HVLP, or “high-volume, low-pressure” paint sprayers are all the rage on the market right now. For good reason, too! As you can guess from the name, HVLP sprayers put out a higher volume of paint at a lower pressure. That means more of your coatings lands on your projects, with less overspray and bounceback.
HVLP sprayers used to be premium technology, but in the past few years, a number of companies have started making superb HVLP equipment for the general public as well as for professional users. There’s a lot to love about these machines, and a lot to choose from when it comes to shopping for one.
In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the best ones on the market. We’ve written our own, in-depth reviews of each pick. We’ll talk you through all the reasons we’ve chosen these above the competition. Plus at the bottom of the page, our handy buying guide will help you figure out which one is the best choice for you!
Right off the bat, here’s a peek at our Top Three HVLP’s!
Best on a Budget
- Our Rating: 5.0
- Popularity: Low
- Our Rating: 4.8
- Popularity: Medium
- Our Rating: 4.7
- Popularity: Low
Best HVLP Paint Sprayer Reviews:
- Campbell Hausfeld Gravity-Feed Spray Gun Kit (CHK005CCAV)
- Graco-Sharpe 288878 HVLP FX3000 Paint Spray Gun, 1.0 mm
- Fuji 5175G – T75G Gravity Spray Gun
- Fuji 2203G Semi-PRO 2 – Gravity HVLP Spray System
- Fuji 3003-T70 Q3 PLATINUM – T70 Quiet HVLP Spray System
- Fuji 2895-T75G Q5 Platinum Quiet HVLP Spray System
1. Campbell Hausfeld Gravity-Feed Spray Gun Kit (CHK005CCAV)
One of the downsides of the HVLP approach to spraying is that it can be cost-prohibitive. Although costs have certainly come down in the last few years, complete HVLP systems do tend to be more expensive than airless systems.
We think this Campbell-Hausfield set is an excellent way for DIYers and new painters to get the control and efficiency of HVLP spraying at a low price. It comes with two spray guns which can be used with most decent air compressors, and it provides lots of value. This is our recommendation for people who already have a good air compressor and want to make it work for painting!
It gives you HVLP performance from a standard air compressor! Of course, to get a true HVLP system, you’d have to buy a set with an HVLP turbine, which supplies air for your projects. Those systems are fantastic, and we’ve recommended several below, but they can be pretty expensive for DIYers or those just starting out. This set is an easy way to get some more value out of your compressor and save money on your HVLP setup!
The gravity-fed design makes efficient use of your materials. It’s a big advantage over other compressor guns, which can waste a lot in the cup. Since everything’s flowing toward the tip already, this one makes it easy to use everything before you clean the cups, so you waste less!
The HVLP design is also a big boon for efficiency. HVLP’s create less overspray and bounce back than airless systems and traditional compressor guns. The Campbell-Hausfield set is no exception! These tools will make the most of any coating. The fact that you can adjust the pressure as well as the spray pattern makes them much more versatile than other budget guns.
The most obvious feature to love about the Campbell-Hausfield set is that it comes with 2 guns for the price of 1! For less than $75, you get two good-quality guns and everything you need to use them, aside from your compressor and hose.
Even though they’re inexpensive, these have better build quality than other budget guns. That’s because they’re made by Campbell-Hausfield, a company with real pedigree in the painting world. These aren’t their nicest guns, but we think it’s better to buy entry models from a company that also makes high-end models! That expertise and design travels down the lineup.
Each of these guns is built from sturdy metal, with brass spray tips that are much better than expected at this price. The adjustment knobs are metal, and so are all the fittings. While these guns are a bit bare-bones, we prefer no-frills metal to something more sophisticated which just falls apart.
In this set, you get one detail gun and one average-sized coverage gun:
The larger gun has a 1.4mm tip, which we’d consider an all-purpose tip. It can handle most paints, varnishes and stains easily, and with enough thinning, you could also use latex paints. The 600cc cup holds enough material to cover a decent amount of ground, without making things too heavy. The bigger gun adjusts between a 1.2-5.9” fan. It’s a good choice for larger sprays, like fences and bigger furniture pieces.
One of the biggest boons to DIYers is that this larger gun still has just a 2.1 CFM draw at 40psi. That’s relatively low, which means you can run it off a DIY-grade air compressor.
*Since most compressors are rated at 25% duty cycles and this is a 100% duty cycle tool, we’d still recommend using something with at least 6-8 CFM at 40psi. You could run it off something smaller, but you’d have to take lots of breaks, which is not ideal.
Since the smaller gun has an .8mm tip, it’s your better option for detail work and clear, thin coats. It’s also got a smaller frame, so it’s easier to use in tight spots! It’s great for touching up pieces of furniture, or working on smaller craft projects. You can also use it to do clear coats after you’ve sprayed stain or paint with the larger gun. It has a more manageable 200cc cup, and needs only .7 CFM to run!
Both guns have changeable tips. So, you can buy the set with the factory tips, and slowly expand as you gain more experience!
The set also comes with a whole host of accessories and tools
- 2 adjusting valves/pressure limiters
- 5 in-line paint filters
- 10 paint filters
- 3 cleaning brushes
- metal file
- PTFE thread tape
The pressure limiters are the stars of the show, since they’re something that’s not usually thrown in at this price. They’re necessary to use HVLP guns. Since air compressors put out the pressure used for typical guns, you have to throttle them down with an extra valve to get the right pressure for HVLP. This set saves you the cost of buying two of them!
This one even comes with a case to keep everything in! One reason we’re recommending this set above other budget/entry guns is that it provides lots of value to new painters and DIYers who don’t have lots of money to devote to their sprayer system.
It’s also a good value when you consider that you can run this off the same compressor as your other tools (as long as you have the CFM).
They’re made in Asia. Most Campbell-Hausfield equipment is made in the USA. However, we haven’t seen any complaints about quality control or durability on these.
They’re not going to give you professional-grade finishes. This is a set aimed at new painters and DIYers who want quality results, but not restoration or auto-grade results. It’s a great first set, but you can definitely do a lot better.
It comes with plastic cups. They’re nice enough, but not as nice as aluminum or nylon cups.
Of course, this isn’t a true HVLP system. It doesn’t give you quite as fine control or atomization as a full turbine setup. That’s another reason it’s not our choice for pros or ambitious DIYers.
2. Graco-Sharpe 288878 HVLP FX3000 Paint Spray Gun
This Graco-Sharpe is the one of the best HVLP guns you can buy for a standard air compressor. While nicer guns exist, like DeVilbiss auto sprayers, we think they’re overkill for anyone who doesn’t paint professionally. They also require a much higher CFM than most non-pro’s have available.
This is our top quality recommendation to passionate DIYers and casual-use professionals who want a reasonably-priced tool that’s still well below premium price ranges. It’s a full-size HVLP spray gun, which provides even, smooth coverage with a variety of materials. Best of all, you can pick the exact tip size that suits your needs!
It’s made better than the Campbell-Hausfield guns. Like those two tools, the Graco-Sharpe is made entirely from metal, including the handle, knobs, and fittings. Unlike the Campbell-Hausfield set, this one comes with an aluminum cup, too! So, absolutely all the liquid surfaces are metal. Overall, this one simply feels more reassuring in the hand.
It’s still extremely light, though, at just over 1 pound! The Graco-Sharpe feels comfortable even with a full cup of paint on board. It also has better ergonomics and balance than the Campbell-Hausfield guns. It’s more ergonomic, too. The Graco-Sharpe actually has the lowest trigger pull of any gun in this class! That really comes in handy on longer sprays.
There are two different adjustment knobs one for pressure and one for the spray pattern, plus an attachment for a pressure gauge/adjustment valve. You’ll need to buy a separate valve to use this properly, but it still has more precise adjustments than the Campbell-Hausfield’s. The knobs feel smoother, and they stay in place more securely.
It comes in a variety of tip options. There are versions of this gun at intervals between 1.0-1.8mm, so you can choose exactly the tip size that will work best for your tasks. If you do a wide variety of painting and coating, replacement tips are easy to find.
At any tip size, this gun gives you a range of fan widths as wide as 12.5 inches! You can also take things down to around 2”, so that while this is a tool that can help you cover ground quickly, it doesn’t feel clumsy or awkward for smaller paint jobs.
Depending on the tip size you choose, you can spray just about anything with this gun. You’ll have to go up to the highest size to spray latex paints, but overall it has a very respectable range of coating capabilities!
The Graco-Sharpe has better machining than the Campbell-Hausfield, which means more precision and superior atomization with all your coatings. This gun is a better choice for things like lacquers and clear coats, and some people even use the Graco-Sharpe for car projects! It’s a good compromise between DIYer prices and pro-grade quality.
One other benefit of the improved machining quality is that this one has even less overspray than the Campbell-Hausfield’s!
We also like that this one is built with about 1/3 fewer parts than the competition. Having fewer parts reduces the number of components which can break or malfunction. On a paint gun, that also means fewer seams and seals that could potentially leak! This one is simple and durable.
Between the build quality and the spray performance, the Graco-Sharpe is nice enough to satisfy ambitious DIYers, even if it’s not quite professional-grade. It could also be an option for light-use professionals like handymen. Unless you’re prepared to spend $300 for a DeVilbiss, we think it’s the best HVLP gun for standard air compressor use.
It’s covered by a 1-year warranty
While it’s still quite a good value, it doesn’t come with any extras. That’s a major downside over the Campbell-Hausfield, which comes with all you need and more!
As with the Campbell Hausfield guns, you’ll need a regulator to bring the psi down to 30. That’s going to add an extra $20 or so to your total cost.
This one needs a lot more air, as well: 9.5 CFM at 30psi! You’re going to need a relatively large, powerful air compressor to use it, so double check yours!
Replacement tips are also pricey, and can cost as much as half the price of the gun itself. That’s still not exorbitant in the world of quality paint sprayers, but it’s something to consider up front if you use a wide range of coatings.
You could certainly spray a car with this, but unless you’re extremely good at painting already, you won’t get professional-grade results. We’d really recommend spending more if you’re serious about auto work or professional furniture restoration.
3. Fuji 5175G – T75G Gravity Spray Gun
If you’re looking for a gun to use with an HVLP system, as opposed to a standard air compressor, they don’t come any better than this! The Fuji T-75 is the best HVLP gun on the market right now for a number of reasons. It’s lighter, more ergonomic, and more user-friendly than the competition. It also has superb spray accuracy and efficiency, resulting in less waste and smoother coverage than other brands.
It’s a true HVLP gun. So far in this guide, we’ve looked only at HVLP-style guns that are designed to be fitted to standard air compressors. This is a gun to be used with complete HVLP turbine systems! It’s the real deal in every sense.
The T75G fits any Fuji system you might have, and it’s also compatible with any standard HVLP turbines and hoses by other manufacturers. It’s very nearly universal, which you can’t say about premium guns from other high-end makers!
The T-series is Fuji’s latest, greatest addition to their gun lineup. The T75G is extremely light (20% lighter than the previous generation), and while it’s heavier than the other guns we’ve recommended, it’s still remarkably light for the build quality. This one is about 2.5 pounds all together.
Between the weight and the overall design, the T75G is very ergonomic. Professional users and experienced craftspeople will appreciate all the little design tweaks which set this gun apart from the competition. It has an even easier trigger than the Graco-Sharpe, and it has a better grip than either the Campbell-Hausfield’s or Graco-Sharpe’s. It’s made from nylon for durability and stays cool for longer jobs.
The T75G is all metal, aside from the cup, even the knobs and collars! All the fluid components are stainless steel, and CNC-machined to aircraft-grade levels!
While some folks prefer metal cups on any gun, we don’t mind that Fuji have gone in a different direction with this model. The T75G’s cup is nylon, which is very different from cheap plastic. Nylon is shatterproof, and it’s lighter than any metal. So, while metal might be your personal preference, we’d encourage you to give the nylon cup a shot. You won’t find you’re missing anything!
This gun comes standard with a 600cc cup and a 1.3mm air cap. It’s designed for a wide range of spray patterns, and can handle general purpose fine-finishing with most coatings out of the box. You can also change tips easily to suit more specific needs or thicker coatings.
On the whole, the T75G has the most precise adjustments of the three guns we’ve recommended here. Fuji’s proprietary side adjustment knobs allow you to adjust the pattern easily as you go, with no tools necessary. You turn clockwise for a wider pattern, and counter-clockwise for a narrower pattern. It has professional-grade spray control on both pressure and pattern!
This gun also features a redesigned spray cap for high efficiency. Professional and amateur reviewers agree that it makes for outstanding atomization with all coating types. It also reduces overspray and bounce back almost entirely! Between the precise controls and the spray cap, this is truly a precision tool.
The T75G is also a non-bleed design, which means that air only passes through the gun when the trigger is pulled. There’s no low, constant hiss of air which you get on some other guns. So, there’s no blowing around and barely any turbulence at the tip. And since it cuts off flow so well, there’s less paint buildup on the tip, and less cleaning for you to do!
Overall, the finish quality and control you can achieve with the Fuji is miles beyond either of the cheaper guns we’ve recommended here. It can produce professional-grade finishes on things like clear coat on cars, and lacquer on furniture, as well as primer or paint paint jobs.
Fuji offers cheaper replacement tips than other high-end brands. As soon as you start looking at 2-3 extra tips for other coatings, your costs can add up fast for a high-end spray gun. That’s not a worry with this one.
Fuji sprayers are made in Canada, by a company with excellent customer service and coverage in case of issues. They provide a well-written, helpful manual, too, which goes a long way in this day and age of imported tools!
The T75G is covered by a 2-year warranty.
It’s pricey. Don’t expect to find one of these available for less than $300.
This one comes with a relatively small, finish-type tip out of the box. You’ll need bigger tips for coatings like primer, so this isn’t quite as general-purpose out of the box as our other gun picks.
Since it’s a true HVLP gun, it can’t be run off a standard air compressor. We only recommend this to folks who have a good turbine system already, or are about to buy one.
4. Fuji 2203G Semi-PRO 2 – Gravity HVLP Spray System
This complete HVLP system is our most affordable recommendation for people who want to buy everything in one go. It’s powerful, user-friendly, and loaded with a lot more features than DIY-grade models. This “Semi-Pro” system incorporates a lot of Fuji’s Pro-line features like non-bleed spray caps and a 2-stage motor into something that’s still available under $500. We recommend it to any DIYers who want the precision and efficiency of HVLP without the exorbitant price tag!
It’s seriously powerful. A lot of DIY-class HVLP systems are woefully underpowered, which makes for lots of clogs and annoyances. One of the reasons we prefer the Fuji to other DIYer-level HVLP sets is that it’s got more muscle behind it!
The brawn of the system comes from the Semi-Pro 2 turbine unit, which contains a 1400W, 2-stage motor. It’s noticeably more powerful than other DIYer machines from Campbell-Hausfield or Wagner. That’s key, since this is one of the only DIYer systems that can handle latex and other thick coatings properly. You can put bigger tips on other systems, but without the turbine power, you’re going to end up with clogs and globs!
The turbine unit is all encased in a metal crate with a built-in gun holder. While it’s lighter metal than you’ll find on Fuji’s professional-grade turbine models, it’s still a very reassuring, refreshing build quality to find in a DIYer tool these days. At a time when other companies are going increasingly to brittle plastic, this still feels like a tool that will last for years!
It’s ultra-portable, too, since the turbine casing is just over a cubic foot and has a handle built into the top! The whole thing is only 26 pounds, with the gun and hose included. It’s smaller and lighter than the professional-grade Fuji’s, which makes it more appealing for home DIYers who don’t have a whole job site or professional shop to spread out in.
Likewise, the Semi Pro 2 comes with a slightly compact, DIYer scale gun: the M-series. As with the turbine unit, this gun packs a lot of professional features into a more reasonable package for ambitious DIYers! It has the same nylon comfort grip as the T-series, and it’s made entirely from metal aside from the nylon grip and knob.
It’s equipped with a 400cc, where Fuji’s full-size guns (like the T-75G we’ve recommended above) have a 600cc cup. It’s more maneuverable around the house or home workshop than bigger cups.
It’s gravity-fed. As with the guns we’ve recommended above, this gravity-fed design is efficient, since it helps you get every single drop out of each cup. We also like that Fuji have made their guns the best of both worlds: the chamber is also slightly pressurized, so angle spraying is perfectly doable!
It has a simple control knob to widen or tighten the spray pattern. While you don’t get as many adjustments as you do on Fuji Pro systems, the knob you do get is intuitive and smooth to use.
Even though it’s a less expensive gun than the T-75G, the very low overspray and tight spray control on the M-series is everything a DIYer could want. With enough practice and finesse, you can get very good results on anything from latex to varnish–it even gets respectable results on auto paints! While it doesn’t have quite the control you can achieve with the T-75G gun and a Q-series turbine, it’s outstanding for a unit under $500.
The set comes with a 25-foot hose, so you’ll have plenty of range to get around big projects and maneuver around your home. It’s built just as well as the gun and the turbine, with thick casing and a non-kink coil.
The overall build quality on the Fuji set is one of the biggest selling points for us. You’ll notice we’ve recommended all Fuji systems here, and that’s because in our opinion, they’re just miles beyond what other companies are producing now in terms of quality and accuracy. They’re some of the only North American-made units out there, but they’re still affordable and innovative.
It’s designed for DIYers and new painters. The hose, gun, and turbine all have quick-couple fittings which make assembly and disassembly easy, even for people who have never used a paint sprayer before. The gun is easy to clean as well, and
Fuji make easy needle and cap sets available. They’re relatively inexpensive, and there are 6 options for every gun they make.
Everything’s made in Canada and covered by a 2-year warranty. Fuji also have a great company reputation for customer service and support, so they’re a good company for new painters to go with.
If you’re planning on spraying thicker latex paints, you’ll probably need a wider tip. 1.3mm isn’t wide enough to do latex unless you thin it to an extreme, so we suggest something in the 1.8-2.0mm zone for latex applications. You can certainly make this unit work if you thin carefully, though. Just expect to do lots of coats.
Even though this is a fantastic set for DIYers, it’s not quite professional-grade. It doesn’t have the heat or noise reduction features you’ll find on Fuji’s pro-grade sets, and the gun isn’t as precise. This one also can’t be adjusted at the turbine, so you’ll have to rely on your gun’s adjustments. Finally, it’s less powerful than the pro-grade models. All in all, it’s superb for DIYers, but if you’re a passionate home worker or professional, you should look at the Q3 or Q5 systems below.
5. Fuji 3003-T70 Q3 PLATINUM – T70 Quiet HVLP Spray System
The Q3 is our recommendation to the most ardent DIYers and to professionals who are looking for something very good, but not necessarily the absolute best. It’s part of Fuji’s professional lineup, so it has a more rugged build and more powerful turbine than the Semi Pro 2. This one also comes with a T-series professional spray gun, which has even better control and atomization than the M-series.
It has a 3-stage motor compared to the 2-stage motor on the Semi Pro 2! Fuji don’t disclose the wattage of the Q3’s motor, but suffice it to say that it’s significantly more powerful than the Semi Pro 2! This one makes for more pop at the tip of the gun, and even fewer clogs with less thinning required. It’s a big boon for latex projects, since you don’t have to thin your materials as much as you would with a DIY-grade model.
It’s a lot quieter than the Semi Pro 2. At a distance of 15ft, the Q3only only makes 62 db of noise, while at 20ft it puts out just 59 db. Most experts place a normal conversation at around 60 db.
To put those specs in even more perspective the Q3 produces less than 50% of the noise level of other HVLP turbines! Most users said it was about half the volume of a shop vac, or comparable to an average upright household vacuum. The noise reduction technology is especially apparent in the high-frequency sounds, which are cut by a lot. It’s still a good idea to wear ear protection, but this is much more enjoyable to use indoors than cheaper models.
The Q3’s turbine unit features the new heat dissipation box from Fuji, which dissipates heat away from the motor block out through the casing. It has 60 holes drilled into the back plate, which allow for silent cooling. It’s a very smart design tweak which protects the motor and gives it a longer working life. That’s one reason we recommend this one over the Semi Pro 2 to professionals or passionate DIYers!
It’s built even better than the Semi Pro 2, as well! As with the DIY model, the Q3 features a metal turbine crate with a handle built into the top. It’s slightly heftier than the Semi Pro 2’s casing, which fits a pro-grade tool. It also comes with an all-metal gun, including knobs and springs! The only non-metal piece is the nylon grip on the spray gun handle. Everything else is stainless steel, CNC-machined to aircraft grade!
The T-70 gun that comes with the Q3 is very similar to the T-75G we reviewed above. It’s the bottom-feeder variation of Fuji’s T-series gun. We won’t rehash everything in that full review, but here are a few key differences between the T-70 and the M-series gun that comes with the Semi Pro 2 system:
- the T-70 is 20% lighter, despite having a heavier-duty build
- as with the T-75G, the T-70 has a more convenient side knob for adjusting the pattern
- it has a 1-15” fan range at an 8-inch distance
- the T-70 is a bottom feed gun rather than a gravity feed gun
Overall, the T-70 is more precise, more efficient, and more consistent than the M-series. It’s better for projects where you require the finest atomization, like clear coats on cars, or lacquer on furniture pieces. Even the top-of-the-line Fuji HVLP system, the Q5, uses a T-series gun (albeit the gravity-feed version).
It has a lot of the same great features as the M-series. The T-series features switchable tips, just like the M-series, and a non-bleed spray cap which produces less spraying around,
less turbulence, and less tip accumulation as you work.
*bottom feed vs gravity feed is a matter of preference on your spray gun, but this one is better for both coverage and maneuverability. It has a larger capacity than would be ergonomic on a gravity-feed model, and it’s easier to spray at angles.
The Q3’s spray gun comes equipped with the same size #3 series tip for all-purpose fine finishing as the other Fuji sets we’re recommending. It has a 1.3mm opening which is ideal for lacquers, stains, acrylics, and thinned latex.
Overall, the Q3 is our industrial-rated recommendation for for passionate DIYer who will get their money’s worth out of it, or professionals who want something more affordable than the top-of-the-line Q5.
Like the Semi Pro 2, it’s made in Canada and covered by a 2-year warranty
It’s heavier than the Semi Pro 2, at 36 pounds.
It’s also twice the price! Be prepared to spend around $1000 for the Q3. The price is the main reason we recommend this only to DIYers who will use this on a regular basis. It definitely gives DIYers more room to grow than the Semi Pro 2, but it’s on the pricey side for someone who doesn’t earn a living using their HVLP system.
Depending on your own preferences, the standard/bottom-feed cup configuration might be an advantage or disadvantage. You can always switch the configuration later, if you don’t like the bottom-feed design.
The Q3 can produce professional-grade results, no doubt about it! However, it’s still not as precise or versatile as the Q5. You can only make adjustments on the gun, not the turbine itself. That makes it somewhat harder to achieve flawless finishes with car clear coats and other projects where you need the absolute finest results. If you’re a demanding professional user, you may want to think about spending the extra money for the Q5.
6. Fuji 2895-T75G Q5 Platinum Quiet HVLP Spray System
The absolute best HVLP system on the market right now is Fuji’s flagship Q5! We think it’s cost-prohibitive and probably overkill for most DIYers, but it’s ideal for people who do professional painting and finish work. Since you can adjust both the turbine and the gun in this system, it’s easy to find the ideal sweet spot for any coating. This is truly where the buck stops for professional-grade finishes. Plus, this has the sheer power to handle even thick latex paint easily, with next to no thinning. If you can afford to make the investment, we don’t think there’s anyone who would be dissatisfied with the Q5!
It’s even more powerful than the Q3–and by a big factor! This system has a 5-stage motor behind the turbine unit, and while Fuji haven’t listed the actual wattage for the Q-series, we can safely say that this one’s a whole heck of alot more powerful.
The best objective comparison is in max psi: the Q3 achieves 6.5, while the Q5 can crank all the way to 9.5 psi! That’s a 30% improvement. You’ll have no problems spraying latex paints, and you’ll have less thinning to do than with any other HVLP system.
Having so much power means that the Q5 offers atomization quality that can’t even be compared properly to other models. It’s simply so much more powerful than the other turbine systems we’ve looked at that to a pro, the difference is night and day. While most users wouldn’t notice a huge difference between the Q3 and Q5, for instance, someone who works full-time with premium materials and flawless finishes will really appreciate the difference.
While you can certainly spray very decent auto finishes with the Q3, we recommend a 4 or 5-stage turbine system for auto work. The Q5 fits the bill perfectly! It’s our recommendation to anyone who does professional paint and finish work on vehicles.
Brute strength isn’t the only reason the Q5 is at the head of the pack, though. The big feature that sets this apart from the rest of the Q series (and the rest of the Fuji lineup) is a master speed control on the turbine itself!
With all the other HVLP systems we’ve looked at, the only adjustments you can make are on the gun. That’s good enough for most users, but the most demanding professionals will find that the addition turbine control makes for the ultimate in precision spraying!
Being able to adjust the speed at the turbine as well as the settings on the gun makes it easier to find the ideal sweet spot where barely have any overspray or bounceback. That’s why the Q5 makes the most efficient use of materials of any HVLP system we’ve reviewed to date! The savings can add up fast when you work with expensive materials all week long!
The extra precision control makes this the best choice on the market for professionals who paint and finish auto bodies, as well as the most high-end furniture projects. There’s simply nothing else on the market that can get this fantastic a finish quality. And since you can always crank things up to the max, there’s still plenty of raw power for covering ground with latex!
It packs all its extra power and features into the same size case as the Q3! It’s only a pound or so heavier, too. It has an identical, sturdy metal crate with a handle and gun holder built in.
It’s very nearly as quiet, too, even though it has a more industrial motor! At a distance of 15ft, the Q5 only makes 63 db of noise, while at 20ft it puts out 60 db. That’s just a 1-db difference from the Q3!
So, this one is still 50% quieter than other turbine systems, even models far less powerful! Again, the agreed-upon standard for a normal conversation is around 60 db, so this is a significantly less noisy sprayer to work with all day long.
It comes with the T-75G spray gun. Since we’ve devoted a complete, full-length review to that gun already, we won’t go into too much detail here. If you want to know absolutely everything about the T-75G, just scroll up! However, it’s worth reviewing a few key features:
- all-metal construction
- nylon stay-cool grip
- gravity-feed cup at 600cc
- convenient side knob for spray pattern adjustment
- non-bleed spray cap
- 1.3mm tip set
Suffice it to say that the T-75G is the perfect complement to the Q5. Like the turbine system, it’s rugged, ergonomic, and highly versatile thanks to the multiple adjustment knobs. The high-efficiency spray cap is superb at controlling your spray pattern and making full use of your materials. And like the turbine, it achieves fantastic atomization with any type of coating.
The Q5 comes with the same, high-quality 25-foot hose as the Semi Pro 2 and Q3, model, and the system uses the same quick-connect fittings.
It also comes with a bonus set of tools and accessories:
- a 6 whip hose for easier maneuverability
- a wet film gauge
- a 19-piece kit full of cleaning tools and maintenance components, including brushes and lube
- a spare turbine filter
- a measuring booklet and notebook for you to keep records and get the same finish quality every time
The whip hose is the standout accessory in our book. It’s something you can certainly buy for use with a cheaper HVLP setup, but having it thrown in is very convenient. A whip hose allows you to swivel more easily and have more flexibility at the business end of your spray system, which comes in handy on car panels and in tight furniture corners.
You can expect the same excellent level of build quality on all the components as you get from the Q3. The whole Q5 set is covered by a 2-year warranty and made in Canada.
While this system is more than powerful enough to spray lots of thick latex paint, we want to clarify that it’s not something you’d use for the exterior of a house. Exterior projects aren’t really an HVLP’s cup of tea, and you’d be better off with an airless sprayer. The Q5 is better-used on indoor, furniture, and auto projects where a higher level of finesse is required.
There’s no getting around the price with this model. It’ll cost you close to $1500 once you throw in a few extra tips, so if you’re not making your living with finish work and painting, you should think about whether or not you really need the Q5.
There are a few exceptions, though. If you’re an avid car restorer, for instance, you might find that the premium materials and vintage parts you’re working with justify the cost of the Q5. Having its extra control and precision could be a necessary advantage for someone who restores cars for a hobby. However, for the average DIYer, this is definitely overkill.
Now that we’ve introduced you to a whole range of options, which of these HVLP paint sprayers is the best choice for you?
The Campbell-Hausfield kit is the clear budget choice for folks who are looking to get in on the HVLP boom without buying a whole turbine setup. It’s not professional-grade, but it has two very solid guns that will help DIYers up their game from the standard compressor gun. It’s also a good kit to help new painters start off on the right foot! If you’re an ambitious DIYer, though, you should look at the Graco-Sharpe gun. Pros should go right to the Graco-Sharpe too, unless you’re going to use a turbine system.
The Graco-Sharpe gun is our recommendation to DIYers or casual-use pros who want something better than a budget spray gun, but more reasonably priced than a high-end DeVilbiss. It’s very solid, and has better atomization than the Campbell-Hausfield set. On the downside, it still can’t touch a true HVLP system, and it needs a big air supply from your compressor. It’s a good general-purpose gun, but not for high-end professional work.
If you’re a working pro in need of the absolute best finish quality and consistency, the Fuji T-75G is our ultimate pick for an HVLP gun. You’ll need an HVLP turbine to run it, and it’s rather expensive. However, its atomization quality and range of adjustments are absolutely superb. We don’t think there’s a better HVLP gun on the market today!
The Fuji Semi Pro 2 system is what we’d recommend to DIYers who want to get a true HVLP turbine and gun setup but can’t put down $1000+ for a professional-grade system. It’s half the price of the Q-series Fuji’s, but has all the key features you need to get superior finishes on your projects. We don’t recommend it for professional work or car projects, but we think it’s outstanding for something under $500.
The Fuji Q3 is our midrange pick for a complete HVLP system. We suggest it as a budget alternative to pros who aren’t doing auto work, and to DIYers who want a system for general-purpose spraying. It atomizes better than the Semi Pro 2, it comes with a better spray gun, and it’s built for professional use. It’s not as powerful as the Q5, though, so it’s not as great a choice for lots of latex. We also recommend that anyone doing high-end auto work spend the extra money for the Q5.
The Fuji Q5 is our ultimate pick for professionals. It’s the most powerful, versatile HVLP system on the market right now. It has a super strong motor, adjustments right on the turbine, and a fantastic spray gun. Since it’s so adjustable, this one can get a perfect finish with absolutely any coating. We wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who works on cars or fancy furniture for a living. It’s too expensive to recommend to most DIYers, though, so unless you have a very expensive car hobby, you should get the Q3 for home projects.
HVLP means something specific in terms of painting technology and technique, but as it’s become more widespread on the market, it’s begun to show up on all sorts of different products. Before you start shopping or making any decisions, it’s important to figure out exactly what we’re all talking about!
HVLP stands for “high-volume, low-pressure” painting. It means exactly what it looks like. An HVLP paint sprayer puts out more paint at once, but at a lower pressure than a traditional compressor gun or airless pump sprayer. Instead of a paint pump (the power center of an airless system) or an air compressor (what you’d use to supply a compressor gun), an HVLP system is driven by a turbine. It supplies air like a compressor, but in a slightly different way. In the same way an HVLP gun cranks out more paint at a lower pressure, the HVLP turbine supplies a greater volume (CFM) of air at a lower pressure (PSI).
This approach wastes less paint in overspray, and it lays down a smoother finish. In short, HVLP’s have greater efficiency, accuracy, and consistency than other paint sprayer types. So, it’s no wonder that so many companies are getting into the market!
The one downside of all this interest is that a whole range of products from handheld sprayers to full turbine systems are marketed as HVLP’s.
Here’s a breakdown of what’s available:
The type of paint sprayer that most folks would call an “HVLP” would be a full HVLP system. That’s going to include an air turbine unit, a hose, and a spray gun. It’s essentially the same components as an airless or compressor system, only with a turbine at the back end. These are what we’ll call “true” or “full” HVLP systems, and they’re what we recommend for most buyers, especially pros.
Then, there are compressor guns which have been designed to work more like an HVLP gun. They work with an additional pressure regulator valve to lower the pressure from your air compressor, so that you can “cheat” your compressor and get HVLP results without buying a turbine. These guns are generally quite good, so we recommend them as a budget alternative to folks who want to save money by using their compressor instead of buying a complete HVLP system. However, they can’t fully compare to the results you get from a “true” HVLP system.
The last group of products marketed under the HVLP umbrella these days is handheld sprayers. They’re not true HVLP’s, but they do have modified designs which result in less overspray and waste than other handhelds. Handheld sprayers usually have tiny motors, so HVLP is actually a better way to make the most of a handheld unit than trying to build in a tiny, ineffective compressor. However, we aren’t thrilled with most of these models, so we’re not recommending them in this guide. If we’re going to take the time to talk about HVLP’s, we figured it’s better to talk about machines that exemplify the best of this technology! You’ll find our one recommendation for a handheld sprayer that uses some HVLP tech on our homepage.
So, as you can see, your big decision is whether you want to rig an air compressor for HVLP, or go the full turbine route!
Should I choose an HVLP air compressor gun or a full HVLP system?
If you’re a professional, we think you should go for a complete HVLP turbine system. They offer consistency and precision (not to mention quieter operation) that you’re not going to find with a compressor and gun. In fact, unless you have a massive air supply and a very expensive gun, the results aren’t even comparable to a full HVLP system, especially not a professional-grade HVLP system.
We recommend the compressor gun approach to people who already have a large, capable air compressor and less ability to invest in their paint sprayer gear. It’s a good way for DIYers to get better results than they could with a standard compressor gun, or for casual-use professionals to get more value out of their compressor. You can do general purpose painting and finishing very well this way. However, it’s not an approach we recommend for high-end finish work or auto body coatings.
If you’re a DIYer working on more advanced or demanding projects, like auto restoration or high-end furniture, you should really spend the extra cash for a full HVLP system. You can get a very nice DIYer setup for under $500, and even an excellent professional-grade system is accessible to passionate hobbyists for under $1000.
Since we recommend full HVLP systems to most buyers, we’re going to spend the rest of the buying guide discussing those. Picking an HVLP gun to use with a standard compressor is mainly a matter of choosing the right tip size for your coatings (see our home page for pointers!) and choosing the level of price/quality you want to invest in.
However, there is one important thing to note! When using compressors to power HVLP-style guns, you can easily run out of air. That’s because these guns use a much higher volume of air per minute, even though they’re operating at a lower pressure. Be aware that you need more available volume from your compressor than you would for a standard spray gun! HVLP spray guns can draw as much as 10 CFM.
Some things to think about when buying a full HVLP system:
Don’t skimp on power:
HVLP systems tend to be a bit less powerful than airless systems, because a turbine requires less energy than an actual paint pump. However, it’s important not to underpowered yourself! That’s one reason we don’t recommend any systems under $300. You need enough power to atomize your finish coatings, and to drive thicker coatings like latex paints. So, we suggest that even DIYers buy something with at least a 2-stage motor.
Extra power also comes in handy in situations where you need the absolute best atomization. The higher a max speed your turbine can reach, the smoother your clear coats will be on furniture and cars. That’s why we suggest that folks who work on auto bodies invest in an HVLP spray system with at least a 3-stage motor, preferably a 4-stage or even 5-stage motor for the best quality results. It’s also a good call for professionals working on high-end furniture to invest in a 3/4/5-stage motor.
Know what you want to spray:
Before you start looking closely at machines, you should get your ducks in a row where your spraying needs are concerned. Figure out exactly what projects you want to use your HVLP system for, and which coatings you’ll be using to complete them. This will help you figure out how much you need to spend, and how powerful a system you need!
Remember that latex paints require lots of power from the turbine, usually a bigger spray gun tip than comes with your system. You should never expect to spray exterior latex paint with an HVLP system. With the proper amount of thinning, you can easily spray latex paints with anything over $400. Bear in mind that the more you spend, the more powerful a system you’ll end up with. So, the most expensive HVLP systems require the least thinning of your materials!
Thinner coatings require less power, as a rule of thumb. However, depending on the grade of work you’re doing, it’s worth considering that the more power you have behind your gun, the finer an atomization you can achieve at the business end! So, even if you’re never going to be using latex paints, ample power comes in handy. Just like more expensive machines mean less thinning, they also result in finer finish quality on things like clear coats and lacquer.
There are any number of features which make a system good or bad for a given material. We’ve taken care to go into specific details in our reviews above!
Look for adjustments:
HVLP’s are all about precision and finish quality! While the turbine system itself will make a big difference in your results, the quality of your work always depends on finding the right settings to match your coating and surface. So, look for spray pattern adjustments on the gun itself. The more expensive the gun and spray cap, the more precise your adjustments will be, and the more consistent your results will be! When you’re working with very powerful models, you want to look for adjustments on the turbine as well, so you can get the most precise fit for each coating and surface. That’s because those big units can increase the overall psi by as much as 50%, which isn’t always ideal. Our general rule of thumb is: the more adjustments, the better!
Think about noise:
One of the best advantages of working with an HVLP system is that these machines make a lot less noise than an airless paint sprayer or a standard air compressor. They’re much more enjoyable to use in close quarters and in your house itself. Depending on whether you have your own workshop, how echoey it is, and whether it’s separated from living quarters by a suitable distance, you may want to invest in an even quieter model. Many of the more expensive HVLP systems have noise-reduction features built in. They’re a worthwhile investment for folks who spray most of the week, and those who work in close quarters where noise builds up a lot.
Decide on your budget:
Finally, figure out how much you can afford to spend, or how much you can justify spending on your new paint sprayer!
For professionals, it’s an easy calculation to make, since you really have no choice but to spend enough for a professional-grade system. So, think about the specific work you do, and figure out what level of finish quality and power you need in the professional range. The more high-end work you do, the more you should spend.
It can be a bit trickier for DIYers to figure out how much to spend, since painting and finishing is likely a hobby rather than a way to make money. You should think about the quality of finish you’re looking to achieve, the cost of the materials you’re working with, and the amount of use you’re looking to get out of your HVLP system.
Complete systems HVLP systems start at about $300, and can cost as much as $1500. Here are some things you get as you go up the price scale:
- more power
- more adjustments
- master adjustments on the turbine itself
- noise-muffling features
- more rugged build quality
- more accessories
- a better gun
- better atomization, precision, and control–as with any paint sprayer
Professional-grade quality starts around $750-$1000. Most DIYers don’t need to spend this much, unless your work involves high-end furniture or car projects. General purpose projects around the house are perfectly doable on a $500 machine.
We suggest that as a rule of thumb, DIYers should plan to spend $400-$1000, while professionals will want to invest from $1000-$1500.
Within those price ranges, you’ll want to spend as much as you can afford, because you really do get what you pay for with these machines! Even if you don’t use your sprayer every day, one project well-executed can up with the machine paying for itself with the money you’ll save on hiring someone else to do the job!
Now that you’ve gotten all the way through this guide, you’re probably wondering what your next step is! If you’ve seen a system here that you think meets your needs, simply click on one of the links in the review to check specs, prices, and other details! If you’re still searching, check out Amazon’s best-selling HVLP paint sprayers! Or, head to our home page to see many more reviews and recommendations!