HVLP vs. Airless Paint Sprayer (Furniture, Cabinets to Fence)

Spray painting has transformed the painting industry, and manufacturers are continuously improving it. However, if you are using a paint sprayer for the first time, you may find it difficult to choose between an Airless vs. HVLP. To facilitate your decision-making, we have compared the performance of HVLP vs. Airless paint sprayers.

Both paint sprayers are versatile tools for numerous commercial and home decorating projects, such as painting furniture, cabinets, trims, house siding, interior walls, woodworking or even fences. HVLP vs. airless paint sprayers works in different ways to achieve the desired look for your painting projects.  

Here are specific differences between HVLP vs. airless sprayers, each of them having its unique advantages. For a deeper understanding, have a look at the comparison table!

HVLP Vs. Airless Comparison Chart

paint sprayer hvlp vs airless
Paint Sprayer HVLP vs Airless

HVLP Paint Sprayer Vs. Airless Differences

* Principles Of Operation

When using airless technology, spray guns use pressurized flow to deliver paint, while an air compressor or turbine powers HVLP sprayers to atomize the paint.

* Consumption Of Paint

The most notable difference between Airless paint sprayers and HVLPs is the amount of paint used, commonly known as the “transfer rate.”

Although airless sprayers are more powerful, still the product transfer rate is only 50-60 percent. In comparison, HVLP technology has a 90% transfer rate, making it highly efficient. These sprayers ensure less paint gets into the air and create less mess and less waste.

* The Quality Finish

HVLP is mainly used for fine finishes and when you need a particular degree of accuracy, like painting for furniture, handrails, doors, cabinets, windows, and even for painting cars or trucks. You can use an HVLP sprayer in place of a brush. 

Spray painting with HVLP technology produces a clear spray that means fine production rather than high production.

Moreover, The HVLP spraying process ensures a uniform appearance-a key feature for brands with many stores that need the same design. These sprayers are a popular finishing choice for stains, varnishes, and enamels.

In contrast, The airless sprayers are designed to achieve a glossy look on flat surfaces such as walls, garbage bins, cabinet doors, and oil tanks. They provide higher production and offer more consistency throughout the entire process. So, you will get the outcome as expected. 

An airless pressure system contributes to a better finish quality since it minimizes the possibility of paint blending with air, which leads to a more bold and smooth finish.

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Difference between Airless Paint Sprayer vs HVLP

* Liability of Over-spray

A knob on HVLP spray guns controls the airflow. The ease of use and relatively low overspray make HVLPs an excellent choice for delicate and expensive paints.

With HVLP sprayers, you do not need to waste time and resources to remove unintended paint on nearby surfaces.

However, Airless sprayers spray paint at a higher pressure and produce more overspray than HVLP sprayers. Since airless paint sprayers can reach a maximum pressure of 2000 pounds per square inch, they are commonly used in a production environment.

In addition, HVLP is preferable for touch-ups, whereas airless spraying is not suitable because it produces too much overspray for this type of fine detailing.

* Speed Efficiency  

Speed is a huge factor. You can fly with airless technology as Airless sprayers consume a paint container more quickly than HVLP. 

Airless units are better for a wide range of indoor and outdoor painting jobs, such as a house’s exterior walls, fences, and decks.

* Material Viscosity

HVLP sprayers aren’t able to handle high-viscosity coatings. Therefore, they work well with thin paint. Using HVLP guns to paint with latex and enamel is not recommended. However, It is best to use airless paint guns for thicker paints. 

Airless sprayers do not require thinned paint because they are powerful enough to push paint directly into the gun. They can handle a greater variety of coatings with less hassle.

* Cost Differences 

HVLP sprayer is always more affordable than an airless sprayer.

The cost for HVLP sprayers is usually between $30 – $100 or, in some cases, slightly higher than 100 dollars, while airless sprayers range between $200 and $1000 on average.

The higher price of airless paint sprayer is due to its speed, flexibility, and smooth finish. Furthermore, Purchasing an additional part of the sprayers or their maintenance can be more expensive, so you should look for a cheap replacement part to save more money.

However, The paint sprayer rental has a significantly cheaper cost.

* Safety Measures

In terms of safety, HVLP sprayers tend to be safer than airless ones.

Both of these sprayers come with their risks. Therefore, it is essential to follow the safety instructions in the manual as closely as possible to minimize the risk of an accident.

Airless paint sprayers can cause more accidents due to their high level of pressure, which can easily bend metal, break glasses, and even penetrate the skin.

The most important thing is to be careful when removing the tips from the spray gun. Otherwise, the high pressure may injure your hands.

If you use airless sprays, you should cover all nearby objects and non-working surfaces to don’t accidentally spray them.

Safety equipment such as respiratory masks, protective boots, safety goggles is necessary to spray.

Also, it would help if you placed signs and red tape to alert people that they should keep their distance from the work area.

HVLP Turbine Vs. Air Compressor

HVLP turbine vs compressor

HVLP Turbine Sprayer
  • An HVLP turbine sprayer generates the flow of air required to spray by using a turbine.
  • More portable type of sprayer.
  • The HVLP with a turbine system will give you a good finish on smaller painting jobs such as furniture and cabinets painting. Also, it reduces the amount of overspray.
  • Less expensive.
  • Better for environment.
  • Slower speed than compressor system.
HVLP turbine vs Air compressor

Air Compressor HVLP system
  • This type of HVLP spray gun uses an air compressor to supply compressed air at a faster rate. These sprayers operate at higher pressures.
  • Less portable.
  • An air spray setup with a compressor can produce the best finish possible. However, it has a greater risk of creating a bit more mess.
  • More expensive.
  • Less Eco-friendly in nature.
  • Fast Speed.

HVLP vs Airless for Cabinets & Furniture

Compared to turbine vs airless paint sprayer, HVLP paint sprayers use a small electric turbine to compress air to apply paint. Because HVLPs have a lower output than compressed air sprayers, they’re not ideal for large jobs but work well for smaller painting projects, such as for painting cabinets and furniture.

However, A Magnum airless paint sprayer provides the fastest and most reliable way to achieve a perfect finish on cabinets. Consequently, there is no need to spend a lot of money on replacing cabinets when an airless sprayer offers both efficiency and quality for a quick and simple home improvement project.

HVLP vs Airless for Fences & Walls

When comparing HVLP vs Airless for walls, the airless models are better suited for high volume and large painting jobs, such as exterior walls and fences, whereas HVLPs are useful for touchup jobs.

Airless Paint Sprayer Vs. HVLP

* Are Airless paint sprayers the right choice for a painting job?
Paint sprayers that use airless technology are more productive and take less time to paint larger areas like walls, doors, decks, and fence painting. Airless sprayers are ideal for thick coatings such as epoxy, latex paints, and roof coatings. These sprayers force the paint out of the nozzle(tip) by using high pressure. Thus, sprayers with airless technology provide greater consistency when spraying.

* Is an HVLP spray gun the right choice for working?
An HVLP spray gun will be ideal if you do not need a lot of paint for your project. You can apply a wide range of coatings with an HVLP system, including stains, lacquer, and gloss. HVLP spray guns are usually recommended for applications where the main objective is quality rather than speed. In addition, HVLP sprayers won’t be a good choice if you use thick paint material because these sprayers do not have that much power to atomize thick coatings.

HVLP vs Airless vs Conventional Spray Guns
Compared to HVLP spray guns, conventional spray guns use air at a higher pressure. By increasing the pressure, it is possible to atomize even thick coatings, which is higher than HVLP. Plus, It is good to use conventional air caps when heavy coatings such as glues, epoxies, and zincs are present. 
However, It has a major drawback because transfer efficiency is reduced to around 35 percent, resulting in more coating waste and higher costs.

Conclusion on HVLP vs. Airless Paint Sprayer

You can make your painting experience more enjoyable by using the best painting equipment. The choice of a paint spraying system depends on whether you are working on a short or long project. If you are painting large surfaces, like an exterior wall or an interior wall, you should use an airless sprayer. On the other hand, HVLP sprayers are best suited for small surfaces, like painting furniture, cabinets, or any other job requiring a precise application.

By learning all the facts about how and why you should choose HVLP vs. Airless paint sprayer, you will be ready to tackle the next project and get those professional results you’ve always wanted.

FAQs (Airless vs. HVLP)

Q: HVLP vs. airless – which is best?

If you are a beginner, HVLP spraying is more suitable for smaller-scale projects, especially vertical spraying. An HVLP gun usually has a better transfer efficiency rate, thus resulting in less paint waste and mess. Most professionals use airless spraying technology since it is more powerful and speeds up the project.

Q: Do Airless paint sprayers work better?

Using airless paint sprayers is particularly beneficial in large areas because of their faster working speed. Airless paint sprayers are more recommended for a thick coating, and these sprayers work best on uneven surfaces.

Q: Is an Airless paint sprayer used on cabinets?

Yes, with an airless sprayer, you can quickly transform your cabinets appearance at a lower cost instead of replacing them. Cabinet painting is a small job, so you should use a spray tip that sprays a smaller amount to ensure a smooth finish.

Q: Which Airless sprayers are better?

As per our experience, our top priorities for Airless paint sprayers:

  • Graco 262800 X5 Airless Sprayer for Fences, Decks, and Walls.
  • Wagner 0580678 Pro 130 Airless Paint Sprayer.
  • Titan1900 PRO HEA technology Airless sprayer.

Q: Which HVLP guns are better?

As per our experience, our top priorities for HVLP paint sprayer:

  • Fuji 2202 HVLP Paint Sprayer.
  • Wagner 0518080 HVLP for Cabinets and Furniture.
  • Earlex HV5500 HVLP Sprayer.
  • Fuji Q4 PLATINUM – Professional HVLP Gun.

Q: Can you spray paint a house with an HVLP gun?

When it comes to spraying interior paint, HVLP sprayers are best because they have the power and precision to quickly and evenly apply paint without much effort on your part. Because HVLP paint sprayers can apply thin, more even coats with minimal overspray, they are less likely to result in paint leaks.

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