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Reduce Your Coating Costs by Maximizing Transfer Efficiency

Transfer efficiency means the amount of paint that leaves from a spray gun and coats the intended product. What ends up not coating the product is referred to as overspray and is wasted paint. Transfer efficiency ranges greatly from 20% up to as high as 90 % with the best conditions and equipment. The benefit of high transfer efficiency is that it will save you on paint cost. Improving transfer efficiency occurs by improving operator skill and equipment selection. This article will focus on equipment selection.

Equipment has everything to do with transfer efficiency; different types of equipment have limitations to their maximum attainable efficiency. To understand the different types of spray equipment and their efficiency the following chart will show the varying efficiency of different spray outfits.


Spray Gun Type Transfer Efficiency
Conventional 30%
Airless 35%
HVLP – when used correctly 65%
Air Assist Airless – when used correctly 65 %
Electrostatic – in ideal circumstances 90%


While this chart highlights the possibilities of utilizing the right equipment we have to consider other important factors. The equipment is only as efficient as the operator and set up of the equipment. Some examples are that if the operator incorrectly sets his atomization air or fluid pressure he will have reduced efficiency. Similarly, if the operator uses the wrong size fluid nozzle and air cap then the spray gun will suffer from reduced efficiency. With electrostatics, grounding is crucial to maximize performance. If you do not properly ground the part to be sprayed or the surrounding environment is not grounded correctly paint will seek grounds other than your part resulting in poor transfer efficiency. These are all reasons why it’s important to fully understand your equipment so that you benefit from the maximum transfer efficiency possible. In upcoming posts we will dive into further depth of what’s important to maximize transfer efficiency within each category of equipment.

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