We Know: How to Buy a Paint Gun

Why use a paint gun?

When painting large areas, such as vehicles, house exteriors, or several interior walls, a spray gun can cover more square footage faster and more evenly than painting the same amount of space with a brush or roller.

How do paint guns work?

There are two basic kinds of paint guns. High-volume low-pressure (HVLP) paint guns have a turbine that siphons paint directly from a paint can. This is cleaner and easier than the other kind of paint gun that uses an air compressor and pulls paint out of a bucket. The downside to the turbine method is that you go through many cans of paint when covering a large area. It can be more costly and time-consuming than using a traditional paint gun and air compressor.


Safety equipment should always be worn when using paint guns, and this includes goggles, gloves, and a mask approved for paint and paint fume protection.

How to Use a Paint Gun

Using a paint gun is very different than using rollers are brushes. In fact, it does not hurt to practice using the paint gun on something that does not matter, such as a large piece of scrap wood. Here are some additional guidelines:

  1. Thoroughly cover the surrounding areas. A downside to using a spray gun is that the collateral paint spray can go much further than paint splatter from a brush or roller. For this reason, if you are working outside, avoid painting on windy days.
  2. Premix the paint in its original container to eliminate lumps and to be certain that the paint is well mixed.
  3. Carefully poor the paint into the paint gun bucket. Pour slowly to minimize creating bubbles.
  4. Thin the paint according to the paint or paint gun manufacturer's directions.
  5. Start off to the side of whatever you are painting and sweep your arm from side to side. Paint off the edge of what you are painting so that as you change direction you will not over paint the sides.
  6. Clean the paint gun according to the manufacturer's directions.


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