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How Much Does a Paint Gun Cost, A Complete Guide Based on Different Gun Types

The Short Answer How much a Paint/Spray Gun Costs depends on the Class of Spray Gun but Prices vary for A Reason

It can be hard to understand why a spray gun like the Devilbiss GTI Millenium can cost twice as much as a Devilbiss FLG 4 or a spray gun like a Satajet 5000 can cost even more than the two guns mentioned. This article will talk about costs of different costs of spray guns, what to expect when you use them, and why their prices are different. In particular we will be comparing HVLP Spray Guns, the principals apply to conventional spray guns as well but pricing for Conventional Spray Guns will be less overall than HVLP.  Specifically we will evaluate three classes of spray guns including Throw away or Budget Class, Economy Class Spray Guns, and Premium Class Spray Guns.

Throw Away/ Budget Class Paint Guns

This class of spray guns would include Harbor Freight Spray Guns which can cost anywhere from $10 – $30 .  They are very affordable and can be a good fit for certain needs. With a spray gun at this price you can expect a few things to occur that allow it to be so affordable.

Transfer Efficiency will be less than a higher quality gun.  Even though the gun may be defined as HVLP you will typically waste more paint with this gun than a higher end HVLP Spray Gun. This is primarily due to the engineering design will not be to the same quality standard as an economy or premium gun.

The Spray Finish Achieved will be less fine.  The greater the atomization of the paint particles the better a finish. Compared to a economy or Premium quality spray gun these guns will not have the same degree of atomization. This will be most evident if your looking to achieve a Top Tier finish, like in automotive painting.

The Gun will not Be Repairable .  A budget / throw away class spray gun will not have parts to rebuild the spray gun if it starts having issues like uneven spray patterns, paint dripping from the spray gun tip, or an altered spray pattern

The Spray Pattern will be smaller – With each higher cost class of spray gun the total spray gun pattern will improve with higher quality atomization throughout the spray pattern

There will be no options for the Air Cap and Fluid Nozzle – Fluid nozzles and Air Caps allow you to adjust the amount of paint your applying to a target as well as the atomizaton of the coating. For an overview of selecting an air cap or fluid nozzle you can review this article.

Best use is most likely for a one time project where finish quality is not huge concern.

Economy Class Paint Guns

Moving up from the budget class you get into the economy class which includes guns in the $100 – $250 dollar range. Typical models include guns like the Devilbiss FLG 4, Binks SV 100, and Sharpe Finxex 3000. This class of spray guns can be perfect for more routine projects. Maybe doing a project one to two times a week or even routine weekend projects.  Here is what to expect from this class of spray guns

Gun will be better able to be repaired than the throw away class of spray guns, you will not have to ever throw the spray gun away – A economy class spray gun will typically have options for rebuild kits (which will resolve issues of paint leaking from the tip of the spray gun). You will also be able to replace fluid nozzles, air caps, and fluid needles. Having these parts as replaceable will mean you will never have to throw away your spray gun.

Spray Pattern will be more uniform than throw away class with better atomization –  With an economy class spray gun you can expect a finer atomized coating resulting in an improved finish. The pattern will also remain consistent for a longer time due to higher quality materials, better engineering, and machining that go into manufacturing of this class of spray gun.

Transfer Efficiency will be better – A economy spray gun will use less paint than a throw away budget gun and will perform like an HVLP spray gun is meant to (with about 65% transfer efficiency).

Spray Pattern Will Be Wide , Atomization will not be quite as good as Premium class – With a economy class spray gun the spray pattern will be similar to a premium class gun (from 10 – 12 inches depending on the air cap and individual gun).

There are Fluid Nozzle and Air Cap Options – A economy class spray gun will have a few different air caps to choose from and a variety of fluid nozzles.  This allows for a greater degree of choices which will allow for a greater diversity of rates of coating application and atomizaton. This will provide increased control over your painting work.

Premium Class Paint Guns

The top of the line Spray Guns like a Satajet 5000, Binks Trophy Spray Gun, or Devilbiss Millenium GTI Spray Gun cost anywhere between about $400 – $700 dollars.  Clearly this is quite an investment for a spray gun and to be worthwhile will need to be justified. Here are a few reasons why these guns are high priced.

Top of the Line Transfer Efficiency, least paint waste – A premium spray gun will apply the coating most effectively as it will have the highest end engineering of the three classes of spray guns.

Widest Spray Patterns, Finest Atomization, Best Finish – A premium class spray gun will have the widest spray patterns available with the finest atomization. Premium class spray guns will routinely have 12 inch spray patterns with the best atomization. To Achieve the Best Atomization these spray guns will consume the most CFM typically at the air cap.

Most Repairable of all the guns – Premium spray guns will allow complete rebuilds of the spray gun down to the spray gun body itself. This makes a premium class spray gun to never have to be thrown away.

Greatest variety of fluid nozzles and Air Caps – A premium class spray gun will have a large variety of air caps and fluid nozzles. This will provide the greatest control over fan size, atomization, and application rate of your coating. Additionally, it will allow for spraying of the greatest variety of coatings. Premium guns can often times be used in multiple ways including conventional, HVLP, and LVMP within the same spray gun.

Ultimately a top of the line spray gun is perfect if you will use it daily because your an automotive, fabrication, or manufacturing worker who paints daily. It can also be a good fit if you are an avid hobbyist, or someone wants the best finish possible. 

Photo courtesy of Svilen.milev (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Further Resources

For a great video comparison of an economy class vs Premium Class Spray Gun check out the Gunman’s review where he compares a Devilbiss GTI and a Carmix Spray Gun.

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