9 Differences Between HVLP & Airless Paint Sprayers

Deciding between an HVLP or Airless paint sprayer can be a little confusing. The manufacturers believe that a painter should own both of these sprayers. There are three pieces of equipment that can complete the job of painting easily.

They are the pressure washer, airless spray painter, and HVLP or high-volume, low-pressure paint sprayer. Picking the right option is going to largely depend on what your need is.

1. Operating Basics

The HVLP paint sprayer is an upgraded version of a traditional sprayer. These are the newest innovation in the line of spraying paint.

With an airless sprayer, the piston pressurizes the material through a small opening. With the HVLP sprayer, air is pumped from an air compressor or turbine for maximum atomization.

The most significant difference is that with an airless sprayer the high pressure is created through the use of hydraulic pumps rather than with an air compressor.

2. Transfer Rate

Airless paint sprayers have a transfer rate of about 50% of materials while HVLP sprayers have about 90%. That means that HVLP paint sprayers produce less waste than airless sprayers.

Airless sprayers are more powerful with about 2000 PSI of pressure which is what contributes to a lot of the waste. HVLP sprayers will operate at just about 10 PSI.

3. Material Density

When using a variety of materials in your sprayer, it will be important to understand the differences between what they can handle. An airless sprayer handles high pressure so there is little need to thin the materials. It should be able to handle most viscosities with ease.

An HVLP paint sprayer can’t handle thicker materials without the proper thinning requirements. Using enamel latex paints will be difficult because HVLP sprayers don’t use high pressure.

4. Paint Outcome

The HVLP sprayers feature better atomization so the painting will be of a higher quality and professional looking. When performing sensitive jobs, using an HVLP sprayer will give you better performance than the typical airless sprayer.

5. Time to Complete Jobs

An airless sprayer will use paint at about 2 gallons per minute. The HVLP sprayers use far less and don’t have the speed that an airless sprayer will. That is why many people choose to use the airless versions when doing exterior painting projects.

6. Performance

Airless paint sprayers are capable of handling far more paint materials with less thinning needed. They are generally portable and can easily apply those thick paints to larger areas.

Within a minute, and airless sprayer will apply several gallons of paint. That’s why these models are popular with contractors who need to paint large surface areas quickly. Using an airless sprayer in a narrow space is normally not recommended. It can be hard to control the spray pattern as easily with an HVLP sprayer.

The airless sprayers have pistons instead of turbines so they are often noisier than HVLP sprayers. This is important to consider if you are sensitive to loud noises.

7. Safety

Airless paint sprayers tend to have more risk involved than the HVLP versions. That is due to the high operating pressures and temperature.

They will also produce more overspray. Before spraying, you will want to cover everything that you don’t want paint on. This should include your clothing and nearby pieces of furniture.

Always read the directions with the sprayer so you can follow the user manual’s safety precautions. It is also wise to wear a pair of safety glasses.

8. Price

Airless sprayers are more cost-effective than HVLP sprayers. If you already have an air compressor, you could just purchase the HVLP spray gun. The higher cost of an HVLP system reflects the added quality and strength that these sprayers come with. They generally last longer and stand up to various abuses better.

9. Application Uses

Text DWhen you want to work with expensive materials, you’ll want to use the HVLP systems. They ensure less overspray and waste. In addition, wherever you need to complete detail work, you need an HVLP sprayer.

If instead, you are working on large surfaces like the walls, fence or other big, flat surfaces, the airless sprayer is a good option.

It is clear to see that the HVLP and Airless paint sprayers are two different tools to perform a variety of tasks. They can’t perfectly replace one another but tend to complement the work of one another.

You can pick the one that will work best for the project you have to complete now. Often it is best to own one of each so you can complete any household task with ease.

When completing the larger areas in a short time, use the airless sprayer. When working on fine finish projects that require maximum precision, you should go with the HVLP sprayer.escription


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