LAST UPDATED: October 19, 2019
Best Airless Paint Sprayers: Efficiently Tackle Large Painting Jobs
These top airless paint sprayers will make any paint job a breeze
The Review Team
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PUBLISHED ON October 19, 2019
If you have a big paint job in your future, you probably want to use a paint sprayer. It produces a professional look and is much easier and quicker to use than a brush or roller. If you have access to the best airless paint sprayer, you can use it on your automobile, home's exterior, furniture, cabinets, and a variety of other items. Our buying guide below will help you find the best ones on the market.
This airless paint sprayer can be used indoors or outdoors and is 110 volts. It features a stainless steel piston pump for spraying unthinned paint at high pressure. You can spray it directly from a 1- or 5-gallon bucket of paint.
You can control the pressure and paint flow, depending on the size of the project. It connects to a hose with an adapter for quick and easy cleanup. It promotes continuous spraying with a tip that is designed to thwart clogging.
There have been complaints that the sprayer is very messy, and you must cover areas where you don't want paint dust. Also, it can be difficult to clean if you want to keep it in good condition.
Lightweight enough for long spray painting projects. Ideal for heavy-duty jobs and small detailing projects. Adjustable spray pattern. Features 10 speed settings.
It may not be easy to keep it clean because it comes with several detachable parts. Most of the weight is at the front, and that can strain your wrist.
This tool allows you to control paint flow, spray unthinned paint, and spray directly from a paint bucket. It has extra storage compartments for the power cord and extra spray tips. It's also quick and easy to clean.
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Benefits of an Airless Paint Sprayer
- Create an even layer. You might have used a sprayer with an air compressor before, but airless sprayers don’t rely on compression. Instead, they pressurize paint with a pump; then they push it out through an atomizer. That way, you get a professional, even finish with no blobs or mess.
- Get jobs done fast. An airless spray machine can pump out the contents of a 5-gallon bucket in much less time than a brush or roller would take. While it might take you the whole day to repaint your house with a roller, a sprayer can finish the job in a couple of hours.
- Apply coats other than paint. Paint sprayers come with interchangeable tips in a variety of shapes and sizes, each suited for a different thickness of liquid. In addition to paint, you can use them to coat a surface with primer, varnish, stain, or other coats.
Types of Paint Sprayers
Airless Paint Sprayers
These are the type we’ve been talking about all along—the sprayers, which use pumps to build up huge amounts of pressure in the chamber, use that pressure to atomize the paint in an even spray. Airless sprayers are great, but they aren’t the only type of paint sprayer. Given the wide angles they spray at, they take some practice to use, and different devices might be better for different jobs.
These can be distinguished by the large chamber mounted above the nozzle. True to the name, the substance to be sprayed flows down into the nozzle naturally and doesn’t need as much pressure to work. Because the flow is less intensely pressurized, gravity sprayers are much better at smaller jobs that require more precision—like painting furniture, for example.
High Volume Low Pressure
High volume low pressure sprayers, also called HVLP sprayers, are another great tool for smaller jobs. They provide the same atomization power as an airless sprayer with much less force. The ability to apply a large amount of finish gently makes HVLP sprayers popular for finishing cars, boats, and the more intricate parts of buildings.
Low Volume Low Pressure
Low volume low pressure (LVLP) sprayers work the same as their HVLP cousins but use much smaller tanks. They’re easy for an amateur to carry around, and they fit into tight spots. While they only work with thinner paints, LVLP sprayers still result in a smooth, professional finish that can really blow a first-time DIYer’s mind. They often overlap with gravity-fed sprayers.
Graco was founded in 1926 to build and market an automatic grease gun. They diversified into airless paint guns in the 1950s, creating products they now sell as the Magnum line. Some of Graco Magnum’s biggest hits include the fully adjustable project painter/paint sprayer and their easily portable cart airless paint sprayer.
Titan, Graco’s biggest competitor, started selling advanced tools for painters in 1974. They’ve built a loyal customer following with innovative designs and a focus on serving painters in need. They sell high-efficiency airless paint sprayers.
A new player in the sprayer business, Dusichin was founded in 2014 and initially sold pressure washing equipment. From there, paint sprayers were a natural next step. In addition to high-pressure spray guns, Dusichin sells accessories like their universal spray guide tool.
Airless Paint Sprayer Pricing
- Below $100: In this range, you’ll find portable, lower-pressure sprayers that are more forgiving for amateurs. For this much, it might be hard to find a high-pressure, high-capacity airless sprayer.
- $100 and up: Here, you’ll see industrial-grade equipment that can varnish a privacy fence in hours. In addition to having higher capacities, more expensive sprayers are usually adjustable, working with a wider variety of substances.
Gallons Per Minute
Output, measured in gallons per minute (GPM), is the key difference between many seemingly similar paint sprayers. Output on a range of sprayer models can vary from about 0.25 to 1.25 GPM.
More GPM isn’t automatically better. One gallon of paint per minute is great for repainting your garage but not nearly so useful for applying rust inhibitor to your Corolla. It all comes down to what job you’re doing.
The two most common power sources for an airless paint sprayer are gas and electricity. Electric sprayers are popular with a wide variety of painters—they’re quiet, effective, and cheap to run. Amateurs will almost certainly use an electric sprayer.
Gas sprayers have the advantage that they don’t need to be connected to a power source. They can also reach higher pressures, making them useful for bigger jobs.
After you’ve decided what kind of job you need a paint sprayer for, the next question to ask is where that job will happen—then buy a sprayer you’ll be able to lug to and from that place.
Some sprayers are so heavy they can’t move without wheels. Others are light enough that you can climb a ladder while holding them. Remember the #1 rule: bigger sprayers for bigger jobs.
- Interchangeable Tips. Sprayer tips are like paint brushes: the wider the tip, the more area it will cover at once with less precision. If you get a sprayer with a range of tips, familiarize yourself with the jobs and coatings each one is best at. Some sprayers also come with flexible tip extensions for fitting around tight corners.
- Filters. Clogging is a major problem with all kinds of paint sprayers. Obstructions in the nozzle interfere with the quality of the finish, leading to uneven and ugly coats of paint. One way to cut down on clogging is to fit your sprayer with a mesh filter that will prevent paint from clumping inside the mechanism.
Best Airless Paint Sprayer Reviews & Recommendations 2020
This relatively small airless sprayer from the reliable Graco Magnum line is our favorite sprayer for both amateurs and pros. It’s best for small to midsize jobs, from interior work and furniture up to fences and siding. It comes with some extras, including a switch tip that helps it keep spraying through clogs.
Our favorite thing about this sprayer is the level of control it gives the user. You’ve got full control over the amount of pressure and can adjust it easily to match your project. It’s also easy to use: connect it directly to your paint bucket, and when you’re done painting, just hook it up to a garden hose to clean it out.
One thing to beware of: it’s still a paint sprayer and needs to be used with care on projects that require precision. Spray can and will get everywhere if you don’t cover vulnerable surfaces with a cloth. It’s also a bit tricky to maintain in the long term.
The FLEXiO 590 from Wagner is an affordable, portable sprayer for small jobs. With just your hands, you can control the shape and intensity of the flow. It comes with two nozzles, one for wide surfaces and one for detailing, and a sturdy carrying case.
The light weight of the FLEXiO 590 makes it easy to use for hours at a time without straining your arm. It’s perfect for carrying up a ladder or spraying paint into a tight corner. We also like that it has enough pressure to spray unthinned paint.
If there’s anything we don’t like, it’s that to get the benefits of the light weight, you have to be sure to hold it correctly. The weight is all at the front, which can hurt your wrist if you’re not careful. One other drawback is that it’s composed of several interlocking parts that are hard to put back together after cleaning.
Another Graco Magnum product, the Project Painter Plus is similar to our top pick but is geared more toward large-scale projects. This sprayer gives even weekend DIYers access to high-speed, high-pressure, professional paint jobs.
The Project Painter Plus can connect to up to 50 feet of hose, giving it the flexibility to paint a two-story house without moving much at all. Furthermore, despite being capable of up to 2,800 PSI, it doesn’t sacrifice anything in precision. Spacious storage compartments are an added bonus.
The only flaws to be aware of are a slight tendency to clog and reports from some buyers that the interior pump shaft housing occasionally leaks. Make sure to check the inside regularly, even if everything seems fine.
- When prepping the space you want to paint, remove objects that may interfere with the hose. Also, cover up surfaces that you don't want to be exposed to paint splatter.
- To prevent the paint from clogging, stir it and strain it through a mesh filter bag before using it with the tool.
- To thoroughly cover a wall, piece of furniture, etc., do one layer and then overlap 30 to 50 percent of that layer with a second layer.
- To prime the pump, put the small tube into a waste bucket and the larger one into a bucket of strained paint. Turn on the tool, turn up the pressure, and run the sprayer until it stops producing air bubbles.
Q: Do I need to wear safety equipment when operating a paint sprayer?
A: Yes. You should wear protective clothing, goggles, and a face mask. This will protect you from dangerous fumes and overspray.
Q: What do I need to do to maintain a paint sprayer?
A: One thing you should always do is clean the filter every time you finish using the tool. That way, it's ready to use the next time you need it, and it will last longer.
Q: Won’t I use more paint with an airless sprayer?
A: Yes. Typically, sprayers use 40 percent more paint than you'd use with a brush or roller. However, it can depend on the type of sprayer you're using as well as how you apply the paint.
Our pick for the best airless paint sprayer is the Graco Magnum 262800 X5 Stand Airless Paint Sprayer. It's easy to use and has many functions that make it perfect for a wide variety of applications.
For a more budget-friendly option, consider the Wagner Spraytech 0529010 Paint Sprayer.