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Paint sprayers are a great choice for making large painting projects quick and easy. They can be used to paint anything from interior walls to furniture or fences. If used correctly, a paint sprayer can be an affordable option as you waste less paint than with the traditional brush and roller methods. They're also easier on the arm muscles!
Paint sprayers work by applying a fine mist, directed at the surface for even coverage. They are ideal for covering hard to paint surfaces and they don't leave brush marks which results in fewer coats and therefore less paint. A win-win!
HLVP with turbine base (professional)
Airless with carry handle (professional)
Airless - carted
Paint sprayers have several advantages over using a roller or brush to apply paint. These include:
By comparison, brushes and rollers leave visible marks on the paint surface and do not apply paint as evenly as sprayers. Also, you use more paint by using the brush or roller method and there is more to clean up at the end.
Are you now sold on using a paint sprayer and ready to click 'Buy Now'? Not so fast. Paint sprayers are not for every project.
There are two main types of paint sprayers, High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) and Airless.
In an HVLP paint sprayer, air pumped from a turbine atomizes paint and pushes it through a narrow nozzle outlet. The result is a fine airborne mist directly hitting the surface which in turn creates an even finish. Due to the fact that more paint adheres on the first coat, less paint is wasted overall.
We recommend HVLP paint sprayers for interior decorating as they are excellent at covering trim and moulding.
HVLPs can be used with a variety of paints, including oil-based, water-based, wood preservatives and stains. You can use them to apply primer as well as top coats. However, you shouldn't use HVLP sprayers with lacquers and varnishes.
The higher the wattage, the more powerful the turbine. As a general rule, a more powerful turbine results in better paint coverage. So with this in mind, go for HVLP paint sprayers with the highest wattage in your price range.
The nozzle at the front of the sprayer determines how wide the spray pattern is. You can buy different nozzles for spraying decking, for example, or a smaller nozzle for detail work on a cabinet.
All HVLPs need to be taken apart for cleaning. This isn’t difficult, provided you follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
In an airless paint sprayer, a piston pressurizes the paint and pushes it through a very narrow outlet. In doing so, the combination of high pressure and a tight squeeze shear the paint into tiny particles.
Airless models can spray paint directly from their can, or a separate container, via a hose attached to the sprayer. Using this method, you can spray large areas very quickly, as up to 5 gallons of paint can be sprayed without reloading the sprayer's canister (as you must with HVLP models).
To use different thickness of paints with an airless sprayer, you simply change the nozzle. Paints that can be used range from very thin wood stains and varnishes to thick latex paint.
The downside to airless sprayers is that they waste more paint than HVLPs. As they spray so much paint at once, between 20-40% of it does not adhere to the intended surface.
When painting outdoors, paint from an airless sprayer can become airborne and end up all over the place, including plants, cars or even adjacent properties. Warn your neighbours before using an airless paint sprayer, and cover everything that you don't want painted.
Only choose an airless paint sprayer if you are using thick paint or spraying a large area where there will be minimal prep or clean up required. For all other projects, especially ones that require fine detail, we recommend a HVLP paint sprayer as it is more economical with paint and can be better controlled within small areas.
Pro Tip: For one or two projects, look to spend £30-£100. For more projects or semi-professional use, it’s worth spending £400-800.
Fuji Semi-Pro 2 HVLP Spray System
BLACK + DECKER HVLP200 Fine Spray System - Hand Held
Tacklife SGP15AC Hand Held HVLP Paint Sprayer
Wagner Airless Control Pro 250 R Paint Sprayer
Wagner Airless Control Pro 350 M Paint Sprayer
HLVP with turbine base (Pro)
HLVP handheld (DIYer)
HLVP handheld (DIYer)
Airless with carry handle (Pro)
Airless - carted (Pro)
Air Pressure (psi)
Canister Capacity (ml)
Hose Length (m)
Note for mobile users: scroll left/right to view the entire table above
We’ll now look at what each of these top 5 paint sprayers is best used for, their special features and prop tips on how to use them.
The Fuji Semi-Pro 2 boasts professional results due to it's 1,400W turbine motor which is strong enough to spray all coatings evenly. For this reason, it's recommended for serious DIYers who plan to do a lot of paint spraying, or professionals starting out.
Pro Tip: Use the brass quick-connect coupler to attach sprayer to hose.
The BLACK + DECKER model is suitable for all painting tasks, especially those involving large surfaces. It works particularly well with thin paints and stains, and is even supplied with a mixing bucket for thinning paint when needed.
This sprayer is lightweight, meaning it is a good option for ceilings or large areas, however it also works well for detailed projects.
This model comes with a paint flow indicator which helps the painter achieve an even coating each time. The canister fills via the side making it easy to load or empty.
Due to it's flexibility, ease of use and low price, it's recommended for home DIYers who don't expect to do heavy paint spraying on a regular basis. It's lack of power and paint capacity means its not a great choice for professionals.
Pro Tip: Adjust the spray pattern according to the type of painting you are doing.
The Tacklife Paint Sprayer is great for painting walls, ceilings and furniture with thin paints and stains. The paint flow can be easily adjusted for three spray patterns; vertical fan, horizontal fan, and round. Also comes with three nozzle sizes: 1.0mm, 2.0mm and 2.5mm.
Similar to the BLACK + DECKER, this model is lightweight and efficient, meaning you can move around the job quicker and get more done in less time. The easy fill 900ml canister allows for quick and clean refills without removing the canister from the sprayer.
As with the BLACK + DECKER model, it's recommended for home DIYers who don't expect to do heavy paint spraying on a regular basis.
Pro Tip: The Tacklife easily comes apart for an effortless cleanup
The previous three options were all HVLP, our final two choices are airless and both made by the Wagner brand. The 250 R model is compatible with all water- and solvent-based paints, varnishes etc. You can even use it for anti-corrosion coatings.
This video from Wagner shows the 250 R in detail:
The 250 R is small and lightweight, making it a great choice for serious DIYers who plan on doing a lot of paint spraying. Many professionals also swear by the performance of the 250 R and 350 M (see below).
As with all airless paint sprayers, the paint is fed to the sprayer directly from it's can or a separate container via a hose. So unlike HVLP models, you don’t need to keep filling a canister.
This model features High-Efficiency Airless (HEA) technology which improves control, coverage and accuracy. This means less prep work and less wasted paint compared with other airless models.
Watch this video to learn more about HEA technology:
Pro Tip: The 250 R has a two-finger trigger which means less trigger pressure on your fingers and less recoil.
The 350 M model has the same features as the 250 R above, including HEA technology, but includes some high-powered extras. The following video provides more info about the 350 M:
The 350 M is suitable for all types of painting projects, including spray painting art. However, it is particularly suited to large projects. This model comes with an extra-long 15m flexible hose for easily painting a wide area.
Watch this video for an overview of what Wagner airless paint sprayers can do:
Pro Tip: The 350 M has its own transportation cart so can easily be moved to, from, and around the workspace.
Having read this exhaustive guide to the top 5 paint sprayers available in the UK, you should now be able to make an informed decision on which one will suit you best.
If you want to learn more about using paint sprayers, make sure you check out this guide: How to use a paint sprayer like a pro.