Paint sprayers for an easy finish

Power painters make short work of finishing

By Michel Roy

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Finer finishes for cabinets or furniture may call for a high volume, low pressure (HVLP) sprayer. These sprayers push a high volume of air at low pressure through a spray gun that looks a lot like a traditional high-pressure spray gun. HVLP systems excel at spraying clear finishes, including lacquer, but can also create fine finishes with properly thinned enamels and paints. The air in an HVLP system is generated by a turbine, which uses fans to push the air down the hose to the gun. Turbines are rated by stages. The stages refer to the number of fans inside the turbine-as the number goes up, so does the consistency and volume of the air put out by the turbine. The type of finish that can be sprayed depends on the power of the turbine. One of the big advantages of HVLP systems is the limited amount of overspray they generate, meaning that not as much material is wasted, and less gets into the atmosphere.

Keep it clean

All paint spray systems require maintenance and rigorous attention to cleaning. Note also that spraying finishes requires paying close attention to safety. Vapourizing flammable oil-based stains, paints and lacquers should only be done in proper conditions. After the safety basics are looked after, however, paint sprayers can pay for themselves very rapidly in time saved.

The bottom line

Handheld units can cost from less than $100 to more than $200. Consumer-grade paint-pump systems can be found from $350, although for greater capabilities expect to spend more. HVLP systems start around $350, but for a quite capable set-up expect to pay at least $800 to $1000, although there are more expensive models available.

Also consider:

  • Paint pumps can power multiple guns at once
  • One-piece units are the most economical


  • Airless sprayer: Mechanically forces finish though a fine tip under high pressure
  • HVLP: A high volume, low pressure sprayer uses a fan to push air through a hose
  • Overspray: Finish misses the target and is wasted in the air

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