HVLP vs Airless vs Conventional Spray Guns

– Today, we’re going to be
covering the differences between airless, HVLP, and
conventional spray guns. The goal of this is to help you to know which kind of spray gun might be right for your
particular application. The first gun we’ll use is an airless gun. An airless gun uses high
fluid pressure against the tip to breakup a paint. Airless is very fast compared
to HVLP and conventional. It is able to easily atomize
heavy coatings without the need for significant amounts of thinner. Airless fluid delivery is determined by the tip size that you use, and a pattern of the fan is
determined by the tip size. You can’t an adjust airless
as far as the pattern, or the amount of paint you getting into the pattern at the gun. You’re strictly determined
by the tip size. This makes it a very
simple to use solution, but can give you a
little bit less control, as far as for fine finish needs. So, an airless is very well
suited for a higher speed, as well as ease of use. You may see that there’s issues sometimes controlling amount of paint
you delivered to a surface and you may see that can be a little more unforgiving when it comes to control. The other thing with airless is, you have to be a little more cautious from a safety standpoint, due to the high-pressure of the paint. You could injure yourself if
your hand would come in contact with paint coming from this gun. HVLP or conventional gun
will not typically have pressure behind the paint
at a significant amount that would cause any issues. Obviously HVLP or conventional
gun you can use those as a gravity cup or siphon cup
or a pressure feed system. The ones we’ll be demoing
today are pressure fed, because that would what you
would typically be comparing to an airless gun. So, we’ll show you an airless system here and how fast it will go. The paint we’re using is
similar to a latex paint, and there’s no thinner than
what were spraying here. And you’ll see it’s a
little harder to control the volume of spray. I’m using a 15000ths tip. The numbers on a tip are usually
given like a 5/17 or 5/15. The first number determines
your fan pattern size, you double that and that
gives you your fan pattern. The second number 13 or
15 is the opening size. The larger the opening,
the more paint we’ll get This is a little large for
the paint I’m spraying, but it will give you
an idea of the airless, and the better speed you achieve. So, you can see it’s a very fast spray. I don’t have a lot of control over it compared to an HVLP gun, and it typically is a little
bit of a coarser spray. It’s still a decent finish, but if you’re looking to get
an automotive style finish, or really break up the paint to really fine particles
ultimately giving you the best appearing finish in the end, an airless will be a
little bit more limited. You can use a fine finish airless tip which will help to give
you a better result. Alright, so this is a
conventional spray gun we’re using a pressure pot. The material isn’t thin, so you can see some limitations
as far as break up goes. Our fluid pressure is around 20 pounds, and our air pressure is around 20 as well. Some of the main benefits to conventional are ability to break up heavier coatings, but still maintain finer
control of your pattern, or open it up and widen the
patterns to go faster as well. I’m gonna show you the pattern wide and then I’ll show you how
I’m able to choke that down for finer control, especially compared to an airless. So that’s with the
pattern relatively wide. I can choke down my needle
and air pattern on this gun, to give you a very fine
tight control as well. Additionally, I have control in the handle which allows for further manipulation of how much fluid and air I’m giving. The needle slowly pulls back
allowing paint to enter. So, if I pull just a slight bit that gives me a little bit less paint than if I just pulled
the trigger fully back. You can see I can really
dial in to a fine pattern, or very small spot. What that gives you is control, so when you’re painting smaller products or don’t need to move
at a fairly fast rate you get a better result. Additionally, you can
better control how fine the paint particles come out
by increasing air pressure or decreasing fluid and that
let’s you have a better ability to create a finer finish. These are very useful in
a variety of applications wood finishing, automotive, if you are used to conventional style gun as well as industrial paints. Next we’ll show you HVLP. The main benefit of HVLP
over a conventional gun is that you get a higher
transfer efficiency. Conventional and airless are
approximately 35% efficient due to a little bit of
a harder amount pressure that the paint hits the surface with. It creates waste and HVLP is
very soft in the way it sprays, but be limited in its ability
to break up thick paints. A latex is a good paint to see that with, and I’ll show you that in just a moment. The final gun we’ll show you is an HVLP. HVLP to be used properly has a PSI that’s mentioned on the cap of the gun. We have to stay under that pressure when feeding air to the gun to achieve its benefits related
to transfer efficiency. That’s why it can have trouble
breaking up heavier paint. It uses a high-volume
but a very low pressure when the air is given to the gun. There’s venturi that slowly
reduces the pressure of air. But, the high volume is
another challenge for HVLP. You have to have a pretty large compressor around 20 CFM to really
get superior results as far as for painting for
longer periods of time, and that could be a limitation
if you’re a homeowner or an enthusiast that doesn’t
have a large compressor in their shop with a high CFM. We’ll show you here what you
will see is it’s very soft and it’s still controllable
much like conventional gun, but it won’t have as much
waste as the conventional or airless gun. It will be a little thicker
as far as the way it appears on the surface, because we aren’t
breaking up the particles as fine at the low pressure
of air that’s used. You can increase pressure, but then you’ll reduce the efficiency, and not receive the benefit of the gun. So, you can see it’s a little
bit of a coarser spray. This is a latex equivalent paint, and you can see that the paint
comes out a little bit more chunky but I can control
it and dial things down much like an airbrush for very fine work. Overall you could expect to
save around 15 to 30% paint, using HVLP when you’re using it, and using a comparable
airless or conventional setup. That’s HVLP, and that’s
conventional versus airless, versus HVLP spray gun.


  • Thelle Christensen

    Nice video! – Would be nice if you talked about safety too.. (Respirator/ventilation etc)

  • The real Black yeti

    Just a lil enthusiasm almost lost me at the beginning but great info

  • Surfopia

    around 3:00 you said you cant use a fine finish with an airless? You sure can! I use 210, 310 and 410 fine finish tips with my Titan to spray primers and latex lto do trim, cabinets and casings all the time. looking at trying the HVLP machines just to reduce lacquer over spray as it stinks a house out so bad. what I use now though is just an Impact airless with a 2-413 tip for precat.

  • gary goudeau

    Really appreciate your video. I purchased a few items from your company for my older binks spray equipment a few weeks ago. You totally helped me out with information on my binks 2001 pressure pot setup. Would enjoy a video on using viscosity cups to set paint consistency. THANKS

  • Justin Carr

    What brand conventional sprayer do you use?

  • Murphy's Group

    Thanks for your video. Which type of spray gun you recommend for painting a trailer? What about a fence around a big property?

  • C C


  • James Mac Neil

    Good video.

  • Thomas Kalinoski

    Excellent video? Does an HVLP with more stages, (2 stage vs. 4 stage), offer better transfer efficiency with less overspray? Located near Philly!

  • Terrence LP

    Rock on Brother! Thanks for the great info and good video! have a beer before the next video 😉

  • Red Forman

    I'm going to be restoring an old smoker pit with rustoleum high heat paint. The paint is very thin, almost watery, so I don't think any thinning will be required. Which type of gun would you recommend for this project?


    I have a simpler turbine HVLP sprayer that apparently has no adjustment for air pressure; is that normally a critical adjustment to tailor it to the specific painting situation? The air volume is pretty high all the time so it's not much like an airbrush where you could control both the air pressure and the paint delivery volume

  • Yetidude kiteboy

    With regards to a system like the apollo pro spray 1500 hvlp, could you increase the tip size in order to spray the likes of upol raptor bed liner? For example do you think a 2.8mm tip could work?

  • John Collins

    Great job explaining and showing the basics

  • anonymoose goose

    i bleed on this brotha'

  • Cathy Moore

    I'm new to all this so I don't know anything about sprayers. Which one is a compressor used sprayer? I'm thinking about painting my double sizero garage that has old, oxidized aluminum siding. I was originally thinking about an airless but now I'm confused.

  • Emily Johnson Serven

    Great info. Thanks for this thorough comparison!

  • fn0rd99

    Helpful, thanks. More videos?

  • Lee Taylor

    Thank you for your time and sharing your knowledge. Very helpful

  • krokart

    Great Vid, very informative. Right to the point.

  • Mick Skinner

    Thanks for sharing 🤙

  • aaron fuksa

    yah, conventional!

  • Anthony Treen

    I really appreciated this video. I now feel I have a decent understanding of the three different options.

  • George Spangler

    How many homeowners have compressors that put out 20 cfm,,,it would have to be 2 stage,,,so the hvlp guns would be not a good choice,,but would give you the best finish,,,great!! Because my new compressor is 13 cfm at 40 psi,,,,and was 800 dollars,,,would have to pay 1200 for a 2 stage compressor..

  • Flat Foot

    I think I saw this guy on the professional speaking tour.

  • Flat Foot

    Hear how this guy talks?? THIS is why you always wear a respirator while painting.

  • AmericanBulldogRocky

    1) Do you trigger the gun on and off at the beginning and end of each stroke? 2) Do you keep the gun the same distance from the part while spraying or do you 'fan' the gun? For spraying a cabinet door as an example. Thanks.

  • Billy Hicks

    Currently taking my Nace one and wanted to rehash some things we ran through rather quickly in class. Very helpful, thanks for the video!


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