When to Choose HVLP Paint Sprayer Over Airless

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HVLP and Airless paint sprayers are the most highly recommended painting tools for a smoother finish. Find out the differences between these paint sprayers and know when to choose one from the other.

Notice that HVLP and Airless paint sprayers are always alongside the other. Manufacturers market these tools side by side for a reason. Since these two options often come together, it creates confusion for novices. To begin your journey in paint spraying below is a complete guide about HVLP and Airless paint sprayers.

What is an HVLP Paint Sprayer?

HVLP stands for High Volume, Low Pressure. The equipment has a similar concept to a conventional spray gun. It uses a compressor that pumps out the air to spray the paint. The only difference is that HVLP relies on low pressure, unlike standard spray guns that use high pressure to pump air. Since it utilizes low pressure, there is minimal over-spraying and mess when working.

How Does an HVLP Paint Sprayer Work?

In HVLP, the air pumped from the compressor atomizes the paint. When the spray gun’s trigger gets pressed, the paint mixes with the compressed air, which results in a smooth finish. The low volume of air assures the paint droplets lands on the desired surface and limits wasted paint. Hence, it allows you overall control of the paint material, thereby guaranteeing precise work.

This equipment has a transfer rate of 80%, making HVLP paint sprayers superior to any paint sprayers including Airless sprayers. Due to its high level of accuracy, HVLP is a popular choice among individuals in the automotive and furniture industry. The equipment is easy to control, which makes it perfect for detailed surfaces.

Unfortunately, HVLP is not applicable for viscous paints, for such materials can clog the spray gun. It is suitable only for thinner paint materials. Furthermore, the application of paint consumes more time since it has reduced pressure.

What is an Airless Paint Sprayer?

If HVLP relies on a compressor or turbine to atomize paint, an Airless paint sprayer uses a piston to pressurize the material. When pressed, the paint sprays out of a small orifice on the nozzle. The pressure combines from squeezing the paint material, and atomizing it can reach up to 2000 psi, which is significantly higher compared to 10 psi of HVLP. Therefore, an airless paint sprayer is the complete opposite of HVLP sprayers.

How Does an Airless Paint Sprayer Work?

Airless sprayers rely on an airless system based on high-pressure technology enough to achieve atomization. The tip of an airless spray gun has a fan-shaped pattern to produce tiny droplets of paint. Since it utilizes a high pressurizing technique, this painting tool is suitable for thicker materials such as latex and a wide variety of finishes like varnish, lacquer, and stain. Moreover, it is ideal for heavy paint jobs and speed painting.

Since airless sprayers use high pressure, it tends to over-spray and it has around 50% of transfer rate. Furthermore, it empties 7 liters of paint per minute, which is comparably high to HVLP. It is the reason why HVLP and airless sprayer often go together. The former acts as a roller for fine finishes and precision, whereas the latter is for quick and large-scale work.

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