HVLP and airless spray guns: your questions answered.

By Clive Wilden

HVLP and airless spray guns: your questions answered.

We live to serve here at Elmbridge and we’ve had a lot of questions recently regarding the main differences between high and low pressure spray guns, when they should be used and the drawbacks with each. To put simply, the main difference between high and low pressure spray paint is the speed at which the paint leaves the can, otherwise known as the output volume. High-pressure spray isn’t simply an upgrade on a low-pressure spray gun though, there are unique benefits to each. Here, we’ll take a look at the main differences between the two methods of spraying, the benefits each can offer and some of the spray guns, spray pumps and pressure pots on the market.

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What’s a high pressure spray gun?

A high-pressure spray gun ejects large volumes of paint through the gun at a fast rate and high volume so more paint hits the area you’re spraying in a smaller amount of time. It’s perfect if you’re looking to cover large areas quickly and is often used by professional painters to decorate walls and furniture.

The biggest drawback is that you sacrifice control for speed. You’ll cover the area in paint quickly but if you’re looking to do details or fine lines, then you may be better served with a low pressure gun.

What’s a high volume, low-pressure paint gun?

A High Volume, Low Pressure (HVLP) spray gun is one that sprays a high volume of paint at a low-pressure air flow. In essence an HVLP ensures that more of the paint you’re using reaches the intended surface with less going to waste. The way it works is by propelling more paint through the cap but with less force. This enables the user to have greater control. It’s particularly effective for details and effects and, as there is minimal overflow, it’s good for use with expensive paints. As less paint is dispersed into the atmosphere, HVLPs are considered more environmentally friendly and healthier for users. They’re also easier to clean thanks to the paint cup being situated on top of the gun.

When should I avoid an HVLP?

While an HVLP can be incredibly useful in the right setting, it does have its drawbacks. It’s not, for example, the right gun to use with excessively viscous paints such as epoxies, glues and zinc-based paints. With the wrong paint or the incorrect air volume pressure, an HVLP can result in an orange-peel type finish.

How much air pressure do I need for an HVLP?

For a high-volume low-pressure paint gun, you’ll typically need between 15-26 CFM. This will be delivered at a lower pressure of around 10 PSI or less.

Which spray gun can I use a pressure pot with?

Pressure pots can be used with both HVLPs and LVMPs. They work by using compressed air in a pressure-regulated tank to propel liquids such as paints or glues through a spray gun onto a surface. They’re essential elements of both HVLPs and LVMPs.

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What’s an airless spray pump?

An airless sprayer works by producing a mist of paint to quickly and easily cover surfaces. They usually use a motorised pump which creates pressure to atomise the paint so they don’t need the assistance of air. They’re effective for thicker paints but will take longer to clean as the gun will need to be disassembled in order to be cleaned thoroughly.

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Still have questions? Get in touch with a member of our team to find out which spray gun is right for the needs of your next job.

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