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Learn How To Choose The Best Paint Sprayer For Your Next Project

Using a paint sprayer

Get stunning results in less than half the time

Simple paintbrush and roller aren’t  doing it for you anymore and  now you’re considering the option of a power paint sprayer. Sprayers are very handy  when it comes to painting large surfaces and perfect for when you want detailed look on small finishing jobs.

They allow you to paint more quickly and efficiently while at the sometime giving a solid coverage and uniform finish on a variety of objects and materials.

Whether or not your project is a large exterior,  like repainting the garage, or more detailed work,  like refinishing a piece of your favorite furniture, there is one to meet your specific need.

Why The Right Paint Sprayer Will Save You Valuable Time

Simply put, the right paint sprayer will give you more coverage in less time. They can spread material like paint, stains, and clear finishes much faster than your standard paint brush or roller.

More so is their ability to apply a consistent and uniform coat on uneven surfaces like textured stucco or window shutters which can be very time consuming and frustrating with a simple brush or roller. Also, because they atomize  martial into a fine mist, you can create smooth mirror-like finishes on furniture where blemishes like brush marks can easily be seen.

However, paint sprayers are not always the first choice for all projects.  Many small projects  hardly justifies the prep and clean-up required, sometimes the most efficient solution is to use a paint bush, roller, or even can of spray paint.

A decent sprayer can be quite expensive as well, so if you are only planning on using it a couple times, the cost might not be justifiable.

But if a sprayer is justifiable, your finished work will depend greatly on choosing the right one for the job, as well as grasping a few techniques.

What You Need To Consider Before Making Your Choice

Finding the right sprayer is not as simple as buying the first one you come across. There are a few questions you must ask yourself to ensure that you get the right sprayer for your project.

What Are The Different Types Of Paint Prayers

No two paint sprayer are the same, they generally vary by the amount of paint or material they deliver, the overspray they produce, the thickness of the material they can handle,  the type of finish they produce, among other factors.

They are actually a few different types of sprayers available today, they are the conventional air sprayers, airless sprayers, high-volume low-pressure (HVLP) sprayers and cup sprayers. Each have there own advantages and disadvantages as well as desired application,  but  all are designed to help you accomplish your task with sunning results.

Keep in mind thou,  the sprayer you choose is greatly determined by your intended application.

Now lets take a detailed look at the different type of sprayers.

Conventional Air Sprayers

Conventional Air Sprayers uses compressed air from a compressor do apply  a smooth, thin coat of paint onto the desired surface. The compressor can be built into the paint sprayer, but the majority of sprayer are a two part system consisting of a spray gun and an external compressor.

Because of the added cost of owning an air compressor, you will find that these are generally used by professionals. However, if you already have an air compressor, all you will need to buy is a spray gun which is much less expensive than buying an entire system.

They can also be very tricky to use. Many models offer customization where you can adjust the spray width, flow of paint, flow of air,  with each adjustment affecting the other.

Therefore,  there is generally  a steep learning curve to master with these type of sprayers, but once you get the hang of it the level of control allows you to produce stunning results.

Conventional air sprayers ability to offer a great deal of customization also allow them to accommodate a wide variety of paint types, however paint thinning may be required in some instances.

One of the major downside to these types of sprayer is the amount of overpray they produce. Conventional sprayers only have a transfer rate of 30%. This means only 30% of the paint in the basin is transfer to its intended surface, the other 80% becomes cover spray.

To get the best results the suggested spraying distance is 6″ to 12″

Best Application
Great for  project that requires a fine, high-quality finish like automotive work. Also great for small to medium interior or exterior projects.

Airless Paint Sprayers

Airless paint sprayers are  ideal for large surfaces where overspary is not generally a concern. They are also the fastest type of sprayers on the market, while at the sometime minimizing overspary.

Generally powered by an electric motor, they work under considerably high pressure . This allows them work with a wide variety of materials from thick latex paints, to thin oil based paints and stains.

They work by forcing paint under high pressure through a small hole in the spray gun, this creates a spray that can then be applied to the intended surface. Because the paint is applied under higher pressure it form a thicker uniformed coat which reduces the number of coats to finish the project.

One of the major draw backs to these types of sprayers is their minimal adjustments.  The spray fan and paint flow on an airless sprayer is not adjustable. To adjust these settings you will need buy different nozzles  and attach these to the paint sprayer. Occasionally the small nozzle hole may clog with dirt or dried paint. Most high quality sprayers come with reversible spray tips to help prevent clogs.

In short, to get the most out of an airless sprayer, you should anticipate many large projects that require thick coatings of paint.

To get the best results the suggested spraying distance is  12″

Best Application
Great for large  interior and exterior projects that require thick coatings of paint

HVLP Paint Sprayers

High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) paint sprayer uses a combination of high air volume and low air pressure,  the result is a sprayer that produces minimal overspary while creating a very smooth and fine coating.

HVLP Sprayer are also renowned for their accuracy, making them attractive for interior projects or detailed work. They may also feature an adjustable spray fan width, paint flow and airflow settings.  Just like conventional sprayers this can take some time to master, but once you get the hang of it will offer you greater control.

They also provide the highest level of transfer efficiency. Unlike conventional air sprayers, 80% of the spray actually ends up where it is intended.

The drawback to these types of sprayer is that they gain efficiency at the cost of speed. This makes them best suited for smaller projects like painting the door, not for painting a fence or entire room. They also work best with thinner materials, and are not ideal for thick paints like latex.

To get the best results the suggested spraying distance is  6″ to 8″

Best Application
Great for small to medium exterior and interior projects especially where detailed work is required.

Cup Paint Sprayers

Ideal for the do-it-yourself or craft and hobby enthusiast, theses power paint sprayers are small and compact airless or HVLP sparyers. They offer excellent paint and stain applications with out the expense of buying more more advanced models designed for large-sacale work.

Cups payer draw paint directly from a cup attached to the gun where it is atomized and sprayed in an even coat onto the intended surface. Many models even include a siphon attachment that draws paint straight from the bucket.

The are generally easy to setup and  operate as well. Simply fill the cup with your desired material, plug it in to a power supply and and you are ready to go.

Cups payer draw paint directly from a cup attached to the gun where it is atomized and sprayed in an even coat onto the intended surface. Many models even include a siphon attachment that draws paint straight from the bucket.

A drawback to these types of sprayers is that the small cup can quickly run out of material on larger projects. However, many models even include a siphon attachment that draws paint straight from the bucket.

To get the best results the suggested spraying distance is  6″ to 8″

Best Application
Great for small to medium exterior and interior projects, touch-up work, crafts and hobby projects.

How To Spary: Tips And Techniques To Get The Best Results

Whichever model you choose, you’ll want to master a few general spraying techniques to maximize your investment and improve the quality of your painting. When using your sprayer, keep in mind that holding the gun closer applies more paint to the surface and has a narrower spray pattern, while holding the gun farther away results in a thinner coat and a wider spray pattern.

Most spraying techniques depend upon the type of sprayer you choose, so consult your user’s manual for more specific rules and proper use of your equipment. Here are some general tips that apply to most paint sprayers.

 

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  • Before painting, be sure to test the spray pattern on piece of scrap card board. Adjust the sprayer until a uniform spray pattern is achieved.
  • Keep the gun a consistent distance from the surface, move the the gun in order to keep it pointed directly at the surface. Move your arm, not your wrist. Bending the gun will make it spray at an angle causing an uneven finish.
  • Always start your stroke before pulling the trigger and continue your stroke after the trigger is released to prevent paint from building up.
  • Overlap each stroke by about 50%. This can be done by pointing the tip at the edge of the previous pattern.
  • Move the sprayer at a consistent speed —about 3 inches per second should do it.
  • When you have finished painting for the day or are taking a break of significant length, be sure to clean the paint from the unit, carefully following the manufacturer’s instructions

How to be safe while painting

When painting, always wear protective clothing, gloves, as well as goggle to avoid any mishaps or injury.

Many paint sprayers work at very high pressure, and can force paint through or even break your skin. Never point spray gun at your head or body.  if this happens speak medical attention immediately.

Before clean up, be sure the paint sprayer is turned off and unplugged.  Then put the trigger to release any pressure that might remain in the hose