The Tool Geeks

Paint Sprayers

One of the most efficient and time-saving tools for home improvement projects and DIYers, is the paint sprayer.

Paint sprayers are generally easy to use, provide a professional-looking finish, and save money and time. They can paint large areas much quicker than rollers and brushes, especially with only one coat of paint or stain. Paint sprayers avoid brush strokes and the mess of paint rollers while making clean-up easy.

A paint sprayer is a tool that can deliver paint to a surface at high speed with control. They use a cup or a hose to a bucket that contains the paint, a pump or gravity to transfer the paint or liquid to the sprayer tip, a button that you push to spray, and electricity, battery power, a canister, or a compressor to create pressure for spraying the paint.

The main types of paint sprayers:
HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure):
• Good for cabinets, furniture, smaller wall areas, railings, door frames, and trim
• Mainly for regular paints, latex, primer, wood stain, varnish, and lacquer
• Lower cost, easy to use, covers most home painting needs, and are good for beginners
• Uses a turbine to atomize the paint, a regulator to control the pressure and liquid flow, and usually has a gravity-fed paint cup
• Lower pressure, 10 psi+, and less overspray compared to regular compressed air sprayers
LVLP (Low Volume Low Pressure):
• Mainly for auto body, vehicle painting, some woodworking applications, and precise surface areas
• Good for clearcoats, single-stage enamels, and thinned paints, stain, varnish, or lacquer
• Usually requires a separate air compressor and uses a hose from a larger paint bucket
• Sprays with lower volume, least amount of overspray, and lower pressure, less than 10 psi, compared to HVLP sprayers
Compressed Air:
• Conventional sprayer for walls, cabinets, furniture, and vehicle painting
• Can use with thinner paints, including latex, wood stain, varnish, and lacquer
• Requires a separate air compressor to transfer paint from the cup/bucket to the spray tip and a regulator to control the amount of paint flow
• Usually higher pressure and less overspray compared to Airless sprayers
• Uses more paint, so you may need to refill more
Airless:
• Mainly for larger indoor and outdoor areas, such as walls, ceilings, siding, decks, and fences
• Use thicker and regular paints, oil paints, and primer, especially for multiple coats
• Might require a few practice sprays for the learning curve
• Uses an electric pump to transfer paint from the cup or bucket and to spray tiny drops with high pressure, over 1,000 psi
• Usually overspray, so cover or mask up surrounding areas accordingly
• Consider handheld version for indoor baseboard areas and outdoor decks and fences

Keep in mind these tips, regardless of the sprayer type or the job type:
• Wear eye protectors and a respirator mask
• Keep the spray tip wet
• Clean the sprayer, can/bucket, and hoses immediately after use to avoid dried paint inside
• Practice spraying with water for the first time, either in the bathtub or sink or outside
• Try spraying first on a piece of cardboard to determine the flow setting for the type of finish

If you plan to perform or start home renovations, begin with an HVLP Compressed Air sprayer. If you already have a separate compressor, then buy the HVLP or LVLP spray gun. For larger areas and outdoor areas, add an Airless sprayer.

To help you choose the right paint sprayer, we have listed multiple sprayer recommendations in our below posts, with detailed reviews for each and links to purchase.

Happy Painting!

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Find more about different paint sprayer tips and tricks.