Pick up an airless paint sprayer to save time and effort on your next paint project.
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Airless paint sprayers are a significant step up from paint brushes or rollers. They can also be more effective than traditional paint sprayers that use pressurized airflow to spray paint onto your walls. Airless paint sprayers have a mechanical pump that produces the pressure needed for the spray gun to apply the paint. That means you won’t have to mix air into your paint before applying.
Like traditional sprayers, the best airless paint sprayers can produce a wide, high-pressure spray that allows for faster painting compared to manual applications. The best airless paint sprayer for home painting projects may also come with an adjustable nozzle, a variety of tips, and multiple filters that you can change or customize for fine or broad spray applications. The products below represent the best airless paint sprayers for various home paint projects.
- BEST OVERALL: Graco Magnum Project Painter Plus Paint Sprayer
- UPGRADE PICK: Wagner 0580002 Paint Sprayer, High Efficiency Airless
- BEST CORDLESS: Graco Ultra Cordless Airless Handheld Paint Sprayer
- BEST STATIONARY: Titan Tool High Efficiency Airless Paint Sprayer
- BEST FOR LARGE PROJECTS: Graco Magnum 262805 X7 Cart Airless Paint Sprayer
- BEST FOR PRECISION: Graco Magnum 262800 X5 Stand Airless Paint Sprayer
What to Consider When Buying an Airless Paint Sprayer
When choosing the best airless paint sprayer for your project, keep these considerations in mind.
Corded vs. Cordless
Airless paint sprayers come in two different types: corded and cordless.
- Cordless airless paint sprayers are easier to maneuver in smaller areas and don’t require close proximity to a power outlet. These products are generally more expensive than their corded counterparts. They’re relatively new to the market, so there isn’t a wide selection of cordless airless paint sprayers just yet. Keep in mind that cordless sprayers run on batteries. You’ll only be able to use yours for so long before you need a recharge.
One more important note: Don’t confuse cordless airless paint sprayers with HVLP sprayers, which can look very similar, but operate on air pressure.
- Corded airless paint sprayers are more popular for a few reasons. First, there are more models available from different manufacturers. Another great feature is that many corded sprayers can pull paint directly from the can or bucket instead of from a paint canister you have to pre-load. But, you will be tethered to the nearest outlet. This can make hard-to-reach areas even harder to reach. Some corded sprayers are stationary, while others sit on a wheeled cart.
Maximum Yearly Use
Airless paint sprayers have a maximum recommended yearly usage measured in gallons of paint used per year. For corded sprayers, this can range from 50 to 500 gallons a year. There are very few cordless sprayers on the market for comparison. Our top pick’s annual max is 50 gallons. Consider the kinds of paint jobs you’re planning over the next year and make sure the maximum yearly use of your sprayer is up to the task.
You can adjust the pressure on some airless paint sprayers. You can set it higher for larger jobs, like painting multiple walls in a room, so that the sprayer coats the walls faster. For fine-detail paint jobs, like accents or baseboards, you have the option to lower the pressure so that you can better control the spray. This way, you can use the same airless paint sprayer for a wide variety of projects. You’ll just need to change the tip and filter to accommodate your pressure settings. That way you won’t restrict the flow or clog the nozzle.
The tip of the airless paint sprayer is used to control the width and the speed of the spray. You’ll want to use a larger tip for thicker viscosity fluids so that they don’t clog during use. Some sprayers come with a variety of tips, but many sprayers include just one or two. You’ll need to purchase additional tips or replacements. The sprayer may have a spray tip guard to prevent dried paint from clogging the sprayer.
Tip sizes begin at 0.009 inches and go up in size by 0.002 inches. In general, smaller tips (0.009 inches to 0.013 inches) are best for stains and lacquers, medium tips (0.015 inches to 0.019 inches) work well for oil-based and latex paint, and larger tips (0.021 inches and above) should be reserved for very thick materials like heavy latex, elastomeric, and block filler.
Filters work with tips to ensure that the right flow of paint comes through the nozzle. They also filter out junk and lumps in the paint so that the tip and nozzle don’t clog. To keep your filter working properly, you need to clean it after every use. The finer the filter, the more time you’ll need to spend cleaning it and the more often you’ll need to replace it. Most airless paint sprayers come with a filter already installed, but these must be replaced as they wear out.
When choosing a filter, make sure that the size is appropriate for the application. While a fine filter catches more debris and reduces clogs, it also restricts the flow of paint. If you are using a larger tip with high-pressure output, a fine filter will restrict the flow of paint. You could also damage the filter. On the other hand, a larger filter with a smaller tip will allow some lumps to pass through that may be too big for the smaller tip. Then you’ll get a clog. Always match your tips and filter sizes to your pressure setting to ensure a smooth flow.
The length of the hose required for your airless paint sprayer depends on your project. A cordless paint sprayer will not have a hose, so you can move freely wherever you need. Corded models require a hose, so with a stationary sprayer, you have to make sure the hose length won’t restrict your movement so much that the sprayer isn’t worthwhile.
There is no standard length of hose that comes with an airless paint sprayer. Just keep in mind that longer hoses require more power to properly pressurize the sprayer. So a 100-foot long hose won’t do much good on a small airless paint sprayer. If you need the flexibility of a long hose, make sure to get an airless paint sprayer that can provide adequate power for it.
The flow rate of the airless paint sprayer, typically expressed in gallons per minute, is the amount of paint the sprayer can apply in a given timeframe. It determines the maximum tip size you can use. The tip’s flow rate must be less than the maximum flow rate of the paint sprayer for the sprayer to function properly. If the tip is too large, the sprayer will not be able to provide the amount of paint needed for an effective coat. But, for residential projects, this usually isn’t a problem since the scope of most home projects is too small to warrant using very large tips.
Size and Weight
The size and weight of your airless paint sprayer won’t change the overall performance of the sprayer. But it may still matter to you, depending on how you use the sprayer and your comfort with lifting heavy objects. Cordless airless paint sprayers are light, easy to hold, and incredibly mobile. Corded sprayers have a larger motor and can be more difficult to carry. The very heavy ones work best with a long hose so that you don’t have to move them. You can also try a stationary airless paint sprayer that comes on a wheeled cart. This mobile version moves around on a single floor. But, of course, you’ll have to lift it or pull it up stairs or into the back of a truck. Always check the weight of the product to make sure you can handle it.
Our Top Picks
This guide presents top picks among the best airless paint sprayers for your home painting project.
The Graco Magnum airless paint sprayer has the necessary features and possibly more with a max flow rate of 0.24 gpm and reverse-a-clean (RAC) switch tips which allow you to reverse the flow of paint to remove clogs. The pressure on this airless paint sprayer is adjustable. It’s compatible with tips up to 0.015 inches. The stationary pump has a stainless steel piston for high-pressure spraying and weighs just 15 pounds.
You wouldn’t take this Graco sprayer to work every day as a pro painter. But, with a 50-gallon recommended annual max and compatibility with a 50-foot hose, it’s suitable to paint the interior of most residential homes.
The Wagner airless paint sprayer is a high-end product with a price to match. But, with the higher price tag comes a few features that less expensive products don’t offer. This corded sprayer, with the power to support a 100-foot hose, is ideal for large homes and exterior painting. The 23-pound machine has a high maximum flow rate of 0.4 gpm that’s rarely seen among sprayers of this smaller size.
The high-efficiency airless (HEA) pump decreases overspray, improves spray control, and gives the project a more consistent finish. Not only does it function well, it also looks great with a full metal spray gun and a sleek stand. The annual spray limit of 500 gallons per year is plenty for residential projects. You would likely have to be a pro painter to cross that mark in a year. So, if you’re willing to invest in a more expensive and efficient product, consider this premium Wagner airless paint sprayer.
Cordless airless paint sprayers are a relatively new tool. Graco has three versions. The Ultra Cordless Airless Handheld Paint Sprayer is the most popular one, with a max flow rate of 0.27 gpm and max tip size of 0.017 inches. You can fill the paint reservoir on this cordless sprayer and begin painting almost immediately.
The triple piston pump on this Graco sprayer is strong enough to pump full viscosity paint. That means you won’t have to thin the paint before you get to work. Dial in the adjustable pressure control and spray up to 1 gallon of paint on a fully charged battery. The airless paint sprayer weighs just 11.3 pounds and comes with a flexible liner bag so that you can spray from your preferred angle, including upside down.
The Titan Tool Stationary Airless Paint Sprayer is a high-performance stationary sprayer with a high-efficiency airless pump for reducing overspray, increasing accuracy, and providing a more even finish. The corded airless paint sprayer comes with a 30-foot hose, but it can support a hose of up to 80 feet. That way, you can move around freely while the pump stays in place.
The 19.4-pound sprayer sits in a small stand that doubles as a handle. With a recommended spray maximum of 300 gallons per year, a home painter won’t have to worry about hitting that limit. The sprayer has a maximum flow rate of 0.33 gpm and works with tips of up to 0.017 inches. That should cover you for a residential paint project.
This sprayer on wheels supports a hose of up to 100 feet to help you roll through bigger jobs. A hose of that length could reach a second or even third floor without moving the pump. Should you need to move it, at 26 pounds, it’s not too cumbersome.
This airless paint sprayer with adjustable pressure offers a maximum flow rate of 0.31 gpm. It’s compatible with RAC switch tips of up to 0.017 inches. This type of tip allows you to reverse the flow of paint to quickly stop clogs and get back to work. This device supports up to 125 gallons of paint per year. Less than most, but suitable for most residential projects.
The Graco X5 Airless Paint Sprayer can get into tight spaces with its precision-tipped sprayer. The adjustable pressure controls let you reduce the pressure for precision paint projects or increase it for broad applications. The tool can pressurize a hose up to 75 feet, so you won’t have to worry about moving the sprayer every few feet. When you do need to lift the sprayer, the handle on top makes it easier to carry the 15-pound machine.
The stationary sprayer sits on an elevated stand. This better situates the hose to draw paint directly from the bucket into the spray gun. It has a 0.27 gpm maximum flow rate and a 0.015-inch maximum tip size. The stainless steel piston pump ensures that you won’t have to thin your paint. The recommended usage for this sprayer is up to 125 gallons per year, which is more than enough for most residential sprayers.
FAQs About Your New Airless Paint Sprayer
Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about airless paint sprayers.
Q. How do you use an airless paint sprayer?
First, make sure you have the correct filter and nozzle for the paint application. After you place these in the sprayer, either fill up the paint reservoir or guide the paint siphon hose into the paint bucket. Next, prime the airless sprayer by adjusting it to the prime setting (if it has one) then drawing paint up into the hose with the pump, allowing some to drip out of the end of the hose so that you know you have a fully pressurized system. Once the pump is moving paint into the hose and to the sprayer, spray into a waste bucket to clear any air before beginning to paint your surface.
Q. How often do the filters need to be cleaned?
Filters will last the longest if you clean them after every use. It’s also a good idea to clean them before you use them if the sprayer has been sitting in your garage or workshop for an extended period of time. This will ensure there is no debris in the filter before you begin spraying.
Q. How do you clean an airless paint sprayer?
To clean an airless paint sprayer follow these steps:
- Fill a bucket with water (latex-based paint) or paint thinner (oil-based paint).
- Remove the intake hose from the paint and put the hose into the bucket.
- Add two cups of water or paint thinner to a second bucket.
- Remove and place the spray tip guard, tip, and filter into the second bucket for cleaning.
- Reassemble the airless paint sprayer without the guard, tip, and filter.
- Prime the pump and pump water or paint thinner through the system.
- Use the spray gun to release the cleaning fluid and to flush any remaining paint from the system.
- When all parts are clean you can reattach the spray tip guard, tip, and filter.
While these steps give you the basic method of cleaning, always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for product-specific differences.
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