Air Compressors for HVLP Spray Guns

Posted on: December 29, 2022

Using a high-volume, low-pressure (HVLP) spray gun for painting eliminates the inefficiencies and inaccuracies that typically come with manual painting applications. Spray guns are far superior to brushes or rollers in nearly any painting project, especially when precision is a must. Choosing the appropriate air compressor to power your spray gun is vital for producing the most effective results.

What Is an HVLP Spray Gun?

Painting with a sprayer achieves a much higher degree of evenness and smoothness than any manual method. Although a standard sprayer and an HVLP spray gun operate similarly and produce comparable results, the most significant difference lies in efficiency.

A standard spray gun uses high pressure to distribute the substrate, causing a significant amount of the paint to go into the air and not directly on the surface of the object you’re painting. In contrast, HVLP sprayers use lower air pressure to distribute a higher volume of paint to achieve increased transfer efficiency. The paint exits the sprayer and hits the targeted surface at a more controlled speed, resulting in faster production times and less wasted material.

Air Compressor Size Requirements for HVLP Spray Guns

HVLP spray guns need plenty of air, so choosing an air compressor with the appropriate capacity is critical for atomizing the paint and supplying continuous pressure to the gun. An ideal system allows you to adjust the fluid viscosity and control the air pressure as needed. When selecting an air compressor to pair with your spray gun, the three primary factors are pounds per square inch (PSI), cubic feet per minute (CFM) and tank size.

  1. PSI: Spray gun manufacturers typically list the maximum pressure needed to maintain HVLP efficiency on the air cap. The lower the pressure you can use to achieve your desired results, the more you can minimize your costs. In most cases, many applications require 25-30 PSI, with some requirements rising as high as 40 PSI to achieve higher atomization.
  2. CFM: Spray gun CFM requirements vary from model to model, with smaller guns needing a lower CFM than larger options. Although some air spray guns have ratings lower than 10 CFM, most professionals typically recommend using a compressor capable of at least 12 CFM. The most important thing is choosing a compressor that exceeds the CFM requirements specified on your spray gun.
  3. Tank size: HVLP air compressor tank size matters when painting with an HVLP spray gun because the operation needs continuous airflow, unlike other pneumatic tools that can get away with intermittent air supplies. A constant air stream requires a tank with enough storage to keep up with paint distribution. A tank size of at least 50 gallons can deliver optimal results for most HVLP applications.

Cleaning an HVLP spray gun thoroughly after each use is crucial for ensuring optimal flow.

Contact Quincy Compressor to Learn More

At Quincy Compressor, we strive to help our customers by offering the most efficient and cost-effective compressor solutions to meet their needs. Our network of professional and knowledgeable air experts can analyze your application and help you choose the best air compressor for HVLP to achieve the ideal results. Contact us online today to learn more.