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Paint Spayers, Round II

Apparently good things can’t last forever. Last fall I blogged about how I had finally bought a paint sprayer and it was rocking my world. After 1.5 years, it bit the dust for good last week. Since it was my first one, I am trying to gauge whether it was a good investment or not, and I want to share my experience here because most of the reviews of sprayers online are from folks who have used the sprayer once or twice, but not over a length of time with many uses.

This is the sprayer I have:  a HVLP sprayer – high volume, low pressure, and the paint is sprayed with air through this little portable unit it comes with. Features I really liked about this sprayer:  pretty user friendly for the paint sprayer newbie; very little overspray; fairly easy to clean up once you get the hang of it; and my favorite attribute – 3 spray patterns so the stream of paint sprays out in a vertical, horizontal or direct fan formation.
I tackled many small and big project with it, from refinishing the dining table and chairs, to exterior entry and garage doors, and one of the best uses for a paint sprayer – getting into all the nooks and crannies of cedar lattice that we had installed under our deck, along with painting the spindles around the deck. 
The sprayer has been great for tedious paint projects – it is AMAZING for covering wicker and cane, and gives a beautiful factory finish to cabinets and doors. I have used the sprayer for water-based top coats on furniture and absolutely LOVE the smooth finish (the trick is to use a low pressure to avoid bubbles and lightly sand between coats.)
The downside is the cleanup, but in all actuality, if I had painted these items with brushes, I would have spent time cleaning those as well. However, despite how thoroughly I would clean all the pieces of the sprayer, followed by spraying water through it until I was confident it was completely free of paint, I suspect there was still some buildup inside because recently I have spent more time trying to unclog it than spraying with it.
When I tackled my cane chairs with the sprayer, I had major sputtering, then overspraying that resulted in drips, and subsequently, sanding and respraying. Last week I painted a desk for Hannah and the sprayer sputtered and oversprayed like crazy. “Orange peel” is not a desirable finish!!!! 
So was it worth the $120? I wish I got more than 1.5 years out of it, but then again instead of paying someone to paint and re-stain our deck I did it myself, and I have painted many pieces of furniture with it. One thing is for sure – after using a paint sprayer, I can’t go back to life without one!!!!

Next time around I will definitely take more time in cleaning it after each use because I really do think it cuts down on the overall painting process and I love the finish of a sprayed piece.

After reading many, many reviews of paint sprayers for furniture and home projects (vs. professional paint spraying), I decided to try the sprayer that Jenny Komenda of Little Green Notebook loves and recommends – the Critter 118 Siphon Gun. This spray gun attaches to a standard “sealer jar”, aka Ball glass jar and is powered by an air compressor. I bought the coupler set and hose that Jenny recommended. Although the container is small, I like the idea that the jar can easily be replaced if need be. Also, Jenny recommends filling up several jars of paint for bigger jobs; then you don’t have to keep stopping and filling up the container again.

While this gun does NOT have the option of multiple spray patterns, the design is pretty simple and I like that – less to clean, and less likely to clog. Also, depending on the pressure setting it is on, it will spray from 1/2″ to 3.5″ and I love the option for that kind of control.

If you’ve used a paint sprayer for several projects, I’d love to hear about what you have and how it has held up over time!

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Elizabeth @ The Little Black Door

Friday 11th of April 2014

Mine bit the dust too, but it was a cheapo. I have gotten the taste for them though, I think they are totally worth it.


Thursday 10th of April 2014

Such a timely post for me, as I'm looking to do a big time upgrade since I have two cabinet jobs in the works. I love my hvlp conversion gun (, and am on my second one (because I'm a dork and dropped it, breaking one of the parts). It runs with my air compressor and is a great gun for a great price ($149). Now I am looking for one with a turbine so that I get a consistent spray without having to worry my air compressor working overtime! I'm sure you'll have lots of paint projects in store with your new toy! Don't you just love those things? :-)

Lisa Marie Wells

Thursday 10th of April 2014

I was kind of hoping to rent a paint sprayer for when I paint my kitchen cabinets this summer.... I am dreading the clean up! I hate cleaning paint brushes as it is!!

Nancy C.

Wednesday 9th of April 2014

Oh my gosh this is so ironic! I am sitting here reading your post about the paint sprayers and listening to my painter trying to get his sprayer to work! Maybe I should show him your blog! I hope he figures it out soon... :)

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper

Wednesday 9th of April 2014

would you believe i have never used one??? gasp!