Paint Sprayers vs. Paint Brushes: What’s Best?

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As a homeowner, professional painter, or contractor, painting jobs arise where you contemplate which tool you should be using. Choosing the right tool for the job can be tough but for painting, the choice typically comes down to a paint brush, paint sprayer, or on occasion, a paint roller.

Each choice comes with pros and cons including, price, performance and speed. Obviously, with a paint brush, you will have far more control, but unlike a paint sprayer, painting a large wall can be a tedious endeavor. On the other hand, a paint sprayer can cover a large area, like a house or interior wall, with ease – but the tool often lacks the finesses for painting smaller areas.

To help you determine which painting tool is right for you, we did a comparison of paint sprayers vs. paint brushes. Highlighting the benefits of each respective tool and when they are best utilized.

Best Paint Sprayer for the MoneyBest Paint Brush for the Money
ModelWagner 0529010 FLEXiO 590 HVLP Paint SprayerPurdy 144153320 XL Series Cub Angular Trim Paint Brush, 2 Inch
UsesPainting walls, furniture, cars, and home exteriorsPainting corners and small detailed projects
More InfoSee ProductSee Product

Pros and Cons of a Paint Sprayer

Paint sprayers are a great tool if you are looking to paint a large area in a short period of time but there are a couple of downsides to note. One thing to take into consideration when contemplating a paint sprayer is that purchasing one is a commitment, not only are they significantly more expensive than a paint brush, but they also come with a learning period.

With that being said, once you have picked up the skills to use a paint sprayer, you can produce an even, professional finish every time. Note, it may take some time to get to that point as you will have to know how to prep your machine and control the spray gun.

This involves learning how to adjust your spray pressure, mixing paint appropriately to achieve a consistent flow, and cleaning your unit after each use to prevent clogs that could render your sprayer useless. This can be a big hurdle for some to overcome in the paint sprayers vs. paint brushes debate.

As a DIYer or contractor, you will also want to be aware that a paint sprayer may not be suited for every scenario. In some cases, such as where you need to paint in small spaces, a paint sprayer can struggle. Not only do they create additional mess as they often have issues with overspray, but they also lack a high degree of precision.

Ultimately, choosing a paint sprayer over a paint brush will come down your project requirements and the size of the task at hand. To help, we highlighted some of the key benefits and use cases below.


  • Can paint large areas such as home exteriors quickly
  • Produces even professional finishes


  • Can be messy at times with overspray
  • Mixing paint and learning how to use a sprayer can be a challenge if you are a beginner

Use Cases:

  • Painting home exteriors, indoor walls, furniture and other large areas

Pros and Cons of a Paint Brush

Now this is a tool most people have used before, and has a broad range of applications. You may be familiar with paint brushes from art class or small projects around the home, and are aware they come in a wide variety of bristle shapes and sizes. However, if you choose to go down this route, you will need to purchase multiple brushes to suit specific needs.

One thing to highlight in comparison to paint sprayers is that paint bushes come in at a significantly lower price, allowing you to purchase the multiple brushes you require without breaking the bank trying. This is probably the biggest reason for going with a brush in the paint sprayers vs. paint brushes debate.

Another thing to highlight is the control you gain from using a paint brush, not only can get into corners and smaller spaces easier, but you can apply far more detail. This allows you to produce high quality pieces easily if you’ve managed to lock down the right technique.

With all that being said, paint brushes still have their downsides. For starters, it’s obviously more difficult to cover a large surface area with a paint brush (aka. you’d be painting for hours!). It’s also much more difficult to lock down a solid technique to provide an even smooth coat, which typically comes with ease when using a paint sprayer.

Overall, if you choose to go with a paint brush, you’ll have to consider your requirements at hand just like a paint sprayer. Paint brushes are great for smaller detailed projects but may be tedious on larger jobs. To help we’ve highlighted the pros and cons plus use cases below.


  • Very affordable making it a great solution if you are on a budget
  • Broad range of brush shapes and sizes


  • Hard to achieve an even finish
  • Painting a large area can be long and difficult with just a brush

Use Cases

  • Painting furniture and crowning, or working on small detailed projects.


In conclusion, there is really no best tool for the job. Both the paint brush and the paint sprayer come with their own set of pros and cons. The paint sprayer enables you to achieve a professional finish in a short period of time. While a paint brush gives you the ability to apply paint with a high level of detail and precision.

Professional paint sprayers will often use both the tools to paint different sections of the job. So if you are looking for a quality finish, consider purchasing something like an hvlp paint sprayer and a paintbrush in tandem.

If you are restricted by budget, some paint brushes or a cheap paint sprayer may be a good place to start. Though, withstanding the tool you choose – you will still be able to complete your project, each path just comes with its own set of restrictions.

We hope this article saves you some time when making your next purchasing decision. As always, if you have any questions feel free to drop a comment in the comments section below!



Ryan is a writer for He's been a hobbyist and painter for a long time, and now enjoys teaching others. His content primarly focuses on reviews and guides for painters and construction professionals.

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