Choosing a paint spray gun
The market seems to be flooding more & more with choices of paint guns to lay down your paint. The prices can vary from $20 to $1000 & you should make sure you understand the difference before tossing your money away.
How does a cheap gun compare to a high-end?
One of the biggest factors is transfer efficiency. A cheap gun will toss more of your product into the air and not onto the panel where you want it. Depending on how often you spray this factor alone can cause your $20 gun to waste $1000 in product, so that’s an important factor to keep in mind.
Second, the finish is not going to be as good. Your atomization will likely not be as good as a higher-end gun causing you to get a more textured looking finish, this can translate into more time spent polishing that costs you valuable time.
There are other factors that come into play such as replacement parts are hard to find & sometimes the lower end guns don’t come apart so easily causing them to be harder to clean, this can lead to more dirt in your paint jobs and other malfunctions.
Do I need the $1000 gun?
No, you don’t need to go crazy. They do perform well but if you’re on a budget you can likely pick up a reasonable gun for around $100. I’d personally recommend going a bit higher to a Devilbiss finishline. They offer the reliability and performance of a Devilbiss spray gun & affordability for a new painter. There are a few hidden gems out there, but don’t take a chance unless you have done some homework on the gun.
How do the brand names compare?
They all offer something different to the painter. A few mainstream manufacturers I’ve tried would include Sata, Devilbiss & Iwata.
Iwata’s carry a steep price tag but offer a few different innovations to help painters along the way. They are one of the few companies that offer specific tips designed to apply metallic basecoat and pearlescent colors rather than a 1 tip for all. The effectiveness of these tips is subjective, I’ve personally experienced great results with the purple tip I’ve used. They also provide top-notch clearcoating guns. Iwata’s have a fan like no other gun, the tulip pattern spray is unique to the company & prove to be exceptionally effective.
Devilbiss offers a variety of guns ranging in prices. They offer some of the best guns/dollar spent. Devilbiss guns are great to just pick up and spray, they are user-friendly and quite versatile. A few of the more common models would be the GTI, Plus & finishline. The GTI’s are built tough and will last a painter a decade or more if properly maintained. They come apart easily and clean up well.
Sata guns are another fantastic gun manufacturer. Their guns will set you back similarly to an Iwata. Sata guns are also built to last forever and provide a clearcoat finish like no other. The RP is one of the most popular choices for clear and if you ever have the chance to try one you’ll know why. They are versatile guns also and have a spray style unique to the gun.
Each gun sprays a little bit different but the end result, when used properly, is a flawless finish. You will never regret buying one of these mainstream guns, they also hold their value when maintained properly. You could still sell a well-kept Iwata, Sata or Devilbiss for good money years after use.
What Tip size?
This all depends on what you’ll be doing. A 1.4 is probably the most versatile if you plan on doing everything with the gun. A 1.3 can sometimes be best for basecoat whereas a 1.4 is usually better for clearcoat (except in the case of a Sata Rp). 1.5 or bigger is usually recommended for primer.