10 Best Airless Paint Sprayers: Buying Guide
Have you ever tried painting an entire room or bookshelf with a paintbrush? Do it once, and you’ll never want to do it again (unless you’re a professional painter). There’s a tool that you can use to complete large painting tasks in a fraction of the time it’d take to do with a paintbrush.
What to Like about Paint Sprayers
The major benefits of a paint sprayer are threefold. First, using a paint sprayer is how quickly the tool can cover huge surfaces in the paint. It’s a real time-saver since a paint sprayer blasts out a thick coating of paint in a wide fan.
Second, the quality of the coating is unmatched by traditional paintbrushes and rollers. Since applying paint doesn’t require making contact between the surface and the tool, the surface won’t be left with unsightly, hard-to-get-rid-of brush strokes and roller streaks. What you will have is an ultra-smooth, ultra-even coating of paint.
The third benefit of a paint sprayer is its ability to blast out an even coating of paint on all types of surfaces. We’re not just talking about flat walls, but a paint sprayer can paint curved surfaces like ornate chair armrests with ease. You’ll no longer need to worry about which type of brush to use and how to maintain the brush’s point.
What Not to Like about Paint Sprayers
Paint sprayers come with their own set of disadvantages. For instance, the amount of time you need to spend prepping and cleaning up your work area. You need a ton of painter’s tape to cover any parts of your furniture or wall that you don’t want to be painted. After you’ve painted the surface of your workpiece or wall, you need to remove the tape and clean any spots that have accidentally been coated by the tool’s wide spray fan.
The next downside of a paint sprayer is that it uses a tremendous amount of paint. By this, we mean you’d need roughly twice as much paint to cover an area with an even coating when using this tool compared to a roller or paintbrush. This, of course, buying twice as many buckets of paint per job.
Another thing that users need to be wary of when using a spray painter is that the paint is blasted out of the gun at high speed. If you somehow get some paint shot at you from a close distance, it’ll more than likely penetrate your skin. Getting paint into your bloodstream is not something you want, and if this happens, seek emergency help immediately.
Now, the only question left to answer is buying/using a paint sprayer worth it? In our humble opinion, you better believe it. Many people justify the cost of purchasing also double the paint cans per painting job by renting a paint sprayer. Professional painters can also find value in the tool since time is always much more precious than cans of paint. Of course, there’s the trouble of prep work and clean up afterwards, but once again, you’re saving considerably more time by evenly coating your workpiece or surface in a single go.
Types of Spray Painters
If you’re thinking of renting or picking up a paint sprayer of your own, you should be aware that a paint sprayer falls into one of three categories – compressed air, high-volume low-pressure, and airless.
As the name suggests, a compressed air paint sprayer uses compressed air to shoot out a thick coating of paint. This tool offers the most customization in terms of spray area, fan, airflow, and paint flow. They are, unfortunately, the most wasteful type of sprayer available.
An HVLP paint sprayer produces the smoothest finish due to the reduced amount of pressurized air that carries paint droplets. This type of paint sprayer is also the slowest of the three since you sacrifice pressure/speed for efficiency in paint-usage.
An airless paint sprayer sprays out the most amount of paint per minute. It also makes quick work out of painting large surfaces since it has the widest spray fan available. This, however, means that it uses the most paint and has the highest risk of spraying areas that you don’t want to be painted. This tool requires the most prep and cleanup of the three.
Airless Paint Sprayer Buying Guide
For the rest of the article, we’re going to focus on the airless variety of paint sprayer due to their efficiency. They also need the most amount of research done before purchasing one since the wrong model can increase your prep and cleanup workload.
Airless paint sprayers are powered by gasoline, electricity, or hydraulic power. Ironically, there are even some models that use compressed air, making them air-powered “airless” paint sprayer. Choose the type of fuel that’s most accessible so your painting projects can run much smoother.
Motor Power and Adjustable Pressure
Some of the best airless paint sprayer models we’ve tried come equipped with motors rated between 5/8 and 1 HP. In general, the more powerful the motor, the wider the spray and the more even the coating. Keep in mind that a larger, more powerful motor could actually mean less control over how paint is sprayed.
When working on certain projects, you may need to increase or decrease the amount of pressure to keep the spray in check. We recommend getting a model with variable pressure rather than fixed pressure.
A spray painter draws paint from an onboard bucket or container. If you’re doing large projects, you’ll want a bigger bucket – around 5 gallons or so – to reduce how frequently you’ll need to fill it back up.
If you have a large surface to paint, you really don’t want the struggle of having to move the paint sprayer to where it’s needed constantly. Depending on the size of your project, you’ll want the longest and most durable hose possible. There are some models that come with hoses as long as 50 feet.
The tips of an airless spray painter are given three-digit ratings based on their width and size of the hole. The first digit refers to the width of the spray fan, and the last two digits indicate the size of the hole. For instance, 508 and 515 tips both have a spray fan of about 10 inches. However, the 508 has a 0.008-inch hole, whereas the 515 has a 0.015-inch hole. The smaller the hole of the tip, the better suited it is for thinner paints.
You can either get multiple tips for your spray painter for using different types of paints, or you can get a model with an adjustable tip that works for both viscous and thin paints.
A paint sprayer is going to make most painting projects much easier to complete. Whether you’re painting large walls or fine furniture, a paint sprayer will be an extremely valuable tool to have. In this article, we’ve focused more on airless paint sprayers since they’re the most highly used models among home renovators and professionals alike.
An airless paint sprayer is naturally a paint-guzzling machine that sprays paint like a maniac. This is why it’s so important to find a model that not only provides enough pressure to do so for large projects but also allows you to tweak how much paint is blasted out of the paint gun. Other important features to look out for are those that help with both mobility and in reducing downtime by giving you a large bucket to store paint.