Three Ways to Evenly Spray Herbicides and Other Liquids

A portable sprayer is the perfect solution for dispersing equal amounts of paint, fertilizer, stains, or anything else you need to spread.

Garden of flowers maintained using herbicide sprayer.
Sprayers are used for herbicides, fertilizers, or to spread a stain or waterproof treatment to lumber, and they’re so amazingly simple to use, you’ll wish you’d purchased one a long time ago.Annie Spratt on Unsplash

There are any number of uses for a garden sprayer beyond the traditional application of herbicides. They can be pressed into service for everything from killing driveway weeds to dispensing mildew treatment on siding, spreading liquid fertilizer, applying stains and waterproofing agents to lumber, or simply misting down surfaces that need to be keep moist for some period of time. The type of sprayer you need depends on what you will be using it for, and how often. Here are three types that will handle just about any home or garden duty.

Chapin 20541, 1 Gallon Lawn, Garden and Multi-Purpose Sprayer with Foaming and Adjustable Nozzles

Versatile Tool

Ideal for weeding out pests (and, well, weeds!).Chapin International

The most common type of portable sprayer is the tried and trusted one-gallon pump sprayer. This style works well for most of the common tasks around the home, and it has the added benefit of being the most economical. Some processes, like treating fences with oil stain or waterproofing, tend to limit the lifespan of a sprayer. So, if you are using it for an unconventional purpose that may be a one-time deal, consider how that job might affect the tool, and invest accordingly.

Field King Professional 190328 No Leak Pump Backpack Sprayer for Killing Weeds in Lawns and Gardens

Easy to Transport

Strap this on to cover a large lawn.D.B. Smith

If you have a lot of conventional herbicide spraying to do, then a backpack sprayer is well worth the investment. The container size is larger than one gallon, and shoulder straps allow you to carry more product for a longer period of time with comfort. Just be sure to wear all of the appropriate safety accessories (mask, gloves, protective clothing), as backpack sprayers carry the payload closer to your eyes, nose, and torso.

Scotts 190567 Lithium-Ion Battery Powered Pump Zero Technology Sprayer, 2 Gallon


Electric models are especially handy if you’re not a fan of putting pressure into a tank.Scotts

The downside of pump sprayers is that they tend to depressurize quickly, leading to inconsistent application. Continually pumping the tank just to get one gallon of weed killer on the lawn can be tiring. Electric sprayers solve the problem with a small, battery-operated pump to keep the canister fully pressurized at all times. A single charge is enough to dispense multiple tanks of product. However, electric units are more expensive than pump sprayers and are not a tool you’d want to sacrifice to a one-time job involving viscous or corrosive products.