I used to paint houses for a living. It wasn’t glamorous, but I had quite a bit of fun with it. There’s something oddly Zen about painting, even when you’re doing it in 100-degree weather, by hand.
Sometimes though, you need to go a bit faster. Enter, the paint sprayer.
These things are fun differently if you treat them right. Nintendo thinks the same thing if Splatoon is any indication. But what do you need to know before you buy one? That’s what we’re going to figure out today.
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How To Choose The Perfect One:
Types of Paint Sprayers
There are three basic types of paint sprayers: Airless, compressed air, and HPLV:
- Airless paint sprayers: pump the paint up at very high pressure and spray it out in droplets at high speed. You want to use thick paint for this kind to get a more even coat. Used for pretty much anything you want (interior paint, fencing, anything you want a thick coat for) but especially good at doing ceilings, since the high volume of thick paint makes it stick a lot better.
- Compressed air paint sprayers: require an air compressor to use, keep that in mind. But when hooked up they fire paint very evenly and result in smooth coats. Great for furniture and cabinetry. Keep in mind you’ll be chewing through paint even more than with other paint sprayers with this one; make sure to buy more than enough paint.
- HVLP (High Volume, Low Pressure) paint sprayers: use a steady stream of air to relatively gently blow paint onto the surface. They’re designed mostly to work with thinner paints, though more expensive (MUCH more expensive) models can be used for thicker paints and lacquer. Used indoors in places where you don’t want (or can’t afford) to deal with a lot of paint splatter.
Primary Features to Look For
The first thing you should note about your paint sprayer is what powers it. There are paint sprayers powered by electricity (a lot of them), ones that are cordless (battery operated), and even some that are fuel powered. Keep in mind what suits your needs best.
Larger jobs are going to be pretty hard on a cordless machine; you’ll often have to stop to recharge the battery if you don’t buy extras. Corded electrical machines might be out of the question depending on where you’re painting (a new property that doesn’t have any electrical running to it yet, for example).
Fuel powered options are the most niche, but shouldn’t be ignored for avoiding the above scenario.
The second thing you should note is how portable it is, which is a related feature to power type. Not just whether you can take it from place to place, but whether you can easily pick up and move to somewhere else nearby.
If you’re doing a big outdoor project (like painting the exterior of a house), you’re going to need to move to different sides to paint them. You don’t want a machine too heavy to move easily.
Likewise, if you’re painting a car or several pieces of furniture, you want something that can easily move with you as you walk around the shop and get to the sides of different pieces you need to paint.
Many paint sprayers have different adjustments you can use to change the volume or thickness of paint that is shooting out at any given time.
Some even have options for different spray patterns (like a water hose does) or different settings for lacquer and varnish!
Keep in mind your needs when looking at paint sprayers. Sometimes you may not need adjustments, but having that added versatility is always nice.
The messiest part of any job involving a paint sprayer is cleaning it out afterward. Taking apart the head to clean out the gunk is often difficult and always very messy.
Any paint sprayer that allows you to attach it to a garden hose for cleaning has a HUGE plus over the competition in my opinion, and this feature should be something you look for. The effort saved is usually worth the extra money spent in my book.
Never forget to accessorize…if you think you need it, anyway. There are all sorts of accessories you can buy for a paint sprayer to specialize it toward a certain job or just make things easier in general. The most common ones include:
- Different tips for added versatility in the thickness and shape of your spray; good to buy if your paint sprayer doesn’t come with an adjustable tip already.
- Hoses, because you will often need longer or shorter hoses for different jobs. A hose that is too long can be made to work for jobs in a smaller area, but the same can’t be said for a hose that is too short.
- Filters prevent clogging and contamination, as well as make sure you get an even coat. Most sprayers worth their salt already come with a filter, but it never hurts to have a backup since even the best filters give out eventually.
- Extensions make things easier by giving you an elongated rod to spray paint from. This makes things easier on your back since you don’t have to reach up as far as high areas or have to extend your arm as much for everything else.
- Protectants are chemicals used to minimize freezing, sticking, clogging, and other undesirable “-ings” in your paint sprayer. Most brands have a specific protectant they recommend for their brand.
It’s best to keep in mind that paint is a dangerous chemical if ingested or injected. Given that paint sprayers fire a high volume of paint at very high speeds, that means the accidental injection of paint (into yourself or others) is a very real possibility if you’re careless.
Much like using a gun, never point the tip of a paint sprayer at yourself or others. If injected with paint, seek medical attention immediately.
Paint sprayers vary wildly in price, varying in price from a minimum (for anything worth using) of about $50 and a maximum of over $1000 (with outliers costing upwards of $2000 or even $10, 000; we won’t be covering any of those) for paint sprayers made for consumer or light commercial use. I’m going to attempt to run the full range in this article, so you always know a good option that fits your budget.
Speaking of, let’s get started!
Top 5 Airless Paint Sprayer Reviews
Tack Life SGP15AC Advanced Electric Spray Gun 800ml/min Paint Sprayer
A good intro paint sprayer. This is about as simple as you get with paint sprayers: an electric motor and a small canister of paint.
Still, for under $50, it’s hard to find one better. It has an adjustable nozzle, able to shift both pattern and size of droplets easily, and it’s extremely portable.
Are you likely to paint your house with it? No. It only has a 6 ft. Cable and doesn’t even hold a full can of paint. But for small jobs around the house, painting a cabinet, slapping a coat on some furniture or maybe an interior wall…yeah, it’s perfect.
Graco Magnum Project Painter Plus Paint Sprayer
Jumping up a bit, we have this bad boy. This one is more than capable of taking on bigger jobs. If you need to paint the inside of your house, a shed, or just want to handle a bunch of small projects, this one has you covered.
It connects to up to a 5 gallon can of paint and can shoot it out of up to a 50-foot hose. While it’s not rated for heavy long-term use (they recommend you don’t exceed 50 gallons of paint per year through it), this isn’t made to be the professional’s choice for doing their job, but the friend of a plucky DIYer who needs to shoot a lot of paint fast.
It’s fairly light too, coming out at about 15 lbs (unfilled), making it easy to maneuver. It has a 3/8 horsepower electric motor you can plug into any outlet, making finding a power source easy enough.
It even comes with one of the best features: easy cleaning by hooking it to a garden hose. That alone should recommend it as a possible choice.
For all this, it will run you a bit over $250. Not a bad price, all things considered.
Titan ControlMax 1700 Pro High-Efficiency Airless Paint Sprayer
This one boasts of a few unique features. It’s a .6 horsepower motor that can handle up to 1500 PSI, which is pretty impressive. That translates to a .33 GPM (Gallons Per Minute) rating.
Perhaps more importantly, it brags of having 55% less overspray than other airless paint sprayers, meaning it wastes less paint and is easier to clean up (since overspray tends to coat the handle).
The patented High-Efficiency Airless (HEA) design gives it a smoother finish with a gentler, softer spray than many competitors. This makes it less likely you’re going to put on too thick a coat and likely reduces the need for back brushing (going over the area with a roller) afterward.
While it doesn’t have the easy cleanup function, I tend to favor, its increased performance is tempting enough to justify its nearly $400 price tag and its inclusion on this list.
Graco Magnum X7 Cart Paint Sprayer
A step up from the Project Painter Plus. Technically two: I skipped a model.
This one is simply a better (though nearly double as expensive) version of the Project Painter Plus. It can handle up to 3000 PSI with a roughly 50% higher flow rate.
It has all the features I liked about the Project Painter Plus (including the “Power Flush” system for hooking it up to a garden hose to clean it) and is, simply put, more than that one. Everything about it is bigger and better in every way.
Graco has several other models with higher performance ratings than this, but I think this is the best cost/power ratio of the bunch. The rest max out at the same PSI and roughly the same flow rate, the only difference is the “gallons per year” rating goes up, and the tank size increases until you hit the true professional/commercial grade machines.
Unless a paint sprayer is a primary tool for your job, I believe this is the best of the Graco series of paint sprayers.
Wagner 0515034 ProCoat Stand Airless Paint Sprayer
Mostly for specific purposes.
I put this one on here not because I necessarily think it’s the best airless paint sprayer (that goes to the above Graco, for most purposes) but because this one fills an important (if expensive) niche.
Of all the paint sprayers we’ve looked at so far, this is the only one that is designed to handle lacquer, latex, varnish, and similar things much thicker than paint. While the others CAN spray them, they often suffer for it. This one is specifically designed for those plus does paint just as well.
In a general sense, it’s also a very good machine, with a ¾ horsepower motor and a .24 GPM flow rate, which is not bad. Unfortunately, I think where this suffers the price.
While it is better than any other paint sprayer we’ve looked at so far, unfortunately, I don’t think it’s ENOUGH better to justify an upwards of $200 price hike over the Graco Magnum X7, which is very nearly as good at everything but firing thicker materials than paint.
It suffers doubly by lacking the easy clean “power flush” capability the Graco models have, making it a huge hassle to clean or unclog.
Unless you specifically need a latex and varnish sprayer, I’d consider giving this one a pass.
Top 5 Cabinetry and Furniture Paint Sprayers Reviews
Campbell Hausfeld DH790000AV HVLP Paint Sprayer Gun
Simple, cheap, but it’ll do the job. This is a compressed air HVLP sprayer, making it perfect for furniture, cabinets, and other small projects.
This one’s claim to fame is accuracy. The combination of compressed air with a low PSI means it flows out evenly in thin streams if needed, or thicker if you want to coat things more thickly, making it perfect for getting the corners and edges of furniture as well as the flatter, larger planes.
It doesn’t need much air or pressure to function, so you won’t find yourself constantly changing out compressed air canisters.
Unfortunately, it also lacks a lot of nice features…including the easy clean “power flush” capability we’ve come to know and love. Still, even given its no-frills nature, I feel the roughly $70 price tag is justified by how well it performs.
Wagner 0518050 Control Spray Double Duty Paint Sprayer
A far cry from the Wagner Titan, but good for this purpose. Its main benefit is the large tank size, holding up to about a quart and a half. Its fan isn’t super powerful, but it’s strong enough for the purpose of painting small things and is primarily great at spraying thinned paints.
Essentially, it’s good for thin coats, which is all you want for furniture or cabinetry anyway and can do lacquer or finish in a pinch, as long as you don’t mind thinning it.
It, admittedly, doesn’t have much else to recommend it besides its tank size, but that in itself is a pretty big selling point, given how so VERY small most others are, necessitating frequent reloads. All in all, about $100 is a fair price for this.
Tacklife SGP16AC 6.5Amp 1100ml/min Professional Spray Gun
If you’re willing to shell out a little extra though, this is another great option.
Adjustable, portable, and electric power. It’s like a slightly more powerful version of the airless Tack Life we covered above. It has three pattern settings (horizontal, vertical, and circular patterns). The pattern isn’t the only adjustable part; you can change flow and nozzle size as well, making this one of the most adjustable sprayers on the market.
It doesn’t have a power flush function, but it is easily dismantled, so you can take it fully apart quickly and wash everything individually. Not quite as easy (or as satisfying), but it’ll do.
All in all, for the price (under $100) it’s the best around. It has the perfect amount of power and versatility for small projects, and it is electrically powered makes it less reliant on outside sources of fuel like compressed air (even if the cord is a relatively short 6 feet).
HomeRight Super Finish Max Extra C800971 Paint Sprayer Power Painter
This one’s main claim to fame is job versatility. It also has a pretty good granularity in its spray; it sprays a fine mist on most settings.
This one isn’t as easy to swap settings, but has six different nozzles for different jobs, and is powerful enough to use lacquer and latex, though not as well as paint.
This is, essentially, the cheapest “all in one” paint sprayer you can get. While it’s not as good as that job as the next unit on our list, it’s about $100 cheaper and a lot lighter in hand, which is an advantage in itself. And as long as you have the patience to keep refilling the tiny tank, it can be used for fence painting as well as furniture.
RexBeTi HVLP Power Painter Spray Gun
This is a bit like a more powerful version of the Tack Life above. It has many of the same features: adjustable nozzle and pressure, electric motor, and HVLP spray.
The main differences are in its power. It has a higher rated viscosity and higher maximum pressure, meaning it can more easily do thicker coats or larger surface area.
What this also means is that it’s very good with lacquer and finish, making it great for finishing wood without messy slabs and brushes to apply it properly.
This is easily the best furniture paint sprayer you can get without breaking the bank.
Best Home Paint Sprayer: Earlex HV5500 Spray Station
For general home use, I favor a tool that can do as many things as possible for as little cost as possible. The Earlex 5500 is that tool.
This one has the right amount of power to serve any purpose you need. It has enough power I’d feel comfortable painting my house with it (and can easily do things like paint sheds or chicken coops or what have you) while not being SO powerful I’d feel uncomfortable using it inside or on smaller things like furniture.
In keeping with that desire of versatility, yes it can do lacquer, latex, shellac, or whatever else you need it to throw down, and comes with a variety of different nozzles and extenders you can throw on it to customize it to any job you need to do.
It’s not quite the powerhouse of the Graco Magnum or Titan Impact, but it doesn’t need to be and has an advantage in cost because of it (it will only run you about $300).
Best Interior Walls Paint Sprayer: Graco Magnum Project Painter Plus Paint Sprayer
For interior walls, you want a fairly wide spray, but you don’t want TOO much power. For that reason, I feel Graco’s “budget model” that we discussed in the “Top 5 Airless Paint Sprayers” section is the best option for this purpose by far.
It has (5 gallons) to spray the walls without putting too thick of a coat or over-spraying in other ways. When painting anything you want to avoid having to go back and back brush everything (it defeats the purpose of using a paint sprayer in the first place if you end up having to use a roller anyway).
It also has enough special features to justify its cost (a bit under $250) with the reversible tip to prevent clogging and the absolute best luxury feature (the power flush easy clean technology). This is a great all-purpose paint sprayer but performs best on mid-size projects like interior walls and fencing.
Best HVLP Paint Sprayer: Fuji 2202 Semi-PRO 2 HVLP Spray System
Think of this as the “missing link” between consumer and professional paint sprayers. As the name suggests, this isn’t necessarily for pros or hobbyists, but someone in between. Maybe a handyman who does a lot of different jobs and has a paint sprayer for the ones that call for it.
Maybe the serious DIYer who builds all their furniture, but isn’t interested in selling it.
Whoever you are, this one has something to offer. It has a 1400 watt 2 stage motor (most of the machines we’ve looked at today have been 500-watt motors) and a widely adjustable nozzle, being able to adjust from a 1 inch to a 12-inch oval, with similar growths for horizontal and vertical sprays.
The can itself is adjustable, able to be either a bottom feed or gravity feed depending on how you need it, and holding up to a quart of paint.
Simply put, this can handle whatever job you throw at it…though I do believe it errs more toward being used outdoors, which is why I picked the Earlex 5500 as the best home model. While you can use it indoors, I feel the motor is a bit too powerful for me to be comfortable doing so without making too much of a mess with accidental overspray even WITH it being an HPLV model.
It running a little over $400 is the other factor that made me pass it over to the best home model, but I feel the price is very fair for what it brings to the table.
Bets Handheld Paint Sprayer: RexBeTi HVLP Power Painter Spray Gun
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This is just a good handheld model. While primarily great for being an all-purpose furniture sprayer (being able to do paint as well as lacquer, latex, and other things) it has enough power to be good for any small function like touching up a fencepost, painting trim, coating doors, and whatever else you can think of.
It’s all around able: portable, powerful, and affordable. Most other handheld sprayers have some kind of drawback in power or precision beside what’s inherent to them being smaller, cheaper models, but this one can tackle any job you want short of painting something beyond its capacity.
Best Electric Paint Sprayer: Graco Magnum 262805 X7 Cart Airless Paint Sprayer
It stands to reason that what is, in my opinion, the best on this list takes this spot as well. It’s simply a great, powerful machine that shares most traits with their professional-grade models (save incrementally increasing GPM and annual usage limits) and can be used for pretty much any project.
Being able to spray unthinned paint (and therefore thicker, more viscous materials like lacquer and latex) with ease is a big time and effort saving feature, and everything else about it endears me to it as well.
It’s expensive, but not too expensive, and has a high enough flow at high enough pressure that any big job melts away with ease. The only thing I wouldn’t use it for is smaller projects like painting furniture simply because it’s not an HVLP model, and those are simply the best option for projects like that so you can go nice and slow to get an even coat.
Best Commercial Paint Sprayer: Graco 17C305 Pro210ES Cart Pro Connect Paint Sprayer
While the Magnum X7 is my favorite Graco machine, if you really need a professional grade paint sprayer for commercial use, this is the one that has you covered.
While it will run you near to $1000, if you need this kind of power it’s totally worth it. It has a roughly 30% higher GPM than the Magnum X7 and supports a hose up to 150 feet in length, minimizing the amount you need to move it.
Its motor has a full one horsepower behind it, letting it shove paint through at high volume…and anything else too. This bad boy is rated to throw high volumes of just about anything thinner than asphalt anywhere you want to put it.
It has a high endurance pump, but should it ever give out from overwork, it’s designed to be easily replaceable on the job, minimizing downtime and letting you get back to work within a few minutes without worrying about losing any parts (everything is self-contained with no loose parts).
This paint sprayer is certainly not for everyone: most people simply do not need this much power and buying something this far beyond what you need is just a waste of money. But if you spray paint professionally? This is a good investment.
Best Paint Sprayers By Brand
There will be some familiar faces here for Titan, Graco, and Wagner, but here we get a chance to talk about some runners-up in two other brands we didn’t mention and a short explanation of why I think each of these paint sprayers is the best for each brand.
Wagner Reviews: Wagner 0515034 ProCoat Stand Airless Paint Sprayer
While a bit expensive for my tastes for what it does, it is still a high-performance machine, and the best that Wagner produces. It’s easy to move, fairly powerful for its size, and very good at spraying thicker materials than paint.
If you need a latex or lacquer thrower, but don’t want to spend nearly $1000 on the Graco Pro 210ES, this is an excellent compromise. It doesn’t have the same issues of being overkill for most jobs, so while it’s more expensive you won’t feel like you’re buying something that’s worthless to you in most regards; it can handle the smaller jobs around your home just as easily so long as you’re careful to tape and cover everything.
While not my favorite paint sprayer, it was still good enough to make it into my top 5 for airless sprayers, which counts for something. I just feel it’s a bit too expensive to be THE best with as little a performance upgrade as it is over the competition.
Graco Reviews: Graco Magnum 262805 X7 Cart Airless Paint Sprayer
Need I say any more? This is the benchmark I have measured every other paint sprayer on this list. While many do some things better than this, there is no paint sprayer here that does EVERYTHING better without pushing the envelope on price.
It’s a good paint sprayer for every occasion and can be adjusted and accessorized to deal with any job you need it to. When I buy a power tool or appliance, I want something that will last for years and I can use for more than one thing (it pains me to see a tool I had to buy for one project that I never use again): this is that paint sprayer.
The fact that it makes things easy for me in the cleaning department (I hate cleaning) is the piece de resistance: I love this paint sprayer.
Kraus and Becker Reviews: 5/8 HP 3000 PSI Airless Paint Sprayer Kit
A simple, no frills paint sprayer. While by no means bad, this paint sprayer has little unique or memorable about it to recommend it over other paint sprayers for even niche purposes.
Its only real claim to fame is having a slightly higher than average horsepower for paint sprayers in this price range (5/8 HP instead of ½ HP) and a slightly higher maximum nozzle spray (16 inches instead of 12 inches). other than that, it is an unremarkable machine.
While cheap (a bit over $200), there is no reason you should get this over the similarly prized Graco Project Painter Plus that has similar performance, plus a whole host of extra features (including the power flush feature).
Alas, it suffers from the curse of being merely adequate when I’m trying to search for the above average, at least.
Titan Tools Reviews: Titan ControlMax 1700 PRO High-Efficiency Airless Paint Sprayer
It’s interesting that such a seemingly testosterone-fueled name would be attached to a machine whose claim to fame is its gentleness.
I like this thing, it’s probably my second favorite. The price is good, and I like its focus on increased efficiency and a smoother finish over simply having more horsepower and a higher flow rate since the latter two are generally less important (and sometimes a detriment) in painting once the minimum necessary specifications are met.
This would be the sprayer I’d recommend if you’re fine with giving up a little versatility in WHAT it can spray (since the lower power does mean it isn’t recommended to use thick paints or lacquer, latex, etc. with it) to make sure it sprays well, sprays clean, and doesn’t waste too much of your paint (you spent good money on that after all).
Still, lacking the ability to spray lacquer or finish IS a downside, and the Magnum X7 (its pricing peer) is able to do that, while still performing admirably and not overspraying any more than your average paint sprayer does, so it took the top spot.
While the Graco X7 is far and away the best on this list, I feel, there are several others worth your consideration for different purposes. The Titan ControlMax, of course, for an airless sprayer, but also the Earlex HV550 or Fuji 2202 for HVLP sprayers and the many handhelds out there (all of which can do the job for you, they simply each perform slightly better in certain areas than their competition).
There are very few bad paint sprayers out there, and the only one on this list I’d say to avoid is Kraus and Becker’s entry; they simply are not a market leader in terms of performance, features, or competitive pricing.