Paint sprayers are one of the best tools for any DIY-er to have. They can instantly turn a 4-day paint job into something that can be done in a matter of hours, and they can be used for a variety of projects from painting rooms, to painting cars.
But when shopping for the right paint sprayer for you, chances are you’ll have to choose between an airless sprayer or an HVLP (high volume, low pressure) sprayer. Each of these have their own set of advantages and disadvantages, but which one is the better option?
Is Airless Or HVLP Better?
Airless paint sprayers are ideal for bigger paint projects such as repainting a shed, or walls. These tools use more pressure and power, which will allow users to spray more material at a time. However, when working on smaller projects or if one is new to using paint sprayer, HVLP models are the recommended option since they are easier to control and reduce the risk of overspray.
In this article, we dive deep into the uses of an airless sprayer and an HVLP one, and also discuss their pros and cons so you can easily figure out which one is the right type of sprayer for you.
Read on to learn more.
When Should I Use An Airless Sprayer?
As we mentioned earlier, these types of sprayers are ideal for bigger paint projects. They are designed to be used on large flat surfaces such as walls, oil tanks, and sidings. This is why they use much more pressure than other types of sprayer, producing anywhere between 500 and 3000 psi, which is a lot of pressure.
This will allow you to dispense materials more quickly, covering larger surfaces. And since these sprayers use a tube that is inserted inside of a paint bucket as opposed to a paint reservoir on smaller, handheld models, you will need to refill them less.
So if you’re planning on repainting a large room, the exterior of your house, or you want to change the colors of your floors, it might be best to get an airless sprayer.
That being said, these tools are much harder to control and require practice and experience since they pose a large risk of overspray, so if you’re new to paint sprayers, make sure to take your time to learn how to use an airless sprayer properly before you start on a paint project.
Another advantage of these sprayers is that they can handle unthinned paint. This can save you a lot of time and is a very convenient feature.
That being said, if you want to get a cleaner and smoother finish, you might want to thin the paint just a little bit or if you want to be more economical, but it’s always nice to have the option of using unthinned paint.
When Should I Use An HVLP Sprayer?
HVLP stands for high volume, low pressure. An HVLP sprayer works by taking high air pressure from a compressor and converting it to a lower pressure, which results in a fine atomized mist that is ideal for creating smooth and clean finishes. These sprayers are ideal for projects that require a lot of precision such as painting cabinets, doors, or cars.
It is also much easier to get a glass-smooth finish using an HVLP sprayer, making them ideal for beginners. A lot of these models are handheld and use a paint reservoir, which allows you to easily walk around with the sprayer and get to the hard-to-reach areas, but it would also mean that you would have to refill the reservoir more often, which could also be a hassle.
For an HVLP sprayer, you would have to use thinned paint. It is recommended to thin your paint at least by 10% before loading into an HVLP model so that it can produce just the right mist for whatever paint project you have. This may take some time, but it will be time well spent since it will help you achieve a smooth and clean finish.
And while they give you more control and are recommended for smaller projects, you can still use an HVLP sprayer for larger projects such as repainting a room or repainting large surfaces, though it will take more time as compared to using an airless sprayer, but it will still be much faster than if you chose to paint it using a roller.
Airless Sprayer Pros & Cons
- The sprayer produces much more pressure
- Ideal for painting large surfaces quickly
- Faster painting time
- Paint will dry faster as compared to a roller
- Allows you to achieve clean and professional finishes
- Cleaning the sprayer can take a lot of time and effort
- It can be hard to use for beginners
- You can only do retouches by using a sprayer
- Relatively expensive
- Uses more paint than an HVLP sprayer
HVLP Sprayer Pros & Cons
- Less chance of overspray than with airless sprayers
- Easier to use for beginners
- Uses much less materials
- Produces less waste than a traditional sprayer
- More affordable than an airless sprayer
- Ideal for projects that require more attention to detail
- More varied choices
- Painting takes more time as compared to an airless sprayer
- Doesn’t cover as large an area
- Thinned paint needs to be used
- Some models have small reservoirs that need constant refilling
- Not ideal for those who do a lot of large paint projects
Conclusion – Which Is The Better Option?
And with that, our head to head comparison comes to an end.
But the question still remains, which is the better option?
Well, the answer to that will always depend on what you need the sprayer for and how you will use it.
For large paint projects and for those who are already experienced with these tools, an airless sprayer might be the best pick for you. While these are fairly expensive and use more materials, if you’re a person who takes on a lot of paint projects, this could be a worthwhile investment.
However, if you’re a beginner and are just looking to do some basic DIY paint projects at home, then we recommend getting an HVLP model as they are more flexible, cost less, and are much easier to use. On top of that, with enough effort and patience, they can still be used to paint large surfaces like walls, rooms, and floors with much less risk of overspray!
At the end of the day, the choice is all up to, and as long as you’re confident you chose the model that fits your needs and preferences well, then no one can tell you that you don’t have the best sprayer for you!