The Best Paint Sprayers Tested in 2023 - Picks by Bob Vila

By Mark Wolfe | Updated Aug 18, 2023 3:00 PM

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The Best Paint Sprayers Tested in 2023 - Picks by Bob Vila

Photo: Mark Wolfe for Bob Vila 

Want to speed up your paint job? Equip yourself with a paint sprayer! We field-tested some of the most capable, popular, and affordable paint sprayers available. Ahead, you can read our reviews and find out which may be the right choice for your painting or staining projects.

But first, we’ve outlined the key considerations for selecting the best paint sprayer for your needs. The selected paint sprayers underwent thorough product vetting to create the list below. Keep reading for our tips—and don’t miss our top picks!

Photo:: Mark Wolfe for Bob Vila

Paint sprayers are tasked with applying a variety of fluids, from thick, viscous exterior latex paints to solvent-based stains that are almost watery in texture. Most homeowners don’t have room for two or three different sprayers, so we wanted to perform tests that would show sprayer capability with both thick and thin products.

Our test surface was an old wooden privacy fence. The surface was rough and grainy, with dried pine knots and knot holes that would make paint coverage challenging. Following the manufacturer’s instructions for paint and stain preparation, we used each sprayer to apply water-based paint. Then we cleaned each sprayer and then applied oil-based stain in new areas of the fence.

As expected, the four HVLP sprayers struggled to cover the imperfections with thinned paint. Two or three coats were necessary for complete coverage. The airless sprayers, on the other hand, did a great job with single coats since they use unthinned paint. With the oil-based stain, coverage was comparable between HVLP and airless. The airless models worked significantly faster with more overspray, while the HVLPs were slower and more accurate.

These paint sprayers can significantly reduce your project time while giving excellent coverage and finish results. Read on to learn how each one performed in our at-home tests. If you’re thinking of buying a new paint sprayer, one of these could be a great choice.

Boasting a 20-foot-long flexible hose, this 11.2-pound, 110-volt, air-driven electric sprayer unleashes a high volume of paint or stain at low pressure. The sprayer’s 1.5-quart capacity hopper and two-stage turbine enable you to spray virtually any finish, be it as viscous as latex paint or as thin as wood stain. With a simple twist of the air cap, you can spray your chosen finish in a vertical, horizontal, or round spray pattern. At the same time, the sprayer’s variable air pressure control, ranging from 1.50 to 2.63 psi (pounds per square inch), reduces the risk of overspray.

The Wagner Spraytech sprayer offers excellent performance for the price, making it the top pick on our list for home usage. We achieved good coverage and finish results with water-based interior latex paint that had been thinned by about 25 percent and a medium air setting. Oil-based stain was even easier to work with since no thinning was necessary. Cleanup was relatively quick and easy.

Read our full review: Wagner Control Spray Max Sprayer

Get the Wagner Spraytech paint sprayer at Amazon or The Home Depot.

If you are a hobbyist or DIYer looking for a high-quality, general-purpose paint sprayer, this just might be it. The Graco TrueCoat 360 offers adjustable speeds, low for small detailed work and high for big projects. The stainless steel piston pump builds pressure to easily apply unthinned paint. Reversible spray tips make it easy to eliminate clogs for less downtime and a cleaner, smoother finish. The FlexLiner bags and VacuValve system allow painting from any angle, including upside down.

We used this sprayer to apply unthinned water-based latex paint and oil-based stain. With only a small amount of overspray, it put down a smooth, even coat without runs, leaks, or clogs. The spray gun was easy to disassemble for cleaning, which took just a few minutes. The FlexLiner bags are reusable and may be recycled if they become too worn.

Get the Graco TrueCoat paint sprayer at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Ace Hardware.

The Scuddles Paint Sprayer applies a smooth, even finish of thinned paint or stain for a fraction of the cost of other paint sprayers. It comes with everything you need to get started: the spray gun, 1-quart paint container, funnel, two paint straws, cleaning needle, and five extra spray nozzles. Use the air volume control and three-position spray pattern adjustment to get just the right application. No tools are necessary for operation. The 6-foot-long power cord allows you to work on smaller projects without adding an extension cord.

In our tests, the Scuddles Paint Sprayer applied 25-percent-thinned latex paint in a clean, even pattern with very little splatter and a nice finish. The oil-based stain also went on clean and smooth. Cleanup was fast and easy, with the exception of an O-ring inside the spray tip that had to be removed for cleaning with some extra effort. Good results and a great price.

Get the Scuddles paint sprayer at Amazon.

This 3.6-pound, air-driven electric sprayer is great for small- and medium-size painting projects. The adjustable air cap unleashes a high volume of air at low pressure to allow more paint to reach surfaces, while the adjustable nozzle allows you to spray on a smooth finish using a vertical, horizontal, or round spray pattern. Once you’ve achieved a look you love, cleanup is easy—simply fill the hopper with water and spray until the water runs clear.

HomeRight’s handheld paint sprayer is a good choice for quick projects, and it is small enough to stow away in a drawer or hang on a pegboard. In our tests it laid down good coverage and a good finish with both thinned water-based paint and oil-based stain. It does not work with viscous paint that has not been thinned. Setup and cleanup were relatively fast and easy, with the exception of one small O-ring in the sprayer gun that must be carefully removed, cleaned, and replaced.

Get the HomeRight Quick Finish paint sprayer at Amazon.

This professional-grade, 42-pound spray unit features adjustable pressure, a stainless steel piston pump, and a flexible suction tube that lets you spray paint at your preferred rate of flow directly from a 1- or 5-gallon paint can. The built-in wheeled cart helps you haul cans of paint, and the 50-foot flexible hose allows you to spray hard-to-reach surfaces, such as the side of a multistory house. The Graco is rated for use for up to 500 gallons of paint annually.

The Graco Magnum ProX19 is the perfect choice for large projects like decks, fences, or a whole-house exterior. In our tests it offered ample power to spray unthinned, water-based latex paint with outstanding coverage; good accuracy; and a nice, even finish. The 50-foot airless hose was surprisingly agile, thanks to swivel connectors at both the spray gun and pump connection points. Cleanup was more time-consuming and complicated than with smaller handheld spray guns but not difficult.

Get the Graco Magnum paint sprayer at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

This spray system is powered by a 1,400-watt electric turbine motor, housed in a heavy-duty metal case. It includes a 25-foot high-flex hose for extended range on larger projects. The metal spray gun comes with a 400cc gravity feed cup and a 1.3-mm air cap set preinstalled for spraying medium to thin materials. The fan spray pattern easily adjusts from horizontal to vertical and can be widened or narrowed for broader coverage or greater detail.

As with other HVLP sprayers, the Fuji Semi-PRO 2 works best with either oil-based or water-based paints and stains that have been thinned to the proper consistency. In our tests it gave excellent coverage and finish results with latex paint that was thinned 25 percent, as well as with oil-based stain. The metal spray gun is more durable than the plastics used in other models, and additional air cap sizes are available for various material types. The entire spray gun and gravity cup can be disassembled for cleaning and maintenance, and replacement parts are available if needed.

Get the Fuji Semi-PRO paint sprayer at Amazon or The Home Depot.

This sprayer offers the spraying power of airless with the mobility of handheld cordless. The kit includes the spray gun and FlexLiner cupholder with two spray tips included, four FlexLiner paint cups, two rechargeable 20V Max DeWalt batteries, a battery charger, and a soft-sided carrying case. The spray gun produces operating pressure between 500 and 2,000 psi. It boasts the ability to spray virtually any viscosity paint or stain without thinning.

The Graco Ultra Cordless performed as well in our testing as the traditional stand-up and cart-type airless sprayers. It had no trouble producing an even finish of unthinned water-based latex paint without runs, clogs, or leaks. Oil-based stain worked equally well. We applied quarts of both products on the same battery without losing charge or any noticeable reduction of power. This is an excellent tool for smaller projects, but the somewhat complicated and time-consuming reloading process makes it less convenient for larger jobs.

Get the Graco handheld paint sprayer at Amazon or Acme Tools.

This high-efficiency airless paint sprayer features a softer spray pressure (1,500 psi max) and improved tip design that reduces overspray by half while keeping pace with conventional airless paint sprayers. Powered by a 0.6-horsepower motor, it sprays unthinned paint directly from a 1- or 5-gallon pail at rates up to 0.33 gallon per minute. It boasts a durable metal spray gun and a 30-foot airless hose that can be upgraded to 80 feet for maximum reach.

Although priced about $250 lower than some comparable paint sprayers, the Titan ControlMax performed similarly. It easily laid down a smooth, even coat of latex paint without runs, leaks, or clogs. Although we would have appreciated a few upgrades to the design, such as including swivel hardware on the airless hose at the gun and pump attachments, it’s hard to beat this one for the combination of price and results.

Get the Titan paint sprayer at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.

Heavy-duty air-driven paint sprayers use high-pressure air from an air compressor to atomize paint or stain and provide a fine finish. Airless sprayers are electric- or gas-powered tools that mechanically pump paint or stain into the sprayer, which then pushes the finish through the sprayer tip, where it’s atomized and becomes a spray.

Sprayers are rated for the tip size or sizes they can support.

Sprayers demand your respect. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s safety, setup, and operating instructions. Use a respirator mask and proper eye protection when spraying, and never spray at a person, animal, or window.

Cover or mask off anything in the vicinity of your project, including windows and trim, because vaporized paint gets into everything. If spraying outside, cover plants, and avoid painting on windy days.

Not sure whether buying a new paint sprayer is right for you? Read on to learn more from these frequently asked questions.

Not necessarily. Airless paint sprayers use a pump to pressurize the paint, causing it to ionize at the spray tip. HVLP paint sprayers use airflow to ionize the paint, but they are powered by an onboard turbine. Neither of these types uses an air compressor. Pneumatic paint sprayers do require an air compressor.

Yes. Paint sprayers use up to 33 percent more paint than rollers or brushes.

Using a paint sprayer for interior walls can get the job done faster but may require more preparation. All furnishings should be covered, and the floor should be protected from overspray, splatter, and ionized paint particles that become a dusty film. Protect yourself, too, by wearing goggles, a respirator, and protective clothing such as coveralls.

Bob Vila has been America’s Handyman since 1979. As the host of beloved and groundbreaking TV series including “This Old House” and “Bob Vila’s Home Again,” he popularized and became synonymous with “do-it-yourself” home improvement.

Over the course of his decades-long career, Bob Vila has helped millions of people build, renovate, repair, and live better each day—a tradition that continues today with expert yet accessible home advice. The Bob Vila team distills need-to-know information into project tutorials, maintenance guides, tool 101s, and more. These home and garden experts then thoroughly research, vet, and recommend products that support homeowners, renters, DIYers, and professionals in their to-do lists.

Mark Wolfe is a writer with an extensive background in the green industry, and an avid DIYer who lives in a 50-year old home. When he isn’t writing, he spends his time upgrading, repairing, and replacing anything and everything in his home, yard, and garden. He tests and writes reviews about hand tools, lawn-care and home-repair products, and outdoor-living goods.

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The Best Paint Sprayers Tested in 2023 - Picks by Bob Vila

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