Painting a car can be a huge project and require a lot of time and resource. The right paint gun can make this process easier, giving you the perfect coat of the car you want. However, not all paint guns are made equal, and picking one that’s suitable for your project is best left to professionals.
In this article, I’ll provide you with adequate information to have a deep understanding of automotive paint guns, how to choose one that is right for you, and the 3 best paint guns on the market today.
What Is Automotive Paint Gun?
A paint gun or spray gun is a device that uses compressed air to propel paint in different forms at high pressure. When choosing the right paint gun, it is critical to know the type of gun you are buying.
Even though people can use paintbrushes, using a paint gun brings various benefits to your paint jobs. Painting with a gun requires less time and effort, resulting in a more professional finish. They also help you achieve an even coat of paint on your surface.
There are various types of paint guns, each with its own distinct features that make each gun suitable for different projects. Before choosing the right paint gun, it is important to know what type of work you’re doing.
Types of Automotive Paint Gun
#1 HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) Paint Sprayers
HVLP paint sprayers are often used for large surfaces because of their power and efficiency. This is a good choice if you want to paint a car, truck, or other vehicles.
These tools work with a compressor that provides air at a lower pressure. The result is an application that has less overspray and drips, giving you a more professional finish. These guns produce clean lines and crisp edges, making them ideal for automotive painting projects.
This type of gun needs a compressor to function, which adds to the cost of the gun. They are also more expensive. The low pressure combined with the powerful air blast enables you to paint large surfaces, giving you a professional finish. These tools have plenty of power and make it easy to apply paint with minimal overspray.
#2 LVLP (Low Volume Low Pressure) Paint Sprayers
LVLP guns are cheaper than HVLP guns. They are the best option if you need to paint multiple surfaces at once. The pressure is lower, but the airflow is also lower, which makes this ideal for smaller surfaces like furniture, toys, and other items.
This type of gun is ideal for small projects due to its low pressure and low volume. This reduces overspray and gives you more control over your paint jobs. It’s also easy to clean after use because of its smaller size.
#3 Conventional Spray Gun
A conventional spray gun, also known as a “square-tip” gun, is not specifically designed for automotive painting. It’s an older style of the spray gun that has been around for decades. The large nozzle area does not produce the accuracy necessary to paint cars.
For automotive painting, this type does provide some benefits such as giving a high quality finish and perfect for coatings.
Conventional guns are very inefficient due to their wide nozzles. This makes it harder to clean up overspray and control the paint spray.
Benefits of Automotive Paint Guns
Automotive paint guns have a number of benefits that you will enjoy when choosing one for your project.
Automotive paint guns give you a professional finish, especially HVLP paint sprayers. This type of gun allows you to create very fine lines and crisp edges. They work best for painting vehicles, but they can also be used to apply the paint evenly to other surfaces such as furniture or toys. These tools make it easy to achieve a professional-looking finish because the tool takes care of the overspray for you.
Improved transfer efficiency
Automotive paint guns provide higher transfer efficiency, which translates to less overspray. This makes it easier for you to control the spray and clean up any overspray quickly. You can use conventional spray guns to apply the paint evenly to small surfaces, because of its narrow nozzle. By contrast, HVLP paint sprayers have a high volume and low pressure that enables them to apply a perfect coat on large surfaces. They also have a wide nozzle that provides great coverage while providing a professional look.
Automotive paint guns are more efficient than other types of sprayers. The tips can help you accomplish your paint job quickly and reduce the time you spend on the project. This means less money spent on paint and supplies, which makes them easier to manage.
Automotive paint guns are much lighter than other types of sprayers, which is good for people that struggle with heavy tools. They are also very easy to use, especially for beginners or people that don’t want to spend time learning how to use a spray gun properly. Durable
Automotive paint guns are very durable, even with constant use. They are also very easy to clean. This means that your gun will last for many projects, helping you save money on paint and supplies. Automotive paint guns are made to last with the right maintenance.
How to Use a Paint Gun
1. Before using your spray gun, it is important to clean the nozzle. If you are painting aluminum, for example, it is essential to be sure that no oil or residue is in the nozzle. Otherwise, your paint job will not come out perfectly.
2. When you are ready, put on your gloves before unpacking the paint gun. Make sure there are no foreign particles in the air-compressor system before turning it on. If there are any, turn off the air compressor immediately until you remove them all.
3. If you are painting aluminum, make sure the paint gun releases the paint evenly and smoothly. Then, start painting because you will not be able to control it if it does not release quickly enough. If the paint got onto your surface, remove it with a regular brush or use acetone to remove any residue. It is also a good idea to apply a primer before using a paint gun for aluminum. If you do not, your aluminum coating will discolor and look dirty.
4. When you are finished painting, shut the air compressor off before you open the air valve. Open the air valve slowly to reduce pressure and prevent any possible injuries.
5. Use a paint film blade to clean the gun and keep it clean at all times. Also, always check that your paint gun is fully operational before you start a project with it. At this stage, you will have to familiarize yourself with its operations so that you can use it properly from then on.
What to Consider When Choosing an Automotive Paint Gun
Before you decide to purchase a paint gun, there are a number of things that you should consider to make sure that your purchase is going to be worth it.
1. Selecting the Right Air Compressor
You will need a good air compressor to use the paint gun if you do not already have one. Better compressors can provide more power, giving you more control over the spray and making it easier to finish the project with less overspray. A good air compressor can even help you save money on paint and other supplies.
2. Selecting the Right Oils and Lubricants
The right lubricants make a difference when using a paint gun. The type of oil or lubricant that you use will determine how well the spray comes out at high pressure. Different types of paint guns require different oils and lubricants to perform correctly. Oil and lubricant manufacturers provide recommendations for each type of paint gun.
The lubrication in a paint gun can help you reduce the number and amount of overspray and clean up easier, so it’s important to take your time when selecting one.
3. Choosing the Right Spray Tip
The tip you choose is very important, especially if you are painting aluminum. The tips come in different sizes which you should pick according to the type of project that you are doing. If you want precision, you can opt for a fine tip, whereas for large areas, then a medium tip will work best.
4. Power Source
You will need to ensure that your paint gun has all the power it needs. This means the best thing to do is purchase a unit that produces enough power for your project. You can even go with dual-power versions, which means they can use both electricity and air pressure when powered up.
5. Easy to Clean
Automotive paint guns should be easy to clean and share the same philosophy when cleaning them. This means you should only use the right cleaning agents and tools when working on your paint gun. Waxing is also a good option for keeping your paint gun looking its best.
Cleaning regularly will prevent gumming up and will save you time.
Best Automotive Paint Gun On The Market Today
I have prepared a list of the 3 best automotive paint guns with their pros and cons so everyone will find something that suits them.
#1 Best Overall: 3M Automotive Paint Gun with Standard PPS
- ONE GUN FOR ALL PAINT SPRAY NEEDS – 3M Accuspray...
- ALL-INCLUSIVE PAINT SPRAY KIT – Includes 1...
- PICK YOUR PROJECT – Comes with 22-ounce...
This product is called one gun for all, and there’s a reason for that. It can spray in all directions to reach hard-to-reach places. Made with a high-pressure air supply, it creates very fine lines. The best thing about this model is its nozzles, which can be adjusted to match the texture of your surface. It’s compatible with both solvent-based paints and water-based paints.
This spray kit includes 1 spray cup, one air hose, 2 hoses that connect the hoses to the gun, 4 nozzles (3/8-inch and 1-inch), 1 adapter ring, 2 paint cups (standard and air volume), a cleaning tool, and a carrying case. This product is made by 3M which is a well-known company that manufactures a lot of household products.
Various sizes of nozzles can be adjusted with this model. It has 3/8-inch and 1-inch nozzles on offer. With the help of the adapter ring, the cup can be attached to an air hose or a gun.
On the flip side, it’s hard to get this paint gun to spray at various angles. The nozzle is not designed to spray in too many directions, but rather straightforward. But, you can fix this problem by finding alternative nozzles for this model and changing them with your existing ones.
- Lightweight and portable package
- Easy to clean for longer usage
- Works with various types of paints
- Can be adjusted to spray at various angles
- Adjustable air pressure using nozzles, which helps reduce waste after spraying your vehicle.
- It doesn’t come with a compressor because it is only compatible with air compressors. You can buy one separately or opt for a compressor that can provide both electricity and air pressure.
- It is affordable.
- Hard to adjust the nozzle to spray in various directions
- You can’t use this paint gun for a long time on one paint cup. You need to refill constantly.
#2 Best For Professionals: Fuji Gravity HVLP Automotive Paint Gun
- Professional non-bleed Spray Gun with Adjustable...
- 1.3mm Air cap set installed
- 400cc Gravity Cup. Lightweight and portable
This is a good-quality paint gun from Fuji Spray. It’s made for both professionals and beginners. The paint gun features a 400cc gravity cup which gives you great control, especially for spraying large areas. The package also contains everything that you need to get started with this paint gun plus a portable case to store everything. The gravity cup has an adjustable nozzle that allows you to adjust the pressure inside the cup which helps reduce overspray and improves accuracy.
With various capsizes, you can use this paint gun for a variety of projects as you can adjust the flows easily. The tip is made from metal which gives you consistent spray patterns. This prevents clogging and helps provide a smooth finish.
Its design allows users to switch feeds easily, from a traditional feed to a gravity feed. This makes it easy to clean, which is essential for optimal performance. Furthermore, it’s easy to disassemble for cleaning up.
There are some minus points for this product as well. First, the nozzles are likely to clog, so you need to pay attention to cleaning. And, the metal cover can get rusted, so make sure you store it in a dry place.
- Made for both professionals and beginners
- Perfect for achieving professional results with minimal effort from the user
- Various sizes of caps and nozzles
- Easy to disassemble
- Nozzles are likely to clog
- Metal cover can get rusted
#3 Best for Beginners: Astro Pneumatic Spray Gun
- All-purpose easy-to-clean paint spray gun
- Two-piece construction with gun featuring...
- Fully adjustable wide fan pattern control
This is a great paint gun that’s easy to operate for beginners. It’s also quite powerful and lightweight, making it easy to carry around. To start using it, you need to connect the hose to a paint gun pump and attach the other end of the hose. The paint gun pump should be turned on before attaching it to your spray gun. The pressure gauge located on the side of the pump shows how much pressure is available from the source.
The gun only comes with a 1.8mm nozzle which is pretty small for paint spraying. So, if you want to get a different nozzle, you should buy one separately. This will help you control the flow of paint and regulate the diameter of the spray pattern.
You can use this with both solvent-based paints and water-based paints. It works great for small projects. That’s because this gun is small in size and can be used by anyone regardless of age or experience level.
This gun can pump out paint up to 60 PSI. The pumping pressure remains consistent while you are spraying the paint. This product is made by Astro who is known for producing quality paint guns.
The biggest flaw of this product is the small nozzle that it comes with. Without an additional nozzle, you can’t do anything except spray paint in a straight line. It’s impossible to get different angles with the nozzle that it comes with, but an alternative nozzle will solve this problem easily.
- Lightweight and portable
- Recommended for small projects
- Works with all types of paints without clogging the nozzle
- Only comes with a 1.8mm nozzle
- Not ideal for professional uses.
Astro Pneumatic Paint Gun is a great product from Astro who are known for their quality products in the automotive industry. This paint gun is fairly simple to operate, making it perfect for beginners.
#1 Can You Paint a Car With an LVLP Gun?
Yes, but it depends on your project and what you want to achieve. For instance, if you want to paint the outside of your car and you need a spray gun for it, we recommend using a compressor with at least two gallons of air. You will need this for base-coat and clear-coat application.
If you’re after a specific color scheme on your vehicle, then get an airbrush that’s suitable for this project. This is the only way to achieve the desired effect that you’re looking for.
#2 What Air Compressor Do I Need to Paint a Car?
Basically, you need to invest in a compressor that can handle the job. For instance, if you’re planning to paint the outside of your car, get a compressor with at least two gallons of the air tank. You will need this air pressure for the steady or base-coat application.
My piece of advice is to look for the one with at least 15 psi of pressure. If you have to, go for a compressor with at least 18 psi of pressure. But, you will need to buy an airbrush because this type of air compressor doesn’t come with a spray gun.
If you are planning to paint the inside or underneath of your car, get a compressor that has a 1-gallon air tank. You can use this for single or second layer applications depending on how thick or thin your paint coat is.
#3 Is Gravity Feed Spray Guns Better?
No. Gravity feed spray guns are better for spray painting small projects. That’s because it only comes with a 1/2-inch fitting. This means that you will have to replace your existing nozzles with more powerful ones. If you’re planning to paint the outside of your car, then you will need at least two gallons of air pressure to use gravity-fed spray guns.
My advice is to buy an airbrush instead of using this gun for painting your car or motorcycle.
An automotive paint gun can help to save time when painting your vehicle. Whether you’re painting your interior, exterior, or underneath of your car, the paint gun will help in smoothening the process.
I reviewed three types of automotive paint guns to help you in finding one that suits your needs and budget. There are different types of guns for different projects so make sure that you know about them before making any purchase. Remember that, when shopping for an automotive spray gun, there are a number of features to keep in mind.