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Published Mar. 7, 2022

When it comes to covering large areas, the best paint sprayers have an obvious advantage over brush or roller. In addition to letting you get the job done more quickly, they can also provide a smoother finish, eradicating brush marks and stippling, making them particularly beneficial for painting furniture or other craft projects. Paint sprayers can also help you save on material too, thanks to the application of finer, but more even coats.

However, with a variety of delivery methods and features available, choosing the right paint sprayer can be challenging. We’ve taken a close look at a range of products with varying specifications and costs, and have compiled a comprehensive review of the best paint sprayers for applying stains, varnishes, primers, and latex.

Best Overall Paint Sprayer: Wagner Control Pro 150 Paint Sprayer
Best Budget Paint Sprayer: Scuddles High-Power HVLP Paint Sprayer
Best Compact Paint Sprayer: HomeRight Super Finish Max HVLP Paint Sprayer
Best HVLP Paint Sprayer: Fuji 2203G Semi-PRO 2 HVLP Spray System
— Best Professional Paint Sprayer: Graco Magnum ProX19 Cart Paint Sprayer

How We Chose the Best Paint Sprayers

Methodology

I am an engineer by profession, and I have remodeled two homes. I have hands-on experience of a number of different paint sprayers, and understand the technology. I also researched the market to make sure I was up-to-date with the latest developments, and took into account customer feedback.

It would be easy to focus entirely on high-performance paint sprayers, but not everyone needs that kind of equipment. For me, it was also important to look at ease of use for those new to spray painting, as well as versatility, so I made sure this selection suits a variety of users and tasks.

Quality and reliability are always major factors. Graco and Wagner are the market leaders, and rightly so. They are long-established brands, with broad ranges of high quality, reliable equipment. However, premium brands come with premium prices. I have also included several popular manufacturers of reliable budget equipment that offer good value to beginners and DIY users.

The Best Paint Sprayers: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall Paint Sprayer: Wagner Control Pro 150 Paint Sprayer

Wagner Spraytech

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Why It Made The Cut: Suitable for indoor and outdoor applications, the Wagner Control Pro 150 offers fuss-free spraying of all materials. It provides rapid, high-quality finishing for both home and light-duty trade use.

Specs:

  • Type: Airless
  • Adjustability: Flow control, interchangeable tips
  • Weight: 17.9 pounds

Pros:

  • Rapid spraying of all materials
  • HEA (high efficiency airless) technology reduces waste
  • Renowned durability

Cons:

  • More than some DIY users will want to spend
  • Only one tip included

While no one paint sprayer suits all users, the airless Wagner Control Pro 150 comes close. It offers excellent performance, good versatility, and the kind of durability that appeals to both amateurs and professionals.

Airless paint sprayers are known for their high-pressure delivery, and the Wagner runs at a maximum of 1,500 psi (pounds per square inch). What’s equally important is that it has flow adjustment, or the ability to turn down the pressure. This feature, often not found on cheaper models, offers the user greater control. Combine that with Wagner’s HEA technology, and the result is a claimed 55 percent reduction in material waste.

At just 18 pounds, the main unit is relatively portable, and 25 feet of hose provides plenty of reach. The 0.55 horsepower pump can spray latex and polyurethanes without thinning, though the spray gun tips will need to be changed. The one provided will spray primer, primer and topcoat 2 in 1 paints, latex and oil-based enamels, but others are required for stains and sealers, and cost extra.

The price of the Wagner Control Pro 150 puts it beyond most occasional DIY users, but for those who want consistent, reliable, and rapid application of any and all materials, this one’s hard to beat.

Best Budget Paint Sprayer: Scuddles High Power HVLP Paint Sprayer

Scuddles

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Why It Made The Cut: The Scuddles HVLP paint sprayer is an ideal introduction to paint spraying, designed to make short work of DIY tasks like staining the fence or sealing and varnishing furniture.

Specs:

  • Type: Hand-held HVLP
  • Adjustability: Flow and air control, pattern shape, interchangeable nozzles
  • Weight: 4.4 pounds

Pros: 

  • Very manageable
  • Five nozzles included
  • Low price

Cons: 

  • High viscosity (thick) materials need to be thinned
  • Limited durability

The Scuddles HVLP paint sprayer is the ideal solution for those people who are unsure whether it’s really worth investing in one of these tools. It is low cost, lightweight, and easy to use, with plenty of versatility for jobs around the house and yard, as well as  finishing craft projects.

Although this model allows for adjustment for air flow, paint flow, and pattern shape, it’s fairly basic, and users shouldn’t expect high precision or super-smooth finishes. The Scuddles HVLP paint sprayer works well with stains, preservatives, sealers, and varnishes, and comes with five different-sized nozzles to be used with materials of different viscosities. The largest nozzles are claimed to allow for latex and other heavy materials to be sprayed. However, in practice they will probably need to be thinned. The paint cup holds a useful 34 ounces, but the 6-foot power cord will probably require an extension cord. However, this is common with handheld HVLP paint sprayers. 

The majority of the Scuddles’ components are plastic, which limits its durability. It is fine for occasional tasks, but those looking for a fine surface finish and long-term performance will want to invest a little more.

Best Compact Paint Sprayer: HomeRight Super Finish Max HVLP Paint Sprayer

HomeRight

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Why It Made The Cut: The light and powerful HomeRight paint sprayer is a go-anywhere solution capable of taking on any DIY painting or finishing challenge. Quality components mean it also offers excellent value.

Specs:

  • Type: Hand-held HVLP
  • Adjustability: Flow control, pattern shape and width, interchangeable spray tips
  • Weight: 3.3 pounds

Pros:

  • Capable of spraying all materials
  • High capacity 39 ounce cup
  • Durable brass spray tips

Cons:

  • Motor is quite loud
  • Not for super-smooth finishes
  • Short power cord

HomeRight’s range of affordable paint sprayers provide a good balance between price and performance, and are hugely popular. The Super Finish Max is at the top of the range, and can be used on a wide variety of DIY painting or finishing projects. 

There are three pattern shapes to choose from, and two air caps that allow the width of the pattern to be adjusted. Key to this model’s versatility are the spray tips, and unlike low-cost rivals that are frequently made of plastic, the HomeRight Super Finish Max uses solid brass. In addition to being more durable than their plastic counterparts, they help maintain consistent material flow for a smoother finish. Three are included, suitable for anything from stains to un-thinned latex. Users can opt to add on an additional three spray tips to increase their options for pattern and coverage, although these will cost extra.

At just 3.3 pounds the HomeRight Super Finish Max paint sprayer is very light, and even with the high capacity cup filled it is well balanced and quite maneuverable. Unfortunately the power cord is just two feet long. However, this is a minor annoyance easily remedied with an extension cord from an otherwise excellent DIY paint sprayer.

Best HVLP Paint Sprayer: Fuji 2203G Semi-PRO 2 HVLP Spray System

Fuji Spray

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Why It Made The Cut: While the Fuji Semi-PRO 2 HVLP system is perfectly capable of spraying large areas indoors and out, its real strength lies in its ability to spray any material, including vehicle finishes, with great precision.

Specs:

  • Type: HVLP gun and turbine
  • Adjustability: Air flow control, pattern shape and size, interchangeable air caps
  • Weight: 25 pounds

Pros:

  • Very precise adjustment possible
  • Can spray all materials, including automotive finishes
  • Renowned reliability and durability

Cons: 

  • Small cup size
  • Only one air cap included

HVLP paint sprayers are often seen as the budget alternative to airless models, and while this is largely true there is another category of HVLP spray guns that is quite different. These are used for high quality finishing of a wide variety of surfaces, with minimal waste.

In professional spray shops the spray gun itself is bought separately and paired with a compressor. That can be inconvenient for those without the necessary experience, and is also expensive. Fuji’s Semi PRO 2 paint sprayer is a more affordable solution, incorporating all the necessary components in a comprehensive kit. There is the high-quality gravity-fed HVLP spray gun, 25 feet of flexible, high-pressure hose, and a powerful 1,400W turbine motor.

Interchangeable air caps are used to suit various materials. Only one is provided, a 1.3mm version for thin to medium viscosity finishes. This is typical with pro gear, and a range of other tips are available from 0.8mm to 2.0mm. Control over pattern size is independent, and particularly precise. It can go from just 1 inch in diameter, right out to 12 inches.

The Fuji Semi PRO 2 can be used to spray household paints, fence preservatives, and similar products, but will probably appeal more to serious hobbyists or small commercial outfits that need fine finishes on furniture projects or vehicle repairs and restorations.

Best Professional Paint Sprayer: Graco Magnum ProX19 Cart Paint Sprayer

Why It Made The Cut: Graco’s reputation for powerful, reliable equipment is unrivaled, and the ProX19 delivers rapid coverage of all materials at a price that is surprisingly competitive at this end of the market.

Specs:

  • Type: Airless
  • Adjustability: Paint flow, interchangeable tips
  • Weight: 42 pounds

Pros: 

  • Extremely rapid coverage
  • Spray direct from paint can
  • 50 feet of hose

Cons:

  • Only one tip included
  • A considerable investment

The performance of the Graco ProX19 airless paint sprayer can be difficult to appreciate for those who have never used this type of equipment. It is not only capable of delivering paint at up to 0.38 gallons per minute, the 3,000 psi pump means it can do so along as much as 150 feet of hose (50 feet are included). For example, the second or third floor exterior of a building could be painted while the wheeled pump cart remains on the ground, giving the sprayer terrific freedom of movement.

Accurate pressure adjustment controls the material flow. Although only one tip is included, there are a variety of tips available for spraying different materials. To increase productivity the tips are switchable. If one side gets blocked the user can simply click it over and carry on painting.

There is no control over pattern shape, but the Graco ProX19 airless paint sprayer is not really intended for detail work. What it excels at is covering large areas very rapidly. It is also easy to clean thanks to a power-flush system that hooks up to an ordinary garden hose.

Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Paint Sprayer

Type

There are two main types of paint sprayer used for general-purpose interior and exterior tasks: high volume low pressure (HVLP) and airless.

HVLP paint sprayers use an air turbine or compressor to atomize the material to be sprayed. Because there is a high volume of paint, with low pressure air, the droplets are traveling comparatively slowly. This makes them easier to handle, and minimizes waste. Material to be sprayed is contained in a cup that screws onto the spray gun. Capacity varies between 25 and 40 ounces.

Airless paint sprayers use a high-pressure pump to atomize the material. Droplets are typically finer, and traveling considerably faster than HVLP. As a result, airless models can cover larger areas much more quickly, but waste tends to be higher. The material to be sprayed is usually contained in a one or five gallon bucket, giving airless paint sprayers much higher capacity than HVLP.

Spray guns should never be pointed at anyone, but particular care needs to be taken with airless options. The pressure of the material being sprayed can cause skin damage that may require hospital treatment.

Versatility

The high pressures used by airless paint sprayers means they can handle a variety of materials, though different spray gun tips will be required, often at extra cost. Nevertheless, its capabilities make airless the common choice among professionals.

HVLP spray guns often come with adjustable nozzles to change the shape of the spray pattern, and several tips for different material viscosities. Frequently these are included in the price. However, budget HVLP spray guns often cannot spray heavier materials, and even some mid-range models struggle unless the product is thinned. It is important to check capabilities carefully.

Suitability and Value

It is vital to understand the capabilities of each type of paint sprayer, and its suitability for the task at hand.

  • For someone who wants to spray preservatives on a garden fence or paint a garage door, a hand-held HVLP paint sprayer would be a perfectly adequate solution at modest cost.
  • For spraying interior walls with latex or varnish onto furniture, either a high-quality HVLP or an airless paint sprayer would be recommended.
  • A professional who had to cover large surfaces day in, day out, or is using a high viscosity material like polyurethane, would usually choose a high-quality airless paint sprayer.

FAQs

Q: Which paint sprayer is easiest to use?

Hand-held HVLP paint sprayers are the most straightforward, though all novice sprayers benefit from practice.

Q: How much do the best paint sprayers cost?

It very much depends on your needs, though if you have more than one job in mind it’s worth investing in a quality tool. Better HVLP models start at around $140. A good airless sprayer can be anywhere from $250 to more than $1,000.

Q: How do I choose a paint sprayer?

The material you need to spray, and how often you will be using the sprayer will have a big impact. The information in our ‘Things to consider…’ section above is designed to help you focus on the type of sprayer that will meet your needs, and our recommendations offer real-world examples of the best paint sprayers in a number of different categories.

Q: Is a paint sprayer worth the investment?

If you have a large area to paint, or regularly need to finish furniture or craft projects, a good paint sprayer can save considerable time and give a more even, professional-looking finish. The only downside is the need to protect areas from overspray. However, many paint sprayers are not good at fine detail, so it’s likely you will still use a brush or roller for some jobs around the house and yard.

Final Thoughts

The low-cost Scuddles HVLP paint sprayer is fine for occasional DIY projects or yard tasks. It does have limited versatility, and the HomeRight is a better choice for indoor work. The Wagner airless paint sprayer requires a considerably bigger investment, but is a great all-rounder for anyone who needs consistent, reliable performance, and rapid coverage of large areas.

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