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These days, DIY is the name of the game for home improvement projects, and painting is no exception. An airless paint sprayer uses a hose and nozzle to evenly distribute paint onto a wall or other surface. Whether you’re thinking about sprucing up the walls in one room or planning on giving a color refresh to your entire home, this high-pressure tool can save you substantial time and elbow grease.
Airless paint sprayers work by forcing the paint through a hose and out the sprayer tip at very high pressures; depending on the tip, paint can release at pressures as high as 3,000 psi, so it's crucial to use an airless paint sprayer carefully to avoid injury.
There are several types of airless paint sprayers on the market: some have built-in paint containers, while others draw paint directly from the paint can. Most airless paint sprayers are stationary, but some larger devices have wheeled stands, and other, smaller devices are entirely hand-held. Most airless paint sprayers are powered by electricity from an AC outlet, but there are also some that run off batteries. To help you decide, we’ve outlined the best airless paint sprayers to fit your needs.
Below are the best airless paint sprayers on the market.
Best Overall: Graco Magnum X5
Up to 75-foot hose
Can spray directly from paint can
Cleanup is tedious
Weight: 19 pounds | Dimensions: 14.5 x 12.75 x 19-inches | Type: Cart | Spray Tip Size: 0.015-inches
For a streamlined painting instrument that pulls out all the stops, check out the Graco Magnum X5 Airless Paint Sprayer. This stationary sprayer is easy to use, lightweight, portable, exceedingly efficient, and suitable for at-home projects of all sizes. It includes a 25-foot hose, but supports up to 75 feet of hose, and with adjustable pressure, you have complete control over the flow of paint. Also, its flexible suction tube and high flow rate allow you to spray directly from a paint can.
The Magnum X5 has an SG2 heavy-duty metal spray gun with an in-handle filter and a TrueAirless nozzle, which can be reversed to bypass clogging. The stainless steel piston pump can also spray unthinned paint at notably high pressure. With one-pass coverage, there’s no need for multiple coats of paint, and it’s much faster than rolling or brushing. Graco recommends this airless paint sprayer for homeowners who use up to 125 gallons of paint a year. You can use it for interior walls, ceilings, doors, and trim, as well as house siding, decks, and fences.
Best Splurge: Titan ControlMax 1900 Pro High Efficiency Airless Sprayer
Weight: 37 pounds | Dimensions: 50 x 17 x 32-inches | Type: Cart | Spray Tip Size: 519
Easy to move around
Ideal for large projects
Can spray directly from paint can
Clean up is tedious
If you're someone who paints often or tackles substantial paint projects, a high-end airless paint sprayer is worth the investment. Our favorite investment paint sprayer is the TITAN ControlMax 1900 Pro High-Efficiency Airless Sprayer. This professional-grade product has a .70 horsepower pump that can distribute up to .4 gallons each minute, and the extra-large wheels make it super easy to move around and cover more expansive areas. It’s ideal for large projects or painters who use up to 500 gallons of paint a year.
You can use it to paint or stain a wide range of interior and exterior surfaces, and it'll provide an even, consistent finish—no thinning or second coats required. With an HEA (high-efficiency airless) system, it pulls directly from a paint can and reduces overspray by up to 55 percent. It has a 50-foot hose with a two-story reach—but can support up to 100 feet of hose—and a highly durable metal spray gun. Also, this resilient sprayer can last for up to three times as long as others on the market, making it worth the price tag. It comes with a limited two-year manufacturer warranty.
Best Cordless: Graco TC Pro Cordless Airless Paint Sprayer
Weight: 10 pounds | Dimensions: 5.31 x 15.56 x 12.06-inches | Type: Handheld | Spray Tip Size: 0.016-inches
Easy to move around
Can paint in any direction
Great for small projects
Not recommended for large paint jobs
If you’re looking for a powerful cordless paint sprayer, check out the TC Pro Cordless Airless Paint Sprayer from Graco. This sprayer tool uses a DEWALT’s 20-Volt MAX XR lithium-ion battery, and since it doesn’t have any long cords or hoses, it’s more portable than others in its category. With Graco’s SmartTip technology, it quickly delivers an even coat of paint with less pressure than other airless sprayers. Best of all, it’s easy to maneuver, and you can paint in any direction—including upside down.
While it’s not recommended for high-volume paint jobs, it’s perfect for smaller projects that call for up to three gallons of paint, as well as touch-ups for larger projects. Ultimately, this handheld sprayer is suitable for homeowners who use up to about 50 gallons of paint a year. Whether you’re repainting a room, a doorway, shutters, a garage door, trim, stairs, a deck, or furniture, the TC Pro Cordless Airless Paint Sprayer is an excellent choice.
Best Stationary: Wagner Spraytech Pro 130 Power Tank Paint Sprayer
Weight: 11 pounds | Dimensions: 8 x 7 x 11-inches | Type: Handheld | Spray Tip Size: 0.015-inches
Compatible with unthinned oil or latex paints
Easy to clean
If painting a large area, you'll need to refill the hopper
For a stationary paint sprayer, you might consider the Wagner Control Pro 130 Power Tank Airless Stand Paint Sprayer. It has a 25-foot hose—although it can support up to a 50-foot hose—and holds up to 1.5 gallons of paint at a time, making it easy to complete mid-size projects without refilling the hopper. Paint is gravity-fed through the hose for easy priming, painting, and staining. With HEA technology, it produces as much as 55 percent less overspray, with a soft and consistent finish.
It can be used with unthinned latex paints and other stains to coat walls, ceilings, porches, fences, sheds, garage doors—you name it. Aside from a sturdy power tank stand, this airless sprayer has integrated handles and built-in storage for the gun, hose, and nozzles. It also has a spill-resistant lid, which keeps debris and contaminants out of the paint and makes for fewer messes. Also, cleanup is easy. All you have to do is flush the gravity-fed hose with water and rinse the sprayer.
Best for Large Projects: HomeRight Power Flo Pro 2800 Paint Sprayer
Weight: 15 pounds | Dimensions: 6 x 5 x 5-inches | Type: Handheld | Spray Tip Size: 0.015-inches
Uses less paint
Compatible with unthinned oil or latex paints
Can't use with longer hoses
If you’re planning to paint every room in your home or need something that’s suitable for large projects, pick up the HomeRight Power-Flo Pro 2800 Airless Piston Paint Sprayer. With a .50 horsepower motor, this powerful paint sprayer can deliver 2800 psi with a perfectly even finish, allowing you to use less paint. Plus, the pressure-control knob lets you customize your paint flow.
It can be used with unthinned oil-based or latex paint, as well as various sealants and stains. This sprayer has a 25-foot non-kink hose and draws paint directly from paint cans. The heavy-duty spray gun evenly coats both smooth and rough surfaces, making it ideal for a broad range of DIY paint jobs. Whether you’re painting your walls, stairs, garage, or fence, you’ll get professional-quality results in a fraction of the time it would take with a brush or roller.
Best All-Purpose: Titan ControlMax 1500 Airless Paint Sprayer
Weight: 19.4 pounds | Dimensions: 25 x 13.5 x 16-inches | Type: Cart | Spray Tip Size: 0.015 inch
Can spray directly from paint can
Easy to clean
Few complaints of clogs
For an all-purpose airless paint sprayer, we suggest the ControlMax 1500 High Efficiency Airless Sprayer from Titan. It can spray up to .29 gallons of paint per minute, but its .55 horsepower pump is slightly less powerful than the 1900 model. This airless sprayer uses a 25-foot hose, making it easy to reach most interior and exterior residential projects, but if you need more length, it can support up to 75 feet of hose.
It pulls paint directly from a one- or five-gallon can, which simplifies the painting process and makes for easy cleanup. For best results, use unthinned latex paint on indoor or outdoor surfaces. When you’re finished, you can stash the gun, hose, and nozzles in its built-in storage. With an HEA system, you can count on reduced overspray and a smooth, even finish. This product can be used for up to 175 gallons of paint a year and is backed by a two-year manufacturer warranty.
Best Handheld: Wagner FLEXiO 590 HVLP Paint Sprayer
Weight: 2.11 pounds | Dimensions: 15.9 x 6.7 x 13.9 inches | Type: Handheld | Spray Tip Size: Not listed
Easy to use
Can even spray upside down
Two spray tips
Only for small jobs
For the most versatile application possible, consider a handheld airless paint sprayer. The Wagner FLEXiO 590 is lightweight, easy to maneuver, and good for spraying everything from unthinned latex paint to stains and sealers.This handheld airless paint sprayer is equipped with a 1.5-quart cup that seals so no paint will spill out, even when using the sprayer upside down. It includes two nozzles: the iSpray nozzle is for covering large surfaces quickly and evenly, while the Detail Finish nozzle is for small areas or detailing.
The Wagner Power Painter Plus is best suited as an airless paint sprayer for small to medium jobs since the paint reservoir only holds enough paint to cover an 8-foot by 10-foot area. However, this is a versatile paint sprayer that is perfect for spraying sheds, furniture, and any other outdoor or indoor projects you may have.
Best Budget: Graco TrueCoat 360DS Handheld Paint Sprayer
Weight: 3.5 pounds | Dimensions: 5.2 x 12.5 x 9.8 inches | Type: Handheld | Spray Tip Size: 0.015 inch
Admittedly, paint sprayers can be expensive. But if you only plan on using yours for occasional or small projects, there’s no reason to break your budget. Not when the Graco TrueCoat 360DS Handheld Paint Sprayer is available. Perfect even for a beginner to paint sprayers, this reasonably priced, highly efficient handheld airless paint sprayer provides even, quick coverage, and best of all, it’s easy to clean: just toss the cup liner when you’re done. It's rated for up to 25 gallons of paint use per year.
The 360DS sprays in any direction, even upside down, and there’s no need to thin your latex paint before getting started. The cup holds up to 32 ounces of paint, so you can work for quite a while before needing to refill. There are two speeds: use low for careful, detailed work, or high when you want to get the job done quickly, or are covering a large surface. It includes two tips: one with a 4-inch spray pattern, and one with a 12-inch spray. Use the sprayer to apply just about any paint or stain.
For a great all-around airless paint sprayer, pick up our best overall pick the Graco Magnum X5 (view at Amazon). This powerful paint sprayer can tackle any home project, whether big or small- and eliminates the use of extra coats of paint. If you are willing to splurge on a sprayer that is made for handling larger projects, the Titan ControlMax 1900 Pro High Efficiency Airless Sprayer (view at Amazon) is well worth the investment. It has a 50-foot hose as well as extra-large wheels so it is easy to move around.
What to Look for in an Airless Paint Sprayer
The typical airless paint sprayer is basically a stationary tool. There are small “feet” supporting the sprayer, and usually a handle of some sort for easy transport once the job is finished. Other airless paint sprayers, generally those used for large jobs or professional use, have stands with wheels that make it easy to position the sprayer right where you need it. Handheld paint sprayers don’t have a separate frame.
Handheld paint sprayers with built-in paint containers don’t have paint hoses, but larger tools do. A 25-foot paint hose is fairly standard, but many paint sprayers offer the option of upgrading to a longer paint hose, sometimes as much as 100 feet. If your project is spread over a wide area—such as painting a fence—you’ll appreciate a longer hose that lets you work without frequent pauses to move your paint sprayer. Always check your paint sprayer’s specifications, however, as to the maximum length of paint hose it can support.
Many stationary or wheeled paint sprayers draw paint right out of the 1-gallon or 5-gallon paint can, meaning you can work for a long time without fear of running low on paint. Others have a hopper you fill with paint—usually these hold around a gallon.
Handheld paint sprayers, however, as well as some stationary units, have built-in paint containers that you fill before starting to work. One quart is a common capacity for these tools, but some hold less paint than that, so keep the capacity in mind if you’ll be painting a large area.
The motor power of an airless paint sprayer is important, as generally, the more powerful the motor, the thicker the paint you’ll be able to spray and the longer the hose the machine can support. As a general rule, a paint sprayer with a ½-horsepower or more of power will handle latex paints without the need for thinning them down, and can support hose lengths beyond 50 feet. Handheld airless paint sprayers are generally much less powerful than their stationary or wheeled counterparts.
Flow Rate and Annual Usage
The flow rate of a paint sprayer refers to the amount of paint the tool can spray in one minute. The average paint sprayer used by a DIYer can spray anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 gallon of paint per minute. The recommended maximum annual usage of a paint sprayer refers to how many total gallons of paint the sprayer can handle per year without prematurely wearing out the motor, tips, or hoses. There are paint sprayers with recommended annual usage of just 25 gallons of paint and other sprayers that can handle 500 gallons or more per year, but generally, a DIYer is fine with a sprayer towards the lower end of the range.
How do you use an airless paint sprayer?
Although using an airless paint sprayer is not difficult, it does take some practice before you’ll really get the hang of it, so if using the sprayer for the first time, plan on a practice session on a large piece of cardboard or on the surface you’ll be covering with paint.
It’s also crucial to keep safety in mind when using one of these sprayers: airless paint sprayers pump out paint at extremely high pressures—up to 3,000 psi—and should the tip of the sprayer touch your skin or come very close to it during use, it’s possible to actually inject paint right through your skin, a potentially serious injury. Always remain mindful of the placement of your hands and the position of the tip when using a paint sprayer. You should also protect your eyes with safety goggles.
Because airless paint sprayers tend to create a lot of overspray, you’ll need to carefully mask off or cover any nearby surfaces that you want to keep free of paint. Although tedious, this preparation will lead to more professional looking results.
While different paint sprayers have different specifics for operation, the following are general guidelines for painting with a stationary or wheeled sprayer that draws paint directly from the can.
- Place the paint suction tub in your can of paint, and the small prime tub into your empty waste bucket.
- Set your sprayer to prime and turn it on. When you see paint start flowing out of the prime tube, move that tube into the paint can.
- Next, hold the paint gun—without the tip or guard in place—over the waste bucket, and set the sprayer to “Spray.” Squeeze the paint gun trigger until paint is flowing evenly into the waste bucket.
- Lock the trigger, turn off the power, and turn the sprayer setting back to “Prime.”
- Aim the gun into the waste bucket and squeeze the trigger to release pressure. Put the trigger lock back on.
- Screw the guard and tip into place.
- Now it’s time to paint. If possible, do a test run first on cardboard or scrap wood. If not, use the wall you’ll be painting.
- Turn on the pump and set the sprayer to “Spray.”
- Holding the gun around 12 inches from the surface to be painted, squeeze the trigger and move the gun quickly and evenly. Adjust the pressure as needed: If there’s excessive overspray, the pressure is too high. If the paint doesn’t cover evenly, the pressure is too low.
- Work quickly but carefully. Each pass of the spray gun should overlap the pass beneath it by around half. This leads to the most even coverage.
- If painting a large surface, such as a wall or fence, focus on just a few feet at a time, painting each section entirely before moving on to the next.
- Hold the spray gun around 12 inches away from the surface you are painting, and keep the gun level.
- Periodically, turn the sprayer off and step back to observe your work from a distance. This lets you spot any uneven or missed areas.
- Continue in this manner until your paint job is complete.
What kind of paint does an airless paint sprayer use?
While all paint sprayers can handle different types of paint, certain types of coatings work best with different types of paint sprayers.
As a general rule, airless paint sprayers, because of their extremely high pressures, handle thick paints, such as latex, better than other types of paint sprayers, and usually without any need to thin the paint before use. Keep in mind, however, that lower-powered airless sprayers, particularly handheld models with built-in paint containers, sometimes do require thick paint to be thinned before use, so always read your specific tool’s manufacturer recommendations before choosing paint.
Airless paint sprayers also handle stains, varnishes, lacquers, and shellac.
How do you know which tip to use?
Most airless paint sprayers have interchangeable tips, often two or three of them. These tips are usually marked with a three-digit code. Generally, the first number is half the width of the spray fan that tip produces from a distance of 12 inches, and the second two numbers are the size of the tip opening, or orifice, in thousands of an inch. So for example, a tip marked “517” produces a 10-inch spray of paint and has a .017-inch opening.
The right tip for your job depends on the type of paint being sprayed and the size of the job itself. If you are painting a large, flat surface, such as a wall or fence, you’ll want a tip that produces a wider spray of paint, whereas painting a lattice, furniture, or other detailed work calls for a narrower paint fan.
As for orifice size, the thicker the paint, the larger the required opening. As a rough guideline, thick exterior latex paints require an orifice of .015 to .019, oil-based paints and interior latex need an orifice of .013 to .017, enamels work best with an orifice of .013 to .015, and thin stains, sealers, lacquers, or shellac need a small orifice of .009 to .013.
How do you clean an airless paint sprayer?
While paint sprayers might make the job go faster, it’s undeniable that cleaning the tool once the job is finished can be tedious. While some airless paint sprayers have attachments allowing you to use your garden hose to clean the machine after use, many do not, and all require particular attention to the filters, tips, and gun.
Always read your specific paint sprayer’s manufacturer’s cleaning guidelines, but the following is a good general guideline for most sprayers that draw paint directly from the paint can.
- If you used water-based paint, such as latex, you’ll clean the sprayer with water. If you used an oil-based paint or stain, you’ll need to clean the machine with paint thinner.
- Start with two buckets: one should be empty and the other filled with either water or paint thinner, depending on the type of paint you sprayed.
- Set the draw tube into the bucket of clean water, aim the gun into your empty bucket, and run the sprayer for several seconds, using both the primer and paint modes.
- Remove the filters for cleaning. Most airless paint sprayers have two or three filters: One in the manifold, one in the suction hose that draws up paint from the paint can, and one in the sprayer gun.
- Set the filters in the bucket of water or thinner, and let them soak for several minutes until all paint is removed.
- While the filters are soaking, use a clean rag and scrub brush to remove paint from the body of the sprayer, the gun, and the hoses. Because airless paint sprayers do create a lot of overspray, there’s generally quite a bit of paint settled onto the sprayer itself.
- Submerge any paint tips used during your project in clean water or paint thinner, depending on the type of paint used. Let them soak for several minutes, and then use an old toothbrush to remove any final traces of paint. Be sure that the opening of the tip is not blocked with paint; if so, use a toothpick to remove it.
- Rinse the paint sprayer’s gun thoroughly, and use a clean rag to wipe away any lingering paint.
- Dry all parts of the paint sprayer before reassembling it for storage or further use.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article is edited and updated by Michelle Ullman, the tool expert for The Spruce. She has extensive experience not only in writing about all things related to the home, but also in carrying out various DIY projects, including landscaping, painting, flooring, wallpapering, furniture makeovers, and simple repairs. For this roundup, she considered dozens of airless paint sprayers, evaluating each for basic features, extras, and customer feedback.