LAST UPDATED: November 20, 2020
The Best Automotive Paint Guns for Beginners (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Get the look you want out of your car with these top-rated automotive paint guns
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PUBLISHED ON November 20, 2020
When you’re ready to take your car’s appearance to the next level, an automotive paint gun is a necessary item in order to get started. These handy devices let you control the flow of paint, enabling you to choose between fine and broad sprays. While all paint guns will ultimately get the paint onto your automobile’s body, they won’t all do it the same way. Some use highly pressurized systems, while others apply a high-volume, low-pressure method using the force of gravity to move the paint. The latter is best for beginners, while more advanced users may prefer a quicker pace and higher pressure. It’s all about the amount of detail you want on the vehicle. Are you just putting on some stripes or is it a whole design?
Regardless of your plans, there’s a paint gun out there for you. To help you pick the best automotive paint gun for beginners, we’ve curated a list of the top selections along with some helpful tips.
- Includes a large canister for bigger projects
- Paint gun has an effective air-pressure system and good nozzle control
- This set is higher on the price spectrum
- Threading on the nozzles can be tricky
- Easy to maintain
- Canister gets a tight seal on the gun
- Lightweight, easy to maneuver, and affordably priced
- Subject to impact damage
- Nylon can be vulnerable to extreme temperatures
- Lightweight with an easy-to-manage nozzle
- Structure is sturdy
- Creates a broad spray that works quickly
- Handle is comfortable to grip
- Since it isn’t gravity fed, this spray gun uses more power
- Only suitable for use with thin (high-viscosity) materials
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Benefits of Automotive Paint Guns for Beginners
- Versatile applications. You can use a paint gun for everything from small touch-ups to large coats. Handy for managing small scratches and chips, it works just as well to apply a whole base coat.
- Cost-effectiveness. Instead of taking your car into the shop to get painted, you can spend a fraction of the cost on the tools and do it yourself. It lets you customize the look of your vehicle as much as you want.
- Precision. Automobiles require this type of application to ensure smoothness and even drying. Quality spray guns add a lot of value by letting you create unique designs, using stencils, while avoiding wasting paint.
- Efficiency. A good paint gun adds efficiency in more than one way. The first aspect is energy efficiency. By speeding up the process of painting, it uses less paint and less power. It also saves you time during the work.
Types of Automotive Paint Guns for Beginners
Short for high volume, low pressure, this type is probably the most common on the market. It stands out in terms of efficient fluid transfer. Basically, these systems are created to limit the waste of paint. It saves time and saves you from having to refill the canister. That said, since the pressure is lower, these guns work somewhat slower than LVLP spray guns. However, this pace is suitable for beginners, making it a desirable option when you’re just starting out.
Standing for low volume, low pressure, these guns are designed to spray with more intensity than their HVLP counterparts. They work quickly, making them ideal for larger projects like complete paint jobs. While the spray is more significant, the paint should still dry evenly and at a good rate. In fact, given the strength and power of LVLP spray guns, the finish can actually be of superior quality. However, they tend to be more difficult to use and better for more experienced users.
This China-based manufacturer crafts a wide range of supplies that mainly focus on the automotive industry. It retails products internationally and is well-recognized throughout the United States. A popular offering is the Neiko 31215A HVLP Air Spray Gun.
After opening its doors in 1974 as a home decoration supply store in California, the business expanded significantly. It now has a wide range of supplies, including paint gear for industrial purposes. One of its top selections is the TCP Global Professional Spray Gun.
Automotive Paint Gun for Beginners Pricing
- Under $75: Most selections in this price spectrum tend to be HVLP and are fairly basic. There are a lot of beginner options in this range.
- $75 and up: In this range, you’re more likely to find options that come in sets. You can find both HVLP and LVLP systems, though more of the latter.
Any spray gun used for paint will require a power source of some sort. The vast majority use an AC outlet and a 6-foot-long cord. Check to see how many horsepower units it offers. You can also check on the wattage. The higher power the system is, the more pressure you can get. It’s especially important to find a spray gun with a lot of power when it isn’t gravity-fed.
To get the spraying effect, you need some form of pressurized air. It could come in the form of a replaceable cartridge, though this is less common. Most options include a component to actively pressurize the air while you work. These are better, since you don’t have to worry about cartridge compatibility or running out mid-project.
The canister holds onto the paint. It’s the part that requires the most maintenance and should be made out of a high-grade material. Common selections are aluminum alloy and nylon. Either option is resistant to wear and tear and won’t get damaged when you wash it out. These materials won’t rust either, which is especially important for getting a good seal.
Controlling the direction of the spray, the nozzle dictates how the paint comes out of the gun. There are small nozzles that measure little more than a millimeter. Wider options are better for precision projects, since the small nozzle forces less of a wide spray. Conversely, smaller options create a broader result and add efficiency during bigger tasks.
- Maintenance. When you choose your paint gun, consider the effort it will take to clean it out after the job is done. You need to remove any leftover paint and ensure that it’s dry. Though this is easy on some models, others are more nuanced. While the product will usually have recommended guidelines for use, it helps to find an option with less demanding upkeep.
- Ease of Control. The size of the canister and its placement on the gun will help determine how easily you’ll handle it. Another factor is the weight balance of the overall structure and the grip. For a beginner, it helps to choose something that’s easier to maneuver as a starting point.
- Compatible Paint. Some guns work exclusively with paints of a certain viscosity. Other systems are compatible only with specific types of paint, such as oil or water-based. It’s important to think about what kind of paint you plan to use before you get the paint gun. This way, you can get the use you need from it.
- Purpose. Finally, think about what you’re going to use it for. Are you planning to repaint the entire vehicle? Is this to coat it against rust and corrosion? Maybe it’s more about touch-ups and you want to fix a scratch on the body. Depending on what it will be used for, you can find something with the best capacity, weight, and controls to make light work of the project.
Best Automotive Paint Guns for Beginners Reviews & Recommendations 2021
Keep in mind that while the set is very useful, it doesn’t have the nuanced function meant for full-time use. The gun is best for hobbyists and those using it casually.
If your focus is on balancing efficiency with cost-effectiveness, the Campbell Hausfeld General-Purpose HVLP Spray Gun is a good choice. This high-volume, low-pressure tool uses gravity to channel the paint into the gun. This saves a lot of power and helps it last longer. It comes with the gun and the container, though you can also get this set as a complete kit. It holds over a half-liter of fluid, feeding reliably into the head of the gun. Since the main components are crafted using aluminum, you don’t have to worry about rust or corrosion. It’s lightweight and easy to control throughout the paint job. Compatible with canisters that generate 40 pounds per square inch of force, you can use this gun with a lot of pressurization brands.
While this gun is affordable, it does create a lot of pressure. This can be challenging for beginners to control, so make sure you’re comfortable with this beforehand.
For those seeking a reliable solution without too much of a learning curve, the TCP Global Air Undercoating Spray Gun is worth looking into. It uses air pressure to let you quickly apply a coat of paint to your vehicle. It comes with a large capacity, letting you use enough paint to tackle large-scale jobs. The paint gun works with all different formulas, including oil- or water-based. It’s also compatible with solvents, so you don’t have to put too much stress on what kind of paint you’re using. Working at different consistencies and textures, this gun is made to function at various viscosities (thicknesses). It’s constructed using an alloy that’s mainly aluminum. This makes it lightweight and easy to maintain, especially for newer painters.
Bear in mind that despite being very effective for broader needs, this product is less useful for projects requiring fine detail. It’s more geared toward protection against rust for the body.
Want to help the environment while protecting your car? The 3M Accuspray Paint System is worth a look. It’s crafted to minimize the amount of paint it takes to coat an area. This means you’re much less likely to waste solvent. It also helps you work more quickly and makes cleaning up afterward a breeze. The paint gun comes with a 22-ounce container. This gives you enough supply to address vehicles of all sizes. The gun works with all types of paints, ranging from gel to sealant, base to varnish. Since it’s fairly easy to clean, you don’t have to worry about contamination. Coming with several nozzles, this paint gun is great for both beginners and experts.
It warrants a mention that while this system is useful for painters of all levels, it’s priced accordingly. The higher cost makes sense, however, given how long the gun will last.
Need something that makes light work of painting? Try the TCP Global Brand Professional Spray Gun. It’s unique in design with the canister at a sharp angle. This intensifies the directional force of gravity and feeds into the gun really well. It incorporates controls to give you a better spectrum of the spray. One specifically addresses the fluid flow rate while the others dictate the nozzle setting and the pressure. It works with most replacement parts on the market and features a cup that can handle as much as a liter of fluid. Ideal for specific types of paint, this high-pressure gun is ideal for thinner formulas like enamel. It’s also effective for rust-protection materials that are designed to guard against scratches and rust.
It should be mentioned that although this is a solid option, the size of the canister makes it heavy and therefore harder to control. Try it with a smaller amount of paint first.
If you prefer to rely on tech more than gravity, the Yattich Paint Sprayer is worth checking out. For starters, the container of paint is at the bottom. This balances the weight better, making it easier for beginners to control the motion. Powered with 700 watts, this corded selection moves paint efficiently. The circuitry is well-designed and built to work over the long term. It comes with three different spray settings, moving in a flat or vertical line as well as in a full circle. All the parts are straightforward to clean, making it easy to maintain over the course of multiple projects. With five different nozzle sizes that are quick and easy to swap out, you can efficiently paint vehicles of all different sizes.
Despite the effectiveness and constant power supply from the AC attachment, you’re still likely to need an extension cord. The included cord runs a little over 6.5 feet, so it doesn’t offer the best reach.
Is your car a bit worse for wear? Check out the Dynastus Touch-Up Spray Kit to help smooth out the edges. It’s designed primarily for touch-ups. Whether it’s a small scratch or rust damage near your wheel beds, this gun’s 4.2-ounce canister supplies enough for the task. The kit includes a compressor system, giving you three horsepower units and a powerful stream. With separate controls, you can maneuver all aspects of the paint flow. One sets the fluid rate, and another deals with the airflow. The final knob deals with the pattern of the spray. Proper application of these controls can result in a lot less cleanup work. Since it comes with everything you need to do the work, it’s an excellent choice for beginners.
While the set is fairly handy, it can be tricky to clean and maintain. The small size makes upkeep of the nozzle and canister more challenging.
The YaeTek HVLP Gravity Feed Spray Gun is a good choice for those looking to stick to the basics without giving up quality. It works on precision projects, with nozzles sized between 1.4 and 2 millimeters. The gun limits the amount of excess created by the air pressure. By designing it to have a high flow rate with a minimal air-pressure structure, it doesn’t waste any paint. The structure is made out of stainless steel, meant to be easy to clean and tough against damage. You can use the gun with all types of paint, though it’s best when applied to thin materials. It’s effective with everything from primer to topcoat, letting you quickly finish your project, regardless of its size.
Keep in mind that while this paint sprayer is easy to use, it works better with higher-viscosity substances. As a result, if the paint is too thick, it can create issues with performance and maintenance.
Often, beginners are concerned with managing the airflow rate. If this speaks to you, the Cartman HVLP Spray Gun is a good way to go. It’s designed to optimize the flow rate of the air, controlling the pressure to give you the best results. As a whole system, the light yet heavy-duty metal makes it durable despite the ongoing maintenance and use. It works with an 85 percent efficiency rate, meaning very little paint gets lost in the spray process. The cup has a good seal and reliably flows the paint downward into the nozzle. It holds a full 20 ounces of material in the synthetic cup. It’s easy to wipe out and won’t damage easily. With multiple knobs to maximize your control, this spray gun is a terrific way to learn.
Bear in mind that while this model has easy-to-master learning curves, it’s better suited to touch-ups. Larger projects could benefit from a bigger canister for the paint.
Do you like to embrace all the bells and whistles of new tech? Take a look at the Paint Zoom Pro Electric Spray Gun Kit. It uses a high-volume, low-pressure design that’s ideal for small or medium-sized tasks. The gun connects via power cord, offering 925 watts of power. It’s crafted for professional use, though it’s easy enough to control for beginners. This is thanks to the smooth distribution of the spray. By controlling the fineness of the particles, it dries more quickly and evenly. While you can use the gun on automobiles, the large canister makes it equally suited to furniture or walls. Since the spray gun system is compatible with most paint formulas, it offers an added level of versatility. With quality nozzles and a good flow rate, this system is ideal for any experience level.
Keep in mind that although it’s powerful and long-lasting, it’s higher on the price spectrum. This is only a viable option if you plan to use it multiple times.
- Practice before you use it on the actual vehicle. All spray guns handle differently, so getting used to the application helps.
- Use the spray gun to apply protective coatings for the vehicle to prevent the need for further maintenance down the line.
- Before you paint, be sure to thoroughly clean and buff the vehicle so that the coat goes on properly.
- Be sure to check the type of paint the system is equipped to handle. Some work better with high-viscosity content, so make sure you use the right paint.
- Clean it out right after use. Once you finish the paint job, empty the remaining fluid and clean and dry the spray gun.
- Have an extension cord close at hand to avoid interruptions. Even corded options have limited reach.
- Get used to the cause and effect of each knob. It will give you more experience with the gun and will also let you work more quickly when it comes time.
Q: What's the best automotive paint gun for beginners?
It depends on how you plan to use the gun. Touch-ups require a smaller canister and less pressure but better precision. Larger jobs need more power supply, though they can have a broader stream. A popular choice is the DeVilbiss Paint Spray Gun Kit.
Q: How do you set up an automotive paint gun?
It’s pretty straightforward to set up a spray gun. Most models come with a comprehensive user guide. If you’re worried about proper use, opt for a full kit instead of just the gun. It’s about making sure there’s enough power, air pressure, and paint in the canister.
Q: How much is the best automotive paint gun?
The best automotive paint guns for professional use are heavier-duty than those meant for beginners. There’s a higher capacity and overall wattage for the system. A good example is the Paint Zoom Pro Electric Spray Gun Kit.
Now that you’re acquainted with the details of automotive paint guns for beginners, you can make your pick. It could be the DeVilbiss Paint Spray Gun Kit or the value of the Campbell Hausfeld General-Purpose HVLP Spray Gun.