HVLP spray guns stand for ‘high volume, low pressure.’
HVLP sprayers are similar to conventional spray guns, as both use a compressor to move air through the gun.
They differ however in the way in which they distribute the air, as HVLP guns distribute a higher volume of air at a lower pressure, which provides a more even distribution of paint, and less overspray.
This all sounds well and good, but you might still be wondering what this means, and why HVLP spray guns are popular.
In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about HVLP spray guns, from how they work, to what they’re used for.
Different types of HVLP systems
HVLP systems come in two different varieties:
The first is a ‘dedicated’ system, and these have a turbine to atomize the finish of the spray paint.
These are popular because they’re portable and affordable, though they’re considered slightly less versatile than the other type of system, which we explain below.
The other kind of HVLP system is a ‘conversion’ system, which works by moving high-pressure air from a compressor to a lower pressure to provide a more controlled spray output.
These are pretty expensive to buy and are not portable, but they’re super versatile as they function with different types of spray guns.
What are the benefits of HVLP spray guns?
HVLP spray guns have some distinct advantages over regular ones. They significantly reduce overspray thanks to the low-pressure application.
As a result, less air pollution is produced, and fewer of your materials will be wasted.
What are HVLP sprayers used for?
HVLP spray guns are used for a variety of jobs. Here are the most popular uses:
HVLP spray guns are popular in the automotive industry and have replaced other tools as the top applicator for refinishing paint jobs.
HVLP spray guns are able to handle the primer, paint, and clear coat for auto refinishing.
In addition, they provide a smooth application and this means the top clear coat does not need buffing, making them preferable to other sprayers.
While HVLP sprayers are widely used by professionals, DIY enthusiasts also use them for at-home paint jobs.
Marine vessels require careful finishing that is durable enough to withstand corrosion, plus boat owners of course want their vessels to look good on the water.
HVLP spray guns are ideal for this purpose as they can be used to finish both metal and wooden surfaces.
One thing to bear in mind when using HVLP guns for marine finishing is to ensure the space between the gun and the surface you’re painting is minimal – no more than 4″ apart – as this will reduce overspray and produce a more even application.
HVLP spray guns are commonly used for painting cars and boats, but they can also be used to paint buildings.
They’re popular for architectural purposes because the end result is even, as well as the fact that they can be used to apply almost every type of paint, so long as you use the appropriate nozzle.
For example, you can use a HVLP gun to apply drywall mud in consistent layers. These applicators can be used both indoors and outdoors, and the lack of overspray will save you money on paint.
Furniture finishing requires utmost precision, and without the right tools, coatings will be uneven and messy, not to mention that the job will be extremely stressful.
This is one of the reasons why HVLP sprayers are favored for this task.
The low-pressure propulsion of the paint allows a more accurate application and a higher quality finish.
The lower pressure also means that the gun can be held closer to the furniture’s surface, which allows for a more accurate application.
Which is better, HVLP or LVLP?
LVLP stands for “low volume, low pressure”, and while HVLP spray guns are a better choice for large spray jobs, LVLPs are better suited for smaller jobs as they’ll reduce overspray even more so than HVLP guns will.
Basically, HVLP guns cover a greater area at a faster rate, so they’re ideal for larger jobs as they provide a more efficient application.
What is the difference between HVLP and airless sprayers?
Airless sprayers use a piston to pressurize the material, which is then sprayed out of an orifice smaller than that of a HVLP nozzle.
The combination of high pressure and the tight squeeze shear the paint into particles, allowing airless sprayers to better cover large, flat surfaces.
According to Paint Pro, a HVLP should be seen as a substitute for a brush, whereas an airless is a substitute for a roller. So airless units are better suited to large, flat jobs, and HVLPs to jobs that require greater precision.
Airless units have a product transfer rate of only 50 percent, while HVLPs can achieve up to 90 percent, however, airless units are also more powerful as they can achieve 1,700 psi at the nozzle, whereas HVLP sprayers offer around 10 psi.
Is it worth using a spray painter?
There are several advantages to using a spray painter – especially one with a HVLP system. These provide an even, consistent finish and are also an efficient way to cover a large area.
That said, they do use up a lot of paint, so if you haven’t got a bottomless supply, you might want to stick to a paintbrush or roller.
For particular jobs, like painting cars, vessels, and furniture, there are definitely distinct advantages to using a spray painter, as you reduce overspray and will achieve a more aesthetically pleasing finish.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what a HVLP spray gun is, and why these applicators can be extremely beneficial.
HVLP sprayers are great for achieving an even, professional finish, and for painting a large area in a short amount of time.