Which backpack sprayer is the best

Pumping mechanism is the most important factor in deciding which backpack sprayer to choose

Which backpack sprayer is the best?
Which backpack sprayer is the best?

 There are two common types of hand sprayer or back pack sprayer pumps available on the market, piston pumps and diaphragm pumps. Without getting in to how they work specifically what you do need to know is that a piston pump can NOT handle any sort of powder, wettable solubles or wettable granules. These materials will destroy a piston pump within a day of use. Knowing that if a contractor or home-owner is planning on using any sort of wettable solids, such as Drive 75 DF or Sedgehammer, then a diaphragm pump is a must.

 A diaphragm pump can handle these granular materials because it doesn’t use any moving parts but rather has a rubber circle bladder that creates pressure by breathing. Diaphragms are always the more expensive of the two sprayers by about ten dollars depending on the manufacturer. Be cautious when selecting your sprayer at the store and read the packaging carefully to ensure it is the type you want.

 It is ok to use a piston pump in applications where it is known ahead of time that the sprayer will be limited to liquid products only. For instance sprayers that are used for total vegetation control and only ever have Round up and Scythe put through them can be a piston pump. My company keeps two backpacks devoted only for veg control use that are never cross contaminated, so for these piston pumps are fine.

 Which backpack sprayer is the best?

 I have used many different brands of sprayer but the one I find myself always happy with is SOLO. Solo brand sprayers can be bought at just about any hardware store and make both piston and diaphragm pumps. They are similar to lesco brand sprayers but at about 20% to 30%  cheaper.

Solo diaphragm pump is my choice for best backpack sprayer
Solo diaphragm pump is my choice for best backpack sprayer

The obvious benefits are:

  • They can be purchased almost anywhere.

  • Replacement parts are also at most hardware stores and also online.

  • Solo sprayers last many seasons.

  • Making repairs with genuine solo parts is fast and easy.

  • The shoulder straps are the most comfortable I have ever used and that matters when you wear a sprayer for ten hours straight.

  • The newer models have a folding pump handle that makes overwinter storage or fitting it in a cramped pick up bed easy.


In Review


  • Make sure to select a pump mechanism that fits a specific need, when in doubt, for more versatility, select a diaphragm pump.

  • Never put a granular product through a piston pump unless breaking it is a goal.

  • Solo sprayers are my favorite but that is subjective, if you think you know which backpack