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How to Buy the Best Airless Paint Sprayer

Updated on March 14, 2012

Buy or Rent A Paint Sprayer?

Using a paint sprayer is an efficient way to complete large painting projects in half the time it would take to do the job manually with a brush and paint roller. Applying paint with a roller is not only time consuming, but can also result in an uneven finish, or visible lap marks on the surface. With a sprayer, it is even possible to achieve one-coat coverage. Applying paint with a roller almost always requires a second coat of paint.

Although a paint sprayer saves time, buying one won't necessarily save you money, unless you plan on using the machine consistently around the house, or for a business. If you only need a sprayer to complete one project, a paint sprayer rental is best. It usually costs no more than $75 per day, but if you think your painting project will take several days, compare the expected rental expense with the cost to buy a brand new sprayer. You can also find a ton of reasonably priced paint sprayers on eBay and Amazon.

The cost to buy a brand new paint sprayer can get pretty expensive, so it really pays to shop around the Internet, or haggle with the clerk at the paint store. Professional paint sprayers, designed for contractors, can carry a price tag well over $2,000. Then there are cheaper paint sprayers sold at Home Depot and other big box stores. Those usually go for $400 to $1,000 and are geared towards homeowners looking to complete infrequent painting projects around the house.

Tips for Buying the Best Airless Paint Sprayer

The airless paint sprayer is the most commonly sold sprayer for professionals and contractors. There are heavy duty gas-powered airless sprayers, but most spray machines sold in stores are electric. Selecting the best airless paint sprayer takes time. It's really important to carefully compare features to ensure that you're buying a machine suitable for your needs.

My recommendation is to visit a paint store and ask for a paint sprayer comparison brochure. All paint stores have sprayer brochures behind the counter, which usually include Graco or Titan spray equipment. Graco is my top choice. A sprayer comparison chart, or brochure, will make it very easy to see the differences between each machine, so you can make an informed decision.

Gallons Per Minute (GPM)

Every airless paint sprayer produces a specified rate of gallons per minute (GPM). The higher the GPM number, the faster the machine cycles the paint through the pump for spraying. For production work, a mid-size sprayer producing 1/2 gallon of paint per minute is more than enough. Keep in the mind, the higher the GPM, the higher the price of the paint sprayer.

Maximum Tip Size

This is really important because you could damage the sprayer if you exceed the maximum spray tip size. The maximum tip size is noted in the product description of a sprayer. Figure out what types of materials you're going to be spraying and the size of the tip you'll be using to spray those materials. Make sure you buy a sprayer that will accommodate the spray tip size needed for the job.

How Often Will You Spray?

If you're buying an airless paint sprayer for a painting business, make sure you buy a sprayer that can handle your expected usage. A sprayer comparison chart provides this information for each machine so you can make a sensible choice. If you can afford it, I do recommend buying a paint sprayer that exceeds your expected usage. That way, in case you need to spray more than expected, you won't be stuck with the wrong sprayer.

Price Vs. Quality

The top-rated paint sprayer companies include Graco, Titan and Wagner. Graco and Titan sell the best sprayers for paint contractors. Wagner is probably one of the best when it comes to professional airless spray equipment for homeowners. Sometimes you get what you pay for. I would avoid buying cheap airless paint sprayers made mostly out of plastic parts. If you can afford it, I recommend Graco airless paint sprayers because they're the best, otherwise consider buying a top-rated airless paint sprayer from Wagner.


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