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Learning how to spray paint is not the easiest skill in the world to learn, but it is extremely useful. The only setback that most people find with spray guns is how they work. Most come with large compressors which can be cumbersome to lug around with you between the different job locations, not to mention noisy! Luckily, you can avoid the hassle of conventional spray guns by using an airless sprayer. This article is all about what the best airless paint sprayer is, and how to use them. Airless paint guns come in all shapes and sizes and will talk about them all from the best professional airless paint sprayer to the best cheap airless paint sprayer. If you are looking to upgrade your painting career, we recommend that you keep reading this tutorial on airless paint sprayers.
Table of Contents
- 1 What Are Airless Paint Sprayers?
- 2 Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Airless Sprayers
- 3 Differences Between HVLP and LVLP Sprayers
- 4 Recommended Airless Paint Sprayers
- 5 How to Choose the Right Airless Paint Sprayer
- 6 Suggestions for Using an Airless paint sprayer
- 7 Frequently Asked Questions
What Are Airless Paint Sprayers?
Airless paint sprayers are relatively recent additions to the market. They have their origins based on the pneumatic spray guns that required large compressors that would take up space and make a lot of noise when in use. When the invention of airless paint sprayers came about, drafters, hobbyists, and professionals alike flocked towards it with interest. But, what is an airless paint sprayer? They are convenient painting tools that do not need as much space to be functional, and they are much easier to store away when you are not using them.
How Do Airless Sprayers Work?
It might be about the time where your mind wonders how the mechanics work with this type of machine. Generally, the conventional spray guns are powered electrically, and they get the paint through the nozzle via compressed air which is generated with a compressor. Airless paint sprayers have a piston inside their inner mechanisms, which generates the pressurized air that will be used to push the paint through the gun and out the nozzle.
There is an impeller located inside the spray gun, which is what propels the spray. This means there is no compressor to deal with and lug around with you, and you only need to worry about one machine. This will make your life so much easier.
Purchasing the correct sprayer will largely depend on what type of sprayer best matches your requirements; the exact type of sprayer discussed above is called an “all in one” sprayer, which is the most commonly used one when crafting. Unlike traditional sprayers that have a hose in front of them, some electric sprayers pump paint from a canister directly into a spray gun. With these models, you are using a pump unit that allows you to capture and feed the paint into the gun.
Why Would I Use an Airless Sprayer?
You might be wondering why one would need an airless paint gun. Well, besides the obvious reasons of convenience, in terms of taking up less space making it easier to store away when not in use, and the lack of need for a compressor to make the compressed air, as well as the lack of noise that the machine makes. What you may not be aware of about an airless sprayer is that the airflow is more regular and consistent.
A spray gun, whether it be conventional or airless, is the perfect painting tool that is a must-have for all professional painters. This is because you can paint larger spaces in a fraction of the time it takes if you were to use rollers or paintbrushes. Not only that, but you can achieve a smoother and more even finish with a spray gun. The conventional pneumatic spray gun is trickier to use than the airless spray gun, even though it offers a more controlled spray pattern. However, the benefit of the airless spray gun is that you can easily spray larger areas without the need for a compressor. You could even spray your roof with ease.
For house interiors, you can use an airless spray gun to paint every angled surface, vertical, horizontal, and so on. If you are using an airless paint sprayer indoors, make sure that you have a window open, or at least a decent amount of airflow so that you do not poison yourself with the fumes from the paint.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Airless Sprayers
There are a few advantages that airless paint guns have over conventional spray guns and vice versa. We are here to set the record straight on which machine is the better design Next, we will talk about what we think is the best airless paint sprayer on the market.
The Advantages of Using an Airless Paint Gun
We will begin with the advantages that an airless paint sprayer has over conventional sprayers. Even though there are some advantages with the conventional paint sprayers, there are far more with the airless ones.
With regards to commercial painting, speed is the aim of the game. The faster you can paint, the quicker you can finish up, and the more jobs you will be able to complete. The compressor-based sprayers are sluggish because the compressors are often large and heavy, and the pipe that attaches that channels the air through the sprayer is not the most ideal thing to have trailing after you.
There is no doubt that versatility plays an imperative role in any professional paint spraying application. The convenience of having one machine that can complete various tasks is far more appreciable than having to haul out each machine for a specific task.
The quality of the machine is determined by how well it was manufactured. Servicing your machine is arguably the most critical factor because it keeps it running at an optimal pace. If the machine is made poorly, it will not last a long time and you will need to pay for repairs.
The most significant aspect of any skilled craftsman is their control when using their tools and machinery. If you have less control, the likelihood of over spraying is much higher, and you will waste resources. Not only that, but it will take much longer to complete the job. The advantage of using the airless sprayer is that you can control the fluid pressure and flow pattern completely, because air pressure is no longer a factor in the equation, so you have complete control over the spray gun.
The Disadvantages of Using an Airless Paint Gun
Now for the disadvantages that you might experience with an airless sprayer. No tool is foolproof as yet. Being aware of the disadvantages can help you prevent a negative impact on your working proficiency.
No one likes to hear the word maintenance. This is typical because those maintenance aspects are costly if they have not been applied for a long time. It might be a tedious task, but make sure that you have maintained your spray gun, regardless of whether you are using either a pneumatic spray gun or an airless spray gun. This typically includes taking the machine apart and cleaning it thoroughly.
Wasting your materials is becoming less and less of a problem as we progress with our inventions. There are still some aspects to sort out in this regard, but we are well on our way to a no-waste situation with our spray guns. Airless sprayers are more wasteful because the mechanism used to get the paint through the nozzle without the compressed air means that more paint comes through and over-spraying becomes more of a problem.
No matter what you’re going to do with the machine, setting it up can be one of the most annoying things to do. There might be a tiny bit of preparation that is annoying, but in comparison to how irksome it is to use conventional spray guns vs. the airless ones, the conventional spray guns win out.
Differences Between HVLP and LVLP Sprayers
The best way to understand the differences between these two machines is by first identifying the needs that your job will need to be completed. There will be certain machines that are better for some jobs, and others that are a better fit. There might be a lot of paint sprayers made by loads of brands, but we have highlighted a few of our favorite ones. Keep reading to learn some key differences between the HVLP and LVLP spray guns.
HVLP Paint Sprayers
HVLP is the abbreviation for high volume low pressure. This is the mechanism used to describe conventional spray guns. They use a compressor to generate the compressed air that forces the paint up and out through the spray gun’s nozzle. This type of spray gun optimizes its function by pushing out a high volume of paint, but with low pressure.
HVLP spray guns are effective, but they can be cumbersome because you need for a compressor to run some of them. A compressor must be bought separately, adding to the cost. You will then have to lug the compressor around with you. You’ll also need to be a skilled limbo player because you will have to dodge the pipe that connects with the spray gun.
LVLP Paint Sprayers
LVLP is an abbreviation for low volume low pressure. These spray guns still use compressed air to get the paint through the nozzle, but you can use a turbine as a substitute for the compressor. There are equal amounts of problems with the LVLP spray gun as with the HVLP spray gun. When referring to the low volume, we mean that there is less paint that comes out of the nozzle, but this can offer a higher sense of control with overspray.
The low volume of these sprayers means that the spray tips cannot be adjusted as much compared to those of an HVLP sprayer. The kind of paint sprayer you choose depends on what you intend to do with it. HVLP spray guns might have more pressure and release more paint, but the LVLP spray guns will allow more control when spraying.
Recommended Airless Paint Sprayers
Making the right choice when it comes to your first airless paint gun can be challenging. As a rule, we recommend you think carefully about what you want to achieve; for example, you might ask yourself if a super-powerful machine, or a pump that large, is really what you need? But maybe all you need is a handheld spray gun. Let us take a look at some of the most reputable brands that have created winning spray guns.
Top Recommended Airless Sprayer: GRACO Magnum X5 Stand Airless Sprayer
Your house is in desperate need of a paint job. The old coat has started peeling in ways that your eyes cannot help but to break down from afar. All you want to do is peel off the bits, but you must resist. Using the Graco Magnum X5 Stand Airless Sprayer will take a huge part of the effort from the job. It is pretty much a flawless design in terms of airless sprayers. They offer a professional appeal to the painting process, not to mention a remarkably even finish. This electric motor is half horse-powered which means it generates a decent amount of pressure to get the spraying done fast.
Imagine the paint as your ammunition and the wall as your target. Load it up, and begin to spray. The paint feeder for these tools is a standard 25 feet, but you have the option to upgrade it to a 75-foot feed. This machine is stylish with its cast metal structure, and it sits very comfortably in your hand.
- Fully adjustable pressure to give you ultimate control of paint flow
- Piston pump allows you to spray unthinned paint at high pressure
- Power flush adapter connects to a hosepipe for fast and easy cleaning
Most Efficient Airless Sprayer: GRACO Magnum X7 Cart Airless Paint Sprayer
Graco is a reputable brand that creates amazing spray guns. As you can see from the above example. The above machine, the X5 is not nearly as amazing as the X7. This is because the X5 is hard to move around as you are using it. After all, there are no wheels. The X7 is much more convenient because the frame it is built onto is equipped with wheels, so you can pull it along as you spray. There are far more benefits that you can appreciate, let us find some more!
The Graco Magnum X7 is much more hardy than a spray gun, and it has much more power in comparison to the X5. This means it covers a larger area in less time as more paint comes through the nozzle. In our opinion, there is one aspect that sets this tool above the rest. That is the feeding tube is height adjustable, which means you have the option to get paint directly from the bucket to paint with.
The Graco X7 comes with a 25-foot hose when you purchase the machine. This means it will comfortably support an additional 100 feet of hose with no problems. With the price range, most people will claim it is reasonable, this machine is perfectly suitable if you are a professional hobbyist who loves to redecorate their home and their friends. choose this airless sprayer.
Best Value Airless Sprayer: WAGNER Flexio 590
Now for a different brand, so you can have some diversity and comparison. The Wagner brand is also a reputable brand that comes highly recommended. They have created their Flexio 590 airless sprayer and it is one of the best professional airless paint sprayers on the market. This is definitely worth the purchase if you are on the hunt for a relatively cheap airless paint sprayer.
The Flexio 590 by Wagner is one of the best airless paint sprayers because of its professional nature, and how flawlessly it covers away in painting in no time at all. The smooth and even finish is astonishing, to say the least. With all of its accuracy and proficiency, you might expect a large machine that has all of these extra bells and whistles claiming to make the process easier. This is partly true, except for large machine parts. This machine is held by a hand, so you can move around with it easily. It is remarkably lightweight, so you will not have burning arms at the end of the day.
There are various settings for different amounts of pressurized spraying, and this is amazing because you can use it for different surface materials that might be softer, or harder. Either way, this tool is versatile, so you are not limited by the jobs it can do. To add to its efficiency, this machine is so amazing because it is far less noisy than others similar to its design. It is so quiet that you can do paint jobs in an apartment block, at night, and your neighbors will not know a thing!
This lightweight machine is also so easy to maintain. It can easily be disassembled so that each part can be cleaned properly, and this will prevent the paint from clogging up the machine, putting it at risk of permanent damage. As long as you are cleaning it regularly, then you will not have a problem.
How to Choose the Right Airless Paint Sprayer
Now that the best professional airless paint sprayers and the ultimate cheap airless paint sprayers have been brought to your attention, along with the brands that made them, then you can go out and buy your very own airless sprayer! Before you go out and buy just any old machine, it is advisable to keep a few aspects in careful consideration so that you make sure you have purchased the right one for the tasks you are expected to carry out.
In some cases, bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, and this is one of those instances. Having said that, it depends on what you need from the machine. It is not necessary or intelligent to buy something that you are not 100% certain can carry out the task you have planned for it, just because some professional recommended it. First, you must make sure that you have the right tool for the job.
It is critical that you consider the size of the machine. If the machine is too big for you, you will struggle to move it around, or transport it without help, which is not ideal for those with problematic backs. This also applies to maintaining the machine. If it is too big, you might not be able to clean it properly, which will cause blockages in the machine’s mechanism where the paint has dried.
The hose length is also an important factor to take note of when purchasing your airless spray gun. This is often overlooked in the excitement of having found that you might think is the perfect spray gun, but then you will find yourself making another unnecessary trip to the store to purchase a longer hose than the one that came with your spray gun. Nothing is more frustrating than running out of space right at the end of the wall and not being able to get to the last corner.
Make sure you have double and triple-checked how long the hose is that comes with your spray gun. You may have factor in the cost of buying an extension to achieve the required length.
It is pretty standard for an airless paint sprayer to allow you to change the pattern you are spraying with very easily. You will find the control panel with all the speed-setting knobs, and that is how you change the spray pattern. This is an ideal function to look out for when purchasing your airless paint sprayer. This will help increase the versatility of your skill and allow you to complete a vast amount of different jobs without having to purchase another spray gun entirely.
Suggestions for Using an Airless paint sprayer
From a high-end sprayer to a cheap airless sprayer, here are a few suggested tips from us to help you get the most bang for your buck. Keep our suggestions in mind, they are useful guidelines that will only improve your workflow. Remember to adorn yourself with some protective gear.
Choosing the Right Tip for the Job
When you are using an electric sprayer, remember that you do not have compressed air as a means to assist in atomization. Therefore, the tip of your spray gun is of the utmost importance. Use a spray tip for your sprayer with a lower rate of spray than your actual machine for the most viscosity. This will prevent the tiresome over-spraying anomaly.
Prime Your Machine
Make sure that you have set up your workstation so that you are not hindered by the mess of your painting location. Make sure that the spray gun is working in an optimal condition, and that there are no blockages in the system. Make sure that all the attachments are working pristinely as well. If your machine was cleaned properly after the last use then you will not have any problems. The blockages are damaging for the machine on a permanent level.
Learn to Overlap Your Strokes
Practice is recommended by us. You will not be an expert the moment you own a machine. Your skill will be determined by how comfortable you are when working with it, which can only come with time and practice. To get the most smooth motion and even finish, you should start overlapping the strokes you make with the sprayer. This allows you to complete the wall or surface you are painting faster, and without having to go back to a section that you missed, and risk over spraying.
Using and Cleaning an Airless Paint Sprayer
Now that you are aware of what to look out for in your airless sprayer so that you purchase the right one for the task at hand or possible tasks at hand, you can start to learn how to use them. In this next section, we will give you some guidelines on how to use these machines most efficiently.
Prepare Your Paint
The typical method for getting the paint through the nozzle is inclusive of a pump that is connected to the container holding the paint. Some paints are too thick to be pushed through the nozzle of the spray gun so you will need to thin it out, or simply make sure there are no lumps in the mix that might clog up the machine.
Choice of Technique
It comes without saying that paint sprayers, even cheap airless paint sprayers, are consistent tools that only work as well as they are designed to. Your hand and trigger finger are constant variables that will influence the smoothness of the paint’s flow from the nozzle. Keep your arm still and only use one finger. Ideally, you should aim for a fluid movement in either direction while remaining at an approximate distance of 11 inches from the workpiece. To become proficient with compressed air you have to practice. If you are not patient it may prove difficult to acquire this particular skill.
With every job that must be done, there is an element of prep. We are always advising our readers to prepare their workspace before spraying. Make sure there is a plastic tarp to protect the floor underneath the spraying station. You will not regret doing this, particularly when the overspray occurs.
Now is the time to start spraying! You can then choose the pressure level and certain spray pattern you wish to use and begin spraying. Keep in mind that the motion is based on your wrists and not your arms, and your objective is to maximize coverage as much as possible while maintaining as consistent a trigger pressure as possible. It does not matter if you have to practice a few times before you are successful and remember that practice makes perfect.
Understanding how air sprayers work can be confusing, so we hope that you are now well informed! If you think an air sprayer is exactly what you need for your DIY project, choosing the best airless paint sprayer will now be a breeze! Happy spraying!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Airless Sprayers Overspray?
Compared to airless sprayers, pneumatic sprayers typically have less overspray. This is mainly because the amount of paint that goes through the nozzle is greater. The great thing is that you can avoid over-spraying altogether by understanding the different nozzles, and which one to use in which situation.
How Much Paint Does an Airless Sprayer Use?
Most airless sprayer machines use over four times more paint than using a brush or a roller, as reported by many different professionals and hobbyists alike. A pneumatic sprayer will use two times more, so the airless sprayer is more wasteful.
Is it Worth it to Buy an Airless Paint Sprayer?
Airless sprayers are much easier to work with, and their application of paint is much faster. This means that a lot of people in the painting field will choose to rather use the airless sprayer because they are much faster and you can get more done in a smaller amount of time.
Larissa Meyer is a 32-year-old mother from Michigan and creative spirit since childhood. Her passion for painting and drawing has led her to an education as an illustrator and a career as a freelance graphic designer. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration and a degree in Graphic Design. Larissa is a talented artist who is able to master a wide range of styles and techniques to bring her artistic vision to life. Her greatest passion is currently fluid painting and epoxy resin art. Larissa’s love for art and her knowledge and experience in illustration make her the perfect Creative Director for our fluid-painting.com team. She is the creative head of our team and shares her passion and knowledge with our community through articles and tutorials.
As a mother of a 2-year-old daughter, Larissa also understands the importance of fostering creativity in early childhood. She uses her experience and knowledge to help other parents inspire their children and develop their artistic skills as well.