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Crop sprayer buying guide

Guide written by:
Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield

Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield

62 guides
A backpack-mounted sprayer is highly convenient in agricultural use or for spraying chemicals. Just pressurize and you're ready to spray! Petrol, electric and manual sprayers are all useful for spreading insecticide in your garden or antifoamer on your roof in a fine mist or a continuous jet.

Important features

  • Basic trigger model
  • Pre-pressurized
  • Continuous pressure
  • Battery-powered
  • On wheels

What is a crop sprayer?

A crop sprayer is a device designed to spray liquids onto matter such as plants. Different volumes are available to cover a range of uses. Sprayers can be mechanical, electrical or fuel-powered. Apart from the smallest hand-held models (just consisting of a trigger spray system), all sprayers are composed of:
  • A variable-volume reservoir filled with the spraying liquid
  • A shoulder strap
  • Back straps (models of about 15 l);
  • A pipe of variable length;
  • A lance with a trigger ;
  • Nozzles of varying diameters;
  • A pressurizing system which, if mechanical, will have a handle or lever depending on the model.

What different types of sprayers are there?

All sprayers are designed to spray some type of product onto a surface; the models differ depending on the liquid and quantity to be sprayed.

Trigger sprayer

Generally small in capacity (0.5  to 1 l), the trigger sprayer is made of plastic, it sprays directly in response to repeated operation of the pump trigger just like a commercially available window cleaner spray. It is intended for small-scale treatment.

It can be used as a vaporizer on the leaves of certain plants requiring this kind of treatment (e.g. bonsai, ficus).


Pre-pressurized crop sprayer

Comes in handheld, handle and backpack models - carried on the back via straps. Capacity varies from 2 to 12 and sometimes up to 20 l. This type of sprayer is well suited to vegetable plots, gardens and certain types of household maintenance. It is capable of treating large areas. After filling the tank with the spraying preparation (water plus active product) and sealing it, you just need to pump until you feel an elastic resistance, a sign of good pressurization. Using the lance and controls, plants or equipment to be treated are sprayed continuously for several minutes.

Depending on the work you want to do, a hand-held device with a capacity of 2-8 l might be sufficient. A larger sprayer worn on the back, with a capacity of up to 20 liters, gives more autonomy of use. Be careful to avoid overfilling - part of the tank must remain empty to ensure air compression.

Continuous pressure sprayer

This is another form of backpack sprayer system used by continuous pumping of a side lever.

Often recommended for weeding, it comes with specific accessories.


Electric or battery-powered sprayer

A more sophisticated device offering a higher level of user comfort.

The electric sprayer is powered by rechargeable batteries, and can be pre-pressurized or continuous.


Sprayer on wheels

A useful option if you suffer from back pain as it's very easy to manoeuvre! The only downside is the more substantial financial investment which may seem hard to justify. But why not treat yourself and prioritize comfort... It can only be a good thing!

What's a fuel-powered crop sprayer?


Often used for large surface areas (vines, lawns, olive groves, fruit trees), these models can offer an impressive 12m range of action which makes them essential equipment for professionals.
Changing the nozzle on the lance lets you distribute powder or seeds rather than liquid.
The device's weight is typically 10-12kg empty - you then have to factor in about 20 l of product. In other words, you need strong shoulders to use one, but considering the service it'll give you, it's well worth the effort. In addition, substantial flow rates of up to 3 l/min mean the weight doesn't stick around for long!
The largest models of thermal crop sprayers are wheeled and weigh around 27kg empty. They can spray at 15 l/min, contain 50 l of product and work at 16B pressure using convenient 10m hoses.
Sprayer engines are 2-stroke, meaning you need to make a mixture (petrol + oil) in advance and carry out regular maintenance (filter, spark plugs, winter storage etc.). These machines are started with a ripcord and can make considerable noise - protect your ears with a protective helmet!

Is sprayer quality important?

Chemical products can be dissolved in water or used in pure form.

Whether it's a natural concoction such as nettle, tomato, presle or fern manure or a synthetic preparation or anti-foam treatment, you're essentially playing the chemist! And as an expert you are aware that the finer the spray, the more effective the active ingredients in your preparation. Hence the benefit of a careful choice of lance and consequently of sprayer.

It's best to get a model the comes with several different nozzles.

Choosing your sprayer according to the treatment agent

For the simple reason that some products are corrosive and can damage the seals of your sprayer and hinder pressurization, don't use a standard sprayer if using aggressive treatment agents.

Check that manufacturer documentation mentions the use of aggressive or corrosive chemicals before purchasing a sprayer.

Tips for choosing and using your crop sprayer

Choosing a sprayer is first and foremost about the surface area you need to cover, the frequency of use and the type of product you want to spray.

Backpack sprayers are ideal for large, regular areas.

Mechanical sprayers are reliable and economical and electric sprayers offer additional user comfort.

Fuel-powered sprayers are intended for frequent use on large areas

Buying a well-respected brand of sprayer will ease your task of finding spare parts and consumables down the line. This argument holds a lot of weight if you plan to use your sprayer regularly since it is a device whose functioning depends on intact seals and specific plastic parts.

Before setting about your spraying, don't forget to read the manufacturer's instructions and pay close attention to the safety icons on the packaging of treatment agents. These will tell you what kinds of protection you will need when using the product in question: mask, suitable gloves, overalls, goggles.

Keep out of reach of children and do not leave product in the tank; rinsing with water is essential.

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Guide written by:

Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield 62 guides écrits

Michael, Professional and passionate welder, Sheffield

I was trained as a pipe worker and welder and worked in the industry for 15 years, going all over the UK for large-scale projects. When I decided it was time to stay closer to home - to have time for my own DIY - I took over a local metal shop and eventually went on to become head of a professional engineering firm.

I'm retired now, but I haven't stopped working with my hands. I recently built my own metalwork studio at home - a lifelong dream! I use my welding skills to make sculptures and bespoke furniture. With my studio, I managed to find a piece of paradise where I can let my imagination run wild.

I also love going around to local auctions and boot sales. I always find some interesting old object or tools that I can add to my collection or transform into works of art.

Now that I have the time, I've turned my hand to decorating, painting on canvas and gardening. I'm always developing new technologies and tools to bring my ideas to life. And I'm always happy to give others advice on how they can make their dreams a reality, too!

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