Various Types of Spray Guns (Paint Sprayers) and Their Uses

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Types of Spray Guns (Paint Sprayers)

If you were a painter before the invention of different types of paint sprayers that we have available nowadays, you had a tough life.

There was no option but starting your day, eating your breakfast, grabbing your set of paint brushes, kissing your family goodbye, pulling up on the job with your horse and buggy, only to then find out you have to paint a 10-meter by 30-meter wall with your old 4-inch paint brush. Imagine the time it would have taken to finish that task. That would have been miserable!

But fortunately, we live in a world where paint sprayers and paint spraying systems have been invented. So, whether you are a DIYer or a professional, you don’t need to worry about this scenario ever happening.

You have the option of choosing among different types of paint sprayers, each different in their own way and that’s a good feeling! Isn’t it?

A paint roller being used to paint a wall

What are the types of paint sprayers (spray guns)?

There are many different types of paint sprayers because the paint sprayers throughout their history have been adjusted to meet new needs and applications.

There are three main types of spray guns based on the way that the paint is atmozied and propelled into the workpiece. There four types of spray paint guns: air (pneumatic) spray guns, airless spray guns, air-assisted airless spray guns, and electrostatic spray guns.

Electrostatic spray guns could be categorized as airless spray guns but they are different from other types of airless spray guns. HVLP and LVLP are under the category of air spray guns.

Pneumatic paint guns

Pneumatic (air) spray guns use compressed air from an air compressor to mix it with the paint and get it aerosolized and atomized which can then help the paint to be sprayed and applied on to the workpiece. Conventional air spray guns use a high amount of pressure.

Other than conventional pneumatic spray guns, HVLP and LVLP guns are the two other popular types of air guns which are more recent developments. HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) guns are one of the newest inventions in spray guns and since then have become the most popular type of spray gun in the market.

There are alternative ways to supply the air in pneumatic paint guns. You can have a turbine that propels the air into the aircap and the turbine can be powered electrically. Turbines have become a lot more popular in the recent years.

An air spray gun with a compressor and an air spray gun with an electric turbine being used

HVLP paint sprayers

HVLP guns over the years have become perhaps the most popular and the most used among different types paint sprayers.

HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) spray guns use compressed air like conventional paint sprayers. These types of paint spray guns mix a high volume of air with the paint to atomize it.

Due to this fact, HVLP guns usually require a compressor with a high capacity and a high flow rate (measured by CFM).

HVLP guns have a higher transfer rate of paint than conventional air spray guns. Because of this, they are both more efficient and are better for the environment.

HVLP guns are versatile tools and they are used in autmotive industries, woodworking, decoration, architectural painting.

HVLP paint sprayer being used

LVLP paint sprayers

LVLP paint guns, like HVLP guns operate at a low pressure but they use lower volume of air when compared to other types of air paint guns.

Due to the fact that LVLP guns use a lower volume of air, they have an even higher transfer rate of paint than HVLP guns and LVLP guns don’t need the same amount of capacity for air compressors and you can use a smaller air compressor if you don’t have a large one.

Airless paint sprayers

Airless paint sprayers (spray guns) use a pump to pressurize the paint. This high-pressure paint is atomized with this method and ejected out of the nozzle.

Different types of tip sizes can be used to achieve different spray patterns and different levels of atomization. Airless pumps can be power by different types of motors: electric, compressed air (pneumatic), or hydraulic.

Airless paint sprayers are among the best types of paint spray guns for heavy duty purposes. They can be used to apply industrial, chemical, and marine types of paints and coatings.

Airless paint guns have many advantages. They can be used to apply paint on out of reach spaces that other types of paint guns can not be used for such as holes and crevices.

Furthermore, airless guns create a thick coating uniformly across all the painted areas and they eliminate the need for numerous coats.

One thing that has to be noted about airless paint guns is that these guns are potentially dangerous to use. If your hands get in the way of the spraying of the paint gun you could go through a serious injury called an injection injury.

An airless spray gun used to paint a surface

Air-assisted airless paint sprayers (Air mix)

In an air-assisted airless gun, a fluid pressurized to a medium level of pressure is forced through a small tip and then mixed with a small volume of compressed air to create a fan or cone pattern.

Air-assisted airless guns are some of the best paint guns out there, and as a result some of the most expensive. These types of paint sprayers provide a high transfer rate and an exceptionally higher application speed than most spray guns.

Electrostatic paint sprayer

Electrostatic spray painting is probably the most innovative method of spray painting. In this method atmozied paint particles are electrically charged. When these particles are sprayed out of the paint gun, these particles repel each other and spread out evenly.

The surface that needs to be colored is then electrically charged with the opposite charge or grounded which attracts the paint particles and leads to the paint particles easily sitting on the surface. This method was quickly adopted by manufacturers as this method considerably helped with saving material.

How an electrostatic paint gun works infographic

Gravity cup, siphon cup, and pressure-fed paint guns

There are three main ways to feed the paint or other fluids into the paint gun. Gravity cups are placed on top of a paint gun and as the name suggests, gravity helps the fluid to flow into the paint gun and reach the point.

Siphon cups are place on the bottom of the paint gun and the way that siphon cups work is through a vacuum that then sucks up the fluid from the cup. Pressure-fed guns are fed externally from a pump.

These are just different methods of feeding the fluid. Each method is usually used for a different kind of paint gun but different types of spray guns could use any of these methods depending on the design and other factors.

Buying guide for types of spray guns

There are tons of different types of spray guns, each with their different specific technology and application. Figuring out what kind of spray gun that suits your needs takes a lot of knowledge and research.

Don’t worry though! We are here to help you make a decision that will best result in you satisfying your spray painting needs and desires! You just need think about a number of questions so you can decide.

Do you have an air compressor?

If you want to buy a spray gun, the first thing that needs to be answered is whether you have an air compressor or not. Answering this question helps you ultimately decide on what type of spray guns you need to buy: air gun, airless, or air-assisted.

If you already have an air compressor, you can easily go with air spray guns because you have already gone through a big bulk of the investment. If you have an air compressor with a large tank you and a flow rate of more than 10 CFM, you can go with an HVLP spray gun.

How often are you going to use your paint sprayer?

Choosing an air sprayer really depends on the type of work you’re going to do with it. If you’re going to use your paint gun once or twice every year then there’s absolutely no point in buying an extra-expensive spray gun even if it’s going to give you a super fast application speed or amazing finish quality. It’s just simply not worth it.

An electric airless spray gun used on a surface

What is your budget?

One of the most important factors when buying any tool is how much money is in your budget. You have to find the best paint gun that your money can buy. There are a couple of things to consider before buying a paint gun.

The first thing you have to figure out is if your budget meets your needs in the first place. If you are a DIYer who is going to do three or four painting projects around the house during the whole year, it is probably not a good idea to spend an astronomical amount on a paint gun.

One other thing that you have to consider is that the amount of skill and knowledge that someone has about doing paint jobs is a much more determining factor in achieving good paint jobs than the amount of money that someone has paid for their paint gun! So even if you get the best paint gun on earth, you have to get good at doing spray painting!

So, you don’t really need to worry about getting an expensive paint gun. Let us be those guys and direct you to our catalog of different types of spray paint guns. Ronix has a substantial number of products with a high-quality at a price that can not be competed with.

What is your desired transfer rate?

If you use paint sprayers, some paint will get wasted. There is just no way around it, unless you don’t use spray guns at all! The most important advantage of spray guns over all the other methods of painting is to coat the maximum amount of surface in the fastest way possible.

Different types of paint spray guns have different transfer rates. HVLP and LVLP tend to give you the most amount of transfer rate and the least amount of overspray.

Do you need versatility in your painting jobs?

If you need a paint gun for professional applications, you should know that you need a versatile paint gun or maybe different types of paint guns, as any professional in this field would tell you.

Different jobs require different spraying patterns and even different application speeds. Furthermore, some guns work better with low viscocity materials than medium or high viscocity materials.

Some paint guns can be used with different paint tips, nozzles, and aircaps to give you your desired results for the job.

Most airless and air-assisted paint guns have this ability. Air-assisted airless paint guns are the most versatile as you can change the tips and also change the pressure of the fluid or the air depending on your application.

If you have a pneumatic paint gun, you can change your HVLP air cap to an LVLP air cap and as a result change the final spray pattern.

If you are looking for versatility, you can take a look at our catalog of paint sprayers and you can see that they come with adjustable flow rate, giving you maximum versatility for any of your applications.

Are you ok with doing a lot of clean-up afterwards?

You might want to consider the amount of time you’re going to spend on cleaning up your paint gun. A lot of paint residue usually ends up in paint cups and the gun itself.

Out of all the different types of spray paint guns, air spray guns are the easiest to clean up. So, if cleaning up your paint gun is going to be an issue for you then you should consider this factor in your final decision.


What are the different types of spray guns commonly used in various industries?

Airless spray guns are used in heavy-duty settings to apply industrial, chemical, and marine coatings. Air spray guns are used in automotive and woodworking industries as well as for painting buildings.

What is the difference between HVLP and LVLP spray gun?

HVLP guns are high volume low pressure meaning that they incorporate a high volume of air into the paint. LVLP spray guns use a low volume of air. LVLP guns have a higher transfer rate than HVLP guns.

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26 July 2023

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