Airless paint sprayers are a significant step up from paint brushes or rollers. They can also be more effective than traditional paint sprayers that use pressurized airflow to spray paint onto your walls. Airless paint sprayers rely on a mechanical pump that produces the pressure needed for the spray gun to apply the paint. That means you won’t have to mix air into your paint before applying. Painters can use these helpful tools for exterior painting projects or on interior walls.
The best airless paint sprayer models produce a wide, high-pressure spray that allows for faster painting compared to manual application. Airless paint sprayers may also come with an adjustable nozzle, a variety of tips, and multiple filters that you can change or customize for fine or broad spray applications.
The products below represent the top-performing sprayer models for various DIY painting projects.
- BEST OVERALL: Graco Magnum 262800 X5 Stand Airless Paint Sprayer
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Himalaya Airless Paint Sprayer Spray Gun
- UPGRADE PICK: Wagner Spraytech Pro 190 Cart Airless Paint Sprayer
- BEST CORDLESS: Graco Ultra Max Cordless Airless Handheld
- BEST STATIONARY: Titan Tool 0580009 High Efficiency Airless Paint
- BEST FOR CABINETS: HomeRight Power Flo Pro 2800 C800879
- BEST FOR PRECISION: Graco 17A466 TrueCoat 360 DS Paint Sprayer
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Airless Paint Sprayer
When choosing the best airless paint sprayer for your project, there are several considerations to keep in mind including the power option, paint sprayer accessories, and paint flow, which is affected by the size of the spray tips, the paint hose, and the pressure created by the airless spray guns.
Corded vs. Cordless
Cordless airless paint sprayers make easier work of smaller areas and don’t require close proximity to a power outlet, but these products generally cost more than their corded counterparts. Relatively new to the market, cordless airless paint sprayers currently come in just a few limited options.
Keep in mind that cordless sprayers run on batteries. You can only use one for so long before it needs a recharge. Don’t confuse cordless airless paint sprayers with HVLP sprayers, which can look very similar, but operate on air pressure.
Corded airless paint sprayers have a larger following for a few reasons. First, more manufacturers offer more models. What’s more, many corded sprayers can pull paint directly from the can or bucket instead of from a paint canister you have to preload.
A corded sprayer, however, will tether you to the nearest outlet. This can make hard-to-reach areas even harder to reach. Some corded sprayers are stationary, while others sit on a wheeled cart.
You can adjust the pressure on some airless paint sprayers. You can set it higher for larger jobs, like painting multiple walls in a room, so that the sprayer coats the walls faster. For fine-detail paint jobs, like accents or baseboards, you have the option to lower the pressure to better control the spray.
With adjustable pressure, the same airless paint sprayer can take care of a wide variety of projects. You’ll just need to change the tip and filter to accommodate your pressure settings. That way you won’t restrict the flow or clog the nozzle.
The tip of the airless paint sprayer helps control the width and the speed of the spray. A larger tip works best with thicker viscosity fluids: a tip that’s too fine may clog during use. Some sprayers come with a variety of tips, but many sprayers include just one or two. The sprayer may also include a spray tip guard to prevent dried paint from clogging the sprayer. Depending on the types of jobs you tackle with your airless paint sprayer, and how frequently you use it, you’ll need to occasionally purchase new tips.
Tip sizes begin at 0.009 inches and go up in size in increments of 0.002 inches. In general, smaller tips (0.009 inches to 0.013 inches) work best for stains and lacquers; medium tips (0.015 inches to 0.019 inches) work well for oil-based and latex paint; and larger tips (0.021 inches and above) should be reserved for very thick materials like heavy latex, elastomeric, and block filler.
Filters work with tips to ensure the right flow of paint comes through the nozzle. They also filter out junk and lumps in the paint so that the tip and nozzle don’t clog. To keep your filter working properly, you need to clean it after every use.
The finer the filter, the more time you’ll need to spend cleaning it and the more often you’ll need to replace it. Most airless paint sprayers come with a filter already installed, but you must replace these as they wear out.
When choosing a filter, make sure that the size is appropriate for the application. While a fine filter catches more debris and reduces clogs, it also restricts the flow of paint. If you are using a larger tip with high-pressure output, a fine filter will restrict the flow of paint. This mismatch could also damage the filter.
On the other hand, a larger filter with a smaller tip will allow some lumps to pass through that may be too big for the smaller tip, resulting in clogs. Always match your tips and filter sizes to your pressure setting to ensure a smooth flow.
The length of the hose required for your airless paint sprayer depends on your project. A cordless paint sprayer will not have a hose, so you can move freely wherever you need. Corded models require a hose, so with a stationary sprayer, you have to make sure the hose length won’t restrict your movement so much that the sprayer isn’t worthwhile.
There is no standard length of hose that comes with an airless paint sprayer. Just keep in mind that longer hoses require more power to properly pressurize the sprayer: A 100-foot-long hose won’t do much good on a small airless paint sprayer. If you need the flexibility of a long hose, make sure to get an airless paint sprayer that provides adequate power.
The flow rate of the airless paint sprayer, typically expressed in gallons per minute (GPM), is the amount of paint the sprayer can apply in a given time frame. It determines the maximum tip size you can use. The tip’s flow rate must be less than the maximum flow rate of the paint sprayer for the sprayer to function properly.
If the tip is too large, the sprayer will not be able to provide the amount of paint needed for an effective coat. But, for residential projects, this usually isn’t a problem since the scope of most home projects is too small to warrant using very large tips.
Size and Weight
The size and weight of your airless paint sprayer won’t change its overall performance, but it may still matter to you, depending on how you use the sprayer and your comfort with lifting heavy objects. Cordless airless paint sprayers are light, easy to hold, and incredibly mobile. Corded sprayers have a larger motor and may be more difficult to carry.
The very heavy ones work best with a long hose so that you don’t have to move them. You can also try a stationary airless paint sprayer that comes on a wheeled cart. This mobile version moves around on a single floor. But, of course, you’ll have to lift it or pull it up stairs or into the back of a truck. Always check the weight of the product to make sure you can handle it.
Maximum Yearly Use
Consider the kinds of paint jobs you’re planning over the next year and make sure the maximum yearly use of your sprayer is up to the task. Airless paint sprayers have a maximum recommended yearly usage measured in gallons of paint used per year. For corded sprayers, this may range from 50 to 500 gallons. There are very few cordless sprayers on the market for comparison.
Our Top Picks
This list includes some of the best airless paint sprayers for your home painting project.
Graco’s X5 Airless Paint Sprayer gets into tight spaces with its precision-tipped sprayer. Adjustable pressure controls allow users to reduce the pressure for precision paint projects or increase it for broad applications. The tool can pressurize a hose up to 75 feet, so users won’t have to worry about moving the sprayer every few feet. When there is a need to lift the sprayer, the handle on top makes it easier to carry the 15-pound machine.
The stationary sprayer sits on an elevated stand, which better situates the hose to draw paint into the spray gun directly from the bucket. It has a 0.27 GPM maximum flow rate and a 0.015-inch maximum tip size. A stainless steel piston pump eliminates the need for paint thinning. The manufacturer recommends that use of this sprayer not exceed 125 gallons per year, which is more than enough for most residential sprayers.
Manufactured by Himalaya and sold by TOMIC, this inexpensive airless paint sprayer is a standard-size option that weighs just 14 pounds and is designed to draw paint directly from paint containers that are 1 gallon or larger, which helps to avoid accidental spills. The airless paint sprayer sits in an easy-to-grip frame so that painters can pick it up and move it around the room whenever the 25-foot hose isn’t long enough to comfortably reach the target surface.
Himalaya’s corded airless paint sprayer has a max flow rate of 0.28 GPM and a compact frame that measures 12.2 inches by 9 inches by 10 inches, which makes it easy to store when not in use. Just make sure to take the airless paint sprayer apart and clean it properly before storing it.
Graco manufactures an impressive cordless airless paint sprayer for a market that doesn’t offer many choices. Painters can maneuver this 11-pound cordless device with ease, which makes it a great pick for painting furniture. Users may quickly and effectively coat all exposed areas of a cabinet, bookshelf, or any other piece of furniture without the burden of a hanging power cord. The battery lasts for about 1 hour of continuous use on a full charge
This airless paint sprayer has a triple piston pump and will operate at a maximum flow rate of 0.27 GPM with a maximum tip size of 0.017 inches. The power behind this compact tool eliminates the need to thin the paint beforehand.
This handheld airless paint sprayer gives DIYers free range of the work space. It makes a great choice for painting furniture or hard-to-reach areas. At just 6.75 pounds, this 1-quart sprayer doesn’t bring the baggage of other heavy or immobile equipment.
Painters can use this airless paint sprayer at any angle, including completely upside down with the flexible suction tube that extends into the 1-quart twist-lock paint cup to draw paint into the sprayer. That’s a great feature for painting all sides of a piece of furniture. However, users should note that the maximum flow rate for this airless paint sprayer is just 0.11 GPM, so stick with smaller projects, like spray painting a chair or bench, since this sprayer won’t stand up to big jobs.
Titan’s high-performance stationary sprayer features a high-efficiency airless pump for reducing overspray, increasing accuracy, and providing a more even finish. This corded airless paint sprayer comes with a 30-foot hose, but it can support a hose of up to 80 feet. That way, users may move around freely while the pump stays in place.
The 19.4-pound sprayer sits in a small stand that doubles as a carrying handle. With a recommended spray maximum of 300 gallons per year, a home painter won’t have to worry about hitting that limit. Titan’s sprayer has a maximum flow rate of 0.33 GPM and works with tips of up to 0.017 inches. That should cover users for a residential paint project.
HomeRight’s airless paint sprayer is an excellent choice for applying clear coats over newly finished projects or painting over old, worn cabinets to give them an updated appearance. This airless paint sprayer has a max flow rate of 0.24 GPM and reversible switch tips, which allow painters to reverse the flow of paint in order to clear paint clogs—an ideal feature for projects that involve latex paint.
A convenient top handle allows users to pick up the 15-pound machine and move it around as necessary when the 25-foot hose doesn’t provide enough range for the project. The powerful airless paint sprayer will support unthinned latex and oil-based paints, as well as stains and sealants, for a range of projects.
Designed for simple maneuverability and precision spray painting, the 4.5-pound corded Graco handheld airless paint sprayer features a high setting for painting broad surfaces and a low setting for more precise control. Compatible with reversible spray tips, this pump keeps paint clogs at bay.
A suction hose extends into the paint container to draw paint into the sprayer from any angle, so users can paint upside down on ceilings and at odd angles to ensure full coverage on precision projects. It utilizes a powerful steel piston pump to spray unthinned paint at high pressure.
How to Use an Airless Paint Sprayer
It’s important to consult manufacturer instructions when operating a paint sprayer, but in general, the process is as follows:
- Make sure you have the correct filter and nozzle for the paint application.
- Fill up the paint reservoir or guide the paint siphon hose into the paint bucket.
- Prime the airless sprayer by adjusting it to the prime setting (if it has one) and drawing paint up into the hose with the pump. Allow some paint to drip out of the end of the hose so you know the system is fully pressurized.
- Once paint is moving through the hose and into the sprayer, spray into a waste bucket to clear any air before beginning to paint your surface.
FAQs About Airless Paint Sprayers
Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about airless paint sprayers.
Q. Is spraying paint better than rolling?
Spraying can be better than rolling, but personal experience and preference impact which painting method is truly the best for you. Rolling is inexpensive, easy to set up, and relatively straightforward, making it the better choice for beginners. Spraying comes with a higher up-front cost, and users will need to take the time to set up the airless paint sprayer, as well as cover any surfaces or items to make sure that airborne spray doesn’t accidentally paint the furniture or floor.
However, when a paint sprayer is used by a skilled individual, the setup time dramatically decreases, and the actual paint job also takes less time than it would with a roller, so these tools are great for experienced tradespeople and DIYers.
Q. Do airless sprayers use more paint?
Airless paint sprayers do tend to use more paint than a roller or brush by about 30 percent. However, a skilled DIYer will save a lot of time on paint projects with an airless paint sprayer, so the higher consumption of paint is a fair trade for the time most people save.
Q. Do you have to thin paint for an airless sprayer?
It depends on the specific product. While small airless paint sprayers typically require thinned paint for proper use, some compact models have the power to use unthinned paint. Before deciding on a product, check the manufacturer’s recommendations to determine whether it can be used with full viscosity or thinned paint.
Q. How often do the filters need to be cleaned?
Filters last longest when you clean them after every use. It’s also a good idea to clean them before you use them if the sprayer has been sitting in your garage or workshop for an extended period of time. This will ensure there is no debris in the filter before you begin spraying.
Q. How do you clean an airless paint sprayer?
- Fill a bucket with water for latex paints or paint thinner for oil-based paints.
- Remove the intake hose from the paint and put the hose into the bucket.
- Add 2 cups of water or paint thinner to a second bucket.
- Remove and place the spray tip guard, tip, and filter into the second bucket for cleaning.
- Reassemble the airless paint sprayer without the guard, tip, and filter.
- Prime the pump and pump water or paint thinner through the system.
- Use the spray gun to release the cleaning fluid and to flush any remaining paint from the system.
- When all parts are clean, reattach the spray tip guard, tip, and filter.
While these steps give you the basic method of cleaning, always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations for product-specific differences.
Upgrade to an airless paint sprayer from the paintbrush and roller to quickly and effectively complete interior or exterior painting projects. Consider whether latex paints or oil-based paints are the right choice for the project, and choose an appropriate tip to help control the paint flow and spray pattern while spray painting.
Keep in mind that the paint flow rate needs to be equal to or greater than the spray tip’s flow rate; otherwise, the airless paint sprayer will have a hard time completing the job. Airless paint sprayers are an improvement to the painting process, but they aren’t a miracle tool that functions without skill on the part of the user, so take the time to learn how to properly use a sprayer before starting a painting project.