A short overview with helpful spray gun tips about HVLP spray guns. DIY enthusiasts, craftsmen. automobile restorers and fabricators all agree that HVLP guns are great. There is a good reason why you will find a spray gun like this in nearly any spray shop on the globe, and below we will be explaining to you why with some helpful Spray Gun Tips. We have written this short spray gun tips article about the featured & benefits about HVLP spray Guns in general.

HVLP spray guns can be used by the amateur and professional alike, so this article will explain some pros and cons relating to the technology. This is a short overview of the benefits of HVLP spray guns compared to other technology. At Adendorff we stand by selling the right tool for the job, this saves our customer’s money long term.

What is a HVLP Spray Gun?

A standard Gravity Feed HVLP Spray Gun is used in a panel beating workshop.
A standard Gravity Feed HVLP Spray Gun is used in a panel beating workshop.

HVLP (high volume low pressure) means a high volume of material is displaced at a low pressure of air flow. This means that more of the paint propelled by the spray gun reaches the surface you are spraying with reduced wastage, overspray, and pollution of the air.

  • High volume = larger volume of paint material is displaced from the gun and makes it to surface
  • Low pressure = Reduced atomization of the material (less overspray, waste, pollution)

With these two features working together the result is a more professional finish and reduced cost of materials

HVLP Features

  • High transfer efficiency
  • Minimal bounceback
  • Sprays most materials
  • Reduced prep and clean-up
  • Affordable
  • Inexpensive to maintain
  • Controlled spraying
  • Portability
  • Reduces material consumption by 40%
  • Three spray patterns available
  • Cuts labor time
  • Sprays patterns from 1/4″ to 12″
  • Low fluid pressure means low wear
  • Moisture-free atomizing air

Problems with HVLP (not many don't worry)

HVLP spray guns cover less area than high-pressure types. But HVLP is better in nearly every other way.
HVLP spray guns cover less area than high-pressure types. But HVLP is better in nearly every other way.

There is actually just one downside to using HVLP spray guns and that is that they cover less area of effect than high-pressure guns and are slower to use if you are planning to spray large areas. This is due to the combination of high volume and lower pressure used. More material is heavier to displace thus spreading a smaller area. They are considered finishing tools.

Different Kinds of HVLP Spray guns

The most common type will be one that requires a source of air, most of our customers use air compressors for this purpose. The other type is an electrical airless spray gun that creates displacement with a built-in compressor, they are simply referred to as airless spray guns. Most professionals do tend to stick to the spray guns that use an external air compressor due to the benefits it provides.

Air Supply for HVLP Spray Guns

If you decide to go with the spray guns that need an air compressor there are some key things you need to understand. HVLP spray guns are great that they use less air flow than older guns but they do still need plenty, some people have this misconception that these new HVLP gun only need a tiny DIY compressor… wrong.

The reason you still need a large compressor is that of the duty cycle of the compressor. Most air compressors have relatively low duty cycles meaning they cannot run for hours on end unless its a commercial type of machine. You want a compressor to supply enough air that even while you are spraying you are using less air than the pump is supplying, because of this, the compressor will be able to have a rest period in between running cycles. HVLP air flow requirement differ from model to model but they are on the lower end of what spray guns tend to use. This information is referred to as CFM (cubic feet per minute) and you would want to aim for a compressor 25% above the CFM requirement of the gun for most use cases, 40% for commercial applications.

  • overshoot CFM on the compressor, not the spray gun.
  • you can spray with a small compressor it will work but you must wait for the machine to refill air pressure and the duty cycle of the machine will be exceeded.
  • make sure air filters are clean on the air pump and use water traps to keep the air flow clear of imperfections such as water or dust.

Benefits of HVLP Spray Guns

  • Less Overspray

Thanks to the higher volume of material being displaced more of it end up on the surface where the gun is being aimed. This means you will save money on paint by using less of it. HVLP is one of the most efficient types of spray guns you can get

  • Transfer Efficiency

HVLP is ahead in transfer efficiency. Less paint is wasted in the process and you get further with less paint.

  • Less mess

Less waste means a cleaner working environment. More paint makes it to the surface not the area around it. So more time is saved in clean up afterward

  • Environmentally friendly

Of course, masks should be worn as a precaution but with an HVLP spray gun, the sprayer would be exposed to less dangerous fumes from the paint material due to the high volumes being sprayed.

  • Precision

With different kind of touch up spray guns, the HVLP solution can be used for some very sensitive touch up spray work.

Popular applications for HVLP

HVLP Spray Guns are most commonly used when spraying car panels or smaller touch-up jobs.
HVLP Spray Guns are most commonly used when spraying car panels or smaller touch-up jobs.

The most popular industry for HVLP spray guns is the Automotive Manufacturing or repairs. You will find them in each body panel workshop on the globe. They are great for spraying most kinds of paints used on cars, on every coat too. The transfer rate and efficiency of the gun give it a very professional looking finish.

HVLP has a very broad use case and can be applied to nearly every spray job.

HVLP Applications Include:

  • Touch-up
  • Dentil molding
  • Crown moldingCabinets
  • Door Jambs
  • Elevator doors
  • Frames
  • Bi-fold doors
  • Implement equipment
  • Six-panel doors
  • Appliances
  • Porcelain
  • Furniture
  • Lockers
  • Shutters
  • Dividers
  • Gutters
  • General maintenance
  • Wicker furniture
  • Shelving
  • Pipes
  • Multi-color finishes
  • Louvered doors
  • Overhangs

How Does HVLP Spray Guns Actually Work

The paint container (being either gravity feed or suction feed) is placed under pressure forcing the paint material through the nozzle. A large volume of low pressure are is then intersected with the mainstream causing the atomization process.

The atomization process taking place inside the nozzle of the HVLP spray gun.
The atomization process taking place inside the nozzle of the HVLP spray gun.

Because of the lowered pressure, the atomized paint has less bounce back. Less overspray, greater transfer efficiency.

Illustration of particles and the resulting reduction of the bounce-back.
Illustration of particles and the resulting reduction of a bounceback.
Illustration of Adjustments found on most guns
Illustration of Adjustments found on most guns

Choosing The Right Nozzle Size

The nozzle size determines what kind of material can be sprayed by the spray gun. A larger nozzle size means a thicker heavier material can be used. A typical nozzle set includes the needle, air cap & fluid nozzle.

A spray gun nozzle, fluid nozzle, and air cap.
A spray gun nozzle, fluid nozzle, and air cap.

Below we will give some information relating to what kind of material is to be used with each nozzle size. Remember this is highly preference based and should only be roughly followed it also depends on the material manufacturers recommendations.

All measurements are in metric millimeter.

Varnishes (before low VOC)* .22 .27 thin materials
Lacquers, clear coats* .22 .27
Shellac (clear)* .22 .33
Stains – transparent .27 .33
Water sealers (thin, clear) .27 .33
Tung Oil (pure thinned) .27 .33
Lacquers, waterborne* .30 .35 medium
Acrylics, clear* .30 .35
Acrylics 100%, latex int .33 .38
Varnishes (low VOC)* .33 .38
Polyurethanes* .33 .38
Stains – solid .33 .38
Enamels – oil-base .33 .38
Latex paint – interior .33 .43
Latex paint – exterior .38 .48
Primers – latex .38 .43
Primers – oil .43 .48
Heavy Latex .53 .63 thicker
Elastomeric (smooth) .53 .63
Elastomerics .63 .99 thick materials
Block Fillers .63 .99

Conclusion

Thank you for taking the time to read our first article about HVLP spray guns. We strive to inform our customers with good information in order for them to get the right tool for the job. If you have any questions about HVLP spray guns or anything else please comment below or interact with us on social media. We will likely release more information that is more in depth relating to how to use the guns themselves and get that professional finish.

Other Posts in the Tools & Tips Blogs

45 thoughts on “High Volume Low Pressure (HVLP) Spray Gun Tips

  1. G.Maziwisa says:

    Dear Sir/Madam
    Question 1
    I bought a 50 L compressor
    for R1700.00 complete with a small spray gun.The small allumiiniun spray pot needs replacement.Where can I get it or how much is a new low pressure spay gun.

    Your branches seem to sale plastic spray pots and I litre allumiiniun high pressure pots only
    Question 2
    I bought a Rongpeng high pressure spay gun from you.It’s not spraying well ,Is this because my compressor is too small or what.
    Plse can you advise me what type of spray gun to use on a 50 L compressor.

    • Francois Landsberg says:

      Hi we do keep replacement Aluminium cups for our spray guns

      The gun could be dirty inside or your pressure is too low or too high from the compressor. Also, consider using a water trap to reduce problems and increase quality of spray.

      • NERAV says:

        I simple love the spray guns from adendorff i have the lvlp ASPRAG-700 very nice wit a good size fan i use it for my base coat work super fine finishing and i also have the hvlp ASPRAG-100 its my go to clear coat gun it gives a super high glossy and smooth finish no need to even cut and polish im going to try the hvlp ASPRAG-101 getting this week and trowing it straight into the deep end to see how it goes on a full respay. Can i please get a conventional spray gun love to give it a try

  2. Zain says:

    Hello,

    When using HVLP guns does it mean I would need a bigger compressor to get constant air pressure as explained in the article when using LVHP guns. I’m looking for belt driven 100/ 150 ltr or will direct drive work the same? Basically for diy jobs at home.

  3. Justin Brett says:

    Hi Francois. I need to spray ceramic glaze thorough an hvlp gun. I have a small compressor (0.75HP 100l/min 24 Lt 7 Bar). Is this sufficient? I will only need to be using it once every couple of weeks for smallish items. Thanks!

    • Francois Landsberg says:

      It will spray but the tank is very small so you can do small sections at a time. with patience, it will work out.

    • Francois Landsberg says:

      Hi this machine will not be able to handle that workload but wall paint is quite abrasive so a bigger nozzle around 2mm but we sell airless spray machines for this purpose our normal air spray guns on compressors are not ideal for spraying walls.

  4. Juli says:

    Hi Francois, my husband wants to paint a couple of furniture items and attempt some kitchen cupboards. I would like to purchase the equipment to spray paint, but not sure what to look at. He will not be using it on a regular basis, just the odd DIY around the house. I do not want to spend money unnecessarily on expensive equipment. What will be adequate for a beginner to start with? Will appreciate your advice.

    • Francois Landsberg says:

      Hi, you can use literally any spray gun but if you on a budget an LVLP gun would be fine. But for more professional results an HVLP gun would be better. However, an HVLP gun would need a larger compressor. You can use a 50l compressor with a low-pressure gun for the basics but the finish will not be the best as compared to an HVLP solution with a larger air compressor.

  5. Shabir says:

    Hi there. Interested in purchasing/upgrading to the HVLP gun, have the LVLP. Will a 50 litre compressor suffice for HVLP
    Regards

    • Francois Landsberg says:

      It will spray just fine just bear in mind that the HVLP spray gun will use more air so you need to wait for the compressor to build pressure more often.

  6. Angela says:

    Hi Francois, Can you advise what Spray gun and compressor I would need for a smooth and professional finish on furniture and cabinets? Will I need anything else (Like filters, hoses Etc)?

    • Sewes le Roux says:

      Good day Angela

      You would need at least a 200liter compressor for spray painting your furniture. You would also need to buy a coupler set and a hose reel.
      All of these items we do sell at all of our branches.

      I would recommend the following to you:
      SKU: ASPRAG-827
      SKU: COMPRE-615
      SKU: AHOSES-028
      SKU: ACOUPL-005

      The SKU above mentioned is the item code as referred to on our website.

  7. Lutendo Mammburu says:

    Good day,
    I have a 200l compressor and i want to buy a spray pot to paint my roof, can you suggest a nozzle size i can use for this application except the airless spray painter

    • Francois Landsberg says:

      Our spray pots come with a standard 1.8mm nozzle. But a 2.0mm would be better. But air-less is better for this purpose.

  8. Nico Botha says:

    Hi

    I have a 50 L 2 HP Ryobi compressor and I am planning to spray paint my roof this December. The roof covering are cement tiles ( Double Roman ) . Due to the gravity feed ( 1 L ) on my spray gun I am planning to buy a 10 Liter Spray pot ( from Adendorff ) to minimize the up and down exercise of climbing the ladder to and from the roof. Will the compressor be sufficient to run with the Spray Pot or do I go the airless spray gun route.

    Please advise do I buy the Spray pot or do I buy the Air-less sprayer. If you suggest going the Air-less route which model do you recommend at Adendorff’s

    Going the air-less route what are the estimated coverage area per 1 liter of paint ?

    • Francois Landsberg says:

      Look the compressor will spray but it will be a VERY long day. It will take very long and you will have problems when the small tank (too small for this application) drops below the pressure needs of this application. Airless should be a more productive solution. I cant affirmatively answer your question on average per 1 litre of paint since there are many variables. With a standing airless spray machine, this job can be done in 2 days. You “can” use our smaller model but we recommend this one: https://www.adendorff.co.za/product/mac-afric-electric-high-pressure-airless-spray-machine/

  9. Byrone says:

    Good day.

    Do you stock HVLP Spray guns with a 1.3mm nozzle that can be used for base coat and clear coat application.

    Regards

  10. Johann says:

    Hi. I have a 25 and 50 liter compressor. I want to spray my bakkie canopy and my small boat. I will also be spraying house doors. What gun would you suggedt I use please.
    Thank you.
    Johann.

    • Sewes le Roux says:

      Good day Johan

      With a 25-50liter compressor, I cannot suggest a spray gun as the compressors that you have are too small.
      Each spray gun works with a CFM(Cubic Feet per Minute) rating, as 1 CFM = 28.9l.

      So in order to choose the correct spray gun, you first have to look at the compressor size and then the spray gun with its capable CFM rating.

  11. Noel says:

    On smaller parts like motorcycle parts, is a touch up gun better to use with base coat clear coat, what size nozzle would you suggest

    • Sewes le Roux says:

      Hi Noel,

      A touch-up spray gun would be a more valuable fit for your need.
      We would suggest a small nozzle size from about 0.5 to 1.0mm.

      Regards

  12. Ghalid says:

    Hi
    Hi, just over a month back, I purchased a MAC AFRIC 200 Liter Belt Drive Compressor – 3 HP 2.2KW, 20m Air hose, MAC AFRIC Air Regulator, Water Trap 6.35 mm and all the fittings.
    I tried painting my car with a new Walcom HTE HVLP spray gun. I set it to pressure on the gun gauge to 2.2 Bar pressure but after a minute or so the pressure drops to below 1.8 Bar. (Compressor and water trap pressure around 70 psi)
    It even happened at times when the motor of the compressor didnt even kick in as yet. Only once the air is released till a point where the motor kicks in to build more pressure and completely fills the tank, I can spray at 2.2 bars then it bars drops again..
    Please advise.
    Thank you

  13. Rudi says:

    Hi, Ive got a roofing business. And would like to know if it would be worth it to invest in an airless spray gun. Firstly we get heavy winds here, is it likely to overspray. Secondly roofing paint is quite thick, would the pump be able to handle constant spray. We do about 4 roofs on average a month. Then lastly would you recommend the airless spray gun or a compressor. Keep in mind we need to be mobile and on average we do about 60-80lt on a standard roof. Thank you

    • Sewes le Roux says:

      We would recommend using a compressor unit as this could be more effective. They could make use of ASPRAP021 with COMPRE315 with a 20m hose up to the roof to the pot. Remember the pot comes with a hose of 10m and could be used for a wide variety of paints.

      We could quote you on the following product codes:
      ASPRAP021 X1
      COMPRE315 X1
      AHOSES020 X1
      ACOUPL005 X1

  14. Adam says:

    Hi i have 50lt compressor and use it for spraying furniture mostly sealer and lacquer clear finish , i also do spray deuco colour finishes on mdf boards my method is 2 coats of primer tb sandpaper it then spray on the colour of choice all my products materials i buy from Evolac , i have a request to spray a plasma unit with sprayed finish in a sort of metallic or should i say colour mixed with tiny little silverer sparkles or micro tiny lines ,same like the ones u get on gloss boards nowdays made by pg bison boards and others ,i have never used this color combination before before however i asked Evolac to mix up some thing to match The sample i gave them from pg gloss board ,IWOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF THE HVLP OR THE LVHP WOULD BE BEST CAUSE I WANT EVEN DISTRIBUTION OF THE COLOR AND THE SPARKLE OR LINES MIXED IN WITH COLOUR TO SHOW CONSTEND EVEN FLOW LIKE MY SAMMPLE FROM PG , WHAT ADVISE CAN YOU GIVE ME PLEASES I USE GRAVITY GUN THANKS

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