The Best Paint Sprayers: Airless vs HVLP (2019)

by Joanna Stewart

Tue, Nov 13, 2018

Article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Want paint sprayer reviews from real construction experts? You've come to the right place!

I've collected reviews on the best paint sprayers so you can get all the information you need to make a quick decision. No more sorting through hundreds of Amazon reviews and random blog posts. Your painting journey ends here.

As a design consultant I help my clients design and build their dream homes. Sometimes that means drawing plans and hiring contractors.

Other times, I point them in the right direction and they conquer big remodeling projects on their own. In order for them to be successful I make sure I give them my best tool recommendations and actionable advice.

So, when my clients want to paint their house or refinish their kitchen cabinets what paint sprayer do I tell them to use? Find out below!

Whether you plan to paint the outside of your house, your kitchen cabinets or even your living room walls – a paint sprayer will make the process extremely easy and fun.

Not only do paint sprayers give you a smooth and even finish, but they also speed up the process.

Painting pros have found that a paint sprayer is four times faster at applying a coat of paint than a roller or ten times faster than using a brush.

Talk about a time saver!

Editor's Pick Most Popular Easy Clean Up
fuji mini mite 3 hvlp paint sprayer wagner 518080 control spray max hvlp paint sprayer graco magnum x5 airless paint sprayer
Fuji 2903-T70 Mini-Mite 3 Wagner Max HVLP Sprayer Graco Magnum X5 Sprayer
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Airless vs HVLP

As you’ll see in these paint sprayer reviews there are a number of things to keep in mind before you put your money down. Not only should you be careful about what brand you purchase, but the style and features are important as well.

Depending on your project needs you’ll need to decide between airless paint sprayers and HVLP (high-volume, low-pressure) paint sprayers.

An airless sprayer is commonly used outdoors because they usually have over spray and are also very loud.

On the other hand, HVLP sprayers are quieter and apply a nice even finish that’s great for furniture, kitchen cabinets and other small projects.

What is the best paint sprayer for your project? See what I discovered below.

Airless Paint Sprayers

Editor's Pick Electric Easy Clean Up
wagner 0515034 procoat paint sprayer graco truecoat pro 2 electric graco magnum x5 airless paint sprayer
Wagner 0515034 ProCoat Stand Airless Paint Sprayer Graco 16N673 TrueCoat Pro II Electric Paint Sprayer Graco Magnum X5 Sprayer
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graco magnum x5 airless paint sprayer

Airless paint sprayers are great for outdoor projects and large indoor areas. Most paint sprayer reviews like to point out that airless sprayers have a lot of overspray.

If you are working in a small area this can make it difficult to keep your work area clean.

So, what makes an airless paint spray unique?

The paint is sent into a small cylinder and forced out by a piston without the need for compressed air.

One advantage of an airless sprayer is that it provides more paint volume over HVLP sprayers. It can also spray unthinned latex paint which you cannot do with an HVLP sprayer.

While an airless sprayer has many advantages, the piston pump makes the paint sprayer extremely loud and is prefered for outdoor use.

When comparing airless paint sprayers be sure to pay attention to how many gallons per hour they can spray. More volume usually means more power and better paint application.

See the paint sprayer reviews below for more detailed specifications.

What are the best airless paint sprayers?

HVLP Paint Sprayers

Editor's Pick Most Popular Decorative Finishes
fuji mini mite 3 hvlp paint sprayer wagner 518080 control spray max hvlp paint sprayer campbell hausfeld easy spray hvlp
Fuji 2903-T70 Mini-Mite 3 Wagner Max HVLP Sprayer Campbell Hausfeld Easy Spray
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wagner 518080 control spray max hvlp paint sprayer

High-volume, low-pressure (HVLP) paint sprayers are great for indoor painting and even cabinets or furniture.

If you read a few HVLP paint sprayer reviews you’ll notice that many people have problems with the overspray. While these sprayers have less overspray than airless paint sprayers, it can still be a problem.

For most indoor painting projects you’ll need to lay down a drop cloth and carefully apply painters tape to protect any exposed areas.

One of the main advantages of using a sprayer is that it can finish any painting project in record time – as much as 10 times faster than using a brush!

However, you will still need to account for the additional time needed to protect your floors, trim and adjacent walls.

Unlike an airless sprayer, HVLP paint sprayers use a turbine (similar to a vacuum cleaner) to force out the paint with air.

Since these sprayers do not use a piston to force out the paint they are much quieter. Many craftsmen prefer to use HVLP paint sprayers because they can apply a very fine finish to furniture and cabinets.

However, one important point to note is that most HVLP sprayers cannot shoot unthinned latex paint.

When comparing HVLP sprayers you’ll need to understand how they’re rated. Since paint is forced out by compressed air, a higher wattage turbine will indicate a higher quality sprayer. Most models are rated by the wattage of the turbine.

The best paint sprayers have a high pressure turbine that allows for improved paint atomization. In addition, the increased pressure in high wattage sprayers will allow you to apply thicker and more viscous paints or stains.

What are the best HVLP paint sprayers?

Check back for more paint sprayer reviews as they’re released.

Photo via Garrison Hullinger Interior Design Inc.


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