Paint Sprayer Airless Vs Air(3 List): Difference, Techniques

Last Updated on October 24, 2021

Paint sprayers, with their greater efficiency, faster working speed, and premium finish, have become the favorite of all. Whether you want to paint your home, car, or anything else, a paint sprayer can do it quicker, better, and easier than the regular paintbrush and roller.

The paint sprayers are available in both air and airless sprayer options with different working techniques. When you want to get the right sprayer, you first know the differences between paint sprayer airless vs. air.

An airless paint sprayer doesn’t need an additional turbine or compressor for generating power, unlike the air paint sprayer.

However, these two superior paint sprayers have other differences and benefits, including portability, quick paint coating, working ability, etc.

We will discuss these variations and the benefits of the air and airless paint sprayer so you can make the right decision shortly.

Paint Sprayer Airless Vs Air: The Key Differences

First off, let’s make a clear distinction between the working pattern of the air paint sprayer and the airless paint sprayer.

It is crucial because without understanding their working procedure, you won’t be able to take the best advantage of these two incredibly well-equipped and modern paint sprayers.

Air Sprayer

Air sprayer uses air as its power generative source to spray the paint. It will usually use a turbine or air compressor as the source of airpower.

Also, the air sprayer is a collective name. It refers to many paint sprayer variations in the market.

The list includes-

  1. HVLP or High Volume Low-Pressure air sprayer
  2. LVLP or Low Volume, Low-Pressure air sprayer
  3. Pneumatic air sprayer

Professionals comment that air sprayers with their enhanced power offer more uniform paint results.

Also, the sprayers are available in different sizes, but the most common are handheld sprayers. The air compressor or turbine is attached externally for achieving the right paint speed.

Airless Sprayer

As the name suggests, airless paint sprayers don’t need a turbine or air compressor for spraying paint material. Instead, it takes advantage of the extreme high-pressure created by the motor.

It, too, results in an even paint finish. Also, the units are available in various sizes, from handheld to large enough to be carried on wheeled carts.

Now, let’s jump more into the benefits and disadvantages of both paint sprayer types.

Working Applications

An airless sprayer uses a motor to produce the required pressure for paint spraying. Hence, it has more power than any other painting machine.

As a result, you will see its working application in large and medium projects, including both interior and exterior paint works.

What’s more surprising is that the airless paint sprayers are gettable in various models to meet the needs of DIY, homeowners, and professional contractors alike.

Airless sprayers are also used for getting a uniform painting. The air sprayers, on the contrary, are better for mid-sized projects, including interior paint, car paint, and so on.

Most people will use the HVLP air sprayers to get their job done.

Versatility in Using Paint Material

There’s no doubt that both paint sprayers are highly capable of using various paint materials. Yet, one excels in a certain area than the other, which makes them perfect for different usage.

For instance, you will love the performance of the airless paint sprayer when you work with primers and thick latex paints. It also handles such materials without thinning.

The air sprayer is better at spraying oil-based paint. You can also count on its performance for acrylic and liquor coating with an even finish.

However, air sprayers aren’t designed to work with thick materials under high pressure. So, you should thin the paint materials to get the best finishes.

Paint Finish

The next important distinction between the airless and air paint sprayer comes through their paint finish on different surfaces.

The air sprayer provides a continuous stream of air to push the paint material out of the container through the spray nozzle or tip.

The spray is often low-pressure and facilitates the easy layering of the paint. However, with such low pressure, it often contaminates the air to create bubbles.

Also, its contamination will result in slight paint imperfections.  So, you may not get a uniform and even paint finish with the air sprayers.

That’s where the airless paint sprayer truly jumps in without its ability to spray in higher pressure. Also, it reduces the chance of paint mixing with air.

Therefore, it doesn’t cause bubbles or blemishes, unlike the air sprayers. It means you can trust the airless sprayer for even finishes on any surface.

Cleaning Easiness

 Proper cleaning of the paint sprayer is an essential part of any painting project. Not that it only boosts the sprayer lifespan but also helps you store it without any mess. Thus, you have to follow the cleanup process for both sprayers cautiously.

First off, the airless and air paint sprayers both work better than the roller and paintbrush to avoid any messes.

Both sprayers have an external container or cup from where they fetch the paint through the pump and hose to spray it on the surface. Therefore, the paint coating is even, and there’s less chance of dripping to create an untidy look.

Both sprayers are also easy to clean with the quick removal of their various parts. The nozzle often comes with a reversible tip for quick paint finish too. So, the cleaning easiness for both sprayers is a tie.


Even if one type of sprayer paint is suitable for your job, you can’t just buy it unless it fits your budget. So, the cost of getting the airless and air paint sprayer is also pretty important.

And in this regard, air sprayers will always get an edge over airless sprayers. Air paint sprayers are gettable from $20 to $150 in retail shops as of 2020. This is relatively a lower price compared to the high-end airless paint sprayers that can go up to $500 for professionals.

The standard airless sprayers are gettable at around $200, which is still expensive compared to the air sprayers. Thus, homeowners and DIY crafters may not afford its expensiveness.


So, who is the winner of paint sprayer airless vs. air?

As our discussion reaches the end, we can’t clearly found one winner. Instead, both sprayer paint works exceedingly well in their respective areas.

For instance, an airless paint sprayer, despite its higher pricing, is a favorite professional thanks to its high-volume pressure and ability to work on large projects. Also, it will result in a blemish-free paint finish.

The air paint sprayer will be a good selection for DIY workers and homeowners to accomplish their small to medium projects. Also, its cheaper pricing would benefit you in handling smaller projects better.