How to Choose the Best Paint Sprayer that Meets your Needs (Buyers’ Guide 2020)

I am sure all  of us will agree that painting requires a lot of effort, time and hard work,  regardless of what kind of projects you are working on. 

There is no way around it.

However, this effort can be reduced drastically if you use a paint sprayer. 

Since there are many different types of paint sprayers available on the market, each to be used in different circumstances and for different jobs, we have compiled this guide to assist you in your purchase. 

Whether you’re a professional, a DIY-er or a handyman, we hope that you will be able to select the best-suited product for you as there are many factors to keep in consideration 

Operating mechanisms of Paint Sprayers:

To find the suitable paint sprayer for yourself, you need to be familiar with working mechanism of each type of paint sprayer. Although, the basic mechanism is the same for all of them: 

Atomization of paint into tiny particles to form a mist; the difference arises in obtaining the mist; different paint sprayers use different technology to obtain the paint mist.

Therefore, they also vary in the size of the paint particles, the amount of paint flow etc. The following paint sprayers are readily available in market: 

Airless Paint Sprayers

An Airless Paint Sprayer uses in-built turbine to compress the air instead of an external compressor. It uses high pressure to atomize paint into tiny droplets and then and internal motorized pump pushes the paint out of the nozzle onto the surface. Airless paint sprayer produces comparatively larger paint droplets, therefore are more useful in large-scale projects, where more coverage is required is less time.

We highly recommend airless paint sprayers if you deal with painting walls, ceilings, fences, lattice, decks, and shutters or any slightly larger surfaces. It is also used in painting smaller daily life objects, but specializes in larger projects. 

It can also be used with thick-bodied materials. 

HVLP Paint Sprayers

HVLP stands for High Volume Low Pressure. As the name suggests, this paint sprayer uses low pressure to eject higher volumes of paint from the nozzle. It prevents bounceback of the paint.

It produces relatively smaller paint particles in the form of a uniform mist. This allows a smooth coverage. We have noticed that paint drips slower when HVLP paint sprayer is used, this means that more paint sticks to the surface. Hence, no paint goes to waste. 

If you want to use some leftover paint, this paint sprayer is for you. It is ideal or interior home projects such as painting furniture, cabinets, doors, shelves etc. Its tiny droplets are perfect for good coverage of objects with intricate designs and up-close looks. 

The downside is that they are more expensive than other paint sprayers, but since they work more efficiently, the money is worth it. 

Compressed Air Paint Sprayers

Compressed Air Paint Sprayers are somewhat outdated but are still used by many. They require an air compressor, to which the spray gun it connected. The high pressure air atomizes the material and produces the paint mist.

These paint sprayers are usually preferred for heavy duty jobs such as painting  automobiles, woodworking, etc.

Gravity Feed Paint Sprayers

In our opinion, gravity-feed is more of a design for a paint sprayer than a type. The paint cup lies on top of the spray gun in a gravity feed paint sprayer. The gravity plays the role of feeding the material into the gun, hence cutting down the need of high pressure, or the material to flow into the gun.

Choosing the Right Paint Sprayer

In order to choose the right paint sprayer for yourself, you need to know the basic ABC of the paint sprayers: The features they include, their cost, their application, everything. 

So, let’s not beat around the bush and get to the point here. Following are the features that paint sprayers come in. Let’s discuss them in detail so you know which paint sprayer is the best for you. 

Design of Paint Sprayer

There are basically two design elements of paint sprayers:

I. Gravity Feed 

As discussed earlier, in a gravity feed paint sprayer, the paint cup rests atop of the spray gun, and the material is fed into the gun due to gravity.

II. Bottom Feed

In a bottom feed paint sprayers, as the name suggests, the paint is fed into the spray gun from the bottom. This means that the paint canister is attached at the bottom of the spray gun. It uses additional mechanisms to pressurize air. 

III. Hose mechanism

In a paint sprayer that uses hose instead of a cup, the hose if directly put into the paint bucket. This eliminates the need of paint canister. 

It is useful when you need to paint larger projects, where refilling can be a burden. 

Adjustable Thickness of Paint 

Most paint sprayers that we have encountered come with adjustable settings. When you are working, you would want your paint sprayer to be flexible when it comes to settings. You should be able to work out the settings to your requirements, so that you can navigate your machine to your desired outcome.

The thickness of paint emitted by the sprayer is in fact the flow of paint out from the nozzle. Many paint sprayers come with material control dial, pressure control dial and also the spraying patterns for optimum settings. 

It should be kept in mind that, as tempting as maximum material flow sounds, and apparently seems to get the job done quickly,  it can cause severe overspray. Therefore, settings should be adjusted according to your requirement to get the ideal paint flow for your job.

Various Tip Sizes

Air caps and nozzles come in all sizes. The size of the nozzle determines the amount of paint flow. Smaller the size of nozzle, less paint mist will be produced. 

Smaller nozzles are great for work that requires precision such as intricate detailed painting on furniture etc. Whereas larger nozzles are used in jobs that require broad coverage, for instance painting a wall.

Tips are also used for emission of various spray patterns and to handle thin or thick bodied materials.

Power and Speed of Paint Sprayer

Power of paint sprayer refers to horsepower of the engine. The greater the horsepower, the more quickly you can get the job done. Higher strength means that more and thicker paint will be emitted. 

However, this is not always the priority. If you are working on a smaller area, you should get a weaker machine that releases paint more steadily. 

Size and Portability of Paint Sprayer

Size of your paint sprayer will play a crucial role in getting your job done efficiently. A small and handy paint sprayer is the best choice for interior small-scale work. Compact size of a paint sprayer makes work less tiring and is easier to move around with.

However, if you want a bigger job done, a small paint sprayer will not be able to offer enough power for it. When getting a big paint sprayer, make sure that the cord or hose are lengthy enough to make moving around feasible.  

Volume Capacity

Hose paint sprayers can be directly used with 1 gallon or 5 gallon bucket of paint. 

Cup paint sprayers offer specific capacities. A bigger cup may look like a treat as it will not require frequent refilling, but here’s the thing: the more the paint, the heavier will be your spray gun. 

A heavy spray gun will result in a sloppy paint job and fatigue. Therefore, we advise you to choose a paint sprayer will optimum capacity to fulfill your needs of a medium to small sized job effectively. 

Value for Money

How to Choose the Best Paint Sprayer that Meets your Needs

A lot of brands offer good value for money. A paint sprayer able to perform medium to large jobs usually ranges from $250-$400. They offer durability and fine finish. 

However, there are others for a much lower price. They are more usable for small residential jobs. If kept clean and stored carefully, they can also go a long way.  

Types of Materials to be used

This is a key factor that will influence your choice of paint sprayer. Not all paint sprayers are capable of functioning with all the compounds. 

Standard residential paints and latex are usually used with airless paint sprayers. Some airless paint sprayers also support thick materials. 

HVLP paint sprayers are used widely with thin paints such as stains, lacquers etcs.  

However, we still advise that you filter and thin the material to prevent clogging. 

Accessories

How to Choose the Best Paint Sprayer that Meets your Needs

For better performance and extended life of your paint sprayer, we advise you to keep additional accessories to help you out in your work: 

  1. Extensions: These allow to access hard-to-reach areas and paint decks without hurting your back.
  2. Filters: Clean out paint from any debris and prevent the clogging of your paint sprayer.
  3. Hose: A longer hose will help you out while painting outdoors such as a fence. 
  4. Protective gear: Make sure you wear gloves, goggles, painting overalls, and masks.
  5. Additional nozzle tips for all kinds of jobs.  

Choosing a paint sprayer is no less than a challenge. But, if you think about the nature of the projects you will be taking on, the types of paint materials you’re going to use, and how frequently you will be painting; we guarantee that you will be able to find the paint sprayer that meets all your requirements. 

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