What is an airless paint sprayer

What Is An Airless Paint Sprayer?

You’ve heard a lot of things about airless paint sprayers, but do you really know what it means and how it works?

If you’ve been confused about what exactly an airless paint sprayer is, then this post is for you.

So, what is an airless paint sprayer?

To put succinctly, an airless paint sprayer is a device used for painting large surface areas in your home evenly within a short period. It works on a high-pressure pump and a customized nozzle for the finest finishing and evenness of coating layers.

It uses a stream of paint without depending on a separate air pump to create the required pressure. This article answers your basic queries on what an airless paint sprayer is as well as its design and function.

What Is An Airless Paint Sprayer? | How it Works

What is an airless paint sprayer

An airless sprayer can work on the electric or gas-driven motor. The rotation of the motor converts the fuel power into mechanical energy and passes it onto the fluid pump. The system builds up an enormous volume of pressure within the airless hose.

The continuous flow of paint at high pressure gets directed through the nozzle onto the paint surface area. In the case of a handheld airless pump, the airless hose is non-existent.  Hence, the startup time is much faster compared to the larger size sprayer.

Airless Sprayer Parts

The fluid section is at the core of the airless pump, which houses the pump. Motor and the drive-train are responsible for the functioning of the airless spray system as a whole. Stainless steel is the most commonly used material for the pump parts.

It can withstand high pressure and last longer without rusting. Alloys make up the other parts of airless spray, like the motor, drive-train, valves, and tubes.

Motor: The primary task of the airless motor is to convert the electrical/gas power into kinetic energy or driving the pump. It can also create a vacuum inside the pump by sucking out the surrounding air.

The flow rate of liquid paint is much higher at vacuum compared to the air-assisted pump (1:5 or higher). Motor parts are commonly made of alloy metal for resistance to rust, heat, and high torque impact.

Drive-Train: Drive train connects the motor with the pump. The Rotation per Minute (RPM) of the drive train depends on motor speed.

You can control the speed with the help of the control panel on the exterior of the spray. In the case of a handheld airless spray, you can control the speed of the train and paint flow rate using controls on the gun.

Airless Pump: The pump consists of a diaphragm and a piston (single/double stroke) apart from the cylinder and the rod. Paint passes through the cylinder through the up-stroke and down-stroke action of the rod.

The diaphragm applies high pressure onto the liquid with each stroke and pushes it towards the nozzle. Flow volume is high compared to the air spray pump. Since it works on the hydraulic pressure of the liquid, the increment ratio of pressure is the maximum within the shortest period.

Valves inside the pump can control the inlet and outlet pressure values within the set limits. The direction of liquid into the hose and gun will remain even throughout the painting session. Hence the spray volume per square inch will be the same with a consistent flow rate.

Tubes: Primarily there are two types of tubes for inlet and return. Inlet is dipped into a paint source such as a bucket or a tank filled with paint. The return tube is inserted into an empty bucket to collect the unused paint liquid from the hose and gun.

Gun: an airless spray gun consists of a reversible spray tip and guard, trigger, handle, and safety latches. O-rings, gasket, retaining nut and other parts support the entire gun assembly. You can rotate the UN handle

Spray Tip: Spray tip is the detachable part of the system to accommodate multiple types and designs of the tool. You can find various sizes and shapes depending on the distance between the surface and the gun.

Every tip will have a unique number on it. The first three characters indicate the type of paint.

What Type of Paint Works with Airless Paint Sprayer?

The most commonly used type is the latex. Most of the models also allow you to use semi-enamel, oil-based, vinyl, lacquer, and other OEM specified (as mentioned in the Original Equipment Manufacturer manual)  range of paints.


You may have to use a suitable thinner for the spray in the ratio specified in the OEM manual of the airless paint spray.  Sure you use the same ratio without any deviations to get the best effects.

Airless Paint Sprayer Tips


What is an airless sprayer atomizing? It is a process in which the liquid paint gets broken into spray type of molecules.

The breakdown happens in a vacuum within the airless spray. Key benefits are evenly distributed internal and external mixing of paint molecules, even pressure and flow rate.

Every particle of the paint molecule gets sprayed onto the surface at high pressure. The impact makes it glue to the surface without unevenly spreading to the exteriors.


Orifice size of the airless paint sprayer gun tip varies from .009 to 0.029 in the standard range. Flow rate variation is from 0.09 Gallon per Minute (GPM) to GPM.

The spray shape could be long rectangle, oval, round or others as specified by the OEM.

Spray Pattern

Spray pattern selection helps you to save on time, reduce waste, and increase the surface area coverage. Using the right tip size number will help you to a greater extent.

Spray Pressure

It is a good practice to keep the spray pressure at the minimum value at the initial stage of spraying. It takes time for the paint liquid to get atomized. You can increase the pressure gradually as the atomization speeds up.

You can easily recognize the state of maximum atomization when the spray changes its shape into a water shower. Using the smaller size orifice can make the spray spread evenly across the surface area.

Basic Technique

The sequence of trigger and stroke runs one after the other. It is good practice to start the initial trigger of the gun before the first stroke.

You can continue to spray until the moment you wish to stop. Then you can release the trigger before the last stroke. It helps you save on time and improve efficiency.

There are many such techniques which can help you to use the airless paint spray efficiently and effectively. When you start learning about what is an airless paint spray, it is also time to master these techniques.

What is the difference between an airless and a air paint sprayer?

Air sprayers are different from airless primarily because they have to be connected to an air supply, which usually means a bulky, expensive air compressor. Airless sprayers use pressured streams of paint or stain that do not rely on air flow to force the material out of the sprayer, making them extremely portable.

Is an airless paint sprayer better?

Airless sprayers can also handle thicker paint better than compressed air or high volume low pressure (HVLP) sprayers. All paint sprayers should be handled with care, but be especially mindful with an airless sprayer, which works under very high pressure.

What do you use an airless paint sprayer for?

With a little practice, you can use an airless sprayer to apply a perfectly smooth finish on doors, cabinets and woodwork. And since an airless sprayer pumps paint directly from a can or 5-gallon bucket, you can apply a lot of material in a short time.

Do airless sprayers use more paint?

Airless paint sprayers are extremely popular, but also tend to waste more paint on average than other types of spray guns. Your run-of-the-mill airless paint sprayer will waste up to 40% of the paint that you use, and even more if you aren’t operating the spray gun properly.

Is HVLP better than airless?

HVLPs are more fine production, not high production.” Unlike airless spray guns, HVLP guns have a second control knob that regulates air flow, giving the user more control over the fan size. There is less overspray, making HVLPs a good choice when working with expensive paint.

What are the 4 types of paint sprayers?

The main options are airless, compressed air, and HVLP. The type you require depends on the kind of job and your level of expertise. What is this? Each type contains a reservoir for your chosen paint, as well as a method of propelling the liquid from the container and through the tip of the sprayer.

Do airless sprayers create overspray?

An airless paint sprayer uses pressure to deliver paint through a spray gun and through a tip. By forcing the fluid pass the small opening, the coating is atomized (broken apart). However, because it uses high pressures when spraying, a lot of your paint can become overspray.

Do I need to thin paint for airless sprayer?

The airless spray gun systems work well with latex paints, some not even requiring any thinning paint for spraying. You can use the paint directly from the paint can.

Do airless paint sprayers need electricity?

Electric Airless Sprayers

However, the drawbacks of electric airless include that you need electric to drive the machine and that they are typically limited to 3300 PSI, making them less effective for thick coatings like some elastomerics and block fillers.

Do professional painters use sprayers?

Professional painters have paint sprayers running into the thousands of dollars. As a do-it-yourselfer, you may choose to start with a simple, less expensive type of paint sprayer often called a cup gun sprayer.


An airless paint sprayer works with the most efficient pump and motor assembly. They work in close coordination with each other to generate an optimum volume of hydraulic pressure. Since there is no air, the probability of pressure variations is near to zero.

So, you can expect the paint liquid to flow consistently without any breaks. Hence, the surface finishing and quality of painting will be the best you can ever have under the given conditions.

An airless paint spray can work efficiently when you learn the techniques related to pressure adjustment, flow control, and using the sprayer at an optimum distance from the target object.

With HVLP or other conventional devices, it may take time to learn the basic techniques. Sometimes it may not be possible to DIY the painting due to technical complexity. An airless paint sprayer, on the other hand, can simplify the process of controlling these parameters.

Airless paint sprayers come with a locking mechanism for the gun control. You can set the pressure and flow rate at your required values and lock the control trigger. Then you don’t have to worry about being conscious of pressure and flow.

They will remain the same until your project completion. Once you have experienced the advanced concepts of what is an airless paint sprayer, it is possible to keep the control in manual mode.