best paint sprayer on for the money

Paint Sprayer Buying Guide for Complete Beginners

Thinking of switching to a paint sprayer for your home painting needs? In this article, we discuss what to look for when buying a paint sprayer, and which paint sprayer is best for your specific home jobs.

Home improvement is not just about putting in new pieces of furniture or building additions. It also takes into account smaller things you can do to make your nest a bit more presentable, such as retouching the paint on your walls and other home fixtures.

If you want your home to look its best, painting is something you will have to do eventually. Of course, painting can admittedly be a tiring activity. That’s why you need a good paint sprayer on hand to make the process faster to complete and easier to accomplish. Painting with a sprayer is faster and produces a smoother finish than a roller, but there are some technical things you will need to brush up on (pun intended) before you get started with sprayers.

In this paint sprayer buying guide, we will help you familiarize yourself with the different types of paint sprayers currently available. We’ll also highlight the different characteristics that separate the paint sprayers worth owning from the ones that should stay in the hardware store.

best paint sprayer on for the money

Paint Sprayer Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best One

Consider the Surface You’re Painting

Before you spend any money on a paint sprayer, you should first take into consideration the kind of surface that you’re actually painting.

Paint sprayers have their own strengths and weaknesses and if you want to play into the former while also minimizing the latter, you should choose a type of sprayer that is appropriate for the job you’re planning to take on.

Some paint sprayers work best outdoors, while others shine when they are used to retouch the paint on smaller surfaces.

The bottom line is that you should always remember the kind of surface you’re planning to paint before you move forward with purchasing any sprayer.

Do You Need an Airless, Compressed Air, or HVLP Sprayer?

Once you’ve identified the type of surface you’ll be painting, you can turn your attention to the paint sprayer selection process. That begins with deciding whether you need an airless, compressed air, or high volume low pressure (HVLP) sprayer.

Sprayer TypeBest UseProsCons
Airless paint sprayerDecks
Even coating
Works with thick paint
Some paint wastage
Compressed air sprayerLarge surfaces, eg walls
Large furniture
Less paint, therefore lower paint costMessy
HVLP paint sprayerIndoor use
Small projects
Latex paint
Best choice for indoors
Less paint, therefore lower paint cost
Nice, even coating
Slow to use

If the surfaces you’re planning on painting include decks, fences, and even the walls of your home, then the folks at Lowe’s suggest getting an airless paint sprayer. Airless sprayers are a good option for working with thicker types of paint and coating surfaces evenly.

Compressed air sprayers have a tendency to get messy, which is why they are best used on larger surfaces. The bigger pieces of furniture you have in your home are compatible with compressed air sprayers. In exchange for being willing to take on the potential messes caused by a compressed air sprayer, you can spend less to get your painting project done.

Painting indoors can be tricky, but if you have no other choice than to do that, then HVLP paint sprayers will prove most helpful to you. They’re a bit more expensive than other variants, but they also work better for maximizing the paint you have.

Adjustable Flow Rate Is a Great Feature for Paint Sprayers

Even if you take the time to consider the type of surface you’re looking to paint before you purchase a sprayer, it’s still very likely that you’ll be using that product on all kinds of items in and around your home.

To ensure that the paint sprayer you’re getting is capable of working well on more than just one type of surface, it must feature adjustable flow rate. That feature will make it easier for you to transition from using a paint sprayer to apply coats of paint to a dining room chair to later using the same product for retouching the walls of your home.

Having Multiple Spray Patterns to Choose from Would Be Ideal

You should also check to see if the paint sprayer you’re eyeing can offer multiple spray patterns if you want to have a versatile item.

Spray patterns actually make a pretty significant impact on the kind of job you can do.

Painting pieces of furniture that come in different shapes and sizes will be much easier if the paint emerging from the sprayer can also come out in varied patterns.

A horizontal spray pattern is useful for working on tables, while a vertical spray pattern will help you cover more surface area faster if you are painting a wall. A sprayer that allows the paint to come out in a circular pattern is also useful for working on a variety of items.

The Paint Cup or the Hose: Which Is Better?

The vast majority of sprayers draw paint from one of two sources: paint cup or hose.

Some come with paint cups included and you as the user will need to fill up that container before using the sprayer itself. Other sprayers have long hoses included. These hoses are then used to suction up paint directly from the can.

The sprayers that are able to extract paint directly from the cans are quite convenient to use because you don’t have to frequently switch out smaller containers. More often than not though, the products that make use of hoses are the larger, commercial sprayers.

That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering commercial sprayers are the ones used for large-scale projects.

It’s very likely that you will have to settle for a sprayer that makes use of a paint cup, but if you’re planning to do a lot of painting around your home, don’t hesitate to go for those models that use hoses.

By the way, if you are thinking of getting a commercial sprayer, be sure to pick one that comes with a long hose so that you won’t be limited by the tool you’re using while you’re working.

Should You Pay for a More Powerful Paint Sprayer?

In paint sprayers, power is typically measured in watts. The more powerful your paint sprayer is, the faster it can work to get the paint from the can or cup to the surface you’re working on.

Of course, if you do want a more powerful paint sprayer, you will have to pay more.

I don’t think that the sprayer you’re using necessarily has to have plenty of power in most cases, but if you are planning to get a lot of painting done in a brief window of time, then you should look into paying the premium.

Sprayers Should Be Comfortable to Work with

It’s never a good idea to get a tool that is going to cause you discomfort while you’re using it, so it’s best to find one that is relatively light and comes with ergonomically-designed features.

Getting a sprayer that is comfortable to work with is even more important if you’re a hobbyist. If you’re a hobbyist, you probably don’t have the luxury of spending most of your week painting and that means you will likely have to cram plenty of work into your weekends.

By getting a sprayer that does not put unnecessary strain on your body, you can work for extended periods of time without ever feeling any type of discomfort.

The Different Types of Paint Sprayers Available on the Market

Commercial Paint Sprayers

Commercial paint sprayers are usually more expensive and larger than most of the other options available on the market. If you provide commercial painting service than you should have to own a commercial sprayer.

However, if you’re thinking of starting up a home improvement business or you have a lot of work lined up at home, it may not be a bad move to invest in a commercial sprayer.

You’ll definitely be happy with the kind of premium performance the commercial sprayers provide.Getting a commercial sprayer is going to make a noticeable dent on your bank account, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more impressive addition to your collection of power tools beyond this item.

HVLP Paint Sprayers

The HVLP paint sprayer is designed to always get the most out of the paint you have on hand.

It can sometimes feel as though working with an HVLP paint sprayer is taking way too long, but that’s just part of how it works. These sprayers are best suited for smaller projects because their lack of high-end speed is not as glaring and you’re also accentuating their strength, which is maximizing the paint.

Another advantage of using an HVLP paint sprayer is that it always coats surfaces evenly. You won’t have to double back often to repaint an area that didn’t get much attention beforehand.

As long as you’re fine with swapping a bit of speed for precision, you’ll be pleased with the type of work provided by HVLP paint sprayers.

Handheld Paint Sprayers

A handheld paint sprayer can also be an HVLP paint sprayer and it can also be an airless paint sprayer. Since the only real requirement for a sprayer to be considered a handheld paint sprayer is portability, you will have all kinds of options to choose from when you go out to shop for one.

You should not forget to take the weight of the item you’re getting into account when you’re looking at handheld paint sprayers. It won’t matter how portable a sprayer is if you can’t comfortably hold on to it for longer than a few minutes.

Interior Wall Paint Sprayers

Finding a suitable paint sprayer to use for the walls of your home can end up being a more challenging undertaking than you initially expected it to be.

That’s because many of the currently available paint sprayers feature at least a little bit of overspray. Unless you want your furniture to feature specks of paint all over them, using a compressed air sprayer is out of the question and I would also avoid using an airless sprayer if possible.

If you need a quality interior wall paint sprayer, go with one of the HVLP sprayers. They’re not going to cover as much area as fast as the other sprayers, but they will get the job done without leaving unsightly residue behind on the items you have inside your home.

HVLP Spray Guns for Woodworking

You will need at least one type of painting tool inside your workshop and there’s no reason why an HVLP spray gun cannot fill that role.

Most HVLP spray guns for woodworking are designed to be easy to hold in your hands because manufacturers know that you are likely going to work on smaller pieces. The smaller spray guns are also nice to have around because they help you really get into the nooks and crannies of whatever item you’re painting.

You should also seek out spray guns that offer different spray patterns so that you can easily adjust how you’re working depending on whichever item is in front of you.

Latex Paint Sprayers

Once again, numerous paint sprayers can be used for the purposes of getting latex paint from the can to your furniture, but if you want the best results, I would go for an HVLP sprayer.

Latex paint is not particularly durable, which is why you need to get plenty of it onto the surface you’re painting. That’s another reason why using an HVLP gun as a latex paint sprayer is a good move. An HVLP gun excels at applying even coats of whichever paint you’re using and it will ensure that the latex paint will stay on.

Per This Old House, you should also look for items with .013-inch to .017-inch tips as those are best suited to work as latex paint sprayers.

Stain Sprayers

Stain sprayers are typically used for painting items such as fences and walls. When you’re looking for one, you should prioritize airless or HVLP sprayers.

Airless sprayers work great for painting fences because they are able to cover a large area in such a short amount of time.

HVLP sprayers can also function well as stain sprayers because they don’t waste paint. That should help you cut down on your expenses.

I also urge you to look for sprayers with larger paint cups so that you won’t have to constantly refill while you’re working.

Final thoughts on buying a paint sprayer

Painting in and around your home can either be a fun activity or a tiresome chore depending on which tools you’re using.

If you’re relying on older tools or even a poorly designed sprayer, then you’re probably not going to think of painting as any kind of enjoyable activity.

However, if you take the time to find the sprayer that will work best for what you’re trying to do, painting is going to be a breeze.

Hopefully, you have picked up some valuable tips from this paint sprayer buying guide. I also hope that the insight provided here has helped you identify the exact type of paint sprayer you need.

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  • Todd Davis

    A jack of all trades, Todd has been a DIY enthusiast, traveler, and writer for many years. He has a deep understanding of all types of painting tools and door hardware, and has shared many articles on these topics throughout the years.

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