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If you are a DIY user, all of the paint sprayer options can be a bit confusing. This section is for us!
Airless vs HVLP Paint Sprayers
Airless paint sprayers work under high pressure. This pressure atomizes the paint more (than air sprayers),and creates a smoother finish. This style unit has the least amount of overspray (the extra paint that doesn't land on what you mean it to), and one of the fastest painting methods. This style sprayer can spray everything from latex to stains without any thinning (adding water). The airless sprayer is recommended for painting/staining walls, fences, decks, etc. These machines can be loud.
HVLP Paint Sprayers
This style paint sprayer is high volume, low pressure. That means the machine uses a high volume of air to help break apart the paint. This creates more of a mist of paint. We generally recommend this style unit for fine finish work, such as cabinetry. HVLP units are best used for lighter materials such as stains. Unless you want to spend a lot of money for a strong sprayer, latex will not spray as smoothly out of this style machine without thinning. This style unit is quieter than the airless paint sprayer.
Now you know which machine to buy, an airless paint sprayer or HVLP paint sprayer. But, how to choose which machine will fit your needs:
PSI: (Pounds Per Square Inch)Most DIY paint sprayers are 2800-3100 PSI, and that is plenty. Even the big boy units are around 3300PSI. So, don't assume more PSI is better.
Motor:To be able to spray interior/exterior latex style paint you will need a tip size of .015 or .017. The motor that can push that out needs to be at least 1/2hp.
Tip Size:Tips, also called nozzles, are small things that go into the airless paint sprayer gun. These are named using a three digit system. The first number (doubled) is the size of the spray/fan of paint that comes out of the tip. The second set of numbers is the size of the hole. This means a 515 tips sprays a 10 inch fan of paint, and has a hole size of .015 inch. The thicker the material you are spraying, the larger the hole needs to be. Latex paints generally use a .015 or .017. Stains generally use a .011 or .013. If you are going to paint walls, or other large spaces, then you would want a larger number, such as 4 or 5, at the beginning of your tip name. This is a larger fan. If you are painting lattice, or baseboards, you would select a 2 or 3.
GPM: (Gallons Per Minute) This is how much paint is pushed out per minute. Some sprayers label this as GPH, Gallons Per Hour. That is a sign that the sprayer will be slower in pushing out material.
We can FINALLY choose our sprayer (Scroll a little further down)!!
There are a few manufacturers out there. Some of the biggest are Graco (whom also owns ASM and Airlessco) and Titan (whom also owns Wagner and Speeflo)
Graco Magnum, Magnum LTS, and Magnum Tradeworks Paint Sprayers, TrueCoat Handheld
Titan XT250, XT290, any sprayer in the Wagner line
The follow up question I always receive is, "What 'extras' do I really need?". My list is in no particular order, except for the first item:
Extra Gun Filters:They are a pain to clean and, generally, not too expensive to replace.
Stain tip: Usually your machine will come with one ready for latex paint. But, you will need a smaller hole for staining. Just get is now, so you are ready.
Extension: This is a metal pole that attaches to your paint spray gun. The paint goes through the extension and sprays out of the tip on the end. This is a back saver.
Extension Pole Swivel: The 180° swivel goes on the end of your extension. The swivel allows the guard to turn toward the wall versus the extension pointing straight up. With this you can walk down the wall and have the paint spray.
Oils: In most cases you receive a small bottle of piston pump/lubricant. After you thoroughly clean your machine you squeeze some in to prevent rusting. A little goes a long way on this.