When it comes to painting a car, house or any big objects a paint sprayer has proven to be more useful and more efficient . That’s why people start noticing paint sprayers to save time, energy as well as improving the quality better.

But soon, you will find out lots of questions related to air paint sprayer vs airless paint sprayer. What is the BIG difference between airless and air paint sprayer?

Don’t worry since you’re here and we have more than 5 years of experience in this field. That’s why we will explain everything you need to know about the paint sprayer. And after we are done you will know exactly which one is best for you. Before delving into the differences, you need to find out each definition thoroughly to have an overall view.

What is an Air Paint Sprayer?

First of all, you should understand that the air paint sprayer or HVLP (High Volume – Low Pressure) is the same with similar features and mechanism.

This sprayer uses a compressor to give the air to spray the paint . Besides, a higher volume of air is available to aerosolized and push the paint at the lower air pressure. Hence, a higher proportion of paint easily reaches the target surface with decreased overspray, air pollution, and materials consumption.

The result when using the air sprayer or HVLP spray gun permits you to carry out a pro level of work at home. That means you can easily paint to protect the doors, a table, a bicycle, etc. like a pro does. Since this sprayer is simple to use, you don’t need to be an experienced painter.

What is an Airless Paint Sprayer?

Unlike the air paint sprayer, the airless paint sprayer uses a high-pressure fluid supply to atomize without requiring the compressed air. It’s availed for medium-to-high-viscosity fluids that can expand a lower finish quality. That’s why it’s famous for transfer and speed efficiency.

The airless spray atomization is made by hydraulic force propelling material through a hole. When the fluid leaves, friction between the atmosphere and liquid stream split into small particles knowing the mechanic behind your tool will be very helpful.

And depending on the tip size and pressure, you can determine the flow rate. Note that the higher the material viscosity is, the more pressure it can apply to acknowledge you can adjust the pressure to produce better results.

Air Paint Sprayer vs Airless Paint Sprayer, How do They Differ?

After showing the definition above, we’re going to examine differences between airless paint sprayer vs HVLP through some factors. Down here to know now!


When it comes to changing the spray’s quality, the air paint sprayer does a great job. It’s because the pressure offered by the HVLP compressor is flexible as opposed to the hydraulic pumps used in the airless one. Besides, the HVLP turbines units are handy and convenient to move around.

What’s more, the hot compressed air enhances the speed that the paint dries when it’s sprayed on any surface. Wonderfully, it clears remaining paint in the pipe as the reservoir is used up as well as removing choke of the hosepipe. And it’s less noisy as compared to the airless sprayer.

But, in case you need to spread thick paints or cover large surfaces in a short time, the airless paint sprayers will be appropriate. That’s why the professional contractors hugely use this tool.

Transfer Rate

Transfer RateThe air sprayers have a transfer rate of about 90% of the materials, while the airless ones have about 50%. That means the air paint sprayer or HVLP sprayer produces less waste than the airless one.


An airless sprayer works by pushing high-pressure paint via a thin nozzle opening that can increase psi (pounds per square inch) these innovation designs focus on improving the speed of the paint stream. Fast speed alway comes with instability so you should be careful and learn it thoroughly to use it effectively.

Meanwhile, the air sprayer only builds up to the pressure abilities of the attached compressor that is within safe operating psi range (about 10 psi). Hence, this range is quite safe for breakables such as glass, thin metals, and even your skin.

Paint Finish

Paint FinishAnother critical difference between airless and air paint sprayer is about the paint finish and the mechanic of the air compressor.

This creates a low-pressure spray that is easy to layer yet can mix with air and make paint bubbles or other spots in the paint finish.

The airless sprayer helps to reduce the chance of air blending with paint and offers bolder and smoother finish. But, remember that some practice needs to get a correct layering and spraying rhythm to make sure the paint job doesn’t look wavy or uneven because of the high-pressure nature of the airless sprayers.

Material Viscidity

Before putting any material in the sprayer, you need to know what each device can handle and being knowledgeable about this can help you a lot in your work .

Since the airless paint sprayer uses the high pressure to spray the paint, you don’t have to thin the materials. This sprayer can handle most viscosities easily.

Meanwhile, the air paint sprayer can work with thicker materials with ease if you use the thinning requirements. And remember not to use enamel latex paints with this sprayer because it doesn’t handle the high pressure.


PrecautionsWhen examining airless paint sprayer vs HVLP, you must understand that the airless one usually has high pressure and temperature so being extra careful will be the best pior when using it. Moreover, it produces more overspray when operating.

It’s best to cover all nearby items and non-working surfaces to stop accidental spraying. While doing so, you should wear a gas mask, safety boots, dress, and goggles having protection gear on will make a big difference and it can also ensure your safety . And remember to put up warning signs to ward people off your working area.

See also: Top Best Paint Sprayer

Application Use

Application UseIf you’re going to spray with expensive materials, you need the HVLP systems because they guarantee less waste and overspray. Or whenever you want to finish detail spraying, the answer is the HVLP sprayer as well.

Some wonder whether using the air spray gun for fence painting is a good idea or not. First of all, you have to determine how big the fence is. In case it has a large surface like the walls, using the airless paint sprayer is better.

It’s clear to recognize that the airless and air paint sprayers are two different devices to do a variety of painting tasks. They cannot replace one another but tend to fulfill the work of one another.

For instance, you need to avail the airless paint sprayer for dealing with the bigger surface in a short time. And then go with the air sprayer to complete tasks that require maximum accuracy.

Hence, if you wonder “what is the paint sprayer for home use,” you must ask yourself which task you are going to do first.


As compared with the airless sprayers, the air ones are much cheaper, ranging from $20 to $100 for a new one. Meanwhile, a good airless sprayer is usually between $200 and $1000.

Although you only pay a small amount of money to get the air paint sprayer the time of using will be much higher, totally worth the money you spend. For using the airless sprayers, you can do the painting tasks in a short amount of time and produce quality work.


How to clean the paint sprayer?

Since you’re still here, we want to help you understand more about two different paint sprayers. That’s why we will show some common questions and answers so that you have an accurate view after all.

Does an airless paint sprayer need a compressor?

If you follow us at the beginning, you easily find that the airless paint sprayers don’t need any compressor to paint. They work by pumping out paint at the high pressure and moving out droplets to evenly cover the surface.

What is an airless paint sprayer used for?

The airless paint sprayer can apply an excellently smooth finish on large surfaces such as cabinets, doors, shutters, walls, fences, and so on. Since it can pump paint directly from a 5-gallon bucket, it’s easy to use a lot of material in a short time.

Additionally, if availing different tips, you can spray thin liquids such as lacquer, varnish, and stain or thicker liquids like latex house paint.

Airless vs air assisted airless paint sprayer, is there any difference between them?

Let’s bring out the meaning of the assisted airless paint sprayer!

This tool avails a compressed air at the nozzle for pattern control and a high-pressure fluid for atomization. It sprays medium to high viscosity fluids for a paint finish that is better than the airless sprayers.

The atomization of the air assisted airless paint spray is made by hydraulic force. Hence, it can spray the center of the pattern. Besides, the fluid tip helps to control the fluid flow rate and the pattern size.

If you get any issues of using high-solid or high-viscosity coatings or related to the heat, you can opt for this sprayer to deal with them. Lots of waterborne materials ask for the higher fluid pressure of the air assisted airless sprayers since they create the finer atomization for a more beautiful paint finish than the airless ones.

How to clean the paint sprayer?

No matter which air or airless paint sprayer you’re using, cleaning it after finishing the task is crucial. Follow our step-by-step guide below to know better.

  • First of all, you have to put the intake hose of the paint sprayer into a bucket of water (if using latex-based paints) or lacquer thinner (if using oil-based paints).
  • Place the spray gun into the paint bucket and drag the trigger to save any unused paint for later. After that, release the trigger before water or lacquer thinner starts spraying out.
  • Continue putting the gun into another throw-away bucket and permit the remaining paint and water or lacquer thinner to spray through.
  • Then spray the water or lacquer thinner into the throw-away bucket until it comes out clear and clean.
  • Later, pour 2 cups of either lacquer thinner or paint thinner into a plastic cup. Then separate the spray gun and soak all the parts into the thinner.
  • Make sure to wear a pair of protective gloves before placing the thinner on a cloth rag and rub the over-sprayed paint off the frame and body of the paint sprayer.
  • Next, avail a sharp knife, scissors or shears to trim the bristles of a cheap paint brush (about 1 inch long). And use it to clean the paint off of the spray gun.
  • Finally, filter the used lacquer thinner by availing another clean cloth rag. And then put the used lacquer thinner back into the original container for the next time.

Application Tips for Using the Air Paint Sprayers and Airless Paint Sprayers

For the Air Paint Sprayers

For the Air Paint Sprayers

  • Start spraying either vertically or horizontally for better paint spreading choose one route and stick to it till the end of the project. It’s because a slight texturing might happen on the surface and make it look quite funny when you see from different angles so one pattern is good enough.
  • Remember to mix your paint well before using it since this helps to stop clogging.
  • Find a large piece of construction paper or a cardboard box to practice before using the sprayer. Relying on that, you can avoid unexpected situations while being in the middle of spraying an item. Importantly, you are more comfortable after doing some practice.
  • Always read the instructions for the air sprayer so that you are familiar with its capacity, type of paint, and viscosity.

For the Airless Paint Sprayers

For the Airless Paint Sprayers

  • Keep in mind to avail the correct tip for the paint application being utilized.
  • Make sure to avail the correct hose length as well.
  • Always maintain the right pressure applied to prevent over-spraying as well as extending the tip’s life.
  • Overlapping needs to be up to 50% of the previous coating.
  • Try to spray or point the gut straight at the painting surface. Avoid tiling the sprayer at an angle or it creates an uneven finish. But, remember to keep the sprayer close enough to the surface (about 12 inches).
  • Make sure to spray at the outside edges of ceilings or walls to enhance efficiency.
  • Try to point the tip at the corner directly and not spray towards the corner.
  • To prevent double layers of coating, you should trigger the sprayer on each stroke and then move into and out of each trigger pull.
  • When spraying, avoid fanning the sprayer, or it causes an uneven paint finish.

See also: Which Paint Sprayer is better for interior walls?

Final Verdict

In sum, the air paint sprayer and airless paint sprayer supplement each other. And depending on what you need, you will select the one over the other.

For instance, when examining HVLP vs airless for cabinets or HVLP vs airless for trim, you instantly find out which one you should use, right? Choose the airless sprayer for cabinets if they have a large surface. Meanwhile, the HVLP sprayers are useful for doing something that requires attention to detail like trimming.

Last but not least, always observe all the safety precautions and protect yourself and those surrounding you when you’re going to do these paint sprayers. Hope you choose the one you want most. Good luck!