Paint Sprayer Guide for Beginners 2018

Paint Sprayer Guide

Are you looking for the complete paint sprayer guide for beginners? Then you are on the right page.

Just like every other thing in life, you can’t get the best unless you put in some work. If you are a DIYer homeowner or enthusiast, there are many tools you will want to add to your arsenal that you may not have the time to properly research each one.

Even if you have the time, some times, certain technicalities may elude you and if you don’t take precaution, you will end up with mediocre product.

Many of us find ourselves in this kind of situation. And we often seek help from others. By doing this, we are able to cut down the time, stress, or the research required in purchasing the best product.

This guide has been written for people like me, who not only want to buy the right paint sprayer, but want to ensure they are making an informed decision.

In this guide, you will not find any affiliate links. It’s just a guide to help you buy the best sprayer for your painting needs. But first, why should you buy a paint sprayer?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Buying a Paint Sprayer

                                        Image: Ocean Yamaha, Flickr

Whether you are a painting contractor, maintenance manager, or a serious do-it-yourself buddy, there are many reasons you would want to buy a paint sprayer. Of course, there are disadvantages, but after reading this section, you should have a clear understand of the immense benefits paint sprayers can offer you.


  • Paint sprayers are fast. Once you get it started and you start painting, you can get a lot done in one go. You could do like a whole room or three or four or five or six or seven rooms in a day.
  • Getting in the corners. You don’t have to go into nooks and crannies with a paint brush because you can just spray around the areas you want to paint and it will cover everything. You don’t have to think about it.
  • Nice coverage. It covers nice and even as long as your technique is good. So if you have got good technique, you can cover a lot of area very evenly and with nice finish.


  • Setup. Getting it up and running takes a while so I consider this a big downside when you compare it to brush and roller.
  • Cleanup. Cleaning up sprayers is a chore. It’s not that it’s technically difficult, it’s just time consuming and not fun. It also takes technique to get it to work properly, it can’t be too close, you can’t be too far away and you can’t be moving at the wrong angle.

Paint Sprayer Guide: Five Features of Paint Sprayers

There are many features that come with each of the paint sprayers out there. However, some are just added to differentiate it from previous models or to amplify the functions of the unit. Sometimes, you may not need these extra features especially if you are not a regular user.

Instead of going through all these features, some of which may not be that useful, there are only a few you should look out for whenever you are buying a new sprayer:

  1. Portability – you can use a portable paint sprayer irrespective of size of the project. Portable ones can be used both outdoors as well as in the shed. You can add wheels or a backpack to get more free movements. Light-weight and portable sprayers are easy to use. To prevent accidental spray, it is better to use a safety-catch or a trigger-lock. This becomes useful when you are moving around with the sprayer.
  2. Power – a sprayer, just like a spray bottles are controlled by hands. Depending about the kind of delivery system, you may go for power, cord-less or fuel-powered options. Apart from a power source of the sprayer, an additional power source for a compressor may be needed in certain cases. You have to keep this in mind while you shop.
  3. Flexibility – an important feature of a sprayer is its flexibility. Some are adjustable while others offer speed settings. The think to look for in your sprayer is whether it is flexible enough to meet your varied needs. Some sprayers have output control system for accurate regulation of paint .You may need different layer of thickness or different patterns.

Generally you go for sprayers which apart from paint give you veneer and glaze to the material on which they are applied.

  1. Spray Pattern – there may be variation in spray patterns. The less expensive sprayers have smaller turbines producing a foggy and spread out edges. Also large paint spatters are formed. Thus the kind of turbine used is important.

Good paint sprayers give you a tight spray pattern and there is minimum spray beyond the edges. This gives you a better and smooth finish. So before choosing check out the kind of spray patterns the machine produces.

  1. Clean-up – this part is time- consuming as well as messy. You need to flush out after you are done with; and taking apart a sprayer takes time. Some sprayers are so made that you can attach it with your garden hose and flush it quickly. This makes less mess.

These are then the five features to check before buying a paint sprayer. Next is the kind of tasks executed by these sprayers. Paint sprayers are used both domestic as well as for commercial purpose.

Four Crucial Jobs a Paint Sprayer Can Do

                                      Image: Ocean Yamaha, Flickr

Here we concentrate more on the domestic tasks performed by these Paint Sprayers. Some of these may be applicable to you if you are a home user and others may not appeal to you. Also, if you are a contractor or professional handyman, you will find some are more applicable to you than others:

  1. Large covering area – one of the biggest advantages of using a paint sprayer is that you can cover a large area using it. If you compare brushes or paint rollers, sprayers let you cover large swath in no time. You save time in that process with less labor. You get an even coat using sprayers; something that you cannot achieve with a brush. You only need to look out for overlapping, just like in the case of paint rollers.
  2. Override rough textures – as you work on any surface, you are bound to face imperfections such cracks, bumps or gaps. These surface imperfections are overridden by using paint sprayers. These things are hard to override using rollers or brush.
  3. Painting multiple surface – paint sprayers are very useful when you have to paint multiple surfaces with same color. You may want to paint the walls, ceiling and trims of your room with same color. Use sprayers to get better results. You can mask-off or cover the part you do not want to be colored. While doing precision works, a prep work in advance would definitely help.
  4. Industrial Painting – paint sprayers are widely used in different industries for commercial purposes. It is used for top coating metal parts and spraying plastic applications. Automobile industry uses special sprayers for coloring different automobiles. In fact, paint sprayers are used in different industries to execute different tasks.

Types of Paint Sprayers

There are many paint sprayers out there. Each one has a specific task it is suitable for. For example, airless paint sprayers are versatile and are useful for a variety of applications. Knowing what each type does will help you decide which one is for you depending on the task you will be using it predominantly for. Let’s go over each type for your benefit:

1. Airless Paint Sprayers

This type of paint sprayers are the most versatile ones. They can be used for both large commercial projects and smaller jobs. These sprayers utilize paint under high pressure and the overspray is very less over here.

Whether or not you should use this sprayer for your painting job depends on what type of surface you will be painting on. This one works best with thick latex paints or thinner stains. The Airless paint sprayer comes in handy for painting exteriors as well as spray painting the interiors.

Be careful in using the right tip for this sprayer which depends on the size of the surface you will be spraying on. The sizes of the sprayers, guns and tips, all matter a great deal when it comes to performing a painting job well. This sprayer is coupled with a diaphragm or piston to spray the paint.

It is also suggested that the spraying distance should be always maintained at around 12 inches or more. This will ensure lesser health concerns for you.

2. Cup Sprayers

Cup sprayers are a special category within Airless Paint Sprayers but are perfect for smaller jobs. Mainly used for touch ups or finishes, these paint sprayers are very simple to use. All you have to do is fill them up with paint, plug them into a power point and start spraying.

DIY projects are usually accomplished by this type of sprayer. It deviates from the Airless sprayers in the fact that Cup sprayers require masking always. You will also have to use thinners for the paint before spraying.

Some Cup sprayers also come with attachments that siphon paint straight from the bucket instead of the cup. They are the most affordable amongst all type of paint sprayers and are highly recommended for beginners.

3. HVLP Paint Sprayers

HVLP type of paint sprayer uses high volume of air in a low pressure environment to spray the paint. The paint is sprayed uniformly onto the surface and this sprayer can be used for some of the more detailed work. It is best for small projects and where you need greater control and precision.

You will need to use paint thinners before you transfer it into this paint sprayer. It cannot be utilized to spray thick lacquers or varnish paints. The paint travels very slowly to the surface from the sprayer and that is why provides a smooth finish.

These sprayers do not over spray or splash back, so lesser paint is wasted than other sprayers. However, these are costlier sprayers and are very good with interior projects like spraying of a door or cabinet. It will pass any close inspection of spills.

4. Compressed Air Sprayers

These types of sprayers use high pressure air column to spray the paint evenly onto the surface. These sprayers are also very versatile and can be used for small and large projects alike. You will need an air compressor in order to use this paint sprayer.

Though it is not very expensive, it creates a mess of paints all around the work area. Overspray is common and spillage of paint is more than the other sprayers available.

Therefore, the amount of paint needed to complete a job is usually more than what other sprayers need. Also, you will inhale a lot of paint during the spraying which is not good for health purposes. Professional contractors avoid this kind of sprayer as it is messy and hazardous.

5. Electrostatic Paint Sprayers

This type of paint sprayer uses electric charge to spray the paint. There are two types of techniques used in this type of spray painting.

Contact charging method charges the paint directly before it sprays on the surface and bombardment method atomizes the air particles which in turn electrically charge the paint to be sprayed from the gun.

All types of the above mentioned sprayers like Airless sprayers or Compressed Air Sprayers or HVLP’s can be used for the spraying of the electrostatic paint. However, you need to purchase a specialized gun. Electrostatic Paint sprayers are extremely costly and are used by industrial or commercial contractors.

The auto industry uses these types of sprayers of painting of cars. It offers a smooth finish and uses much lesser quantities of paint for the same job. The Electrostatic spray painting method is itself a pleasurable experience.

The charged powdered paint sticks to one metal type which is grounded like the magnetic effect. However, the area that needs painting will have to be degreased several times to allow the paint to stick.

How to Use and Maintain a Paint Sprayer

                                        Image: Ocean Yamaha, Flickr

Maintenance is very important, especially if you are using a tool that prone to rust. If you take good care of your sprayer and ensure routine maintenance, you will be able to use it for a longer period. In this section, you will learn how to use your sprayer and tips on how to get the most out of it. Let’s get started:

How to use a Paint Sprayer

Paint sprayer is a better option than using roller or brush, if you want to spray with ease and speed. Using a paint sprayer is an art that needs to be learned through dedicated effort.

There are various techniques a person needs to follow in order to paint the desired object perfectly. Further, a person should have steady hands, and must be dexterous in his skills.

  • Before knowing how to start painting using a paint sprayer, one should cover all the objects, like, floor, door, tables, and windows; with plastics to avoid paints stains on them.
  • Next the person needs to have the feel of the sprayer gun. He should get used to how light or heavy the gun is, so that he can time his motions accordingly while spraying the surfaces.
  • The paint gun should always be moved parallel to the surface, making arcs with your hands is not recommended as it makes drips.
  • Drips should be avoided at all cost, because it makes the area look embossed. However, if drip happens you should have a brush ready in hand to smooth the drip over.
  • Further the motion of the gun should be fast to avoid runs. One should be familiar with the gun being used because it helps to time your motion and let the spray spread evenly on the surface.
  • Finally, the gun should be held perpendicular to the surface, making a 90 degree angle with the surface.

How to Maintain a Paint Sprayer

There are many other tips on how to maintain a sprayer out there. This list is not to be taken as the complete list. As time goes on, more tips will be added to these:

  • The primary maintenance of paint sprayer involves using thinners to keep the tubes and rods wet and clean. So that residue from previous paint is dissolved.
  • The thinners are used to clean and wash-up oil based or latex based paints. Use of two bucket water method is also recommended to help purge the dirty water from the tubes into the dirty bucket. The clean hot-soapy water is also rinsed through the tubes at full pressure.
  • Thinners are also great if you decide to not use the sprayer for a long time. It not only protects the sprayer gun from cold weather conditions but keeps the pump and tubes from breaking or leaking.
  • Another thing to look for is the condition of the sprayer’s nozzle or tip. A tip that is worn out will spray inefficiently, causing drips in the middle of spray. It also causes you to use more spray than it is required.
  • There are many O rings in the paint sprayer that needs to be checked up regularly, for cracks and scratches. It is pertinent to do this because it helps avoid disturbing the flow of spray pattern or at worse stopping your pump to work all together. The main areas where O rings are found include; tip, wand extension and pump housing.
  • Keep a separate assortment of filters for varying applications, for example, using gun filter or machine filter for tasks like car painting, or wall painting etc. Keeping these different filters handy will make sure a longer life span for each one of them.

Paint Sprayer Accessories

Paint sprayers cannot do without some accessories. Some of these are basic while others are available to amplify the functions of the paint sprayer. You don’t necessarily have to buy any of these for your sprayer, but at some point in the future, you may decide to get them to be able to enjoy your spray to the fullest.

Paint stir paddle

Paint stir paddle comes in different sizes, strength and coloring. It is used for waxing, shims, crafts. This accessory allows for easy writing on a smooth surface

iSpray front end

iSpray front end is used for both exterior and interior surface. It provides speedy coverage. It makes the spraying more precise. It comes with 4 pattern settings i.e. vertical, horizontal, wide and narrow.

Detail finish front end

This accessory is used for projects which require finer finish i.e. furniture, cabinets, and crafts. It can be used in combination with sealers, stains, and polyurethane coatings.

Airless spray hose

This hose is highly flexible which makes it easy to spray under pressure. It is also lighter which helps in timing the motion of hand to spray smoothly. The hose also has reduced coil memory so that you can coil it firmly without worrying about breaking the hose.

Spray gun cleaning kit

This kit includes brushes of all sizes to clean individual parts of the spray gun. It has brushes like; external detailing brush, spray gun brushes, tube cleaning brushes, body cleaning brushes, and brushes for the fluid tip, air cap and baffle among many other mini accessories.

Duckbill valve

Duckbill valves are a one-piece, elastomeric component that acts as backflow prevention device They have elastomeric lips which prevent backflow and allow forward flow. An elastomer is polymer having high elasticity and viscosity and very small inter-molecular forces.


Final Words on Paint Sprayer Guide for Beginners

Remember that this guide is a step towards buying the right paint sprayer for your painting needs. There are a lot of other things you may want to consider before buying the next sprayer. However, this guide contains as much information as you will need to make an informed decision.

There are a whole lot of sprayers you can purchase out there and I have reviewed a tone of them right here on this website. If you would like to check out some of the paint sprayer guide and the best sprayers on the marketer, click here!