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Airless with a Fine Finish Tip VS HVLP Turbine Unit – A Guide

For those working in the field, it is common to have an airless paint sprayer available for your general painting work due to its versatility and use for a variety of painting applications. However, you may be considering a fine finish HVLP Turbine Unit as you are starting to do more cabinet work and are looking to reduce paint waste or improve your finish. This article will cover what to consider when evaluating an airless with a fine finish tip and an HVLP Turbine Unit.

HVLP Turbine Unit Pros

  • Potential to Reduce Paint Waste – HVLP is more efficient than an airless sprayer – In general an HVLP turbine unit is 65% efficient. This will be largely dependent on the surface you are spraying. If you are spraying large flat surfaces the HVLP turbine will not give you quite as much of a benefit but if the surfaces are smaller the HVLP turbine unit will help reduce paint waste
  • Potential For a Finer Finish – The HVLP Turbine Unit will also provide a slightly better break up than the fine finish airless tip.This is as long as your coating is not to viscous if your coating is heavier it may not be atomized well with HVLP. Though most coatings, even up to a latex paint will break up well with HVLP.
  • Easier to clean up – A typical HVLP Turbine unit will utilize a gravity or siphon fed cup setup, though you can use a 2 quart pressure cup which you can learn more about here. The gravity and siphon fed cup will require significantly less solvent to clean compared to an airless paint sprayer with its typical 25 feet of hose. This can help reduce your costs of clean up.
  • Finer control – A HVLP Turbine unit will allow you to better control the ratio of paint to air which can help you have more control. If you routinely have problems with runs using an airless with a fine finish tip on smaller surfaces a HVLP Turbine may be just right for the field.

HVLP Turbine Unit Cons Compared to Airless Sprayers

  • Not as Fast – HVLP Is not as quick compared to airless spraying. If you need to paint a lot of wide open areas quickly the turbine unit will not be as effective
  • Less versatility – Due to using HVLP a HVLP turbine will typically be limited in low to medium viscosity coatings where a higher ratio airless can spray thin to thick coatings without problem

Airless Sprayer Pros Compared to HVLP Turbine Units

  • Greater Versatility – If you select an airless sprayer with a proper ratio pump you can spray anything that doesn’t have to short of a pot life that it will cause issues.
  • Faster! – An airless paint sprayer will paint a large area quickly

Airless Sprayer Cons Compared to HVLP Turbine Units

  • Greater clean up costs
  • A bit more dangerous – An airless paint sprayer uses high pressures which can be dangerous if you are not use to spraying already
  • Less Control

Other Options

  • You can also consider converting your airless to an air assist airless which will give you’re the production benefits of airless with the finish quality and transfer Efficiency of HVLP
  • Or Consider a pressure cup with your turbine unit as mentioned if you have a turbine unit as this can help with spraying thicker materials


Ultimately selecting an airless with a fine finish tip vs a HVLP Turbine Unit will depend on what you are painting and your goals. For larger objects with less control needed, you could consider an airless sprayer or if you have an airless you could consider trying to use it. Otherwise, you could consider an HVLP turbine.


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