How To Choose a Spray Gun

Written by: Erica Spangler

Design Specialist
Spray guns are a great tool when it comes to spraying paint or pesticide.

Find the perfect spray gun by following the steps listed in this guide.

Spray Gun Basics

Spray guns are also known as Pneumatic spray guns.

Spray Gun Components

  • Gun - sprays the finish
  • Cup or pot - holds the finish
  • Power system - mechanism to atomize the air and the substance

No matter the style, all spray guns essentially work the same. Where the container is located determines the style of spray gun. All spray guns connect to an air compressor.

Common Spray Gun Types

General Purpose Guns

  • Adaptable to a wide range of applications
  • Can be converted from non-bleeder to bleeder style, which allows more air to pass
  • Great to hook up to tankless air compressors
  • Can be used with a paint tank or remote canister
  • The spray quality is not the best


2.0 Average SCFM Requirement at 40 PSI

Pressure-Feed Guns

  • Air is pressurized to force fluid through the gun
  • Pressure helps spray thicker and heavier materials
  • These guns are lighter and easier to maneuver
  • These systems need the most clean up
  • Higher equipment cost than other options


3.5 - 5 SCFM at 40 PSI

Siphon-Feed Guns

  • Material is located below the gun
  • Compressed air enters creating a vacuum
  • Pressure of air leaving siphons the air up
  • Siphon option is the least powerful
  • Great for dyes, stains, lacquers, acrylics and enamels
  • Must be held up right so maneuverability is limited


4.2 SCFM at 40 PSI

Gravity-Feed Guns

  • Similar to a siphon-feed but the material is above the gun
  • Gravity assists the fluid to pressurize
  • More affordable option
  • As the container empties there is less over spray or 'sputtering' than other options


5.9 SCFM at 40 PSI

HVLP Spray Guns versus LVLP Spray Guns
An HVLP or High Volume Low Pressure Spray Gun requires a higher amount of air volume with low pressure to make the prefect spray. These differ from a standard or general spray gun what is a LVLP or Low Volume Low Pressure Spray Gun. Make sure that your HVLP Spray gun uses the proper ratio. It should use at least 8 cubic feet per minute to at least 5 horsepower output. You will want to choose a HVLP air sprayer for cosmetic projects, such as automotive painting, artistic use and any other project to have a sleek and great looking paint job.