Painter in ventilation suit holding a paint sprayer

Different Types Of Paint Sprayers – Which Is Best For You?

When starting a painting project you don’t want to take a weekend to paint an entire room. I know I wouldn’t! Depending on your project there are many different types of paint sprayers available to you. Wither your painting a wall or restoring an action figure, there is a paint sprayer for your project.

All paint sprayers work. Yet, the method of turning the paint into a spray is different. The main types of paint sprayers are:

  • Airless
  • High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP)
  • Low Volume Low Pressure (LVLP)
  • Gravity Fed

If your anything like me, and want to get to the point here are 2 tables explaining the pros, cons, cost, and more. Enjoy!

Sprayer Type Pros Cons Best Use
AirlessPaints Quickly
Use directly from paintcan
Available to Rent
Over Spraying can happen
Loud running noise
Interior/Exterior Walls
HVLPCan use thicker liquids
Very precise painting
Prone to clog
Slower printing speed
LVLPProduces a fine even mist
Small and compact
Must use thin paint
Small paint Reservoir
May need multiple coats
Hobby things
Painting small figures
Gravity FedHighly accurate
Very SlowPainting Cars
Painting Metal
Painting Skin

There are many things to consider when choosing the correct paint sprayer.

  • What am I painting
  • How much will I be painting (square ft)
  • What am I putting in the sprayer (paint, Varnish, lacquer)
  • Am I experienced enough

Here is another table ranking the skills needed and the cost of the different kinds of paint sprayers.

Sprayer TypeSkill NeededCost
Gravity Fed44

Keep in mind that you are able to easily rent equipment too! Check out Home Depot or Lowes to see if renting may be right for you.

Airless Paint Sprayer

Best know by painting professionals for there quick coverage and ability to pull from a paint can or paint bucket. These sprayers are the most expensive so many consumers usually do not go this route. But, hardware stores have started to rent them, allowing consumers to use them for far less cost. Since the paint comes out of the nozzle at a faster speed this can cause the paint to collect and drip down surfaces. Out of all the different types of paint sprayers, this one is my favorite. once you learn how powerful it is you can paint walls in no time.

HVLP Paint Sprayer (High Volume Low Pressure)

HVLP paint sprayers use a turbine to vaporize the paint, stain, or varnish. Even though this sprayer can work with thicker paints the larger nozzle tip is prone to clog easier. If you know you will be using thicker paints this is the sprayer you want to use.

The HVLP sprayer is very accurate when it comes to painting. I have seen people paint without taping off anything. If you have a steady enough hand the paint will go exactly where you want it.

LVLP Paint Sprayer (Low Volume Low Pressure)

LVLP paint sprayers are great for hobbyists, the sprayer produces a small lightweight mist of paint. Most people will use them for small models or dolls. Since the mist the sprayer produces is so fine you cant use thick paint in the sprayer. However, since the mist is so fine I usually will take more than 1 coat to finish a project.

These sprayers have a smaller reservoir for holding paint so you will have to fill it more often. The LVLP sprayer is the smallest and most compact of any.

Gravity Fed

Lastly, we have the gravity fed spray gun, the most popular of classic car and body shop owners. The sprayer is perfect for painting cars. Wither it be a clear coat or auto paint it does a good job. Out of all the different types of paint sprayers, this is the most quite. Much like the LVLP sprayer, it will need refilling often.

Most of the modern “face sculpting” makeup sprayers use this same technology. The tank that holds the liquid sits on top and gravity makes the liquid fall onto the stream of air.


Test the sprayer on a piece of cardboard or newspaper to make sure it is your desired color. This also allows you to see if the paint is coming out too thick or runny.

Always remember to clean the sprayer when finished. If using oil-based paints run solvent through the hose and nozzle until the unit is clean.

Beginners try something outside like a fence. What I like about fences is each post is a lesson focus on one at a time and you’ll learn to use any paint sprayer.


As always keep the tip of the sprayers away from your skin and always wear eye protection. A respirator mask is always suggested when working with airborne agents.

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