A pump sprayer is a great way to stain a fence really fast… if you choose the right one. These sprayers are easier to use than other types of paint sprayers and work without any electricity.
That being said, not all pump-up sprayers will work for staining fences. Some are just not made to stand up to the chemicals used in a lot of fence stains.
I have used many pump sprayers to stain fences as a professional stainer. I have been disappointed in many of them but I have also found some great options for you. I will share the best pump sprayers I have found for staining fences. I will also explain what you should be looking for. Then I will give some tips for getting the most out of your pump sprayer.
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Pro Concrete Sprayer
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Best Overall: Chapin Pro Concrete Sprayer
This rugged pump sprayer is a great workhorse that can stain fences with ease. It is very durable and will last for years. It can stand up to the harsh chemicals often found in stains.
Being made of metal, it is a bit heavy (a little over 11 pounds without stain). It can get tiring to carry it all around your backyard.
Best Budget Option: Dewalt Pump Sprayer
This option is great if you want a sprayer to do one fence or if you occasionally stain fences. It is on the lower end of the price range but is still a good quality sprayer.
It comes with chemical resistant seals that will handle stains if it’s cleaned out between jobs.
It is much lighter than the metal sprayers, making it easier to work with.
Best Backpack: Husqvarna Backpack Sprayer
This backpack sprayer offers the convenience of not having to carry your sprayer.
What I like about this one, in particular, is the pump inside the tank. If the pump ever leaks, the stain will stay inside the tank instead of getting all over you.
This sprayer is high quality but I would recommend cleaning it well after each job. The seals may not hold up to long-term exposure to fence stain.
Best High End Option: Chapin Extreme Pump Sprayer
This is a top of the line stain sprayer. The stainless steel tank will not rust and should last a lifetime if properly cared for.
This could be an option for a professional stain sprayer or someone who will be spraying chemicals often.
Best Battery Operated: Dewalt 20V Backpack Sprayer
If you don’t want your arm to be tired from pumping your sprayer a battery operated version might be for you. These sprayers do not require you to manually work the pump.
I would recommend keeping this sprayer clean in between use so the stain does not damage the seals.
What to look for in a Pump Up Sprayer
Pump sprayers can come in a big variety of sizes and configurations. Some are labeled for use on fences and decks. Some others are labeled specifically for bleach, lawn care or other uses. Not all sprayers will be useful for staining a fence.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that the seals on may pump up sprayers are not able to handle the chemicals used in stains. Oil-based stains in particular are hard on sprayers. If the chemicals break down the seals inside the pump, the sprayer won’t build pressure. It will likely have to be replaced because most internal seals are not replaceable.
It is best to get a sprayer that can hold up to the oils and chemicals without wearing out. If you are unsure about whether your sprayer can handle the chemicals you should make sure to thoroughly clean the sprayer after you use it. For oil-based stains, I recommend flushing the sprayer with solvent like mineral spirits first. Then, empty the sprayer and flush it with water.
This should clean the stain out before you put it into storage.
Once you have determined that your sprayer is capable of using the stain, there are several other factors you will want to consider.
Pump Sprayers come in different sizes. One or two gallons are the most common sizes. Some larger sizes are also available. I would not recommend using any of the smaller ones because you will have to refill the tank too often.
The larger the tank capacity, the less often you will have to refill it. This will keep you working longer without having to take a break. The fence will get stained faster and you can move on with your day.
Larger tanks also weigh more and are bulkier. Both of these factors will make the sprayer harder to use. You are more likely to get tired carrying around the extra weight of the sprayer.
Aside from the weight of the stain in the tank, the sprayer itself has weight. Plastic tanks and parts will be much lighter than metal. Metal is far more durable though. If you are smaller or don’t want to carry around a large amount of weight while you are working, you may go with one of the lighter models.
If you are going to be using this sprayer professionally or want it to last a long time, it may be worth investing in the metal ones.
Different companies will offer better or worse quality products. I have tried some sprayers that were so poorly made that they didn’t work even when new. I have had others that broke the first time I used them.
This is why I highly recommend against using the pump sprayers on the very low end of the price range. They will be more headache than they’re worth and won’t save you any time.
All of the recommendations above are ones that I would feel comfortable using to spray my backyard fence. I would definitely look up reviews on a sprayer before you purchase one.
Types of Pump Sprayers for Fence Staining
Handheld pump sprayers can either be held in one hand while the other one is spraying or they can rest on the ground and be moved as needed. You will usually need to set the sprayer on the ground in order to pump it up.
Backpack sprayers will leave your hands freer while you are working. You won’t need to put the sprayer down to pick up or over something. Usually, you work the pump handle with one hand and spray with the other. It can be more of a pain to take the backpack off every time you need to refill the tank.
Battery-operated sprayers remove the need to manually work the pump. This makes the process easier on your arms while you are working.
How a Pump Sprayer Works
A pump sprayer will come with a tank for holding the liquid you want to spray, a pump that you manually work to build pressure, and a wand with a trigger that sprays the stain.
For most models, you will first need to unscrew the lid on the tank and then fill it with your stain. Make sure not to fill it above the top line on the tank. You will then replace the lid and screw it on tight.
Some pumps will have a lever that you move up and down to build pressure. Others will come with a plunger that you use to create pressure. When your tank is pressurized you can test your spray pattern by spraying it into a bucket.
Make sure to apply an even coat of stain on the entire fence. It helps to keep your spray wand moving at all times when you are pressing the trigger. That will keep you from getting big runs of stain in one spot. Also, try to move the want at a consistent speed across the boards. That will give you an even coat.
Keeping a pump sprayer clean
I recommend cleaning your pump sprayer after every time you use it. This will go a long way to keeping it working longer. The chemicals in the stains can wear down even resistant seals eventually.
When I am done staining, I will empty any excess stain from the sprayer tank into its original bucket. Then I will put enough solvent in the tank to fill it about a third of the way to the top. (Use mineral spirits for oil-based stain and water for water-based) Then I close the lid tightly and shake the tank so that the solvent can rinse out the inside of the tank.
Then I will pump up pressure in the tank and spray the remaining stain in the hose into an empty bucket. Keep spraying until the solvent comes out fairly clear. Once this is done, I will pour out any extra water or solvent from the tank. Make sure to press the trigger on the want to release any residual built up pressure.
The pump should then be ready for long-term storage.
Choosing the right pump sprayer for the job is an important step to staining a fence right.
Overall Pick Table
We recommend you chose a sprayer that:
- Is made from high-quality materials
- Is the right size for your needs.
- Is a comfortable weight to work with.