up the tank with water and spraying it out of the pump and spray lines. This goes double if your next spray routine is with a different product. Running water through your unit also lets you see if it’s leaking anywhere.
Don’t wait around: Run the above cleaning routine immediately after you’re done and don’t let the product sit in the tank of your sprayer. Leaving product in the tank for too long may degrade the tank, and it’ll also build up residue that’s a lot more difficult to clean. Don’t give it a chance to build up.
Safety Tips While Using Your Weed Sprayer
Since we’re looking at sprayers from the perspective of weed killers, there are some safety issues to consider. This applies regardless of what kind of herbicide you’re using, whether it’s a natural one or a chemical-based weed killer.
First, wear personal protective equipment (PPE). Never forget that you’re dealing with substances that are either toxic or corrosive. Burn-down herbicides kill plants via chemical burns, and they’ll do the same to human skin. Systemic herbicides have been known to cause health problems to people and animals accidentally or unknowingly exposed to them. Appropriate PPE will vary by the type of herbicide that you’re spraying, so read up to see what you need. A good guideline is ‘no exposed skin’. Closed-toe shoes, long pants, long sleeves, waterproof gloves, and eye protection are all in order.
Second, practice material safety. Be careful with the product you’re handling. If you’re making a mixture, do so only outdoors or in a well-ventilated room. Only mix the amount you need to minimize the amount of disposal or cleanup you have to do afterwards.
They take a bit of care, but a weed sprayer can very easily solve all your weed problems when combined with the right herbicide. Normally it can be a bit of work to apply weed killer, but the right sprayer makes it a lot easier. It’s just a matter of loading the sprayer, getting it pressurized, and then spraying down the weeds. Even in that simple course of action, there’s still room for variety.
What does your garden need? Does it require the unmatched capacity of the Chapin 97200B mounted on the back of your ATV? Or is it small enough that the Smith R200 will do? If in doubt, you can’t go wrong with our top pick, the Field King Professional 190328, and all the capabilities it offers. Whatever need you have, there’s a sprayer for it that will keep your garden weed-free and beautiful.