Choosing a Spray Painting System

You have decided to buy a spray painting system, now you need to choose the right one for the job you have in mind. For example a fence spray painter will be used outside and you might need to run your air compressor a long way from an electric socket. If you are upcycling furniture, you are likely to paint smaller areas and you can usually bring the project close to your spray painting system.

There are many types of spray guns and air compressor systems. The one that suit you best will depend on what you are spraying, how big it is and how fast you plan to spray it. Every system set-up has three essential components: a gun which sprays the finish, a cup or pot which hold the finish and a power system (air compressor) which moves the finish through the gun and atomises it at the tip. Read on to find out more or simply ask our LiveChat team to guide you.

Spray Gun Selection

There are many different types and sizes of spray gun but they are basically the same. Each spray gun contains inlets for air and fluid, fluid needles and tips and an air cap. You can read our guide to cleaning your spray painting system if you’d like to understand a bit more about the system and how it works.

The airline/hose from the air compressor attaches to the gun and fluid enters the gun from a pot/cup mounted directly to the gun. You can use the screws located on the back of the gun to adjust the fluid and air-flow. You can choose between two major types of spray gun: suction-feed and gravity-feed. If you don’t know which is best for you, just use the button below and ask our LiveChat experts.

Suction Fed Spray Guns

There are several ways to identify this type of spray gun quickly. Just below the gun, you will see the material container or pot. The lid to the container has vent holes and the fluid tip extends just beyond the face of the air cap. When you spray, compressed air enters the gun and moves through it to create a vacuum at the air cap. Outside air enters through vent holes on the pot lid. The difference in air pressure produces a siphon that draws material up the fluid tube and into the gun. The material is drawn through the fluid tip where it mixes with the air coming from the cap and is atomised.


Gravity Fed Spray Guns

These guns are easily identified because the material cup is located at the top of the gun. The force of gravity allows the material to flow down into the gun, so there is no need for a fluid tube. Like suction-feed guns, vent holes allow air to pass through the top of the cap ensuring constant flow of material. Gravity guns are more efficient than suction-feed and they require less compressed air. This is because gravity feed guns do not need atomising air to move the material.

You can use suction-feed guns for small to medium projects. They are useful if you need to use them in lots of different positions, such as overhead spraying. Gravity-feed guns are lighter and give better balance and you will find that they put less strain on your wrists.




Which air compressor is best for spray painting?

There are several different types of air compressor. Reciprocating air compressors basically compress atmospheric air to a given capacity and pressure. The type of unit that is best for you will depend on the spray gun you choose.

You might find it simplest to buy a complete spray system. When you choose a complete system, you get the spray gun, hose, connectors and the air compressor. The real benefit of this is that you can be confident they will work well together.

If you prefer to create your own system, we suggest you start by looking for a suitable spray gun. Find one you like then check the average air consumption in CFM (cubic feet per minute) and pressure in either Bar or PSI (pounds per square inch). This information is essential to help you choose the right air compressor. Your compressor must provide high enough FAD (free air delivery). It is also important that the pressure is equal to or more than the air consumption of the gun.

We recommend that you choose a lubrication free or oil free compressor for paint spraying because this removes all risk of your paint or varnish being contaminated. If your materials is contaminated by lubricants while you are spraying it will spoil the finish on your work and that’s very disappointing.

If you create your own system, you must also buy several different accessories.

To connect the Spray Gun to the compressor you will need a selection of couplings, fitting and high pressure hose, quick release couplings should also be used, these allow the hose or gun to be disconnected safely without any loss of air from the system. Ask our LiveChat team to help you create an effective system for your next spray painting job.