Both handheld and knapsack sprayers are good for spot spraying and for covering reasonable volumes of ground, but the real difference lies in their portability over different types of ground. 

Handheld sprayers

The term handheld sprayer generally refers to a type of sprayer you can pick up and spray with one hand or carry with the aid of a shoulder strap. Shoulder carried sprayers are also sometimes known as compression sprayers.

Handheld sprayers up to around 2 litres are perfect for smaller garden jobs, spot spraying weeds, or hard surface cleaning projects on patios, drives and terraces.

Handheld or compression sprayers with a capacity of 2 – 5 litres may have a shoulder strap to help distribute some of the additional weight. Their larger capacity allows you to complete spray projects over larger areas of ground at a lower cost than a wheeled or knapsack sprayer.

Handheld sprayers should have an adjustable nozzle. This will allow you to alter the spray from a targeted jet for spot spraying, to a mist or cone that allows you to sweep the spray over larger areas.

An efficient hand sprayer will have a pump for pressurising or priming the canister. This will allow you to lock the trigger and broadcast the spray without continually squeezing it. Any excess pressure will be released via a pressure-release valve.

Wheeled sprayers

A wheeled, pull or push-along sprayer has a much larger capacity – up to around 30 litres or more. These types of sprayers can be electrically or manually primed and allow you to work over longer distances. 

They are ideal for operators who are unable to wear a sprayer on their back, but they do need to operate over a relatively flat surface for maximum efficiency. 

If you are working on a hillside or sloped land, consider a knapsack sprayer instead.

An electric wheeled sprayer uses a pump to pressurise the fluid, taking all the effort out of priming and allowing you to focus on the spraying.

Their larger capacity lets you cover wider swathes of land, and many have a variety of nozzles or nozzle settings to change the spray pattern with ease.

Knapsack or backpack sprayers

The main advantage of a knapsack or backpack sprayer is their portability. If you have sloped or uneven ground to cover, you will need a knapsack sprayer.

Sprayers carried on the back are ergonomically designed to allow you to carry up to around 20 litres of liquid weight with ease. They should be comfortable to wear and allow you to cover large distances without irritation or muscle strain.

Some knapsack sprayers offer battery powered priming, but most will give you a choice of pressure settings regardless of how they are primed. Check the specification carefully to ensure it meets your needs.

If you have any questions about knapsack sprayers or need to understand the pressure / flow rate required for your project, please get in touch with our technical team.

Always make sure you wear protective clothing when spraying, including a face shield, chemical resistant gloves and coveralls.

Further reading

Read more about how to use a knapsack sprayer here.

Take a look at how to calibrate a knapsack sprayer here.