The Best Paint Sprayers of 2021

Speeding through your next painting project starts with choosing a paint sprayer with the right pump, tip, and features for your needs.

By Kathleen Corlett and Mark Wolfe | Updated Nov 30, 2021 10:47 AM

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The Best Paint Sprayer for Cabinets

Photo: Mark Wolfe

Want to speed up your paint job? Equip yourself with a paint sprayer! We field-tested some of the most capable, popular, and affordable paint sprayers available. Ahead, you can read our reviews and find out which may be the right choice for your painting or staining projects. But first, we’ve outlined the key considerations for selecting the best paint sprayer for your needs. Keep reading for our tips—and don’t miss our top picks below!

  1. BEST OVERALL: Wagner Spraytech Control Spray Max HVLP Sprayer
  2. RUNNER-UP: Graco TrueCoat 360 DS Paint Sprayer
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Scuddles Paint Sprayer, 1200 Watt HVLP Paint Gun
  4. BEST FOR LIGHT DUTY: HomeRight Quick Finish HVLP Paint Sprayer
  5. BEST FOR HEAVY DUTY: Graco Magnum ProX19 Cart Paint Sprayer
  6. BEST UPGRADE: Fuji 2203G Semi-PRO 2 – Gravity HVLP Spray System
  7. ALSO CONSIDER: Titan ControlMax 1700 Paint Sprayer
  8. BEST PORTABLE: Graco Ultra Cordless Airless Handheld Paint Sprayer
The Best Paint Sprayer Options

Photo:: Mark Wolfe

Types of Paint Sprayers

Heavy-duty air-driven paint sprayers use high-pressure air from an air compressor to atomize paint or stain and provide a fine finish. Airless sprayers are electric- or gas-powered tools that mechanically pump paint or stain into the sprayer, which then pushes the finish through the sprayer tip, where it’s atomized and becomes a spray.

Sprayer Tips and Patterns

Sprayers are rated for the tip size or sizes they can support.

  • A sprayer’s tip size sometimes refers only to the size of the opening, as in a 0.015 tip. Other times, it indicates two things at once—both the fan size (in inches) and the size of the tip opening. For example, a 515 tip sprays paint in a 5-inch diameter out of a tip opening that measures 0.015 inches.
  • Stains require smaller tip sizes and less pressure, while paints and heavier coatings need larger tip sizes and more pressure. Consider the jobs you will be tackling, and for each sprayer option you consider, pay attention to its maximum recommended tip size. The greater the maximum recommended tip size, the more finish the sprayer can output per minute.
  • A paint sprayer’s spray pattern is the shape in which the tool outputs the finish. The best paint sprayers are able to spray in multiple patterns: round, horizontal, and vertical. Having these options available means you can switch from spraying a wide fan across a surface to a fan of the same width moving up and down without having to turn the sprayer.
  • Each tip size comes in multiple spray-pattern widths. Widths can vary from about 6 to 14 inches wide. Smaller surfaces, like fence rails, call for a smaller pattern width. Ceilings, walls, and larger surfaces call for a larger pattern width.
  • Tips can be standard or reversible. The difference? A reversible tip can be unclogged easily by turning it around and blowing out the blockage.
The Best Paint Sprayer, According to DIYers

Photo: istockphoto.com

Tips for Choosing the Best Paint Sprayer

  • Sprayers with 25 feet or more of flexible hose or a long extension cord are best for jobs that require distance, like painting a fence.
  • If you need to carry your paint supply a long distance, consider a unit with wheels or a backpack.
  • Determine your paint capacity and how often you’ll need to refill. You might opt for a larger hopper or a unit that draws straight from the can.
  • Think about cleanup and whether you want a unit that comes apart for easy cleaning. Smooth interior surfaces and units that draw from the can make cleaning easier, too.
  • Consider an adjustable pressure control with high, low, cleaning, or roller settings to help extend the life of your spray tips. A model that comes with a pressure roller attachment can also take over on projects where spraying isn’t possible (it, too, applies paint up to four times faster than a traditional roller and with less mess!).
  • Note whether or not the sprayer takes tip extensions—a handy feature when painting high ceilings, foyers, and hard-to-reach spaces.

Safety

Sprayers demand your respect. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s safety, setup, and operating instructions. Use a respirator mask and proper eye protection when spraying, and never spray at a person, animal, or window.

Cover or mask off anything in the vicinity of your project, including windows and trim, because vaporized paint gets into everything. If spraying outside, cover plants, and avoid painting on windy days.

Our Top Picks

These paint sprayers can significantly reduce your project time while giving excellent coverage and finish results. Read on to learn how each one performed in our at-home tests. If you’re thinking of buying a new paint sprayer, one of these could be a great choice.

Best Overall

The Best Paint Sprayer Option: Wagner Spraytech Control Spray Max HVLP Paint or Stain Sprayer
Photo: amazon.com

Boasting a 20-foot-long flexible hose, this 11.2-pound, 110-volt, air-driven electric sprayer unleashes a high volume of paint or stain at low pressure. The sprayer’s 1.5-quart capacity hopper and two-stage turbine enable you to spray virtually any finish, be it as viscous as latex paint or as thin as wood stain. With a simple twist of the air cap, you can spray your chosen finish in a vertical, horizontal, or round spray pattern. At the same time, the sprayer’s variable air pressure control, ranging from 1.50 to 2.63 psi (pounds per square inch), reduces the risk of overspray.

The Wagner Spraytech sprayer offers excellent performance for the price, making it the top pick on our list for home usage. We achieved good coverage and finish results with water-based interior latex paint that had been thinned by about 25 percent and a medium air setting. Oil-based stain was even easier to work with since no thinning was necessary. Cleanup was relatively quick and easy.

Product Specs

  • Type: HVLP
  • Fluid volume: 1.5 quart
  • Range: 20-foot air hose, 6-foot power cord

Pros

  • Adjustable air speed
  • Includes 1-quart aluminum and 1.5-quart nylon paint cups
  • Easy to assemble, disassemble, and clean up
  • Good choice for staining medium-size areas like furniture or decks

Cons

  • Lightweight plastic components
  • Not great for painting rooms or other large areas
  • Viscous paint must be thinned; not ideal for some applications

Runner-Up

The Best Paint Sprayer Option: Graco TrueCoat 360 DS Paint Sprayer
Photo: amazon.com

If you are a hobbyist or DIYer looking for a high-quality, general-purpose paint sprayer, this just might be it. The Graco TrueCoat 360 offers adjustable speeds, low for small detailed work and high for big projects. The stainless steel piston pump builds pressure to easily apply unthinned paint. Reversible spray tips make it easy to eliminate clogs for less downtime and a cleaner, smoother finish. The FlexLiner bags and VacuValve system allow painting from any angle, including upside down.

We used this sprayer to apply unthinned water-based latex paint and oil-based stain. With only a small amount of overspray, it put down a smooth, even coat without runs, leaks, or clogs. The spray gun was easy to disassemble for cleaning, which took just a few minutes. The FlexLiner bags are reusable and may be recycled if they become too worn.

Product Specs

  • Type: Airless
  • Fluid volume: 1 quart
  • Range: 2-foot power cord

Pros

  • User can spray in any direction, including upside down
  • Dual speed control for small or large projects
  • Paint thinning is not necessary

Cons

  • Not suitable for large projects that require reloading
  • Best for outdoors or shop work to avoid overspray

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Paint Sprayer Option: Scuddles Paint Sprayer, 1200 Watt HVLP Paint Gun
Photo: amazon.com

The Scuddles Paint Sprayer applies a smooth, even finish of thinned paint or stain for a fraction of the cost of other paint sprayers. It comes with everything you need to get started: the spray gun, 1-quart paint container, funnel, two paint straws, cleaning needle, and five extra spray nozzles. Use the air volume control and three-position spray pattern adjustment to get just the right application. No tools are necessary for operation. The 6-foot-long power cord allows you to work on smaller projects without adding an extension cord.

In our tests, the Scuddles Paint Sprayer applied 25-percent-thinned latex paint in a clean, even pattern with very little splatter and a nice finish. The oil-based stain also went on clean and smooth. Cleanup was fast and easy, with the exception of an O-ring inside the spray tip that had to be removed for cleaning with some extra effort. Good results and a great price.

Product Specs

  • Type: HVLP
  • Fluid volume: 1 quart
  • Range: 6-foot power cord

Pros

  • Adjustable spray pattern, horizontal fan, vertical fan, or round
  • Fast, easy setup and cleanup
  • Two-speed airflow control
  • Excellent results for the price

Cons

  • Viscous paint must be thinned before application
  • Only suitable for small projects
  • Louder motor than other paint sprayers

Best for Light Duty

The Best Paint Sprayer Option: HomeRight Quick Finish Paint Sprayer
Photo: amazon.com

This 3.6-pound, air-driven electric sprayer is great for small- and medium-size painting projects. The adjustable air cap unleashes a high volume of air at low pressure to allow more paint to reach surfaces, while the adjustable nozzle allows you to spray on a smooth finish using a vertical, horizontal, or round spray pattern. Once you’ve achieved a look you love, cleanup is easy—simply fill the hopper with water and spray until the water runs clear.

HomeRight’s handheld paint sprayer is a good choice for quick projects, and it is small enough to stow away in a drawer or hang on a pegboard. In our tests it laid down good coverage and a good finish with both thinned water-based paint and oil-based stain. It does not work with viscous paint that has not been thinned. Setup and cleanup were relatively fast and easy, with the exception of one small O-ring in the sprayer gun that must be carefully removed, cleaned, and replaced.

Product Specs

  • Type: HVLP
  • Fluid volume: 0.75 quart
  • Range: 5-foot extension cord

Pros

  • Excellent stain coverage
  • Convenient for medium-size projects like cabinetry and furniture
  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver

Cons

  • Air speed is not adjustable
  • Only works with thinned paint
  • Not great for painting large areas

Best for Heavy Duty

The Best Paint Sprayer Option: Graco Magnum ProX19 Cart Paint Sprayer
Photo: amazon.com

This professional-grade, 42-pound spray unit features adjustable pressure, a stainless steel piston pump, and a flexible suction tube that lets you spray paint at your preferred rate of flow directly from a 1- or 5-gallon paint can. The built-in wheeled cart helps you haul cans of paint, and the 50-foot flexible hose allows you to spray hard-to-reach surfaces, such as the side of a multistory house. The Graco is rated for use for up to 500 gallons of paint annually.

The Graco Magnum ProX19 is the perfect choice for large projects like decks, fences, or a whole-house exterior. In our tests it offered ample power to spray unthinned, water-based latex paint with outstanding coverage; good accuracy; and a nice, even finish. The 50-foot airless hose was surprisingly agile, thanks to swivel connectors at both the spray gun and pump connection points. Cleanup was more time-consuming and complicated than with smaller handheld spray guns but not difficult.

Product Specs

  • Type: Airless
  • Fluid volume: Direct suction from paint pail, up to 5 gallons
  • Range: 50-foot airless hose, 6-foot power cord

Pros

  • Great for staining large areas like houses, fences, and decks
  • Paint does not need to be thinned
  • Swivel connectors on spray gun and hose offer freedom of movement
  • Changeable spray gun tips for different material applications

Cons

  • Complicated cleanup and storage procedures
  • Not a good choice for smaller projects
  • Requires a large storage area

Best Upgrade

The Best Paint Sprayer Option: Fuji 2203G Semi-PRO 2 - Gravity HVLP Spray System
Photo: amazon.com

This spray system is powered by a 1,400-watt electric turbine motor, housed in a heavy-duty metal case. It includes a 25-foot high-flex hose for extended range on larger projects. The metal spray gun comes with a 400cc gravity feed cup and a 1.3-mm air cap set preinstalled for spraying medium to thin materials. The fan spray pattern easily adjusts from horizontal to vertical and can be widened or narrowed for broader coverage or greater detail.

As with other HVLP sprayers, the Fuji Semi-PRO 2 works best with either oil-based or water-based paints and stains that have been thinned to the proper consistency. In our tests it gave excellent coverage and finish results with latex paint that was thinned 25 percent, as well as with oil-based stain. The metal spray gun is more durable than the plastics used in other models, and additional air cap sizes are available for various material types. The entire spray gun and gravity cup can be disassembled for cleaning and maintenance, and replacement parts are available if needed.

Product Specs

  • Type: HVLP
  • Fluid volume: 13.5 ounces
  • Range: 2-foot air hose, 6-foot power cord

Pros

  • Quick-connect attachment system
  • Powerful 1,400-watt motor
  • Fully adjustable spray pattern
  • Three air-cap sizes available for applying different materials

Cons

  • Gravity feed cup is small
  • Air hose and spray gun are heavy
  • Thinned paint may not provide adequate coverage for some projects

Also Consider

The Best Paint Sprayer Option: Titan ControlMax 1700 Paint Sprayer
Photo: amazon.com

This high-efficiency airless paint sprayer features a softer spray pressure (1,500 psi max) and improved tip design that reduces overspray by half while keeping pace with conventional airless paint sprayers. Powered by a 0.6-horsepower motor, it sprays unthinned paint directly from a 1- or 5-gallon pail at rates up to 0.33 gallon per minute. It boasts a durable metal spray gun and a 30-foot airless hose that can be upgraded to 80 feet for maximum reach.

Although priced about $250 lower than some comparable paint sprayers, the Titan ControlMax performed similarly. It easily laid down a smooth, even coat of latex paint without runs, leaks, or clogs. Although we would have appreciated a few upgrades to the design, such as including swivel hardware on the airless hose at the gun and pump attachments, it’s hard to beat this one for the combination of price and results.

Product Specs

  • Type: Airless
  • Fluid volume: Direct suction from paint pail, up to 5 gallons
  • Range: 30-foot airless hose, 2-foot power cord

Pros

  • Good results for a great price
  • Simple assembly, few intricate parts
  • Lightweight construction, easy to carry

Cons

  • Lack of swivel connectors make mobility difficult
  • Short power cord means that an extension cord is always necessary
  • Almost too low to the ground for use with 5-gallon paint buckets

Best Portable

The Best Paint Sprayer Option: Graco Ultra Cordless Airless Handheld Paint Sprayer
Photo: amazon.com

This sprayer offers the spraying power of airless with the mobility of handheld cordless. The kit includes the spray gun and FlexLiner cupholder with two spray tips included, four FlexLiner paint cups, two rechargeable 20V Max DeWalt batteries, a battery charger, and a soft-sided carrying case. The spray gun produces operating pressure between 500 and 2,000 psi. It boasts the ability to spray virtually any viscosity paint or stain without thinning.

The Graco Ultra Cordless performed as well in our testing as the traditional stand-up and cart-type airless sprayers. It had no trouble producing an even finish of unthinned water-based latex paint without runs, clogs, or leaks. Oil-based stain worked equally well. We applied quarts of both products on the same battery without losing charge or any noticeable reduction of power. This is an excellent tool for smaller projects, but the somewhat complicated and time-consuming reloading process makes it less convenient for larger jobs.

Product Specs

  • Type: Airless
  • Fluid volume: 1 quart
  • Range: Unlimited—cordless

Pros

  • Rechargeable battery power, sprays up to 1 gallon of paint per charge
  • No thinning is necessary
  • Sprays at any angle, including upside down
  • Spray tips are interchangeable with other Graco airless spray guns

Cons

  • Battery life may not be adequate for large jobs
  • Gun stops working and needs repriming if air enters FlexLiner
  • More time-consuming to prep than other paint sprayers

Our Verdict

The Wagner Spraytech Control offers excellent performance for the price. It’s versatile and has a fine degree of control, making it the top pick on our list for home usage.

For detailed work with smaller amounts of paint or stain, like finishing furniture, an inexpensive HVLP sprayer like the HomeRight Quick Finish could be a good choice. It will get the job done quickly, with a fine finish, and keeps cleanup effort to a minimum.

How We Tested the Best Paint Sprayers

Paint sprayers are tasked with applying a variety of fluids, from thick, viscous exterior latex paints to solvent-based stains that are almost watery in texture. Most homeowners don’t have room for two or three different sprayers, so we wanted to perform tests that would show sprayer capability with both thick and thin products.

Our test surface was an old wooden privacy fence. The surface was rough and grainy, with dried pine knots and knot holes that would make paint coverage challenging. Following the manufacturer’s instructions for paint and stain preparation, we used each sprayer to apply water-based paint. Then we cleaned each sprayer and then applied oil-based stain in new areas of the fence.

As expected, the four HVLP sprayers struggled to cover the imperfections with thinned paint. Two or three coats were necessary for complete coverage. The airless sprayers, on the other hand, did a great job with single coats since they use unthinned paint. With the oil-based stain, coverage was comparable between HVLP and airless. The airless models worked significantly faster with more overspray, while the HVLPs were slower and more accurate.

FAQs

Not sure whether buying a new paint sprayer is right for you? Read on to learn more from these frequently asked questions.

Q. Do I need an air compressor for a paint sprayer?

Not necessarily. Airless paint sprayers use a pump to pressurize the paint, causing it to ionize at the spray tip. HVLP paint sprayers use airflow to ionize the paint, but they are powered by an onboard turbine. Neither of these types uses an air compressor. Pneumatic paint sprayers do require an air compressor.

Q. Do paint sprayers use more paint than a traditional roller?

Yes. Paint sprayers use up to 33 percent more paint than rollers or brushes.

Q. Can I use a paint sprayer on interior walls?

Using a paint sprayer for interior walls can get the job done faster but may require more preparation. All furnishings should be covered, and the floor should be protected from overspray, splatter, and ionized paint particles that become a dusty film. Protect yourself, too, by wearing goggles, a respirator, and protective clothing such as coveralls.