Last updated: August 4, 2021

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Paint guns provide an even finish. The product is a spray machine with which you can paint a variety of objects. It is suitable for various materials such as wood, sheet metal, walls or other surfaces. Here you will learn how to use a spray gun properly and how to clean it afterwards.

With the help of the paint gun test 2021, you now have a shortlist of products to consider. The buying and evaluation criteria will help you make your decision. Furthermore, the guide is available to help you quickly find the right paint gun for your needs.




Summary

  • Paint guns are suitable for applying paint evenly on certain materials. The paint is atomised in the machine, this process ensures a better surface quality. Paint guns are also known as spray guns or paint spray guns.
  • There are various paint guns, which differ in many basic ways. Not every spray gun is suitable for every material. The paint to be used is also an important factor.
  • A paint spray gun has a variety of uses. They come in various sizes with different properties, all of which depend on the material. In principle, a paint gun is inexpensive and available in most DIY stores.

The Best Paint Gun: Our Choices

Buying and evaluation criteria for paint guns

In this section we illustrate which features can help you in your decision.

The criteria with which you can compare the paint guns with each other include:

The following paragraphs explain what you should look for in each aspect.

Reason for use

Paint guns are useful for various projects. Just as there are differences in paint for different surfaces, there are also different spray guns that are not suitable for all colours.

From the beginning, you should be aware of the material for which you will use the paint gun.

Basically, most products are suitable for applying paint. Only special paint guns are useful for painting walls, because wall paints are often too thick for the small nozzles of a common paint gun. Furthermore, it is possible to spray certain car parts or a bicycle with a paint gun as well.

You should compare the area to be sprayed with the nozzle of the spray gun. Smaller nozzle sizes are more suitable for smaller objects and large nozzle openings are more suitable for area-sized projects.

Container volume

Most paint guns have a large container into which you can pour the paint. On average, this is between 500 and 1,000 millilitres. Alternatively, some paint guns have several small containers that hold around 20 millilitres and are suitable for using several colours at the same time.

If you use a smaller container, you should be aware that it will empty more quickly and you will have to refill it more often. Keep in mind that this depends on your reason for use.

Flow rate

The flow rate is relevant because it indicates how long it takes you to paint a wall, for example. The higher the number, the less work you have to do.

The flow rate is indicated differently for paint guns, either with grams per minute or with millilitres per minute. There are various sizes, from 100 millilitres per minute to over 900 grams per minute.

As a rule, you can calculate with 1 gram = 1 millilitre.

When it comes to the consistency of paint, the unit gram usually predominates by a few digits. However, you can use the rule of thumb for your purchase decision, this should be sufficient.

Power

There is a wide range of wattages for paint guns. There are small products starting at 70 watts and others with more than 500 watts. There are also electric spray guns with 1,200 watts, but these are not necessary for normal households.

The type of air supply also depends on the power:

  • Flow cup: Many paint guns have a flow cup that absorbs the paint by means of gravity. (= gravity tank)
  • Suction cup: Other products have a suction cup included, which sucks the paint through a tube. However, this is only possible with low viscosity paint.
  • Pressure tank: There are also spray guns in which the paint is pressurised. This allows the paint to pass through the nozzle more quickly.

The power of your paint gun should not be an exclusionary factor in your decision.

Decision: What types of paint guns are there and which is the right one for me?

If you want to buy a paint gun, there are several product groups to choose from. Two alternatives are listed below:

Type Use
High Volume - Low Pressure (HVLP) paint guns For small areas
Low Volume - Low Pressure (LVLP) paint guns For larger areas

In the following paragraphs you will find more detailed explanations of the two products.

Paint gun - High Volume – Low Pressure (HVLP)

High Volume – Low Pressure (HVLP) paint guns

A High Volume – Low Pressure (HVLP) paint gun works with lower pressure than a conventional one, but with increased air volume. This procedure enables a cleaner result, as these products produce less spray mist (= overspray). This means that if the air speed is too high, paint drops will bounce off the already painted product, resulting in a less attractive result.

With an HVLP paint gun, the paint is atomised in the container at a low internal air pressure. There is little overspray. The opacity depends on the choice of colour, but it is not influenced by the machine. These products are often used by carpenters or joiners, as they are only suitable for small surfaces and especially for thin colours. Furthermore, the speed is only available in a reduced form.

Advantages
  • High colour concentration
  • Little overspray
Disadvantages
  • High air volume
  • Low speed
  • Only for small surfaces

These paint guns are recommended because they produce a high concentration of paint. However, they are not usual for painting large areas.

Paint gun - Low Volume – Low Pressure (LVLP)

Low Volume – Low Pressure (LVLP) paint guns

Paint guns with a Low Volume – Low Pressure (LVLP) mechanism work with lower air pressure and also with less air volume. Also, with an LVLP paint gun, the overspray effect is minimal, thus creating little paint mist and reducing ‘paint bounce’. This in turn means that fewer dirt particles get into the air, which is more environmentally friendly.

The air consumption is low, which makes the machine easy to handle. It also saves you money, as it can achieve at least the same effect with less paint as other paint guns. However, in contrast to an HVLP spray gun, the paint concentration is only low.

Advantages
  • Little overspray
  • Low air consumption
  • Cost-saving
Disadvantages
  • Low ink concentration

An LVLP paint gun is suitable for large areas to apply an even coat of paint. It can be used in a cost-saving way because the paint consumption is low. However, this product only has a low colour concentration.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about paint guns answered in detail

The guidebook illustrates more information on the topic of paint guns. In this section, possible questions you may have are answered. The answers can support you and help you with your purchase decision.

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A metal paint gun with a flow cup, which means that the paint is attracted by gravity.
(Image source: Ralf Dybizbanski / Pixabay)

Who is a paint gun suitable for?

In general, anyone can buy a paint gun. One essential reason is its use. The product is suitable for various paint jobs where an even appearance is a prerequisite.

Paint guns are used to spray wood, sheet metal or walls, for example. You should be aware of what kind of material you are using before you buy a paint gun.

What size paint gun should I buy?

Paint guns come in different sizes. The size of the product usually depends on the paint container. If you are considering painting large areas or as much surface as possible, then a paint gun with a large container is recommended. This container should be able to hold about 1 litre.

On the other hand, there is also the alternative of painting only small areas. For this, a smaller container is suitable, which can be filled with about 200 millilitres of paint.

If you are interested in using as many colours as possible, you can invest in several containers. You can also find smaller paint guns that come with several containers of about 20 millilitres.

How much does a paint gun cost?

The price of a paint gun varies and depends on the size. Small, handy products are available from 20 euros, while others cost from 300 euros upwards. Before buying, find out what material you need a paint gun for and what kind of product you would like.

Type Reason for use Price range
Small handy paint gun For starters, smaller areas, single use from € 20 - 50
Medium-sized paint gun For walls, multiple use € 50 - 200
Large paint gun For professionals, large areas, multiple use from € 200

Assuming you want to paint an entire flat using a paint gun, it is helpful to buy a smaller and cheaper version first to see how you get on with it. If you find it easy to use and you are happy with the result - then it is recommended that you invest in a larger and cheaper paint gun.

In principle, a handy paint gun is sufficient for normal household use. These are available at reasonable prices.

What alternatives are there to a paint gun?

Instead of using a paint gun, you can also use a paintbrush. This method is usually more common. To achieve a more even finish, a paint gun is the better alternative.

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You can also paint cars with the help of a paint gun.
(Image source: Ellen27 / Pixabay)

The decision for a paint gun depends on your reason for using it. A paintbrush is a good option for painting walls, but not so much for painting a car part. You should be aware that a paint gun can usually be used for several occasions and that you do not have to dispose of it after the first use.

How do I clean a paint gun?

Cleaning a paint gun is quick and effective. It is important to remember that the paint in the container will dry quickly or become oily if you do not empty it immediately after use.

Be sure to wear protective clothing and a protective mask when cleaning. This can also be an advantage when using the paint gun.

Here you will find general instructions for the correct cleaning of a paint gun:

  1. Emptying: In the first step, you should empty the remaining paint in the container, preferably directly back into the paint pot. Then fill a nitro solution (a very diluted one is recommended) into the container and spray it onto a piece of newspaper, for example, until no more paint comes out.
  2. Clean up: Remove the paint needle from the tip of the spray gun and take out the paint and air nozzles. Be careful with the small parts. Clean the paint channel with a small brush and rinse it several times. Be especially careful here, otherwise the paint spray gun may no longer be in use.
  3. Repeat: Dry the paint channel with a soft towel or compressed air gun and repeat these procedures 3 to 5 times until no more paint is visible.
  4. Grease: It would be advantageous to lightly grease the paint needle, the thread and the spring.
  5. Assemble: When everything seems clean, put the removed parts back into the paint gun (follow the instructions of the respective product). Finally, wipe the outside with a damp cloth.

What paint should I use for a paint gun?

The paint for the paint gun depends on the material you want to spray. For walls, for example, you need a wall paint. When choosing a paint gun, make sure that it is suitable for painting large areas.

If you want to use sheet metal, lacquer paint is an alternative. Varnish can also be used for wood. When painting car parts, you should speak to a specialist, for example in a DIY store, who will be able to answer any further questions you may have.

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There is a wide range of colours available for paint guns, but be aware of the material you will be using the paint for.
(Image source: Taelynn Christopher / Unsplash)

Image source: Hoda/ 123rf.com

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