How To Choose The Right Paint Sprayer

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A paint sprayer is a powerful tool to have in your garage. It can let you overcome painting challenges, such as bumps, cracks, and gaps, that make it difficult to perform detailed work using brushes and rollers.  

But while sprayers are excellent at painting jobs, choosing the right one can be complex, with the number of considerations to make and available options to explore. Keep reading this blog to learn more about picking the right paint sprayer and figure out whether hiring a professional is better.

Paint sprayer considerations

Take time to mull over the buying considerations for a paint sprayer below. These will give you a better idea of which type you need.


A paint sprayer's capacity refers to how much space it can take in. More affordable options like cup gun sprayers are small, usually carrying a quart of paint. As such, cup gun sprayers require constant refilling when working on bigger projects.

Alternatively, larger-capacity paint sprayers carry significantly more paint. However, it will be more challenging to lug around, and it requires larger storage space.  


This is a considerable factor when it comes to price. More affordable paint sprayers have plastic parts. The downside is that it can gunk up with paint and become unusable if you don't clean it immediately after use. This adds more layers to the job than a sprayer you can leave after use. Of course, paint sprayers made of stainless steel and metal come at a higher cost.  


This is where the choices can get overwhelming. Options range from cup sprayers just slightly bigger than a garden hose nozzle to air compressor tanks you need to wheel on a cart. Apart from tank size, you'll need to consider the paint sprayer's tip, which features an orifice and a fan.

The size of the hole dictates how many gallons can be sprayed in a minute. On the other hand, the fan size is responsible for how wide paint is sprayed on a surface.  


More sophisticated paint sprayers allow you to adjust paint thickness, speed, and spray pattern. There are also sprayers you can secure garden hoses to, enabling you to rinse out with water for cleaning. Regarding portability, you can opt for a handheld, backpack, or carted model. The scale of your projects should dictate which one you choose, as even smaller handheld models can feel heavy when used for extended periods.  

Additionally, you'll need to consider how the device is powered. There are models you need to plug in, cordless ones, and gas models.    


While there's a gamut of paint sprayer choices, there are only a few types: airless, pneumatic, and high-volume low-pressure (HVLP).  


This type of air sprayer can is usually reserved for professionals and skilled DIYers, as it can be tricky to operate. It's excellent to use on larger surfaces, including interior walls, fences, and decks. Airless sprayers use pressurized force to break up the paint, making them ideal for denser latex paints. Avoid using an airless sprayer on projects requiring detailed work. Moreover, be cautious with this tool since it’s equipped with high-pressure output that can lead to injury.  


Pneumatic sprayers require a hose, as well as an air compressor. This precision tool is the sprayer of choice for commercial and industrial use, such as automotive bodywork. Pneumatic sprayers can provide more volume of paint than airless and HVLP ones, so you have to be mindful of overspray. For home improvement use, this type is suitable for furniture and fixtures.  


HVLP sprayers are ideal for projects requiring accurate and smooth finishes, as it lets you manage paint volume and airflow. This type of sprayer comes in cup-style or cart ones. HVLP sprayers also come with a spray gun attachment if you already have an air compressor or built-in compressors.  


Paint sprayers can go for as low as USD$50 for cup-style pneumatic models you can connect to an air compressor and over the thousand-dollar range for professional models. If you're looking for electric air sprayers (ideal for house exteriors and smaller projects), this can set you back around USD$300 to USD$400. Electric air sprayers allow you to attach a paint bucket to it, removing the constant need to refill.  

Airless sprayers start around USD$100, while HVLP models can range from USD$60 to USD$400. Of course, the more features you want, the higher the price. Usually handheld, lower-end sprayers are less powerful, so you’ll need to refill them more often.  

Choosing the right paint sprayer

You can decide which paint sprayer suits your needs by answering basic questions. This will help you cut costs by choosing practicality over a shinier, more expensive option.  

For larger projects like home exteriors, an airless cart-type sprayer is the way to go, as it can quickly apply greater volumes of paint. For any kind of job, be it minor or major, HVLP sprayers would be the ideal choice. Meanwhile, if you're looking at house exterior work, stay away from HVLP sprayers since they take a long time to provide for extensive areas.  

Will you use the paint sprayer regularly?

If you're a burgeoning DIYer and plan to use a paint sprayer often, you need one that’s easy to clean. As mentioned earlier, a model you can connect to a hose makes this job easier. If it's a one-time thing, you're better off renting instead.  

Quick points to remember

Here's a quick guide for what to keep in mind when choosing a paint sprayer.  

⦁    HVLP sprayers are ideal for projects like painting trims, moldings, and fixtures.

⦁    Airless sprayers don't perform precision jobs well.  

⦁    Since you're reading this guide, stay away from pneumatic sprayers, as they require a level of skill to control.  

And if you think the job is too much for you, hire a professional instead. Doing so will save you trouble and potential additional costs.  

Final words

It's wiser to rent (or borrow when possible) if you're not an aspiring DIY enthusiast. Even if it's for a bigger job like painting a home's exterior, it could be more cost-efficient to hire a professional than to DIY. An excellent paint job can add value to your home, while the alternative will cause regret.

MIT Citations

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HVLP Paint Sprayer. Family Handy Man

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Spray Painting Kitchen Cabinets. HGTV

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Petra, G. (2022, September 23).

The Complete Guide to Painting Your Home's Exterior. Real Simple

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