Want to paint your furniture and cabinets but dread using a roller and brush? Time to try a paint sprayer. The best handheld paint sprayer models give a professional-quality finish, in a fraction of the time compared with roller and brush, and even top-end handheld sprayers are inexpensive and easy to learn.
If your furniture needs a spruce up or you’re painting kitchen cabinets from scratch, then a paint sprayer can make the tedious task of getting a fresh coat of paint down much easier. Not only furniture and cabinets, a paint sprayer is also a good choice for walls, crafts and even staining woodwork.
Paint sprayers are the secret gadget in every good DIY painter’s arsenal of power tools. But where do you even start?
In this mega article, we discuss what handheld paint sprayers are, what they’re used for, and why they’re better than roller and brush. We explain how to choose one including features and specifications, and share recommendations for the best handheld paint sprayer models currently available.
Grab a cup of coffee, take a seat, and expect to have the way you see painting changed forever!
Benefits of Handheld Paint Sprayer
Professional painters use paint sprayers because they save time and result in a better finish. While sprayers used by professional painters are expensive complex devices, home DIY’ers and craftspeople can get similar results with handheld paint sprayers. For occasional DIY painters, you’re not looking for top performance or high-end sprayers. You just want something light and easy for basic projects that have the feel of holding a brush or roller, but can perform just a little better and quicker.
This is where a handheld paint sprayer comes into play. This is a good option when it comes to things like art, small furniture, or those tough to reach places with wall painting. Handheld paint sprayers can be used for a wide variety of projects from furniture and interior wall painting, to staining your deck and even varnishing. Paint sprayers come with various benefits over using a paint brush or a roller to coat a wall, deck or other application.
Firstly, paint sprayers can spray more paint than what any human being is capable of brushing. With a handheld paint sprayer, your paint is preloaded into a cup, that will later be sprayed out in a smooth and uniform manner. By doing this, it will cut down on the time that it will take overall for you to paint or finish a wall, piece of furniture, kitchen cabinets or craft projects. Whereas painting a room by brush will take you a whole day or more, a paint sprayer will reduce the time to just a couple of hours.
Paint sprayers are designed to give you a professional finish every time, without the texture marks that you often see created by a roller and brush. On a painted surface, you can easily spot any paint strokes, lumps and bubbles that result from using a brush or roller. The strokes of a paintbrush in particular really standout, and give an amateur appearance to any painted surface. With the best handheld paint sprayer, on the other hand, you won’t get any of that. Rather, the sprayer will leave a coat that is even, smooth and rich.
Unlike paint brushes and rollers, paint sprayers allow you to paint corners and edges that are hard to reach. In particular, around chair legs and inside kitchen cabinets, which from my personal experience are very frustrating to paint with a brush. Not only is it easier and more ergonomic to reach, but spray guns also make it much quicker.
With the best handheld paint sprayer, you won’t have to spend hours with a roller, straining your hands and arms to the point where they are too stiff to move. With a sprayer, you can finish in a fraction of the time and get better results along the way.
With any new equipment set-up there is a cost outlay, whether you are going for a paint sprayer or a roller & brush. Depending on the model you get, this need not be much, maybe a couple of hundred dollars for a half-decent handheld HVLP paint sprayer. Of course, if you move into more serious models, such as airless paint sprayers for large-scale DIY projects, then it will cost a lot more.
But for a handheld paint sprayer for small projects like the ones in this article, they are pretty affordable and you may be surprised to find that it costs little more than buying a set of good house painting brushes, roller frames and heads, roller cleaner, trays and other roller/brush accessories.
Challenges of Paint Sprayers
On the flipside, there are also some drawbacks to paint sprayers. Some of these include:
Compared with a roller and brush, you need to be more vigilant about your personal protective equipment, as the paint is being sprayed into the air. While operating a handheld HVLP paint sprayer, a pair of goggles, gloves and a face mask are always required. For the rest of your body, you will need to wear old clothes that you do not mind getting stained or disposable coveralls, to protect your skin from the liquid that you want to spray.
You also need to be more careful about protecting surrounding surfaces with drop cloths or using a specialty spraying tent, since the paint travels on air particles and can land in unexpected places that a roller or brush would not.
Complicated Set-up and Clean-up
This point is debatable as cleaning brushes and rollers is pretty time-consuming and unpleasant in my opinion, but depending on the model of handheld HVLP paint sprayer you get, the set-up and clean-up may be a hassle. Especially when you are first learning to use the sprayer, you may find that the time spent setting it up correctly, working and the final clean-up is more time-consuming than using a good old-fashioned roller and brush.
Types of Handheld Paint Sprayers
When you’re searching for the best handheld paint sprayer to fit your next painting project, the first thing that you should look at is the type of sprayer. For home DIY applications, there are two primary types of handheld paint sprayer out there, and each one can be useful in certain situations.
The two types are HVLP sprayers and Airless sprayers. We explain the difference between these types in much greater detail in another article, but below is a brief overview.
Handheld HVLP (High-Volume, Low Pressure)
Generally speaking, for smaller painting tasks such as furniture, woodworking projects and even kitchen cabinets, we suggest going for handheld HVLP spray guns for a number of reasons.
- Even Spray: you can cover more surface area in less time, and the results look much more even when compared to other spray types.
- Less Power: the low-pressure part of HVLP means that you don’t need a massive motor to get the results you want. However, you will go through paint faster, so you have to plan accordingly.
- All Inclusive: you don’t need a motor, air compressor or anything other equipment or accessories to get started. All it takes is some paint, and you’re ready to go.
- Affordable: a handheld HVLP for small DIY projects usually costs less than $400, whereas an airless sprayer easily costs thousands.
If you want to do as the professionals do, then an Airless paint sprayer is for you. Airless sprayers are designed for big paint jobs, like if you’re trying to paint your house, deck or fences. Some things to consider with this type is:
- Expensive: these are serious sprayers and come with a serious price tag to match, however, when well looked after they will last you a long time through many painting projects.
- Learning curve: these sprayers are only a viable choice for serious DIY’ers who foresee doing lots of painting, as they take time to learn how to set-up, use and clean.
- More wastage: Airless spray guns have a transfer rate of about 50%, whereas HVLP has a transfer rate of about 65%. In other words, airless paint sprayers tend to waste more paint.
- Fast: airless sprayers work faster than any other sprayer.
- Due to their high pressure, the airless paint sprayers can deal with thick paints and high-viscosity coatings.
For the remainder of this article, we will focus on handheld HVLP sprayers. However, if you are interested in Airless paint sprayers, then we have a separate article dedicated to airless paint sprayers here that we suggest you read.
Next, we’ll explain what specifications to look for when choosing a good handheld paint sprayer, then share a few handheld HVLP sprayer models we’ve found are best suited to small DIY projects including furniture, woodworking, arts, crafts and cabinets.
What to Look For in the Best Handheld Paint Sprayer
Picking up the right paint sprayer for your project is pretty tough if you don’t know what features you should look for before buying it. Here are the primary things to consider for choosing a handheld HVLP spray gun for small projects such as furniture, cabinets and woodworking.
Since these are handheld paint sprayers, you have to pay attention to the size and dimensions of the unit. You want to be sure that your hand, wrist, arm and upper back won’t get tired after a few minutes of working, and that it is easy to manoeuvre and control. Considerations here are the weight of the sprayer, positioning of control knobs, shape and size in hand, and the hose/cord length.
Not everything you use in your life needs to be lightweight. However, when it comes to handheld paint sprayers, you have to make sure it’s lightweight. If the sprayer is too heavy or bulky, you will strain and fatigue yourself quickly, which will slow you down significantly and lead to personal injury.
One way to reduce the overall weight of your handheld HVLP sprayer is to choose a model that has the turbine separate from the paint cup, so you aren’t carrying the main motor around on your arm. We’ve highlighted a couple of models in the reviews below with this style of mechanism. Alternatively, you can opt for a paint sprayer that uses a hose to draw paint, such as an airless paint sprayer, rather than an attached cup. Not only will this eliminate some extra pounds but it will enable you to work faster, however, they are more complicated machines not covered in the scope of this article.
If you anticipate painting for long periods of time, also look for models that boast a comfortable soft grip, to reduce strain on your hands.
You also want to ensure the control knobs are intuitive to use, and positioned in a way where it is easy to see and change settings on the fly. Fortunately, most of the models reviewed below fulfil this criterion.
Long Hose and Cord
A few models offer a long hose and lengthy power cord for better mobility.
If you are planning to move around a room or space while painting, you may want a longer power cord for that, otherwise you will be spending time looking around for powerpoints to plug into as you move around. On the other hand, it is very easy to attach an extension cord and for that reason I’d consider this point to be unimportant; focus on other specifications instead.
More importantly, if your sprayer has a turbine separated by a hose, you need to make sure the hose is long enough for you to place the turbine on the ground while painting. Doing so will give you the freedom to move with the spray gun without carrying the actual machine around with you.
Paint Cups & Capacity
By their very nature, a handheld paint sprayer means that you are carrying the paint in a container on your hand while you are spraying. Therefore, the capacity of the paint cup size is important to note. There are both advantages and disadvantages of having either small or large paint cups.
Large Cups: Large paint cups simply store more paint. It will take longer for you to empty the cup, which means you can get more paint on the surface before you need to refill. The problem is, with more paint to hold, the heavier the spray gun gets.
Small Cups: The smaller the capacity, the more often it runs out, and the more time you spend refilling the container. Small paint cups do not hold as much paint in comparison to large cups, and you will end up frequently going back to the paint bucket to fill the cup back up. Small paint cups, on the other hand, are much lighter to hold.
Make sure you go for a handheld paint sprayer that can hold at least 20 oz (600mL). All of the models reviewed below are well over this, and you’d probably be hard-pressed to find anything smaller than that size anyhow.
While most handheld spray paint guns come with one paint cup, some come with two. Some brands allow you to purchase additional cups that are compatible with that model. Having several cups is an advantage if you are working with multiple colors of paint, particularly if you are working on an artwork or woodworking project over a period of time and want the convenience of simply shelving your paint in the container until you are ready to come back to it and continue working at a later time. If you’re an artist, this is really important if you are frequently changing colors, as you don’t want to disturb your creative flow by cleaning out paint containers each time you want to switch.
Paint cups can come in aluminium, metal, plastic and more. Most budget handheld HVLP paint sprayers come with a plastic container, which is satisfactory for most paints and other liquids. The time you might want to consider something else is if you are using oil-based paints which require solvents for cleanup. For oil-based paints a metal cup may better, to avoid the slim risk of the solvents damaging the plastic cup (in my fine art painting experience with oil-paints, however, I’ve never found this to be an issue). Certain specialty paints designed for plastics could possibly react with the plastic of the cup as well, depending on what type of plastic and plastic paint you are working with, in which you might want a metal cup instead.
Pretty much all the HVLP handheld paint spray guns for home DIY use will come with at least one nozzle. One nozzle is pretty standard for budget paint sprayers. For basic one-off painting tasks, this is ok, but you won’t be able to cover a wide range of projects with it.
Let’s say, for instance, you like to do fine woodworking and even fine art painting, but also want to paint the house and furniture from time to time. In this case, a sprayer with just one nozzle isn’t going to satisfy you in the longer term, because it won’t be able to handle all the different types and thicknesses of paint, stains and whatever else you are trying to push through it.
In this case, you want to choose a HVLP handheld paint sprayer model that comes with additional nozzles/tips in different sizes. The nozzle/tip size is measured in millimeters, and to use them you simply swap out the nozzle for the right one whenever you need to change to a thicker or thinner fluid in the sprayer. This is important if you foresee using the sprayer for a variety of different projects over its lifetime, since different sized tips are suited to different viscosity liquids.
Larger tips are for ordinary paints, such as latex house paint. Meanwhile, smaller tips are for thinner liquids like stains and varnishes. If you attempt to use a thick paint with a small nozzle tip, you will end up clogging the paint, and your paint job will be a fail.
If you can afford it, choose a set with multiple nozzles so that you have the freedom to use the device for a greater variety of tasks – after all, you never know what DIY project might come up next.
Painting the ceiling inside a wardrobe, around fiddly chair legs and deep inside your kitchen cabinets is a true pain in the backside. To reach these parts without straining your neck or your patience, it helps to switch to a different spraying angle to cover different sections of the surface. This is where having multiple spray patterns come in handy.
It is pretty standard for even budget paint sprayers to offer 3 spray patterns: horizontal, vertical and round/circular. The sprayer should have a control dial so you can easily adjust the spray pattern, and quickly flick between them. If the sprayer model you are looking at doesn’t offer at least these three basic spray patterns, then skip it.
The more watts your paint sprayer uses, the more powerful it will be. But what do you really gain from having more power, if anything?
Think of it like a car or boat motor – the more horsepower you get in your machine, the better performance you can expect it to provide. In this case, it has a lot to do with the speed and pressure of the paint. With greater power, you can get higher pressure while painting, which allows you to paint faster. More pressure also makes it easier for the device to spray thicker fluids, but in saying that, you still need to make sure you have the right nozzle for the task.
In handheld HVLP paint sprayers, power is measured in watts. Make sure you go for a paint sprayer with at least 400 watts of power. Fortunately, this is pretty standard for basic HVLP handheld paint sprayers. For basic painting tasks including furniture, woodwork, crafts and small household tasks, 400 watts will give you a powerful enough spraying experience.
If you have the budget and are planning to cover large surface areas such as walls and decks, opt for more power, as this will help you paint a larger space within a short period of time. A handheld HVLP sprayer with high wattage tends to cost more money, but that is justifiable, considering they generally save you more time than less expensive versions.
It is important to mention that if you choose a sprayer with wattage that greatly exceeds your needs, it might be too powerful to control, especially if you have problems handling power tools. Most small handheld spray guns aren’t going to offer so much power that this will be an issue, however, especially if you stick within the 400-650 watt range or so.
Controlling the flow of materials from the machine is crucial, that is, the flow speed. You are not going to need the same force of spray for every project, or even every part of a single project. By way of example, let’s say you are painting a wooden bench seat. It makes sense to spray at a greater force to quickly cover the main bench surface area. But when it comes to coloring the inner narrower spaces between the back-support bars, you should minimize the flow for a careful finish where attention to detail is important.
That’s why flow speed control is important, as it allows you to switch between broad applications where speed is desirable, and detailed finishes where more quality and care is needed. While having a flow speed control common, this is not a feature you get in every handheld sprayer, so spend a moment to check the specifications.
Another feature to look out for is the ability to change the diameter of the spray, like how you would control water coming out from a garden hose. If you are looking to spray a very large area, an HVLP paint sprayer that can enlarge the diameter of your spray will be very helpful. On the other hand, if you want to spray a small area, you should also be able to narrow the spray to a small beam. If control is a high priority of yours, ensure that this feature is included in the sprayer.
Handling of Fluids
Most of the time, you will be using the same sort of paint on your projects. But at times, you may need to use something else, such as stain or varnish. Or if using paint, you may need a different thickness or a certain texture like chalk. Not all handheld paint sprayers are capable of supporting multiple types of liquids in them. Check the specifications to ensure that it is capable of handling a variety of fluids, and if it doesn’t, think about whether this will be an issue in the long-term for you.
Even if your preference and initial intention is to use the sprayer for house paint, you should consider a handheld spray gun that works well with a variety of fluids from the thinnest of liquids (like varnishes) to very thick house paint such as latex and chalk paint. Afterall, it is often hard to predict what your next DIY project might be, and having a sprayer that can handle all sorts of fluids will ensure that it is up to the task.
For those of you who have used a sprayer before, you will know how tough it is to clean it after use. If the device is not designed to be easy cleaning, then it is a total mess of a job.
Luckily, many handheld paint sprayer brands are well aware of this issue, and take steps to make their devices easy to clean. For instance, some sprayers come with an adapter that can be attached to any garden hose and can be washed out easily. Moreover, a number of machines come with special cleaning tools like a brush, suctions, etc. for cleaning the device properly.
Finish quality refers to the look and feel of the paint coat once dry. Of course, you’ll want your handheld HVLP paint sprayer to leave your surface with a silky smooth finish, as if a professional did the job. Not only does it look luxurious, but with a smooth finish, very minimal touch up is required after it has dried.
Rough finishes will require you to go over the patchy sections with a paint brush to make sure that the finish is uniform, but not only will that take extra work and time, but it will leave brush strokes, so be very careful. Or better yet, make sure that you buy a paint sprayer that guarantees a great finish.
Getting the right finish can be a tricky balance for many sprayers. Too little paint will result in thin, patchy and rough coats that lack real appeal. Too much paint will look slick and wet on your application, and will often drip down to the floor or surface. What you want is just the right amount of paint to create a uniform finish every time – not too much, or too little, and always consistent.
It is difficult to determine in advance what sort of finish the paint sprayer you are considering buying will leave, until after the fact. If you have the opportunity, watch a video demonstration of the paint sprayer in action, and look closely at the spray coming from the gun; it should deliver a consistent, misty stream of paint or other liquid at all times. Look closely for drips or inconsistencies in the spray or the painted surface.
Other Considerations: Paint Cup vs. Suction
The vast majority of handheld HVLP paint sprayers use a paint cup for holding paint, however some larger models instead utilise a suction hose. Understanding this feature is crucial as it will determine how efficient you can be while painting. To give you some perspective, here is a breakdown of what you can expect from each option.
Paint Cup: For the most part, these screw onto the sprayer directly and allow you to work without any restrictions. By that, we mean that you can move around as much as you want without worrying about a hose getting in your way. The downside is that you have less paint to work with, which means that you’ll have to refill it often. This is most common on small handheld HVLP sprayers.
Suction Hose: If you are planning on covering large surfaces, then this method will be your best friend. Rather than refilling a cup every few minutes, you can draw directly from the paint can. This setup is ideal for painting rooms, as well as large furniture.However, the downside is that you are limited by the length of the hose, and it’s much harder to switch between paints since you have to flush out the whole system every time.
Other Considerations: Turbine
The turbine is the part of the sprayer that drives the fan, creating airflow to make the HVLP sprayer work. The turbine of your spray gun has an important role when it comes to functionality. If the turbine is not powerful enough, you won’t be able to get a precise paint finish.
When choosing a small handheld HVLP it is unlikely you will have much choice about the turbine in the device, but it is worth noting if you are looking at larger models of HVLP sprayers. If you are looking at getting a larger HVLP sprayer, make sure the one you’re buying has got a good quality turbine. For the models listed in this article, you needn’t be concerned about it, however.
Best Handheld Paint Sprayer Models
If your primary concern is finding a sprayer that is lightweight and easy to manoeuvre, I would personally suggest choosing a model that has the sprayer and the turbine separate. In this style of device, the turbine (motor) and the sprayer are connected by a hose. This means you can keep the heaviest part of the device on the ground (the turbine) and only hold the spray gun and paint cup, which makes it much lighter than an all-in-one machine.
The two models in this list that have the turbine and sprayer separate are the Wagner Spraytech Control Spray Max and the NEU MASTER N3140. With my lighter female arms and body size, I would personally choose one of those two models because having a lightweight device is very important to me. And of those, I’d lean towards the Wagner because it is a well-known and trusted brand with a reputation for producing good quality sprayers and other small power tools.
RECOMMENDED: Wagner Spraytech Control Spray Max (0518080)
|HomeRight Finish Max||2.76 lbs||27 oz||Furniture, crafts||$99.99|
|HomeRight Super Finish Max||2.76 lbs||40 oz||Furniture, crafts||$119.99|
|Wagner Spraytech Control Spray Double Duty||3.7 lbs||48 oz (1.5 qt)||Furniture, crafts||$89.99|
|Wagner Spraytech Control Spray Max||11.22 lbs turbine & sprayer||48 oz (1.5 qt)||Furniture, walls, floors, crafts||$139.99|
|Wagner FLEXiO 590||2.11 lbs||48 oz (1.5 qt)||Furniture, walls, floors, outdoors||$189.99|
|NoCry 1200ml/min Electric Paint Sprayer||3.5 lbs||34 oz||Furniture, crafts||GBP 49.99|
|Scuddles 1200 Watt High Power HVLP Sprayer||4.4 lbs||34 oz||Furniture, crafts||$59.00|
|NEU MASTER N3140||1 lb sprayer only |
(6.16 lbs turbine & sprayer)
|30.5 oz||Furniture, walls, floors, outdoors||$85.99|
All of these devices are self-containing handheld HVLP paint sprayers, meaning that they do not need an air-compressor in order to operate (unlike the larger HVLP sprayers used by professionals and advanced painters). In the models listed here, everything you need comes in the box.
HomeRight Finish Max
- Brand: HomeRight
- Model: Finish Max (C800766, C900076)
- Type: Handheld HVLP
- Retail Price: $99.99 (Source: HomeRight)
HomeRight has well known for making affordable handheld sprain sprayers, and their Finish Max HVLP sprayer is more than suitable for beginners. This is a compact sprayer designed for arts and crafts, as well as pieces of furniture and smaller fixtures inside your home such as kitchen cabinets. The Homeright Finish Max is easy to use, effective, light and affordable, making it an attractive buy for one-off projects or casual hobbyists.
Learning Curve: HomeRight’s Finish Max Paint Sprayer is the kind of item people should look for if they have little to no experience with painting. Setting up the sprayer is easy and once it’s ready to go, the intuitive design and controls ensure that you will be able to paint properly right away. The best word to describe its design is intuitive. All kinds of user-friendly features have been included in this sprayer, and the controls are easy to see and easy to access while painting.
Ergonomics: The FinishMax is an incredibly lightweight sprayer, and in fact, one of the smallest units you can find. It has also been designed with a soft grip that fits well in your hands, enabling you to use it for hours without straining your arm, hand or wrist. This feature is perfect if you have smaller hands or experience difficulty holding heavy power tools.
Cord Length: As well as being more ergonomic, a lightweight sprayer also maximizes maneuverability which is important if you are painting in awkward places, such as inside cabinets. Unfortunately, the short power cord cancels out that maneuverability to a certain degree, which means you’ll always have to be mindful of your body positioning when you’re using this sprayer. Fortunately, that can be easily remedied by using an extension cable.
Capacity: Admittingly, it does not have a lot of paint capacity inside the cup. We wish this container was a little bigger so that it could spray more paint at a time. The cup holds just 27 ounces, which is slightly more than a bottle of soda that serves one. However, some people see the small paint cup as a plus. With a smaller paint cup, you won’t have to lift as much weight. At the same time though, you will end up going back to pour paint much more frequently.
Spray Pattern & Tip: With just one nozzle you can achieve three different spray patterns: round, horizontal or vertical pattern. The horizontal pattern is used for fanning the sprayer up and down, which is great for painting floors. The vertical pattern is for fanning the sprayer left and right such as for painting walls, while the round pattern is great for irregular objects such as furniture, cabinets and sculptures. Changing the pattern is easy, simply turn the control knob. Its 2 mm brass tip ensures a precise finish, so you can expect good control over your paint spray area.
Flow Control: As well as spray pattern options, there is also a flow control spray setting, which allows you to switch between the output intensity. Increase it or decrease it to customize the flow of your paint, for broad areas or detail spots respectively. If you want to increase the density of your coating as well, that’s an option.
Power: For the size, this sprayer actually possesses a decent amount of power (400 watts) but even so, it’s best used for smaller applications because it will struggle to do a good paint job for larger projects such as internal walls, decks, fences and entire kitchen cabinetry. If you foresee using the sprayer for larger projects, you should consider another model with more power instead. This won’t be a big problem if you just use the FinishMax for smaller projects, however.
Liquids: This machine is capable of handling a wide variety of fluids. Chalk type paint or milk type? Enamels, primer, clear sealer, stain, or varnish? This tool can handle them all.
Cleaning & Leaking: Unfortunately, this is a huge weak spot for the Finish Max. Despite what the manufacturers say, cleaning this model is problematic and time-consuming. If that wasn’t enough, the device leaks. While the FinishMax comes with a seal and splash guard to prevent leaks and supposedly stop paint flowing where it’s not meant to go, this still model is renowned for leaking. For whatever reason, even with the seal, this model has a tendency to spring leaks while refilling the container. It’s an issue you can quickly fix using duct tape, but it’s still inconvenient to deal with and something you shouldn’t have to do on a brand-new machine.
Other than the leaking and tricky clean-up, the only significant downsides to this beginner-level unit is the fact that the power cord is exceedingly short. Otherwise, this is a great compact sprayer that makes arts and crafts so much easier to do, excellent for beginners, and is very affordable even for one-off projects.
- Ideal for beginners
- Remarkably lightweight and compact
- Intuitive control knob placement
- Soft grip ergonomic handle
- Handles various liquids, including paint, stain and lacquer
- Leaking is a persistent issue
- Short power cord
- Small paint cup
- Difficult clean-up
HomeRight Finish Max
Affordable, lightweight sprayer. Beginner friendly, and simple to use. Suitable for small projects, including crafts and furniture.
HomeRight Super Finish Max
- Brand: HomeRight
- Model: Super Finish Max (C800971)
- Type: Handheld HVLP
- Retail Price: $119.99 (Source: HomeRight)
The second of HomeRight’s handheld HVLP paint sprayers has a little extra power and performance to it. Like the Finish Max, the HomeRight Super Finish Max is a nice value-for-money model which is perfect for infrequent and beginner painters. It is lightweight, easy to carry, and in many regards, easy to use, too. Reasons you might choose this model over the Finish Max are the extra power which means you can complete your painting project faster, and the quieter mechanism.
Noise: The main strength of this model is its quiet operation, which is worth paying attention to if you need to keep your noise to a minimum. Overall this is a very quiet paint sprayer, more quiet than its more affordable counterpart, and certainly quieter than most other handheld spray guns.
Ergonomics: Like the Finish Max, the light weight of this model is a huge plus, if you struggle to hold and control heavy power tools.
Spray Pattern & Tip: There are three standard spray patterns included in this kit, which are round, horizontal, and vertical patterns, as well as 3 brass spray tips. This makes painting furniture, cabinets, dressers, decks, fences and many other projects a possibility, simply adjust the air cap for different spray angles, and swap to the tip you need for the project at hand.
Power: The 450-watt power in this sprayer puts it a small step above its sister model the Finish Max (400 watt). Basically, the more power you can get, the more paint you’ll be able to spray in the same amount of time. The extra power means the Super Finish Max can tackle projects in less time than the Finish Max. However, it is still pretty low compared with some other handheld paint sprayers in this article, which are around 600 watts and above. If power and speed are a concern, you may want to skip over the HomeRight sprayers altogether.
Flow Control: The Super Finish Max includes flow control knobs on the trigger, which allows you to easily control how much paint to shoot out at one time. This is useful for controlling your paint output to suit either large surface areas or small detailed sections accordingly.
Liquids: The Super Finish Max can handle up a variety of different paints and fluids such as chalk, milk, enamels, primers, stain, varnish, and many more. Latex paint, chalk paint, stains, and sealers, you name it, you can try different painting types with one paint sprayer.
Cleaning: While the sprayer comes with cleaning tools, some users have reported that it is difficult to clean.
Finish Quality: The HomeRight Super Finish Max is a paint sprayer for the budget-conscious individual, but still, you get what you pay for. For instance, the finish on this paint sprayer is quite rough, and if you want a smooth finish, you will end up having to touch-up the coat with a brush by hand afterward.
The Super Finish Max definitely has its flaws, and one major one is the spray quality which is quite rough, but to be honest this is likely going to be an issue with many cheap handheld sprayers. Overall, the Super Finish Max is a great tool for people who don’t consider themselves painters, who just want an inexpensive paint sprayer for the occasional home DIY or craft project, and don’t need a high-quality finish.
- Flow speed control knobs
- 3 brass spray tips
- Quiet operation
- Lightweight sprayer
- Difficult to clean
- Low quality finish
HomeRight Super Finish Max
Quiet, lightweight sprayer. Comes with 3 brass tips. Suitable for small projects, including crafts, furniture and cabinets.
Wagner Spraytech Control Spray Double Duty
- Brand: Wagner
- Model: Spraytech Control Spray Double Duty (0518050)
- Type: Handheld HVLP
- Retail Price: $89.99 (Source: Wagner)
Note: While Wagner hasn’t specifically stated yet that this model has been discontinued, it seems to have been replaced by a newer equivalent model the ‘Control Spray 250’. The Double Duty is still available from several online retailers as of June 2023, however.
This sprayer from Wagner is a tiny and incredibly affordable alternative to some of it’s more serious sprayers. This is a great choice if you are just looking for a simple, cheap sprayer for a one-off craft or furniture painting project, and don’t need all the bells and whistles of larger models.
Lightweight: Since it’s very lightweight, you won’t face a hard time using it with ease. The sprayer can be lifted very easily, and it doesn’t matter if you use it for hours, you’re not going to face any fatigue or discomfort.
Liquids: The Double Duty is well-suited to both thick and thin materials, including varnishes, sealers, urethanes, lacquers, or stains. However, after long-term use the sprayer has been reported to clog up, so if you need longevity from your sprayer, this may not be the one for you.
Flow: This spray gun boasts a two-stage air turbine, which helps ensure a constant and continuous flow of fluid. The device is capable of spraying around 4.9 oz per minute, which is pretty low compared with other handheld paint sprayers in this article, but is fine for small projects where high speed is not required.
Spray Patterns and Nozzles: Like with most other handheld sprayers, the Double Duty comes with horizontal, vertical, or round spray patterns, which you can switch between using the air cap.
- Boasts adjustable three-position air cap
- Lightweight and compact in shape
- East to clean
- May clog after long-term use
Wagner Spraytech Control Spray Double Duty
Lightweight, simple and affordable sprayer. Works with a variety of fluids including paint, stain, varnish. Suitable for small projects, including crafts, furniture and cabinets.
Wagner Spraytech Control Spray Max – RECOMMENDED
- Brand: Wagner
- Model: Spraytech Control Spray Max (0518080)
- Type: Handheld HVLP
- Retail Price: $139.99 (Source: Wagner)
Wagner is one of the most relevant names in paint and stain spraying, and when it comes to handheld HVLP sprayers the Spraytech Control Spray Max is one of its finest. Compared with other handheld paint sprayers in this article, the Wagner Spraytech Control Spray Max is more on the heavy-duty side. I think of Wagner Spraytech’s HVLP Paint Sprayer as a kind of in-between option. It is good if you want a powerful handheld HVLP sprayer capable of handling a variety of household tasks, but you aren’t ready to move up to an Airless paint sprayer. Not only is it a great machine, but it is also very affordable.
Ergonomics: The Wagner Control Spray Max is the kind of sprayer you can work with all day because of its compact, lightweight design. While the product listing states 11 lbs weight which seems enormous, just bear in mind that most of the weight is in the turbine which is placed on the floor separately and connected to the sprayer via a hose. The product information doesn’t reveal how much the sprayer (without turbine) weighs, but comparatively, most other small handheld paint sprayers require you to carry the weight of the entire device in your hand, so ergonomically, this is a better solution if weight is a concern. The hose is 20-feet-long, which is more than enough for small-medium sized projects, but not for walking around an entire room painting walls.
Power: While the Control Spray Max lacks the high-end power of an airless paint sprayer, but it packs more punch than what other handheld HVLP paint spray guns offer. You have the two-stage turbine to thank for that, which makes spraying a variety of fluids from thin liquids to thick paints easy and painless.
Flow Control: The Control Spray Max includes a pressure control dial on the machine, allowing you to regulate the pressure from 1.50 to 2.63 PSI. If you are thinking of painting your house, it is important to put this into perspective, especially as it compares to airless paint sprayers. Simply put, compared with an airless paint sprayer, you wont get the pressure you need to efficiently paint your whole house – you could turn the flow rate up to as high as it can go, but even then, it just won’t work as quickly as airless sprayers, and you may end up spending more time house painting than you expected. This warning only applies if you are undecided about whether to buy the Control Spray Max or an airless paint sprayer for house painting. But for small-medium projects you need not worry, and the option to fine-tune your flow speed is very useful for detailed projects such as furniture, cabinets and woodworking crafts.
Air filters: One of the unique features of the Control Spray Max is that it comes with two large air filters, which means you get an even, quality finish every time. The air filters ensure a higher quality finish by preventing dust and debris mixing with a paint during spraying. If you are working on projects where a smooth, professional finish is required such as fine crafts, furniture and woodworking then this is a feature to really pay attention to.
Spray Pattern & Nozzle: Like most paint sprayers of this style, the Control Spray Max comes with three spray patterns: round, vertical, and horizontal. The flow control is also adjustable, so you can paint both large and small surfaces with ease. The controls are easy to see and reach, making changing settings straightforward.
Paint Cups: You get two different paint cups with this paint sprayer: a plastic cup and a metal cup. This allows you to choose the one that your fluid will tolerate best. For instance, if you have certain paints or other liquids that don’t take kindly to plastic, you have a more resilient metal cup to use. The plastic cup is 1.5 quarts, while the metal cup is 1 quart. The extra cup also works well as a backup, allowing you to do a quick changeover in the middle of projects, say if you are using different types or colors of paint. Or if you are doing a large surface, fill up both cups with the same paint, and when one runs out you can quickly swap to the second cup without wasting time filling up the first one.
Cleaning: Every part of the spray gun is detachable, meaning that you can easily clean it with water, solvents (for oil-based paints) or your preferred cleaning product. All in all, cleaning this paint sprayer is a breeze.
Liquids: This sprayer is compatible with multiple kinds of liquids including paint and stain, making it suitable for a wide range of projects including furniture, kitchen cabinets and woodworking crafts. It can work with thick latex paint as well as, which is important if you are planning to paint your interior walls. Despite this, it doesn’t give the best results with oil-based paints due to clogging.
Cord: The power cord is rather short, which can be a problem if you want to use it to paint an entire room. Yet, considering how easy it is to attach an extension cord, this is ultimately a pretty minor issue in the scheme of things.
Overspray: This sprayer admittedly lacks the high-end power of the items reviewed above, but in exchange, you are given better precision. Overspraying is a common issue with handheld sprayers, but this device is designed in a way that attempt to minimize the problem. Some users have reported overspray to be an issue, but in most cases it just needs some adjustment. If you find the item overspraying at first, take the time to adjust the flow rate and test it on some scrap pieces. After a few tries, you should get the exact flow rate you need and overspray should be eliminated.
While the Wagner Control Spray Max is designed for versatility, from crafts to house painting, honestly it is much better suited to small-medium projects such as furniture and cabinets. That’s not to say that you can’t paint your house with it, and compared with most of the handheld models in this article, it is certainly capable of it but just don’t expect the same power and speed as you would get with an Airless paint sprayer. All-in-all, I still consider this the best handheld paint sprayer currently available, combining lightweight, excellent finish quality, affordability and versatility from a reliable brand name.
- Compact and lightweight
- Separate turbine, with long 20 ft hose
- 2 large paint cups (metal and plastic)
- 2 air filters ensure a clean, smooth finish
- Easy to clean
- Compatible with many liquids
- Adjustable flow rate and pressure controls
- Short power cord
- Overspray is a common issue
- Hose falls out easily
BEST HANDHELD PAINT SPRAYER
Wagner Spraytech Control Spray Max
Lightweight and versatile sprayer, with separate turbine and gun. Air filters ensure a smooth, high quality finish. Suitable for wide range of small-medium projects, including crafts, furniture and cabinets.
Wagner FLEXiO 590
- Brand: Wagner
- Model: FLEXiO 590
- Type: Handheld HVLP
- Retail Price: $189.99 (Source: Wagner)
For home DIY’ers and craftspersons, the FLEXiO 590 is one of the most stand-out products Wagner has come up with. This model is certainly is one of the best all-in-one option, with easy operation and very fast spraying capability. The speed of this sprayer is definitely its strong point.
Weight: As far as your comfort is concerned, this one is pretty lightweight, and you won’t face a hard time lifting it and keeping on spraying for hours. No fatigue, no discomfort.
Spray Patterns & Nozzle: This sprayer features 2 different nozzles, an iSpray nozzle and a Detail Finish nozzle. The so-called “iSpray” nozzle is designed to be used on wide areas such as walls and benches, while the Detail Finish nozzle is intended for smaller items requiring more precision. Horizontal, vertical, narrow, wide, you name it; set your painting pattern, and you’ll be able to coat hard-to-reach corners, edges, as well as broad surfaces.
Power: Thanks to the built-in X-Boost turbine, you’ll get the power you need to spray a variety of liquids, both thinned and un-thinned, including paints and stains. Cabinets, doors, chairs, and even indoor or outdoor projects, this sprayer has the power to handle them all.
Speed: The Wagner Flexio 590 is known for its fast operation, and is many times faster than any brush you’ll find. In an hour, you’ll be able to spray 8 gallons of paint just like that, and 80 feet of surface within 5 minutes. Plus, there are 10 different speed levels you can select from. This allows you to fine-tune your flow speed depending on the specific project, which is perfect for projects where precision and attention to detail is a must such as fine crafts and arts.
- Very fast operation
- Powerful turbine
- 10 flow speed control settings
- 2 different nozzles
- Easy to clean
- Short power cord
- Tends to get jammed after heavy use
Wagner FLEXiO 590
Fast, powerful sprayer with 2 nozzle set. 10 speed levels, good for projects where fine control is required. Suitable for wide range of applications, from fine arts/crafts to house painting.
NoCry 1200ml/min Electric Paint Sprayer
- Brand: NoCry
- Model: 1200mL/min
- Type: Handheld HVLP
- Retail Price: GBP 49.99 (Source: NoCry)
This red giant from NoCry is one of the best performers in the market when it comes to power, which is turn translates to its ability to work on a greater range of household and craft projects.
Power: It boasts a 5A/600-watt motor that makes spray painting a lot easier, even for newbies. As well as making your painting task faster, the powerful motor allows you to use oil, stain, enamel, textured paints, lacquer, and many more types of fluids in the device.
Flow Rate: Comes with a customizable airflow speed, up to 1200 ml per minute. While you get a top flow rate of 1200 ml per minute, you can lower and regulate the flow on it, by using the adjustment lever on the device. For those of you unfamiliar with metric, 1200mL per minute is equivalent to around 1.2 quarts per minute. Therefore, you can see why NoCry confidently proclaims 1200mL/min in the product title, especially when you consider that the previously mentioned Wagner Control Spray Double Duty was bragging about a mere 4.9oz per minute.
Spray Patterns and Nozzle: Includes 3 spray paint patterns – horizontal, vertical, and circular – which is standard for most paint sprayers. The impressive part is that the machine comes with 4 different nozzles. Having the option of many nozzles means that you will be able to work with a greater variety of liquids of different viscosities, from very thin stains to thick latex paints and lacquers. It also means you are less likely to clog the machine, by trying to force thick liquids through a nozzle that is too small for the task. Simply change to the nozzle best suited to the liquid you are using, and get started on your project.
Cleaning: You get to detach the container from the machine to clean up the total set up. Plus, the package includes a cleaning brush and pin to clean the hard-to-reach part of the device. Easy cleaning, every time.
Ergonomics: Unfortunately, this paint sprayer is a bit heavy to work with.
- High power 600 watts
- Easy to clean
- 4 nozzle set
- Heavy to hold
NoCry 1200ml/min Paint Sprayer
High power 600-watt sprayer with 4 nozzle set. High flow rate, suitable for variety of fluids. Suitable for wide range of projects, including fine crafts, cabinets and furnishings.
Check full product details, today’s price, and buy on Amazon.
Read the full product technical specifications on the Amazon product page and the NoCry Amazon store.
Scuddles 1200 Watt High Power HVLP Sprayer
- Brand: Scuddles
- Model: 1200 Watt
- Type: Handheld HVLP
- Retail Price: $59.00 (Source: Scuddles)
With the Scuddles 1200 Watt sprayer, painting around your home was never easier. This is a very high powered handheld paint sprayer, suitable for a range of projects from small crafts through to house painting. If you’re looking for a versatile sprayer for a range of tasks, this is the one to consider.
Spray Patterns & Nozzles: This model comes with a wide range of spray nozzles to choose from. If you want to go for thinner paints like varnishes and sealers, you can try the 1.8 mm nozzle or the 2.2 mm one. For thicker paints like latex or chalk-type paints, you can try the 2.6 mm nozzle.
Flow Control: With the adjustable flow-control knob, you’ll be able to easily adjust your paint output. This will allow you to work on a wide diversity of DIY projects, with the right level of detail control on each one.
Capacity: This is not one of those typical sprayers that come with a small container, not at all. You can hold up 34 oz (1000 ml) of painting or other fluid inside it. The best part? You can easily find replacement bottles at your nearest store, which is great if you damage the containers or you want a few spare paint cups for different colors.
Power Cord: Got a large workspace? You won’t be needing to run around while plugging the power cord from one socket to another. The set comes with a long power cord unlike most others. Plug it in, and your sprayer will be ready to work.
Cleaning: Now, as you work, the device and the straws will get messed up. You can easily use the help of a cleaning brush, right? Well, guess what, you’re getting an unclogging pin and a cleaning brush with the whole set. You’re also getting 3 extra straws for backup. This will make sure you don’t face a hard time cleaning it.
Ergonomics: You might think high power means more weight. However, with this Scuddles sprayer, you’ll love the compact design and weight. It is surprisingly lightweight, which reduces fatigue over long painting sessions. As a result, you can keep painting or staining for hours without compromising your comfort.
In saying that, you might not be able to work for hours because of the tendency of this sprayer to overheat. Aside from this drawback, this is a good sprayer if you have a variety of DIY and hobby projects to work on, including painting walls and other large surfaces.
- High 1200 watt power
- Comes with 3 nozzles
- Compact and lightweight
- Easily adjustable controls for adjusting paint output
- Holds up to 34oz paint
- Long power cord
- Gets overheated sometimes
Scuddles 1200 Watt HVLP Sprayer
Compact, lightweight sprayer with 3 nozzle set. Good capacity and replacement/extra containers available. High power device, suitable for wide range of projects, from crafts to house painting.
NEU MASTER N3140
- Brand: NEU MASTER
- Model: N3140
- Type: Handheld HVLP
- Retail Price: $85.99 (Source: NEU MASTER)
NEU MASTER’s Electric HVLP Spray Gun has a lot of the features that any hobbyist would want from this type of item. You will still be better off using an airless paint sprayer if you have larger outdoor projects, but this offering from NEU MASTER can act as a substitute in a pinch for wall painting and decks.
Power: Let’s begin with its 600 watt power because it’s worth drawing attention to. That type of power is just not something you usually see in handheld HVLP sprayers. The ability to reach that higher level of power is what makes this particular handheld sprayer better suited for outdoor projects, than lower powered devices.
Weight: Like the Wagner Control Spray Max, the turbine and the spray gun are separated, connected by a hose. Having the turbine separate from the spray gun makes for a much lighter device in the hand, at only 1 lb. The 6ft hose length means you can place the turbine on the ground while spraying, however should you need to carry it around (for example, if you are up a ladder) then the shoulder strap allows for manoeuvrability despite the weight.
Capacity: The capacity is 30.5 oz and I do find myself wishing the paint containers are just a bit larger so I can paint uninterrupted, but they are still not small by any means. In fact, if weight is a concern, then you may see the small cup capacity as a benefit rather than a hindrance.
The other components of this spray gun are also well designed. The cord is nice and durable, and it can extend a good amount of distance. Cleaning this sprayer thoroughly is made easier by the fact that its components can be disassembled pretty easily.
My only real complaint is that this spray gun does have a tendency to get clogged up. Even so, it happens infrequently enough that you should still be able to use this item with very little issue.
- Very lightweight
- Power is impressive for a handheld HVLP sprayer
- Easy disassembly for cleaning purposes
- Easy to operate
- Clogging can be an issue at times
NEU MASTER N3140
Very lightweight 600-watt sprayer, with separate turbine and spray gun. Suitable for small projects, furnishings and internal wall painting.
Tips for Using a Handheld Paint Sprayer
The primary purpose of an HVLP paint sprayer is to spray paint, stain, or another liquid onto a wall, surface or another object. While all HVLP handheld paint sprayers comprise of a motor, a spray gun, paint cup and different spray patterns, as well as other optional controls, each one is built slightly differently. Therefore, you should always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for how to properly assemble, use, clean and store the device, before during and after painting or staining projects.
Here is a quick overview of how handheld HVLP sprayers work:
- Load the paint into the cup
- Attach the cup to the spray gun as directed.
- Turn on the power, which will enable you to start spraying.
- Choose a spray pattern – see note below.
- Start spraying to paint. For the best finish, move the paint sprayer in even strokes from one end to the other. See tips below for further guidance.
Choosing a Spray Pattern
Your choice of spray pattern will depend on what you are spraying:
- Walls are best suited to a vertical spray pattern
- Floors and other horizontal surfaces are best suited to a horizontal spray pattern
- Objects like furniture, rails and sculptures are best suited to the round spray pattern.
Tips for Paint Spraying
- For woodworking and furniture items, hold the sprayer about 8 inches from the surface that you are spraying.
- For walls and large surfaces, point the sprayer directly at the wall or surface, and starting from the top, move the sprayer from left to right or vice versa.
- For wooden decks or ceilings, point the spray gun directly upwards or downwards, and try not to turn the gun. Use the vertical spray pattern.
- Do not turn the spray gun, always have it directly pointing at the area that you are spraying.
- If you want to stop spraying, try not to swing the sprayer away from the wall or surface until it has completely turned off.
Getting an even coat will take a bit of practice, but the faster or slower you move, the stronger or weaker your finish will be. There is no way to explain it and it will be different for each brand/model, so you just need to practice to get the feel for it. Therefore, make sure you test your new sprayer on a few pieces of scrap wood or junk first, before starting on your actual project. Aim to find the best speed for moving the spray gun, that achieves the best finish.
For more instruction on how to use your paint sprayer, check out our article on how to paint walls with a sprayer. and learn how to clean your paint sprayer properly in our article on how to clean a HVLP spray gun.
That brings us to the end of this article on the best handheld paint sprayer models and buying tips. By now, you should have a pretty clear idea of whether a handheld paint sprayer is the best choice for your painting jobs, and have a good understand of the benefits and drawbacks of using paint spray gun over a roller and brush. To summarize the benefits quickly, the reasons you may want to choose a paint sprayer instead of continuing to use a roller and brush are mainly to save time, and for painting hard to reach places ergonomically. A paint sprayer is simply quicker and easier to use than a roller/brush. Most handheld sprayers are also relatively inexpensive, and quick to learn.
Lastly, if you are ready to pick up the best handheld paint sprayer for furniture, cabinets and craft projects (and perhaps even your walls), then speaking as a female DIY’er my personal recommend would be the Wagner Spraytech Control Spray Max (0518080) HVLP paint sprayer.
The reason for this is because the turbine is separate from the spray gun, meaning you can place it on the ground while painting, meaning that the device in your hand is very lightweight. I also have good experience with tools from Wagner, and find it to be a reliable brand. As well as being lightweight, it also includes two different cups, with a large paint capacity. It is easy to use, easy to clean, and we’ve hardly found any nagging problems with it, aside from the short power cord.
If after reading this you decide that you’d like something a bit more powerful, than you may like to consider an Airless paint sprayer instead. These are much larger (and more expensive) devices, but also much more powerful, suited to larger projects such as painting your house exterior and large decks. We have a separate article on Airless paint sprayer that you can check out here.
Lastly, if you’re planning to paint your house, also don’t forget to check out our beginners guide on how to paint your house with a paint sprayer, before you get started. In that article, we cover essential techniques such as how to prepare the paint properly (thinning and straining paint) and sprayer techniques for getting a great finish.
This article was originally written in April 2021, and extensively rewritten in May/June 2023 by Sara Kooring.