Electric Paint Sprayer vs Air | Top 10 Things to Know

Electric outlet icon vs wind blowing icon on top of black spattered paint

Paint sprayers make painting easier and faster than painting by hand. Between electric paint sprayer vs air which is better? It’s not that simple, several things may cause you to pick one kind over another. Below are ten things you should know about the two types of sprayers.

Both Electric and Air can accomplish the same end goal of converting paint into a spray-able mist. The mechanical means of achieving this are different in Electric Paint Sprayer vs Air sprayers.

1. Set-Up

Electric sprayers have a fast set-up speed, plug it in, load the paint, and your painting. Air sprayers, on the other hand, require more set up time. Not only do you have to set the sprayer up, but you also have to set up the air compressor or air tank.

2. Working Conditions

Anything electric does not play well with water. Electric sprayers are no different; they also don’t work well in humid conditions. Don’t use electric sprayers on humid or rainy days. Electric motors are prone to overheat when used too much. Make sure you check your user guide to see if there is a suggested run and wait time to keep your paint prayer from overheating.

Air sprayers rarely overheat and can work in practically any conditions. They are entirely waterproof and have not electrical parts inside them.

3. Noise Level

Air sprayers themselves are silent, the noise comes from where the compressed air is. Electric sprayers, however, do make noise while using. If you can have your air compressor in another room or outside while painting inside, it’s rather quiet.

4. What can You Spray?

Electric sprayers are limited to what they can push through there nozzle. This is because the small piston isn’t able to generate as much PSI (Pounds per square inch) as air compressors are. Air sprayers can spray pretty much any liquid. Remember, they are only as powerful as their sir source. Make sure you never run the air sprayer above the max PSI.

5. Painting Speed

Air sprayers are faster at painting surfaces when compared to electric. Here’s an example, let’s say we have an electric and an air sprayer, both the same output rating. The only reason the air sprayer is faster is that it doesn’t have a large, heavy electric motor connected to the body of the sprayer.

6. Cost

Both sprayer types come with cost advantages and drawbacks. Electric is slightly more expensive than air. However, you don’t have to buy anything else besides that. Air, on the other hand, is cheaper but requires an air compressor or tank.

7. Repair

Both need a certain level of patience to repair or troubleshoot manually. The problem is the compartments where the paint is pressurized is airtight. I have taken my sprayer apart, fixed the problem, and put it back together. Only to realize the seal is no longer sealed.

I think air is easier to repair only because it has fewer parts than the electric sprayer. I recommend you take your sprayer to a professional to avoid any headaches.

8. Maintenance

I find Air sprayers easier to clean because you can force water through the sprayer pretty easily. This forces all the dried paint if there is any. If there is dried paint inside the electric sprayer piston, you can’t force water or solvent into the chamber easily.

9. Ease of Use

As mentioned above, Electric sprayers are a one and done solution. Nothing else besides paint is needed to get started out of the box (except Power duh). They also have fewer knobs to adjust things like spray width. Some people like all those settings, I don’t care for it.

Air sprayers have more settings for the paint spray itself, this can take some trial and error to get your desired paint coverage.

10. Requirements

As mentioned above, the only thing you need for an electric sprayer is electricity. Air sprayers require an air source, so either an air compressor or air tank.

Airless is another option I highly recommend because it is entirely different than electric or air sprayers. Airless sprayers use only force to create the paint spray, not compressed air. With this you get, faster painting, cleaner lines, and more run time without reloading paint.

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