Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Interested in buying a spray gun? We will answer all your questions so you can make the best possible choice! Spray guns are very useful artifacts to facilitate and speed up the process of painting walls, furniture and all kinds of surfaces. They can be employed with professional or artistic use.

They allow you to say goodbye to the habit of using a brush or roller. But how to choose the ideal one? There are a number of different models and specifications that help you choose which one would be best for your purposes. So, let's break down each of these little details now.




Summary

  • They can be used not only for walls, but also (and mainly) for automotive works, artistic works, carpentry services, among others. There are models indicated for each one of these uses.
  • They can work by gravity (tank above the equipment) or by suction (below). The first ones are more efficient, but cost more.
  • The prices may vary between $ 40 and $ 650, with most models being around $ 150. Pay attention if the chosen one comes with an air compressor or if it will be necessary to purchase one.

The Best Spray Gun: Our Picks

Buying Guide

Throughout this complete Buying Guide our mission is to help you buy the perfect spray gun for your needs. As you've seen above, we've selected the best ones on the market, and now, we'll bring you all the information so that you'll know - by yourself - how to buy the best model, whatever your need is. Ready? Just keep reading this Guide!

Imagem mostra a mão de um homem usando uma pistola de pintura para pintar madeira.

The spray gun is an important tool for painters. (Source: Bogdan Mircea Hoda / 123RF)

What is a spray gun and what are its advantages?

A spray gun is used to add speed and agility to the process of painting something. The finish is also usually far superior. It usually uses thinner paints, producing more beautiful results. It is recommended to use a spray gun on smaller and not straight surfaces. For example, cars, furniture, sculptures and artistic pieces.

For walls and walls, more experience is needed to replace the good old roller. First-time painters can suffer greatly from waste.

Whether for personal or professional use, time of use and improvement are important. And it is also essential to understand the differences between each of the various types of spray guns. According to experts, the negative points of a spray gun are: the need to understand the paints well, since the wrong viscosity can ruin the equipment, and the difficulty in maintenance and cleaning.

Advantages
  • Painting speed
  • Easy to transport
  • Superior finishing
  • Versatility
Disadvantages
  • Waste of paint
  • Need to understand the paints well
  • Need for air compressor
  • Complicated maintenance

Gravity or suction spray gun?

There are two types of spray guns on the market: gravity and suction. The first type has the tank above the equipment, the second type has it below. In the gravity gun, the paint flows from top to bottom, precisely by the action of gravity. From there, it is sprayed outwards. In these models, it is often possible to adjust the air flow, the fan opening and the amount of paint used.

As for the suction gun, it is the presence of air inside the object that causes the paint to be sucked in when the trigger is pulled and come out. The big disadvantage of this type is that the waste is much greater. It is much more common to find gravity guns on the market. This is in fact the most efficient type and has become the majority on the shelves.

Gravity gun Suction gun
Reservoir Above the equipment Below the equipment
Adjustments Possibility to make adjustments More difficult to make adjustments
Yield Less waste of paint More waste

HVLP or LVLP spray gun?

Within the gravity guns, there is also a division into two types: HVLP, which in Portuguese means High Volume and Low Pressure, and LVLP, Low Volume and Low Pressure.

  • HVLP: These models are more recommended for larger surfaces. It is a system that generates less paint loss to the air, not causing clouds. But this is common to all gravity guns.
  • LVLP: This system is used in guns for more detailed work. It fits well with models with very small tanks and which apply materials such as varnish. The small volume of air and the low pressure help in the manual precision achieved with the artifact.

How much does a spray gun cost?

Spray guns usually have great price variations. In a quick search, we found models that go from $ 40 to $ 650. What generates the price variation in these objects is the power, the capacity to paint several surfaces and, of course, the brand. There are also some models that bring extra items, such as cases and viscosity meters, which may have an influence on the final value. Not necessarily the most expensive model is the best. The ideal is that, from this guide, you can understand which one best meets your needs!

Imagem mostra um homem usando uma pistola de pintura para pintar um muro branco.

A wall gun is very useful for painting a wall. (Source: Grzegorz_Skibka / Pixabay)

Purchase criteria: Factors to compare spray gun models

Besides the differences between gravity and suction gun and HVLP and LVLP, many other features play a role in choosing the right spray gun. We will explain below how important each one is. We have separated some items that deserve special attention in this guide:

Read each item carefully and get to know everything about paint guns!

Power

The power of a spray gun is very important and interferes with its efficiency and speed of work. We find models that reach up to 650 W, which would allow less time to be spent on large surfaces. It is possible to relate the power to the amount of paint dissipated per minute. This leads to an easier finish on certain items and the possibility of carrying out more work in less time. The higher the power, the more suitable the equipment is for professional use.

Imagem de pessoa segurando pistola de pintura pintando um carro.

Spray guns with higher power are recommended for industrial use. (Source: Nikita Lysenko / 123RF)

Nozzle diameter

There are many possible uses you may want from your paint gun. To understand which one is right for you, the most important thing is the nozzle diameter. Guns with small nozzles, no more than 1 mm, are suitable for paints with low viscosity. They are usually related to jobs that require precision and care. Paint runs off in this category, so be careful not to get dirty. The medium nozzles, between 1 and 1.4 mm, relate to medium viscosity paints, such as solvent-based ones. They are ideal for housework, such as painting walls. The large nozzles, over 1,5 mm, require paints with high viscosity. They are indicated for complex jobs, in large production and scale. Choose the gun taking into account the type of paint you intend to use and, from there, the diameter of the nozzle.

Tank capacity

The reservoirs also vary a lot from one spray gun model to another: there are some very small ones, which hold about 50 ml, and others which hold up to 800 ml. Here again you think about the type of work you are going to do to have a choice. If you are going to varnish a small sculpture, you don't need much. However, for a wall, you'll need a lot more. Of course it is always possible to refill the tank, but this will make the job much more time consuming.

Imagem mostra uma pistola de pintura preta sem reservatório

Pay attention to the reservoir of your spray gun. (Source: Noordbizz / Pixabay)

Weight

There are some models that are heavier, others much lighter. There are also accessories such as straps to attach the gun to the neck, which improves the use. But very long works ask for lighter objects, for example. There is also a relationship with the material and care of the work. Imagine again the example of varnishing a small sculpture. A lighter gun is certainly preferable!

Adaptation to the compressor

Paint guns need an air compressor to work. You may choose a model that already comes with one, you may not. If not, you will need to have compatibility between gun and compressor. To check compatibility, you need to pay attention to the air consumption. This is the amount of air used each time the gun trigger is pulled. If it is under or over, you are unlikely to get good painting results.

Paint Transfer Rate

Paint transfer rate is linked to waste. A gun that has 60% transfer takes that percentage of what is in its reservoir to the intended surface, while the rest is lost in the air in cloud form. The models that have the highest transfer rate are those that use gravity as a method. More so, the HVLP. This is exactly why they are usually more expensive. LVLP, on the other hand, are also satisfactory. With suction guns, there is often a lot of paint wasted. Less than half of what's in the tank goes to the object, the rest is left by the wayside.

Supported viscosity

As we talked about in the item about the diameter of the nozzles, there are ideal models for paints of different viscosities. Some guns come with a viscosity gauge, allowing you to know exactly what is being put in the equipment.

It is important to pay attention to this because high viscosity paints in unprepared guns may cause irreparable damage.

It doesn't seem ideal to finish making your purchase and already be forced to go to the next one, right?

Extra items

Besides the viscosity gauge, some guns usually come with other extra items. Nozzles of different diameters, carrying cases, electrical adapter, among others. This kind of addition improves the versatility of the product and, if it does not raise the price too much, it may be a determining factor for the choice.

(Source of the highlighted image: Luciano Henrique de Queiroz / 123rf)

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