Painting with an Airless Sprayer (Tips & Guide)

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Want to learn how to use an airless paint sprayer to complete your next project faster with a better quality finish? The team at Toolbox Advice has come together to write a comprehensive how to guide, outlining proper set-up, how to use the tool, techniques the pro’s use, and what not to do when painting with an airless paint sprayer. We hope this gives you the insight and knowledge to get out there and tackle your own painting projects. 

Best Professional Paint Sprayers Feature Images
Titan Airless Paint Sprayer

Airless Paint Sprayers: Introduction

Airless paint sprayers are a painting tool commonly used by professional contractors and painters for painting large areas, including large house exteriors, fences or drywall. They are well suited for applying a broad range of paint products, including lacquers, oil-based paints, and more. 

If you’re curious as to how they work, airless paint sprayers operate via a high pressure pump. This pump uses this pressure to atomize the paint allowing for application on a range of surfaces. You can use paint sprayers inside or outdoors without any issues. 

What’s more, paint sprayers typically come with the ability to pump paint directly from a bucket or paint can, meaning you have to refill you tool less often than a brush or roller. Though we should also note some downsides of airless sprayers so you can better understand their uses cases. 

One thing to consider is that sprayers require a more diligent clean-up and storage process than brushes or rollers due to the intricate machine parts. After each use, you will have to clean the pump and hoses of paint to ensure the unit is ready for the next job. 

That being said, if you have a large job ahead of you, the disadvantages are far outweighed by the positives of airless paint sprayers. You will not only complete the job in less time but also achieve a surface finish far better than a roller could achieve.

Getting Started with your Airless Sprayer

Here we’ll cover some of the basics of getting started with your new paint sprayer. We’d like to note that this stage can vary by paint sprayer model so make sure to read your models user manual before getting started. 

Key steps to getting started:

Prime the pump:

Before spraying anything you will need to prime the paint sprayers pump. This step helps clear air bubbles from the tubes and gets your machine flowing properly. Make sure to turn your machine to prime and try letting it run with paint flowing through it, into containers, until you don’t see any bubbles.

Prep the machine with paint:

Now that your machine is primed, you can go ahead and fill your hose with paint and attach the tip. This is typically done by setting your sprayer to spray mode and letting paint run through it’s open tip until you have achieved a steady flow. Once you’ve gotten to this point, you can lock the trigger and apply your tip guard, then select the correct tip and attach it to your sprayer.

Set your pressure:

When you begin to paint make sure that you are using your tools adjustable controls to set the pressure to a suitable range for your project. To figure out if your tool has adjustable pressure make sure to check out the user manual for your model.

If you are trying to relieve your paint sprayer of pressure, first turn it off before setting the unit to prime and squeezing the trigger over an empty pail to release any left over paint. This provides quick pressure relief to the sprayer. Just make sure to activate the trigger lock after completion. 

Choose the right tip and install the guard:

Make sure you select the right tip for the job and install it plus the paint guard before starting any work. We typically suggest trying some test sprays in an inconspicuous area before tackling the larger job to ensure everything is working correctly. This helps avoid any headaches that may arise from a poorly set-up sprayer.


If you are facing issues with your paint sprayer we suggest turning off the machine and consulting your models user manual for the solution. 

Airless Paint Sprayers: Should you Rent or Buy?
If you are considering whether to rent or buy consider these quick points:
  1. Paint sprayers typically start around $150 and work their way up in price. As you spend more you may get additional features and a more powerful pump. Make sure you know what you need for your projects ahead of time.
  2. If you own the sprayer you can use it whenever you please. This makes it a lot easier to tackle projects around the home or construction site without the hassle of a trip down to the rental shop.
  3. If you own the tool you can ensure that it is in tip-top shape each time you need it.
  4. If you only require the tool for a single use, renting may be a better path to go down, but be aware that it may not be cheap.
  5. There’s no right or wrong choice when deciding whether to purchase a paint sprayer or rent one, it’s all dependent on your needs and project demands.

Airless Paint Sprayer Application Tips

Trying to tackle the next paint job around the house or construction site? Here are some tips to ensure your project gets off to a good start:

  • Purchase an air sprayer with a long enough hose for your needs.
  • Try to ensure the sprayer is the correct distance from the surface. We typically aim for 12 inches.
  • Increase your odds of achieving a smooth professional quality finish by keeping the spray gun straight with the surface you are painting.
  • Learn how to apply the appropriate pressure to the paint sprayer to maintain a steady flow of paint with low overspray.
  • Keep some additional paint close by your sprayer in case you run out. This makes re-filling a breeze.
  • For the most complete coverage try to paint in a long, continuous motion
  • Make sure to flush and prime your paint sprayer properly to achieve the best level of material output.
  • Some painters suggest overlapping your spray application by 50% – this leads to a solid even coat.
  • Regardless off the sprayer you use, if the surface is not prepped you will never achieve a fine finish, so take the time to prep the material you are applying your paint to.
  • Choose the right tool and tip for the job. Not all airless sprayers are built the same, so consider the level of quality, size, and features you require from your tool.

Advantages: Paint Sprayer Vs. Paint Brush

If you have a large project coming up a paint sprayer will help you complete it faster than you would with either a roller or a paint brush. Additionally, you will probably end up with a higher quality finish due to the paint sprayers ability to leave a streak free, professional finish.

The airless paint sprayer can easily produce an even coat of paint when used by someone with experience and is great for painting walls or furniture. This contrasts with a brush or roller that can often leave distinct marks if you are not careful. Not to mention, brushes and rollers are obviously less efficient, taking more time to cover the same amount of surface area. 

Overall, paint sprayers are more efficient, make better use of paint, achieve a higher quality finish and are faster. Making a great addition to any handyman or contractors toolbox.

Airless Sprayer Safety

Make sure that you take precautions when operating your paint sprayer and be aware of the potential dangers that can arise from its use. Consult the manual and the materials you are using to ensure you are wearing the appropriate protective gear and/or ventilation. 

Here are some items you may want to consider wearing when painting:

  1.  Eyewear/ Goggles
  2.  Full Face  Respirator Mask
  3.  Painters Pants
  4.  Protective Gloves



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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