Best Automotive Paint Gun for Beginners

Category: Cleaning and Detailing

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Painting a car, motorcycle, or trailer requires consistency and precision. Whatever the size of the project, you want to be confident that your vehicle will end with a smooth and even finish. Any high-quality paint job starts with a high-quality automotive paint gun, so that’s where you need to start!

Product

Pros

OUR #1 RATED

Neiko 31215A HVLP

  • Heavy-duty durability
  • Affordable
  • Distributes even and smooth spray

OUR #2 RATED

Graco-Sharpe 288880 HVLP FX3000

  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Outstanding value for the money
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to use

OUR #3 RATED

Critter Spray Products 22032 118SG Siphon Gun

  • Affordability
  • Easy to use
  • Simplicity

OUR #4 RATED

Iwata IWA5640 LPH400-124LV Center Post Gravity Feed HVLP Spray Gun

  • High performance
  • Outstanding value for the
    price
  • Excellent durability

OUR #5 RATED

Wagner Spraytech 0518080 Control Spray Max Corded HVLP Paint Sprayer

  • Consistent finishes
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Affordable, including replacement parts


A versatile paint gun is a handy tool for DIY and commercial painters alike. The key is to find the best automotive paint gun for the money, without compromising on features. In an industry filled with a mind-numbing number of options and technical terminology, we are here to make the purchase process more manageable for you.

Whether you are painting your first car or restoring an old one, we have compiled detailed information about the best spray paint guns for you. The guns we chose feature the accuracy, durability, and sleek textures to ensure that your finished vehicle looks and feels the way you want it. Read on for the top five automotive spray guns for beginners.

Our List of Best Pain Guns in 2020

Neiko 31215A HVLP

Counter to its name, Neiko USA is a Chinese manufacturer known for producing reliable and affordable automotive tools. The Neiko 31215A HVLP is one of the shining stars in the inventory, featuring heavy-duty construction and a seamless design. The metallic body provides users a sturdy base for spray painting large or intricate spaces.
The Neiko 31215A high-volume, low-pressure (HVLP) has a classic gravity-feed fluid-delivery system. You can toggle the pressurized spray to release as much or as little paint as you need, thanks to three adjustable value nobs. The HVLP gravity feed also makes clean-up easier, in theory, and minimizes the amount of waste in the canister.

The consistent application ability of this sprayer is due, in part, to two features. Each paint gun comes with a fine nozzle, ranging in size from 1mm to 2mm. Second, the trigger is tethered, so you can apply exacting pressure, be it the working 10 pounds per square inch (psi) or operational 40 psi.

Check out our guide on the best portable air compressor for trucks

Each paint gun comes with a 600cc aluminum cup, which is equivalent to 20.3 fluid ounces. The cup has a metal lid, too, to contain paint and prevent spillage. The sprayer also features an air gauge, regulator, cleaning brush, and wrench.

One of the knocks against this paint gun is that it is not easy to clean. While Neiko USA claims to have "easy clean-up" and offers a 22-piece cleaning set, customer reviews suggest otherwise. Users say the nuts are too tight, and Neiko USA uses Loctite Red to secure its nozzles in place immovably. Other individuals have noticed rusting and wear on the inside of the cup.

The Neiko 31215A HVLP is a suitable investment for beginners. While it does not offer high-end spray features, the gun gets the job done. It’s worth considering if you are starting out or only need a few uses from your vehicle paint sprayer.

Neiko USA is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates. In fact, the company only retails through Amazon and does not have a website of its own. HVLP paint guns start at $16.99 for 1.00mm nozzles and go up to $38.99 for 2.0mm nozzles.

Pros

  • Heavy-duty durability
  • Affordable
  • Distributes even and smooth spray

Cons

  • Non-standard hose connection
  • Nuts may be tight, which makes cleaning a challenge

Graco-Sharpe 288880 HVLP FX3000

Don't let the price tag scare you. The Graco-Sharpe 28880 HVLP FX3000 offers precision, functionality, and beautiful results within a single gun. Best of all, the easy-to-clean device and useful features make it ideal, regardless of experience level.

Using this full-sized HVLP gun is as simple as pointing and shooting. The company touts the FX3000 as having the lowest trigger pull for paint guns in its class. Each spray pattern also comes with a maximum psi of 29.

The paint gun comes with five nozzle sizes so you can control your spray patterns with ultimate accuracy. You can also switch between options for base, clear, and spray primer. When in action, the sprayer can cover 12.5 inches at a time.

The FX3000 gun comes with a 600cc aluminum cup, which is equivalent to 20.03 fluid ounces. The container provides more than enough space to handle large projects, like a van, bus, or trailer. Plus, you receive a complimentary cleaning brush to keep the inside spotless between paint jobs.

Despite the volume, the FX3000 is far from bulky or unwieldy. The paint gun weighs in at 1.11 pounds, which makes it an ideal tool for people of all ages. What’s more, it has 29 percent fewer parts in its streamlined design and a precision lid, optional adapter, and a repair kit.

When it comes to high-end paint sprayers for beginners, the Graco-Sharpe 288880 HVLP FX3000 is one of the best guns on the market. The FX3000 comes with replaceable cups and a stainless-steel nozzle for increased durability. This paint gun is ideal for people looking to make a long-term investment. It currently retails between $97 and $137.95, depending on nozzle sizes.

Pros

  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Outstanding value for the money
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Some concerns with the quality of seals

Critter Spray Products 22032 118SG Siphon Gun

Do not let the simplicity fool you. The Critter Spray Siphon Gun is worthy of consideration, despite its simple appearance. The minimalist design also allows for quick setups and cleaning, as well as fewer potential problems during the painting process.The device comes with a 16-ounce glass Mason jar and a metal spray gun. All you have to do is screw the Mason lid into place and attach an air compressor with a minimum of 3/4 horsepower. Note that the product does not include the air compressor.

Once the parts are in place, you can take full advantage of the 30-psi force and adjustable liquid nozzle. The car paint spray works for most stains, latex paints, lacquers, and water-based finishes. And the nozzle provides deft control over the materials, in conjunction with its intuitive design.

One of the easily overlooked perks of this sprayer is the versatility of the Mason jar. Storing colors in different containers allows you to organize and sort through your paint supply. More important, you can change colors for your projects in a matter of seconds.

The Critter Spray Siphon Gun saves time before and after applying seamlessly smooth fan patterns. Keeping the liquid tube and nozzle spot-free is all you need to do. The air passes only through the paint gun and results in less spillage than other paint sprayers for cars.

The cost-effective spray paint gun's most glaring weakness is the overall pressure spray. The relatively low pressure means you can’t cover as much ground as high-end options because the streams of paint are so thin. As a result, you’ll have to make more passes when painting your vehicle.

The long and short is this: Choose the Critter Spray Siphon Gun if you already have an air compressor. The affordable price tag and intuitive design also make it a perfect paint gun for beginners. Currently, you can purchase a single pack sprayer for $33.67 via the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, or on the Critter Spray website.

Pros

  • Affordability
  • Easy to use
  • Simplicity

Cons

  • May struggle with unstrained paint or thicker paints and primers
  • Thin spray requires several passes

Iwata IWA5640 LPH400-124LV Center Post Gravity Feed HVLP Spray Gun

The title is a mouthful, but it is a name worth remembering. Iwata is a heavyweight in the industry with its professional-grade spray paint guns for DIY enthusiasts and professionals alike. The company ensures absolute precision with each stroke, thanks to superior building materials and hand-tested features.This spray gun set starts with the high-performance center-post HVLP gravity feed. The LPH400 delivers a silky automotive coat, regardless of your project size. The HVLP gravity feed uses low-air consumption and superior atomization to create the perfect spraying material with each trigger pull.

What’s more, the HVLP spray gun requires less maintenance than traditional guns. The design is conducive to quick clean-ups and reduces the total material waste in the paint gun. The sprays technology streamlines the cleaning process, thanks to fine atomization, the air cap, and accurate spraying capacities.

The Iwata HVLP gravity gun comes with a diverse range of functions. You can use it for base, waterborne, or clearcoats, in addition to metal and woodwork. The paint gun also comes with a 1.3mm nozzle, though you can adjust it based on

Pros

  • High performance
  • Outstanding value for the price
  • Excellent durability

Cons

  • High price point

Wagner Spraytech 0518080 Control Spray Max Corded HVLP Paint Sprayer

Wagner is one of the most reliable names in the automotive paint-gun industry. Beginners and veterans alike use the high-capacity sprayers to complete projects ranging from a fresh paint job to refurbishing cars. The paint gun delivers smooth, consistent spray patterns in less time than standard devices.
The strength of the Wagner Spraytech Control Spray Max lies in its design. For starters, you can change the spray patterns and controls based on your material or project. The robust two-stage turbine lets you spray everything from poly to stainers. It can even handle dense materials, like latex or heavy-bodied paint.

Each Wagner Spraytech Control Spray Max comes with a one-quart metal cup, so you have more than enough paint to complete the job at hand. Wagner includes a 1.5-quart contractor-grade plastic cup, too, for larger projects. Even when these containers are full of paint, users should have no problem trying to carry the paint gun or operating it.

Many people choose this make and model for its minimal maintenance. Not only is it easy to wipe down, but it also does not require a compressor. Instead, you get a hose that you can plug into any AC/DC power source.

Overall, the Wagner Spraytech Control Spray Max combines reliable performance with affordability. Even if you have never used a spray-paint gun before or cannot locate an air cap, you can still produce the results you see in company advertising. This paint gun is one of the best values around for people of any experience level.

Currently, you can purchase the Wagner Control Spray Max for $109, and the Control Spray is $51.68, while the Control Spray Double is $62.88. Each kit comes with a sprayer, metal cup, plastic cup, 20-foot hose, and user manual of best practices.

Pros

  • Consistent finishes
  • Easy to use and clean
  • Affordable, including replacement parts

Cons

  • Can’t change the nozzle size

Considerations for Automotive Spray Paint Guns


Purchasing a paint gun requires juggling multiple factors. Each paint gun comes with a variety of features and accessories that are conducive to specific circumstances. For instance, an HVLP paint gun is best suited for projects that demand high levels of efficiency and timeliness.

Understanding what companies say in advertising about their paint guns can make all the difference in your purchase satisfaction. Your goal is to purchase the right spray paint gun for every job you have in mind. To ensure you have complete peace of mind with your paint gun, read on for some essential components to review before buying one.

HVLP versus LVLP


When comparing the best automotive paint guns, you’ll find two options: HVLP and LVLP. The former is an acronym for "high-volume, low-pressure." This feature is commonplace in spray-gun advertising and offers low pressure to atomize paint materials while outputting high-volume sprays.

The efficiency of HVLPs makes them ideal for sizeable automotive paint jobs. The sprayers typically produce 100 cubic feet per minute (CFM) at 3-8 psi and come with relatively easy-to-control sprays. They also provide considerable energy savings than their LVLP counterparts and are tailor-made for first-timers. Still, they tend to be slower and can struggle with thicker paint materials.

LVLP stands for "low-volume, low-pressure." The purpose of a low-volume design is to provide an all-in-one solution that minimizes waste and overspray. LVLP products are better suited for waterborne paints and offer higher levels of transfer efficiency.

Typically, LVLP models consider the ergonomics of the user, too. The spray-paint gun often will have a compact body or lightweight design to minimize fatigue or strain. An LVLP gun may not be the right fit if you’re under a time crunch or want to cover a wide surface with each stroke.

Gravity Feeds versus Conventional Feeds


Gravity and conventional feeds are another spray-paint gun distinction. As the name suggests, gravity feeds use the Earth's gravity to move the paint material without a pump. People most frequently use this type of paint gun for automotive painting, woodwork, and touching-up metal fabrications.

There is a lot to love about gravity feeds. They're easier to wipe down, offer superior control, and produce a fine finish. The paint gun uses an atomizer, which is conducive to sleek and spotless coats. Because it generates pressure via gravity, however, the tool does not work well with thick paints, and it sprays smaller amounts than a feed using pressure systems.

Conventional feeds, also known as suction feeds, are a gateway tool for beginners. These guns use air passing over the paint to draw material through tubes and out the nozzle. They also automatically set the correct atomization air pressure to supply the coating. This design makes the paint gun easy to use, regardless of your experience level.

A conventional feed often is more affordable and more comfortable to carry than its counterparts. Many advertising campaigns also highlight its ability to create unique finishing effects or use specialty coatings. That said, a conventional feed gives you less control over atomization and does not produce fine spray patterns.

Nozzle Size


Spray-gun nozzle size depends on the type of paint you’re planning to use. Thicker paints require wider nozzles for adequate distribution of spray. Large tips, such as a 2mm model, work best for heavy-bodied primers and latex.

Conversely, thinner or more viscous materials require smaller nozzles. For instance, you can apply basecoats and clearcoats with a 1.3mm to 1.7mm nozzle. Sealers and single-stage urethanes fall in a similar range. 

When you are operating the gun, the psi doesn't influence the spray; the air consumption does. Having a consistent airflow is what allows you to cover a surface efficiently. Be sure to review a paint gun’s CFM before purchasing it.

Accessories


There are a million and one automotive paint-gun accessories. For instance, you can get multiple nozzle sizes, depending on the sprayer’s specifications. Here are some accessories to consider:

  • Air compressors: Most paint guns use a compressor to generate the necessary psi. Generally speaking, the larger the compressor, the more efficient it is.
  • Air turbines: You need an air turbine when the paint gun does not have a compressor. This affordable accessory generates air volume for HVLP spray guns.
  • Replacement cups: It is always useful to have extra cups to allow for quick color changes and storage.
  • Air hoses: Air hoses are only necessary for paint guns with air compressors. Be sure to review specifications related to length and pressure levels.
  • Paint gun maintenance kits: Keeping your spray paint gun at its best means keeping it in pristine condition. The sets typically contain wrenches, brushes, paint cups, and cleaning accessories.

Final Thoughts


Finding the best automotive paint gun for beginners comes with many considerations. If you want quality alone, it is hard to go wrong with the Iwata HVLP gravity gun. If, however, you are price-sensitive, Critter Spray Products can also get you where you need to go.

Whatever your vehicle paint project, be sure to review the design and accessories for each gun. Even small discrepancies in nozzle size or psi can make significant differences in efficiency. Whether you plan to purchase the spray gun for residential or commercial usage, be mindful of the workload and expectations that come with selecting the proper tools.