For this guide, we’ve rounded up a range of the best options for painting and clear-coating cars! We’ve chosen a few compressor guns, as well as some complete HVLP systems to give you premium results. Whether you’re a full-time professional or an ardent hobbyist, there’s something here for you and your needs!
In this guide, we’ll go into all the things you need from your paint sprayer in order to spray auto coatings perfectly. In our in-depth reviews, we’ll compare all our recommendations, and show you how they stand out from the pack. Then, in our buying guide, we’ll help you figure out which is the best for you!
Let’s put the pedal to the metal and have a look at our Top Three:
Best on a Budget
- Our Rating: 5.0
- Popularity: Low
Whenever you’re using a paint sprayer, you expect to come out with a smooth, even finish. That’s the biggest reason we use paint sprayers: to take out all the little imperfections that come from using brushes or rollers. But when it comes to spraying cars and trucks, even many paint sprayers can let you down with imperfections and inconsistencies!
That’s why you need paint sprayers with the best atomization quality, which can give you a perfect, glass-like finish on auto body paint and clear coats. Even a so-so paint sprayer can leave obvious flaws on your car work, and that’s no good.
We’ve included a wide range of paint sprayers in this guide, since such a wide variety of people do paintwork on cars. We’ve chosen a few inexpensive but high-quality options for DIYers, as well as premium options for ardent restorationists and working professionals. We’ll help you understand what you can expect from each one as we go along.
Let’s jump into some reviews!
Best Car Paint Sprayer Reviews:
- Campbell Hausfeld Gravity-Feed Spray Gun Kit (CHK005CCAV)
- Graco-Sharpe 288878 HVLP FX3000 Paint Spray Gun
- DeVilbiss 803311 SRiPro Spot Repair Gun
- Fuji 2203G Semi-PRO 2 – Gravity HVLP Spray System
- Fuji 2904-T70 Mini-Mite 4 PLATINUM – T70 HVLP Spray System
- Fuji 2895-T75G Q5 Platinum Quiet HVLP Spray System
1. Campbell Hausfeld Gravity-Feed Spray Gun Kit (CHK005CCAV)
Our first recommendation is ideal for home DIYers who want all-purpose guns that can be used for car work as well as other painting projects. While these won’t quite give you professional-quality results, they’ll come very close–especially with an experienced hand at the trigger! They’re an excellent choice for new painters or for old hands on a budget.
You get two guns for a very low price! This set is available for less than $75, but it comes with two all-metal, sturdy and accurate guns. They’re a bit bare-bones, but for this price, we can’t complain. Between the price and the fact that you get two guns and all the necessary accessories, the bargain factor with this kit is off the charts!
The larger of the two guns is designed for coverage. It has a bigger overall profile, and feels more like a standard paint sprayer gun. This one uses 2.1 CFM at 40 psi, and draws from a 550 ml paint cup. Again, that’s about standard as far as HVLP compressor guns are concerned. The coverage gun gives you a range of 1.5-9” spray patterns, all adjustable with an in-line knob.
It’s a good choice for laying color coats, clear coats, or for spraying protective coatings around the bottom of the vehicle!
The other gun in this kit is meant for touch ups and finer finish coatings. This one has a smaller in-hand profile, and it suits working on small areas, touch ups, and delicate blending. You can use it for smaller panels, or to address scratches and spots in your coat. It draws 0.7 CFM and has a 120 ml cup which makes it lighter to work with.
Since it’s a small cup and a narrower spray pattern, you wouldn’t want to use this gun to cover ground. It’s always handy to have a second sprayer for finish work, though!
Both guns are equipped for a range of coatings out of the box. They’re fitted with 1.4mm all-purpose tips, which can spray both paints and clear coats. If you want to get more refined, you could opt for a smaller tip to spray the clear coats. However, in this price range, you’d just as soon step up to a nicer gun if you’re trying to improve your finish quality.
Replacement tips are available, though, if you want to work with other non-auto coatings, like latex paints or varnishes. These guns are very well-suited to all-purpose spraying as well as car work. You could do furniture projects or spray jobs around the house as easily as moving your compressor!
These are the cheapest guns we’d recommend for auto work! While a lot of other spray guns in this price range are simply too inaccurate and inconsistent to use on cars, Campbell-Hausfield’s pedigree as paint sprayer manufacturers shines even on these entry-level options.
They’re much better-made than other inexpensive guns, from the nearly all-metal construction to the finely-machined spray tips! Even though they’re budget tools, they’re made by a company that makes high-end sprayers. A lot of that tends to trickle down in the tool world. So, while we wouldn’t suggest them for a professional, these are definitely good enough for DIYers working on their cars.
That’s all down to the spray quality! They atomize surprisingly well, especially the smaller gun, thanks to the superior machining quality on the spray tip. The spray quality is also down to the fact that they’re HVLP designs, so they apply more of your coating materials at a lower pressure. That reduces blowing and bounceback, improving the consistency in finish for that smooth surface and even color that you need for auto work.
HVLP guns like these also reduce wasteful overspray, which both causes a mess and runs up your bill when you’re working with cars. Stray droplets can be dealt with on furniture or walls, but they stick right out on auto bodies. And given the prices of auto coatings, the HVLP design and gravity-fed format can save you a nice chunk of change, especially on bigger re-sprays.
One of the best features for DIYers is that these guns have conveniently low CFM draws. Since HVLP designs traditionally use much higher CFM draws, they tend not to work well on smaller, DIY-grade compressors. These are relatively low air users, making them accessible for DIYers who might not have super industrial air compressors. You can use them on anything with 6-8+ CFM!
They come with HVLP pressure valves in the kit! Those are necessary to take the high pressure from your compressor down to the lower HVLP pressure. It’s generally hard to make precise adjustments on DIYer compressors, and they also tend to fluctuate in a way that’s too messy for working on cars.
These components help lower and even out your pressure supply. They’re especially nice to have because you’d have to buy them separately with other compressor guns!
The set is all-inclusive. It’s got everything you need except for an air compressor and hose! Here’s what it comes with:
- 2 spray guns
- 2 adjusting valves
- 5 in-line paint filters
- 10 paint filters
- 3 cleaning brushes
- a metal file
- a coupler
- PTFE thread tape
- a wrench
- a carrying case to store everything
The guns are super easy to clean, especially given the accessories! You just have to stay on top of scrubbing the tips and changing the filters.
Everything’s covered by a 1-year warranty.
We think these guns are good enough to do touch-ups, or to spray whole panels. They’re good for new painters to get a feel for what they can do with their compressor, or for experienced DIYers on a tight budget. However, you won’t get to a professional level of quality with guns this inexpensive. They simply can’t give you the atomization quality or precision that high-end guns can. We recommend them to DIYers who are painting for the first time, and want something all-purpose that can handle cars. They’re also suited to those who know what they’re doing, but also aren’t looking for showroom-grade car results.
They’re made in Asia, which is typical at this price, but disappointing from Campbell-Hausfield. The company’s reputation is mainly built around their American manufacturing, and these simply aren’t as rugged as more expensive guns. While they’re mostly metal, the knobs feel slightly cheap, the machining quality isn’t quite perfect, and they have plastic cups.
2. Graco-Sharpe 288878 HVLP FX3000 Paint Spray Gun, 1.0 mm
This Graco-Sharpe spray gun is our midrange choice for high-end DIYers, restoration enthusiasts, and professionals looking for a reasonable but professional-grade tool. It’s available in a range of spray tip sizes from 1.0-1.8mm, so you can either pick one all-purpose size, or grab one of these for paint coats and one for the clear coat.
In any size, one of these compressor guns will give you a finer atomization, smoother finish, and more refined spray pattern than the Campbell-Hausfield guns above! It’s a similar gravity-fed, HVLP design, but it produces more professional results!
It has better machining quality on the spray tips. That’s the key reason why this one gets better atomization and finish consistency over the Campbell-Hausfield guns. You just can’t beat quality machining! While the materials might not be vastly different, the extra precision on the Graco-Sharpe means that it does a noticeably better job with color and especially clear coats.
You can choose your exact preference in spray tip size! Most guns come standard with one tip size, and then you have to buy extra tips if you want something different or more specific. In this case you can choose exactly which tips you need for your work! That’s something that really suits pros and experienced DIYers who know what works best for them. At 1.3 or 1.4, this is a good all-purpose gun, or you could opt to have one primer and one finish gun, at different tip sizes.
Between the superior machining quality and the more precise adjustment knobs, the Graco-Sharpe produces even less wasteful overspray than the Campbell-Hausfield’s! That’s not something you can measure in an objective sense, but suffice it to say that the difference is quite noticeable to folks who paint on a regular basis.
At any tip size, this is a full-size gun. It has a 600cc cup which makes it great for coverage–no matter which coatings you’re working with. Still, thanks to the refined spray cap design, you can bring down the spray pattern fairly easily for small tasks! The ergonomic handle design and light weight (only 1 pound) makes this easy to use for both small and large sprays.
The fan control is better than the Campbell-Hausfield’s, too. That’s because it has more precise, sure, smooth knobs for making adjustments. There aren’t any wobbles in the fan control, and the edges are better-defined than the ones you get with one of the Campbell-Hausfield’s.
In fact, a lot of the superior spray quality is down to the fact that the Graco-Sharpe is simply better-made throughout the gun. It has sturdier construction, tightened spray channels, and all that translates into better control when you’re working. This one also comes with an aluminum paint cup–a big upgrade over the plastic on the Campbell-Hausfield’s! All the build quality improvements are especially impressive given that it’s so light and balanced!
Again, while this might look similar in design to the Campbell-Hausfield guns, it differs where things really count: in the spray tips and internal spray channel design. Everything’s tightened up slightly, which you can feel in your hand and see in the resulting spray fan. Overall, it sprays far beyond its price range.
This is comparable to a high-end Iwata gun, for far less money. The only compressor gun we think beats it is the DeVilbiss, which is much more expensive. Otherwise, the only way you’ll improve on this one is to get a full-blown HVLP turbine setup. You won’t have to do any paint sanding
It comes with a wrench and cleaning brush.
It’s covered by a 2-year warranty.
You’ll need a lot more air to supply one of these. You should plan on using a compressor that can produce at least 10+ CFM to work steadily, and the more the better! That’s going to mean either a large stationary compressor or a very expensive portable unit.
You’re also going to have to buy an adjustment valve to take your pressure down, unless your compressor is good enough to do so without any fluctuations. This gun doesn’t come with valves like the Campbell-Hausfield set does.
Just one of these guns is twice the price of both Campbell-Hausfield’s put together! The tips are also expensive. It’s nearly half the cost of the gun to buy one. The cost here is probably beyond what the casual user wants to spend, so if you’re only doing patch jobs or basic painting, you might want to stick with the Campbell-Hausfield’s. However, if you want to get professional quality for DIY work, or if you’re doing spot repair and panel jobs in a professional setting, you should definitely invest in one of these.
It’s not quite a DeVilbiss. Those with skill and experience can do very well using the Graco-Sharpe, and professional results are certainly attainable. However, this one needs a bit more wrangling, and isn’t as effortless to use. It can also produce a bit of orange peel texture if you don’t find just the right settings. If you’re a full-time auto worker who demands perfection, you’ll want to invest in the DeVilbiss below.
There’s a plastic component inside the spray nozzle, which isn’t ideal. It can wear down fairly easily if you use your gun every day. Replacements for all components are expensive, like the gun itself.
As with the guns in the Campbell-Hausfield set, the Graco-Sharpe used to be USA-made, but has been outsourced to Asia. That’s another reason it doesn’t quite compared to a UK-made DeVilbiss.
3. DeVilbiss 803311 SRiPro Spot Repair Gun
This DeVilbiss is the absolute best compressor gun out there for cars. It’s meant for spot repairs and touch-ups, but whatever you use it for, you can be assured of perfect glass-like finish quality. It’s ludicrously expensive for most DIYers but well-worth it for professionals or amateurs who are trying to achieve showroom finishes.
It’s the best choice for anyone who wants to paint using their air compressor rather than an HVLP turbine system!
It’s even better-made than the Graco-Sharpe. This is an all-metal gun, with a fantastic fit and finish quality. Everything feels sturdy and reassuring, and all the components fit snugly but adjust smoothly. The knobs and action on this gun are the best at staying on-setting that we’ve seen on the market. You won’t have to keep fiddling with this one to keep your setting as you would with cheaper tools.
It has an even more precise, efficient, and refined spray cap than the Graco-Sharpe. The spray cap also has a smooth, self-adjusting action. That gives you absolutely superb atomization with any materials, and a glass-like, flawless finish. This is as nice a gun as any professional could want, even if you’re working on Bentley’s all day. There’s simply no comparison between one of these and a Graco-Sharpe or other midrange gun.
It’s compact and ergonomic. The new smaller design is meant for two fingers instead of one on the trigger, making for less finger strain. The staggered body style also makes for a more balanced profile in hand. DeVilbiss have also modified the trigger mechanism to eliminate the kickback you’d normally get when starting a spray. It’s much smoother to work with than other guns, and professionals will find that this is a pleasure to use full-time.
This is a seriously versatile gun. While it’s not the largest thing in the world for coverage, the wide 9” max setting on the spray fan can still cover ground quickly. At the same time, being able to dial down to a very neat 1/4” spray is perfect for tiny touch-ups. Not only does the DeVilbiss have one of the best spray pattern ranges we’ve seen in a compressor gun, but it also has the neatest, most precise adjustments within it!
It has its own balanced air valve built in. While you’ll still want to adjust your compressor to 30 psi, the valve works with the new trigger mechanism to give you more control and refinement when you’re fading and blending coats.
It comes with two air caps. One is an HVLP cap like you’d get with the Campbell-Hausfield’s or the Graco-Sharpe. The other is a HE (high efficiency) spray cap that’s more traditional. If you’re a professional auto worker, you’ll know that as much as HVLP is all the rage these days, it’s sometimes helpful to be able to go old-school and spray with less volume. This gun gives you the best of both worlds! Having multiple spray caps simply adds even more versatility to the DeVilbiss.
Both caps come with 1.0mm fluid tips out of the box. Even though it’s quite a narrow tip size out of the box, the Devilbiss tips can still spray color coats quite well. They’re remarkably good with just about anything, and they leave immaculate clear coats. You may want a larger tip for thick primers, though.
This one uses a special disposable cup system. It’s a bit more expensive but makes cleanup much faster. That’s important in a professional shop. You get 8x 9-oz lid and liner sets in the box, plus a reusable sleeve and lid set with 5 plugs. There’s also a 4 oz nylon cup for measuring
It works well with smaller compressors! This one draws 3.5 CFM on the high-efficiency cap and 4.8 CFM on the HVLP cap, both at 30 psi. You’ll notice that the overall psi rating is lower than our other recommendations as well, so this isn’t much more of an air hog than one of the Campbell-Hausfield’s, even though it does a much better job!
It’s a real professional’s tool:
- it comes with interchangeable colored rings for easy identification if you have several of the same gun.
- you also get three different filters: 300/200/125 microns, in interchangeable discs so you can choose the appropriate one for each coating.
The box also includes:
- a gun hook
- spray lube to keep you going every day
- a measuring guide
In short, this is a spectacular gun that’s as good as it gets when you’re using a compressor. The only way to go up from here is to get a premium HVLP turbine and gun combo, which would easily cost $1000+!
It’s slightly heavier than the Graco-Sharpe. Given how much sturdier it feels, though, we find it hard to begrudge a few extra ounces!
It’s pricey, to say the least! Don’t plan on finding this one for less than $300. It’s definitely overkill for DIYers, unless you’re working on super high-end hobby cars and restoration vehicles.
You may find that you need a larger tip for some very thick primers. Most people use this as an all-purpose gun out of the box, but some of the thickest primers might be easier to work with using a 1.2/1.4mm spray tip.
The Dekup disposable paint cup system can be expensive to keep up with. You’ll have to buy plenty of replacements if you’re working with this every day. However, it’s worth considering that even 15 minutes of cleaning is an expensive use of your time when you could be spraying! So, in most professional shops, we think the system is worth the extra cost.
As with the Graco-Sharpe, you’ll probably need a regulator valve to throttle your compressor down to 30 psi.
4. Fuji 2203G Semi-PRO 2 – Gravity HVLP Spray System
So far, we’ve just looked at paint sprayer guns that are designed to be used with a standard air compressor. However, when it comes to achieving high-quality auto painting results, most of us prefer HVLP systems. Complete or “true” HVLP systems use a turbine instead of an air compressor, and will give you the absolute best possible finish.
While many high-quality HVLP systems are prohibitively expensive, the technology has become less costly in the past few years. So, you’ll now find products like this Fuji system which offer DIYers exceptional quality without hitting professional-grade prices!
We recommend this Fuji 2203G for serious DIYers who want a whole HVLP system relatively inexpensively. It’s less than $500, but you wouldn’t know it from the results it produces! It’s the most affordable complete HVLP system we recommend for car work!
It’s a true HVLP system! It has a turbine, gun, and hose which give you HVLP quality and quiet operation for under $500! Even though many DIYers may be coming to HVLP spraying for the first time, it’s extremely easy to use, and has only a very small learning curve.
It’s a lot more powerful than other DIYer systems. One huge problem with other HVLP systems in the DIY price bracket is that they’re woefully underpowered. When it comes to spraying automotive coatings, you need a high degree of atomization that only comes with more powerful motors.
The 2203G packs a powerful 2-stage turbine motor, tweaked to be the most powerful 2-stage on the market! It’s a whopping 1400w, which far outstrips other HVLP turbines under $500. That extra grunt power is the key reason this system can give DIYers excellent (if not quite professional-grade) results!
Even though it’s a DIYer-class tool, the 2203G still comes with a professional-grade gun! It’s Fuji’s M-model, which is one step below their T-series (top of the line) guns. This one has a stainless steel nozzle and needle, high quality construction throughout, and It might not have as many ergonomic or adjustable features as Fuji’s T-series guns, but it’s a sturdy, reliable, no-nonsense gun for the DIYer.
It has fully-adjustable pattern control, so you can widen or narrow your fan as needed. There’s enough range to cover ground quickly or do fast spot repairs neatly, all with an intuitive, in-line knob.
This one also has non-bleed spray caps, just like the T-series guns. The non-bleed design makes sure no coatings escape at all when the trigger isn’t pressed, and it also reduces any blowing around near the nozzle.
There’s a comfortable grip which makes this one feel a lot more expensive than it is!
The gun is fitted with a 1.3mm air cap out of the box. It’s appropriate for most auto coatings as-is, though you’ll get better clear coats using a smaller tip size with this system. Since it’s not quite as powerful as the professional series models, you have to do a bit more tinkering with the tips to optimize your results. 0.8-2.0mm caps are available, and they’re surprisingly affordable for Canadian-made equipment!
The overall results are pretty darn impressive. The 2203G can lay smooth coats of primer, color paint, or clear finishes with near-perfection. It produces very little overspray, too–less than any compressor gun.
On cars, furniture, and even wall jobs, it sprays very even coatings
with smooth finish quality that’s enough to satisfy any DIYer. We think it’s better than any compressor gun aside from the DeVilbiss, which is only beat by the professional HVLP systems below.
The M-model gun we’ve recommended (there are several versions available) has a 400cc cup, and a gravity-fed design. We typically prefer gravity-fed models for working on cars, since the materials are so expensive, and you want to use every last drop. The cup is aluminum, which is another big step up from other systems at this price range!
Between the gun and the turbine, the 2203G system has excellent build quality that’s far above what other DIY systems offer! The turbine and gun are nearly all rugged metal, with metal fittings and adjustment knobs as well. There’s only one plastic knob on the gun, and it’s still relatively sturdy. The components aren’t as industrial as the professional models, but they’re rugged enough for DIYers to haul around for different projects and to use regularly without worrying about parts breaking.
You can use it for a lot more than cars! One of the many reasons this is a great set for DIYers is that it’s extremely versatile. It’s ideal for furniture projects and tasks around the house, especially where you need a great finish. An HVLP system like this is a much more refined tool for your crafts and carpentry than an airless spray system. So, you get a lot of bang for your buck!
We’re recommending this primarily for use with cars, so hose length isn’t a huge issue. Especially in the average home garage, you won’t need to reach very far to spray, not to mention how portable the turbine casing is! Still, you get a 25-foot hose with quick-connect couplings. That offers plenty of range for most vehicles, even without moving the turbine unit.
This system has a separate air control valve on the hose fitting, which helps regulate the air supply even before it hits the gun! It’s just another feature which helps to produce the 2203G’s extremely even, measured output.
It’s DIY scale! The whole thing weighs only 25 pounds, and the turbine casing has both a gun holder and carrying handle built in. It’s ideal for weekend warriors who need something that packs away during the work week.
It’s covered by a 2-year warranty, and made entirely in Canada! This is a very sturdy, reliable investment for folks who need to make every penny count. It’ll run for years with care, and it has a fantastic track record for durability. The manual is also very helpful for DIYers who are figuring out car spraying for the first time!
If you’re a professional or a high-end DIYer, you’ll want to spend more for a 4 or 5-stage motor. This system can atomize extremely well for the price, but it can’t quite achieve professional-grade results.
You’ll notice the difference in clear coats, and in challenging blends. And, of course, to the trained eye, even your color coats will be a bit less stellar. Fuji recommends either a 4-stage or 5-stage system for high-end or professional auto work, and we’re inclined to agree. If you’re just doing smaller panel jobs or getting into car painting for the first time, though, this one is perfectly suitable.
It’s not quite as industrial as Fuji’s professional lineup. The casing is less rugged, and the turbine unit doesn’t feature noise reduction or heat dispersion features which are important when you’re using a paint sprayer most days of the week. The gun is also a bit less rugged, even though we think DIYers would be hard pressed to find a flaw. If you’re someone who’s a serious car hobbyist or professional auto worker, go for one of the two models below!
5. Fuji 2904-T70 Mini-Mite 4 PLATINUM – T70 HVLP Spray System
The Fuji Mini-Mite 4 is our least expensive professional HVLP option. It’s also a good upgrade over the 2203G for for very passionate DIYer’s! It’s got a much more powerful turbine motor than the 2203G, packing 4 stages and a max output of 8.5 psi. That’s a big advantage for getting fine clear coat atomization, and for spraying primers and color coats with less thinning required.
This is a good choice for DIYer’s who want professional results, and for professionals who want a good midrange option!
The biggest difference between this system and the 2203G is the more powerful turbine unit. It packs a 4-stage motor which is more powerful by a big factor, and it’s thanks to that motor that the Mini-Mite 4 can crank out 8.5 psi!
That’s a big boon for spraying your thicker coats, since it allows for less thinning with heavier coatings. You also get better atomization with lighter coatings! In short, this one packs more than enough pressure for any coating, with some thinning in extreme cases.
Since it’s so much more powerful, the Mini-Mite 4 is also a more versatile tool around the house–something DIYers should keep in mind! If you’re a DIYer deciding between this one and the 2203G, you should consider that the Mini-Mite 4 is better for latex and heavier enamels, given the extra power.
You won’t have to thin your materials nearly as much, which means that walls and cabinetry go along at a much faster pace. If you work on furniture pieces and home projects as well as your vehicles, it can make a big difference in the quality of all your results.
In addition to being more powerful, the turbine unit on this model is also more industrial! It has a heavier-duty casing built from thicker metal that’s more suitable for people in a busy, professional garage. Both pros and DIYer’s will also appreciate that this unit has some basic noise-reduction covers that aren’t on the 2203G!
Anyone who uses their sprayer regularly will appreciate Fuji’s proprietary heat dissipation box, which is only featured on this and other professional-grade models. It’s a silent, stationary system which directs heat from the motor block to a special dissipation box at the back of the machine. There, optimized holes help it to escape from the turbine unit.
That lowers the operating temperature, preserving the life of the motor! While the casual user might not need that kind of sophisticated feature, it’s a huge advantage for people who are going to be doing whole car sprays, especially on a regular basis.
This system is also equipped with a better spray gun than the 2203G, the T-70 with a 1-quart cup. It’s more ergonomic in subtle ways, with better balance, a stay-cool grip, and a more convenient side knob for making adjustments to the spray pattern. The side knob is a favorite feature among pros, and since this gun has tightly-fitted, all-metal knobs, it offers even better control and precision than the M-model!
The whole thing is incredibly solid, extremely well-machined, and professional-grade. It’s our current favorite gun on the market, and it strikes an impressive balance between industrial build-quality and user-friendliness.
The gun is fitted with the a standard 1.3mm non-bleed cap, just like the M-model. In this case, though, since it’s attached to a turbine with so much extra power, you shouldn’t have to buy smaller tips to get excellent clear coat finishes!
Overall, the Mini-Mite offers smoother, more consistent finish quality with fewer tweaks and less effort than the 2203G. You’ll see the difference in the clear coat for sure, and the trained eye can spot the difference in the color coat as well.
If you’re a DIYer who’s aiming for professional quality on vehicles, it’s worth spending the extra money for this one. If you’re a professional, this one is a slightly less expensive alternative to the Q5 system below.
That visible improvement in finish quality is also an advantage for DIYer’s looking to use their sprayer for for high-end furniture work.
It comes with a viscosity cup, cleaning brush, adjustment wrench, and manual. You also get the same 25-foot hose that comes with the 2203G.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of this package is that for all its extra power and rugged construction, it’s all still under 30 pounds! That’s very manageable for the DIYer, and it’s a conveniently easy package to move around a professional shop as well!
As with the 2203G, everything’s made in Canada and covered by a 2-year warranty.
It’s not the most powerful system out there, although it comes close. If you want the absolute best of the best, you should look at the Q5 below, which sports a 5-stage motor. Since it’s not quite as powerful, the Mini-Mite 4 can’t atomize quite as finely as the Q5, and you will have to do slightly more thinning. However, the difference in power is only going to be noticeable in practice to experienced pros.
It’s not the quietest system, either. While this has basic noise-reduction features, it doesn’t have the full muffling system that you’ll find on the Q-series. The Mini-Mite 4 is in the middle of the pack when it comes to noise. If you’re working full-time with your sprayer, you might want to spend a bit more to get the Q-series, and end up with a more pleasant work environment.
One key difference between this one and the Q5 is that the Mini-Mite 4 doesn’t have a master control switch for the turbine speed. There’s just a control valve on the hose like the 2203G. It’s still a good system, but it’s less precise and offers less room for adjustment than the top-of-the-line Q5.
As a result, you can’t get quite as exact a setting for controlling bounce back and overspray. Again, this isn’t something a DIYer will notice or appreciate, but professionals should take note: if you want the absolute best finish quality, go for the Q5!
It’s costs close to $1000, which is quite expensive for DIYer’s. We recommend it only to passionate DIYer’s who will really get their money’s worth out of it. Otherwise, it’s for professionals.
6. Fuji 2895-T75G Q5 Platinum Quiet HVLP Spray System
For a professional, complete HVLP system that can produce outstanding results on any car job, look no further than the Fuji Q5! We’re recommending it unreservedly for the most demanding professional users. It offers ample power, complemented by a degree of precision that other systems can’t come close to.
If you work on cars full-time, this is a worthy tool that will last years in the trade and serve you extremely well!
The Q5 is one of the quietest HVLP systems on the market! In fact, the only quieter options are the less powerful models in the same Fuji Q-series. Even though it’s also one of the most powerful HVLP systems out there, it lowers the average turbine noise output by 50%! At 15 feet, it produces just 63 db, and at 20 feet, it creates just 60 db of noise, or the equivalent of an average conversation.
That’s because the turbine unit has noise-reduction covers fitted. They help muffle the noise of the big motor, and keep the whole box nicely insulated. These covers are only available on Fuji’s premium Q-series. While they’re probably overkill for DIYers, folks who work with their paint sprayer day in and day out will really appreciate the difference.
Since it’s by far the quietest 5-stage on the market, this is clearly a more enjoyable tool to use in a professional shop where you’re surrounded all day by noisy power tools. It helps to cut down on the cacophony, and keeps your ears much safer than other models!
It’s even more powerful than the Mini-Mite 4! The Q5 has a 5-stage turbine motor onboard, though you wouldn’t know it from the noise output. At the highest settings, it can produce 9.5 psi, which blows the competition out of the water. That’s enough power to spray any car coating with the least thinning possible. That translates directly into faster work time, and fewer coats to think about.
With the sheer power this one has under the bonnet it can give you top-of-the-line performance and very fine atomization with any tip size. That’s much more convenient than fiddling around trying to retrofit less powerful machines to suit various coatings. You name it, the Q5 can spray it. When you’re working professionally, that kind of versatility is essential!
This one has a lot of the same great features under the hood as the Mini-Mite 4. It has Fuji’s proprietary heat dissipation box for cooler, quieter operation. Just like on the cheaper model, the box on the Q5 helps keep the motor temps lower, resulting in a much longer working life. It has the same rugged casing material and handles for carrying the unit and storing your gun onboard.
Although the Q5 is much more powerful, it’s still very manageable. It’s barely any larger than the Mini-Mite 4, with a 14.87” x 11.5” x 9” footprint. It weighs just 32 pounds, which is hardly a noticeable increase over the smaller system. It’s rare that you can get such industrial power and build in such a small package!
Aside from the noticeable decrease in noise output, the biggest difference between the Q5 and the Mini-Mite 4 is that this one has a master control dial right on the turbine. That allows you to control pressure and output right at the source! Being able to adjust the actual motor speed makes for much more precise adjustments to achieve perfect atomization and minimize bounce back/overspray.
As a result, you can get much finer control with the Q5 than with other systems. Professional users will really appreciate how easily you can find an optimal setting that’s hard to calibrate on a less sophisticated system!
It makes for a more efficient spray, for one thing! You’ll save lots of materials over the course of a job, even over other HVLP systems.
Plus, being able to make such precise adjustments allows you to tweak your spray for bounce back and overspray in a way that you just can’t do on other models. It makes a world of difference on clear coats!
There are also lots of tips on how to use it both online and in the manual, so you can figure out how to make the most of the feature.
Finally, the extra motor control allows you to throttle down what’s an exceptionally powerful machine. You can choose the pressure and volume output that suits each task. So, the Q5 allows you to easily customize the system for small touch-ups or full re-sprays, and anything in between.
It has the top-of-the-line gun as well as the premium turbine unit! This setup comes with the gravity-fed T-75G, Fuji’s flagship HVLP gun. It has the same non-bleed cap design as the T-70 gun that comes with the Mini-Mite 4, and it has exemplary precision engineering and machining.
Everything on the gun screams quality, from the way the components fit snugly together, to the firm but smooth action on the adjustment knobs. It’s all very tight, which gives you superb control and repeatability on each spray.
Like the T-70, the T-75G has all-metal knobs, a side adjustment knob for the spray pattern, and an ergonomic stay-cool grip. It’s well-balanced and very light in the hand, especially given the industrial build quality. It’s fitted with a standard 1.3mm all-purpose cap, like the gun on the Mini-Mite 4.
Between the powerful, adjustable turbine and the ultra-precise spray gun, the Q5 gives you the best atomization available on the market today. It’s our ultimate recommendation for pros who demand flawless clear coats. This one also gives you smooth, consistent color coats, and plenty of power to spray primers fast.
The best part of the Q5 is the way it combines its power with lots of precision, for tricky blends and fades, as well as spot fixes. You can work on the very nicest cars with this one without feeling under-equipped!
It comes fully-equipped with:
- a 25-foot hose
- a 6’ whip hose for easier maneuverability
- a wet film gauge
- a 16-piece kit for cleaning and maintaining your spray gun
- an extra turbine filter
- a handy notebook for recording each spray, thinning ratios and so forth so you can get consistent results with less fiddling around
As with the other Fuji systems, it’s made entirely in Canada and covered by a 2-year warranty.
It’s more than $1200! That’s more than we think any DIYer should be paying, unless you’re gung-ho about buying the best tools on the market. This is a system that’s built and designed for pros, so we only recommend it to folks who are making their money using it in a professional auto shop!
You don’t get a longer warranty on this model than you do with the less expensive Fuji’s. That’s not a huge surprise given the market these days and we should also point out that the Q5 has a stellar track record for reliability and durability. However, it would be nice to have a bit of extra insurance on such a big purchase.
So, which paint sprayer should you buy to work on cars?
The Campbell-Hausfield set is our most budget-friendly recommendation for DIYers who have an air compressor already in their garage. These guns run on relatively little air so the set is ideal for folks who have smaller, DIY-grade compressors. Both guns are built sturdily, and perform far better than other entry-level models. They’re ideal for people who are getting into car painting for the first time, or for those who aren’t concerned about fancy finish work. On the downside, they simply can’t give you professional-grade finish quality, and they aren’t built as well as professional models.
The Graco-Sharpe gun (whichever tip size you choose) is a great midrange choice for painting from a compressor. It’s got better build quality and a more refined spray cap design than the Campbell-Hausfield guns, without getting into the premium price range. It’s a good choice for pro users who do a bit of painting but don’t need absolute perfection, or for ambitious DIYers looking to take it up a notch. With enough skill you can get professional-grade results, but not as easily as with the DeVilbiss gun. You’ll also need a pretty powerful compressor to power one of these, since the air requirements are much higher.
The DeVilbiss gun is the best of the best when it comes to painting cars using an air compressor. It atomizes better than the Graco-Sharpe, and you can especially see the difference in your clear coats. This is the best choice for a full-time auto worker, or for passionate hobbyists working on expensive classic cars. It’s rugged, refined, and extremely versatile. A lot less effort is required to get a professional finish with this as opposed to the Graco-Sharpe. The only downside is the cost–it’ll run you at least $300. And while it can compete with most HVLP turbine systems, it can’t quite match the Q5 system below.
The Fuji 2203G is the most affordable choice for folks who want to get a complete, true HVLP system. It can easily compete with the Graco-Sharpe for finish quality, and it’s very affordable at under $500. We recommend it to DIYer’s who want an all-purpose paint sprayer that’s good enough to use on cars! However, it’s not going to give you professional-grade results, since it’s much less powerful than a professional-grade turbine. If you’re a full-time pro, you’ll want to go for the Q5. If you’re an ambitious DIYer trying to get professional results, go for the Mini-Mite 4!
The Fuji Mini-Mite 4 is our favorite midrange complete HVLP system. It’s a worthy choice for light-use pros who don’t need to spend an extra $300 for the Q5, or for DIYer’s who are ambitious and want to do a professional-grade job on home auto projects. It’s much more powerful than the 2203G, and has a lot of professional-grade features you won’t find on cheaper models. It’s rugged, versatile, and more durable for the long term. On the downside, it’s twice as loud as the Q5, so pros who work with a sprayer regularly might want to spend a bit extra for a quieter machine. It’s also not quite as adjustable as the Q5, so you’ll get great but not perfect finish quality.
The Fuji Q5 is by far the best system here. It even beats the DeVilbiss in terms of sheer finish perfection! It’s the quietest 5-stage turbine system on the market, and it still packs enough power to spray any auto coating quickly and smoothly. The Q5 also has a master control knob, delivering an extra level of precision that the cheaper Fuji’s can’t compete with. This can deliver flawless clear coats and blends every time. It’s built to last, almost infinitely adjustable, and has lots of extra features and accessories that pro users will really appreciate. If you’re working on nicer cars or simply want the best machine out there for your professional shop, buy the Q5.
Painting cars isn’t quite like painting other surfaces. Car surfaces show imperfections much more visibly than wooden furniture or drywall. That’s why you need to be able to achieve higher levels of consistency in your car coats than you would for household applications. Plus, car painting involves expensive materials that you don’t want to be wasting on overspray.
In short, car spraying requires a precise, efficient and consistent piece of equipment. That means different things to different people, though. DIYer’s doing a simple re-spray on a farm pickup truck don’t need as fine a finish quality as an auto worker who spends his time working on Porsche’s. This guide will help you sort out exactly what you’re looking for!
Here are a few pointers when you’re shopping for a paint sprayer to use on cars:
Be prepared to spend more:
First of all, it’s important to realize that you’re simply going to have to spend more for a model that’s appropriate for working on cars. That’s due to the nature of auto coatings: they require a precision, consistency and smoothness that you just can’t achieve with cheap paint sprayers.
The key thing is to look for great atomization: that’s the way that your sprayer breaks down the mixed or thinned coatings into droplets as it sprays. The smaller the droplets (the more “atomized” they are), the better your coatings will look.
Since atomization requires both a high-powered air supply (whether it’s HVLP turbine or compressor) and a precisely-engineered spray gun, you’ll find that the paint sprayers which achieve the best atomization also tend to be the most expensive.
As a general rule, the more you pay, the more finely you’ll be able to control your spray pattern and output level. The better control you have, the easier it will be to achieve consistent, flawless finishes. So, think about the level of quality you’re aiming to achieve, and spend accordingly.
You’ll want to adjust your budgets accordingly:
DIYer’s should plan to spend at least $50 on a good HVLP compressor gun for car work, and at least $100 to achieve results comparable to professional work. If you’re a DIYer looking at a full HVLP system with a turbine and gun, plan to spend at least $400. An HVLP system that can produce professional-grade results will cost at least $750.
Professionals working on car paintwork should expect to pay at least $125 for a capable HVLP compressor gun, or $300+ for a premium, top-notch model. Professionals who are after a full HVLP system with gun and turbine included will want to spend at least $750, or as much as $2500 for the best systems.
Stay away from airless paint sprayers:
Airless paint sprayers are excellent tools around the house, especially when you want to cover lots of ground in a hurry. We love them for latex paints in particular, and while we’re loving all the new, more powerful HVLP systems for household applications, airless sprayers just can’t be beat when it comes to coverage.
As much as we love airless systems for home projects, though, they’re the last thing you’d want for painting a car. Airless systems create lots of wasteful overspray, and that’s a money suck even with cheap interior paints. When you’re working with expensive auto coatings, it’s simply absurd to waste so much by using an airless sprayer. These systems also create lots of bounce-back, since they work at such high velocities. That’s fine on porous surfaces and for home walls where you don’t notice much variation in surface texture. On cars, though, even the slightest inconsistencies will be glaring.
So, it’s best to steer clear of airless sprayers when you’re working in the garage. Instead, you’re going to have the option of a compressor gun that runs from a standard air compressor, or an HVLP system with a turbine unit and an HVLP gun.
HVLP systems vs. compressor guns:
Compressor guns can be an appealing choice, since they offer a lot of value. If you’ve got a good compressor already, all you have to do is buy the gun, rather than a complete system. Many compressor guns on the market today also take cues from HVLP technology, and run at lower psi’s and higher CFM’s. Given that, they can perform relatively comparably to a complete HVLP system–especially high-end guns like DeVilbiss’s. If you’ve got a capable compressor and want to be frugal, these guns are excellent choices for auto work in both professional and DIY settings.
However, HVLP systems come out on top when you look at premium, professional-grade models. They’re coming down in price, too, which means that in some cases you can get a quite decent DIYer HVLP system for the price of a single high-end compressor gun. To use an HVLP-style spray gun with a standard compressor, you’ll also need an extra valve to take the pressure down, and keep output consistent. Even with one attached, you can’t quite get the precision control to minimize overspray and bounce back that you can with a true HVLP system.
HVLP systems are the obvious choice for anyone who doesn’t have an especially powerful air compressor on hand. Many DIYer’s won’t have air compressors with big enough motors or air tanks to supply one an HVLP-style compressor gun. Likewise, in professional garages, it may not always be practical to use exorbitant amounts of your compressor capacity when other air tools are in use.
If you’re looking to achieve the absolute best results possible, then there’s no question in our minds that you should go for a complete HVLP system as opposed to an HVLP-style compressor gun.
Things to consider for DIYer’s:
Most professional users who are shopping for a paint sprayer to use on cars are planning to spray only auto projects. On the other hand, most DIYer’s are going to want to get more value out of their tools, since most weekend warriors aren’t painting a lot full of cars every month.
If you want to be able to paint and finish all-purpose projects as well as cars, you’re better off with an HVLP spray system. They’re much more portable than most compressors that are powerful enough to power HVLP-style guns. When you’re thinking about all-purpose work, think about the same things you would when shopping for auto work: think about results you want to achieve, and budget according to both finish quality and how much use you think you’ll get out of the paint sprayer.
If you think you’ve figured out which of our recommendations is the best bet for your garage, go ahead and click on the links in the review to check out full specs and see current prices!
Still searching for your ultimate paint sprayer? Not to worry–all you have to do is head to our home page to find all our other recommendations! Or, have a look at Amazon’s best sellers here!