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Painters often approach painting projects enthusiastically, whether they are painting furniture, cabinets, walls, cars, staining doors, or even covering the entire house. But as soon as they learn how complex painting is, their excitement is lost somewhere.

Brushes and rollers often leave behind marks or drops and are time-consuming to use. In contrast, you can do the same job with a paint sprayer more efficiently in a fraction of the time. You may wonder now which kind of paint sprayer would be the best for the job. To figure it out, you need to know the differences between an Airless Paint Sprayer vs Air before making a purchase.

Airless Vs Air Paint Sprayers- Products Comparison Table

Graco X5 Airless paint sprayer
Airless Paint Spraying System
  • Mode of Atomization: High pressure creating high fluid velocity
  • Fluid Delivery: Fast application speed
  • Paint Finish: Smooth finish
  • Fluid Pressure: Between 500 and 4500 psi
  • Overspray: A greater amount of overspray
  • Compressor required? Yes, (in the case of an airless pump)
  • Air Consumption: 1/4 to 1/2 of air flow
  • Fluids: It can handle thick and thin viscosities
  • Portability: Extremely portable
  • For Example: Graco Airless Sprayer
  • Type: Airless Sprayer
  • Shop Now
HomeRight 2412331 Quick Finish Air Paint Sprayer
Air Paint Spraying system
  • Mode of Atomization: Use compressed air from an air nozzle
  • Fluid Delivery: Slow application speed
  • Paint Finish: Easy to layer, but may cause paint bubbles in the finish
  • Fluid Pressure: A low pressure of 10-18 psi
  • Overspray: Less overspray
  • Compressor required? Yes for the paint sprayer
  • Air Consumption: 4-20 cfm
  • Fluids: Not good to handle enamel latex paint
  • Portability: Less portable
  • For Example: Home Right Quick Finish Paint Sprayer
  • Type: Hand-held Sprayer
  • Shop Now

What is an Air Paint Sprayer?

Rexbeti Air-Paint-Sprayer

First, you should be aware that LVLP, HVLP, and Pneumatic sprayers can be grouped under the term air sprayer and have the same features and mechanisms.

Air is supplied to these sprayers via a compressor or turbines. Air paint sprayers provide a uniform application. These devices come in many sizes but are generally handheld models. The air sprayer gives you the ability to do professional-quality work at home because you do not need any experience with these sprayers since it is so easy to use.

Airless Paint Sprayers: What Are they?

Home Right Airless-Paint-Sprayers

Sprayers that use airless technology do not need an external compressor or turbine. Their main function is to expel paint at a very high pressure, which produces an even spray pattern. It is renowned for its transfer efficiency rate and speed.

Advantages of Airless paint gun and air Powered paint sprayer

Advantages of airless paint gun and air Powered paint sprayer

Differences between Airless paint sprayer vs Air

As we have noticed, the differences between airless paint sprayers vs air through some factors are as follows.

1. Application

When should you use an airless sprayer or air sprayers?

application of air-vs-airless-paint-sprayer

When comparing an air vs airless paint sprayer, Airless sprayers are typically preferred by those who need to paint large areas, interior or exterior rooms, such as ceilings and walls, or even floors and trims.

These devices also come in specialized models for both contractors and DIYers. We found that airless sprayers performed better on thick latex paint and primer as well. However, it is noisier than air paint sprayers.

In contrast, Most air sprayers are designed to work with oil-based paints.

Remember that you have to thin the paint first because air sprayers cannot handle high pressure. You can work on small to medium painting projects with air paint sprayers.

Whenever you need to spray expensive paint materials, air sprayers are the best choice. The primary reason is that it ensures less overspray than airless sprayers. An Air sprayer would allow you to achieve better finish detail spraying than an airless one.

2. Performance

performance of electric-paint-sprayer-vs-air

In the difference between professional airless paint sprayers vs air compressors, Air paint sprayers do a great job of changing the quality of the spray. This is because the HVLP compressor provides adjustable pressure, unlike hydraulic pumps in airless models. Additionally, air paint sprayers are very portable.

A stream of air is used to push paint from the nozzle of an air sprayer. As a result, a low-pressure spray is formed that is easier to apply but may mix with air, thus causing paint bubbles or other imperfections in the paint finish.

On the other hand, the paint will not mix with air, so that airless sprayers will provide a smoother and more consistent finish than air paint sprayers. As a result of its high pressure, airless sprayers require little practice to operate.

3. The transfer efficiency rate of the materials

Air sprayers offer an extremely high transfer efficiency of up to 90%, whereas most airless sprayers have a transfer efficiency of between 40 and 50 percent.

4. Price

The air sprayers are much cheaper, with a price range from $30 to $120. If you wish to get the top-rated Wagner paint sprayer for furniture, click here for the current price and read the full review.

In contrast, the cost of a good airless sprayer usually ranges between $200 and $1000 based on the features you need. You can check the current price and read the detailed review here to find out how to get an airless sprayer of high quality, especially for walls.

5. Pressure of paint sprayer airless vs air

Pressure results of airless spray gun
Pressure results of Airless spray gun
Pressure results of air paint sprayer
Pressure results of Air paint sprayer

If you compare electric airless vs air paint sprayers, mostly inexperienced users may have difficulty with airless paint sprayers because they work at high pressure that forces paint through thin nozzles, resulting in great results.

On the other hand, air spray guns typically operate at extremely low pressure. Its pressure is limited by the size of the compressor or a smaller turbine if it’s a handheld model.

The lower operating pressure offers a better spraying experience for beginners. Also, it is quite safe for breakables such as thin metals, glass, and even your skin.

6. The viscosity of the material

To use your paint sprayer correctly, you must put suitable paint material in it after reading the user guide manual. You should know what each device can handle, which will help you a lot.

An airless paint sprayer uses high pressure to spray paint, so there is no need to thin the thick paint. The sprayer is capable of handling most viscosities.

In contrast, air paint sprayers work well with thin paint materials since they cannot handle high pressure. So enamel and latex paint are not recommended for these types of sprayers. Learn more about the basic of airless spraying.


7. Portability

Airless spray guns do not require a separate compressor, as opposed to air-powered sprayers. Although the airless sprayers are big enough, still they are portable in use.

However, most air paint sprayers require a compressor to operate, while other HVLP systems are turbine-powered so that they can be easily fitted into handheld models for maximum portability.

8. Safety measures

When comparing airless versus air paint sprayers, you should remember that airless ones have higher pressures and temperatures, so extra caution is necessary. It also produces more overspray when in use.

While spraying with airless sprayers, you should wear a respirator mask, goggles, safety boots, dress to ensure your safety.

Air Paint Sprayer Vs Airless Paint Sprayer Conclusion:

In summary, the Airless Paint Sprayer vs Air complements each other. You can pick any type of sprayer depending on your needs. After a detailed discussion on Air sprayer vs airless, now you would know which one to use right away, wouldn’t you?

For instance, If you wish to paint large surfaces quickly, then go for an Airless sprayer while smaller, more detailed projects are best handled with an air sprayer.

Keep in mind, take all safety precautions, and stay safe when using paint sprayers. I hope you enjoyed the airless sprayer vs air sprayer!

Airless Or Air Paint Sprayer FAQs

Q: Is it worth buying an airless paint sprayer?

Yes, Airless paint sprayers work well for medium to large painting projects, and they are popular with homeowners and professionals alike. Users who demand a high flow rate and prefer a fine finish, especially thick paint, will find these machines useful.

Q: Which is better, an airless paint sprayer or an air sprayer?

In the battle between airless paint sprayers vs air paint sprayers, there is no clear winner. Each spraying system is best for different types of projects. Airless sprayers work without a compressor or turbine and are perfect for large paint jobs. They can handle thicker paint material easily. However, Airless paint sprayers are a bit pricey, so they are usually preferred by professionals.

On the other hand, a portable air paint sprayer is great for small jobs and detailed work. They are reasonably priced as well. You can also use air sprayers for thicker materials with thinning requirements.

Q: Do Airless Sprayers Use More Paint Than Conventional Sprayers?

Airless paint sprayers are a great choice for experienced DIYers, but they generally waste more paint than other spraying models. Sprayers with airless technology have a transfer efficiency rate of 40 to 50%. That means the chances of overspray are much higher than air paint sprayers.

Q: Can You Use Airless Sprayers Without Thinning Paint?

Airless paint sprayers are good at handling thick paint materials. However, you will probably need to use as much as 20-30% of water if you use a handheld or HVLP system to paint. Therefore, to be on the safe side, it is always good to check the manufacturer’s instructions before starting spraying with your choice of paint.

Q: How do airless sprayers prevent overspray?

When using an airless paint sprayer, you should aim to limit the amount of overspray by keeping the pressure as low as possible. With an airless sprayer, you can control the pressure by slowly adjusting it.

Q: Is it hard to paint with airless paint sprayer?

Using an airless paint sprayer requires a bit more expertise than using a roller or brush for better flow control and a smooth finish. However, an airless sprayer can provide good results with the correct knowledge and practice.

If you’ve never used a paint sprayer, it may not be your best option. Instead, you can use air paint sprayers for small projects.

Jennifer Marie-Holapaints writer

Jennifer Marie

Jennifer Marie is a general contractor with over the years of experience in home remodeling, DIY projects, and commercial painting projects. Her experience includes working with paint sprayers, painting tools, and other painting supplies. You can follow her on Facebook.

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