Guide written by:
Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds
Ideal for painting any surface with perfect finishing, the paint gun is available in low or high pressure and electric or compressed air. It is to be selected according to your work: an anti-fog (HLVP) for professionals or the inexpensive models for the occasional job! Here's a comparison of paint guns.
- Compressed air
- High pressure
- Low pressure
- Anti-fog feature
- Cup and tank
- Painting Station
- Flow and Pressure
What are the different types of paint guns?
Low pressure electric paint gun
The low pressure electric gun is the simplest of the paint guns: ready to tackle any small job.
Doesn't cost a lot but it reaps some big rewards!
Low pressure paint station
Known as a low pressure paint station, spray station or HVLP, this paint gun is electric and suitable for small and medium surfaces.
To further develop, if the job consists of smallrenovations or you'e fascinated by the visual arts, this is the one you need to buy! This is the one with the ant-fog feature!
High pressure paint gun
The high pressure electric gun is also referred to as Airless. Now we're playing with the big dogs!
There are different power ranges and available pressures, even several nozzles - according to the projected paint's viscosity - various tank capacities and some models even featre a flexible supply hose to better tackle those tricky pot corners!
Pure joy in the form of color for your walls or surfaces!
Pneumatic paint spray gun
Pneumatic guns, also known as compressed air guns are used to paint like the pros and enthusiasts!
Connected to an independent compressor, this paint gun is linked to a cup. When located above, it's referred to as a gravity gun, while when it is attached below, it's called a suction gun. The first option is linked to a low-pressure compressor and is limited in use - impossible to horizontally paint up high for example. It is much more suitable for low-height vertical or horizontal work. The second example, the suction gun, has the cup bucket attachment underneath it and is suitable for all other applications.
The compressor is unfortunately not supplied with the gun. There are of course various degrees of quality when it comes to paint guns! Usually implying very detailed work, it is often used for autobody work.
Paint gun: what paints can you apply?
The paint gun is used to apply paint on any given surface. It must be diluted to render it liquiduified (5 to 10%).
To avoid mistakes, let’s summarize the relevant vocabulary right away.
- Aqueous paint (vinyl or acrylic): This type is diluted with water.
- Solvent-based paints (glycerophthalic or polyurethane): This paint is diluted with a solvent - which is specified on the painting.
The paint gun also allows you to apply other products.
You can spray lacquers or wood paints and products such as glazes (thinners) or varnishes. Be careful though, it's always important to pay attention to the viscosity index.
Electric and compressed air paint gun
How an electric paint gun functions
The electric paint gun contains a motor which actuates a piston, thereby projecting the paint onto the surface at a certain pressure, to de determined by the specific model.
The pressure is relative to the flow, which is determined by the model's power. The spray control technology limits the spray and applies a very thin, smooth layer of paint.
How a pneumatic paint gun functions
The pneumatic paint gun works with compressed air supplied by a compressor. The air is sent directly to the gun, which, depending on the pressure received, is gravity or suction-fed. The selected paint is then projected towards the selected surface. It is therfore important to choose a paint gun according to what paint is in need of application.
Paint gun: what is the spray effect?
As the name suggests, it is the fog that is created when applying paint.
Generally, fog residue seeps to all the unprotected surfaces.
To prevent this: goodprotection (tarpaulins, masking tape) and if if possible, opt for the HVLP electric gun which considerably reduces the fog effect.
No matter what the job, consider using a protective mask to protect your airways!
Paint gun: flow, pressure and power
These three elements are interconnected and have a direct impact on the possible paint that you will apply and how it will be applied.
Often adjustable, their role is to adapt your gun to the product you apply - paint, varnish, glosses etc.
Already configured on electric paint guns, the flow and pressure on pneumatic paint guns must be compatible with the compressor's characteristics otherwise, both their use and their results will be greatly diminished.
Paint gun: what gun at what price?
The brand, power, options, capacity, hose length and additional accessories are all details that can make or break a decision.
Low capacity, limited flow control, fragile assembly, no options or features to facilitate the application of different paints. The risk: go through a lot of paint for an unsatisfactory result.
Equippped with a flowregulator, a variety of nozzles, quality materials, cup between 600 and 1000 ml, with paint filters included. All things considered, these devices get the job done and are perfect for the occasional project.
Top of the line
High power, dedicated to medium and large surfaces, greater capacity cup, speedy application, ultra easy cleaning. This is the product for enthusiastic do-it-yourselfers or professionals.
Is the cup size is too small for you? Everything planned out in advance! Some guns have interchangeable cups.
Tips for choosing your paint gun
In order choose the right paint gun, let's take a close look!
Adjustable flow? If it's too strong, watch out for dripping.
Length of warranty? Good to know if you are starting on a major renovation.
Adjustable spray nozzle? Orientable nozzles makes it possible to make a vertical, horizontal or concentrated circular jet (specific small zones).
Free-standing or attached cup? Watch out for the wrist and the maneuverability!
Tankor cup capacity . Since you have to put it with it, it's a big factor!
Length of pipe: not to overlook if repainting the house's gables!
Area covered in 1 minute.
Anti-fog system or easy dilution.
If compressed air, the cup's position and the quality of the nozzle (or needle). Which must be in an abrasive resistant alloy.
The frequency of use will determine the ideal budget.
The nozzles must be adapted to the type of product you will apply.
A removable pump is recommended for cleaning.
The flow rate is based on the quantity of product projected and the speed of execution - remember to take your time though, watch out for dripping!
For anyone curious and wanting to know more about paint guns, or other painting options, follow the links below for painting-related accessories, advice from our editors and more helpful guides:
- How to choose your painting tools?
- How to choose your paint brush?
- How to choose your paint roller?
- How to choose your outside wood paint?
- How to choose your indoor wood paint?
- How to choose your plaster and facade paint?
- How to choose your kitchen and bathroom paint?
- How to choose your wall and ceiling paint?
- How to choose your paint, primer and undercoat?
- How to choose your pneumatic tools?
- How to choose your compressor?
Finally be sure to work safely!:
- How to choose your protective clothing?
- How to choose your protective gloves?
- How to choose your protective eyewear?
- How to choose your respiratory protection?
Guide written by:
Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds, 97 guides
With a handyman-father, I grew up with the soft sound of the sander and hammer on weekends. I am both manual and cerebral (yes, it is possible.), I learned the basics of DIY and the customization of furniture because I was passionate. The salvage mentality is a true way of life that allowed me to know how to use all the tools and products needed to give something a second life, from sander to varnish. I have two favorite activities: the transformation of old furniture and decoration tips. I am always ready to lend a helping hand to revamp a table or to restore a mirror that was intended for the trash that will become a friend’s centerpiece. I’m convinced that it’s possible to reinvent an interior by small, regular modifications, I constantly research low-cost, test ideas.