Best Paint Sprayers

Updated June 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

33 Models Considered
24 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
60 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best paint sprayers

Painting a house, fence, cabinets, or furniture can be a time-consuming job. Paint sprayers produce a professional paint job in a fraction of the time it takes to use a brush and roller. Previously, spray guns had to be attached to big, powerful air compressors. Today, however, there are many more options for paint jobs large and small. But with so many new paint sprayers on the market, how do you pick the right one for you?

That’s where we come in. At BestReviews, we’re dedicated to honest and unbiased reviews. We never accept free products or perks from manufacturers. Instead, we buy products ourselves, test them in our labs, consult experts, and gather feedback from real-life owners. When you are faced with a shopping decision, you can trust us. 

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Before buying, check to see if replacement parts are available. You’ll want to be able to replace anything that wears out or breaks on your paint sprayer.

Types of paint sprayers

There are three basic types of paint sprayers available today, each with their pros and cons.

HVLP paint sprayers

High-volume, low-pressure (HVLP) paint sprayers use a high volume of air to push paint through the tip, along with a low-pressure air stream that produces a mist-like spray pattern. They work best at a six- to eight-inch spray distance. This type of sprayer offers the best user control because you can adjust the amount of paint that comes through the tip. HVLP sprayers are ideal for detail projects like cabinets or doors. Their simple design makes them easier to clean than other types of sprayers. However, low-pressure painting can be slow. If you have a large surface area to cover, you may need something more powerful. HVLPs don’t perform as well with lacquer or thick paint.

Conventional/compressed paint sprayers

With this type of sprayer, an air compressor pushes paint through the tip. Conventional sprayers cut down on paint time and are inexpensive.

They are easy to use, but they do not offer as much control as HVLP or airless sprayers. The size and power of the compressor greatly affects the performance of the paint sprayer. If you choose a compressor that is too small, the paint job may be spotty.

However, if you pick a compressor that is too big, you may use more paint than necessary.

Airless paint sprayers

Airless paint sprayers use high pressure to pump out paint. An airless sprayer effectively covers a large surface area in a small amount of time. Airless models can be either electric or gas-powered. Adjusting the pressure lets you customize coverage, with results that are often indistinguishable from a professional job.

However, controlling the spray pattern can be difficult. This type of sprayer works best for large jobs like painting a fence or the exterior of a house.

Due to the difficulty of adjusting the spray pattern and the noise of airless sprayers, they aren’t ideal for detail jobs or inside work. Airless paint sprayers cannot spray paint with any grit or texture.

What to look for when buying a paint sprayer

Horsepower

More horsepower means more gallons per minute. If speed is important, higher horsepower is going to get the job done faster.

For safety’s sake, be sure you don’t have more horsepower than you can physically handle.

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For your safety
Always wear eye protection and a mask while spraying paint. Paint in a well-ventilated area to protect yourself from paint fumes.
STAFF
BestReviews

Tip size

The type and size of the sprayer’s tip can make a big difference in the overall success of your paint project. Some sprayers work with different tip sizes, while other sprayers can only use one size. Thick paint like exterior latex requires a larger tip; a stain requires a smaller tip.

Tip sizes also come with different spray pattern widths, varying from six to 14 inches wide. If you’re painting an exterior or interior walls, a wider spray pattern will cover more area.

When spraying ceilings or doing a house exterior, look for a sprayer that can accommodate a tip extension. Always follow the tip size recommendations found in your owner’s manual for best results.

Hose and cord length

A long hose can eliminate a lot of frustration and speeds up a big paint job.

When painting a house, 25 feet of extendable hose means more time to spray and less time moving the sprayer.

Similarly, a long power cord gives more mobility.
 

"For jobs that require a smooth finish, purchase a filter to remove paint debris."
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Coating type

Different coatings work best with different sprayers. Exterior latex paint needs the bigger tips usually found on conventional or airless sprayers. You may need to thin paint to use it in an HVLP sprayer.

Pressure control

Paint sprayers with pressure control will not wear out their tips as fast as non-adjustable types. High, low, cleaning, and roller settings can improve results and save money by extending the life of the tip.

Noise level

The sprayer’s volume is a serious consideration, especially if you are painting indoors. HVLPs are the quietest, while gas-powered sprayers are the loudest and should only be used outdoors.

Portability

Depending on the type of job, portability can be important. If you need to move your paint supply and sprayer a long distance, a backpack or sprayer with wheels are both good options.

How much do paint sprayers cost?

  • Inexpensive: For under $50, you can find conventional paint sprayers that are either gravity- or siphon-fed. You can also find low-end HVLP sprayers. Some sprayers come as part of a kit, which includes several tip sizes to accommodate different types of paint. Keep in mind that most conventional paint sprayers in this price range do not include compressors.

  • Mid-range: In the $50 to $150 range are higher quality conventional sprayers and many HVLP sprayers of varying quality that include their own compressors. You’ll also find a few airless sprayers at this price point.

  • Expensive: From $150 to $250, you’ll find airless sprayers and some HVLP sprayers. Some come as part of a kit, including several tips, a hose, and adaptors. The airless sprayers have more sophisticated and complex pressure controls for fine-tuning the spray.

  • Premium: Above $250 are semi-pro to professional-grade HVLP and airless sprayers. Some have wheels for portability and pattern control features to adjust the width of the spray.

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If you’re painting a ceiling or the eaves of a house, consider a tip extension. You might not even need a ladder!

Tips

  • Use conditioners and protectants to prevent rust or cold weather from damaging your paint sprayer.

  • Many inexpensive compressors don’t keep an even pressure, which can make paint splatter. Use an air-adjusting valve to help prevent sudden surges and maintain better control.

  • For quick cleanup, buy a paint sprayer that you can disassemble easily. Also look for a smooth interior, so paint won’t stick or hide.

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