Paint sprayers can be intimidating gadgets for inexperienced DIY-ers, but with a little research and practice, they’re easier to use than you might think. Unlike brushes and rollers that are used manually, these sprayers blast the paint out of a nozzle, creating a wide, even spray that can cover surfaces very quickly. This application makes them convenient for use on large areas like ceilings and walls, as well as on uneven surfaces like fencing or cabinetry. Just keep in mind that paint sprayers require a decent amount of prep work–think lots of tape and tarps–to ensure any overspray doesn’t come in contact with other surfaces or furniture.
- 1 What to look for shopping for a paint sprayer
- 2 How to choose the best paint sprayer for you
- 3 What features should I look for in a good paint sprayer?
- 4 How to prepare and clean a paint sprayer
- 5 How We Tested the Best Paint Sprayers
- 6 When should I use a paint sprayer?
- 7 How does a paint sprayer work?
- 8 What kind of paint can be used in a paint sprayer?
- 9 Do paint sprayers come with accessories?
- 10 How can paint sprayers be used safely?
- 11 Do I need an air compressor for a paint sprayer?
- 12 Do paint sprayers use more paint than a traditional roller?
- 13 Can I use a paint sprayer on interior walls?
A paint sprayer is the best way to complete a big DIY paint job with minimal effort and professional-looking results. Once upon a time, a roller was the optimal DIY choice to get a painting job done in a quick and efficient manner, but now DIYers are swapping their rollers for affordable yet powerful spray guns.
While a roller or paint brush can produce great results with a bit of effort, paint sprayers are far more efficient when it comes to painting larger areas, and can help relieve some of the traditional struggles that come with painting a wall, fence or furniture. There is, however, an art to spray painting and a bit of a learning curve, so a few practice runs may be required before attempting to paint the desired area.
10 Best Paint Sprayers of 2023：Our Top Picks
|BEST OVERALL||Graco Magnum 262805 X7|
|Best paint sprayer for walls||Wagner Spraytech|
|Best paint sprayer for cabinets||Titan 0580009 ControlMax|
|Best paint sprayer for doors||Graco 17A466 TrueCoat 360 DS|
|Best professional paint sprayer||Scuddles Paint Sprayer|
|Best paint sprayer for house exterior||Fuji Spray 2203G Semi-PRO|
|Best paint sprayer for concrete walls||Graco Magnum 262800 X5|
|Best paint sprayer for concrete block||Graco Ultra Cordless Airless Handheld Paint Sprayer|
These paint sprayers can significantly reduce your project time while giving excellent coverage and finish results. Read on to learn how each one performed in our at-home tests. If you’re thinking of buying a new paint sprayer, one of these could be a great choice.
Equip yourself with a paint sprayer! We field-tested some of the most capable, popular, and affordable paint sprayers available. Ahead, you can read our reviews and find out which may be the right choice for your painting or staining projects. But first, we’ve outlined the key considerations for selecting the best paint sprayer for your needs. The selected paint sprayers underwent thorough product vetting to create the list below.
What We Like
- Great for larger projects
- Can use with up to 100-foot hose
- Easy to use and clean
What We Don’t Like
- 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.
Our product tester used this paint sprayer to stain a deck and some outdoor planters. He commented that while the air sprayer is easy to assemble, there is a bit of a learning curve to using it. However, he did feel 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, saying “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.”
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.
This HVLP sprayer costs less than other models in our roundup without much compromise in performance. Our experts noted its versatility, including its ability to spray stains and polyurethane, in addition to thinned paint. The rotating air cap makes it easy to adjust your spray shape and focus — tight for detail work, and wide when painting large expanses of a wall, fence or deck. The Wagner features a 20-foot hose, so you can leave the stationary base on the ground while you work. Though the sprayer is well-designed, its mainly plastic construction isn’t as durable as all-metal paint sprayers designed for heavy-duty use.
This model is well-suited for those who prioritize productivity, thanks to its 0.6 horsepower pump, allowing you to apply paint or stain at a rate of 0.33 gallons per minute.
A control knob on the front of the unit makes adjusting the flow output simple and straightforward, letting you dial in the machine for your specific task. The all-metal gun is more durable than those made of plastic components and is more likely to survive drops and falls during use.
We also appreciate the relatively low price for a unit that is capable of spraying up to 300 gallons per year.
- User can spray in any direction, including upside down
- Dual speed control for small or large projects
- Paint thinning is not necessary
- Not suitable for large projects that require reloading
- Best for outdoors or shop work to avoid overspray
If you are a hobbyist or DIYer looking for a high-quality, general-purpose paint sprayer, this just might be it. The Graco TrueCoat 360 offers adjustable speeds, low for small detailed work and high for big projects. The stainless steel piston pump builds pressure to easily apply unthinned paint. Reversible spray tips make it easy to eliminate clogs for less downtime and a cleaner, smoother finish. The FlexLiner bags and VacuValve system allow painting from any angle, including upside down.
We used this sprayer to apply unthinned water-based latex paint and oil-based stain. With only a small amount of overspray, it put down a smooth, even coat without runs, leaks, or clogs. The spray gun was easy to disassemble for cleaning, which took just a few minutes. The FlexLiner bags are reusable and may be recycled if they become too worn.
- Adjustable spray pattern, horizontal fan, vertical fan, or round
- Fast, easy setup and cleanup
- Two-speed airflow control
- Excellent results for the price
- Viscous paint must be thinned before application
- Only suitable for small projects
- Louder motor than other paint sprayers
The Scuddles Paint Sprayer applies a smooth, even finish of thinned paint or stain for a fraction of the cost of other paint sprayers. It comes with everything you need to get started: the spray gun, 1-quart paint container, funnel, two paint straws, cleaning needle, and five extra spray nozzles. Use the air volume control and three-position spray pattern adjustment to get just the right application. No tools are necessary for operation. The 6-foot-long power cord allows you to work on smaller projects without adding an extension cord.
In our tests, the Scuddles Paint Sprayer applied 25-percent-thinned latex paint in a clean, even pattern with very little splatter and a nice finish. The oil-based stain also went on clean and smooth. Cleanup was fast and easy, with the exception of an O-ring inside the spray tip that had to be removed for cleaning with some extra effort. Good results and a great price.
- Quick-connect attachment system
- Powerful 1,400-watt motor
- Fully adjustable spray pattern
- Three air-cap sizes available for applying different materials
- Gravity feed cup is small
- Air hose and spray gun are heavy
- Thinned paint may not provide adequate coverage for some projects
This spray system is powered by a 1,400-watt electric turbine motor, housed in a heavy-duty metal case. It includes a 25-foot high-flex hose for extended range on larger projects. The metal spray gun comes with a 400cc gravity feed cup and a 1.3-mm air cap set preinstalled for spraying medium to thin materials. The fan spray pattern easily adjusts from horizontal to vertical and can be widened or narrowed for broader coverage or greater detail.
As with other HVLP sprayers, the Fuji Semi-PRO 2 works best with either oil-based or water-based paints and stains that have been thinned to the proper consistency. In our tests it gave excellent coverage and finish results with latex paint that was thinned 25 percent, as well as with oil-based stain. The metal spray gun is more durable than the plastics used in other models, and additional air cap sizes are available for various material types. The entire spray gun and gravity cup can be disassembled for cleaning and maintenance, and replacement parts are available if needed.
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 set-up and clean-up processes. This sprayer is rated for up to 125 gallons of paint per year.
- Rechargeable battery power, sprays up to 1 gallon of paint per charge
- No thinning is necessary
- Sprays at any angle, including upside down
- Spray tips are interchangeable with other Graco airless spray guns
- Battery life may not be adequate for large jobs
- Gun stops working and needs repriming if air enters FlexLiner
- More time-consuming to prep than other paint sprayers
This sprayer offers the spraying power of airless with the mobility of handheld cordless. The kit includes the spray gun and FlexLiner cupholder with two spray tips included, four FlexLiner paint cups, two rechargeable 20V Max DeWalt batteries, a battery charger, and a soft-sided carrying case. The spray gun produces operating pressure between 500 and 2,000 psi. It boasts the ability to spray virtually any viscosity paint or stain without thinning.
The Graco Ultra Cordless performed as well in our testing as the traditional stand-up and cart-type airless sprayers. It had no trouble producing an even finish of unthinned water-based latex paint without runs, clogs, or leaks. Oil-based stain worked equally well. We applied quarts of both products on the same battery without losing charge or any noticeable reduction of power. This is an excellent tool for smaller projects, but the somewhat complicated and time-consuming reloading process makes it less convenient for larger jobs.
Top9.Graco Magnum 262805 X7
- Stainless steel piston pump
- RAC IV SwitchTip
- PowerFlush Adapter
- Spray nozzle prone to clogs
The Graco Magnum 262805 X7 is our review team’s pick as the Best Overall airless paint sprayer. It features adjustable pressure control to give you power over your paint flow. The Reverse-A-Clean (RAC) IV SwitchTip is reversible, allowing you to continue spraying even when the spraying tip is clogged. Additionally, the PowerFlush Adapter connects to a garden hose for quick and easy cleanup.
Featuring a stainless steel piston pump, the Graco Magnum 262805 X7 allows you to spray unthinned paint at high pressure. It should be noted that the annual use recommendation is up to 125.0 gal. of paint per year.
Top10.Wagner Control Pro 130 Power Tank Paint Sprayer
- Reduced overspray
- 1.5 gallon storage tank
- Compatible with oil- and water-based paints
- Lid can be difficult to fully shut
The Wagner Control Pro 130 is a highly-efficient paint sprayer that is designed to reduce overspray. This means that there is less paint waste, making this a good choice for efficient painting. It is suitable for indoor or outdoor use and has a spill-resistant lid.
This airless paint sprayer does not feature adjustable pressure settings. However, there are other Wagner Control Pro Models (150, 170, and 190) that do. More expensive models also have a faster flow rate, longer hose, and greater horsepower.
What to look for shopping for a paint sprayer
To match the best paint sprayers to your needs, think about what kinds of projects you plan to tackle. There are two basic categories: airless and high-volume low-pressure (HVLP). Each has its pros and cons.
Airless paint sprayers: These power sprayers usually run on electricity, either from a plug or battery pack, though there are some gas-powered models. Whatever the power source, they generate high pressure to pull paint from a container and out through the sprayer. They get the job done fast, and they work with most types of paint (without having to thin the paint with water), making them an excellent choice for big projects, like house exteriors, indoor walls and ceilings. The tradeoff for all that power and speed is higher cost. Airless sprayers are also noisy and they tend to offer less precision, so they’re not ideal for more delicate projects, like refinishing furniture.
HVLP paint sprayers: These electric-powered sprayers use high-volume low-pressure (HVLP) air to push paint out through the nozzle in a mist-like pattern. They’re not as fast as airless sprayers, but they deliver a smooth, concentrated finish, so there’s not a lot of wasted paint. They usually have a built-in cup for the paint, which is easy to use, but time-consuming since you need to stop for refills. HVLP paint sprayers are ideal for furniture and other small, intricate projects. Note, however, that while the sprayers can handle most types of paint, it usually needs to be thinned out with water, and they’re not suited to thick varnishes and lacquers.
How to choose the best paint sprayer for you
What types of paint sprayers are available?
- Airless paint sprayer: This type of sprayer produces a mist of paint and it does so in two different ways. One way blows a combination of paint and air through a nozzle or tip, and the other way is to push paint through a small opening using high pressure. An airless paint sprayer can be up to 10 times faster than a brush or roller in completing a paint job. It also produces an even coat of paint on all surfaces, leaving a consistent, high-quality finish.
- HVLP paint sprayer: HVLP stands for “high volume with low pressure”, and this type of spray gun tends to exhibit less overspray. Popular with furniture creators, an HVLP sprayer pumps air from a compressor or turbine to atomise paint. Oil-based paints work well with HVLP sprayers but thicker, water-based latex paints can clog up the unit.
What features should I look for in a good paint sprayer?
- Paint capacity: How much it can hold before needing a refill. A larger capacity is better if you have a big area to cover.
- Spraying range: A shorter range is better for furniture and more detailed work, whereas a longer range is better for walls, fences and other larger areas.
- Accessories: Most paint sprayers come with accessories that can include hose extensions, different tips and nozzle sizes and adapters, depending on your painting needs.
- Weight: A lighter spray gun is better if you’ll be using it for a long time as it can reduce arm fatigue.
How to prepare and clean a paint sprayer
Preparation is key when using a spray painter, especially when painting indoors. As spray paint can leave a fine mist across the surrounding area, you’ll need to carefully cover floors, doors, windows and furniture.
Before using a paint sprayer, and depending on the quality of paint, the paint may need to be thinned out in order to spray out of the machine properly. Paint can be thinned with water and then used to create a professional spray finish.
Once you’ve finished using a paint sprayer, make sure all components are removed and rinsed well under water. Nozzles can be cleaned using a pipe cleaner and the rest of the unit can also be cleaned with a solvent and rinsed with warm water.
How We Tested the Best Paint Sprayers
Paint sprayers are tasked with applying a variety of fluids, from thick, viscous exterior latex paints to solvent-based stains that are almost watery in texture. Most homeowners don’t have room for two or three different sprayers, so we wanted to perform tests that would show sprayer capability with both thick and thin products.
Our test surface was an old wooden privacy fence. The surface was rough and grainy, with dried pine knots and knot holes that would make paint coverage challenging. Following the manufacturer’s instructions for paint and stain preparation, we used each sprayer to apply water-based paint. Then we cleaned each sprayer and then applied oil-based stain in new areas of the fence.
As expected, the four HVLP sprayers struggled to cover the imperfections with thinned paint. Two or three coats were necessary for complete coverage. The airless sprayers, on the other hand, did a great job with single coats since they use unthinned paint. With the oil-based stain, coverage was comparable between HVLP and airless. The airless models worked significantly faster with more overspray, while the HVLPs were slower and more accurate.
Types of Paint Sprayers
Heavy-duty air-driven paint sprayers use high-pressure air from an air compressor to atomize paint or stain and provide a fine finish. Airless sprayers are electric- or gas-powered tools that mechanically pump paint or stain into the sprayer, which then pushes the finish through the sprayer tip, where it’s atomized and becomes a spray.
Sprayer Tips and Patterns
Sprayers are rated for the tip size or sizes they can support.
- A sprayer’s tip size sometimes refers only to the size of the opening, as in a 0.015 tip. Other times, it indicates two things at once—both the fan size (in inches) and the size of the tip opening. For example, a 515 tip sprays paint in a 5-inch diameter out of a tip opening that measures 0.015 inches.
- Stains require smaller tip sizes and less pressure, while paints and heavier coatings need larger tip sizes and more pressure. Consider the jobs you will be tackling, and for each sprayer option you consider, pay attention to its maximum recommended tip size. The greater the maximum recommended tip size, the more finish the sprayer can output per minute.
- A paint sprayer’s spray pattern is the shape in which the tool outputs the finish. The best paint sprayers are able to spray in multiple patterns: round, horizontal, and vertical. Having these options available means you can switch from spraying a wide fan across a surface to a fan of the same width moving up and down without having to turn the sprayer.
- Each tip size comes in multiple spray-pattern widths. Widths can vary from about 6 to 14 inches wide. Smaller surfaces, like fence rails, call for a smaller pattern width. Ceilings, walls, and larger surfaces call for a larger pattern width.
- Tips can be standard or reversible. The difference? A reversible tip can be unclogged easily by turning it around and blowing out the blockage.
Tips for Choosing the Best Paint Sprayer
- Sprayers with 25 feet or more of flexible hose or a long extension cord are best for jobs that require distance, like painting a fence.
- If you need to carry your paint supply a long distance, consider a unit with wheels or a backpack.
- Determine your paint capacity and how often you’ll need to refill. You might opt for a larger hopper or a unit that draws straight from the can.
- Think about cleanup and whether you want a unit that comes apart for easy cleaning. Smooth interior surfaces and units that draw from the can make cleaning easier, too.
- Consider an adjustable pressure control with high, low, cleaning, or roller settings to help extend the life of your spray tips. A model that comes with a pressure roller attachment can also take over on projects where spraying isn’t possible (it, too, applies paint up to four times faster than a traditional roller and with less mess!).
- Note whether or not the sprayer takes tip extensions—a handy feature when painting high ceilings, foyers, and hard-to-reach spaces.
Sprayers demand your respect. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s safety, setup, and operating instructions. Use a respirator mask and proper eye protection when spraying, and never spray at a person, animal, or window.
Cover or mask off anything in the vicinity of your project, including windows and trim, because vaporized paint gets into everything. If spraying outside, cover plants, and avoid painting on windy days.
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 can be used in a paint sprayer?
It depends on the paint sprayer. Airless models tend to be the most versatile, working with oil and latex paints, as well as stains, varnishes and lacquers. Many HLVP models can’t handle viscous liquids, so varnishes and lacquers are out, and thick latex paints need to be thinned before use.
Do paint sprayers come with accessories?
Yes. This is another thing that separates top-of-the-line sprayers from the pack. Says Slavik, “I like paint sprayers with the ability to accept accessories such as hose extensions and many different types of tips for different applications.” Our experts also prefer sprayers with adapters that connect to a garden hose for fast, easy clean-up.
How can paint sprayers be used safely?
Always wear safety goggles and ear protection (especially with noisy airless sprayers). It’s also a good idea to get comfortable with the machine before using it for real. “Buy some inexpensive paint and practice in a safe area,” says Slavik. That will keep both you as well as any valuable surfaces in and around your home safe and free of unintended overspray.
Do I need an air compressor for a paint sprayer?
Not necessarily. Airless paint sprayers use a pump to pressurize the paint, causing it to ionize at the spray tip. HVLP paint sprayers use airflow to ionize the paint, but they are powered by an onboard turbine. Neither of these types uses an air compressor. Pneumatic paint sprayers do require an air compressor.
Do paint sprayers use more paint than a traditional roller?
Yes. Paint sprayers use up to 33 percent more paint than rollers or brushes.
Can I use a paint sprayer on interior walls?
Using a paint sprayer for interior walls can get the job done faster but may require more preparation. All furnishings should be covered, and the floor should be protected from overspray, splatter, and ionized paint particles that become a dusty film. Protect yourself, too, by wearing goggles, a respirator, and protective clothing such as coveralls.