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Paint sprayers and their types

paint sprayers

Paint sprayers are special tools that help painters and homeowners cover large surfaces with paint. Most often they are used for exterior painting works. Among the common advantages of paint sprayers are the fact that one can name faster completion time of the painting process, there are no brush strokes, and generally, it is easier to apply paint. Once you decided to paint your home completely, be sure that paint sprayers will help you do the best job.

In this article, you will learn about the most common types of paint sprayers and get inside knowledge about their pros and cons. Read the article and get ready for your next home improvement project.

Types of paint sprayers

In the most basic classification, all paint sprayers are divided into airless, compressed air, and HVLP tools. The kind you need depends on your level of expertise and the kind of job you need to complete.

Airless paint sprayers

In airless paint sprayers, the paint is sprayed to the surface through the tip with the pressure created by the electric pump. The tip is a changeable element that has several kinds depending on the surface covered, namely nozzles for wood stains, varnish, lacquer, etc. The most important fact about using airless sprayers is to wear a protective costume so that the gun tip cannot influence unprotected skin. If placed too close to the bare skin, the airless sprayer can inject paint directly into the skin.

Image is a courtesy of Amazon

Image is a courtesy of Amazon


The main advantage of airless paint sprayers is that they use the paint directly from the paint tin or a paint bucket (usually a 5-gallon one). It’s also very easy to handle after a little practice and airless tools provide a perfect finish. For this reason, many painting contractors use exactly these sprayers for large paint jobs around the house.


One of the worst downsides of airless paint sprayers is that not all paint is sprayed through the nozzle; the excessive droplets end up sticking to your desired surface. In case there is a windy weather outside, then be ready that it may take about 20-40% of your paint material.

Experts explain that even though airless paint sprayers are the fastest painting method, due to the losses it might not be the most economical one. Moreover, if there are any elements around the painted surface that you want to stay color-free, then you will have to cover them prior to starting the painting. Most painters don’t also advise using airless instruments for outdoor painting projects because you never know where the paint trail may end up (just imagine that it’s your neighbor’s new car).

Compressed air sprayers

The basic operation idea of compressed air sprayers is the same as in airless sprayers, but in this case, the pressure is created by the compressed air instead of an electric pump. If you’ve never ever used paint sprayers before, then compressed air instruments should be your choice because they are the easiest to handle.

Even though professionals say that this is a fool-proof system, users are still required to wear protective glasses and a respirator mask. They will protect the eyes and respiratory tracts from the sprayed paint.

To use a compressed air sprayer you will need a spray gun attachment, a compressor canister, and a high-pressure hose. The high-pressure hose connects the gun to the compressor. A regulator in the hose determines the amount of airflow and so the paint sprayed. As a rule, compressed air sprayers require some paint preparation: you will need to mix the paint with a solvent to gain the right consistency.

Note: it might be complicated to control the flow at first, so make sure to try it out on a carton before applying to the walls or furniture.

Image is a courtesy of Amazon

Image is a courtesy of Amazon


Compressed air distribution is easy to control, so this is just the right equipment for painting both small-sized objects and large-scale exterior walls. The ease of use is another common reason why people use these tools. Besides that, in terms of money, compressed air sprayers are the most affordable for purchasing and renting.


Economical use of paint is not connected to the compressed air sprayers. Besides the air compressor, these units require a lot of paint.

High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) paint sprayers

HVLP paint sprayers guarantee a steady volume of air and paint getting out of the system. HVLP sprayers are most popular among even professional painting contractors because the lower pressure is easy to control and it creates much less mess and waste.

Most often, HVLP systems are used for thinner-structure paints, such as latex-style. However, industrial HVLP instruments can work with viscous liquids as well. Modern makes also have adjustable pressure flow; this feature allows dealing with more delicate surfaces and difficult corners.

Image is a courtesy of Amazon

Image is a courtesy of Amazon


HVLP sprayers cost significantly less than an airless kit. It’s also a perfect system for smaller interior painting jobs due to the pressure-controlled component. As the latest makes have a variable pressure setting, these paint sprayers are considered to be the most versatile types of sprayer available. Moreover, this feature also makes these instruments the safest of all.


Versatility takes money, and this is one of the main downsides of HLVP paint sprayers. Be ready to pay more for such units, especially for the commercial makes.

Bottom line

These are the type of job and level of your expertise that will influence the type of paint sprayers you need. For complete beginners planning a DIY interior paint job and HVLP sprayer can be the best choice. Larger spaces, tighter schedule, and more professional finish will go perfectly with airless paint sprayers (but don’t forget to practice first). For smaller jobs, compressed air sprayers are the most popular choice on the market; little skill and perfect functionality.

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