Airless sprayers can’t be beat for saving time and money when painting anything larger than a few square feet. It must be said, however, that because sprayers are so economical with their usage of paint, you won’t get near the thickness of coverage as you will if you paint by brush or roller, so don’t expect the paint to last but about half as long on whatever surface you’re covering.
Pros Outweigh Cons
That said, there are enough benefits to using an airless sprayer to make it a must-have for professional painters and for homeowners who find themselves with lots of things that need painting around the house that they don’t want to pay someone else to do. Additionally, airless sprayers are easy to use and the initial cost for a good-quality sprayer usually won’t break the bank for the average person.
For people seeking the quickest way to apply the least amount of paint, a brush and/or roller just can’t compete against an airless sprayer. It takes nearly one-and-a-half times more paint when using a roller and more than twice as much paint when using a brush than using an airless sprayer. As for time?
Once you get your rig set up, the time it takes to spray even areas with lots of nooks and crannies is a fraction of the time needed to paint by either brush or roller. It may take you a little longer to clean up a spray rig afterward than it does for brush and rollers, but the time saved in actual painting easily makes up for it.
More Advantages, But Use With Care
Utilizing a pumping unit, a hose, and a spray gun, no compressor is needed for airless spray rigs. The pressure from the pump and the size tip you install onto the gun’s nozzle determines the amount of paint sprayed onto the surface of what you’re working on.
The lack of overspraying and paint-mist-filled air becomes one of the airless sprayer’s biggest advantageous because no air needs to be used to force paint out of the gun. You have to be careful using airless spray rigs, however. At around 3000 psi, the force of the paint coming out can slice right through skin, sometimes even injecting paint beneath the skin, so keep fingers well away from nozzle tips.
Two Standard Types
Typically, smaller airless sprayers that most homeowners use come in two different models. One features a hopper at the top into which the paint is poured. The other type has a hose assembly and dip tube that rests right in the bucket of paint.
Sometimes filters are factory-placed in the tip of the guns on some models, so if you are planning on painting with textured paint, you need to be sure and check for and remove this filter, if present, to keep from clogging the mechanism.
Airless sprayers can be real timesavers, but as mentioned before, don’t count on getting the same quality of coverage as using a brush or roller. It’s up to you to decide whether or not getting the job done faster is more important than having to paint again sooner than later. But for most of us, having an airless sprayer around can’t be a bad choice.
photo by Brandt Kurowski Creative Commons Attribution License