Want to purchase hvlp gun which one

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Forum topic by North posted 01-21-2013 11:07 AM 1735 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View North's profile


13 posts in 1953 days

01-21-2013 11:07 AM

Topic tags/keywords: hvlp gun which one

I have a 5 hp 20 gallon compressor and I am a hobbyist woodworker using finish out of a can. It is time to purchase a hvlp gun or hvlp a conversion gun. I plan to spray clear lacquer, stain, water base clear finish, acrylics and in a perfect world latex. I would love to say money is no matter but I will need to keep this under 400 and preferably in the 50 to 250 range. I want something that I can get replacement parts for, that is easy to clean and of course does a great job on finish work. Any suggestions on what to get and why would be greatly appreciated.

16 replies so far

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

4005 posts in 2233 days

#1 posted 01-21-2013 12:04 PM

I bought a sweet Porter Cable top feed HVLP a while ago and have been very happy with the $98 investment. I had never used a top feed gun before, but there’s no going back now! I’m not stuck on a brand, but the principle of a plastic easy to clean container on top is nice. With lacquer, I sometimes short store the gun with the lacquer in it. There are many reasonably priced units out there, and this is one case where the high priced ones don’t get you very much more for the extra money. I use a small pressure regulator right at the gun, and as usual you need a moisture remover somewhere in the line close to the compressor. Even so you get some moisture condensation, so you want your main lines to slope to a drain cock.
While HVLP helps a LOT with overspray, you still need to account for it with ventilation and breathing protection. It does get into corners much better too.

Happy spraying!

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL One should always prefer the probable impossible to the improbable possible.

View DIYaholic's profile


19620 posts in 2673 days

#2 posted 01-21-2013 02:28 PM

Many people have given the Harbor Freight spray guns rave reviews!

I have a few, but have yet to use them.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 2950 days

#3 posted 01-21-2013 02:43 PM

I recently asked this question, here:

People suggested the HF, Porter Cable, WoodRiver, and Earlex there. I went to Woodcraft to buy a WoodRiver HVLP, but the manager talked me out of it, mainly because I wanted to do latex paint in addition to other finishes. I ended up purchasing an Earlex HV5500 from Amazon:

It’s a great little unit and I have already used it to spray some crown molding with both primer and latex.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View mloy365's profile


444 posts in 3129 days

#4 posted 01-21-2013 03:21 PM

I would start with the inexpensive gravity feed guns such as the ones sold @ HF.

-- Mike - Northern Upper Michigan

View Planeman40's profile


1176 posts in 2759 days

#5 posted 01-21-2013 03:32 PM

A few months ago I bought this HVLP spray gun from Harbor Freight ( and have been delighted with it. It sprays a beautiful pattern with a fine mist using water-based enamel (which is why I bought it). It has all of the spray controls – fan, paint volume, and air pressure, and the fan pattern can be rotated 360 degrees. It also has a air pressure regulator attached that is convenient as you can adjust the pressure without having to walk back to the compressor. The machining and finish is superb, much better than the three siphon-feed production guns I bought back in the 1970s. The overall quality is as good as the best. You might find a heavier built production gun for a lot more cost, but for the serious home user you won’t find a better made gun.


P.S. While I was in the Rockler store I saw this gun for sale at twice the price. I’m not knocking Rockler as I love the place. Harbor Freight can sell for less as I understand it buys direct from the manufacturers in China and cuts out the USA distributors that sell to USA retailers. These days you are most likely going to be buying a Chinese-made product anyway wherever you go.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 2950 days

#6 posted 01-21-2013 10:04 PM

These days you are most likely going to be buying a Chinese-made product anyway wherever you go.

As an aside, the Earlex system I purchased was made in England.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View North's profile


13 posts in 1953 days

#7 posted 01-22-2013 01:26 AM

Thank you for your replies if anyone else has feed back it will all be used.

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2109 days

#8 posted 01-22-2013 01:32 AM

I have the Earlex 5000 and love it. I can spray lacquer, water poly, through thick Rustoleum point.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3743 days

#9 posted 01-22-2013 01:53 AM

Best bet is to get the assault version, before it’s outlawed. Cerially I’ve used the Fuji mini-mite 3 several times. Really liked it. Nice system and results.

View North's profile


13 posts in 1953 days

#10 posted 01-22-2013 05:08 AM

Can you find different size tips for the harbor freight guns

View JSB's profile


737 posts in 2077 days

#11 posted 01-22-2013 06:26 AM

I have the $65 Campbel Hausfeld (spelling?) 2 gun set from WalMart and am very pleased with it. I also have a larger $14 Harbor Freight HVLP gun that I am absolutely blown away with. My suggestion to you is (since your budget is 50-250) Get 2 of the Harbor Freight guns (one for stain and one dedicated for clear finish) with the $10 gun holder for loading finish. If you are not mass producing than I do not think you need an expensive spraying rig to get good results. Spending more is just supporting the economy. Your results have more to do with YOU than the gun. Remember, EVERY gun will give horrible results if setup and/or used incorrectly.

Good luck. I started spraying not too long ago and have had amazing results! You will love it!

-- Jay -

View pintodeluxe's profile


5659 posts in 2812 days

#12 posted 01-22-2013 07:48 AM

1+ on the Porter Cable gravity feed gun. Flawless finishes in two coats with lacquer, shellac and poly. I also have a Wood River (Woodcraft) that is just as good. It sells for $30-40, and the only difference is it doesn’t come with a regulator at the gun. If you get the Wood River, just add a regulator so you can set your pressure at the gun. I run mine at 35 psi at the gun.
These guns come with 1.4-1.5 mm needle and nozzle sets. This works great for lacquer, shellac, and poly. Get the 2.0 mm needle and nozzle set if you want to sprax latex or thick bodied paint. The kit runs about $10 at Woodcraft. If the last gun you tried was a siphon type, you will be amazed with gravity feed.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View TonyD's profile


8 posts in 1949 days

#13 posted 01-23-2013 04:16 AM

On a related note, I have found that Earlex’s site has some great how-to information on the basics of adjusting to an HVLP system, for those that are new at it. (I am, and have found the information quite helpful).

Regardless of the exact system you choose.

View Ron0303's profile


1 post in 1948 days

#14 posted 01-23-2013 04:39 AM

Hi, newbie here. May I recommend a Sata brand (no, I don’t work for them). I have one with 1.0 and 1.2 nozzles. My main is the 1.2 and the 1.0 is for more detail work.
It works like a dream and decently priced for a quality spray gun. Secret is, you have to test spray it (no matter what brand you’re using; spray pattern, recommended pressure., etc., before you proceed to your workpiece. Every time you pause make sure to test spray it elsewhere before continuing to your workpiece. Paint and varnish can clog the nozzles easily because they dry so quickly.
Good luck!

View Earlextech's profile


1161 posts in 2689 days

#15 posted 01-23-2013 04:07 PM

My first thought is that your 20 gal compressor is going to run a lot. Personally, conversion guns are my least favorite way to spray, they never actually work at under 10psi, usually the compressor is set at about 40-45psi and the regulator on the gun is between 15-20psi in order to get good atomization. True HVLP operates at 10psi or less which cuts way down on overspray and wasted material, plus you don’t have the contamination issues that you still have using the compressor.
A dedicated HVLP is also more compact, easier to adjust and doesn’t wear out your expensive compressor parts.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

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