A paint sprayer is the fastest, most efficient way to handle large home painting, staining, and sealing projects. Rob Abrahams, co-founder of COAT Paints and a DIY expert, notes, “Paint sprayers are very useful for bigger projects, as they are usually faster in terms of the actual painting process. However, the preparation time can be a lot longer than when using a brush or roller. These machines do need a little practice to grasp the technique, but once you’ve nailed it, they give an even and flawless finish.”
We researched and tested the best paint sprayers on the market, evaluating ease of use, durability, and overall value. Our top pick, the Graco Magnum 262805 X7 Cart Airless Paint Sprayer, is an easy-to-use machine that works well for big projects and can be used with a hose length of up to 100 feet.
Graco Magnum 262805 X7 Cart Airless Paint Sprayer
Great for larger projects
Can use with up to 100-foot hose
Easy to use and clean
May need to purchase mineral spirits separately
A carted paint sprayer is a convenient option for larger home projects or professional painting applications. The Graco Magnum X7 gives you the flexibility to easily maneuver in a project area while also supporting an extended amount of paint hose—up to 100 feet. Keep in mind that 25 feet of hose is included with the purchase of this model, but it’s easy to swap it out for a longer hose if you have a larger work area or plan to paint elevated areas, like a second or third story of a home.
We tested this paint sprayer by using it to stain a deck and paint some outdoor planters. We found that while the air sprayer is easy to assemble, there is a bit of a learning curve to using it. However, we did find that once mastered, the tool performed well, providing an even coat of stain and greatly reducing the time required to finish this normally lengthy task. In fact, despite the time required to set the sprayer up, and periodic brief breaks to move it to a better position, we finished the projects in less than half the time it would have taken with paint rollers or brushes.
This airless paint sprayer can siphon directly from a 1- or 5-gallon bucket, and the 0.625 horsepower pump is intended for spraying up to 125 gallons of paint per year. The Graco Magnum X7 is compatible with a 0.017 tip, so you can use a larger tip for heavier coatings to prevent clogging. Easy to use and easy to clean, thanks to the PowerFlush garden hose adaptor, you'll be very happy with the time savings and convenience of this carted paint sprayer.
Price at time of publish: $467
Type: Airless | Max Flow Rate: 0.31 gallons per minute | Capacity: 1 to 5 gallons | Assembled Weight: 36 pounds | Power Source: Electric
Runner-Up, Best Overall
Graco Magnum Project Painter Plus Paint Sprayer
Compatible with a variety of paints
Easy to use
Especially great for house exteriors
Short hose, although you can upgrade to a 50-foot hose if desired
A versatile and popular paint sprayer, the Graco Magnum Project Painter Plus is designed for a wide variety of applications, and the adjustable spray speed makes it easy to achieve the finish you’re looking for. While some paint sprayers are compatible with only water-based or thinned paint formulas, this model can spray a wide variety of coatings, including unthinned paint. In addition, a reversible tip on the included spray gun makes it easy to deal with any clogs quickly and without losing time on your project.
We purchased this paint sprayer and used it to paint a deck and some exterior plant pots. In our opinion, while this is considered an "entry level" paint sprayer, this model's performance is every bit as good as those of higher-end tools, and the sprayer saved us considerable time as compared to painting with a brush or paint roller. However, it’s worth noting that the cleanup (as well as the setup) is significant.
The Graco Magnum Project Painter Plus is lightweight, easy to use, and sprays latex and oil-based paints and stains with ease. It’s often recommended for painting the exterior of houses, though it can provide quick and even paint coverage for interior walls or staining fences. It comes with a 25-foot hose, but you can upgrade to a 50-foot hose if desired. Its recommended annual usage is no more than 50 gallons of paint per year.
Price at time of publish: $286
Type: Airless | Max Flow Rate: 0.24 gallons per minute | Capacity: 1 to 5 gallons | Assembled Weight: 15 pounds | Power Source: Electric
Graco Magnum X5 Stand Airless Paint Sprayer
Compatible with a variety of paints
Great for larger projects
Easy to use
Airless paint sprayers are typically used for projects that involve large, flat surfaces. They offer fast application of both thin and thick coatings, such as latex stain. The Graco Magnum X5 is a capable model that has become a go-to sprayer for medium-to-large projects by professionals and DIYers alike. It includes a 25-foot hose, but you can use up to a 75-foot hose if desired. Draw paint directly from your 1-gallon or 5-gallon paint can; there's no need to thin the paint first. Plus, it's easy to control pressure and flow.
What you'll like most about this airless paint sprayer is its ability to smoothly apply even unthinned paint. While it does produce some overspray (as airless sprayers are known to do), it is one of the fastest ways to paint large surfaces, like walls, siding, and fences. For best results and the longevity of the sprayer, you must follow the manufacturer’s setup and cleanup processes, although somewhat tedious. This sprayer is rated for up to 125 gallons of paint per year.
Price at time of publish: $342
Type: Airless | Max Flow Rate: 0.27 gallons per minute | Capacity: 1 to 5 gallons | Assembled Weight: 19 pounds | Power Source: Electric
Yattich HVLP Paint Sprayer
Includes five copper spray tips
Fairly easy to clean
Some complaints that sprayer gets hot during use
While this isn't the right choice for large painting projects or for people who expect to use their paint sprayer on a frequent basis, if you just want a paint sprayer to tackle a few small-to-medium projects, such as painting a bedroom, a small fence, or some old furniture, then it's hard to go wrong with the Yattich HVLP Paint Sprayer. This high-volume, low-pressure output (HVLP) spray gun comes with five copper nozzles in various sizes from 1.2 millimeter to 3 millimeter and has three spray pattern settings to handle a wide range of paints and stains.
The sprayer has an adjustable flow rate up to a maximum of 800 ml/minute. You'll need to thin most types of paint, and like most paint sprayers, there's something of a learning curve. But once you get the hang of it, you can achieve smooth, even results in a fraction of the time it would take you using a paintbrush or roller. The device is easy to disassemble and fairly easy to clean once your project is finished. The paint reservoir holds up to 1 liter (a bit more than a quart), which is enough for many small projects. The sprayer comes with cleaning accessories and detailed user directions.
Price at time of publish: $50
Type: HVLP | Max Flow Rate: 800 ml/min | Capacity: 1 liter | Assembled Weight: 3 pounds | Power Source: Electric
HomeRight Finish Max Spray Gun
Great for detailed-oriented projects
Reduces overspray and waste
Spray tip resists corrosion and wear
Easy to use
Best for small projects only
An HVLP paint sprayer is a widely useful option, since its high-volume, low-pressure output results in less wasted material. In addition, the low-pressure output makes this type of paint sprayer better for detail-oriented projects where brushstrokes would be an eyesore. However, the trade-off for using an HVLP sprayer with less overspray and waste is that it’s more time-consuming than using an airless sprayer to get full coverage. That said, if you have patience and want to minimize waste, the HomeRight FinishMax is a versatile HVLP spray gun that has been used for home and furniture projects with great success.
One thing that sets this version apart is its brass spray tip, which resists corrosion and wear. Easily adjust the nozzle to one of three spray patterns (horizontal, vertical, and round) to apply paint, stain, sealant, and other coatings. You can also increase or decrease the flow of material easily on the spray gun itself. The overall design and function of this model is easy to master for users new to painting with a spray gun, but it also offers quality results that meet the needs of more seasoned and serious DIYers. Its recommended annual usage is no more than 50 gallons of paint per year.
Price at time of publish: $72
Type: HVLP | Max Flow Rate: Not listed | Capacity: 27 ounces | Assembled Weight: 2.76 pounds | Power Source: Electric
Best for Decks
Wagner Spraytech 0518050 HVLP Paint Sprayer
Great for thin formulas
Provides even application
Easy to use and clean
Not recommend for thick latex paint
Using a paint sprayer for decks shortens the process of periodically staining your outdoor space. In addition, you can avoid an aching back and sore knees from using a paintbrush. If you have many square feet of deck planks, plus spindles, banisters, or lattice to factor in, a paint sprayer is a welcome shortcut to this recurring outdoor project.
The Wagner Spraytech is an HVLP paint sprayer that performs best with relatively thin formulas such as wood sealants, stains, and varnishes. It may be possible to use it to spray latex paint, but you will need to thin the formula considerably. A regulator on the handle allows you to increase or decrease the flow, and there are three spray patterns: horizontal, vertical, or round.
The biggest advantage of a paint sprayer for decks is the even application of the stain. Unlike brushes or rollers that may leave marks or lay down uneven layers of product, the Wagner Spraytech makes it easy (and fast) to apply deck stain or sealant evenly. It includes two separate paint cups: a 1-quart cup for smaller jobs and a 1.5-quart cup for tackling larger projects.
Price at time of publish: $85
Type: HVLP | Max Flow Rate: 0.08 gallons per minute | Capacity: 1 or 1.5 quarts | Assembled Weight: 5.5 pounds | Power Source: Electric
Best for Metal
Campbell Hausfeld Gravity Feed Spray Gun
Provides even application
Tip isn't removable for easy cleaning
Requires the use of an air compressor
If you’re looking for a paint sprayer that will lay down a smooth coat on metal surfaces without a lot of bothersome overspray, consider this go-to option from Campbell Hausfeld. While the DH580000AV is an affordable paint spray gun, you can adjust the pattern, material, and air spray settings to achieve the right mode of application for your project. The gravity-fed paint cup holds up to 20 ounces of paint, so you'll be able to work for a long time before needing to refill.
This HVLP spray gun is ideal for projects that include metal, like spraying paint or clear coat on car fenders, motorcycles, metal fences and doors, and metal furniture, for example. And once you've finished, it's easy to clean the cup and sprayer body. With proper maintenance this spray gun will offer consistent performance and even application of primers, enamels, lacquers, and more. Note that you'll need an air compressor that provides at least 4.5 cubic feet per minute at 40 psi to power the paint gun.
Price at time of publish: $39
Type: HVLP | Max Flow Rate: Not stated | Capacity: 20 ounces | Assembled Weight: 2.3 pounds | Power Source: Pneumatic
Sun Joe 24V-PS1 24-Volt iON+ Cordless HVLP Handheld Paint Sprayer Kit
Can be used anywhere
Easy to use
Sprays quickly and evenly
Only around 20 minutes of run time per charge
Many paints will require thinning
Battery-powered paint sprayers have an obvious benefit over other types—no electrical cord to plug in nor need for an air compressor—but on the downside, these are best for small projects, as you typically can expect around 20 minutes or so of continuous run time before you'll need to recharge the battery. Still, if you want a paint sprayer for painting furniture, a small room, a detailed object such as a staircase banister and railing, or other small projects (interior or exterior), then the Sun Joe 24V-PS1 Cordless HVLP Paint Sprayer is a useful option. This paint sprayer runs off a 24-volt battery, holds up to 32 ounces of paint in the canister, and includes a viscosity cup to help you accurately thin your paint, primer, stain, sealer, or varnish if necessary.
The paint sprayer includes three tips—1.5 millimeter, 1.8 millimeter, and 2.2 millimeter—and has a flow control knob and three spray patterns to choose from. At full flow, you can spray up to 3.2 gallons of paint on one charge. When empty, the paint sprayer weighs 4.4 pounds, but remember that it will weigh more once loaded with paint. The kit includes the paint sprayer, battery, charger, three tips, viscosity test cup, and cleaning tool.
Price at time of publish: $103
Type: HVLP | Max Flow Rate: 3.2 gallons per charge | Capacity: 32 ounces | Assembled Weight: 4.4 pounds | Power Source: Battery
Best for Cars
TCP Global Professional HVLP Spray Gun with Air Regulator
Controls for spray pattern, pressure, and fluid control
Lays down an even coat of paint
Requires the use of an air compressor for power
A pneumatic spray gun is a common option for applying paint and clear coats to automobiles. While models are plentiful and preferences vary greatly, the TCP Global Professional HVLP Spray Gun checks all the boxes for a paint sprayer for cars, motorcycles, ATVs, and similar vehicles. Its cup holds 1 liter of paint, so you can get most jobs completed before having to refill.
This model has a 1.3 millimeter tip and includes options to fine-tune the application of light-to-medium-viscosity car coatings. You can adjust the spray pattern to suit your purpose, and a fully adjustable air regulator allows you to find the right setting within a range of 29 to 51 psi. Keep in mind that to complete the setup, this paint sprayer for cars will need to be paired with a high-pressure hose and air compressor.
Price at time of publish: $70
Type: HVLP | Max Flow Rate: Not listed | Capacity: 1 liter | Assembled Weight: 2.81 pounds | Power Source: Pneumatic
Best for Furniture
HomeRight Quick Finish HVLP Paint Sprayer
Excellent performance with stain, good performance with thinned paint
Paint needs to be thinned
You aren't going to use this small HVLP paint sprayer for big projects like painting a fence or a wall. But for smaller projects, such as painting furniture, doing crafts, or other small, lightweight projects, the HomeRight Quick Finish HVLP Paint Sprayer is a great choice. This is an entry-level paint sprayer with a very reasonable price, but it provides smooth results and good coverage without any brush marks, as long as you don't try to use it with thick paint. Instead, load the 27-ounce reservoir with thinned chalk, milk, and latex paints, in addition to light-bodied materials like stain, sealer, enamel and varnish, for the best results.
The paint sprayer comes with one plastic tip. You can adjust the paint flow speed, as well as the spray pattern. Once your project is done, the sprayer is easy to clean out: Just run it with water until the water runs clear. At only 3.6 pounds, this is a lightweight paint sprayer that won't tire you out, and it doesn't take up much storage space.
Price at time of publish: $60
Type: HVLP | Max Flow Rate: Not listed | Capacity: 27 ounces | Assembled Weight: 3.6 pounds | Power Source: Electric
For a paint sprayer that’s efficient and easy to use, go with the Graco Magnum 262805 X7 Paint Sprayer. It works for larger projects, as the included hose can be swapped out for one that's up to 100 feet long. We also love the Graco Magnum Project Painter Plus, which is perfect for house exteriors and compatible with many different types of paint.
What to Look for in a Paint Sprayer
There are three basic types of paint sprayers: airless, high-volume low-pressure (HVLP), and compressed or pneumatic. Each has its own pros and cons.
Airless paint sprayers, like the Graco Magnum X7, are powered by electricity, either from an electrical outlet or from a battery. This means you don’t have to own or bother with an air compressor to paint. These paint sprayers work at very high pressure and get the job done faster than the other two types. They work with just about any paint or stain, whether thick or thin; however, it can be tough to precisely control the spray pattern, meaning you’ll get overspray, and these paint sprayers tend to be noisy.
Rob Abrahams, co-founder of COAT Paints and DIY expert, explains, “Airless paint sprayers can be used on walls and ceilings, woodwork, and even radiators and other metal objects. Because sprayers apply paint in a light mist, you get a thinner, more uniform layer of paint versus brush or roller application.”
Large airless paint sprayers usually have a small tube that draws paint directly from the paint can, but some smaller models, often called cup sprayers, have an attached cup to hold the paint. Airless paint sprayers are the best type for large projects or exterior painting, such as walls, fences, big decks, ceilings, or lattices. You’ll get the best results spraying paint from a distance of around 12 inches.
HVLP paint sprayers, such as the HomeRight FinishMax, run on either electricity from a wall outlet or a battery or else must be attached to a separate air compressor for power. Typically, these sprayers have a built-in cup to hold the paint, rather than drawing paint from the paint can. They are slower than airless paint sprayers but create a smooth coat of paint without much waste or overspray. Most HVLP paint sprayers can easily handle stains and paint but don’t do so well with thick lacquers or varnishes.
HVLP paint sprayers are a good choice for smaller projects, indoors or out. They are especially good for painting furniture, cabinets, trim, moldings, and doors—all surfaces that require very smooth coats of paint for the best appearance. For the best results, spray from a distance of 6 to 8 inches.
Compressed paint sprayers like the Campbell Hausfeld DH580000AV require a separate air compressor for power. They are easy to use, typically cost less than the other two types but use a lot more paint, are prone to overspraying, and are messy. Still, compressed paint sprayers produce a smooth, even coat of paint, making them a good choice for painting furniture, cabinets, or trim. Often, you’ll need to thin the paint before using it with a compressed paint sprayer, and these aren’t the best choice for thick coatings like lacquer or varnish. Most compressed paint sprayers have an attached cup to hold the paint and are best used from a distance of around 12 inches.
Different paint sprayers are better suited for certain types or sheens of paint. For example, airless sprayers can handle paints of all thicknesses, including lacquers and varnishes, while thicker paints may clog up an HVLP sprayer. Says Lisa Rickert, CEO and creative director at Jolie Home, “I especially like spraying doors and cabinets because they have such a large surface area and are often painted with a semigloss finish, which would show any texture from brushstrokes. Plus, if your home is fully furnished and you don’t want to bother covering everything, you can take the doors off the hinges and spray them outside.”
Are you painting the whole exterior of your home or just a piece of furniture? The area you have to cover will dictate which product is best—for instance, paint sprayers with longer extension cords, larger paint cups, and longer hoses are ideal for larger projects, while lightweight handheld units like the HomeRight Quick Finish HVLP Paint Sprayer are useful for small paint jobs.
When should I use a paint sprayer?
A paint sprayer is likely to be your best choice when you have large areas to cover. It’s speedier than a paintbrush or roller and can also cover imperfections and details extremely well. While some interior painting projects (like large walls or cabinets) might make sense for a paint sprayer, you’ll most definitely want to consider a paint sprayer if you’re doing exterior painting projects.
How does a paint sprayer work?
Pressure or air is used to atomize paint, producing a mist that is applied with a sweeping motion of the paint gun. The specific mechanism depends on which type of paint sprayer you’re considering. Airless paint sprayers use a motor to pressurize paint and force it through a tiny nozzle at the tip of the paint gun. Usually a tube draws directly from a paint bucket. HVLP and compression spray guns use air to atomize the paint.
The type of finish you need on your painting project, along with considerations regarding overspray and budget, will determine which type of paint sprayer is best for your project.
What kind of paint do you use in a paint sprayer?
Oil-based paints and stains can be used in a paint sprayer, including HVLP models. If you’re planning on using a latex-based paint, you can take advantage of the smooth, even coverage of a paint gun if you choose an airless paint sprayer. It’s also possible to use latex paint in an HVLP sprayer, but you’ll need to thin the paint, which can produce mixed results.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was 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 paint sprayers, evaluating each for basic features, extras, and product tester as well as customer feedback. She also received advice and suggestions from Lisa Rickert, CEO and creative director at Jolie Home, and Rob Abrahams, co-founder of COAT Paints and a DIY expert.