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Put down your brushes and get rid of rollers—a paint sprayer is the faster, more efficient way to handle home painting, staining, and sealing projects. Designed to apply a variety of coatings inside and outside the home, on furniture and on cars, metal, and more, a paint sprayer offers even application and makes quick work of your projects.
The paint sprayers used by DIYers typically are either airless or HVLP—which stands for high-volume, low-pressure. The type of tool you choose depends on the project and your primary objectives. Airless sprayers are the fastest way to cover large areas and can be used with many different formula viscosities, but produce more overspray and result in wasted paint. HVLP sprayers, on the other hand, conserve product thanks to their low-pressure distribution. However, this also means that it takes longer to cover an area. In addition, they tend to clog more easily and generally aren’t compatible with latex paints and thick formulas.
Here, the best paint sprayers on the market now.
Best Overall: Graco Magnum Project Painter Plus Paint Sprayer
Included Hose Length: 25 feet | Power: 0.375 horsepower | Max. Flow Rate: 0.24 gallons-per-minute | Max. PSI: 2,800 pounds-per-square-inch | Type: Stand, Airless | Capacity: 1 to 5 gallons | Assembled Weight: 15 pounds | Recommended Use: Indoors, Outdoors | Power Source: Electric
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 to be used 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 only compatible with 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.
This airless paint sprayer has been used by professionals and DIYers alike. It’s 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, providing quick and even paint coverage for interior walls, or staining fences.
"There’s no doubt that the Project Painter Plus saved us hours versus brushing our deck with stain, but it’s worth noting that the cleanup (as well as the aforementioned setup) is significant."—Justin Park, Product Tester
Best HVLP: HomeRight FinishMax HVLP Spray Gun
Included Hose Length: N/A | Power: 400 watts | Max. Flow Rate: Not listed | Max. PSI: 3 pounds-per-square-inch | Type: HVLP, Handheld | Capacity: 27 ounces | Assembled Weight: 2.76 pounds | Recommended Use: Indoors, Outdoors | Power Source: Electric
Great for detailed-oriented projects
Reduces overspray and waste
Spray tip resists corrosion and wear
Easy to use
Only for very small projects
An HVLP paint sprayer is a popular 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 brush strokes would be an eye-sore. Keep in mind, however, that 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. However, 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 that are new to painting with a spray gun, but it also offers quality results that meet the needs of more seasoned and serious DIYers.
Best Carted: Graco Magnum 262805 X7 Cart Airless Paint Sprayer
Included Hose Length: 25 feet | Power: 0.625 horsepower | Max. Flow Rate: 0.31 gallons-per-minute | Max. PSI: 3,000 pounds-per-square-inch | Type: Carted, Airless | Capacity: 1 to 5 gallons | Assembled Weight: 36 pounds | Recommended Use: Indoors, Outdoors | Power Source: Electric
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.
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.
"Despite some gripes with the time to set up and hassle of moving it around, we took solace in knowing that staining our deck took less than half the time it might’ve had we used brushes or rollers to get the job done. "—Justin Park, Product Tester
Best for Decks: Wagner Spraytech 0518050 HVLP Paint Sprayer
Included Hose Length: N/A | Power: 300 watts | Max. Flow Rate: 0.08 gallons-per-minute | Max. PSI: 1.75 pounds-per-square-inch | Type: HVLP | Capacity: 1 quart cup for smaller interior work and 1.5 quarts for larger exterior work | Assembled Weight: 5.5 pounds | Recommended Use: Indoors, Outdoors | Power Source: Electric
Great for thin formulas
Provides even application
Easy to use and clean
Not recommend for thick latex paint
Using a paint sprayer for decks is a great way to shorten the process of periodically staining your outdoor space. In addition, you can avoid an aching back and sore knees from bending over your deck using a paintbrush to apply stain or sealer. 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 (high-volume, low-pressure) 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.
The biggest advantage to a paint sprayer for decks is the even application of the stain. Unlike brushes or rollers which 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.
Best Airless: Graco Magnum X5 Airless Paint Sprayer
Included Hose Length: 25 feet | Power: 0.5 horsepower | Max. Flow Rate: 0.27 gallons-per-minute | Max. PSI: 3,000 pounds-per-square-inch | Type: Stationary, Stand, Airless | Capacity: 1 or 5 gallons | Assembled Weight: 19.15 pounds | Recommended Use: Indoors, Outdoors | Power Source: Electric
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.
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 set-up and clean-up processes.
Best for Metal: Campbell Hausfeld Gravity Feed Spray Gun
Included Hose Length: N/A | Power: Pneumatic | Max. Flow Rate: Not stated | Max. PSI: 40 pounds-per-square-inch | Type: Gravity Feed, HVLP | Capacity: 20 ounces | Assembled Weight: 2.3 pounds | Recommended Use: Outdoors | Power Source: Air (Requires Compressor)
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, 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 HVLP spray gun can be used on projects that include metal, like spraying paint or clear coat on car fenders, motorcycles, and more. While the tip isn’t removable and this tacks on some time for cleaning, 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 to power the paint gun.
Best Budget: SPRAYIT SP-352 Gravity Feed Spray Gun with Aluminum Swivel Cup
Included Hose Length: N/A | Power: Pneumatic | Max. Flow Rate: Not stated | Max. PSI: 60 pounds-per-square-inch | Type: Gravity Feed, Pneumatic | Capacity: 13.5 ounces | Assembled Weight: 1 pound | Recommended Use: Indoors, Outdoors | Power Source: Air
Compatible with a variety of paints
Great for smaller projects
Requires frequent refills
Requires an air compressor to use
A cup-style paint sprayer is often the most economical option, and this version from SPRAYIT costs a fraction of the other options, but is perfect for quick coverage and thorough application of paints and stains. It’s most often purchased instead of disposable rollers and brushes and is good for a variety of home DIY projects. However, cleaning this paint sprayer is absolutely essential for the continued performance of this product. In addition, the gravity-fed paint cup is limited in size at only 13.5 ounces, which requires more frequent project pauses to refill.
Keep in mind that this type of paint sprayer does best when held level—it’s not likely to work well when angled up or down. It’s best for projects like cupboard doors or walls. Note that you'll need an air compressor to run this pneumatic paint sprayer.
For a paint sprayer that’s consistent and affordable, go with the Graco Magnum Project Painter Plus Paint Sprayer (view at Amazon). It has a highly adjustable stream of air and it covers large areas with ease. If you prefer a model that has a built-in cart, though, we recommend the Graco Magnum X7 Cart Airless Paint Sprayer (view at Amazon).
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 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.
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 painting 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 require 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 very 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, whether indoors or outside. 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 also require a separate air compressor for power. They are easy to use, and 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 very 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 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.
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 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. A tube is usually used to draw directly from a paint bucket. HVLP and compression spray guns use air to atomize the paint.
The type of finish you need in 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 and that can produce mixed results.
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 paint sprayers, evaluating each for basic features, extras, and product tester as well as customer feedback.