HVLP vs Airless and What You Need to Know About Their Differences

HVLP vs Airless and What You Need to Know About Their Differences

If you are in a puzzle of HVLP vs Airless when it comes to buying paint sprayer, be RELAXED, please. It’s because, I’m here to show you the details of both so that you can decide the suitable one for your purpose. Both HVLP and airless spray painting are used for big commercial painting and decorating projects.

However, There are some particular differences between them, with each coming to their own uses and benefits. Down here and CONSIDER some main differences before selecting.

HVLP vs Airless Paint Sprayers, What Do You Know about them?

Although both HVLP and airless paint sprayers are utilized to offer a glossy, sleek, and professional look to the painting projects, not all the surfaces and buildings are the same. And one method DOES NOT suit all. You should know that, both work in various ways to give a particular view for distinct types of surfaces outside and inside of the building. Let’s find out each definition now!

HVLP vs Airless

What is HVLP?

HVLP means High Volume Low Pressure and mentions the way that air is added into the paint when spraying.

Unlike the airless paint sprayers, HVLP spray guns will release fluid separate from the air to the top of the gun. Then, the air is injected into the fluid stream when leaving the gun to make atomization.

Unlike the conventional sprayers, HVLP sprayers avail a considerable volume of air that is labelled as CFM. 20 CFM is known as the good minimum for the HVLP ones.

Since HVLP spray painting delivers an accurate distribution of the spray, it’s helpful for both external and internal painting projects. It’s also necessary to bring as little mess and overspray as possible.

What’s more, it works quieter than airless spray painting which is ideal for indoor renovation projects. And it creates less disruption to commercial buildings.

What is Airless Paint Sprayer?

The airless sprayer is a high productive one that forces paint via a small opening in the tip of the spray gun to break up or atomize the paint into a spray pattern.

In this case, air is not used to achieve atomization. That’s why it’s called “airless.”

Airless spray painting is an excellent choice for covering large flat surfaces, thick and industrial paints. Since it often works at the high pressure, temperature, and volume, it’s mainly availed by professional painting contractors.

What are Differences Between HVLP and Airless Paint Sprayer?

In this part, I will go into the details for each so that you can get a clear and thorough look before deciding anything.

HVLP for Precise Work

As stated above, HVLP refers to the way air, often pumped from an air compressor, that is utilized to atomize the paint. Meanwhile, the airless sprayer doesn’t require the air compression.

And this is the FIRST and BIG difference between HVLP and airless paint sprayer.

When it comes to practical use, the HVLP paint sprayer is described as the gavel while the airless one is the sledgehammer.

It’s because, the HVLP comes with a transfer rate of over 80%, giving remarkably less water than the airless paint sprayer. Moreover, the HVLP is capable of being availed in cases that it needs a particular degree of accuracy, like painting surfaces that are not flat.

Even, the efficiency is improved by the fact that the HVLP permits you to control the volume of the air and paint material.

However, having two different setting is a bit difficult because you need to learn how to set up correctly before using.

When it comes to the quality of the result, an HVLP paint sprayer can offer a better finish since the atomized output is smaller. For finer materials such as enamel or painting a car, you should think of the HVLP first of all.

Is there anything else? the HVLP sprayer leads to less overspray as compared with both conventional and airless ones. It also means that you don’t need to clean or prepare when using an HVLP.

HVLP for Precise Work

Drawbacks

In atomizing higher or heavier viscosity coatings, the HVLP does lack of its capacity. It’s because an HVLP sprayer avails a low-pressure system while high viscosity coatings need to thin before spraying.

Aside from having issues with thicker coatings, the HVLP is not as quick when painting as compared with the airless sprayers.

Airless for High Production Work

Since the airless sprayers don’t utilize air to atomize the paint, they work as the opposite of the HVLP ones.

As its name suggests, it functions by pressurizing the paint material availing a pistol and spraying via a small opening.

The combination between squeeze and pressure will atomize the paint into particles. When the output coming out of the airless sprayer is pressurized, it can reach as high as 2000 psi (while the HVLP sprayer only attains 10 psi).

So, you need to be careful when handling it, or severe injuries may happen.

When it comes to efficiency, the airless paint sprayer runs only at 50%, leaving more waste yet functioning at a much quicker rate. It also empties paint at a rate over 7 liters per minute while the HVLP is only 600 milliliters per minute.

And this is an IMPORTANT reason why you should use the airless sprayer for high production work.

If the HVLP sprayers cannot deal with higher viscosity coatings and thick paints, the airless ones DO well due to its high pressure.

How about the quality of the finish? Since you all point and shoot, there isn’t much to mention. In case you want to accommodate higher quality finishes, it’s okay to change the tip.

But the result cannot match the result you’d receive with the HVLP paint sprayers. It’s because the airless ones lack built-in granular control, making getting uniform and precision results more difficult.

Airless for High Production Work

Drawbacks

The BIG issue is all about the HIGH cost.

If you only pay between $20 to $100 for the HVLP sprayers, the airless ones can run more than $200 or even $1000. Sometimes, buying additional parts and maintaining can be more expensive.

Depending on the size of the airless sprayer tips, you will be limited to control the amount of fluid and paint patterns.

More importantly, you need to be careful when leaving the tips out of the spray gun, or your hands may get injured because the paint is under high pressure.

FAQs

After giving vital differences between HVLP and airless paint sprayers, I also want to mention some common queries related to both the products.

My only aim is, of course, to help you understand them thoroughly before deciding to pick up the one.

Down here, see which questions you’re wondering and get the answer now!

How often should I clean my HVLP paint sprayer?

After every use, please. And make sure you do thoroughly (I will guide later).

What cleaners should I use?

It’s best to avail the thinner for the material you’re spraying such as:

  • Lacquer = lacquer thinner
  • Latex = water
  • Oil-base = mineral spirits

How often should I clean the air filters?

You need to clean the turbine filter at all times to offer enough airflow to cool motor as well as atomize the fluid. Simply check it every day for cleanliness and the main filter every week at a minimum.

How to clean the HVLP sprayers?

Step 1
Please take the cap off the nozzle of the sprayer. Continue to remove the nozzle and then soak both in a glass bowl of lacquer thinner.

After 15 minutes, use an old toothbrush and start scrubbing them thoroughly to get rid of any trapped paint.

Put them on a rag and let them dry completely.
Step 2
Look behind the nozzle and remove a metal plate here with a screwdriver.

After that, put it into the bowl of thinner and scrub it until clearing out all the paint.
Step 3
Continue removing the fluid adjuster from the back of the sprayer with the screwdriver and soak it in the bowl.

When taking the fluid adjuster off, you will get the guide for it and the spring for the air valve. Remember to turn the guide counterclockwise when pulling out the spring.

Soak a rag in lacquer thinner to clean all of them and then leave them to dry.
Step 4
The next thing is to remove the fluid needle spring to get access to the fluid needle.

Use a pair of tweezers to do and remember to perform carefully because it’s the most delicate part.

After that, wipe it clean with the rag and let it dry.
Step 5
Continue soaking a rag in thinner and then wipe the outside of the sprayer to keep it look clean before re-assembling.

Watch this video to get a better look:

How often should I clean the airless sprayer?

You must clean it after every use to ensure it’s ready to go to the next time. More importantly, you can prolong its life.

How to clean the airless paint sprayer?

Step 1
Start filling a bucket with water if you painted with the latex-based paint or paint thinner if it was oil-based.

Then remove the intake hose from the sprayer and put it in the bucket.

Next, trim an old paintbrush to 1 inch long (use later).
Step 2
Shoot the sprayer into the paint to release any leftover paint within it. But, avoid releasing any paint thinner into the can.

It’s best to use an empty second bucket and spray the remaining liquid until getting a clean and clear spray.
Step 3
Fill another empty bucket with 2 cups of paint thinner or water and then soak the individual parts of the sprayer into it.

Avail a rag and rub across the frame of the sprayer to remove any residual paint. Meanwhile, use the old paintbrush to scrub the parts soaking in the bucket.
Step 4
Filter the used paint thinner by straining it through a clean rag.

Later, put it into its original container for the next time.

View this video below to know how to clean your airless sprayer:

Should I wear safety equipment?

A big YES, of course.

Paint fumes are dangerous while the overspray brought by the airless paint sprayers is too.

Therefore, you MUST wear protective clothing that can cover your body as well as put on a facemask and a pair of goggles.

How to get the best possible paint spraying results?

No matter which products you are going to use, you should follow some preparations here to acquire the best results.

  • At first, you should check how steady the surface you want to paint by using a piece of adhesive tape.
  • Make sure the objects are clean or you need to remove any dust, dirt, water, oil, etc. before starting.
  • Keep in mind to perform a spray test on a piece of cardboard to check the paint volume adjustment and the different spray settings.
  • Don’t forget to stir the paint and dilute it as well.
  • When you spray, it’s necessary to follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions.

How to storage the airless paint sprayers in winter?

NOTE that, Freezing weather may destroy and crack the airless sprayers if they are not prepared for winter accurately.

So, you need to:

  • remove all paint from the sprayer after using
  • wash the paint pump with the approved mineral spirits or storage agent.

If the weather reach under -300F, it’s best to mix a combination of new motor oil and mineral spirits. Then inject it into all paint lines and nozzle heads to wash out any liquid.

Remember that, only use an approved liquid in the pumping unit to keep all moving parts well-lubricated. When the sprayer is being operated, you should wash it with the mineral spirits or pump agent from the system.

How can I know when to replace the tips and when they are worn out?

Depending on the abrasiveness of the material, all the airless spray tips will become worn in time.

The more abrasive the material is, the quicker the tip will wear out.

For instance, latex can wear the tip out from 40-50 gallons. Meanwhile, stains are less abrasive.

But, how do you know?

The tips mainly begin in an oval spray pattern. When the tips wear out, the oval shape will create a circle, delivering more paint into a small area.

For example, a DP-637TX spray tip will spray around 40 gallons before replacing while a DP-637TT lasts about 45 gallons.

In sum, all the tips will change depending on the pressure that you are spraying the type of paint being sprayed.

After all, Which one Will You Choose?

That’s all for what you need to know about HVLP vs Airless paint sprayers.

Depending on your different tasks, you can select the suitable sprayers.

For instance, If you are going to deal with large projects as painting a fence or house, the airless sprayer is the best choice. In case you want to paint shelving or furniture, you should opt for the HVLP sprayers.

So, when it comes to HVLP vs airless for cabinets or HVLP vs airless for trim, can you give the exact answers?

Don’t mind leaving your thoughts in the box below so that we can discuss more.

Once again, thanks for your reading!

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