I have around ten different small pump up sprayers (1 to 3 gal. size) and two backpack sprayers (4 gal.). I have two electric tank sprayers, one 100 gal. pto sprayer, and one 400 gal. airblast sprayer. I think that just about covers it, lol.
I can’t seem to go by a garage sale without buying another cheap pump up sprayer.
Smaller sprayers don’t necessarily last longer. For pump up sprayers, the parts which go bad are the hoses (they get brittle, kinked and leak). Sometimes the plastic trigger mechanisms break if they freeze. Now, I run a very small amount of antifreeze through them before winter to prevent this.
The seals in the pumps will sometimes wear. You can generally lubricate the seals to keep them going. I’ve had one or two where the pump just broke and I had to throw the sprayer away.
I’ve never had a tank go bad or explode. The plastic they use for those is pretty good. They make some with metal tanks, but I wouldn’t bother with those. Not worth the extra cost, imo. Plus, they weigh more.
On the small pump up sprayers weight isn’t a consideration until you get to the 3 gallon size. If an extra gallon of water is an issue to carry, just fill a 2 gallon sprayer half full. I would get one which has an efficient pump. Some pumps are too small and you have to pump too much to get them to pressure up.
If you are going to buy new, I’d get a sprayer which has a small filter in the trigger handle. Most cheap sprayers don’t have those, which is annoying when the tips plug up.
I have one 3 gal sprayer which the pump handle comes unlatched easily, so the tank drops down to the end of the pump stroke. Kinda frustrating. I think it’s a Chapin.
Generally speaking cost=quality on sprayers. Low cost will get you by, but is going to be junkier.
One of the best sprayers for the buck bang is this one, imo.
You can get them on Amazon for around $45, if you want to feed the Amazon monster.
I own two of them, and they are my favorite. I’ve used them for 4 years now. They have a filter in the trigger. Hose is big and flexible. Because of the tear drop shape, they don’t tip over as easily in the back of my pickup. Pumps are efficient. 2 gal. size is about right.
A couple of things I don’t like about them. One is that the pump can be hard to unscrew. When this happens I just lubricate the seal.
I also don’t like the funnel top of the tank. This is a common issue with many hand sprayers. Manufacturers make the top like a funnel, so you can easily pour liquids in the tank. But the disadvantages are greater, imo. When you unscrew the pump under pressure, some liquid wants to spray your body, and sometimes in your face. Plus the funnel top is just a place to capture dirt, so when you unscrew the pump, some dirt falls down inside the tank. Not a huge issue, but a disadvantage.
I prefer the tanks which have pumps which cover the threads of the tank. In other words, the pump threads are on the outside of the tank, instead of on the inside. But unfortunately most of the sprayers made that way are cheaper sprayers.
Here’s a picture of a cheap one where the threads are on the outside of the tank.