Regular visits to your garden help you keep an eye out for pests. A few bugs are fine, but if your crop is in danger, you may want to consider applying a pesticide. Pesticides come in several different forms, but in most cases they’re applied as a spray solution. There are several different types of sprayers that can be used by homeowners for pesticide application you should know about.

Hose end sprayer

Hose-end sprayers are the least expensive, most user-friendly sprayer, but they’re also the least accurate.

Photo Credit: Daniel Overcash

Tank sprayer

Tank sprayers are the most commonly used sprayer type. They are easy-to-use, relatively inexpensive and available in multiple manageable sizes.

Photo Credit: Daniel Overcash

Backpack sprayer

Backpack sprayers are easy to carry and allow you to spray a large area in a short amount of time.

Photo Credit: Daniel Overcash

One of the simplest products to use is a hose-end sprayer. Just as the name implies, it goes on the end of your garden hose. The hose-end sprayer has two components: a mixing nozzle and a jar to put the chemical in. As you water, the chemical is mixed with the water.

These sprayers are very inexpensive (around $10), but there are some drawbacks. After watering for a long time, it’s hard to determine exactly how diluted the chemical has become, so the effectiveness of the pesticide comes into question. Also, the directions for how much chemical to use is often based on square footage, which is sometimes hard to determine.

The next, more-advanced applicator is commonly called a tank sprayer, or a compression sprayer. These are by far the most common sprayers used, and they do a very good job. Depending on the size, tank sprayers hold from 1-4 gallons. Most are handheld, but they are available in a backpack form, too. The backpack sprayer is easy to carry, and you can cover a large area in a short amount of time.

Tank sprayers have additional features that prove handy: They allow you to adjust the spray pattern from a sharp stream to fine mist, you can start and stop spraying with a quick pull of the handle, and you can easily spray on top of the leaves as well as under the leaves – which is exactly where bugs like to hide. These sprayers range in price from $20 for a simple 1-gallon model to around $90 for a backpack version.

The next sprayer type lumps different kinds into the “power sprayer” category. Some power sprayers are powered by their own gasoline engines and mounted on movable carts. These are primarily used in a commercial greenhouse or nursery operation. Other power sprayers use larger tanks that can be attached to an all-terrain vehicle or lawn mower to cover large areas while riding. They generally work off the battery of the piece of equipment they’re attached to. These sprayers also can be taken on and off easily for use as needed. I’ve found these sprayers to be indispensable on our farm because one person can do a lot of spraying in a short amount of time with ease.

Power sprayers have all the advantages of a tank sprayer without having to pump the machine by hand to increase spray pressure. The disadvantage of this sprayer is its cost, which can be around $150.

Picking the right sprayer really depends on your situation. Consider how large your garden is and how often you need to spray, as well as how big your budget is for this handy tool. No matter which sprayer you choose, one thing to remember is: Safety first. Always wear gloves and safety glasses when mixing chemicals, and of course, read the label.