The Best Garden Sprayers

My Top 2 Picks

Tested by Daniel Woodley and Paul Farley. Published to Products on the 1st of November 2022.

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I’ve been using garden sprayers for many years and also used them frequently at my place of work to apply chemicals to large areas.

I currently own two sprayers; one for treating the lawn with liquid fertiliser and weed killer and another for treating weeds on hard surfaces.

In a hurry?

I recommend the Hozelock Plus 12 or 16 litres for large areas-  both are available from Amazon.

For treating smaller areas, I recommend the Spear & Jackson 5-litre sprayer.

Keeping reading to explore my honest review of these two sprayers.

Spear & Jackson 5-litre Sprayer (Perfect for small areas)

Spear & Jackson garden sprayer
Spear & Jackson sprayer

I’ve owned this 5-litre sprayer from Spear & Jackson for two years and so far, it hasn’t let me down.

I initially used it to apply fertiliser to my lawn but it was a bit small so I now use it to treat weeds on hard surfaces.

This garden sprayer has a whopping tens of thousands of customer ratings online and is a best seller.

Specs

Weight empty: 0.92kg. Weight full: 6.2kg. Height: 43cm. Width: 18cm. Max fill: 5 litres. Release valve: Yes. Material: Plastic. Action: Pressurise via vertical pump handle. Strap: yes, no padding. Accepts: Non-corrosive liquids only, no granules or paints.

The Guarantee

The manufacturer offers a 1-year warranty against faulty parts or labour.

Why You Should Buy This Sprayer

  • It’s affordable (£13 as of November 2022)
  • You have weak strength and can’t carry a larger sprayer.
  • You only need to treat a small to medium-sized area.
  • You wish to apply liquid-based weed killers, moss treatment products or fertilisers.

Don’t Buy This Sprayer If

  • You need to treat large areas.
  • You wish to apply powder or granule-based feeds or weedkillers as they will clog the nozzle.
  • You wish to apply paint, creosote, wood stain or any type of sealant.
  • You require high pressure and a decent flow rate – this isn’t a replacement for a pressure washer.

    How This Sprayer Could Be Improved

    The strap doesn’t have any padding but that isn’t much of an issue as the sprayer is so light, although for prolonged use, a padded strap would be more comfortable.

    The pump shaft is made from plastic and is somewhat flexible, it won’t break under normal use but if abused I could see this as a weak spot – avoid over pumping and I’m sure it will be fine.

    Pump Rate and Coverage

    I found that once pressurised by pumping the handle, I only had to pump it two to three times every thirty seconds or so to keep it going.

    During my testing, I found that one tankful treated a small lawn 8m x 5m but I probably could get more coverage if I wasn’t so thorough.

    Spray Range

    The nozzle is adjustable and can be set from wide spray to narrow jet. The wide setting is perfect for treating lawns while the narrow jet projected the water up to around three metres and was perfect for getting into hard-to-reach places.

    My Rating

    I give this knapsack sprayer an overall rating of 9/10, and in my opinion, it’s perfect for light domestic use such as the periodical treatment of lawns, weeds and hard surfaces etc.

    My other scores:

    Ease of assembly: 10/10 (it came nearly fully assembled).

    Comfort: 7/10

    Build quality: 8/10.

    Spare part availability: 8/10.

    Customer Reviews and Ratings

    This garden sprayer has over 39,000 ratings online and 89% of customers scored it 4 or 5 stars out 5 with only 3% of customers rating it 1 star.

    Reviews from other online retailers are similar.

    Hozelock 12 or 16 Litre Garden Sprayer

    lack of padding under the armpit on a taller person
    Hozelock Plus knapsack sprayer

    Hozelock is a popular brand in the UK and I’ve been using variations of their knapsack sprayers for well over 15 years.

    The 16-litre variant is heavy, bulky and probably too much for the average person.

    The 12-litre version is much lighter and more suited to the average gardener with a large outdoor space.

    Specs and Ease of Assembly (16l Version)

    Weight empty: 3.5kg. Weight full: 19kg. Max fill: 16 litres. Height: 64cm. Width: 18cm. Length: 45cm. Material: Plastic and metal. Action: Pressurise via side arm pump lever. Strap: Yes, padded. Accepts: Non-corrosive liquids only, no granules or paints.

    I found it easy to assemble but I have owned several in the past so I’m biased. The most likely issue is assembling it right or left-handed in error.

    Reasons to Buy This Sprayer

    • Knapsack style so it frees up both hands.
    • Padded straps.
    • Left or right-hand setup.
    • Sturdy and well-built.
    • Long range and great coverage.
    • Improved nozzle in the most recent version.
    • Spare parts are readily available.

    Avoid This Garden Sprayer If

    • You have a bad back or struggle lifting heavy items – even the 12-litre version is heavy when full of water. I weighed the 16-litre sprayer when it was full of water and it came in at 19kg.
    • On a budget – this isn’t a cheap sprayer and is designed for frequent use.
    • If you’re over 6ft2, you may find the strap padding a little short and uncomfortable.

    Warranty Period

    All Hozelock products come with at least a 1-year warranty.

    Pump Rate and Coverage

    The water from this garden sprayer certainly came out faster than the smaller Spear & Jackson 5-litre sprayer and as such, I had to use the pump arm slightly more often to keep the tank pressurized.

    I covered the entire lawn at both the front and rear of my garden and still had some spare liquid left in the tank.

    My Rating and Recommendation

    I rate this knapsack sprayer 8/10. I would rate it higher but I found it too heavy and the padded straps didn’t quite reach my armpits which got a bit sore.

    I recommend the 12-litre version for those with large gardens.

    Alternative Garden Sprayer

    Have you considered a battery-powered garden sprayer?

    There are some advantages over manual garden sprayers:

    • Constant flow rate for improved accuracy.
    • No arm ache – perfect for those with weak strength or disabilities.
    • You may already own compatible batteries if you own tools from the same manufacturer, meaning you can buy a bare-bones unit (without new batteries).

    The Ryobi is my #1 choice and in February 2022, Paul Farley tested it for us:

    I was impressed by how well-built the sprayer was, the back plate is solid and the straps held it secure to my body. I covered the same area in much less time as I didn’t need to stop to pump up the tank. For professional users or those with huge gardens, this sprayer will save so much time and effort.

    Paul Farley (product tester at DIY Gardening)

    Read Paul’s full review of this sprayer in our guide to the best knapsack sprayers.

    6 Things You Must Check Before You Buy a Garden Sprayer

    Before you buy a garden sprayer, check these five things:

    1) Does it Have Adequate Strap Padding?

    Any water tank over 12 litres will be heavy, and without good strap padding, it will rub on the skin around the armpit area.

    2) Does it Have a Waist Strap?

    If the tank holds more than 16 litres of water, a waist strap will help to stabilise the knapsack.

    3) Choose the Correct Size

    20-litre knapsack sprayers are notorious for being too heavy and cumbersome, and most users find 12-16 is more bearable. Don’t forget that the tank is never filled to the top, and most require 1 or 2 litres of air to pressurise.

    4) Are Spare Parts Readily Available?

    Knapsack sprayers have lots of moving parts under pressure, so the availability of spare parts should be considered – hence why I rate Hozelock so highly as getting a new lance, hose or strap etc., is easy and quick.

    5) Do You Already Own Batteries and a Charger From Another Tool?

    If you already own batteries and a charger for another professional or DIY tool, you might be able to use them with a battery-powered knapsack sprayer from the same manufacturer.

    “Bare unit” knapsack sprayers are much cheaper than those that come with batteries and a charger.

    6) Is it Rated for the Liquids You’ll be Putting into the Sprayer?

    The garden sprayers listed on this page are for water-based liquids only and won’t accept granules and some powders as they may block the fine holes in the nozzle. Also, paint, sealants, creosote etc shouldn’t be put into any of these garden sprayers.

    HOZELOCK - Knapsack Pression Sprayer Pulsar Plus 16L Comfort : Ideal for Large-areas, Comfortable, Easy Pumping Action, Reinforced and Adjustable Carry Straps, 60cm Aluminium Lance [4716B0000]
    Ryobi RY18BPSA-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Backpack Sprayer (Bare Tool), 18 V & RC18120-120 18V ONE+ Lithium+ 2.0Ah Battery and Charger
    HOZELOCK - Knapsack Pression Sprayer Pulsar Plus 16L Comfort : Ideal for Large-areas, Comfortable, Easy Pumping Action, Reinforced and Adjustable Carry Straps, 60cm Aluminium Lance [4716B0000]
    Ryobi RY18BPSA-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Backpack Sprayer (Bare Tool), 18 V & RC18120-120 18V ONE+ Lithium+ 2.0Ah Battery and Charger
    HOZELOCK - Knapsack Pression Sprayer Pulsar Plus 16L Comfort : Ideal for Large-areas, Comfortable, Easy Pumping Action, Reinforced and Adjustable Carry Straps, 60cm Aluminium Lance [4716B0000]
    HOZELOCK - Knapsack Pression Sprayer Pulsar Plus 16L Comfort : Ideal for Large-areas, Comfortable, Easy Pumping Action, Reinforced and Adjustable Carry Straps, 60cm Aluminium Lance [4716B0000]
    Ryobi RY18BPSA-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Backpack Sprayer (Bare Tool), 18 V & RC18120-120 18V ONE+ Lithium+ 2.0Ah Battery and Charger
    Ryobi RY18BPSA-0 18V ONE+ Cordless Backpack Sprayer (Bare Tool), 18 V & RC18120-120 18V ONE+ Lithium+ 2.0Ah Battery and Charger

    DIY Gardening’s Testing and Review Methodology

    The products shown on this page were reviewed and tested by the team at DIY Gardening.

    Daniel Woodley tested the Hozelock knapsack sprayer in September 2022 and has used sprayers from this brand for nearly 20 years.

    Daniel also tested the Spear & Jackson garden sprayer which he purchased in February 2020.

    The Ryobi One+ battery knapsack sprayer was used by Paul Farley in February 2022. He tested it over a 4-hour period, treating weeds on hard surfaces such as tennis courts, a driveway and patio areas.

    Learn more about DIY Gardening’s review process here.

    Author: Daniel Woodley

    Thanks for reading our guide to the best garden sprayers. Daniel Woodley published this article here at DIY Gardening and it was last updated in November 2022.

    Discover more helpful hints and tips from Daniel over at the blog or explore DIY Gardening’s essential garden products.

    Daniel is a keen amateur gardener who enjoys growing vegetables and fruits, as well as his herbaceous border and container garden.

    More About Daniel Woodley

    Danny Woodley

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